The third technopark in the Diliman campus: the DOST-PEZA Open Technology Business Incubator, has formally began operations and will cater primarily to technology startups developing software that run on Open Source platforms and hardware as well as supported peripherals.

The technopark, located beside the Advanced Science and Technology Institute office in UP Diliman, opened on July 22 with day-to-day operations managed by the Technology Resource Center, an office under the Department of Science and Technology.

At the media launch, it was announced that the technopark shall house 20 locators, and at present there are already 11 possible locators that have applied.

Locators shall be charged subsidized lease rates, which shall be at P350 per square meter inclusive of free and basic Internet connectivity per month. Locators will have a maximum residence rule of three to five years with the length of stay to be determined by the technopark’s management committee.

At the press briefing, ASTI OIC Peter Banzon said that it was envisioned that the new technopark would welcome locators developing applications on the cutting edge of Open Source technology such as software that rely on the cloud computing model. However, it would also welcome locators developing bread-and-butter applications such as Open Source software for accounting and human resource administration.

Philippine Export Zone Authority Director Atty. Lilia de Lima told reporters that locators in the new technopark would acquire export zone authority privileges such as tax exemptions as soon as certain legal issues were cleared. DOST Undersecretary Fortunato de la Peña, who spoke with The Manila Times, explained that the issue was whether or not the technopark is included in the UP area granted PEZA status when the nearby UP-Ayala Technology Incubator opened in 2000.

The UP-Ayala technology business incubator near Katipunan Avenue is UP’s very first technology business incubator. It was a pilot program to test the feasibility in the Philippines of the concept of the academe-high technology-business complex successfully employed in Silicon Valley.

DOST Undersecretary Peña said that PEZA lawyers had expressed doubts that the third technopark enjoys PEZA status as the result of the nearby UP Ayala Foundation Technology Business Incubator having been granted such. This is because the new incubator occupies an area leased by ASTI from UP.

DOST Undersecretary Peña told The Manila Times that the DOST would reapply for export zone status with the PEZA should if be finally determined that the new technopark still does not have PEZA status.

UP’s second technopark, the UP-Ayala Technohub along Commonwealth Avenue opened late 2008 and is managed by Ayala Land Incorporated. In addition to technology startups, it houses BPO locators as well as restaurants that operate mostly 24/7.

Unlike proprietary hardware and software, Open Technologies can be copied for use by other parties. The extent to which they can be copied depend on the terms set by their developers.

Open Source software, such as Linux, belongs to this category. Their developers have built their revenue stream models on after sales services and consultancies.

On the other hand, cloud computing is a new ICT model that treats the use of software as if it were a public utility such as light or water. Users must subscribe to a company offering the service with the software housed in the network provider’s server computers.

Many of the cloud computing companies now emerging pin their hopes for large markets globally on greater affordability as a result of their being Open Source software.

The UP thrust towards technoparks is based on the premise that in the knowledge economy, economic competitiveness is based on intellectual capital. Such capital relies primarily on R&D which is quickly commercialized, because there are entrepreneurial startups nearby.

UP has reportedly patterned its technopark model on that of Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The former is acknowledged to have jumpstarted the growth of Silicon Valley while the latter is said to have jumpstarted the growth of Route 128, both centers of high tech entrepreneurship with many of the startups established by these schools’ alumni.

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