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Big Data Could Spell Big Business in the Philippines

A person’s Google search, online browsing or shopping history, or a simple photo post on social media—all these fall under big data, the umbrella term used to describe the collection and analysis of massive amounts of information from different types of traditional and digital transactions and activities. And there is big business in harvesting these data to interpret and monetize trends and patterns for business.

Henry Aguda, former Globe Telecom Chief Information Officer said that 10 million jobs could be created in the big data space in five years. Statistics say that there are currently about 40 million jobs in the Philippines, but only two million are in the ICT sector. He said increasing the labor force to 10 million would alleviate poverty as more people would have higher-paying jobs.

Big data provides companies the opportunity to determine consumer habits and trends in order to improve their products and services. In the Philippines, the big data market is still a minute industry, but companies like PLDT are now engaged in big data analytic services. In the US, data analytics has an aggregate revenue of $156 billion.

Future of the IT-BPO Industry

The Philippines began as a call center hotspot, and has developed into a BPO hub within the last few years, and it can now progress to being a processing hub for big data, essentially improving the service sector and national economy.

In August 2016, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has submitted the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act of 10173, or the Data Privacy Act (DPA) of 2012 for the Presidential Communications Office for publication. The DPA was established to build trust in the country’s ICT systems and ensure every Filipino benefits from it and does not fall victim to data use negligence and online abuse. This Act protects the right to privacy, but still ensures the free flow of specific information to spur innovation and growth.

At the tailend of former president Benigno Aquino III’s term, he created the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and appointed Rodolfo Salalima as the head to prepare the Philippines for the IT revolution. The DICT wants to initially promote awareness and collaborating with the private sector and government to establish a framework for the information industry.

With all these activity around big data, the Philippines is at the cusp of a new era in the IT and BPO industry. Experts believe that the industry will surpass its $25 billion target by the end of 2016, and the new DPA could further enhance the strength of the BPO industry and the Philippine economy in the foreseeable future.

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