Forging partnerships is real challenge in building smart city: exec

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Aside from technology, forging strong and massive partnerships between entities is the other main ingredient for building a smart city.

Meralco chief technology advisor Gavin Barfield (2nd from right) at the 15th Edition Asia IoT Business Platform at the Manila Marriott Hotel. Others in the panel were Gio Abaquin, business development manager for IoT and Digital Mobility at Smart Communications (2nd from left); and Dr. Francisco Castillo, SVP and CIO at Maynilad Water Services (right). Dr. Francisco Magno, director of the Jessie Robredo Institute of Governance of De La Salle University served as moderator

Meralco chief technology advisor Gavin Barfield (2nd from right) at the 15th Edition Asia IoT Business Platform at the Manila Marriott Hotel. Others in the panel were Gio Abaquin, business development manager for IoT and Digital Mobility at Smart Communications (2nd from left); and Dr. Francisco Castillo, SVP and CIO at Maynilad Water Services (right). Dr. Francisco Magno, director of the Jessie Robredo Institute of Governance of De La Salle University served as moderator

This is according to a technology expert at the 15th edition of Asia IoT (Internet of Things) Business Platform held at the Manila Marriott Hotel from August 1-2, 2017.

Speaking at the IoT Leaders’ Keynote Panel held on opening day of the event, Manila Electric Company chief technology advisor Gavin Barfield rallied Filipinos to make the Philippines a leader and innovator and not just a follower by eliminating the idea that technology is only for developed countries.

Earlier however, Barfield stressed that the use of technology should be in collaboration with other parties. “No one entity can do it,” he said. “If one entity does it, you don’t get the richness of information that you need in order to enable these services.”

Held in Manila for the third consecutive year, Asia IoT Business Platform focuses on the challenges faced by businesses and public service organizations in the Philippines as far as deployment and implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are concerned in order to achieve digital transformation.

According to Barfield, the challenge in developing smart cities is not technology because it already exists and is therefore implementable.

Citing the various problems besetting a typical modern city such as traffic, parking, and air quality, Barfield noted that the technologies needed to fix these problems are already available.

What is needed is the strong support of government, including local government units (LGUs), to really get things running in order for these technologies to work for the people, he said.

“If you need to install this network, you need the LGUs to be the one monitoring it. So first and foremost, you need to collaborate with the government and the LGUs in order to bring this in,” explained Barfield.

“You need information on utilities coming from people at Meralco, you need information on water coming from Maynilad, you need information on traffic, parking, building management systems…. We should be able to piece these all together in some form, and create some smart city infrastructure.”

Expressing his hope that the country would push the envelope further and get into the spirit of collaboration, Barfield noted that Filipinos have the talent and the willingness.

“What we ought to do is to come together and start to work on some of these initiatives,” he said, adding that technology should not be used just commercially but to make life better for Filipinos.

Barfield was one of several key IT leaders and CIOs from the local business community who shared their company’s experiences and plans as well as their own insights on the pivotal role of IoT in customer satisfaction, improving productivity and efficiency.

According to a recent annual survey, 73.3% of enterprises and organization in ASEAN have made efforts to tap IoT. However, only 7% have reaped its benefits.

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