To take lead in IoT, PH should take one step at a time: German expert

By Edd K. Usman

The Philippines should take it one project at a time. That’s the advice of a German technology expert who visited Manila to attend the Asia IoT Business Platform conference held in Pasay City.

Deutsche Telekom executive Ulf Moorfeld

Deutsche Telekom executive Ulf Moorfeld

The government should first consider what it wants to do and where it wants to go, said Ulf Moorfeld, who is with Deutsche Telekom’s international sales development (M2M).

“You can talk about smart lighting, smart waste management, smart traffic, smart pollution, smart parking. There are a lot of verticals; you should go for step by step, because if you go for all, you will end up in the mixture because it is not so easy to implement them, it takes time, you have to analyze,” Moorfeld told Newsbytes.PH in an interview during the two-day conference starting August 1.

According to Moorfeld, Germany started its IoT initiatives in 2014, “build[ing] it step by step.” “Sometimes, we went with the customers together,” the Deutsche Telekom executive said, citing what the government did for BMW.

“They build very innovative cars, we provided for them a service, we call it also IoT,” Moorfeld said, citing Wi-Fi hotspots in the car, among other IoT applications.

With this piece of advice, is the Philippines capable of being a leader — instead of just being a follower — in the field of IoT? Obviously, the answer is yes, judging from what an IT expert at Manila IoT conference said.

Gavin Barfield, CTO of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), said the Philippines has what it takes to make it happen.

“We have the talent here. We have the willingness, I think. And what we just need to do is come together and start working on how we can collaborate and work together on some of these initiatives, and let’s make Philippines a leader and innovator in IoT,” he said during a panel discussion on the event’s first day.

“We can push the envelope in terms of what we can do (to) realize this technology,” Barfield added, during a lively exchange with the other panelists at the conference.

His panel included Gio Abaquin, business development manager for IoT and digital mobility at Smart Communications, and Dr. Francisco Castillo, senior vice president and chief information officer of Maynilad Water Services.

Smart Communications lead for IoT Gio Abaquin

Smart Communications lead for IoT Gio Abaquin

The Smart Communications executive shared Garfield’s enthusiasm. “The Philippines is rich not just in natural resources but also in know-how and manpower. We have a very mobile-centric and also tech-centric workforce and we see the adoption of (technology) very prevalent, specially in the Internet of Things,” Abaquin said.

During the event, several speakers addressed topics that ranged from the current digital developments in the country to the challenges that enterprises and organizations are facing across different vertical industries.

More than 400 senior executives and IT leaders from the Philippines and abroad participated in the in-depth discussions as they engaged in knowledge-building exchanges towards building business connections in the region.

Irza Surapto, director at Asia IoT Business Platform, cited the event’s importance as industries dig deep into digital transformation.

“The event provides a conducive platform for captains of industry and IT leaders from across different vertical industries to come together and engage with one another in a mutual dialogue, which in turn contributes to the growth of knowledge and understanding within the industry,” he emphasized.

Asia IoT Business Platform, a program of Industry Platform Pte. Ltd., which organized the event, also released results of a recent survey it conducted among IT executives in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) about IoT.

Besides indicating increased interest in IoT, the Asean IT leaders surveyed identified three main areas where IoT can help them in their digital journey, such as improve productivity, 76.3 percent; reduce long term operational costs, 69.7 percent; and improve customer relationship, 66.1 percent.

Despite these high expectations, only a dismal seven percent reported having benefitted from current implementation of their IoT initiatives.

The IT leaders polled said that IoT difficulties include tackling a gauntlet of challenges, namely, cost, incompatibility and legacy systems; and complexity.

Nevertheless, the survey gave a bright spot for IoT implementation, saying the results “spell great incentives for IoT solution providers to explore the burgeoning ICT market in Southeast Asia.”