Special Feature: The Philippine Digital Convention 2019

Welcome to The Philippine Digital Convention 2019

In keeping with its mission of enabling digital transformation for businesses of all sizes, PLDT Enterprise—in partnership with ePLDT Inc., and International Data Corporation (IDC)—held its annual gathering for industry leaders and key decision makers with the Philippine Digital Convention 2019.

Carrying the theme, “The Edge,” the convention once again aimed to equip enterprises with the technology that will bring their businesses to the edge of the future.

Now on its fifth year, the two-day affair was held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City and was attended by an estimated 2,000 guests—marking this year as the biggest iteration of the convention yet.


As with previous years, the convention kicked off with the unveiling of its annual technology exhibit, aptly titled the Digital Grounds. The said exhibit took form in an experiential and guided tour of digital evolution, which featured four rooms—each representing significant time frames in digital transformation. Rooms were decorated with props and visuals—enhanced by ambient lighting and sound effects that were reminiscent of the respective time periods.

The first room aimed to invoke a sense of nostalgia as it provided a time travel journey, which was reminiscent of the modes of communication during the ‘50s-‘70s—with rotary phones, chunky television sets, and hand-written letters.

Delegates then walked into a room with a barrage of chaotic visuals and multi-colored kinetic balls—signifying the age of the Internet and how greatly it affected the ways we communicate.

The succeeding room contrasted the ultra-colorful display of lights with a single projector flashing nightmare-like visuals as an eerie depiction of what life today would be without technology.

Ultimately, the tour culminated by giving delegates a glimpse of the future. Surrounded by a 360-degree screen that projected conceptual technologies and theoretical possibilities, the last room aimed to encourage delegates by highlighting how these imagined futures were within reach because of the technologies being incubated and developed today.


Following the Digital Grounds tours was the afternoon plenary session. Kicking off the excitement was SVP & Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez, who delivered the event’s opening remarks. Taking from the event’s theme, Hernandez jumped from the top of the plenary venue’s 25-foot screen—calling delegates to likewise come to the edge.

“Connectedness, mobility, security. Ultimately, these three things lead us to the fourth edge—the agile future—which happens when man and machine can symbiotically work together. When man can truly accept that he can work with and rely on machines,” Hernandez said, gloriously landing on the event stage.

“All of this—the technologies we’re offering, the Digital Grounds, the Plenary, our lineup of speakers from all around the world, and our Industry Breakout Sessions—are a glimpse of what the edge can truly bring to your enterprise,” he added, alluding to how the convention aimed to equip guests for the fourth industrial revolution—which experts say is set to begin within the year.

PLDT Chairman and CEO, Manuel V. Pangilinan then gave the event’s welcoming message with a profound reflection on the effects of technology on society.

“We’d like this convention not to be a classroom where knowledge is imparted one way. . . this is a sharing experience where we contribute our knowledge and insights together. The digital world, after all, is interactive,” Pangilinan said as he welcomed guests.

“Through all the many developments of technology, I think, at the end, we should keep in touch with our humanity,” he then added.

“Through all the many developments of technology, I think, at the end,
we should keep in touch
with our humanity.”

Manny V. Pangilinan
Chairman and CEO
PLDT & Smart

Delivering the succeeding segment was Nokia Senior Partner for Bell Labs Fuad Siddiqui, who discussed 5G and its effects on smart cities and industry 4.0, while Cisco Systems President for Southeast Asia Naveen Menon zeroed in on the necessity of SD-WAN in the agile landscape of enterprises today.

Capping off the afternoon session was number one bestselling author and global keynote speaker, Erik “Equalman” Qualman, who discussed digital leadership. The segment proved to be engaging for delegates as Qualman invited audience members to get on their feet and interact with each other throughout his presentation—which featured various videos, anecdotes, and activities.

“"What’s preventing a team from taking action? The number one reason is that they are afraid to fail. But it’s all about that failure—that’s how you learn. But the key is you have to fail fast, fail forward, fail better,” Qualman said.

To close off the session, PLDT and Smart Officers then joined Qualman onstage for a ceremonial toast, led by none other than PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer Al S. Panlilio.

“On behalf of our PLDT Chairman and CEO Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan and my colleagues at the PLDT Group, I’d like to thank you all for joining us at the Philippine Digital Convention 2019. This conference is truly a testament to how committed we are in serving you—our dear customers and partners—to the best of our abilities. We hope to bring you and your enterprise even closer to the edge of the future,” said Panlilio.

“Cheers to all of us!” he added.


The second day of the event on the other hand, featured industry breakout sessions across six verticals—­­­banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), manufacturing, public sector and local government, retail and food servicing, and transport and logistics. Industry experts served as speakers of the breakout sessions, discussing global trends, technologies and strategies that have allowed them to stay on the edge of their respective sectors.

With its sensational guided tour and the most formidable roster of speakers to date, the Philippine Digital Convention 2019 had indeed embodied what it means to come to the edge of the future by allowing delegates an experience of technology unlike any other.

The Smart 5G Alliance

Digicon also saw the introduction of the Smart 5G Alliance—composed of global tech leaders and local stakeholders across the business, government and academe sectors. The team is primarily dedicated in conceptualizing, developing, and launching solutions with 5G at the helm—in the hopes that these will provide real value to the Filipino public.

Part of the alliance include Araneta Center, the Ateneo de Manila University, Cisco, Clark Development Corporation, Ericsson, Fujitsu Philippines Inc., Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, and SMS Global Technologies.

The Plenary Session