Future-proof businesses with life-improving tech

The nature of the rapidly changing world demands such, and only those that can keep pace can survive.

Technological advancements are indispensable for businesses to grow and maintain the efficiency and relevance of their products, services and systems. The nature of the rapidly changing world demands such, and only those that can keep pace can survive. Tech giants Apple and Microsoft have continually evolved their revenue models to meet the requirements of their millions of customer base globally.

Local enterprises seeking to sustain business success adopt similar methods. The Metro Pacific Investments Corporation or MPIC is one such conglomerate that puts forward a growth mindset, via the use of technology as a means to improve lives. With investments in power, water, toll roads, light rail, healthcare and agriculture, MPIC seeks to digitalize the daily lives of all Filipinos, widen digital accessibility, and help progress the country towards the future.

MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, or MVP, iterated this in a recent interview with business news and features website contextdotph, as he covered plans for the group and its various companies and units.

According to him, growing the Philippines’ largest telecommunications and digital services provider PLDT is hinged on a two -pronged approach. One is to continuously develop the core business — which is to provide fixed-line and wireless telco services. In many ways, MVP said, technology plays a part as it impacts 5G, home broadband and enterprise.

The other aspect, which MVP qualified as the more crucial one, is the development of an intellectual capital business on top of the physical layer of PLDT. This includes ventures with data centers that go beyond the real estate aspect and the development of business solutions that improve efficiency.

“We have to focus on that because that’s really where the future values would be — solutions and applications for both individuals and companies,” MVP told contextdotph, adding that he is encouraging PLDT to take a piece of equity in trailblazing technologies the MPIC group is setting up.

Among these are mWell, the country’s first fully integrated and fully digital health and wellness platform, and the DriveHub travel companion app which offers mobility solutions such as RFID transactions, trip planning and roadside assistance.

In the power sector, meanwhile, MVP talked earnestly about the technology that is garnering much attention today — nuclear. Its arrival in the country is imminent, that much he believes, but it will still take several years for the country to fully be able to utilize the technology for distribution scale. Small nuclear modular plants are most fitting for the country, being an archipelago, and will be most useful to areas not serviced by the main grid.

Meralco, MPIC’s power subsidiary and the country’s biggest electricity distribution utility, has included sourcing from nuclear technology as part of its long-term plans under the sustainability agenda “Powering the Good Life.”

To lay the groundwork for this, MVP harped on the importance of human capital: “Are we preparing ourselves for that day? Do we have enough nuclear people — nuclear scientists, nuclear engineers — such that we can operate a plant properly once built? We should prepare for that day by sponsoring scholarships for nuclear engineers so we have adequate staff.”

MVP also emphasized capability-building from the government side, particularly on the regulatory aspect, to be able to understand the risks associated with nuclear plants. “Otherwise, it will be like the blind leading the blind, so we have to prepare for that day.”

He has high hopes that positive developments will come to fruition, especially since the current administration under President Bongbong Marcos Jr. is seriously pushing for nuclear as the power technology of the future.

Even beyond power issues, MVP said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the governance style of President BBM. He expounded, saying, “The president is very engaging. He has a quick grasp of the issues, is intellectually curious, he asks relevant questions. Very basic to him is he means to do something good for his people and I think he’s very serious about it.”

For the business community, this is a good start, as President BBM is also perceived as receptive to the private sector’s help in terms of projects and initiatives that will fuel economic growth, consequently improving Filipinos’ lives.

Reflective of the telco and power businesses’ drive towards innovation, businesses within the MVP Group follow suit. MPIC has expressed support for the GoDigital agenda of the government’s Private Sector Advisory Council through the digitalization of its companies’ operations. Maynilad launched its Customer Care QR code as a convenient means for its customers to initiate contactless transactions.

Light Rail Manila Corporation, meanwhile, has teamed up with the Airspeed Group of Companies to bring PopBox, a smart locker system that allows people to use the system as a collection point for receiving packages.

Truly, MVP is a man ahead of the times — his growth mindset cascading from the boardroom to the thousands of employees who man MPIC’s critical businesses, so that consumers, the public and most especially the country will ultimately benefit from the vision of a better Philippines.

In the next installment of the video series, MVP is set to talk about MPIC’s venture into agriculture, and his passion to create impactful innovations toward achieving food security for the country.

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