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QC sets the pace of Smart, Digitalized City and other Takeaways at the KPMG Innovation Summit 2023

The recently concluded KPMG Innovation Summit 2023 tagged “Making things happen: From Innovation to Execution” at the Fairmont Makati dove right into discussion on the promising state of technological innovation in the Philippines and launched two innovation milestones, the Global Tech Innovator and the KPMG Digital Government Center.

KPMG in the Philippines Chairman and CEO Sharon Dayoan welcomed over a thousand participants, live and online, with eye-opening remarks:

“In this era of unprecedented technology advancement, our world is undergoing a remarkable shift and we are all privilege to have the chance to shape the world that we inhabit. Let us celebrate the power of innovation, technology and collaboration.”

Digitalized Government Services of Smart Cities

In support of emerging smart cities, KPMG in the Philippines launched during the summit its very own Digital Government Center, a one-stop shop that aims to help government agencies in their digital transformation journey. When it came to the first panel, Digital Government for Smart Cities, several panelists hailed the Quezon City local government as a trailblazer for automating government services and its immediate implementation of Presidential Executive Order 32 which streamlines the permit processing of telecommunication and Internet infrastructure in its city.

According to panelist, Private Advisory Council on Digital Representative and City Savings Bank Head of Legal and Data Protection Officer for Private Sector Infrastructure Atty. Ernesto Herrera, “EO 32 reduces turnaround time of permit application for telecom and Internet Infrastructure requirements from the previous 2.5 years to 2.5 months enhancing bureaucratic efficiency by reducing red tape, streamlining processes across all government agencies.”

QC City Administrator Michael Alimurung also explained in his keynote speech that the QC government spearheaded the execution of one of the EO 32’s feature which is the one-stop shop of permit applications, including that on construction permit applications which has spurred the development of telecommunication and Internet infrastructure in the country, crucial in the development of smart cities.

How does having more access to data changed the capacity of local governments, given this opportunity to have wider digital highway that comes with this new EO? According to Aboitiz Chief Operating Officer for Smart Cities, Mr. Alvin Ng, “Data is the new oil.” Having access to data fosters citizen engagement, eliminating citizen divide and driving efficiency. QC has been a great playbook in spurring citizen engagement and transforming the way we think about running smart cities in the future. It’s also about resource allocation. The more data you have, the more connected you are within any city. Governments can make decisions quicker.

ESG Technology is a Way of Life

ESG Technology panel discussion explored the world of existing and emerging technologies to address and monitor environmental impact, social responsibility and corporate governance. ESG Tech is all about thinking beyond profit. Not only does ESG give substantial returns on efficiency, it attracts and pays human capital especially the next generation. It practices inclusivity and diversity that goes beyond gender including age, socio-economic status and capability.

ESG gives value to investors as well as the supply chain and brings in new markets. AIM Graduate School of Business Head and Center for Sustainable Finance Executive Director Mr. Felipe Calderon says, “ESG is a way of life that goes beyond profitability. Incorporating ESG in corporate strategies enable companies to attract investors, employees, and customers. Even lenders will also be looking at ESG component of potential borrowers.”

For Globe Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer, Ms. Yoly Crisanto, the main motivation for ESG incorporation is its alignment with Globe’s main purpose of sustainability and aim to uplift Filipino lives. Crisanto says, “The country is in the cusp of digital transformation. Use tech to make life convenient for citizens. We also need to adopt global best practices into the country. We take into consideration all the things that are happening globally and introduce them to our single market – the Philippines. We use technology to innovate, that’s why in Globe we have GCash, the no. 1 financial technology in the country that is doing a lot of innovation.”

Intelligent Processes through Artificial Intelligence

At the third panel, the Next Wave of Automation, Analytics Association of the Philippines, President Ms. Michelle Alarcon explained “AI has been around since the 70’s and not a wave per se. Revival of the hype surrounding AI is because of the technologies particularly on computing and storage.” According to Alarcon, no one is an expert yet on Generative AI. “We can be ready. We started with RPA (Robotics Process Automation), simple automation of task with rules that are well defined. You can think of AI as something that makes that process more intelligent. They can work with each other and go hand in hand,” says Alarcon.

Concepcion Business Services President and COO, Mr. Eric Sarmiento delved on the key benefits of Robotics, “It forces you to re-think your existing processes which leads to more efficiency and cost avoidance of rework. Because of the relentless automation we were able to reduce repetitive work by a significant rate.” Robotic Process Automation Philippines Founder and President, Mr. Allan Tan discussed how robotics can drive efficiency, savings and business growth. “When RPA started nobody understood the company but now companies are starting to understand its advantages. In the Philippines, 70% of processes still involve a lot of the repetitive work including data cleansing, downloading files, constructing data, and aggregating certain reports but more and more companies are starting to see the impact and cost effectiveness of Robotics.”

Game-changing innovators on disruptive technologies

The fourth and final panel discussed disruptive strategies and mindsets behind some of the most successful disruptors in the business today including Alliance of Tech Innovators for Nation Lead Convenor and DICT Former Undersecretary, Mr. Mon Ibrahim; Fuse Lending President and CEO Mr. Tony Isidro; Digital Pilipinas Convenor and GeiserMaclang Co-founder, Ms. Amor Maclang; Inpay Co-Founder and CEO Mr. Arivuvel Ramu; Angkas Co-founder and CEO, Mr. George Royeca; Mayani Co-founder and CEO JT Solis.

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