Advances in digital technology will help Filipinos survive and recover from the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic according to top US and Philippine companies during a recent international webinar on new technologies for 2021 hosted by the Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering (PAASE) in partnership with Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi).
In a statement during the webinar, Dr. Carlos Primo (CP) David, Stratbase ADRi Trustee and Program Convenor, said that new technologies are critical enablers for enhancing relationships, make daily transactions much easier and safer in this new normal. He added that online transactions will also level the playing field of small and big players.
“Filipino consumers have quickly shifted to digital technologies such as e-payments and e-shopping platforms and spawned a new way of living to adjust to the non-contact restrictions, safety protocols and lockdowns,” said Dr. CP David.
In opening remarks, Stratbase ADRi President Prof. Dindo Manhit said that technology is playing an increasingly important role in the daily lives of Filipinos and that digitization can greatly shape economic recovery but only if our digital infrastructure is ready.
“Huge investments of the private telcos can potentially be quadrupled if government steps in with synergized digital infrastructure projects funded by developmental loans, which is a strategy that we see our ASEAN neighbors are aggressively implementing,” Manhit said.
Head of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation of GCash and Stanford University alumna, Ms. Karen Yang Chiang, said that their company provided Filipinos with a seamless platform that verify transactions in real time and enabled easy flow of funds with the integration of banks and InstaPay in over 33,000 outlets and machines mixing offline QR codes in malls, online webpay, and integrated with Lazada, Apple, Google, social media sellers with over 400 billers that consumers can conveniently pay.
“GCash also served as a platform for relief efforts in response to typhoons. We ran campaigns like #UlyssesPHAid and #TulongCagayan to collect over 21 million in donations,” Chiang said.
Amazon Senior Software Engineer Mr. Paul Echevarria presented Amazon One as a fast and convenient way for people to pay in physical stores with their palm using custom built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique signature.
“They can use their palm to enter a store, it identifies them and then when they walk out, it automatically knows who you are and the associated payment instruments with you, they (selling establishment) can just automatically charge your card for whatever you took,” Echevarria said.
Grab Philippines Country Head Ms. Grace Vera-Cruz discussed their innovations to enforce higher safety and hygiene standards for public transportation and food delivery.
“We have quickly innovated to introduce contactless deliveries to prevent any untoward transmission of the virus through physical contact. We have also worked with our partners from Unilever, our partner merchants, and delivery riders to ensure that every stage of the food delivery life cycle is safe and hygienic,” Vera-Cruz said.
“Apart from the safety and hygiene kits and protocols that we provide to our drivers, we have also put in place several features such as an online health and hygiene checklist for driver partners and automated ratings and feedback post trip to ensure that both our drivers and passengers keep a watchful eye on our joint commitment to safety and hygiene,” Vera-Cruz said.
The Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering is a non-profit organization composed of scientists and engineers of Philippine descent who have distinguished themselves in scholarly and research related activities.
The webinar speakers were top executives of big US and Philippine companies: Netflix, Amazon, Google, Grab, and GCash.