IoT adoption in PH remains in infancy, experts say

By Edd K. Usman

Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in the Philippines remains in the infancy stage, weighed down by a government that has yet to digitize documents and bring its processes online.

Lilia Guillermo, CTO of the Department of the Budget and Management (DBM), speaks about digital transformation in the government during the August 1-2 Asia IoT Business Platform conference in Pasay City. Her co-panelists are Noel Santiago (center), group head of eChannels at BPI  and Camilo Villegas, VP of distribution, operation, FWD Philippines

Lilia Guillermo, CTO of the Department of the Budget and Management (DBM), speaks about digital transformation in the government during the August 1-2 Asia IoT Business Platform conference in Pasay City. Her co-panelists are Noel Santiago (center), group head of eChannels at BPI and Camilo Villegas, VP of distribution, operation, FWD Philippines

This was one of several issues that were brought up during the two-day Asia IoT Business Platform Conference that was organized by the Singapore-based Industry Platform Pte. held in Pasay City.

During the final day’s last session, the panelists discussed how far the Philippines has gone into using IoT technologies.

Adoption of IoT is barely scratching the surface of digital transformation in the Philippines, the three Filipino panelists said when asked about its implementation in their organizations.

“Very few government agencies are already ready for the Internet of Things, but we will have to see to it that our plans are geared towards such innovation,” Lilia C. Guillermo, chief technology officer of the Department of the Budget and Management (DBM) said. “Some government agencies are still on the road to digitization.”

A similar reply was given by Noel Santiago, group head for eChannels at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

“We are more of in an infancy stage. We know what the capabilities are, we know what the strategies that we can put forth to harness that capabilities,” Santiago said. “But at this point, looking at the priorities, considering the infrastructure that we have in our country, plus the maturity in the market, we are in the formulation stage.”

Camilo Velasco, vice president of distribution for operations at FWD Philippines, is more candid. “We are a new life insurance company and we pride ourselves having technology at the center of things. The insurance industry is a laggard in terms of catching up with technology,” he said.

The insurance executive added that his company is using mobile tools and tablets — and no more paper — and is very active in social media.

All three participants nevertheless recognized the potential of IoT.

Since human beings intend to live longer, IoT can deploy technologies that can help remind us to take medicine, or, for that matter, avoid eating food that has gone bad, the BPI executive said.

“These are the things the Internet of Things can provide by putting the sensors matched to your credentials, matched to your health, matched to your patterns,” Santiago said.

Moreover, in a forbes.com report, werable devices — among other gadgets — can be connected to the IoT, helping humans enhance and/or automate some of their functions.

Experts have predicted that as many as 50 billion devices will be connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) in three years.

“We are only at the beginning of the digital revolution, and the possibilities are endless,” Victoria Espinel, head of Software.org: the BSA Foundation, said in a separate news release.

Despite its poor adoption, Industry Platform Pte. Ltd. still has a bright outlook for IoT implementation in the Philippines.

Irza Suprapto, director of Asia IoT Business Platform, a program of Industry Platform Pte. Ltd., was referring to a survey among IoT leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which showed that 73.3 percent of local enterprises and organizations are presently exploring what IoT solutions to implement.

“It is indeed heartening to know how enterprises and organizations in the Philippines and in the region are actively exploring IoT technologies. For this reason, we always encourage solution providers and vendors to have a better understanding of IoT landscape in each Asean market,” he said.

Comment on this post