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Category: Tech

Cebu company builds platform for emergency response, management

Helping relatives in Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda wrought its devastation four years ago this month made IT professional Cloyd Dedicatoria realize how woefully unprepared the country was for dealing with…

Helping relatives in Leyte after Typhoon Yolanda wrought its devastation four years ago this month made IT professional Cloyd Dedicatoria realize how woefully unprepared the country was for dealing with widescale devastation and emergencies.

Dedicatoria, founder and chief executive officer of Sugbotek, drove to Leyte with a family member to bring food, water and other supplies needed by relatives. He said government response shocked him. There was disorder to the point looting “became normal.” Relief goods were not immediately distributed because of problems in managing distribution, he said.

A response team from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority arrived seven days after Yolanda hit and just as Dedicatoria was heading back to Cebu. The team was delayed after getting stranded.

Response coordination

“I think the problem is the coordination. How we can set up a communication system nga ma usa ta ni, ma integrate ta ni,” Dedicatoria said in an interview on Monday.

What he saw in the response to Yolanda made him think about setting up a system that will integrate disaster response and management, he said.

When the officials of 7core Communications Inc., the hardware and connectivity company that he is a part of, were planning company initiatives for 2014, he proposed spinning off a software unit to build, among other things, a system for emergency response and management.

During the Kadaugan sa Mactan in April of 2014, Dedicatoria and his team set up a command center to manage and monitor peace and order during the annual festival. In Sinulog 2015, they created a friend finder app.

Guardian Cloyd Bere Dedicatoria

EMERGENCY RESPONSE. Cloyd Bere Dedicatoria, founder and CEO of Sugbotek, talks about the Guardian app and system that seeks to be a platform for emergency response and management.

Emergency response, management

In the coming weeks, Dedicatoria and his team will test the deployment of an emergency response and management system informed by his Yolanda experience. The Guardian app and system will be deployed in an initial group of four Cebu City barangays – Apas, Tisa, Sto. Niño, and Poblacion Pardo.

Guardian is more than just an app – it is a system that links citizens, government agencies that deal with emergencies, first responders, and volunteers.

Guardian has two versions of its app, one for responders and another for volunteers. The team is still working on the apps and will be making these available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Report incidents

Through the app, citizens can report incidents such as a fire, crime, or medical emergency with just one tap on the app. That report will be received and processed by a Guardian command center. Using technology and algorithms, the command center will then forward the report to the appropriate agency.

Using internet connectivity, algorithms, and other tech, Guardian makes emergency reporting and response simple, Dedicatoria said.

The Guardian ecosystem also simplifies volunteering and the deployment of volunteers. This, he said during the interview, was added because of what they observed during the Yolanda response – many wanted to volunteer but there wasn’t a system that facilitated sign-ups and managed deployment.

Strict vetting of volunteers

Dedicatoria said volunteers will be added into the system after a strict vetting that includes clearance from the barangay and other government units, submission of identification papers, and personal appearance. Once added into the system, volunteers can be deployed to help deal with an emergency.

When asked about vulnerability of the system to prank reports – a frequent problem of phone-based systems as reported by police, Dedicatoria said this wasn’t an issue. They get a lot of information from reports – including location and the machine identification of phones – that they can trace those who use the app to send prank reports.

The Guardian team is already looking ahead and beyond the current capabilities being deployed. Dedicatoria said they are working on a system that will use TV white space to make sure there is still connectivity even if the telecommunications infrastructure is down. This is another lesson he learned from Yolanda.

Deployment for LGUs

The Guardian team and the four barangays are still awaiting donated computer units from a utility company before the initial deployment will start. Barangays, Dedicatoria said, will serve as incident centers that will receive the initial report. The barangay unit can be as minimal as just two manned computers, one to serve as call taker, the other as dispatcher.

Guardian is talking to several local government units, including the Cebu Provincial Government, for a possible province-wide deployment of the system.

The system is free to deploy – the LGU, however, will need to spend for equipment that will be used for it. If a barangay is interested to use Guardian, Dedicatoria said, they can just sign up and if they already have computer units with internet connectivity, they can immediately tap the system.

Barangays without computers and internet connectivity can just sign up for a monthly subscription that will come with computer units, connectivity and enable them to tap Guardian, Dedicatoria said.

The system, he added, is extensible and can be deployed not only for government agencies but as an enterprise solution for companies like utilities. This, he said, will be a paid service that can help support the free deployment in barangays and other government units.

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5 Smart tips for stress-free Kalag-kalag

Observing Kalag-Kalag can be challenging, what with the throngs of people making their way to cemeteries to pay respects to departed loved ones. With the help of mobile technology, however,…

Observing Kalag-Kalag can be challenging, what with the throngs of people making their way to cemeteries to pay respects to departed loved ones. With the help of mobile technology, however, it can be a lot more manageable and stress-free for you and your family.

Here are 5 Smart tips to help you gear up for this year’s Kalag-Kalag:

1. Load up for emergency communications.

Be sure you have enough load to communicate with your loved ones especially for emergency situations. With millions going in and out of the cemetery, there’s a chance you’ll break away from your group, so make sure you have the means to get in touch with them. To assist and provide subscribers with mobile services, Smart is also setting up service booths in cemeteries, transport terminals, and public markets all over the country.

2. Navigate with Waze and stay updated with road advisories.

Making your way to the cemetery is so much easier with Waze, an app that lets you find the shortest route to your destination. The crowdsourcing app also features real-time road alerts from fellow commuters for greater convenience. Moreover, don’t forget to follow the official social media accounts of news organizations, government agencies, and tollways and transport service providers on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on traffic, road closures, mishaps, rerouting, and trip schedules.

3. Bring a portable power bank.

Before leaving your house, make sure you have fully charged your phone and power bank so that you can enjoy mobile services the entire day. For better network coverage and faster mobile Internet, you can also swap your 3G SIM to an LTE SIM for free at your preferred Smart Store without changing your number, and slot it in you LTE-ready device. This way, you can enjoy optimum mobile connection wherever you go.

4. Keep the whole family connected on the road.

Going on a long road trip to your home province? Enduring heavy traffic can be less of a burden for the whole family if you have a Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi, which lets you connect up to 5 devices, enough to keep everyone productive while traveling. With it, one can focus on navigating; another can keep relatives updated on your whereabouts; while kids can get their fill of educational videos or online games to keep them busy throughout the trip.

With the Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi, you can register to SurfMax85, which comes with all-day surfing of up to 800MB per day, valid for two days, for only Php85. To register, simply text SURFMAX85 to 2200.

5. Share your precious moments in a special group chat with loved ones.

Kalag-kalag reunites families in celebrating the life of departed loved ones. For an easier way of collecting and sharing content on your family get-togethers, you may create a group chat where everyone can view and save your photos and videos. You can use top apps like Messenger, Telegram, Viber, or WhatsApp, and even include in your relatives abroad who could not make it to your gatherings.

For more ways to make the most of your mobile experience, follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook (facebook.com/SmartCommunications), Twitter and Instagram (@LiveSmart). (Press Release)

 

(Banner photo: Christian Holmér by Creative Commons.)

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Globe, Alibaba partnership makes GCash “future of payments” in Philippines

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to…

GCash is poised to lead the future of payments in the Philippines following the recent joint venture of Ant Financial, Globe Telecom, and Ayala Corporation. The collaboration is seen to speed up the country’s digitization to make the lives of Filipinos much easier.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, attended an event that marked the opening of the Philippine retail industry to electronic payments through GCash. Ma was joined by Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas.

GCash QR code

“Imagine a day when you can shop and buy cinema, bus and train tickets with a simple scan of your personal GCash QR code in your smart phone. The convenient daily life 520 million Alipay users are enjoying will soon be realized in the Philippines. In the past months, Ant Financial has worked closely with GCash product of Mynt, as we are dedicated to bringing digital financial services to our friends in the Philippines,” Jing said.

“We are thrilled to mark this special milestone with Mr. Jack Ma, and Mr. Eric Jing of Ant Financial — it goes without saying that we are very pleased to partner with Ant Financial, given their level of experience and expertise in this field,” said Zobel de Ayala. “We look forward to innovating and evolving with the Filipino consumer, together. This day marks a special moment in the history of technology and payments in the Philippines — this launches the first broad application of such technology, and marks GCash as the leader in this space.”

Cu said the partnership is now bearing fruit. “We are happy to share the initial successes that will disrupt payment methods in the Philippines. In this country, only 5% of the population have credit cards, leaving almost everybody to carry cash all the time to pay for something. Today, we are introducing the 3rd method of payment – GCash. We found the right partner and the right time to really scale up the business and change the way we use financial services.”

QR CODE PAYMENTS. Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma (center, left) joins GCat, the GCash Mascot, as it shows a sample of the QR code that is set to change the landscape of payments in the country. Together with him are (from left) Mynt President and CEO Anthony Thomas, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Ant Financial Services Group CEO Eric Jing, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby Dy, and Ant Financial SVP and Head of International Operations Douglas Feagin.

Make digital preferred choice

“Now that more people are using data on their smartphones, the time is ripe to enable digital payments using the smartphone and let this go mainstream. Our challenge today is to make digital payments the preferred choice among our customers instead of cash or credit cards,” he added.

Through GCash, particularly the scan to pay feature of the GCash App, Filipinos can now experience the convenient cashless lifestyle.

The new payment option is a game changer for both consumers and merchants. It allows customers to pay for goods and services by simply using their smartphones to scan QR codes displayed by merchants and establishments.

Benefits for business owners

Business owners also benefit from not having to install expensive machines as they are provided with a QR code sticker which buyers can scan to pay. Customers pay the exact amount, removing the need for coins or change. GCash sees this solution working not just for organized trade but even for the ambulant vendors.

Joining GCash in showcasing the future of payments in the Philippines is Ayala Malls. Known as a retail innovator, Ayala Malls is a perfect catapult for GCash to reach thousands of consumers while also improving the customer experience for Ayala Malls shoppers. Glorietta is the first Ayala Mall to offer the GCash payment system in many of its shops and restaurants, as well as its cinemas.

GCash will be rolled out very soon to other Ayala Malls such as Greenbelt, TriNoma, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, Bonifacio High Street, UP Town Center, Ayala Malls The 30th, Ayala Malls Vertis North, and Ayala Malls South Park. With the GCash scan to pay feature, Ayala Malls customers can catch up with the cashless experience of shoppers in other countries.

GCash is an internationally-acclaimed mobile wallet service of Mynt which can be used to buy load, pay bills, send money, and pay for goods and services whether online or offline. (Press Release)

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Globe partners with Roku to power Streamwatch device

Globe will launch a new Streamwatch device in November that will be powered by Roku. The company signed a licensing agreement that will allow Globe to tap Roku’s streaming platform,…

Globe will launch a new Streamwatch device in November that will be powered by Roku. The company signed a licensing agreement that will allow Globe to tap Roku’s streaming platform, its operating system, channel store, and streaming players.

“Globe is one of the leading telecom providers in the Philippines, with millions of cellular and broadband customers. It is a logical next step for Globe to launch a streaming device to its customers to enhance their entertainment experience at home. With the Roku Powered licensing program telco operators such as Globe can launch internet-delivered TV services quickly by leveraging our powerful streaming platform,” said Andrew Ferrone, vice president of pay TV at Roku.

Roku Globe

ROKU-GLOBE PARTNERSHIP. Roku Inc. and Globe Telecom announced their partnership to launch the new Globe Streamwatch device in the Philippines. Leading the signing of the partnership are (from left) Globe Senior Vice President for Content, Nikko Acosta, Roku Director for Communications Mike Duin, Globe Chief Commercial Officer Albert de Larrazabal, Roku Director for Partner Management Andrew Bernard, Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu, Globe At Home Senior Vice President Martha Sazon, and Roku APAC Advisor Brandon Amber.

Martha Sazon, Senior Vice President for Globe At Home said, “The collaboration with Roku allows us to give our customers more streaming device choices and a new streaming experience all together. Globe Streamwatch is easy to use and enjoy. By just plugging and activating the device, our customers will readily have access to a wealth of entertainment available at home even without cable connection.”

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

Globe is the first Roku Powered partner that will offer a streaming stick form factor to its customers. Globe Streamwatch users will be able to watch a variety of content across free and paid channels in different categories including sports, lifestyle, fashion, and more. It comes with three months access to top streaming services such as NETFLIX, Disney Channel Apps and HOOQ.

Globe Streamwatch can be best enjoyed with a Globe At Home plan. To learn more about this latest streaming device, visit shop.globe.com.ph/streamwatch. (Press Release)

The Roku-powered Globe Streamwatch stick.

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PayMaya, Smart accelerate rollout of QR code payments nationwide

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country….

After introducing the first Quick Response (QR) code payments via app in the Philippines last May, PayMaya Philippines today announced that the scan-to-pay technology is now available across the country. Smart Stores and select merchants in key cities now allow consumers to conveniently pay by simply scanning QR codes through their PayMaya app.

Smart subscribers have a new means to transact with their accounts as Smart Stores all over the country are now equipped with PayMaya QR technology. PayMaya is also enabling merchants in communities starting with canteens in partner schools like STI and commercial establishments in cashless cities such as Muntinlupa and Malabon.

PayMaya is also tapping popular merchants in SmartSpots already enabled by WiFi connectivity in key cities such as Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

PayMaya QR Code

CONVENIENT. Using QR Code to simplify payments, PayMaya is making cashless transactions even more convenient.

All kinds of merchants

In the near future, payments enabled by PayMaya will also be accepted online and in-store in popular food chains, supermarkets, and malls such as McDonald’s, Army Navy, Domino’s Pizza, and Gaisano Supermarkets, among others.

To further bring the technology to more users, Smart and PayMaya are also set to equip Smart retail partners down to the sari-sari store levels with the payment technology.

“As PayMaya continues to grow nationwide, we take a giant step for our customers by making QR code payments available to all kinds of merchants. PayMaya is the leading digital payments wallet and on the merchant side, this will reinforce our position as the top mobile payments acquirer in the country,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO, PayMaya Philippines and Voyager Innovations.

“Convenient and secure cashless transactions complete the digital life experience of people and communities. Equipping our Smart Stores, partner merchants, and retailers with PayMaya’s innovative platforms is a step in making our vision a reality,” said Eric R. Alberto, Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT and Smart.

Existing technology, new use cases, right conditions

QR code technology has been in use for quite some time with many applications already in the market. However, wide adoption for payments had been previously hampered by various factors, such as lower smartphone and internet usage.

The technology has now taken off around the world, with payment providers in various countries introducing use cases for adoption. Globally, Tencent’s WeChat app is the leader with close to a billion active users, most of them residing in China. Similar to PayMaya, every time their app is downloaded, so too is a QR code reader as the feature has already been integrated.

In the Philippines, the growing smartphone and internet penetration is now being complemented by digital payments adoption, pioneered by PayMaya. It has made payments integration capability via QR codes available and is now accelerating consumer acceptance, as it further builds up and reinforces the payment ecosystem and infrastructure across the country.

PayMaya QR Code

DIGITAL PAYMENTS. For digital payments to work, “it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

It takes a village to make ‘cashless’ work

“For any kind of digital payments technology to be widely adopted, it is important to foster the right conditions and build the ecosystem. PayMaya is already leading the market toward this direction. Along with the strongest network of PLDT and Smart, we are seeing digital financial inclusion in action,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of PLDT, Smart, Voyager Innovations and PayMaya Philippines.

PayMaya Philippines is the digital financial services arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations. Its PayMaya wallet, accessible via mobile app and Facebook Messenger (@PayMayaOfficial) that comes with a virtual and physical Visa or MasterCard, is now the preferred prepaid payment by the millennial market.

Any mobile subscriber can download the PayMaya app from the Play Store or the App Store and load up their wallet at any of the more than 15,000 reloading stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores Business Centers, and 7-Eleven, Petron stations along NLEX and Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMs, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, Palawan Pawnshop, and online banking via BDO and UnionBank.

PayMaya is also the platform of choice of local governments, enterprises, and schools for disbursements and ID plus payments cards. PayMaya-enabled ID plus payment cards are being used by Balanga City, Malabon City, Malolos City, Muntinlupa City, Catbalogan City, and Tacloban City, as well as by schools such as STI.

Financial technology platforms

PayMaya Business, the company’s system solutions provider that allows businesses to receive online and card payments is now the top mobile payments acquirer powering companies such as Cebu Pacific, Lazada, Meralco, Metro Pacific Tollways, Philippine Airlines, Smart, and Zalora, as well as numerous other merchants.  Completing the cashless ecosystem is Smart Padala’s largest money-in/money-out remittance network.

Complementing PayMaya’s digital payments is the financial technology or fintech platforms of Voyager’s FINTQnologies, Inc. (FINTQ). FINTQ enables banks and financial institutions to expand the reach of their services through digital lending, banking, and micro investment platforms such as Lendr, PeraAgad, Mobile Loan Saver, and iNVSTR.

FINTQ has processed over P21 billion worth of disbursed loans since it started in 2015. The Voyager’s fintech arm now has the most extensive digital lending footprint covering 100% of 81 provinces, 90% of 145 cities and 15% of 1490 municipalities including low-income areas.

For more information about PayMaya, visit www.paymaya.com. Engage with us on social media at: facebook.com/PayMayaOfficial, twitter.com/paymayaofficial, and instagram.com/paymayaofficial. Get customer support at @PayMayaCares on Facebook.

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Huawei launches Nova 2i in Cebu

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.” The Nova 2 was launched in key locations…

Huawei unveiled in Cebu today its latest mid-range phone, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the company said local response has been “overwhelming.”

The Nova 2 was launched in key locations in Manila, Visayas and Mindanao today. In Cebu, the phone was launched in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.

The first 100 buyers of the phone yesterday got a free JBL Flip 3 portable speaker.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

HUAWEI Nova 2i. Huawei area retail supervisor for Cebu Alvin Gales demonstrates key features of the Huawei Nova 2i during a press briefing held alongside the nationwide launch of the Huawei Nova 2i.

4 cameras, large display

The Nova 2i’s key features are its image quality with its 4 cameras and its large “FullView” 5.9-inch display.

“The Huawei Nova 2i pushes the boundaries of design with a massive 5.9-inch screen with FHD+ resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio. But while the screen may be big, the device remains compact thanks to a high screen-to-body ratio and slim metallic unibody,” the company said in its product information sheet.

The company said its dual front camera and dual rear camera allows users to “take stunning selfies and professional-looking photos with a bokeh effect.” It also offers an extensive array of options and controls for the camera, including the popular setting for wider aperture and one for food photos.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

CEBU LAUNCH. The Huawei Nova 2i was launched in Cebu today at the SM City Cebu (above) and Ayala Center Cebu.

Huawei chipset, battery

The phone is powered by a Huawei Kirin 659 octa-core chipset. The phone comes with a 3340 mAh battery. The use of AI to gauge how the owner uses the phone and the fact that Huawei created the chipset mean the phone is able to do more with its power capacity, bloggers and journalists were told in a briefing during the launch.

The phone comes with a 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage that is expandable via a memory card through its hybrid dual SIM setup. That means you can use the second slot either for a 2nd SIM or a memory card to increase storage capacity.

Huawei Nova 2i Cebu

NOVA 2I. Local response to the Huawei Nova 2i launch was “overwhelming,” a company official said.

The Nova 2i has LTE connectivity.

The phone comes with Aurora Blue, Graphite Black, and Prestige Gold. But for the launch, only Graphite Black is still available.

The Huawei Nova 2i retails for 14,990 and is available on a 0% 6-month plan via Home Credit.

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New Starmobile UNO B208 PH Edition, UNO B308 feature phones proudly assembled in Philippines

Filipino mobile brand Starmobile announced the availability of two new feature phones that are assembled in the Philippines – the affordable UNO B208 PH Edition and the elegantly-looking UNO B308….

Filipino mobile brand Starmobile announced the availability of two new feature phones that are assembled in the Philippines – the affordable UNO B208 PH Edition and the elegantly-looking UNO B308.

The UNO B308 exhibits premium design with big and beautiful TFT screen. Boasting up to 8 days of standby time and 3 hours of talk time, the UNO B308 is also rigged with camera with flash, multimedia player, and LED flashlight. It is sold for P699.

Starmobile UNO B208 Philippine Edition

Starmobile UNO B208 Philippine Edition

The UNO B208 PH Edition, meanwhile, is a dual-SIM feature phone powered with a long battery standby time of up to 5 days or 120 hours. It is equipped with FM radio, camera with flash, and multimedia playback and retails for P599.

These two Starmobile devices are the first models to come out of its factory in Calamba, Laguna since starting operations in June 2017.

Starmobile UNO B308

Starmobile UNO B308

The UNO B208 PH edition and the UNO B308 will be part of Starmobile’s ongoing STAR-Tagal promo. Until December 31, 2017, customers who purchase any Starmobile product can get a chance to win over P4 million worth of prizes, tax-free.

These include hundreds of new Starmobile devices, home appliances, 8 Honda motorcycles, 2 brand-new Toyota cars, or Php1,000,000 in cash.

Learn more about Starmobile devices by visiting facebook.com/starmobilephones, instagram.com/happymanph, twitter.com/happymanph, and www.starmobile.com.ph.

Starmobile UNO B208 PH Edition

 

Starmobile UNO B308 PH Edition

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50% of data traffic to come from LTE network by yearend: Globe

With the steady expansion of the company’s LTE coverage and capacities to improve customers’ mobile experience, Globe Telecom expects around 50% of its mobile data traffic to come from LTE…

With the steady expansion of the company’s LTE coverage and capacities to improve customers’ mobile experience, Globe Telecom expects around 50% of its mobile data traffic to come from LTE network by the end of the year.

Mobile data traffic in the first six months of the year soared 85% to 280 petabytes (PB) from 151 PB in the first six months of last year, amid steady increase in smartphone penetration, currently estimated at around 67% of total mobile subscribers.

Currently, about 43% of the company’s data traffic comes from its LTE network. The company is on an aggressive deployment of LTE sites following its commitment to improve the mobile internet experience in the country, said Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Governance, Network Technical Group.

Globe LTE sites

Globe now has close to 5,000 LTE sites all over the country, using the 700 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequencies. It targets to increase this by more than 600 sites by the end of the year, Agustin said.

“Over the years, Globe has been continuously upgrading its network infrastructure and capacities to make us future-ready in anticipation of our customers’ bandwidth requirement. As our LTE network is steadily becoming more and more pervasive, more and more people transacting in LTE will have improve mobile data experience compared to 3G,” Agustin said.

According to him, a significant number of Globe customers are on LTE devices but are using 3G SIMs while many others are using LTE SIMs but are on 3G devices.

Switch to LTE SIM

“We want to encourage our customers especially those that are already using LTE devices to migrate to the LTE network by switching to a LTE SIM for better mobile experience,” he added. Since January this year, Globe has already migrated around 900,000 of customers using LTE devices but were still using a 3G SIM, he said.

He emphasized that migration to LTE network spells a big difference in terms of customer experience as the network provides superior streaming of multi-media content even as they are on the go. The company’s LTE sites are located mostly in Metro Manila and other highly-populated areas, where majority of customers using LTE-based handsets are located.

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Smart Infocast to boost disaster preparedness of Dumanjug

Disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug in Cebu will benefit from the SMS advisory platform of Smart Communications Inc., the wireless subsidiary of PLDT. Infocast, a web-based program developed by Smart,…

Disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug in Cebu will benefit from the SMS advisory platform of Smart Communications Inc., the wireless subsidiary of PLDT.

Infocast, a web-based program developed by Smart, will enable the Dumanjug local government unit to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information to residents via text messages.

The program allows the sending of free text broadcasts and enables registered subscribers to connect with other Infocast members through a common, unique access code, making it an effective emergency communications solution. Crucial information can be sent to all Infocast subscribers, including the municipality and barangay’s disaster risk reduction and management teams.

SMART Infocast Dumanjug

IN DUMANJUG. Members of the local government and disaster risk reduction and management office hold a mock SIM unit during the turnover of Smart Infocast in Dumanjug, Cebu. Joining the ceremony are Smart representatives led by Public Affairs Head for Visayas and Mindanao Atty. Maria Jane Paredes (5th from left).

Enhancing communications

The system has boosted the communication efforts of its many users, which include LGUs, government agencies, and other organizations, according to Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Maria Jane Paredes.

“Through Smart Infocast, we hope to be instrumental in enhancing both the communication and disaster preparedness efforts of Dumanjug,” said Paredes, who attended the turnover ceremony together with representatives from the municipal office, the disaster risk reduction and management office, and Smart.

DRRM officer Richel Canete said the program would serve Dumanjuganos well. “This is a great help for the Dumanjuganos, especially in the office of the LDRRMO, in broadcasting weather forecast and other forms of disasters and calamities,” he said.

Serve community better

“It is a great tool for our information, communication, and education dissemination. With this partnership, we can serve the community better,” Canete added.

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; the Batingaw emergency app; and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.

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Send money, pay bills, buy load on Facebook Messenger via PayMaya

Filipinos can now send money to family and friends, pay bills, and buy mobile load and data using Facebook Messenger via PayMaya. “This integration with Messenger represents an exciting new…

Filipinos can now send money to family and friends, pay bills, and buy mobile load and data using Facebook Messenger via PayMaya.

“This integration with Messenger represents an exciting new way to reach the unserved and underserved people and communities in the country by making payments available via social,” said Paolo Azzola, Chief Operating Officer of PayMaya Philippines. “Our mission is to make cashless payments available for all and this new channel via Messenger will help us enable more people.”

PayMaya is a pioneer and the leader in mobile money and digital financial services in the Philippines. It is transforming the mobile phone into a virtual wallet and is continually looking for ways to expand its services. PayMaya recognizes that Facebook Messenger’s community offers a unique opportunity to make PayMaya services available and accessible to even more users.

PayMaya - Facebook Messenger

PAYMAYA, FACEBOOK MESSENGER. Ginger Baker (left), Facebook Product Manager and Paolo Azzola, PayMaya Chief Operating Officer.

New tools, easier way

“We’re excited to work with PayMaya to give people in the Philippines new tools to access their money using Messenger,” said Facebook Product Manager Ginger Baker. “Our goal is to amplify the reach and impact of providers like PayMaya by enabling tools that allow them to connect people with the services and friends they care about.”

Consumers in the Philippines regularly connect with friends and family to send money and pay bills. However, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 86% of Filipino households don’t have a deposit account. As one of the most popular messaging apps in the Philippines, Messenger offers a much easier way for people to create a new account for daily financial transactions.

Through PayMaya’s partnership with Facebook, Filipinos will have an easier option for sending money and paying bills on Messenger, whether they have a bank or a mobile money mobile account or not.

New tools, easier way

Using PayMaya in Messenger is simple. A customer just needs to search for @PayMayaOfficial on Messenger on an Android device to start a transaction. The chatbot will guide the user on the available menu options. New PayMaya users can create their account using Messenger while those who already have the PayMaya app installed on their Android phones can link their wallet to Messenger.

Once in Messenger, they can inquire about their PayMaya wallet balance, pay bills and send money to other Messenger users, regardless if they are already on PayMaya or not. People can also buy mobile load on their phone with a substantial discount anytime, anywhere, directly in Messenger.

Aside from accessing PayMaya in Messenger, PayMaya also comes with a physical card that can be linked to the mobile wallet. This physical card can be ordered through www.paymaya.com/shop free of delivery charges and can be used at any Bancnet ATM nationwide, and anywhere VISA and Mastercard are accepted. PayMaya users can link up to three PayMaya physical cards to their app.

PayMaya loading locations

PayMaya holds the largest network of reloading touchpoints with over 15,000 top up stations nationwide, which include SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores, 7-Eleven with Cliqq Kiosks, Petron stations along NLEX and Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Smart Padala centers, Palawan Pawnshop branches, UnionBank ATMs, Gaisano Malls, and online banking via BDO and UnionBank.

PayMaya is both an app-first and a card-first prepaid payment service. Users can opt to have the card first and connect it to their app later on for a shared wallet experience, and vice versa. It is telco-agnostic which makes it easy for anyone to create an account regardless of the network provider.

It is also a regulated e-Money Issuer by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

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Social media make celebrities “more relatable:” Pia Wurtzbach

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social…

If you have even the slightest doubt about something you want to share online, don’t post it, said former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said during a short talk on social media during the annual Asian Carriers Conference in Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu.

She said social media make celebrities like her “more relatable” to fans.

“I’m glad that during my year as Miss Universe they were very open with me sharing my thoughts, sharing the real Pia, my true self on social media. They weren’t too strict on what I posted online They weren’t too strict that sometimes there were photos of me with barely any makeup on,” she said in a short press conference held after her talk.

Bashed online

But at the start, she had to adjust to being bashed on social media.

Pia Wurtzbach ACC2017

POWERFUL TOOL. That’s how former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzback describes social media.

“I used to reply to people who did not like me. But I learned with guidance by my trainers that it’s better to avoid negativity and just ignore these. It’s part of the job – there will always be people who are going to have negative opinion about you,” she said.

She described as her worst experience on social media reading bad comments against her during the pageant. It would upset and rattle her throughout the day.

Filipino support online

But it was also during the pageant that she experienced her best in social media, when legions of Filipino fans voted and mobilized support for her online that it crashed the web server.

“But it also really showed Miss Universe that we are number one. We’re its biggest fans and we’ve proven that through statistics, especially during the online voting. That’s why they had the pageant here early this year,” she said.

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DTI leads moves for digital transformation of MSMEs

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company….

An online campaign that accompanied an e-commerce mentoring program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cebu generated leads from as far as London for a furniture company.

The fact that potential buyers visited the Cebu-based company to check out its products shows the reach of digital marketing, said DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon during the Digitize Cebu conference in Cebu last August 30.

As the agency tasked to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), DTI is now focused on getting them to undergo digital transformation.

“Last year, we went into the startup space. We interfaced with them and developed some programs for tech startups. This year, we’re trying to mix together startups and tech communities with brick and mortar MSMEs,” Arbon said.

Digitize Cebu Maria Elena C. Arbon

PROGRAMS. DTI Cebu Provincial Director Maria Elena C. Arbon goes over the different programs for micro to medium enterprises of her office. Key parts of the program revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

Digital transformation programs

DTI has several programs for micro to medium enterprises, three of which revolve around technology tools and digital developments.

These include startup ecosystem development, digital transformation for brick-and-mortar MSMEs, and e-commerce mentoring.

According to Arbon, the e-commerce program is an intense 6-week, 12-module course that aims to get companies online. Close to the end of the training activity, the enterprises are required to undertake a 3-week selling campaign using what they’ve learned from the course.

The ecommerce campaigns have resulted in sales amounting to as much as P2 million for the first batch and P3 million for the second batch of enterprises. Furniture buyers from London also came to visit a furniture company in Cebu when it went online as a consequence of the e-commerce course.

Cebu startup ecosystem

Arbon cited that DTI also just recently held the Slingshot Conference, a tech event that aims to bring together traditional businesses and startups so they get to serve each other’s needs.

Early this year, she said they came up with a startup ecosystem development program. Part of the process involved using existing tools to determine the maturity of the startup environment taking into consideration talent, capital, and infrastructure among other things.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, we’ve determined we’re at 2 plus,” Arbon added. One of the ongoing campaigns of DTI is to create a master list of existing startups in Cebu.

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Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan. With 65 million Filipinos now…

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan.

With 65 million Filipinos now online, going digital should no longer be a question, Lingan said during the Digitize Cebu conference held in Cebu last Wednesday and organized by AdSpark, Globe myBusiness, and Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Province.

“For every single month, half a million Filipinos are going online. That’s really massive. You think about that – in a year, you are adding the population of Singapore online into the Philippines,” he said. “That’s the kind of market potential that we are dealing with here.”

Digitize Cebu Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan

GROWING, MOBILE-FIRST. Most new Filipino users access the internet through mobile devices, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference.

Filipinos are mobile-first consumers

But what defines the Filipino internet consumer, he said, “is the fact that we are mobile-first.”

Most new Filipino users access the internet via mobile phones. “In fact that’s really where they spent much of their time,” he said. Filipinos look at their phones 150 times in a day, studies said. People are very engaged on their phones and “it is affecting every aspect of our lives,” he said.

People today do not go online, he said, they “live online” and mostly through their phones.

That can be seen in findings like Filipinos’ growing dependence on services like Waze. While the global usage average is 17 minutes, in Manila Waze is used at an average of 70 minutes per session, he said.

In a world going digital, “small will be the new big,” Lingan said. The internet “could work for big business as much as it could work for small ones.”

He said small businesses are the “backbone of the country,” employing about 60% of the population.

“If you want to drive growth in the Philippines, the only way to really drive that is through empowering small business,” he said. A key driver for this is digitization, Lingan told attendees of the conference.

Digital levels business playing field

In the past, he said business was all about “having big resources.” Digital levels that playing field, Lingan said. With digital tools, business can reach the right customers and at massive scale.

“In the past if you’re a small business, your target market will only be your community. But with the internet, your definition of what your target market is goes beyond your borders,” Lingan said.

With digital advertising, businesses are then able to leverage measurements and tools to make sure their ad spending are getting “the right return of investments.”

He also spoke about the opportunities offered by the emergence of commerce in the country.

Digitize Cebu

DEPENDENT. People are increasingly becoming dependent on their phones to do most tasks.

Opportunities for e-commerce

“I know it’s still small in the Philippines, in fact, it’s just $500 million in terms of value but what we foresee is that the next 10 years this will grow 20X to $10 billion by 2025. And it’s changing consumer habits,” he said.

Among these habits is the practice of researching online via mobile phones even while inside a physical store.

He said people continually engage with phones to find information and these “micro-moments” will become the new battleground for brands.

Lingan said there are 4 types of micro-moments: I want to know, I want to do, I want to go, and I want to buy.

“The path to purchase is changing and evolving. A lot of people now, through that path of purchase, are consulting their smartphones to know more about their services and really making sure that they are better informed and would make the right decisions,” he said.

Influence path to purchase

Lingan said it is important for brands to have a strong digital presence because when Filipinos start researching on purchases, “82% are not absolutely certain of brand choice.”

“It is an opportunity for businesses to influence that decision by making sure that your presence online is strong,” he said. “People would go to their smartphones 6 to 7 times before they make their decisions.”

The role of phones is emphasized by findings that 78% of Filipinos have used a locator or maps app to find a store’s location and 80% have consulted their smartphones while buying in a physical store.

Lingan said the key to influencing the path to purchase and winning in a mobile-first world is to: be seen, be fast, and be smart.

Digitize Cebu

PHYSICAL STORE, ONLINE RESEARCH. Consumer behavior has changed, chief among them is the practive of researching online through mobile phones while buying in a physical store.

Be seen

“If you are not present online, you are saying no to all these people who are online. You are making it impossible for a lot of customers to find you,” he said.

“If I am a foreigner visiting Cebu and if you are not on Google Maps it’s impossible for me to find you,” he said, pointing out how easy it was for businesses to be listed on Google Maps for free.

He also emphasized the importance of online videos, especially on YouTube, in influencing purchase decisions and improving brand perception.

He said “50% of shoppers will more likely seek advice from online videos relating to their purchases.”

Lingan also said that more than 80% say online video “helps convince shoppers to think more positively about a brand.”

“If you have videos, I would encourage you to create a YouTube channel for your business. Every business has a story and videos would be able to tell your story in a much more enriching way,” he said.

Be fast

Demands of customers have changed, they now want things “as fast as possible.”

In a mobile-first world, Lingan said, 53% of users would abandon your website if it loads slower than 3 seconds.

“The important thing about mobile is to be really obsessed about the user experience,” he said.

He cited tools from Google that will help businesses assess their website speed on mobile and offer suggestions to improve this.

Digitize Cebu

BE SMART. Opinions aren’t as important today as data-driven decisions based on analytics.

Be smart

With today’s tools, opinions don’t matter as much as data-driven decisions.

“You now have opportunity for analytics for data. We need more data-driven decisions so that it could tell you what kind of investments have given you ROI,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for businesses to be willing to experiment on digital and use analytics to see if these work.

Online learning resources

Lingan also asked those present to take advantage of online resources to learn about entrepreneurship and tapping digital marketing to boost their businesses.

He cited the following resources as helpful to businesses:

1) YouTube channels for educational videos. He told people to subscribe to Google Small Business and Google for Entrepreneurs.

2) Think With Google website for industry trends and practices.

3) Google Primer, which offers marketing lessons by Google.

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Diamond Rent-A-Car executive: Digital marketing a must for SMEs

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines. Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he…

When Diamond Rent-A-Car first tried out digital advertising several years ago, it was a relatively new thing in the Philippines.

Quincy Buenaflor, the company’s vice president for operations, said he was able to successfully sign up for Google Adwords just by following the required steps.

“Just a few minutes after our company ad was posted, we already started getting hits,” he shared during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference, which aims to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through digital marketing tools.

The family-owned Diamond Rent-A-Car, which was started by Buenaflor’s parents around 40 years ago, had relied heavily on traditional media like newspapers and billboards for its advertising needs.

Digitize Cebu Google Ads

DIGITAL ADS. Diamond Rent-A-Car vice president for operations Quincy Buenaflor shares his experience on using Google ads to grow their business in a talk with Rebeca Siccardi, strategic partner manager for Google Sales. The case study was among the sessions in today’s Digitize Cebu event.

Digital marketing

Buenaflor said that when they tried digital advertising, specifically through Google ads, they found it to be very effective in reaching out to potential customers. The company now spends 80 percent of its budget on digital platforms and only 20 percent on traditional methods.

“With digital marketing, I reach the right person,” he added, citing that he believes it provides the same opportunity in general to SMEs.

According to him, digital marketing should be part of every company’s advertising campaign. Diamond Rent-A-Car operates 1,600 rental vehicles and manages another 4,000 for various clients.

Google AdWords

The Google AdWords campaign helps with the company’s expansion by reaching the target market in a specific location.

Buenaflor said having AdSpark manage the company’s digital ads made the campaign more effective.

“It’s different working with a group with expertise on digital marketing. With AdSpark, we now have peace of mind. We know that for every little bit we spend, AdSpark makes it work for us,” he added.

AdSpark is a digital and mobile advertising company that’s fully owned by Globe.

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Innovation, not digitization, is key: Mayor Tomas Osmeña

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city. Osmeña spoke before an audience at…

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city.

Osmeña spoke before an audience at Digitize Cebu held Wednesday at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

“It takes two weeks to renew business permit. I gathered a team of experts to study how to renew business permit. Then they told me now it will be 20 minutes. How? They (business owner) don’t need to fill out form. All they have to do is just confirm the information. But what happened since that time? You run around the city to get all the clearances. This must be solved,” said Osmeña.

Problem with government

He admitted having problems with the government because “we are not allowed to innovate”.

“There’s one missing pillar and that’s innovation. Politics has developed a culture of status quo,” said Osmeña. “Digitization is not necessary. The keyword here is innovation.”

Digitize Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña

INNOVATION. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said they are tapping innovation to improve services at City Hall. He said the challenge with working in government is that “we are not allowed to innovate.”

The mayor shared a story of a logistics company that uses index cards for their operations.

“No computer, just index cards. If you have a question, you write at the index card. The company will write its answer at the back of the index card. And if more than one index card, the company thinks you’re talking so much. You see it’s not computerization but again innovation,” said Osmeña.

Pay taxes

Osmeña pointed out that the City Government will run after businesses not paying taxes.

He further said the role of the Treasurer’s Office is to bring in money. “We can’t bring in money because the sari-sari store cannot secure an SSS clearance.”

Saying that Cebu is trying to innovate, Osmeña said they are looking at issuing certificate that shows the business owner paid taxes.

“If you pay tax, we will do beautiful things for Cebu,” he added.

Digitize Cebu was presented by AdSpark, a Globe-owned digital advertising company, in collaboration with Globe myBusiness and the Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu.

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Geeks on a Beach 2017 opens in Palawan

Some 400 participants from government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for Geeks on a Beach 2017,…

Some 400 participants from government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for Geeks on a Beach 2017, which started today.

For two days, participants will get to listen to valuable insights from big names in the startup and technology community. There will be keynotes, panels, and discussions with separate breakout tracks in between.

Successful Filipino-Americans Yobie Benjamin and Aldo Carrascoso lead the list of the world’s prominent names in the field of startups and technology who arrived at the Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa Hotel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Navigating startup ecosystem

The first day will open with keynote speeches by Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Voyager Innovations Vice President and Managing Director Dindo Marzan, and Token.io and ClickSWITCH.com Chief Technology Officer Yobie Benjamin.

This will be followed by the panel “How Founders Can Navigate Treacherous Seas; Path to potential Unicorns in the Philippines” where technopreneurs from Tokien.io, ClickSWITCH.com, GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, Jukin Media & Verego, Plug and Play Technology Center, InnoVantage, Inc., StartUp Village, and MobKard will display the story of their success.

Another panel entitled “Startup Ecosystem – How to increase the number of successful startups in the Philippines” will highlight speakers from the DICT, Department of Science and Technology – PCIEERD, Department of Trade and Industry, TechTalks.ph, IdeaSpace Foundation, and the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA).

Geeks On A Beach

GEEKS ON A BEACH. (From left) Token.io Founder and CEO Emeritus Yobie Benjamin, Plug and Play Technology Center Co-founder and VP Operations Jojo Flores, GOAB Founder/Lead Organizer Tina Amper, Ideaspace Executive Director Diane Eustaquio, Ideaspace President Rene “Butch” Meily, Smart DevNet Co-Founder and Senior Developer Evangelist Paul Pajo, Voyager Innovations Inc. Managing Director and Vice President Dindo Marzan, and PLDT ICT Research and Development Vice President and Head Joey Limjap.

Investor panel

An investor panel which will bring together tech, design, and startup entrepreneurs to brush shoulders with the world’s biggest venture capitalists and investors in the tech world will meanwhile feature Greylock Ventures, North Ridge Partners, Plug and Play, Hatchd Digital, Endeavor Philippines, and Anthill Ventures.

The first day will include the presentation “Startup Nation – The Israel Story” by Sagiv Massad who is the Director of Technology and Cybersecurity for Business Profiles Inc. and Director of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.” Jojo Flores of StartupPH.org will also present “State of the Nation’s Startups: How Competitive can PH Startups Get?”

Corporate digital transformation

The second day will kick-off with keynotes by DOST-PCIEERD Engr. Russell Pilli, Center for International Expositions and Missions Executive Director Clayton Tugonon, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce Engr. Ramon Escueta

The panels for the day include “Corporate Digital Transformation: Becoming Victorious in a Collision between Businesses and Today’s Challenging Digital Forces” featuring Dragonpay Corporation, BlastAsia & Xamun Inc., PLDT Innolab, Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Payoneer, and the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce, “The way of Creatives: Establishing a Sustainable Niche in a Disruptive Economy” with creatives ­ startups GrupoMM, CreateCebu, 22 Tango Records, and Altum, and “Role of Incubators and Accelerators in Growing Mature Startups” with the BNEFIT, NICP, IdeaSpace Foundation, Muru-D Singapore, UP Enterprise, QBO, ASEAN Centre of Entrepreneurship, and MaGIC Malaysia.

GOAB partners

There are also talks on “Boosting FilipinoTrailblazers in Gaming and Animation” by Synergy88 Digital Inc. Managing Director and Co-Founder Jacqueline Chua, “Cultivating Creativity in the Circular Economy” by Altum Director Carlo Delantar, and “Chinese Tech Investment into ASEAN and How Startups in the Philippines Can Leverage On It” by EnterPH Interviews President Atty, Rocky Chan and Kay-Mok Ku of GobiVC.com.

PLDT, Smart, Voyager, PayMaya, ePLDT, Smart DevNet, PLDT Enterprise, PLDT Innolab, Ideaspace, and QBO are supporting GOAB as co-presenters while ASPACE Philippines is co-producer. GOAB is held in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, Palaweño ICT Association, DOST-PCIEERD, and Mindanao Development Authority. The official airline partner is Philippines Airasia and the official ticketing partner is Ticketbase. The silver sponsors include Payoneer, Zalora, PouchNATION, Istorya.net, Synergy 88 Digital, Uniform Solutions, Temasys, AtoX Solutions, and MaGIC. The bronze sponsors are NXTLVL Academy, LabPH, Spring Valley Corporation, North Ridge Partners, Amazon Web Services, Eastern Communications, Startechup, and Gobi Partners.

The media partners are e27, Tech in Asia, Bohol News Daily by Auza.net, InnoPub Media, Geeks in Cambodia, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Mobile Ecosystem Forum, ConnectedWomen.co, QueenCityCebu.com, GMA News Online, MyTV Channel Network, BeFast.TV, Wazzup Pilipinas, TechBlade PH, eMedia Production Network Inc., Inc. Southeast Asia, NU107.COM CO., SnippetMEdia, and Bloomberg TV Philippines. The organizational partners are the Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, UP CeBuinIT, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Science and Technology Advisory Council – Silicon Valley, Mynimo, Teradoor, Israel Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and the Cloud Security Alliance Philippines. GOAB is supported by Purple Cow, Orange Hub, iSkwelahan.com, DOST-MIMAROPA, Science and Technology Advisory Council Silicon Valley, and Science & Openvate Labs.

First staged in 2013, GOAB is organized by TechTalks.ph, powered by Sym.ph, branding by Happy Garaje, and pr by PRWorks. For further details, visit www.GeeksOnABeach.com, follow on Twitter/Facebook Geeks On A Beach. (Press release)

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Nepal taps eHealth system of Smart as disaster risk reduction tool

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction….

SHINE OS+, an electronic medical record and referral system initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), has been adopted in Nepal as a tool for disaster risk reduction.

Dr. Regina Estuar of Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC) recently conducted a workshop on the open source platform with the Nursing Association of Nepal in Kathmandu. Smart has worked with AJWCC in developing SHINE OS+, which stands for Secured Health Information Network and Exchange.

Shine OS

TRAINING. Representatives from EpiNurse and the Nursing Association of Nepal pose for photos during the EpiNurse training held in Kathmandu recently. Photo shows (from left) Laxmi KC, general secretary, Nursing Association of Nepal; Sakiko Kanbara, founder, EpiNurse; Ma. Regina Estuar, co-founder, EpiNurse; Tara Pokhrel, project leader, EpiNurse; and Shoko Miyagawa, co-founder, EpiNurse.

Prevent outbreaks, mitigate risk

SHINE OS+ Nepal was developed as a post-disaster surveillance system in 2015. Now called EpiNurse or Epidemiology + Nursing for Disaster Risk Reduction, the program will serve as a public health emergency reduction tool for the country. The program is seen as crucial in preventing disease outbreaks and consequently mitigating disaster risk.

Last May, EpiNurse received the Risk Award at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. The award, issued every two years by the Munich Re Foundation, the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Global Risk Forum Davos, honors innovations aimed at disaster risk mitigation.

For its part, SHINE OS+ has received at least three recognitions this year alone: a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards of the International Association of Business Communicators, and the healthcare category winner at the Golden World Awards of the International Public Relations Association.

Holistic approach

According to Estuar, EpiNurse provides a holistic approach by empowering nurses in Nepal not only in care management but also in surveillance reporting during the different phases of a disaster.

Members of the Nursing Association of Nepal undergo training on the SHINE OS+ mobile app.

“EpiNurse will be powered by SHINE OS+ in developing three applications that will allow EpiNurses to collect data at the school and community levels for preparedness, as well as surveillance data during and post-disaster,” she said. “The system will be simple, straightforward and localized so that the language and the design suit the Nepal culture and community.”

Estuar also said it was possible to apply the same technology for public health monitoring here in the Philippines. “EpiNurse aims to provide a global standard in disaster surveillance,” she said.

Patient information

Smart public affairs center head Maria Jane Paredes welcomed the replication of the project in Nepal. “SHINE OS+ has been embraced by medical practitioners here in the Philippines because of how it made patient information more organized and accessible, while keeping the data private. We hope Nepal benefits from this project as well,” she said.

SHINE OS+ is also available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices to assist health workers on the field. Medical practitioners interested in SHINE OS+ may email inquiry@shine.ph. (Press release)

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AI can displace workers but it can also triple BPO revenues: Banatao

Artificial intelligence (AI) can displace a large number of workers in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, Filipino tech pioneer Dado Banatao warned, but it can also allow the country to…

Artificial intelligence (AI) can displace a large number of workers in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, Filipino tech pioneer Dado Banatao warned, but it can also allow the country to triple revenues in the sector.

If the country does it right, Banatao said, AI will help the Philippines bring BPO revenues to up to $120 billion in just two to three years.

“AI will affect almost all aspects of our lives,” Banatao said during a press conference on Thursday to inaugurate the startup incubator he started with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

He said that his group built a basic AI solution that’s “not even the best that we know we can do” and yet it was good enough “to replace their agents in the US doing frontend BPO (services).”

Displacement inevitable

“It does displace a lot of workers but we did this in the US, meaning we displaced agents in the US. If we can do that then we will do it here. Because we don’t want to get attacked by other countries with that same expertise,” Banatao said. “We would rather have Filipinos do that displacement because it is inevitable.”

There is no AI if there is no IA (information architecture) and that will generate data science jobs for those who will be displaced from work, said Banatao.

AIM-Dadao Banatao Incubator

AIM-DADO BANATAO INCUBATOR. AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang with Diosdado “Dado” Banatao during a press conference to mark the inauguration of their incubator.

“It means is that there has to be an organization of data. The meaning of data is very important. Data science will address those things to help AI,” he said.

But to be employable for these new jobs, people need to be retrained, Banatao stressed. “In most cases they will have to take at least the first two years of engineering that covers the plain and simple calculus and statistics and so on and go on to the more higher-level learning data science.”

New kinds of jobs

“What is important for us to remember is that yes there will be plenty of jobs that will disappear but then there will be new kind of jobs that will be created,” said AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang.

“What AIM is trying to do is just like 49 years ago when we were established as the pioneering management school in the region and produced the region’s top CEOs,” she said.

“We want to do the same kind of role and have the same kind of impact so we will not be looking at a time when the BPO industry is no longer viable in this country. We have already trained the right kind of people with the right kind of toolboxes and skillsets so they will be able to take that industry to the next level.”

We can beat them

Banatao said that as a way to shore up on capabilities, he hired 20 AI engineers in the Philippines. He said one of the AI companies he funded has the fastest engine in the world.

“It is competing against the biggest companies out there, the Googles and Amazons and so on. We can beat their engines. And we had started the process of bringing that here by training some of the scientists and engineers at DOST,” he added.

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Tech pioneer Dado Banatao, AIM launch startup incubator

Bringing together the expertise of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the management training capabilities of the Asian Institute of Management, an incubator program headlined by Filipino tech innovator Diosdado “Dado”…

Bringing together the expertise of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the management training capabilities of the Asian Institute of Management, an incubator program headlined by Filipino tech innovator Diosdado “Dado” Banatao seeks to develop early-stage local startups.

The AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator is located in the AIM campus in Makati City and has the physical capacity to host 11 startups of up to 6 people each, said AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang during a press conference at the facility last Thursday.

What differentiates their incubator?

“How do we differentiate our incubator? We have a rock star in Dado. Right there we think we make a huge distinction. He is not only an inventor, engineer but he is also an entrepreneur and that makes a huge difference,” Kang said.

Banatao built several companies in Silicon Valley, among them Chips & Technologies, S3 Graphics, SiRF, Marvell, and Inphi. “He is best known for pioneering two technologies that are widely regarded as the cornerstones of today’s PC: chipset and graphics acceleration architecture,” AIM said in a press statement.

Banatao is chairman of the Philippine Development (PhilDev) Foundation, an organization that seeks to boost economic growth in the country “through education, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

AIM-Dado Banatao

AIM-DADO BANATAO INCUBATOR. AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang with Diosdado “Dado” Banatao after a press conference to mark the inauguration of their incubator.

Foundation for success

“The combination of business knowledge and innovation is going to be the foundation for success of the incubator,” Banatao said during the event.

The incubator received a P14.8 million grant in initial funding under the Department of Science and Technology Incubator Creation Program.

The program will tap people with “experience in building technology-based, innovative, and very successful companies in Silicon Valley,” he said. But this will always be grounded on “local culture and practices.”

“When we say we’ll be bringing in Silicon Valley experience and expertise, we’re not talking superficial, somebody who was there for a few months or few years. We’re talking about people who are actually successful, who actually made it there and who knows how to make this kind of project work in a national arena,” said Kang.

As example of the type of expertise the facility will tap, Banatao cited how they brought in 6 Google engineers who then wrote software for the incubator to cover all aspects of mentoring.

Science, technology focus

Banatao said the early stages of forming a startup to work on an idea “is the toughest with the highest failure rate.”

“Unless there is help from investors or friendly mentors, founders of the company are either suicidal or “crazy”, putting at risk their life status, family, friends, and future,” he said.

The incubator is looking for startups with science and technology solutions in communications, agriculture, health, artificial intelligence, internet of things, and other deep technology.

AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator

INCUBATOR. Phildev executive director Chips Guevara gives journalists a tour of the AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator located inside the AIM campus in Makati City.

Strong commitment, passion

“They have to be 120 percent committed,” Kang said. “Dado likes to use the expression that they have to be suicidal. We don’t exactly want anybody committing suicide, it means they have to be really, really committed, passionate and have energy to take it all the way.”

Time isn’t a strict criterion for the program, Banatao said. “Along the way, the investors and the people involved will judge as to whether that company can get to the next step, whatever that step maybe. We don’t want to continue to lose money simply because of time.”

Startups can stay until the incubator deems them ready. “Sometimes we may just ask the startup to leave the incubator after just a few months because the idea may not be that good in the first place and we made a mistake in accepting them,” he said.

Mentoring by AIM network

Kang said the incubator “will also take advantage of the fact that this is housed at AIM. It’s a management school, it’s a business school. We will provide them with the mentoring that will come from not only our faculty and distinguished alumni but also businesses and the larger community. That amounts to a huge advantage.”

Phildev executive director Chips Guevara said the incubator will work on a “rolling application with no set deadline.” A startup can apply so long as there is a spot in the program. All applicants must fill out the form on the AIM website at https://aim.edu/dado-banatao-incubator.

In talking about the push for technology startups, Banatao said that “as we did our research, we found out that it’s only through innovation will a country develop its economy. Through economic development we will see significant positive effect on poverty.”

 


What Startups Get

  • World-class mentorship from serial entrepreneurs, top executives, industry experts, including individuals with a successful track record in Silicon Valley
  • Access to the global funding network of Dado Banatao, PhilDev, and AIM
  • Education and training calibrated to the needs of the startup’s founders
  • Resources from selected partners
  • Rent-free, dedicated office space with high-speed Internet connectivity inside the AIM Campus in the heart of the Makati CBD
  • Demo nights and exclusive networking events for business development and investments

 

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

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

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

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

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

Accenture in Cebu

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

Commitment to Cebu

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

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

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

Cebu talent

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

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

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu

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

Redesign retail experience

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

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

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

Accenture Cebu

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

Empower workers

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

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

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

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

Accenture in Cebu

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

Position as innovation center

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

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

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

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

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