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Category: Tech

Carousell app makes buying, selling as easy as taking pictures

Selling items online should be as easy as taking pictures. That is the key concept behind Carousell, an app-based online selling and classifieds platform that started in Singapore and is…

Selling items online should be as easy as taking pictures. That is the key concept behind Carousell, an app-based online selling and classifieds platform that started in Singapore and is now in Cebu.

“It started with three students from the National University of Singapore. Five years ago, buying and selling was difficult. There were a lot of steps, a lot of layers, and it was very inconvenient. They joined this hackathon in Singapore and that was the problem they were trying to solve, that selling should be as easy as taking a picture,” said Carousell marketing executive Marita Galvez.

Galvez said in an interview that the founders named the app after the Kodak carousel slide projector. She said they saw in the device the simplicity that they aspire for in their product.

Carousell app

BUY AND SELL ON MOBILE. Carousell marketing executive Marita Galvez demonstrates the app during an interview.

Strong Carousell growth in Philippines

Carousell started in Singapore and has branched out into 19 locations, including in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia. They expanded to Manila and Cebu only last year.

Galvez said growth as measured in the number of listings has been robust in the Philippines. In 6 months, Carousell had 500,000 listings in the Philippines. It took the company 2 years to gather that number of listings in Singapore.

Carousell app

CAROUSELL allows you to filter listings by location.

“People really wanted a platform to easily buy and sell items. We also have celebrities selling inside the app. Most of the listings are fashion,” Galvez said. “It’s like a high-end online ukay ukay of pre-loved items.”

Growth in Cebu has also been robust, with the province now logging 500,000 listings and recording a transaction every 5 minutes.

Quick posting

She said they found in the app that “there’s art culture here.” She said there are artists in Cebu who sell paintings in the app.

Top searches in the app are for items related to fashion and parents and babies. Electronics is a growing category within the app, she said.

Carousell.

COMMUNITY. The app allows users to join community groups based on location, interests or schools.

She said it takes 30 seconds or less to take a picture and then list it in the app. She said they allow sellers to list as many items as they want for free. Carousell does not take a cut from the sale nor impose charges.

“In the Philippines we’re not monetizing, maybe in a few years. Our focus is to grow. Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong we do already. An example of how we monetize is to do a bump, where you pay and the listing goes up,” she said.

Young market

Galvez said what differentiates them from other platforms is that their market is young, largely millennials, and very active.

“We have a lot of students because they want a sideline to earn money,” she said.

Carousell app

RESPONSIVE, QUICK. We tried searching for items in the Carousell app and found the experience very responsive. Posting an item for sale is just as quick.

Users also group themselves into various communities within the app. There are communities by locations, shared hobbies, and schools. You can only join school-based communities if you have an official email address.

Carousell held a meetup with “power-sellers” in Cebu yesterday. These are users who are able to sell 50 to a hundred items a week. Galvez said they asked for comments about the app – feedback that will be sent to the product development team to improve Carousell.

As part of their drive to spur growth, Carousell gives away items within the app. These prizes are those that are of interest to millennials like Starbucks cards. Their last major giveaway was a trip to Singapore.

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Get chance to win all-expense paid trip to Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Maldives with PayMaya

Paying with PayMaya will take you places as the country’s pioneer and leader in digital payments once again rewards customers with a chance to experience global travel destinations in the…

Paying with PayMaya will take you places as the country’s pioneer and leader in digital payments once again rewards customers with a chance to experience global travel destinations in the PayMaya Travel Blowout, running from February 1 to May 31, 2018.

For each month from February to May, one lucky PayMaya account holder will win a 5-day trip for 2 to each of the featured destinations: Taiwan in February, South Korea in March, Japan in April, and Maldives in May.

The prize includes roundtrip airfare and accommodation for two, and P50,000 in PayMaya credits to shop, dine, and explore with the convenience of going cashless. Each trip is also complete with tours and a well-curated itinerary so winners can just pack their bags and enjoy the best of what the country has to offer.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Japan

How to join promo

There are many ways to join the promo. Account holders can do any of the following to earn one raffle entry: register a PayMaya account, purchase and activate a PayMaya physical card, have a PayMaya account upgraded, pay bills in full (minimum P300), or pay using PayMaya (minimum P1,000 single-receipt). Raffle items are cumulative until the end of the promo period.

“Gone are the days when overseas travel is only for the carded few. With PayMaya, millennials can seize travel opportunities online, expand their worldview, and dive into exciting adventures even without a credit card. Every Filipino deserves to reach their must-visit travel destination and PayMaya is here to help them take the first step,” said Paolo Azzola, PayMaya Philippines COO and Managing Director.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Maldives

Ticket to best deals

“The Travel Blowout promo is our way of thanking our PayMaya customers, the #NowNation, and helping them pursue their love of travel. PayMaya is by far the fastest way to book a flight, even during a seat sale, for those who don’t have a credit card. It’s their ticket to enjoying the best deals and making the most of their lives, right here, right now.” said Raymund Villanueva, Head of PayMaya Issuing Business

PayMaya is a free and secure prepaid e-wallet that allows account holders to send and receive money, pay their bills, and shop anywhere online that accepts Visa or Mastercard payments. Account holders simply have to download the PayMaya app or activate an account via PayMaya in Messenger (@PayMayaOfficial), register, and load up in over 15,000 touch points nationwide including 7-Eleven branches, SM Business Centers, Robinsons Business Centers inside Department Stores, Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMs, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go, ExpressPay, Cebuana Lhuillier, and Palawan Pawnshop branches, Smart Padala centers, and Metrobank Online.

PayMaya Travel Blowout South Korea

PayMaya physical card

PayMaya enables customers to book flights via seat sales, take advantage of travel promos online, book affordable accommodations via Airbnb and other providers, purchase travel essentials via Lazada and ZALORA, travel cashless via transportation apps like Uber and Grab, and tap-to-pay at toll gates in NLEX and CAVITEX.

Account holders may also opt to have a PayMaya physical card, which can be linked to their mobile wallet, so they can pay in groceries, malls, or any store that accepts card payments. Moreover, customers can instantly convert their PayMaya funds to foreign currency by withdrawing cash in ATM machines abroad. Physical cards can be ordered online at www.paymaya.com/shop.

PayMaya Travel Blowout Taiwan

PayMaya Philippines is the digital financial services arm of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations. To know more about PayMaya’s products and services for consumers and businesses, visit www.paymaya.com. Be the first to know PayMaya’s latest promos and announcements by following @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Press Release)

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Indigenous students to benefit from localized learning content

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are…

Imagine being a child from an indigenous tribe going to school for the first time and finding out that the lessons there are conveyed in languages and stories that are foreign to you.

It is a challenge faced by many IP (indigenous people) students, given the lack of teachers who hail from their own tribes or are knowledgeable of their language and culture.

To help address this, specifically for the benefit of young learners from the Blaan tribe in Sarangani, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications organized workshops for the creation of traditional and digital learning materials in the local language and incorporating local culture. One of the workshops, conducted in partnership with the PLDT-Smart Foundation, also introduced a learning method that would help IP educators effectively handle multiple grade levels at the same time.

Easier to learn

According to the Department of Education, there are 125 IP schools in Sarangani alone, catering mostly to Blaan students.

“It’s better to have stories about the children’s own community so they could relate to these. If you use stories like Rapunzel, they would not understand that. If you use local stories it would be easier for them to learn,” said IP teacher Edna Alicaba.

An elder of the Blaan tribe in Sarangani checks the accuracy of illustrations and learning content created by teachers for young Blaan learners.

She added, “It is so easy to impart knowledge if you use their language. You can’t keep speaking in English if your audience is composed of IP pupils.”

For five days in January, a team of teachers and illustrators learned scriptwriting and storyboarding so they could produce animated versions of Blaan stories and make lessons more fun and interactive. Smart will help put all the content in a mobile app especially made for Blaan learners. The plan is to include sections on Blaan prayers, songs, and greetings, on top of lessons on numbers and letters.

Digital tools

Smart is spearheading the development of learning apps in different languages because studies show that the managed use of digital tools can boost the literacy of young students and heighten their interest in learning. It is for the same reason that the company has donated mobile devices packed with learning content to underserved public schools.

“Nowadays, most of our learners are visual. When they see something, when the process of learning is interactive, it becomes easier for them to learn,” said teacher-illustrator Reynald Dapar.

A separate team of IP teachers were introduced to the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) created by Ramon Magsaysay awardees Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido. Under this method, students learn independently in classrooms 80% of the time by working on activity sheets. The remaining 20% is when the teacher checks on their progress and helps them process what they already learned on their own. Schools implementing the DLP have reported better retention and mastery of concepts among students.

Activity sheets

During the workshop organized by Smart, the IP teachers created learning activity sheets (LAS) in the Blaan language. These activity sheets also featured local cultural elements, and can be used as a template for other learning communities.

Alicaba expressed optimism that the DLP would help teachers perform their duties better. “It is very nice because when you handle three different classes with different grade levels, you can handle them at the same time via parallel classes. While the two classes are working on their activity sheets, you can focus on the remaining class.”

A Blaan student shows off her answers to a learning activity sheet written in her mother tongue.

Battle discrimination

To make sure that the use of Blaan cultural elements and language was accurate, a tribal elder was invited to validate the LAS and illustrations created by the teachers. The materials will also be tested on students before full implementation.

The elder, Fulung Siamen Tumandan, expressed his appreciation for the effort. “It is a challenge to get Blaan children to be interested in studying. Many of them reach only grade school and stop because they want to get married. But slowly, more of them now understand that studying has a purpose and will help their future.”

“Education is very important for us because it will help us battle discrimination,” he added. (Press Release)

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AI to boost revenues, create more jobs: Accenture report

Rather than displace human workers, artificial intelligence or AI will create more jobs and boost company revenues, according to a report by Accenture. If businesses invest in AI and human-machine…

Rather than displace human workers, artificial intelligence or AI will create more jobs and boost company revenues, according to a report by Accenture.

If businesses invest in AI and human-machine collaboration, they could increase revenues by 38% by 2020 and raise employment levels by 10%, the report said. Globally, that increase could amount to $4.8 trillion.

Investing on new technology like AI and the training of employees for the new IT is already “urgent,” said Lito Tayag, Country Managing Director of Accenture in the Philippines.

Augment workers

He said the survey, done on 14,078 workers and 1,201 business leaders across the world, showed that both business leaders and employees see the value of working with AI.

Tayag said in a tele-press conference with Manila and Cebu media yesterday that 74% of business leaders say they will “automate tasks and processes to a large/very large extent in the next 3 years.”

Of the number, 97% say “they will use it to augment worker capabilities,” the report pointed out.

“Often people only think of AI boosting growth by substituting humans. But actually, huge value is going to come from the new goods, services and innovations AI will enable,” the Accenture report quoted MIT Economics Professor David Autor as saying.

Lito Tayag Accenture

APPLIED INTELLIGENCE. Lito Tayag, Country Managing Director of Accenture in the Philippines, discusses the key findings and recommendations of the Future Workforce: Reworking the Revolution report in a press conference with Manila and Cebu journalists.

Urgency to invest in training, new IT

Tayag said the report found that workers “are impatient to work with AI,” with 67% saying it is important to develop skills to work with intelligent machines, 62% saying these technologies will have a positive impact on their work, and 45% believing AI will help them do their jobs more efficiently. He cited examples of how employees become more efficient by working with intelligent machines and AI. The openness to develop new skills to work with AI is supported not only by millennials, at 75%, but also baby boomers, at 56%, the report said.

When asked about the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey that showed only 35 percent of Cebu business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan, Tayag said the gap “points more to the urgency.”

He said the CeO survey vis-a-vis the Accenture report “highlights the need to actually accelerate even just the basic acceptance of the reality” of what he described as the new IT like AI and machine learning.

“On one hand we are already looking at the implementation, in Cebu they are still looking at the acceptance that this is something important for them to do,” he said.

Tayag said AI and human-machine collaboration are business differentiators that can bolster companies in a disruptive business environment.

“Do you want to risk the disruption that will be brought about by others who are going to do this reworking of processes?” he said.

Accenture Reworking the Revolution

Key recommendations

Tayag said the study found business leaders “underinvesting in skills development” with only 3% of executives planning “to significantly increase investment in skills development in the next 3 years.” He said, however, this could also be the case of businesses already investing heavily in training and no longer planning to “significantly increase” efforts.

“To achieve higher rates of growth in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in equipping their people to work with machines in new ways,” said Mark Knickrehm, group chief executive, Accenture Strategy. “Increasingly, businesses will be judged on their commitment to what we call Applied Intelligence – the ability to rapidly implement intelligent technology and human ingenuity across all parts of their core business to secure this growth.”

Tayag said the report made 3 key recommendations on how leaders can “shape the future workforce in the age of AI.”

1. Reimagine Work by reconfiguring work from the bottom up. Assess tasks, not jobs; then allocate tasks to machines and people, balancing the need to automate work and to elevate people’s capabilities. Nearly half (46 percent) of business leaders agree that job descriptions are already obsolete; 29 percent say they have redesigned jobs extensively.

2. Pivot the Workforce to areas that unlock new forms of value. Go beyond process efficiencies and prepare the workforce to create new customer experiences. Fuel new growth models by reinvesting the savings derived from automation into the future workforce. Foster a new leadership DNA that underpins the mindset, acumen and agility required to seize longer-term, transformational opportunities.

3. Scale up “New Skilling.” Measure the workforce’s level of skills and willingness to learn to work with AI. Using digital platforms, target programs at these different segments of the workforce and personalize them to improve new skills adoption.

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Smart Infocast boosts disaster preparedness of Bogo City

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications. Smart Infocast is a web-based platform…

Residents of Bogo City in Cebu will now benefit from the services of Smart Infocast, a communications solution by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

Smart Infocast is a web-based platform that offers various SMS facilities catering to the needs of an organization.

The system will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution. It also allows registered subscribers to send reports or feedback to the system administrator.

Empower communities

Just last month, Bogo was placed under state of calamity when Tropical Storm “Urduja” (Kai-tak) hit the Visayas. In 2013, it was also one of the cities devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). Located more than 100 km from Cebu City, Bogo has a population of more than 70,000, based on 2015 census.

By providing a means to disseminate timely messages to the public, Smart empowers communities to strengthen their communication and disaster preparedness efforts, according to Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Atty. Maria Jane Paredes.

“We’re very happy that the City of Bogo believes in Smart Infocast as a vital tool of communication in times of disasters. It can also be used by the LGU to send out important information to the community, such as advisories, reminders, and safety precautions,” Paredes said during the inauguration of the service at the New Bogo City Hall.

Smart Infocast Bogo City

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS. Smart Infocast will enable the local government unit of Bogo to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text message, making it an effective emergency communications solution.

Mitigate disaster risk

The platform will further enhance Bogo’s existing communication services, according to Bogo public information officer Rhett Vincent Minguez. “With the Smart Infocast broadcast system, we’ve been given the opportunity to strengthen our communications system. It complements our existing channels and ensures our messages reach our audience,” Minguez said.

Smart Infocast has boosted the communication efforts of the institutions where it has been implemented, among them local government units, government agencies, and other organizations.

Under its #SafePH advocacy, Smart promotes the use of technology to help mitigate disaster risk in communities. The company has developed other preparedness programs and solutions, such as the Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS); the Batingaw emergency app; and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.

Representatives from Smart and the Bogo City local government and disaster risk reduction and management office pose for photos during the turnover of Smart Infocast to the city at the New Bogo City Hall.

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Grab, Samsung to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, announced that they have signed a multi-year MOU…

Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia, and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, announced that they have signed a multi-year MOU to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia.

Grab and Samsung will work together on a wide range of initiatives to bring the benefits of technology, such as enhanced customer experiences and improved income opportunities, to millions of consumers and Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia.

Grab is the market leader in ride-hailing in Southeast Asia, an industry that is one of the fastest growing Internet services sectors and expected to be a $25 billion market by 2022 in this region. As part of the wide-ranging strategic collaboration, Grab and Samsung will develop customized solutions for the ride-hailing industry, including micro-financing schemes for Grab’s over 2.3 million driver-partners, improved customer booking and in-car experiences, and new mobility solutions.

Grab, Samsung agreement

AGREEMENT. Lee-Sangchul, president and CEO of Samsung-Electronics SEA-Oceania, and Anthony-Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab, shake hands after signing the agreement.

Mobile payments ecosystem

The two companies will also work together to expand into Southeast Asia’s fragmented mobile payments ecosystem and provide a mobile payments solution that will serve the needs of consumers in Southeast Asia.

Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-founder, Grab, said, “Southeast Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing emerging markets, yet many in the smaller towns and cities do not have easy access to the growing digital economy. Mobile technology can bridge the infrastructural divide and make economic growth more inclusive. Samsung is one of the world’s most innovative technology companies, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to empower more people in Southeast Asia to improve their livelihoods and provide more digital services for everyone on the Grab platform.”

Sangchul Lee, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics, Southeast Asia & Oceania, said, “Here at Samsung, developing meaningful innovations for the betterment of our consumers’ lives is always at the heart of what we do. We believe in the Internet of Things; the various benefits a more digitally connected world brings, and we are excited to be partnering Grab to provide consumers within the region an enhanced array of digital solutions for their everyday needs. Through this collaboration, we hope to explore how we can work together to tap into the massive growth opportunity of Southeast Asia’s digital economy.”

The strategic collaboration will be rolled out in phases across all countries in Southeast Asia that Grab operates in. In phase 1, Grab and Samsung are offering:

Micro-financing of mobile devices for drivers

More than 2.3 million Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia will have access to a micro-financing program focused on giving them access to robust mobile technology, which will reduce the cost of purchasing a smartphone and also lower ongoing maintenance costs with superior software and security features. This is part of Grab’s Better 365 program that provides more benefits and cost savings to drivers.

This initiative was piloted in Myanmar in Q4 2017, where only 30% of adults have access to formal financial services, and will soon be rolled out across the region. Currently, drivers in Myanmar who sign up with Grab can purchase and own high-quality Samsung devices and get a micro-loan from CB Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest banks and Grab’s local banking partner, to finance the device. In less than three months of the pilot, more than 1,400 drivers in Myanmar have benefited from this program.

Grab, Samsung financial inclusion

PROGRAM FOR DRIVERS. More than 2.3 million Grab driver-partners across Southeast Asia will have access to a micro-financing program focused on giving them access to robust mobile technology, which will reduce the cost of purchasing a smartphone and also lower ongoing maintenance costs with superior software and security features.

Enhanced customer experience at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths

To make Grab’s services more accessible to commuters and customers in Southeast Asia, Grab will introduce more GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in busy consumer hubs such as shopping malls, hotels and airports. These feature Samsung devices with the Grab enterprise app pre-installed, allowing individuals and concierge services to book a Grab ride for themselves or others, even when they do not have data connectivity.

The Samsung devices are designed for robust everyday use in public spaces. The devices at GrabKiosks and GrabBooths in Indonesia and Myanmar have been installed with Samsung’s Knox enterprise mobile security software, ensuring the information security of Grab’s devices, reducing downtime and maintenance costs, enabling Grab to better serve its customers. This will be rolled out in Vietnam and Singapore in Q1, and other countries in Southeast Asia later in the year.

Infotainment services in selected cars

Grab and its content partners will pilot in-car multimedia services in Singapore, installing Samsung tablets inside cars for customers to view infotainment content, if they choose to, during their ride. This will be piloted throughout Southeast Asia this year.

Grab operates the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia and is one of the most frequently used mobile platforms in the region with over 3.5 million daily rides. The Grab app has been downloaded onto over 77 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to the region’s largest land transportation fleet comprising over 2.3 million drivers. Grab offers private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across 8 countries and 168 cities in Southeast Asia. (Press Release)

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Unboxing the moto g5s plus

For a mid-range phone, the moto g5s plus is crafted as a premium device. It is a fast and responsive phone, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0GHz octa-core processor with…

For a mid-range phone, the moto g5s plus is crafted as a premium device. It is a fast and responsive phone, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0GHz octa-core processor with ample RAM at 4GB and LTE connectivity.

It comes with dual 13-megapixel rear cameras and a photo enhancement software that “make it easy to do more with photos.” The camera comes with a selective focus mode that “makes it easy to take professional-looking OOTDs, adding a beautiful blurred background effect” or bokeh. The camera comes with a Professional Mode that allows you to control such settings as Manual Focus, White Balance, Shutter Speed, ISO, and Exposure.

It has an 8MP wide-angle front camera that comes with an LED flash and “a new panoramic mode to capture even more.”

moto g5s plus

moto g5s plus. Unboxing the moto g5s plus. The phone’s headline features are its fast processor, ample RAM, turbo charging, and dual cameras.

The moto g5s plus has a 5.5-inch full HD display, which is great for watching movies on the device. It also makes using the phone – even doing work on it like writing, reading and sending emails, and processing documents – easy and enjoyable.

It comes with a 3000mAh battery that gives you enough power for a full day of normal use on a single charge. The moto g5s plus also comes with a TurboPower charger that gives you 6 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes of charging, a feature that’s perfect for people on the go.

The phone has an all-metal unibody that feels solidly and well built. The company said the moto g5s plus has a water repellent nano-coating.

The phone comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat but the company has confirmed it would be receiving the Oreo update. The phone comes with stock Android, which is good because you don’t get the bloated crap of unwanted apps and add-ons that come with the Android version used by other brands.

moto g5s plus

MANUAL CONTROLS. The moto g5s plus’ camera has an option to manually set settings with an easy to use slider controls.

I got a review unit earlier this week and have been using it for a few days. It has since taken over as my primary device – not just for the novelty of it but because of its premium features and overall performance.

The phone has a fingerprint reader to unlock it as well as other functions. It’s quick to recognize fingerprints and is among the most responsive of phones with the feature that I’ve tried.

The phone is priced at P14,999.

moto g5s plus Technical Specifications

Dimensions: Height: 153.5 mm / Width: 76.2 mm / Depth: 8.04 – 9.5mm (at camera) / Weight: 168g

Software: Android 7.1.1, Nougat

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with a 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU, 650 MHz Adreno 506 GPU

Display: 5.5-inch, IPS LCD, Full HD, 1080p, 401 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Storage (ROM): 32 GB Removable storage that supports up to 128 GB microSD card (sold separately)

Memory (RAM): 4 GB

Battery: 3000 mAh, mixed usage up to 24 hours

Charging: TurboPower charger included (up to 6 hours of battery life in 15 minutes of charging)

Rear camera: Dual 13 MP cameras with depth editing software, f/2.0 aperture, color balancing dual LED flash, 8X digital zoom (for photos), active viewfinder (recognizes QR codes and barcodes)

Front camera: 8 MP, wide angle lens, f/2.0 aperture, LED flash

Video capture: 4K Ultra HD video, 30 fps

Speakers: Bottom port loud speaker, 2-mic support

Water repellent: Water repellent nano-coating

SIM card: nano-sim / dual-sim on select models

Connectivity: MicroUSB, 3.5mm headset jack

Bluetooth technology: Bluetooth 4.2

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)

NFC: Yes

Authentication: Fingerprint reader

Color: Lunar Gray or Blush Gold

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Send PayMaya pamasko to loved ones with ‘aguinaldo’ service via Facebook Messenger

Sending “aguinaldo” or Christmas cash gifts to family and godchildren is now easier than ever as pioneering digital financial services company PayMaya today announced the launch of a “digital aguinaldo”…

Sending “aguinaldo” or Christmas cash gifts to family and godchildren is now easier than ever as pioneering digital financial services company PayMaya today announced the launch of a “digital aguinaldo” service in Messenger, in partnership with Facebook.

“Ninongs” and “Ninangs” can no longer hide from their godchildren during this gifting season, as the usual Christmas joke goes, because all it takes to send money gifts to their “inaanak” is a simple tap on their smartphones.

“Today, just like many facets of our modern lives, sending ‘aguinaldo’ to godchildren during Christmas has now become digital,” said Paolo Azzola, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director at PayMaya Philippines. “This is yet another way we are helping our account holders #ShareTheLove this Christmas, at the same time helping build a ‘cashless’ society in the Philippines through services that are relevant to Filipino culture.”

Adapting Filipino tradition for the modern times

A time-honored tradition, giving “aguinaldo” to young family members and godchildren is one of the unique ways Filipinos are celebrating Christmas, but the usual way of doing it is by handing out paper bills—usually freshly-printed ones withdrawn from the bank that still emit a distinct smell.

But times are changing, and sending “aguinaldo” via digital means, anytime, anywhere, is now possible. To be able to do this via PayMaya in Messenger, anyone can follow these simple steps:

1. If the sender already has a PayMaya account, they only have to link their account to Messenger by chatting with @PayMayaOfficial. If not, they can sign up for an account using any mobile number from all networks using Messenger.

2. Once the account is linked to Messenger, they can upgrade their accounts to use the ‘Send Aguinaldo’ feature and load up their accounts via the more than 15,000 top-up partners that PayMaya has nationwide.

3. To send an ‘aguinaldo’, simply chat with @PayMayaOfficial in Messenger, click the “Promos & Gifts” tab, and click the “Send Aguinaldo” option.

PayMaya Aguinaldo

AGUINALDO VIA CHAT. Through ‘PayMaya Pamasko,’ account holders can now send ‘aguinaldo’ to their godchildren, friends and family via the Messenger app, and even choose from a variety of holiday designs available within the app.

4. Choose which Facebook friend to send the ‘aguinaldo’ to, enter the amount of money to be sent, and swipe right or left to choose the perfect design to go along with the money gift.

5. After tapping the “Pay” button, the user will be asked to enter their Facebook password, after which the money will be sent to the recipient.

The feature is currently available to Android users and those with upgraded PayMaya accounts, which means they would have to undergo the standard know-your-customer (KYC) process that requires additional information from the account holder.

Once the person receives the money via Messenger, it automatically goes to their PayMaya account if they have already registered, or they will be given the option to create one if they don’t already have a PayMaya account set up.

Expanding digital payments services

This is a new feature that has been made available for account holders of PayMaya in Messenger released in time for Christmas. Aside from sending “aguinaldo,” they can also buy prepaid load for themselves, send prepaid load as a gift to others, or pay their bills using the Messenger app.

PayMaya has also led the charge in enabling Filipinos with new ways to pay and do financial transactions via digital means through PayMaya QR, which allows them to do in-store payments by simply scanning a QR code displayed within the merchant’s premises. And as a Christmas treat for all account holders, PayMaya is giving a 50% rebate to all PayMaya QR transactions in merchants where it is available until December 24, and a 10% rebate from December 25 to 31.

Aside from this, account holders can pay for items they buy online or subscribe to digital services by using their virtual VISA card, which is available when they download the app in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Account holders can load their PayMaya wallets in more than 15,000 top-up facilities already available nationwide such as Robinsons Department Store Business Centers, SM Business Services, TouchPay kiosks, 7-Eleven, Cebuana Lhuillier, ExpressPay branches, Palawan Pawnshops, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Petron stations along NLEX, and Smart Padala centers down to sari-sari stores in grassroots communities, and Unionbank ATMs.

PayMaya Philippines, the country’s pioneer and leader in cashless payments, is the digital financial services arm of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations. To know more about its products and services, visit www.paymaya.com. (Press Release)

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Communities benefit from Smart’s disaster preparedness, environment programs

To serve more communities in the areas of disaster preparedness and environment, Smart Communications (Smart) expanded its existing programs, launched new ones, and developed solutions in 2017. Building a #SafePH…

To serve more communities in the areas of disaster preparedness and environment, Smart Communications (Smart) expanded its existing programs, launched new ones, and developed solutions in 2017.

Building a #SafePH

Smart aggressively rolled out its TNT Tropang Ready Caravan learning series to state universities from Northern Luzon to Mindanao in order to empower the youth in mobilizing their communities in times of disasters. Tropang Ready schools to date include Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, Southern Leyte State University, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines–Cagayan de Oro, University of Baguio, Isabela State University, Eastern Visayas State University and public and private educational institutions in Ormoc, including St. Peter’s College. Plans are underway to encourage more schools to become Tropang Ready in 2018.

Smart Tropang Ready

TROPANG READY. A student learns how to use a fire extinguisher during the TNT Tropang Ready “Training of Trainers” disaster preparedness and emergency management activity organized by Smart at Eastern Visayas State University in Tacloban City in November.

Smart also enhanced the capability of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) by turning over to the agency the Emergency Cell Broadcast System. ECBS issues quick location- and hazard-specific alerts using a channel separate from that used by calls and text messages, which may get congested in times of calamities. This makes ECBS an effective warning system during disasters.

Republic Act No. 10639 or The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act mandates all telecommunication services providers to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Smart acquired the latest cell broadcast platform, investing P400 million, to effectively comply with this law.

The Philippines faced a number of natural and man-made hazards this year. Batangas, Leyte, and Surigao del Norte were affected by earthquakes, while several areas in the country experienced flooding and landslides due to typhoons. Marawi was also besieged with conflict that displaced most of its residents. In these trying times, when access to communication could get limited, PLDT and Smart offered communication services as aid, allowing residents to reconnect with their loved ones and get information on where to avail of basic necessities and state services.

Libreng Tawag, Charging Stations

Services offered include Libreng Tawag and Charging stations, free calls and texts in affected areas, SMS and pocket Wi-Fi credits to responders, and the Infocast SMS facility, which enables authorized users to disseminate information to registered subscribers.

PLDT and Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto emphasized the importance of staying connected in times of disasters. “Communications is vital in any emergency situation,” he said. “As a telecommunications company, our primary job is to keep the network running so that we can provide continuous emergency communications services.”

Libreng Tawag

A Libreng Charging Station was set up in Barangay Linao in Ormoc following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that hit Leyte in July.

Through its ramped-up network expansion program, Smart ensures that customers will have uninterrupted wireless coverage even during emergencies, and that nearby cell sites have the capacity to compensate for the affected ones.

Smart also provided anew emergency communications support during the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drills held in Cebu, Davao and Cavite. The services deployed include multi-equipment on wheels (MEOW) portable cell sites, ECBS, free calls and charging, satellite communications, and the SOS Dispatch solution, which enables LGUs to monitor, record, and dispatch reported incidents while keeping responders connected in near real-time.

Meanwhile, the Batingaw disaster management app, a project by the NDRRMC, Tudlo developers group, and Smart, was replicated in the Horn of Africa. It was adopted in Kenya as an early warning tool during their national elections, and for disaster risk management, with the high probability of El Nino in the region.

Smarter, greener earth

Harnessing technology to protect the environment, Smart teamed up with technology partners to deploy solutions in forests and critical habitats. The company is working with Ericsson to implement the Connected Mangroves project in Bangkung Malapad, Sasmuan, Pampanga. This IoT (internet of things) solution will use Smart’s wireless connectivity to capture data relevant to mangroves’ survival such as water level, humidity, soil moisture and temperature, and other hazards in the environment.

Connected Mangroves

CONNECTED MANGROVES. This mobile phone screen shows the interface of the Connected Mangroves dashboard, which may be accessed at ericsson.luimewah.net. The website shows information that has been recorded from the sensors attached to the mangroves.

Smart is also collaborating with startup Instigators Inc. for the Biosentinel environment monitoring system, which will be deployed in Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve. The system has three components: the web dashboard; the app, which can be used by forest patrollers; and the analytics data software.

The company is also steadfast in its commitment to protect the Marikina watershed by expanding livelihood assistance to the communities working to rehabilitate the protected area.

Smart will continue to provide communications support and work with the government and other partners in building better prepared and environmentally sustainable communities. (Press Release)

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Smart Wifi: Powering Filipino connections across the country

Carrier-grade Smart Wifi is now available in Metro Manila and 40 other provinces, following PLDT wireless arm Smart Communication Inc.’s (Smart) ramped-up roll-out of the service in the Metro Rail…

Carrier-grade Smart Wifi is now available in Metro Manila and 40 other provinces, following PLDT wireless arm Smart Communication Inc.’s (Smart) ramped-up roll-out of the service in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), government offices, hospitals, schools, restaurants, airports and transportation hubs, and other key high-traffic areas across the country this year.

Hundreds of establishments nationwide now have Smart Wifi, including the 13 stations of the MRT, where around 230,000 commuters can already benefit daily from the service.

“Carrier-grade” means that Smart Wifi implements a network infrastructure following world-class standards, allowing mobile devices to experience fast and secure internet connection with high reliability, connectivity, and coverage. This also allows customers in areas where there are large numbers of users like airports, bus terminals, and entertainment centers to experience Value Added Services such as shopping, gaming, and streaming, among others.

Capacity

A backhaul capacity of up to 100 megabits per second (expandable to 1 gigabit per second) allows users to have the best digital experience when accessing their emails and social media accounts, downloading and sending files on-the-go, and checking out relevant digital content and services online.

“Smart and PLDT continue to be at the forefront of the country’s digital transformation by providing Filipinos with quality internet connection wherever they go,” said Jovy Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Head of Enterprise for PLDT and Smart.

“With the help of our partners and government, we continue to invest in ICT infrastructure to help improve the quality of life of Filipinos all over country,” Hernandez added.

In June this year, Smart, in cooperation with the Department of Information and Communications Technology, launched the Smart Wifi service in the MRT stations and along the stretch of EDSA to improve the mobile experience of commuters traversing the country’s busiest highway.

LGUs powered by Smart Wifi

Carrier-grade Smart Wifi has also been installed in various locations in Benguet, Batangas, Laguna, Cebu, Cagayan, Cavite, Ilocos Norte, Bulacan, Palawan, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Iloilo, Davao, and Metro Manila, making online government services more accessible.

“By making quality internet access available to more Filipinos through Smart Wifi, we are helping make the delivery of public service more efficient, and contributing to the development of rural areas,” Hernandez said.

Smart Wifi is also available at the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) headquarters in Manila, as well as in its offices in Bacolod, Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Pampanga, Cebu, Benguet, Leyte, Isabela and Sarangani.

The nationwide rollout of Smart Wifi complements Smart’s ongoing rollout of LTE and 3G facilities across the country, which has significantly improved the quality of Smart’s voice and SMS services, as well as its mobile Internet coverage and quality.

Smart Wifi

TRAVELERS passing through the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and key domestic airports across the country have been able to use Smart Wifi to access their flight details, research about their destinations, and keep in touch with their loved ones via their social media accounts while on the go.

Smart Wifi in schools

Students have also been able to access Smart Wifi in their schools, where they have been able to use the carrier-grade connection for their research papers and other school projects.

“With Smart Wifi in schools, colleges and universities, we are equipping our students with the best connection to help them with their research projects and other school tasks,” Hernandez said.

Smart Wifi is now available in over 40 schools nationwide, including Adamson University, De La Salle University, UP Diliman, Ateneo de Naga, Pangasinan State University in Lingayen and Alaminos, Divine Word College in Laoag, Letran Calamba, Southern Luzon State University, Cebu Institute of Technology University, Eastern Visayas State University, Sacred Heart-Ateneo de Cebu, University of Cebu, University of Negros Occidental Recoletos, West Visayas State University, Bukidnon State University, and Holy Cross of Davao College, among others.

Boosting health facilities

Patients and their families have also been able to access online services in hospitals nationwide via Smart Wifi, which is available in Asian Hospital, Bacolod Adventist Medical Center, Bacoor Doctors Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Cebu Doctors University, Central Luzon Doctor’s Hospital, Davao Doctors Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Doctors Hospital Bacolod, Dr Jesus M Delgado Hospital, Emilio Aguinaldo Medical Center, Lipa Medix, Marikina Valley Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic, and West Metro Medical Center.

“Smart Spots”

Over 60 entertainment hubs called “Smart Spots” have also been launched, providing super speed Smart Wifi to more than 500 restaurants, resorts and other entertainment establishments across the country, where customers have been able to use Smart Wifi to keep their social media feeds updated while wining and dining.

Smart Spots have been launched in resorts in the surfing town of La Union such as Fatwave Surf Resort, San Juan Surf Resort, Sebay Surf Central, Flotsam & Jetsam, and Planet G; restaurants and food hubs around the metro like Streat Maginhawa, The Yard Underground in Pasig and Quezon City, Kalye1 Abad Santos Food Park, Open Kitchen in Congressional and Cubao, The Vibe Gastro Hub in Quezon City, and Arca Yard in Valenzuela City, among others; and in lifestyle destinations in the Visayas and Mindanao, like Damosa Complex and Matina Town Square in Davao City, The Marketplace in Bacolod, One Providence Lifestyle District in Cagayan de Oro, and Larsian in Cebu.

Smart Wifi in airports, transportation hubs

Meanwhile, travelers passing through the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and key domestic airports across the country have also been able to use Smart Wifi to access their flight details, research about their destinations, and keep in touch with their loved ones via their social media accounts while on the go.

Super-speed Smart Wifi is also available at the Bacolod Airport, Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro, Mactan Cebu International Airport, Clark International Airport, Davao International Airport, Dipolog Airport, Dumaguete Airport, General Santos International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Kalibo International Airport, Laoag International Airport, Legazpi International Airport, Puerto Princesa Airport, Roxas Airport, Tacloban Airport, Tagbilaran Airport, Tuguegarao Airport, Zamboanga International Airport, and Caticlan Airport, the gateway to Boracay.

Those who travel by land and sea have also been able to connect to Smart Wifi available in Bacolod Port, Cagban Boracay Jetty Port, Caticlan Jetty Port, Cebu Port, Daima Port in Misamis Occidental, Dapitan Port, Dumaguete Port, the Port of Batangas, the Port of Calapan, Puerto Princesa seaport, Tagbilaran Port and Zamboanga Port, as well as in bus terminals in Bacolod, Cebu (North and South), Imus, Partas in Vigan, Solid North Bus Terminal in Quezon City, and Victory Liner in Pasay.

Internet for All

“Through this Smart Wifi rollout, Filipinos with Wifi-capable devices, regardless of network, can have access to quality connectivity,” Hernandez added.

The Smart Wifi and Smart LTE roll-out are components of PLDT’s three-year network expansion program, and form part of an overarching effort to make the Internet accessible to all. (Press Release)

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Waze your way out of Christmas traffic

Christmas is best spent with family and friends. Not on the road and in standstill traffic. Knowing which roads to take or avoid and having the ability to plan ahead…

Christmas is best spent with family and friends. Not on the road and in standstill traffic. Knowing which roads to take or avoid and having the ability to plan ahead for the best time to leave and the shortest travel time to a destination is one Christmas treat we all want.

Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, collected data over the past year and came up with the date and the hours of the day when traffic is at its worse. The data includes places that increased in traffic during the holidays. In the hands of a seasoned driver, this information will shorten travel time so families can spend more time together.

Worse times and dates for driving

Waze Worse Times

WORSE TIMES. These are the worse times to drive, according to Waze based on company data and insights based on total drivers per hour, December 2016.

Waze also came up with a report on Philippine cities that had increased traffic over the holidays.

Key metros with heavy traffic

Waze Philippines data

Source: Waze data, Insights based on total drivers per day, December 2016

With the exception of Angeles City in Pampanga and Naga City in Bicol, most cities with increased traffic volume are found in the southern part of the country. If you have plans to go through these areas, best schedule hitting the road earlier than usual or just go somewhere else to celebrate.

But if staying away from these places is not an option, Waze has a solution – Planned Drive. The function gives drivers the estimated time of departure and arrival.

Set planned drives

 

Waze planned drives

Christmas tunes for Wazers on Spotify

Earlier this year, Waze and Spotify announced a partnership to bring your favorite Spotify playlists into the Waze app. With the integration in full swing, your commute, road trip or holiday-related traffic jam becomes much more tolerable, enjoyable even, especially as Wazers get into the holiday groove with Spotify!

It’s no surprise that our favorite diva Mariah Carey has topped the list with “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Top Christmas tunes on Spotify for Wazers

Top Christmas tunes on Spotify for Wazers

Top 5 Most Popular Christmas Songs for Wazers on Spotify:

1. “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
2. “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé
3. “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande
4. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – 2010 Digital Remaster” by John Lennon
5. “Last Christmas – Remastered” by Wham!

Trip to the North Pole: PH Ranks Slowest

In the unfortunate event that Santa’s sleigh breaks down, Waze can help plan your trip from Philippines to the North Pole to get your gifts. Based on Filipinos’ average driving speed, it will take about 22 days to reach Santa’s house. In APAC, Philippines is ~1,400KM closer to the North Pole than Singapore, yet Filipino drivers would take 8 more days to get there. Globally, Italian drivers are among the fastest in the race to the North Pole.

For your return trip to ring in 2018, Waze recommends avoiding the roads between 3pm – 5pm on Sunday, Dec 31, especially if you’re hoping to make it back home in time for your New Year’s Eve party.

Waze Christmas

Race to the North Pole: PH among slowest.

In a race based on Days to NP at 100 KPH and Days Added Due to Region Speed, Waze ranked the Philippines, followed by Australia and Brazil as the 3 Slowest Countries, while USA, Italy and France, no surprise there, as the 3 Fastest Countries to reach the North Pole.

Enjoy this holiday season and let Waze and Spotify be your best road companion wherever you may go to celebrate. Download the Waze and Spotify from the Play Store or the App Store. For more information, please visit the Waze at www.waze.com. (Press Release)

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With GCash Scan To Pay, transactions are quick, cashless

I ordered a pretzel and picked up a loaf of ciabatta to go yesterday at the Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu. Instead of reaching for my wallet at…

I ordered a pretzel and picked up a loaf of ciabatta to go yesterday at the Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu. Instead of reaching for my wallet at the cashier, however, I took out my phone.

I opened the GCash app, chose Pay QR and scanned a QR Code – some sort of barcode – placed near the cashier. The app then prompted me to enter the amount of my bill and after I did so, I was told that the transaction was successful and I got a digital “receipt.”

Just like that, I made my first QR code payment.

GCash Scan To Pay

NO CASH. Using GCash, you can buy bread at the Abaca Baking Company and pay the exact amount it by scanning a QR code at the counter. The cafe is among the about 90 shops in Ayala Center Cebu accepting payments via the system.

Convenient payments

It was quick, convenient, and glitch-free. There were no more counting of bills and coins. The cashier did not need to ask whether I had change – a perennial holiday shopping rush problem in stores. I paid the exact amount in less time than it took for cashiers to perform regular transactions.

I also had an updated record of my GCash transactions right within the app: from purchases to receipt of money to cellphone loads.

And since my first GCash Scan To Pay transaction happened this weekend, I also had a 20% cashback on my purchase.

My first QR Code payment happened during GDay in Ayala Cener Cebu. The event, which closes today, was held as a way to promote use of GCash, said Lhen Pavia, VisMin Business Development Head for Mynt, the fintech arm of Globe.

GCash Scan To Pay merchants

GDay in Cebu is held at the Ayala Center Cebu. The mall is also the first in the province to use GCash Scan To Pay QR code payments. It launched with 50 merchant partners on November 29 and now has about 90 merchants toward a yearend goal of more than 100.

In Davao, GDay is held in Ayala Abreeza Davao.

During GDay, all participating merchants offer a 20% cashback on top of the Christmas sales discount when customers pay using GCash Scan To Pay. The 20% cashback offer is up to P500 per store, per day and will be credited within 3 days.

Moviegoers who use the GCash App to buy tickets at the Ayala Cinemas will also enjoy a P100 one-time cashback. The cashback is only applicable to one ticket per user per day.

GCash will also raffle off P10,000 GCash 3 times daily to customers who will scan to pay for their purchases on partner merchants during the promo period.

GCash Scan To Pay

SCAN TO PAY. With GCash, you just scan a QR Code to pay the exact amount for your purchase or bill.

Cashless transactions

“The key is to build an ecosystem for cashless transactions,” said JM Aujero, Mynt Head for Merchant Solutions.

Aujero said regular tasks – such as people buying things, paying for services or receiving their salaries – can be vastly improved if turned into digital operations.

He said merchants can easily and quickly accept digital payments by tapping the GCash platform. They don’t need to buy or rent expensive terminals, deal with certain documentary requirements, or sign up for high cost services and platforms. They just work with GCash, get a QR Code sticker, and start accepting payments, Aujero said.

He also said they are working to add basic analytics to the system so that their vendors would know their top times or highest earning products, among other important information.

Pavia said they are working with more merchants to quickly roll out GCash QR Code payments throughout the country. They are talking to malls and store chains first so that they can easily scale deployment, she said.

GCash Scan To Pay

GCASH MERCHANTS. GCash is working to have more than 100 establishments in Ayala Center Cebu accept QR Code payments.

Enthusiastic response

She said response to the system has been very enthusiastic with merchants quickly signing up when they started inviting stores.

They are also deploying it to non-retail institutions like schools. GCash can be used not only in canteens but also in paying for school fees. Pavia recounted how a school in Mindanao has a pawnshop inside the campus because it was through it that parents sent money to pay tuition. She said the problem on sending money for school fees can be easily solved by GCash and they are currently working on how to simplify this via integration into the school’s existing system.

Aujero said they are working to expand use of the platforms and this year’s investment by global electronic payments leader Ant Financial of the Alibaba Group provides a strong boost to make this happen in the Philippines.

Alipay pioneered QR Code payments in China, where it has 520 million users. In India, it has 300 million users.

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PayMaya revolutionizes digital payments with Paymaya in Messenger

As a long-time PayMaya user and one who has experienced its many benefits especially in travel, I’m amazed at how this digital payment solution has gone one step further with…

As a long-time PayMaya user and one who has experienced its many benefits especially in travel, I’m amazed at how this digital payment solution has gone one step further with #PayMayaInMessenger.

Although I’ve known about this update for some time, I only found time today (a few minutes ago, actually) to link my existing PayMaya and Messenger accounts.

Linking PayMaya, Messenger accounts

I clicked on this link – m.me/PayMayaOfficial – that was provided by the official PayMaya Facebook account and followed the instructions. Pardon the cliche, but it really was a walk in the park.

Less than a minute after I put in the mobile number associated with my PayMaya account, I received notification that I would already be able to buy load, pay bills, send money, and deposit cash through PayMaya in Messenger.

PayMaya Facebook Messenger

BUY LOAD ON CHAT. With PayMaya, you can buy cellphone load, pay bills, and send money on Facebook Messenger.

PayMaya in Messenger transactions

I had a field day trying out the many options. I bought load and sent money to my husband just for the fun of trying the transactions out.

Stoked to find out I can actually now pay my PLDT bill and Pru Life UK premiums through PayMaya in Messenger. The Visayan Electric Company, NSO, Skycable, Manulife, Cignal were in the long list of billers, too.

PayMaya Messenger

SEND MONEY. You can send and receive money via PayMaya in Facebook Messenger.

PayMaya Refer and Earn Promo

What’s even more exciting? There is an ongoing PayMaya Refer and Earn Promo where you get to earn P50 when someone uses your referral link to open or link a PayMaya account on Messenger. Your friend gets P50, too.

Here’s how you refer and earn:

  • Go to your PayMaya account in Messenger by clicking on this link: http://pymy.co/get50
  • Click on the promo notification or go to “Promos” in the menu and select “Refer Friends, Get P50” and share the promo message with your Messenger contacts (open to both Smart and Globe subscribers)
  • Get a maximum of 25 successful referrals, and earn a maximum of P1,250 worth of incentives

When you click on the link to PayMaya in Messenger, you actually have two options: link your PayMaya and Messenger accounts or open a PayMaya account in Messenger if you still don’t have one.

#PayMayaInMessenger Contest

Wait! There’s more. If share this post and tag 5 of your friends to create or link a PayMaya account on Messenger as a comment, you get a chance to be one of five people to win P1,000 each in PayMaya credits. So what are you waiting for? #PayMayaMoNow.

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Globe, SM team up for seamless GoWiFi digital experience in Supermalls

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and…

Get seamless digital connection while shopping and dining in SM malls nationwide through GoWiFi Auto. The service has been deployed in 34 select SM malls nationwide through the partnership and collaboration between Globe Telecom and SM Supermalls.

Ernest Cu, president and chief executive officer of Globe Telecom; Hans Sy, chairman of the executive committee of SM Prime; and Willy Ocier, president of Philippine Global Communications, Inc., signed a memorandum of agreement last November 23, 2017 to roll out GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

“The new GoWiFi access in SM Supermalls is in line with our company’s mission to create wonderful experiences for customers that include premium connectivity even while they are out with their family and friends,” Cu said in a statement.

GoWifiAuto SM

CONNECTIVITY AGREEMENT. (From left) SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, SM Prime Holdings President Jeffrey Lim, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee Hans T. Sy, Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu, and Philippine Global Communications, Inc. President Willy Ocier during the signing of the agreement to deploy GoWiFi Auto in SM malls.

Internet while shopping, dining

He said having GoWiFi access in all 34 SM malls gives customers a swift and dependable option when they connect to the internet while shopping and dining.

Globe GoWiFi Auto is a seamless way to connect to WiFi automatically while in a GoWiFi coverage area. Customers who avail themselves of GoWiFi Auto will be able to connect automatically to the Internet and enjoy uninterrupted browsing without ads, and without having to enter user names and passwords.

GoWiFi Auto also allows customers to connect automatically when moving to other locations within the mall and extends browsing time beyond the free daily time allotted to users.

Free GoWiFi Auto trial

A one-time free trial allows new users to access GoWiFi Auto for three days from the moment of successful activation on the GoWiFi portal. The free 3-day trial promo runs until December 31, 2017.

GoWiFi internet access can be used by Globe and TM customers as well as customers from other networks.

Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service where charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

The partnership signing was witnessed by Globe Telecom executives, including Don Rae, head of the WiFi Business Group; Christopher Cheng, vice president of the WiFi Business Group; Adrian Te, director of the WiFi Business Group, and Dominador Perez, head of rollout and deployment, WiFi Business Group.

Globe GoWiFi Auto

PAID PREMIUM SERVICE. Both prepaid and postpaid users can use the paid premium GoWiFi service and charges can be deducted through their load and postpaid bill.

SM branches with GoWifi Auto

SM top executives who joined Sy included Jeffrey Lim, president of SM Prime, and Annie Garcia, President of SM Supermalls.

The 34 SM malls branches with GoWiFi Auto include: SM Southmall, SM Seaside City Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM City Consolacion, SM City Sucat, SM Center Angono, SM City Novaliches, SM Center Sangandaan, SM City Baguio, SM City Olongapo, SM City Baliwag, SM City Iloilo, SM City San Jose del Monte, SM City Bacolod, SM City Molino, SM Center Pasig, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, SM Aura Premier, SM City San Mateo, SM City Santa Mesa, SM City Cauayan, SM City Masinag, SM City Santa Rosa, SM City San Pablo, SM City Rosales, SM City Tarlac, SM Center Valenzuela, SM City Trece Martires, SM CDO Downtown Premier, SM City Cagayan de Oro, SM City Cabanatuan, SM City Calamba, SM City Puerto Princessa, and SM City San Fernando Downtown. (Press Release)

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This Christmas, New Year, give the gift of fitness with Fitbit

Whether as a reward for yourself for a great year or a gift to loved ones, Fitbit watches are the perfect fitness giveaway. Start your Christmas shopping by checking out…

Whether as a reward for yourself for a great year or a gift to loved ones, Fitbit watches are the perfect fitness giveaway. Start your Christmas shopping by checking out activity trackers from Fitbit, the leading global wearables brand.

With the Flex 2, Alta HR and Charge 2 trackers, your loved ones will surely get moving, stay active and achieve their fitness goals in no time. A key component of Fitbit is its gamification of meeting fitness goals with badges and a community feature to track workouts of group members and post these on a leaderboard of friends and colleagues.

Flex it out

Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2

Perfect for those who like to hit the gym and head out for a swim, the Fitbit Flex 2 is Fitbit’s slimmest tracker.

The Fitbit Flex 2 (P5,490) is Fitbit’s first-ever swim-proof fitness wristband that also offers alternative accessories like bands, metal bangles and pendants (in gold, rose gold and silver), allowing you to wear this activity tracker as a stand-out accessory.

Have it Alta

Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit Alta HR

Fan-favorite Fitbit Alta recently got a makeover in the form of Fitbit Alta HR (8,490.00). Perfect for fashionistas who are just beginning to find their fit, the world’s slimmest wrist-based, continuous heart rate tracking device. Alta HR comes in interchangeable leather and metal accessory bands perfect for meetings, soirees or holiday functions. This stylish band is also available in special edition gunmetal and rose gold bands.

Charge up your life

For those who want to take their fitness goals to the next level, Fitbit offers the Fitbit Charge 2 (P8,490). In addition to PurePulse heart rate tracking, the Fitbit Charge 2 features connected GPS so you can track your running routes. It is equipped with a larger display for an enhanced exercise experience that include new health and fitness tools, smart notifications you need most, and interchangeable bands that easily let you go from a workout to a night out.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2

One of the Fitbit Charge 2’s amazing features is “Relax,” offering personalized, deep-breathing sessions that calm your mind and body. No matter how busy or stressed out you are, Fitbit’s “Relax” feature will help put you at ease. The Fitbit Charge 2 also helps you better understand your fitness level and improve over time with a personalized “Cardio Fitness Score.”

This feature-packed tracker is available in special edition lavender and gunmetal.

Check out Fitbit at Philippine retailers Digital Walker, Beyond the Box, select Toby’s stores, iBOOK, Ambassador, Timeline, iCenter, Mobile1, iGadget World, Globe and The Inbox Stores.
Follow Fitbit Philippines on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the Fitbit website for more details. (Press Release)

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Big discounts, promos await PayMaya account holders this Christmas

With lots of discounts, rebates, and freebies coming your way, it is a great time to be a PayMaya account holder this Christmas. Use your PayMaya to shop and complete…

With lots of discounts, rebates, and freebies coming your way, it is a great time to be a PayMaya account holder this Christmas. Use your PayMaya to shop and complete your holiday gift list so you can share the love to family and friends during this season of giving.

“Christmas is a season of giving and we’re happy to help our customers share the love over the holidays with PayMaya. This is our way of thanking our customers in helping us achieve a very fruitful year as the leader in digital payments in the Philippines,” said PayMaya Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director Paolo Azzola.

Spreading the Christmas cheer to all is also made easier with exclusive discounts to PayMaya account holders when they shop at Lazada and Zalora. Users can enjoy an additional 20% discount when they shop at Lazada until December 15 by using the code PYMYDEC.

Meanwhile, fashionistas looking to complete their holiday outfits can look forward to a 20% discount this month when they shop at ZALORA, simply by entering the code PAYMAYAHOLIDAY upon checkout. The discount increases to as much as 25% during Zalora’s Online Fever sale event on December 12 to 15 with the code PAYMAYAFEVER25.

These discounts are on top of the already deep discounts being offered by Lazada and Zalora this December.

Get as much as P1,250 on referrals with PayMaya in Facebok Messenger

With PayMaya, it’s easy to let your friends and loved ones know that you care about them. And with PayMaya in Facebook Messenger, both of you can feel the love as well!

Simply sign up or link your existing PayMaya account in Facebook Messenger and refer friends to sign up too and you will both get P50 in your PayMaya accounts.

To do this, all you have to do is share the promo link that you will receive from PayMaya in Messenger to up to 25 friends with Android devices to start earning the referral bonus. Subscribers of all mobile network in the Philippines may sign up until December 19 and get the bonus amount, which will be credited to their accounts in 2 to 3 business days.

“All of these privileges highlight that paying with your PayMaya is now better than simply paying with cash. Using their PayMaya accounts, shopping online and in-store, sending money to others, and purchasing load or paying bills is easier than ever. We can’t wait to share even more exciting things and experiences exclusive to PayMaya account holders that we have in store for the coming months,” shared Raymund Villanueva, Issuing Head at PayMaya.

Getting a PayMaya account is easy and instant. Just download the PayMaya app via iOS or Android and register.

A million ways to #ShareTheLove

With PayMaya, there are a million ways to share the love to your friends and family because all PayMaya app registrations, physical card activations, and purchases worth at least P1,000 from today until December 23 will earn raffle entries for PayMaya’s #MerryMillionaire promo.

Users stand a chance to win P10,000 in the weekly draw and a whopping P1 million tax-free in the grand draw, which will give them even more reasons to spread the love to others this holiday season.

And to make it even more convenient to load your account, PayMaya has further expanded its long list of loading partners to include all branches of Cebuana Lhuillier and ExpressPay, as well as the online banking platforms of RCBC and Metrobank.

This is on top of the more than 15,000 top-up facilities already available nationwide such as Robinsons Department Store Business Centers, SM Business Services, TouchPay kiosks, 7-Eleven, Palawan Pawnshops, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Petron stations along NLEX, and Smart Padala centers down to sari-sari stores in grassroots communities, and Unionbank ATMs.

PayMaya Philippines, the country’s pioneer and leader in cashless payments, is the digital financial services arm of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations. To know more about its products and services, visit www.paymaya.com. (Press Release)

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Cebu students get coding intro in Hour of Code in Accenture

School principal Rosemarie Novabos was apprehensive. Her students at OPRRA National High School only started ICT classes this year and they were already being invited by Accenture to join Saturday’s…

School principal Rosemarie Novabos was apprehensive. Her students at OPRRA National High School only started ICT classes this year and they were already being invited by Accenture to join Saturday’s Hour of Code.

While she told ICT coordinator Vince Impel to “immediately say yes” to the invitation by Accenture, whom she described as an important stakeholder of their school, she admitted to being apprehensive because the activity involved “coding.”

Hour of Code Accenture Cebu

This will be fun, Accenture Managing Director, Technology Arvin Yason tells students of OPRRA National High School at the start of their Hour of Code session.

Excited by sessions

Her students, on the other hand, said they were excited by the opportunity. Most said in an interview that the only experience they had with computers before the Hour of Code at the Accenture office in Cebu IT Park was to play games. Impel said their lessons so far were only on how to use the PC and some office applications.

For Grade 10 student Marites Hagoyahay, time on the computer meant using Facebook and YouTube. But on Saturday, she was among the first to finish 2 modules for the Hour of Code – essentially 2 hours of work in less than an hour. One involved control of Disney characters on the screen by manipulating blocks of code and the other an introduction to concepts on artificial intelligence (AI).

Accenture Hour of Code Cebu

Grade 10 student Marites Hagoyahay works on the intro to AI module as Accenture employee Jon Alistair Ong looks on.

It was really fun and exciting and I learned from it, Hagoyahay said in an interview.

When asked if she is considering a computer science course, she nodded enthusiastically but said “mahal man kaayo if direct computer engineering. Plano nako is accountancy lang sa and then after, engineering.” (Computer engineering is very expensive. I plan to take up accountancy first and then take up engineering after.)

Encourage to take up STEAM

“We must give our students, our youth, that kickstart to encourage them to go to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics),” said Accenture Managing Director, Technology Arvin Yason. “This Hour of Code is a fantastic example, fantastic venue for organizations like Accenture.”

Yason said students should be exposed to code since “it’s a great first step towards a career in technology. It is a great first step towards a career in computer sciences.” He recounted how his father’s decision to buy a personal computer when he was young led him to try out coding and eventually guided him to a career in technology.

Accenture Hour of Code Cebu

FIRST TO COMPLETE. Kenth Bryan Suquib was first to complete the tasks in his group. Although he has been considering taking up Chemical Engineering, he said he is also looking into programming as a career option.

He said he’s hoping the Hour of Code will also have a similar impact on the students they hosted.

Accenture chose OPRRA National High School because it is a recipient of computers donated by the company.

“We’re very happy to know and see how technology is enabling these students and all it took is one yes and a commitment to say yes, we wanna do it. Now they are enabling more of their students with all these skills,” said Accenture Media and Analyst Relations Lead Grace Cuenca.

Hour of Code Accenture

AI CONCEPTS. For this year’s Hour of Code, Accenture built a module that introduced participants to concepts on AI.

Intro to AI concepts

Accenture has hosted Hour of Code in Cebu for 3 years, mostly with students of Passerelles Numérique. What differentiates this year’s session is the inclusion of an introduction to AI.

Accenture built a module for students to “discover how various AI techniques can teach a robot to explore a new planet — including recognizing animals and plants, understanding a new language, and conversing with inhabitants.”

Yason said encouraging the youth to take up coding is important in light of what he described as a “global war for talent.”

Shortage of talent

“There is a large demand for computer science professionals globally. In the US. for example, there are for any given year demand for almost half a million computer science jobs. And they only graduate 40,000 CS majors every year. Not enough to fill the demand,” he said.

In the Philippines, there is also a shortage of talent.

Hour of Code Cebu

VOLUNTEERS. Accenture programmer Joyce Anne Dreyfus gives Grade 10 student Clint Manolat tips in programming Elsa to move on the screen. When Accenture Cebu opened slots for volunteers to the Hour of Code, it was filled up in minutes, said Managing Director Arvin Yason.

“We see a problem if we don’t work with academia, we don’t work with government to really encourage students into a career in technology,” he said.

Yason said Accenture employees were also enthusiastic in volunteering for the program, with slots filled up in minuted.

“It’s providing opportunities to people. It’s a way for us to pay forward, invest in the youth, and invest in the country also,” he added.

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Robotics Cup builds foundation for future tech workers

“Failure in our school is not an option,” said Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano. “It is a necessity.” Quijano is the founder and managing director of Compass Education, which promotes STEAM education…

“Failure in our school is not an option,” said Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano. “It is a necessity.”

Quijano is the founder and managing director of Compass Education, which promotes STEAM education and 21st century learning skills built on creativity, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

“Failure in a STEAM classroom is a necessity because we’re trying to inculcate in our kids, as young as they are, that sometimes the most profound lessons they will learn are actually in their mistakes,” Quijano said during the media briefing for the 3rd Robotics Cup at the Accenture office in eBloc 2 at the Asiatown IT Park.

Accenture, Compass Robotics Cup

MEDIA BRIEFING. (From left) Accenture managing director Arvin Yason, Compass Education managing director Ana Mariolla Martinez-Quijano, and engineer Tristan Abando of DOST 7 during the media briefing on the 3rd Robotics Cup held last month.

Hands-on learning

The 3rd Robotics Cup was held last November 11 and 12 at the SM Seaside City.

Winners of the event included student teams that offered solutions to such issues as trash, transportation, weather monitoring and health. (See photos below)

Quijano stressed the need for students to learn in a hands-on environment.

“When you just let your kids sit down and memorize, you waste their brains. We believe in hands-on learning. Children are hungry for that,” she said. “We can’t sit down the whole day listening to facts. I don’t get that.”

The Robotics Cup was supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Accenture.

Better understanding

“We believe in Accenture that there is a need to bolster efforts to create a better understanding of these technologies,” said Grace Cuenca, Media and Analyst Relations Lead of Accenture in the Philippines, during the press briefing.

The partnership to support the event “is growing,” said engineer Tristan Abando of DOST 7.

“We are very happy because it’s really the private industry that’s spearheading to introduce this to our young kids. Robotics is one of the areas where the DOST is a delving into, especially for our research and development,” Abando said.

Accenture managing director Arvin Yason said the partnership for the event does not just lead to students understanding technologies like artificial intelligence or AI but to actually “build skills for AI.”

Accenture AI

FACIAL RECOGNITION. A demo of a system built by an Accenture employee that is able to scan a crowd and deduce demographic data such as age and moods. Among potential applications are for use by retail establishments or even a quick survey of people’s responses.

Opportunities on AI

Yason said Accenture defines AI as any system that can, on its own, sense, comprehend, act, and learn.

“Three of these core components of AI are already part of the kits that the participants are using,” Yason said. “What differentiates true AI is the learning portion.”

He said AI is an important technology because it can increase profitability of companies. “We’re looking at AI doubling the profitability in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

Yason said AI can also boost productivity.

He said Accenture has identified 4 imperatives that industries, organizations, and even nations need to focus on to maximize opportunities in AI.

“I’ll focus on the first one: preparing the next generation for artificial intelligence. There is a need to consciously focus actions and ensure that the upcoming generation of people not just developers but also artists etc. are prepared to maximize the AI potential,” Yason said.

He said Accenture is doing this through various initiatives internally and externally. Supporting events like the Robotics Cup, he said, is among the key initiatives.

Robotics Cup winners

PULSO. Krisha Suico, Gwyneth Seciban, John Hora of the Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built Pulso, an Arduino-based pulse rate monitoring device. It alerts registered guardians via SMS and contacts the nearest hospital whenever the user’s pulse rate reaches a critical limit. The team won 1st place in Everyday Solutions.

 

Robotics Cup Accenture

WEATHER MONITORING. Gregory William Liu, Charis Philip Palacio, and TG Giles Geonzon of Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built ARAW or the Arduino-Powered Assistive Weather Monitoring Device. The system seeks to provide accurate and real-time information on “health influencing weather parameters.” They won 1st place in Growing City Solutions category.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu

RECYCLING. Hyeonseo “Rose” Kim, Clarice Alexandria Asero, and Chelsea Megan Sim of SAGE Prepschool House built a model of a recycling facility with a claw machine that picks up and segregates trash for cleaning and recycling. They won 1st place in the Loving Our Planet category.

 

Robotics Cebu

MONORAIL. Cowan Noel Adlawan, Andre Paramide, and Sean Lerin of Blessed Trinity Achiever’s Academy built this model of a monorail. “If people ride it, there will be less cars on the road. It is similar to a train but it will be helpful to our environment because it will not run on fossil fuels,” they said. They won 1st place in Traffic Solutions.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu

GripAID. The Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus team of John Burtland Allosada, James Gabriel Casia, and Cleo Agustein Sevilla created GridAID as a way to help people with grip disabilities by providing them additional grip strength. The team said GripAID is lightweight and low-cost and can be powered by a consumer power banks such as those used for phones and other portable gadgets. They got an Accenture Innovation Prize.

 

Robotics Cup Cebu, Accenture

SAFETY FOR BIKERS. The team of Mike Payo, John Burtland Allosada, and Jojemar Janea of the Philippine Science High School-Central Visayas Campus built Safemo, a proximity-sensing device with GPS tracker for bikers. The Safemo alerts the biker whenever a vehicle is near. The team also won an Accenture Innovation Prize.

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Waze now offers motorcycle as vehicle type

Waze has added motorcycle as new vehicle type in the traffic app “to ensure that all motorcyclists are able to navigate through roads more safely.” In addition to enjoying the…

Waze has added motorcycle as new vehicle type in the traffic app “to ensure that all motorcyclists are able to navigate through roads more safely.”

In addition to enjoying the standard suite of Waze benefits, including alerts on police, speed-camera and speed traps, road closures, restrictions and more – motorcycle drivers will also enjoy:

  • Improved routes based on information from fellow motorcyclists
  • Better arrival time estimations that may vary from automobile ETAs
  • Routing on narrow roads where cars are not permitted
  • New motorcycle cursor for vehicle type; new motorcycle moods available to all Wazers
  • Easy navigation without touching the phone – to ensure a safe ride, all motorcyclists can utilize voice commands so they don’t need to touch the phone while docked/they’re driving.

Waze Motorcycle

To turn on routing for motorcycles, visit Settings > Vehicle type and tap “Motorcycles”.

Drive times, routes and roads vary between automobiles and motorcycles. By including a new vehicle type, Waze expands its support to include a driving experience unique to motorcycle navigation.

Motorcyclists play an important role in mobility, the world over.

Due to their size and agility, motorcycles are an efficient and economical solution for many living in busy urban centers. They are becoming more useful in European cities, where automobiles are barred from accessing narrow roads. In Asia Pacific countries, motorcycles are a primary mode of transportation.

The new feature answers a call made by countless Waze fans the world over.

By adding a distinction within vehicle types, and adding motorcycles to the group – data collection will increase in accuracy. All drivers, regardless of car type, will also will benefit.

(Note: All Wazers are encouraged to enter their destination as they are stationary in a safe spot before following directions to an end destination.) (Press Release)

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GCash launches Scan to Pay QR code payments in Ayala Center Cebu

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app. The digital and cashless Scan To Code…

You can now pay 50 stores in Ayala Center Cebu just by scanning a code via your phone using the GCash mobile app.

The digital and cashless Scan To Code payment system was launched yesterday afternoon by Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu, who bought coffee and pastries in Abaca Baking Company by scanning a QR or quick response code near the cash register area.

Among the 50 stores that can accept payments via QR code scanning are Bo’s Coffee, Chika-an, Casa Verde, and Rose Pharmacy. By the end of the year, more than 100 stores will be able to use this payment option, the company said.

GCash scan to pay

SCAN TO PAY. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu scans a QR code with his GCash app to pay for the coffee and pastries he bought from the Abaca Baking Company in Ayala Center Cebu.

Easy to set up

Officials said it is easy for vendors to integrate the payment system since all they need is the QR code.

“The people who have used it are amazed at the speed, amazed at the convenience of it,” Cu said in an interview during the launch. He flew into Cebu from Davao, where they also launched the system by partnering with the NCCC supermarket chain.

To pay using the system in partner stores, customers just need to open the GCash app then tap Pay QR, then choose Scan QR and then point the camera at the QR Code near the cash register then tap Pay.

“It is high time that our customers at Ayala Center Cebu experience the convenience of cashless transactions and offer scan to pay with GCash. This way, more people will have hassle-free options in making their transactions as they shop or dine at the mall,” said Ayala Center Cebu general manager Bong Dy.

Before the launch, Globe gave journalists and bloggers a preview on how to set up GCash and use the app to buy cellphone load. GCash allows its users to shop online, pay bills, and send money through the app.

GCash Scan to Pay

LAUNCHING. Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu answer questions of Cebu reporters during the launch of GCash Scan To Pay in Ayala Center Cebu.

Digital payments convenience

Cu highlighted the convenience of digital payments, saying cash “is a real burden for both the merchant and the buyer.”

“I heard a chain of 70 stores in the food business saying they accumulate 2 million pesos worth of coins before Christmas because they are afraid to run out. That’s a problem we need to solve,” he said.

Cu said he is “very confident” people will eventually adopt digital payments “because it solves a problem.”

“I personally have been using GCash for 4 years now. We started in the Globe tower. There was resistance in the beginning but then people used it and there was 99 percent satisfaction rating among employees,” he said.

Analytics for vendors

For merchants, satisfaction is even higher, said Cu.

“When merchants start the day, they just open up. There’s no need to prepare the cash register. And they get analytics, when is your heaviest transaction time? We can finetune the way we curate the vendors or the partners inside our food hall. Alam namin kung sinong malakas kung sinong mahina. Alam namin kung sinong malakas at the certain time of the day. We can do those analytics for them,” he said. “Which guy buys the most from you? Who are your repeat customers? You wanna do a campaign for them? Pwede rin. So many things we can do.”

He said digital payments create opportunities, especially for small business. “When I say small, I mean really small, kasi remember the GCash payment can be enabled for even your balut vendor, your cigarette vendor, your mais vendor. Kasi it requires no POS, just that particular QR code. That’s all you need,” Cu said.

He said the important challenge is to solve problems on cashing in. He said a key funder of GCash accounts are the more than 300,000 employees who receive their pay via the system.

GCash Scan to Pay QR Code

GCASH APP. You can Scan To Pay via the GCash mobile app.

Financial inclusion

Another key challenge is to raise awareness, he said.

“But we will hit the inflection point and it becomes the de facto standard of payment. I mean it happened in China, there was acceleration. It happened in India. Smartphones are coming with lower prices. A P3,000 gets you a decent Android now, which can make this happen,” Cu said.

He said the system is also a way to increase financial inclusion.

“As we gain records of your financial transactions, we are now able to give you a credit score. Together with your telco transactions, we can loan money in micro amounts, automatically. And say because of your transaction record you’re eligible for a loan of X pesos. You can also pay back through GCash. That way you don’t even have to enter a bank,” Cu said.

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