How is Telefónica's presence in Ecuador expanding in support of the digitalization of the country's economy?
Telefónica has bet on Ecuador, and as a result, we continue to make investments of about USD150 million annually in network growth and digital services development. Based on our experience in several countries, we show the local business community how to be cost efficienct and improve their profitability and productivity through our digital services. In this regard, we have diversified our portfolio by moving from being just a telecoms provider to an enabler of digitalization in Ecuador. Companies are looking for ways to be more cost and expense effective and seeking to invest more in capital expenditures instead of operating expenses. In this scenario, Teléfonica, for example, offers its digital portfolio through monthly payments. We divide this portfolio into five verticals addressed at satisfying specific corporate needs such as security and information, cloud services, IoT, digital advertising, and information from heat maps.
How are Telefónica's digital solutions used to support the development of Ecuador's strategic sectors?
Our solutions can be applied across all sectors of the economy. In the agricultural sector, Ecuador's biggest exporting sector after oil, we bring solutions to the local market for livestock control to help track the location of animals and even determine if an animal leaves a virtual fence via radio-frequency identification (RFID). We have also started to use heat maps to determine the best locations for cashiers, new stores, POS, and even metro stations. Telefónica is proud to have worked in Quito's metro network project to help the municipality decide the most optimal locations. These tools allow one to decide how to transform digitally. On top of that, Teléfonica's location, EcoPark, is an extraordinary example of what can be achieved through digitalization. The entire complex is digitally monitored, and we have walked hand in hand with most of the companies or entities with locations in Ecuador such as Produbanco, Nestlé, Avianca, the UN, and Chubb to help them embrace the digital era.
How will expenditure on IT evolve in the short term from both a public and private perspective?
Corporations are quick to see the need of digitizing in order for their operations and services to be competitive. In the public arena, the opportunity in the government to digitalize is immense. We have worked with the public administration at different levels on several projects, one of them being Quito's metro network. Tourism is also a strategic sector for Ecuador, and we are working with the Ministry of Tourism to take advantage of tourism-related big data. We are gathering data on how many foreigners enter Ecuador, where they go, how they move, and where they stay, which are all useful not only for the Ministry of Tourism to determine its policies, but for all stakeholders in the sector. Our services are also being used by the national transit agencies to track mobility trends, which is useful in the area of road deployment or traffic management. The country's administration is moving toward an e-administration or e-government, though the pace should be quicker in order to catch up with international and regional trends. Nevertheless, the advantage of Ecuador is that it has similar characteristics to countries that develop rapidly, and its relatively small size makes it manageable and easy to roll out solutions.