ICT-Davao to ink MOU with Amazon, SAS Technology

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Davao president lawyer Sam Matunog, together with vice president Belinda Laya-Torres, says while promoting the upcoming Livelihood Exchange (LIVEX ) 2019 during this week’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davso that the recent quakes that jolted Davao del Sur and North Cotabato were wake up call for Mindanaoans on the importance of innovation for the ICT industry to be resilient and be more competitive.  LIVEX 2019 is scheduled on November 18 to 19 at Marco Polo Davao. Lean Daval Jr

ICT-Davao (Information Communication technology-Davao) pursues its goal to re-tool and re-skill professionals in Mindanao with artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics by looking at linkages with global technology companies SAS technologies and Amazon.

ICT-Davao President Atty. Sam Matunog told media in Kapehan sa Davao that they will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the two IT giants during the LiveX 2019 (Innovation Summit 2019 and 5th Mindanao ICT Cluster Conference) slated on November 18 to 19 at Marco Polo Davao.  

SAS is a trusted analytics powerhouse that empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence while Amazon.com, Inc., is an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

“Dito sa event we will be signing an agreement to train our professionals on artificial intelligence, data and analytics with some of the most respected and well-known companies in the world. We are talking with SAS Technologies the number one analytics and business intelligence platform in the world. They are servicing some of the big companies in the Philippines. Hopefully with the partnership with them and we can train some of you (media) to become data analysts. We are also looking forward with same arrangement with Amazon for cloud computing,” Matunog said.
The memorandum aims to work together and train professionals. He said they want to develop professionals or trainers in Mindanao for them to fully exploit the technology.

“We were informed recently that we are hosting the largest satellite receiving station and there was this Japanese expert who was telling us that our micro-satellites Diwata 1 and Diwata 2 are accumulating a lot of images. These images are supposed to be consumed by our universities so we can take advantage the images generated but there is no enough takers. Parang we have these opportunities but not taking advantage of them. What we would like to do is if we have these images we would like to find out whether it is possible to engage our universities and companies to take a look at the data because according to them the images that are being captured every day is sufficient enough to tell us how much water do we need, where the water is, where to build infrastructure because we are investing so much on roads and bridges, but are we really addressing the present and future needs of our communities?,” Matunog said.

He stresses the use ICT to give real time information especially during earthquakes.  

“This earthquake, saan ang impact nun? Earthquakes should not be a problem for us because every day may earthquake sa Pilipinas because we are part of the ring of fire. The only problem is it becomes a very dramatic experience as it happens because somehow we don’t have real time information such as to what extent ang damage at wala tayong geographic information kung ano ba talaga ang totoo?” he added.  

The Innovation Summit 2019 and 5th Mindanao ICT Cluster Conference aim to address the recent issues such as earthquakes that are being considered a wakeup call for Davaoenos and Mindanaoans on the importance of innovation for the ICT industry to become resilient and be more competitive in the global digital economy.   

Matunog said representatives of SAS Technologies and Amazon will be speaking during the summit.

The first day of the conference (innovation summit) will focus on the importance of innovation and how the industry can achieve it. This includes presentations and panels from industry leaders and visionaries from the government, academe, and public sector.

“The summit is a very significant event. We are alarmed with recent report that the Philippines gone down in the international competitive index and the area category where we were scoring low is in the area of ICT adoption and we were surprise when we looked at the data it turned out that we are number one in social media and individual online presence pero ang kulang pala doon is yung presence of the companies and the digital transformation initiatives of the public and private sector. Meaning there is little happening in terms of companies who are doing business online and who are using cashless transactions using technology,” he said.

“I was shown the figures in our competitive index and it appear internally based on our numbers we have improved so much but the index is not only for us but they are comparing our performance against other economies in the region and we are not competing well for instance against Vietnam. I would like to think na mas advance pa rin tayo but I cannot understand why the numbers are not as good as shown,” he added.

Matunog said this is one of the things that will be discussed during the summit.

The second day of the conference will bring together the different ICT councils from all over Mindanao. Each council is expected to articulate on their respective action plans as they are enriched by the information presented on the first day.

“We have over 20 ICT councils organized in urban centers in the whole island and will be complimented by the friends from Malaysia and Indonesia. Our effort on the second day is to find a way to align to our programs and roadmaps and projects so that together as one island we will be able to take advantage of the benefits of ICT and ensure that ICT will be a driver of inclusive growth and development in the countryside. That is our mandate as a ICT council of Davao and as a member of the ICT Confederation of the Philippines,” Matunog said.  

The plans are also expected to be tailor made for each area in Mindanao and aligned with the national ICT countryside development agenda of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP). Each plan is expected to consider sustainability, resiliency, and emerging technologies as priorities.

“We hope that the speed will also improve because users are fast transitioning to other platforms like using livestreaming and they have a lot of capacity of the network, while we are increasing very fast our capacity still the way we are using internet now is different from before. Most of the news that we get is really from digital sources rather than the traditional because of these changes in the way we used our broadband network, we still need a lot of effort to ensure that we are able to address the demand,” he said.  

Belle Torres, vice president for Industry of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (DCCCII) and co-chair of the organizing committee for the Innovation Summit 2019 explained that the ABCs are real (artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing) and that there is a need to futureproof the businesses, communities and all sectors.

Torres emphasized that innovation is the key and that infrastructure should also come as a support. She also said there should be strong Public Private Partnership to strengthen initiatives in innovation.  

“LIVEX is an effort to ensure we do not only address the present concern but really look forward and see which areas pa ang pwede nating hawakan using ICT to ensure that we are in trajectory in different parts of the region will more or less be aligned and more or less be sustainable in moving forward,” Matunog said.