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13 October 2009

P20-M Subic IT facility offers ‘revolutionary’ business ideas

Had it crossed anyone’s mind 10 years ago that coffee shops and restaurants today would serve “wi-fi” on their menu to boost sales?

This kind of foresight in emerging and revolutionary trade trends is now available to businesses in this free port with the opening of the P20-million innovation Laboratory (Innolab) of the Subic Telecommunications Company Inc. (Subictel), a company owned by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Corp. (PLDT).

Subictel launched its new facility last Wednesday at its office near Subic’s historical landmark, the Spanish Gate. Among those who witnessed the event were Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, Olongapo City mayor James Gordon, PLDT executives and staff, members of the Subic Bay Chamber of Commerce, and representatives of business locators here.

Arreza said that the PLDT Innolab will showcase Subic’s capabilities in terms of IT support, and will eventually determine to some extent direction taken by the IT sector in this free port.

“PLDT’s Innolab marks a new foundation for Subic Bay’s emergence in the knowledge economy,” said Arreza, who expressed optimism that this free port’s business process outsourcing (BPO) potentials will soon be maximized.

“With PLDT as partner, the Subic Bay Freeport can now shift from labor-intensive industries to knowledge-based industries, guided by the emerging trends in the IT sector,” Arreza added.

According to PLDT first vice-president Nerissa Ramos, the PLDT Innolab features “proofs of concept” of breakthrough technologies that are being offered by PLDT.

“Soon, everyone will realize that Subic’s IT capabilities is as good as what is offered in Manila, Cebu, Clark and other renowned BPO destinations in the country,” Ramos said.

According to PLDT, it is now offering various “cutting edge” IT solutions in the fields of hotel and restaurant management, manufacturing, retailing, franchising, real estate, and BPO.

“The Internet is playing a huge role in today’s management of businesses. With PLDT solutions, people can monitor and make business directions even from afar, and even generate cost-savings, as they employ these technologies that streamline business processes,” Ramos said.

For example, she said people can try out the video conferencing studio that has been set up in the Innolab. This has a “dirty kitchen” where they can simulate their clients’ technology and demonstrate how to hook it up with PLDT’s IT solutions.

“They can see for themselves the results immediately in the Innolab,” Ramos explained.

At the same time Ramos expressed hope that through PLDT’s Innolab, the BPO industry in Subic Bay would flourish.

She said that Subic Bay can play a major role in the outsourcing industry as this former US military base is a major connector to PLDT’s fiber optics network.

Ramos also said they will soon partner with universities and colleges within the Subic Freeport to bridge the academe-industry mismatch in terms of information technology.

“Schools can make PLDT’s Innolab a destination for their field trips. We also propose tie-ups with tertiary schools so the academe will get to have hands-on update on the current gadgets, systems, and trends in the IT sector,” she said.

Soon, Ramos said, everyone will realize that the country is not lagging behind, adding that the Philippine’s telecommunications infrastructure and road networks “are a lot better compared to India,” which is considered a prime destination in the global BPO scene.

The PLDT’s Subictel Innolab is the fifth such facility in the country. The first one was launched in Manila in 2003, and subsequently in Cebu, Clark, and Davao. (SBMA Corporate Communications)


PHOTO: SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza (second from right) and Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr. join executives of PLDT and Subictel in launching PLDT’s Innovation Laboratory at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

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