The Philippines remains a "starter" when it comes to digital transformation based on a report by the Chinese technology firm Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
The index grouped the nations into three clusters: Starters (ranks 58 to 79), Adopters (21 to 57), and Frontrunners (1 to 20).
The Philippines ranked 59th out of 79 countries with an average score of 38 out of 120 in the 2020 Global Connectivity Index (GCI). The scoring is based on four pillars used by the index namely: levels of supply of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services, demand for connectivity, connectivity experience, and potential for the future development of the digital economy.
In the 2019 index report, the GCI score of the Philippines is 37. Although the ranking of the Philippines remains unchanged, its latest GCI score was one point higher than last time.
40 indicators were used to track the impact of ICT on the country’s economy, digital competitiveness, and future growth. These indicators include ICT laws, mobile broadband subscriptions, e-government services, and ICT influencing new business models. Four technology enablers were also determined, such as broadband, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Philippines scored highest in the availability of broadband technology with a score of 45, which is three points higher than its score in 2019. its scores went down three points for cloud, 33 and increased three points each for AI with a score of 27 and IoT which is also 27.
Only the Philippines and Indonesia ranked 58th was the Southeast Asian countries in the list of starters, with scores of 38 and 39, respectively. Ethiopia, which scored 23 ranked the least. Malaysia ranked 34th, Thailand which placed (46th), and Vietnam is ranked (55th), were among the Southeast Asian adopters.
Singapore with a score of 81 was the second frontrunner after the United States which scored 87.
“The digital transformation of economic sectors will help economies develop ‘higher-order’ productivity to spur economic recovery and future competitiveness,” the report said.
The report proposed five key stages for the digital transformation of economic sectors, namely: task efficiency, function efficiency, system efficiency, organizational efficiency and agility, and ecosystem efficiency and resilience.
The “lack of telecommunication infrastructure, ” attributed to the Philippines performance said Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., ICT industry observer and expert and a former undersecretary at the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
“We are far behind our neighboring countries in terms of telco infrastructure. Vietnam has 70,000 towers as against our 24,000 towers, for example,” Mr. Rio said.
He also mentioned that if the country has sufficient infrastructure reaching the underserved and unserved areas, the country’s digital services will improve.