This article was first published on BitPinas: Emerging Technologies that Could Foster Economic Inclusion in Caraga
The internet has made the world a smaller place. I find that belief very true as the rate of how we broadcast, receive and interpret information has accelerated to an unimaginable pace. On a regular day, most of us would browse our newsletters, news sites and login to social media to be informed of what is happening. This is all through the technology that is the internet, which has grown from a military private network to a globally essential backbone for what was to become the Internet Communications Technology or ICT.
ICT is the foundation of the information age and it has allowed institutions such as governments, media and enterprise to communicate through instantaneous platforms across the convergent channels of voice, e-mail, multimedia, instant messaging and social media.
Technologies that are groundbreaking, are at the forefront of change and are made meaningful especially when they transform lives and help develop economies. Over the years, I have been to the various provinces in the Philippines and I can remark at the economic growth of provinces such as Caraga with technologies such as cellular and internet, that have since made their way into the region. With emergence of new technologies, expect provinces in the Philippines to be transformed for the better and that transformation is at hand with the following emerging technologies:
National Broadband Program
ICT will make the region smaller in terms of accessibility and communications. The government’s National Broadband Program aims to build a fiber-based internet structure across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. With a capable and dependable broadband, it will be an enabler of e-services in regions like Caraga:
- Business – Help develop the growth of e-commerce in the region.
- Communications – Reinforce communication lines based on Unified Communications for government agencies.
- Education – Distance Learning programs from DepEd that includes online lessons.
- E-Governance – Enable registrations and enrollment to government services through online applications.
- Local Science, Research and Development – Improve access to knowledge and resources found in the internet for local-sciences and learning institutions within the region.
The Internet of Things
Related to the National Broadband Program, a strong internet connection across the region will allow for relay towers to further amplify the reach of broadband across a wide-area, whose locations include mountain tops, valleys and riverside. A strong internet is also required to enable the region in testing pieces of technology related to the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT is a technology based on the frequency and intervals of communications between internet-connected devices. These devices record, track and broadcast data towards a receiving analytics software. The data harnessed acts as insight on the conditions of material, the environment and the specific geographic locations of each IoT enabled device.
The rapid growth of IoT is especially well-received in the agriculture and farming industry. IoT pieces such as sensors can record data on soil quality, rain volume, climate and sea water salinity, just to name a few. Farmers are able to gather, analyze and make informed decisions based on scientific insights through IoT. Though IoT may seem like a concept that is far too ahead of the future, the technological ingenuity of farmers in Caraga will quickly adopt this technology in order to improve their agricultural outputs and economic by-products with sustainability in mind.
The right to a recognizable legal identity is now considered a human right. A person is immediately given an identity upon the time of his or her birth through the issuance of a birth certificate, which is the first civil record for many. However, there are people living in remote regions that are without a birth certificate that are commonly issued and recorded by local governments. In the Caraga region, there are over 500,000 Indigenous People that are without formal and recognized identities, according to the Caraga Convergence Initiative.
As the Philippine government is going full-steam in giving everyone a legal identity through a National ID program known as PhilSys, the governance and security of these identities must comply with not only technological standards, but also with the international recommendations set by identity managmenet institutions such as the ID2020 Alliance and the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). These institutions help design, regulate and industrialize legal identities over the Blockchain, or better known as Digital Identities.
The first step towards economic and societal inclusion is an identity. Digital Identities allow the decentralization of managing identities over a secured Blockchain, where permissioned parties such as government, social services and universal healthcare can quickly verify the identities of people with cases on status, health and certification of character merits. Digital Identities for the Indigenous People of Caraga will allow them to be formally and permanently recognized by not only the local government but also, the various international non-profit organizations such as the UN and UNICEF, to name a few.
As we are more than halfway through 2019 and if you are among the many that are wondering on what the 2020 decade will bring, I can at least assure you that Blockchain will be the defining technology of that decade. The same way how personal computers defined the late 80s, the internet of the 90s and the mobile phone of the 2010s.
Blockchain will not only reshape business processes, but will also redefine the global economy as many industries such as banking, finance, trade, health and many more are starting to adopt Blockchain technology. Blockchain will allow faster, more secure and seamless processing of business transactions – without the need for a central authority to preside over the operations. Processes, which were once dependent on human decision-making – will be able to make functional decisions based on stored protocol that are processed over the Blockchain.
In the near future, multiple local Blockchains could be operating in the Caraga region. You can have Blockchain on regional governance, Blockchain on healthcare, Blockchain on economic by-products such as agriculture, all running separate but decentralized operations to make life, business and lifestyle more optimal. In agriculture, cooperatives composed of farmers, investors and global buyers could all be participants in dedicated Blockchains across agriculture: Abaca, coconut, coffee, vegetables, and many others, all operating in a seamless & smooth supply chain that link up producers and consumers.
Blockchain may as well be the technology that will connect Caraga to the Blockchain global market in the near future.