IT-BPM group wants satellite AI research center in Cebu

·3 min read

THE Cebu Information Technology-Business Process Management Organization Foundation Inc. (CIB.O) will seek government support for the establishment of a satellite research branch for artificial intelligence (AI) in Cebu.

Citing the success of Cebu’s information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector over the years, CIB.O president Pert Cabataña said it is only fitting for Cebu to have a satellite branch of the National Center for AI Research (N-CAIR) for the province to fully participate in the implementation of the national AI roadmap.

“CIB.O will endeavor to participate in top efforts by negotiating for a branch research center to be located at the Cebu I.T. Park,” Cabataña said, adding that Cebu has been gearing toward elevating the IT-BPM industry to global innovation standards.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said central to the national AI roadmap is the creation of the N-CAIR, “that houses full-time scientists and research engineers, serving as the nexus to AI competitiveness of the country.”

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez explained “that the N-CAIR will build the capacity of companies to produce new products, processes, and services using AI. It will help them apply AI in their operations to, among many potential AI applications, how to avoid spoilage of agricultural produce, predict maintenance of equipment and optimize processes in factories, and enhance their business decision-making through advanced analytics – leading to more operational efficiencies and innovation.”

“Building the N-CAIR is important in attracting tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon to locate their AI Research and Development in the Philippines as well as in empowering our workers with skills to find quality jobs and in scaling Filipino AI solutions to the world,” added DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Rafaelita Aldaba.

The DTI launched the National AI Roadmap in May to ensure that the Philippines will benefit from the rising AI industry, which is estimated to increase worldwide gross domestic product by 14 percent by 2030 or an infusion of $15.7 trillion into the global economy.

“The country’s AI roadmap will position the Philippines as an AI center of excellence and a big data processing and analytics hub providing high-value data analytics and AI services to the world. This will be our next high-value service-winner after business process management,” said Lopez.

Five battlegrounds

Meanwhile, Cabataña in his talk, identified five battlegrounds for generating innovation that would help Cebu retain its lead as top outsourcing destination in the world. These are robotic process automation (RPA) for health system development, RPA for insurance, RPA for general finance/accounting operations and eGovernance.

“To fight the war of stagnation and decline, we are pushing for innovation and ecosystem development,” he said.

The IT-BPM, Cabataña said, has entered the “slow growth phase,” or the so-called S-curve where old ways of doing business become mature and then become superseded by newer ways.

One area the industry will need to immediately address is the shift from transaction-based to decision-based jobs.

Transaction-based jobs as those tasks which a worker executes with rules but with little to no decision-making involved. (JOB/With KOC)