The line between the real and virtual worlds gets blurrier as technology grows at an exponential rate. Inventions from classic sci-fi movies are starting to show up in real life – keyless car, connected fitness tracker and face recognition door lock system. Even toys and ordinary home appliances are becoming “smart,” connected to the Internet and other devices.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already infiltrated the everyday human life. And by 2020, about 50 billion devices — smartphones, tablets, computers, watches, pipelines, trucks — are expected to be connected via the Internet.
In the Philippines, Packetworx, an IoT network operator providing a full suite of easy-to-use solutions, from software, hardware to network connectivity, has been leading the adoption of this next Internet revolution, with the aim of making the Philippines an IoT-ready country.
Packetworx, as a social enterprise, strives to help Filipino communities by providing innovators and IoT enthusiasts with IoT opportunities. As part of this initiative, the company recently opened the first IoT Technology Hub in the country.
Located in iSquare Building on Meralco Avenue in Pasig City, the IoT Technology Hub allows interested IoT enthusiasts to explore and create different IoT devices, applications and solutions of their own, with the help of tools and equipment available in the facility.
In addition to its accessibility, the hub is completely free and open to anyone who wishes to turn their ideas into reality. It is equipped with computers, soldering stations, test equipment, pick and place, and reflow oven.
Packetworx’s IoT Technology Hub will be storing and documenting the different IoT projects that will be created by the community. All creations will be displayed and acknowledged to serve as inspirations to other aspiring innovators.
Partners may sponsor and invest in the projects that may potentially serve as IoT solutions for their companies.
Besides building a free co-working space dedicated to IoT, other Packetworx’s initiatives include: giving of free devices and network connectivity, such as flood sensors and air quality sensors, to local government units for disaster preparedness and community health safety, and distributing free hardware kits and IoT curriculum to schools to encourage students to create IoT products.
Arnold Bagabaldo, Packetworx founder and chief executive officer, believes that IoT, just like the Internet, will have a profound difference on how individuals live and do business.
“This is the chance for us, at the ground level, to develop this knowledge – equip our young generations, our engineers, to capitalize on this technology; export devices, export the technology to other countries. That’s our vision: to have a connected Philippines and to be able to equip Filipinos to improve efficiencies,” Mr. Bagabaldo said in a program held after the opening of the IoT Technology Hub early this month.
At present, Packetworx has a total of 31 gateways up and running in Metro Manila. By the end of August, the company’s goal is to cover most of the region with at least 250 gateways.
“What does it mean? If you have full coverage in Metro Manila, IoT devices that will run on batteries for years, will work anywhere within Metro Manila,” Mr. Bagabaldo said.
Packetworx’s goal by the end of the year is to deploy 2,500 gateways across the Philippines that will cover the country’s major cities. And, by end of 2019, the company aims to roll out 10,000 gateways that will cover even the remotest parts of the country.
“If we can be the text capital of the world, I think we can also be the IoT capital of the world,” Mr. Bagabaldo said.
From 2019 to 2021, Packetworx is forecast to expand its operations to Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.