Filipinos don?t need smartphones to send and receive money, get disaster alerts, nor request emergency services, among others. All they need is a feature phone ? that is, a regular handheld ? and trusted, secure, and resilient infrastructure to connect them with the rest of the world.
So why should they bother with up-to-the-minute cloud updates on their smartphones and other high-tech hardware? It?s all the user?s option. However, they?re not absolutely necessary.
That?s according to Vic Mankotia, Asia Pacific and Japan vice-president for solutions strategy of CA technologies, one of the world?s largest independent software companies.
?All the Philippines needs is to harness current technology and make use of what?s available,? Mankotia said in an interview in Singapore during the RSA Conference held in late June. ?You don?t have to sell more gear ? that?s where I?m coming from.?
Mankotia, who also spoke during the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila this year, added: ?Everyone can say you have to buy a new phone, you have to build new towers. The smarter ones say how can you use what’s there??
He cited the Philippines? cash transfer program, a scheme that gives money to poor families as long as they keep kids in school and make them available for medical check-ups.
Under the program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) sends names of beneficiaries, their ID numbers, and amounts they?re supposed to receive, to team leaders across the country, using existing mobile phone technology.
Beneficiaries? identities are verified before any cash is released, a transaction that?s made possible because the connection is secure and authenticated.
The process is called ?microstatements,? said Mankotia, who was also a keynote speaker during the conference. ?That was undertaken to avoid someone else not giving money to the proper recipient.?
There?s more. Mobile phone users ? including those using regular handhelds ? can also send cash to one another using One-Time Password (OTP) technology.
?It costs you less than a cent to send an OTP and you can use them today using SMS on a feature phone,? Mankotia said.
That way, anyone can buy anything from a shop under OTP technology using just a regular phone, he added. And it?s not just for products but for services as well.
?It?s all about getting the right access, the right authentication on the right devices,? he said.
These and many more examples ? including remittances ? make Mankotia ?intrigued about the opportunity in the Philippines,? he said, adding that the company is ?extremely aware of how we should proceed? in the country.
CA Technologies is in a position to ?create an ecosystem that provides the right access to the right people on the right device to enable a higher level of confidence in the connected world,? he said.
?Enough innovation is already there. Don?t try to change it. I don’t want to talk smartphones. I want to talk existing feature phones and how can I make with what’s there?? he remarked.