AS one of the earliest countries in Southeast Asia to take a lead in the 5G deployment race, the Philippines is now ready to ramp up its digital transformation by transitioning to the next industrial age — Industry 4.0. As such, standalone systems — systems that are entirely 5G-based and do not rely on the previous generation’s network architecture — would become increasingly important as the Philippines moves toward Industry 4.0, in which industry becomes increasingly connected. According to McKinsey and Company, Industry 4.0 is expected to deliver between $216 billion and $627 billion in value among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member economies, including the Philippines.
In an exchange of email messages, Carlos Reyes, head of Nokia Philippines, discussed with The Manila Times the essentials of digital transformation, edge computing, 5G and the road to P5 trillion in opportunities that lie ahead.
The Manila Times (TMT): What does it mean to power sustainable DX in the Philippines with edge intelligence? What does sustainable DX mean? Edge intelligence?
Carlo Reyes (CRS): Building a digital economy today requires more than adopting new technologies. As modern networks and their infrastructure continue to evolve towards 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an urgent need to manage very rapidly increasing data transfer and network capacity requirements to provide low latency services and increase capacity in a sustainable way.
The answer lies in edge computing and edge intelligence, which represent key enabling factors for future sustainable digital infrastructure and networks. Edge computing refers to the practice of shifting some portion of computation away from the centralized server and bringing it closer to the point where the data is being created. This helps minimize latency and cut down backhaul traffic volumes and high costs.
Edge computing would be an essential component of the Philippines’ 5G networks. As the world becomes increasingly connected and the role of networks in solving global challenges grows, Nokia aims to be a leader in energy efficiency solutions and circularity to drive digital transformation and decouple traffic growth from energy consumption.
TMT: What then is the state of the 5G transformation journey in the post-pandemic Philippines? Are there hurdles or obstacles in the implementation of 5G in the country?
CRS: The Philippines’ major mobile operators have already begun introducing 5G wireless technologies to provide higher bandwidth and faster download and upload experiences, with existing 5G coverage in major cities. Thousands of 5G cell sites have now been fired up across the Philippines, and we are currently working with DITO Telecommunity Corp. to deploy 5G services on the island of Mindanao. Additionally, Nokia is currently collaborating with Globe Telecom to upgrade its existing 4G network as well as expand the geographical reach of its 5G network at over 1,000 sites, including the islands of Mindanao and the Visayas.
Despite this, there remain existing gaps in terms of access to 5G and there are several initiatives implemented by the government to address these challenges. For example, the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DoST-ASTI) has rolled out its Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal (Reiinn) program to develop technology demonstrators that may aid in bridging the Philippines’ digital divide.
TMT: How can CSPs help enterprises throughout their digital transformation journeys?
CRS: As trusted, enduring brands with strong customer relationships, CSPs are well-positioned to support enterprises advance their Industry 4.0 journeys. One of the most important ways CSPs could support their industry partners is through their reliability. While “Industry 4.0” could be interpreted in many different ways, the central premise is simple: it’s about connecting assets and information to gain new insights, then using those insights to build a competitive advantage. That’s an area CSPs already excel in, and then extend that value with local computing capabilities for real-time applications.
CSPs also play a critical role in building the ecosystem. There is going to be a strong shift to apps, integration, management solutions and devices, and a CSP that could bring all the right players together would become extremely valuable partners.
TMT: What solutions can telcos/CSPs provide to support enterprises as they adopt Industry 4.0 technologies to help digitalize industries? Is there a viable model or use case appropriate for the PH industry setting — where 90 percent of the industry are in the MSME sector?
CRS: When it comes to Industry 4.0 technologies, there is no one size fits all — every industry, every city or business has its own unique challenges and drivers. Nevertheless, there are common threads that run through these deployments, especially in terms of their use cases.
Just like the internet, the IoT is a global phenomenon, which is why Nokia has created WING (Worldwide IoT Network Grid) to offer the most extensive global footprint of IoT infrastructure that supports hundreds of use cases from agriculture to manufacturing to logistics and utilities. In the Philippines, we are collaborating with PLDT Enterprise and Smart through WING to transform the way IoT applications are deployed and managed in the country, allowing businesses to accelerate their digital transformation goals and provide next-level customer experience beyond just connectivity.