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Accenture inaugurates 5th facility in Cebu, highlights new and emerging tech in providing solutions

Accenture inaugurated its 5th facility in Cebu on Wednesday with a hologram of one of its officials briefing the guests and handling the ceremonies in the Filinvest Cyberzone at the…

Accenture inaugurated its 5th facility in Cebu on Wednesday with a hologram of one of its officials briefing the guests and handling the ceremonies in the Filinvest Cyberzone at the IT Park in Lahug, Cebu City.

That part of the program was meant to highlight a key character of the facility: a center for agile development and design thinking to produce innovation using “new IT.”

“This floor is very much in ‘the new IT’,” said Accenture managing director Arvin Yason, who hosted the ceremony as a hologram. With a lot of open spaces and movable furniture to allow quick reconfigurations as well as huddle areas and design-thinking spots, “we instill nimbleness and agility in the way we work.”

Accenture in Cebu

HOLOGRAM. Accenture inaugurates its newest facility in Cebu with a hologram of managing director Arvin Yason leading the ceremonies (3rd from left). With Yason are (from left) managing director JP Palpallatoc, Jun Sa-a of CIB.O, and Accenture country managing director Lito Tayag.

Commitment to Cebu

The opening of the new facility is also “a manifestation of our commitment to Cebu,” said Accenture country managing director Lito Tayag. He also said the company is on track to meeting the 1,000 in additional workers it committed to employ at the start of the year to mark their 10th anniversary. He said they’ve already hired an additional 800 workers for Cebu, bringing its workforce here to 5,800.

“Cebu is an integral component, a strategic part of our practice here in the Philippines,” Tayag said. “More than the numbers – and we’re very happy with the numbers so far – it is really the value, the kind of innovative services that we deliver out of our Cebu operations.”

The new facility will showcase technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, augmented reality, and the internet of things.

Cebu talent

“We are very happy about the kind of talent that we have here but just as importantly, we would continue to develop these talents,” Tayag said in a press conference held after the inauguration and facility tour for journalists and members of the academe.

Tayag, Yason and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, led the tour of the facility.

Among the highlights of the event was a demonstration of a parking system that allows people to know ahead, via a mobile app, available spaces in a business such as a mall. The system, built by a Cebu team as part of a company-wide innovation contest, also allows for people to reserve parking slots and even pay digitally.

Another product presented to guests was a crisis response and management system that allows Accenture to keep track of its employees and know whether they are safe or in need of assistance after an emergency like a natural disaster. Alerts can be sent out on various platforms like email, SMS and mobile notifications.

Accenture also showed guests how a redesign of the Qantas website resulted in higher sales. They also demonstrated an augmented reality app that makes print materials such as a map of an amusement park interactive and multi-media as well as overlay ads and information triggered by location data.

Accenture Cebu

PASSION PROJECTS, DESIGN THINKING. JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, introduces the team that built a system for parking that uses apps to inform drivers of available spaces and let them reserve locations and pay for it.

Redesign retail experience

More than digital, Accenture also highlighted how they were able to reinvent the physical retail experience for customers of Smart Communications using design thinking and various technologies. This resulted in a 249% increase in foot traffic, 80% reduction in waiting time and 169% increase in store sales in the redesigned stores.

During the tour, officials stressed the design thinking approach into providing solutions to their clients. “To deliver delight consistently at the speed that our clients desire for their customers, we need to start with design thinking and user-centricity,” Yason said.

The way the newly-inaugurated facility is configured also plays a key role in how Accenture is “upskilling, reskilling, cross-skilling and multi-skilling our talent,” he said. From being focused on “classrooms” in teaching workers new skills, Accenture has started to “enable nooks and areas where people, while on break, can start learning new IT in smaller bite-sized formats, whether via video or an app or game that we develop.”

Accenture Cebu

CRISIS COMMUNICATION. This system enables Accenture to keep track of its employees, notify them during emergencies, and get feedback on whether they are safe or not.

Empower workers

Other locations will be retrofitted based on the new facility’s design because workers gave positive feedback that the configuration “empowers them to work in the new IT – working agile, doing standup meetings, being able to collaborate,” said Yason.

The facility helps Accenture “future-proof our people,” Tayag said.

“We’ve grown tremendously in Cebu for the last 10 years. That growth is a reflection not just of Accenture’s capabilities but also the capabilities of the local market in terms of talent, the way the academe has been producing talent for us,” Yason said.

Accenture is among the top tech companies based in Cebu. It has been given that recognition by the Cebu IT-BPM Organization for several years. The company’s other locations in Cebu are in Pioneer House, Robinsons Cybergate Cebu, eBloc Tower 2 and eBloc Tower 3 at the IT Park.

Accenture in Cebu

TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN CEBU. Accenture managing director Arvin Yason (left) and country managing director Lito Tayag after holding a press conference with Cebu journalists shortly after a tour of their 5th facility in the province.

Position as innovation center

Yason said the company is looking for engineers with good grasp of AI, robotics, and analytics to staff their locations.

“Our clients sit on top a lot of data but a lot of that is what we call dark data – they don’t know what they have. We are partnering with them to leverage more and more of that dark data to create revenue where there was no opportunity in the past. (We do this) through the power of data visualization and analytics and eventually AI as well,” Yason said.

Tayag said that what the company wants to foster among its workers is a mindset for innovation as they move up in the “value chain of our services.”

“At the end of the day, we believe that we can position our services here in the Philippines from an innovation standpoint rather than purely from a delivery standpoint,” he added.

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Accenture launches rapid innovation center in the Philippines

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put…

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put on display as Accenture launched today its rapid innovation center in the Philippines.

Liquid Studio is an “open center where clients co-innovate with Accenture engineers to turn concepts into applications and solutions with speed and agility,” the company said.

While it is a venue where Accenture clients can work on innovation to stay ahead in business, it is also a place where the company’s workers can be trained or work on the latest technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, said Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines.

Accenture Liquid Studio Philippines

ACCENTURE LIQUID STUDIO. Leading the launch of the Accenture Liquid Studio in the Philippines are (from left) Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines; Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh; and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines.

Technology innovation hub

It will also serve as a hub in the technology ecosystem in the Philippines, she said.

JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, said the Liquid Studio would be a place where the company can co-innovate with universities and schools as well as startups.

The center will help answer the question “how do you use technology to create business value?” said Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh.

During Thursday’s launch at the facility, which occupies an entire floor with about 2,000 square meters in the Uptown Place 3 at the BGC in Taguig City, Accenture showcased technologies on the connected home, artificial intelligence, internet of things, drones, analytics, robotics, and augmented reality.

Speed up development

The rapid innovation approach with agile methodologies can hasten development time from months to a matter of days or weeks, Palpallatoc said.

Among those they put on demo for journalists who covered the launch was a system that is able to scan faces and identify the person, take note of personal characteristics, and determine the mood: whether he or she is happy. It can be deployed in advertising displays that can tailor the marketing material based on data captured by the system.

That system was built in a matter of days by an Accenture team member. Also built quickly and shown on demo was an internal chatbot platform on which the company can provision systems or work on technical tasks just by messaging.

Data analytics

The company also showcased a mini-racing track with toy cars that used the Oracle cloud to display a dashboard of data analytics gathered by the toy vehicles. It shows how using analytics can help managers determine such things as vehicle fuel efficiency. They also showed a model of a system that can monitor and manage mining vehicles. It can guard against overloading and offer data to increase operational efficiency. It can even determine whether the driver is already exhausted by, among other things, monitoring for micro-sleeps via a camera.

The company also showed a crop monitoring system that used sensors, drones and thermal cameras to monitor the health of plants.

In demonstrating the use of augmented reality, the company showed how using an app, people will be able to focus the camera on a car engine and know its parts and how to do such things as replace the battery. The information is overlaid on the actual display of the vehicle. They also demonstrated how using Microsoft’s Holo Lens, people can preview how furniture, carpets and other accessories will look in the actual room.

Palpallatoc said augmented reality is a great technology to tap in training workers. He said it can provide a safer and cheaper alternative to working on an actual equipment.

Social benefits of technology

The Liquid Studio is part of a network of facilities throughout the world. This makes sure innovation is available to clients in its various facilities globally, said Ghosh.

During the launch, Ghosh highlighted the social benefits of technology by showing how an employee in Manila with hearing and speech impairment was able to work with colleagues in India by tapping AI to facilitate video communication. This, Ghosh said, will enable more people to join the workforce. He said it will enable managers to have a more diverse employee pool, including those who previously would not have been able to work.

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Tech adapts to people: key trend in Accenture technology trend study

Artificial intelligence (AI), technology design that adapts to people, integration with external systems, on-demand work platforms and leadership in uncharted areas of the industry are the key technology for the…

Artificial intelligence (AI), technology design that adapts to people, integration with external systems, on-demand work platforms and leadership in uncharted areas of the industry are the key technology for the next three years, according to Accenture.

“Technology advancement and innovation continue to advance and it’s accelerating very quickly. However, there’s a little bit of differentiation. Instead of in the past when people were adapting to technology, what we’re seeing is that technology is being shaped by people to adapt to us, the people,” said JP Palpallatoc, Accenture Digital Lead in the Philippines.

Palpallatoc briefed reporters in Manila and, via teleconference, in Cebu on the Accenture Technology Vision 2017 on Wednesday.

Accenture said in a press statement that the theme of this year’s report is a “call to action for business and technology leaders to actively design and direct technology to augment and amplify human capabilities.”

Accenture Technology Trends

TECHNOLOGY TRENDS. JP Palpallatoc, Accenture Digital Lead in the Philippines, briefs reporters in Manila and Cebu on the Accenture Technology Vision 2017, which details trends for the next few years.

Global survey of IT executives

The report was based on a survey of 5,400 business and information technology executives from 31 countries across 16 industries. It is meant to identify “priority technology investments over the next few years.”

The report, Palpallatoc said, identified the following key trends:

1) AI is the new UI. AI “is coming of age” in making human interactions with technology “simple and smart.”

AI is increasingly becoming the new user interface (UI) for people interacting with digital systems. Palpallatoc cited the various roles of AI such as curator to suggest options based on user behavior like music recommendations by Spotify; advisor that learns from data and gives suggested course of action like LettuceBot that identifies whether a sprout is a lettuce or weed; and orchestrator that learns from user actions and connects with multiple channels such as what Amazon Alexa does in connecting to various services and devices.

Palpallatoc also said that increasingly, AI will serve as a company’s digital spokesperson, “moving beyond a back-end tool and taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces.”

“Thanks to its powerful simplicity, customers may soon spend more time engaged with a company’s AI than talking to their people,” the report said.

2) Ecosystems as “macrocosms.” Companies are integrating their systems with other platforms.

Palpallatoc cited as example companies’ use of cloud services. He said “companies are realizing that they have to play nice and work with others.”

He also cited as example the investment by Whole Foods on an online shopping platform as a way to access a new digital ecosystem. Accenture said 27 percent of executives “reported that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organizations deliver value.”

Accenture Technology Trends

KEY TRENDS. The key trends identified in the Accenture global survey of 5,400 business and information technology executives from 31 countries across 16 industries.

3) Workforce marketplace. Increasingly, companies are tapping on-demand work marketplaces to augment its capabilities. Palpallatoc said companies now realize that to remain competitive, the need to tap external talent.

He cited as example the experience of Procter and Gamble, which found success in tapping external talent. He said the result was “very positive” and projects were done faster and better.

“Leading companies are dissolving traditional hierarchies and replacing them with talent marketplaces, which in turn is driving the most profound economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution.”

The report said 85% of executives they surveyed planned to increase use of independent freelance workers over the next year.

4) Design for humans. Rather than people having to change in dealing with technology, companies now realize that tech has to adapt to the needs of people.

Palpallatoc cited as example the case of financial company Betterment, which hides a stock portfolio’s daily performance in its dashboard to shield investors from “short-sighted actions.”

The report said 80% of executives agreed that business “need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be – and shape technology to act as their guide to realize desired outcomes.”

5) The Uncharted. To succeed, businesses must “delve into uncharted territory instead of focusing solely on introducing new products and services,” the report said.

“They should think bigger – seize opportunities to establish rules and standards for entirely new industries,” it added.

Accenture said 74% of the executives in their survey reported that their business is “entering entirely new digital industries that have yet to be defined.”

Biggest impact on Philippines

When asked which of the trends will have the biggest impact on the Philippines, Palpallatoc identified AI, saying he sees a lot of opportunity in it for the country.

But, he said, there are also risks of people losing jobs to AI. Still, the country’s roadmap on business and technology sees a “net growth.”

“There is opportunity,” Palpallatoc said, “The challenge for us is that we need to move the lower-level skilled people up the value chain. They should be able to learn other skills as well: be able to do the mid-level complexity or higher level complexity like doing analytics and other digital skills.”

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