Interesting times for Philippine tech industry

Despite the economic gloom that descended on other parts of the globe in 2012, things are looking up for the Philippines IT industry and, in particular, the local startup scene.

Last year was an exceptionally active one for the Philippine IT industry. Despite the economic gloom that descended on other parts of the globe, the local tech scene throbbed with activities. In fact, I was so busy covering the unfolding events that I only managed a few posts in this blog (I promise to make it up this year).

But back to the topic, 2012 saw the Philippines register strong economic growth and record historic highs in the local stock market. The country's multi-billion BPO (business process outsourcing) sector also solidified its leading position in the call center business while making significant inroads in the non-voice market.

The passing of the Cybercrime Law --and its subsequent suspension on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court --also put technology in the forefront. Cybercrime Law aside, Congress also enacted the Data Privacy Act , which was aimed at further boosting the local outsourcing industry.

It was also the year when pioneering solutions such as Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were rolled out. The Web-based product, which also comes in mobile-ready versions, proved to be an important tool in mitigating the loss of lives when destructive typhoons visited the country last year.

The most welcomed and surprising development in the IT space, however, was the boom in the local startup community . In my years as an IT reporter, I've never seen so much energy and optimism among tech startups as last year. As a result, the term "hackathon" became quite a common word in press releases and in stories we wrote. Although it was about two years ago when the startup movement began to pick up, it was only last year that things really took off.

Leading the charge are tech incubators IdeaSpace Foundation and Kickstart. Backed by Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, respectively, these two entities have conducted a number of successful startup camps across the country, such as the southern cities of Cebu and Davao. Adding to the mix are some private organizations and non-profit groups such as Novare Technologies and PhilDev Forum, which have launched their own startup initiatives.

Of course, there are the government-led TBIs (technology business incubators) such as the one operated by the Technology Resource Center of DOST. They say developers are the new rock stars and there's no better time for Pinoys to be in IT than now.

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