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Category: Tech

GCash launches GoPay, Philippines’ 1st mobile money QR payment system

GCash has launched the nation’s first QR payments via smartphone, a move expected to change the landscape of how Filipinos pay for their purchases. Dubbed “GoPay”, it is the newest…

GCash has launched the nation’s first QR payments via smartphone, a move expected to change the landscape of how Filipinos pay for their purchases.

Dubbed “GoPay”, it is the newest feature within the GCash app, which allows customers to use their GCash account to pay for goods and services by simply scanning QR codes displayed by merchants and establishments.

For consumers, this eliminates the hassle of bringing money, waiting for change, or getting into misunderstandings over payments. Merchants, on the other hand, would no longer need expensive machines to process mobile money transactions but only QRs with a unique code that is linked to their GCash wallet.

Cashless society

By making QR codes available to anyone, even to ambulant vendors and sari-sari store owners, GCash will be paving the way for a cashless society which means faster, more convenient, and secure transactions for both merchants and consumers.

“Our goal has always been to make finance more inclusive by building a cashless ecosystem. GoPay QR payments solution will close the loop and drive merchants accepting GCash payments. We plan to extend this service from all types of retailers nationwide down to our favorite fishball vendor.” said John Rubio CEO and President of Mynt, a subsidiary of Globe Telecom dedicated to developing payments solutions using GCash.

Mobile money convenience

JM Aujero, Mynt Merchant Acquiring Head added, “With GoPay QR, consumers don’t even need to bring cash when they go shopping or when they eat out. It is the best option for people who do not want to use credit cards but are either wary of having cash with them due to safety reasons or just want the convenience that mobile money offers.”

To use GoPay, a customer with an iPhone or an Android smartphone just needs to download or update to the latest version of the GCash App, register for an account, and fund his GCash wallet at any of over 12,000 GCash Partner Outlets nationwide. Once done, he has to open the GCash App and swipe left on the page. The GCash App will bring up the phone’s camera, at which point he has to “scan” a partner store’s QR code and enter the amount to be paid.

GoPay will be rolled out within the next few weeks at select partner stores. Its introduction is in line with the thrust of Ant Financial, parent company of Alipay and strategic partner of Mynt, to accelerate financial inclusion and upgrade payment services in the Philippines. Alipay popularized QR code payments in China.

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Globe rolls out GoWiFi to boost Cebu connectivity for Ironman triathlon event

When triathletes swim, bike, and run in Cebu tomorrow, spectators will be able to share photos of them in action via fast and reliable internet connection by GoWiFi, the premium…

When triathletes swim, bike, and run in Cebu tomorrow, spectators will be able to share photos of them in action via fast and reliable internet connection by GoWiFi, the premium public WiFi service of Globe.

“Globe supports the triathlon and multisport community, and we want to create an immersive experience for spectators by providing the best Wi-Fi and LTE experience in the area,” said Albert de Larrazabal, Globe Chief Commercial Officer.

Globe will set up several cell sites on wheels, small cells, and Wi-Fi hotspots to augment the network quality at the race venue and allow supporters to share photos and updates about the race. They may also track their favorite athletes in real-time using Athlete Tracker, developed by mobile solutions company Xurpas. Supporters simply need to text TRI (space) to 2600, at PHP 1.00 per update. This service is available to all networks.

Premium WiFi service

GoWiFi is Globe Telecom’s premium WiFi service available in more than 1,000 locations and 10,000 access points around the country, all of which provide high-speed internet connectivity to users. They are available in major transportation hubs like Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) and select Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations, key airports around the country, and tourist spots. They are also available in hospitals, local government units, schools and universities, as well as malls, convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants.

The service is open to everyone regardless of network provider, and is compatible with any WiFi-enabled device. Users are given free minutes daily which they can use to browse social media, check emails, watch videos, and download files.

“Our goal for GoWiFi is to provide our customers fast and reliable internet access, especially in high-traffic locations. And since Ironman is one of biggest sporting events in the country, we want to give everyone, whether you’re a triathlete or a supporter, the chance to connect and share their epic Ironman experience” said de Larrazabal.

Yearly event

The Philippine leg of the world-renowned triathlon began in 2009 with a race in Camarines Sur. It is the local leg of an international triathlon, organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The name 70.3 is used for the Half Ironman, and refers to the total distance covered in the race: a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bicycle ride, and a 13.1-mile run.

Each year, thousands of participants take part in the triathlon, including celebrities, politicians, and former champions. This year, more than 2,500 triathletes from 51 countries will join the upcoming race, which will start and end at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resorts and Spa. Last year’s champion, Australian Tim Reed, will be back to defend his title.

COBRA Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines will take triathletes through the beachfront of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, the Marcelo Fernan bridge, the Cebu International Convention Center, Plaza Independencia, the Cebu South Coastal Road Tunnel, Mactan Newtown, and Punta Engaño.

For more information on GoWiFi, visit the website at http://www.globe.com.ph/gowifi, or check out @GoWiFiPH on Facebook and Twitter.

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Healthcare gets boost from award-winning Smart innovation

A few years ago, workers at the Samboan rural health unit (RHU) in Cebu had to file and search for patient records manually. The practice was time-consuming, especially for patients…

A few years ago, workers at the Samboan rural health unit (RHU) in Cebu had to file and search for patient records manually. The practice was time-consuming, especially for patients who had to wait for their files to be retrieved before seeing a doctor. It also posed a risk of paper records being damaged during disasters, and of handwriting being misread.

Now, the Samboan RHU and selected public health facilities in Cebu, Iloilo, and Quezon City can retrieve files with a few clicks on a laptop, and can thus serve more patients. They can also refer patients to better-equipped health facilities electronically, and remind patients of appointments and medication via SMS. Furthermore, they can submit relevant patient information to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for faster processing of claims and health statistics.

All this and more are made possible by SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system run by Smart Communications and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center.

Launched in 2011, SHINE OS+ is now being used by a network of 86 RHUs, 44 private hospitals, and 32 public hospitals. It primarily targets RHUs, which use the system for free, as these are mostly situated hours away from tertiary hospitals, which have specialists and more advanced equipment. Paid plug-ins and extensions are also available to private clinics and hospitals.

Recognized here and abroad

SHINE OS+ has been recognized by three local and international awards programs this year alone. It won a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards, given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; and a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards, organized by the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippines.

More recently, SHINE OS+ was announced as winner in the healthcare category of the Golden World Awards, organized by the International Public Relations Association.

“SHINE OS+ revolutionized how patient health information can be recorded, retrieved, reported to various health agencies, and used for e-referrals to higher health institutions. With just a click of a button, one can search which patients have particular conditions, or check disease burden. Samboan, a town about four hours away from Cebu City, can now send advanced notice to hospitals and other SHINE OS+ users that patients are coming their way,” said Dr. Ianne Jireh Cañizares of Samboan RHU.

Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart public affairs center head, said the digitization of health records could also help policy makers develop more appropriate health programs.

“Because health information is more organized and can be accessed faster, authorities can identify the most common cases in a particular area and can craft health programs accordingly,” she said.

Continuous improvements

Being an open-source platform, SHINE OS+ allows developers from anywhere in the country and the world to create additional features that can fill more gaps in the health sector. It does this while keeping patient records private.

Among the relatively new features created are an electronic prescription module, a disease-tracking and monitoring plug-in, an offline version of the program for those with limited internet access, and Android and iOS+ apps for use of health workers on the field.

Health facilities interested in using SHINE OS+ may send an email to inquiry@shine.ph. (Press release)

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Cebu startup takes on Uber, Grab; signs up Manila taxi operators

Just as global ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab are facing government regulatory problems, a Cebu-based startup today announced an agreement with taxi operators in Manila to expand its service to…

Just as global ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab are facing government regulatory problems, a Cebu-based startup today announced an agreement with taxi operators in Manila to expand its service to more commuters nationwide.

MICAB, a startup that started in Cebu that is now also incorporated in Singapore, today announced an agreement with the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila (ATOMM).

The agreement expands the service area of MICAB, which is currently operating in Cebu and Iloilo with a fleet of 800 taxi units, said MICAB CEO Eddie Ybañez.

MICAB monthly bookings

He said MICAB currently serves 20,000 passengers with combined monthly bookings of 200,000.

PNTOA and ATOMM, Ybañez said, have a combined network of 20,000 taxi units. He said they plan to launch in Manila with 3,000 taxi units and scale up to 7,000 units by yearend. The company is also planning to expand to Davao.

In terms of application capability, MICAB is similar to Uber and Grab, Ybañez said. They differ in the business model.

Unlike Uber and Grab, MICAB does not directly deal with drivers. It engages with “premium taxi companies” and provides them an app-based system to dispatch units. MICAB works with Ken Taxi in Cebu and Light of Glory in Iloilo.

MICAB Manila

MANILA EXPANSION. MICAB, a ride-hailing app that started in Cebu, has expanded in Manila and signed up operators at the capital. In photo after the signing of the agreement are (from left) Pablo Sarmiento (left) of the Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila, MICAB CEO Eddie Ybañez, Atty. Bong Suntay of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, and David Vacher of MICAB. (Contributed photo)

No regulatory issues

Because of that, Ybañez does not see any regulatory issues for MiCab .

“We are not really subject to LTFRB’s TVNS regulations as our business model is to partner with taxi companies only. All our taxi operator partners are 100% compliant with LTFRB’s franchising regulations,” he said in an interviews.

The MICAB app functions similarly with both Uber and Grab.

“Application wise it’s the same, we will be adding in more features that is not currently present with Grab and Uber,” Ybañez said.

MICAB, however, does not impose surge pricing and collects only a low booking fee, he said.

Revenue model

The startup does not take a cut from drivers’ revenues. Its business model, Ybañez said, is “targeted geolocation advertising.”

“Our focus for the coming months is to successfully launch MICAB here in Manila, develop customer base, increase brand awareness through excellent customer service and solidify the taxi partner network,” he said.

MICAB started out as among the startups funded in the 2013 batch of IdeaSpace Foundation, the incubator of the Manny V. Pangilinan group of companies.

The startup, however, is looking beyond ride hailing. It is scheduled to launch later this year its MIHEALTH app, in partnership with “one of the largest HMO in the Philippines.” It will also launch MICARGO, in partnership with Gothong Southern Shipping Lines, in August.

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Volunteers get boost from Smart-initiated Operation Smile app

Finding cleft patients has always been one of the biggest challenges for Operation Smile. Most of them are either located in impoverished, remote areas, or some of them are just…

Finding cleft patients has always been one of the biggest challenges for Operation Smile. Most of them are either located in impoverished, remote areas, or some of them are just not confident enough to seek treatment due to their physical appearance.

An initiative by PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, however, seeks to address this problem. The Operation Smile patient-mapping mobile application, which was conceptualized by Smart for Operation Smile Philippines (OSP), was deployed during a recent medical mission in Bacolod City.

“Most patients are in the provinces. The challenge is how to find them. Another challenge is that when you have a facial deformity, you don’t go out,” said Wiggy Fontanilla, OSP president. “This mapping and tracking system changes the whole endeavor by coming up with a heat map of patients.”

Better access, monitoring

At the Bacolod medical mission, volunteers have recorded cleft patients’ details using the app, as Operation Smile aims to store patient information on the Web for better access and monitoring.

Arleen Antolo, 24, a speech teacher at Hope Foundation and volunteer for Operation Smile, travels for at least two hours from Bacolod to far-flung rural health units and barangay health centers in Negros Occidental to meet with other volunteers and cleft patients for possible inclusion in succeeding medical missions.

Antolo, who has been a volunteer for three years now, said her love for teaching and for children were what drove her to help in Operation Smile. “It feels good to help cleft patients, and see them smile. Being treated will definitely help them have a better future,” she said.

Operation Smile app

Operation Smile volunteer Arleen Antolo (left) takes a photo of a 7-month-old cleft patient using the Operation Smile app in Barangay Bago, Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental.

Lessen paperwork

She expressed appreciation for the app, which she used to record patient details during the Bacolod mission. “This will help lessen paperwork—we won’t need to carry folders of patient records, which may get lost or even get wet when the rain comes,” Antolo said.

The Operation Smile app is available as a free download for iOS and Android devices. Anyone can download and use the app—just open an account and follow the instructions on uploading patient information.

Patient details gathered through the app will be uploaded to the central server of Operation Smile, which will use the information to monitor patients’ treatment and plan for the locations of succeeding medical missions.

Closer to communities

“In our efforts to use technology for good, we partner with institutions such as Operation Smile, which seeks to bring healthcare closer to communities. We support Operation Smile as it aims to eradicate the backlog of cleft conditions worldwide,” said Ramon R. Isberto, public affairs group head for PLDT and Smart.

For its part, Operation Smile has expressed its appreciation for Smart’s efforts. “We sincerely appreciate all that [Smart has] done to help us give people with cleft conditions new smiles,” the global Operation Smile unit said on its Twitter account. (Press release)

To support Operation Smile, Smart subscribers may also donate by texting SMILE (space) (amount) to 4483.

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Globe myBusiness Academy brings top industry experts to DTI’s Negosyo Fair

To support the growing number of Filipino entrepreneurs, Globe myBusiness recently joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Negosyo Fair through Globe myBusiness Academy, a free learning session that…

To support the growing number of Filipino entrepreneurs, Globe myBusiness recently joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Negosyo Fair through Globe myBusiness Academy, a free learning session that educates independent business owners on marketing trends, increasing revenues, and discovering new solutions to stay competitive in the digital age.

“Filipinos are naturally enterprising, so it comes to no surprise that many are opting to open their own business instead of working in an office. Globe myBusiness Academy aims to guide them in creating a plan for success and to turn their passion into profits,” said Senior Advisor for Globe myBusiness Derrick Heng.

Globe MyBusiness

BUSINESS TIPS. Globe myBusiness teams up with “My Puhunan” host Karen Davila (right) to discuss business tips for entrepreneurs with (from left) Globe myBusiness Head of Managed Service Grace Anduiza; DTI Assistant Regional Director Teresita De Lima; Ricca Del Rosario of Half the Price; Globe myBusiness Ambassador and owner of Mercato Centrale RJ Ledesma; and Blade Auto Center President Robertson Sy-Tan.

The Negosyo Fair featured different business opportunities entrepreneurs can explore. It also featured talks, business ventures with low capital requirements, franchising opportunities, and tested products and business technologies that are ready for commercialization.

The learning session covered topics fit for aspiring business owners including operational efficiency, customer service, and expanding market reach from industry experts namely VJ Africa, CEO of Product IO, a startup that aims to enable Micro SMEs in the Philippines and the region to “Survive and Thrive” in this digital-dependent society; Joselito Miguel B. Favis, Account Manager for the Public Sector of Mynt, a FinTech startup wholly-owned by Globe Telecom; and Mejcris Lavarias, Associate Director of AdSpark Local, a Globe subsidiary providing digital and mobile marketing services; and Globe myBusiness Head of Managed Service Grace Anduiza.

Globe myBusiness

Product IO CEO VJ Africa, sharing his thoughts on how to operate businesses more efficiently.

Globe myBusiness also held a panel discussion led by Filipino journalist and “My Puhunan” TV Host Karen Davila, together with Globe myBusiness Ambassador RJ Ledesma of Mercato; DTI Assistant Regional Director Teresita De Lima; Ricca Del Rosario of Half the Price; and Blade Autocenter’s Robertson Sy-Tan, where they discussed tips for small – medium business owners, such as starting businesses with minimal capital, and turning simple everyday problems into big opportunities.

Attendees were also introduced to a wide suite of innovative apps that make business easier:

Globe myBusiness

Mynt Account Manager for the Public Sector Miguel B. Favis sharing with the attendees the various ways Mynt can provide financial resources to entrepreneurs.

For operational efficiency, Globe introduced myBusiness Tracker, which allows owners to keep an eye on deliveries and vehicles in real-time; myShopkeeper, which lets owners monitor sales and inventory in real-time; myBusiness Security Bundle for a CCTV package; GSuite and OS365 for easy business and Microsoft Office tools; GCash Powerpay, an automated salary disbursement program; and Fuse, a loan program for business expansions.

For customer service, guests were introduced to digital solutions such as Auto Appointment Reminder, Queuing Solution, and Canvas, which turns paperwork into digital forms. Meanwhile, for market reach, guests learned about Adblast and Auto SMS Blast solution, which lets them reach more customers through SMS; and myWebsite, a website-building tool. Globe myBusiness also offered exclusive mobile, broadband, and bundled packages for event participants.

To learn more about Globe myBusiness, visit the website at mybusiness.globe.com.ph, call the hotline at 730-1010, or visit any Globe store. (Press release)

Globe myBusiness

AdSpark Local Associate Director Mejcris Lavarias talks about the importance of digital marketing and shares her tips given the current Philippine digital landscape.

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Smart retailers turn digital with mobile app

Smart Communications has made it easier for partner-retailers to keep track of their sales, receivables, inventory, and manage their cash flow better with the introduction of the Ka-Partner Retailer mobile…

Smart Communications has made it easier for partner-retailers to keep track of their sales, receivables, inventory, and manage their cash flow better with the introduction of the Ka-Partner Retailer mobile application. The initiative is in line with the digital transformation that Smart is implementing across its operations and the way it does business.

“Smart is in the midst of a digital pivot. Our partner-retailers play a very important role in our business. They are our frontliners in the community and it is imperative that we bring them along in this digital journey. With the mobile app designed exclusively for them, our partner-retailers will be able to digitize the way they do business,” said Alex O. Caeg, head of Wireless Consumer Division Sales and Distribution at Smart.

Retailers play a crucial role in Smart’s growth. Together, they account for 80-85 percent of Smart’s total prepaid revenues.

Smart Kapartner Retailer app

Retailer-friendly app

The app is retailer-friendly, making navigation through the menu and browsing through the various load offers for selling easy. It also helps the retailer track his load wallet balance inventory and prompt him if the balance is already below the threshold. The app’s digital ledger feature effectively automates sales records, allowing the retailer to track his load sales without manually recording these daily transactions on actual paper. It also allows him to track the account receivables from his patrons for better cashflow management.

New features have been added to the app allowing the user to check on historical performance not only of total sales but also of repeat customers, and to view digital ads of the latest brand offers and promos from Smart, TNT, and Sun.

Faster, more efficient

For the next phase, the retailer will be able to place an order from the distributor through the app for faster and more efficient way of purchasing load credits.

Smart has more than a million partner-retailers across the country. In recognition of their valuable contribution to the business, Smart has been giving incentives for every sale made via its Ka-Partner Rewards Program, with a number of retailers each year becoming instant millionaires.

Every P100 Smart Load they sell every day is converted to one point. These points can be accumulated and used to avail of instant prizes and services such as free SMS and airtime, load wallet value, or e-raffle tickets for prizes of up to P1 million. (Press Release)

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Batibot now on App Store

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV…

Educational app develops essential thinking skills among children

Parents using iOS-powered smartphones and tablets can now download for free the Batibot mobile application, an interactive version of the beloved TV show that helps enhance learning among children.

Earlier launched on the Android platform, the app features fun games that teach kids basic learning concepts like matching, sorting, and grouping. The app also lets children practice tracing letters with the proper strokes, and helps them identify shapes, colors, numbers, and letter sounds.

The Batibot app is the first educational app in Filipino that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Aligned with curriculum

The app’s “Awiting Batibot” feature enables kids to sing along to Batibot songs, while “Kuwentong Batibot” contains local stories that promote good values.

What makes the Batibot app stand out from other educational apps is that it is the only app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

The Batibot app is the product of a collaboration among Smart Communications, Community of Learners Foundation, and developer startup OrangeFix. The app jumpstarted Smart’s efforts to work with various communities and organizations to create literacy apps in local languages.

Batibot app

The app features local stories that promote Filipino values.

Filipino language, values

Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto said that since the Batibot app was launched on the Android platform, a lot of parents had inquired as to when it would be downloadable on iOS devices.

“Many parents based here and abroad said their kids had grown up speaking English, and that they wanted their children to be proficient in the Filipino language too. The Batibot app will certainly help them brush up on Filipino in a fun, interactive way,” he said.

“When you search for educational content online, you’ll find that most of them are in English. There is a need for digital learning content that promotes the Filipino language as well as Filipino values. The Batibot app addresses that need,” Isberto added.

Kids can now have the fun Batibot experience that their parents had, through the Batibot app.

Technocart, School-in-a-Bag

To bring the Batibot app to remote, underserved communities, Smart installs the app in the tablets it donates to public schools under the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs.

Smart TechnoCart, which is donated to public schools with electricity, is a 2×2 ft mobile laboratory containing 20 tablets for students, as well as a laptop, projector, and mobile Wi-Fi with starter load for the teacher. The School-in-a-Bag, which is meant for remote public schools without electricity, is a backpack containing a solar panel, a laptop, five tablets, a mobile phone, a pocket Wi-Fi with starter load, LED TV, and learning modules.

Smart as well as individual and corporate sponsors have so far donated TechnoCarts to 40 schools, and School-in-a-Bag units to 18 schools all over the Philippines.

Teachers of the recipient schools are given training on tablet basics and on child and curriculum development.

Powerful learning tools

“Combined with guidance from elders, mobile devices and the internet can be powerful tools in enhancing learning among children,” Isberto said.

“Batibot helped shape a generation of Filipinos, many of whom are now parents and teachers. They now have an opportunity to share the Batibot learning experience with their children and students through the Batibot app,” he added.

To know more about Smart’s initiatives to use technology for the development of different social sectors like education, please follow the Smart Communities page on Facebook. Those interested to sponsor Smart TechnoCarts or School-in-a-Bag units may send an email to TechnoCart@smart.com.ph for more information. (Press release)

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Globe sets up 41 libreng tawag and charging stations in Leyte, Samar, and Bohol

Globe Telecom has put up 41 Libreng Tawag and Charging stations across the provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Bohol to assist victims of the recent earthquake with their communication needs….

Globe Telecom has put up 41 Libreng Tawag and Charging stations across the provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Bohol to assist victims of the recent earthquake with their communication needs.

Due to the damage sustained by electric power stations, there is still no electricity in the areas, leaving residents with limited means to charge their mobile phones and make calls.

The Libreng Tawag and Charging stations are open from 9 am – 5 pm and are located in the following areas:

LEYTE (9 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Ormoc City – Brgy Cogon near Jollibee
2. Ormoc City – Quadrangle
3. Baybay City – Plaza Rizal
4. Hilongos – SF Commercial, Hilongos
5. Tacloban City – Sonny John Store, Brgy Manlurip along highway infornt of Sunnyville
6. Tacloban City – Marcab Store, Tacloban City new bus terminal
7. Tacloban City – Sacay Store, San Salvador St. Brgy. Puri Palo, Leyte
8. Tacloban City – Rose Tan Store, Don Gorgonia St. V&G Tacloban
9. Kananga – In front of Liz Barbecue, Real st. corner Larrazabal St.

Globe Libreng Tawag

Newly-activated libreng tawag and libreng charging station in Kananga, Leyte

SOUTHERN LEYTE (2 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Maasin City – Andoks, in front of Mang Tinapay
2. Sogod – Plaza Rizal

SAMAR (5 LIBRENG CHARGE/TAWAG stations)

1. Calbayog City – Nijaga Park, Gomez St
2. Catbalogan City – Color Print Store, Allen Avenue
3. Catarman – Catarman Park Near City Hall
4. Borongan – Borongan North, Siongco st.
5. Guian – Near Tourism office

BOHOL (25 LIBRENG CHARGE STATIONS)

1. Barangay Sta Cruz, Calape
2. Barangay Danao, Panglao
3. Barangay Tayong, Loay
4. Barangay Tabajan, Guindulman
5. Barangay Guinacot, Guindulman
6. Barangay Poblacion, Anda
7. Barangay La Union, Candijay
8. Barangay Poblacion, Alicia
9. Barangay Buenavista, Carmen
10. Barangay Poblacion, Carmen
11. Barangay Tejero, Jagna
12. Barangay Larapan, Jagna
13. Barangay Poblacion, Jagna
14. Barangay Poblacion, Duero
15. Barangay Panghagban, Buenavista
16. Barangay Luyo, Dimiao
17. Barangay Poblacion, Buenavista
18. Barangay Poblacion, Getafe
19. Barangay San Jose, Talibon
20. Barangay Poblacion, Bien Unido
21. Barangay San Roque, Mabini
22. Barangay Rosario, Inabanga
23. Barangay Luyo, Inabanga
24. Barangay Lapacan, Inabanga
25. Barangay Poblacion, Pitogo island

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Smart provides more free charging services in quake-affected areas

With the extended power outage in the earthquake-affected provinces of Eastern Visayas, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications is expanding its Libreng Charging efforts to allow more subscribers to stay connected….

With the extended power outage in the earthquake-affected provinces of Eastern Visayas, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications is expanding its Libreng Charging efforts to allow more subscribers to stay connected.

Smart has extended communications assistance to residents and disaster response units following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that recently hit Jaro, Leyte, and affected nearby cities, municipalities and provinces.

Mobile network not damaged

According to Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head: “Even as some areas are hampered by the power loss, our mobile network was not damaged by the quake. Our subscribers in the area have sufficient load because our dealer network remains intact. We are addressing the need of our subscribers to recharge their devices.”

Power outages were experienced in Leyte, Bohol and the Samar provinces after the quake, prompting the telco to open up a number of its cell sites, offices and retail stores in the region as free charging and free calling stations for affected residents.

Smart Libreng Charging

Residents charge their mobile devices at a Libreng Charging station at the Smart cell site in Barangay Linao, Ormoc.

Communication support was also provided to Leyte’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, for easier coordination in the province’s three worst-hit localities—Ormoc City, Kananga and Jaro.

Free charging, free calls

Smart has also partnered with local government units, and its distributor network in the region to set up more Libreng Charging and Libreng Tawag centers in strategic areas such as the local gymnasium and the provincial loading stations.

Recognizing communications as an important form of relief, Smart has been consistent in immediately providing communication as aid in the form of free calls and charging services, and emergency communication links during disasters, to help government and humanitarian agencies coordinate and deliver more effective relief efforts to affected communities.

The list of Smart’s free calling and charging centers is updated regularly through its community partnerships Facebook account, facebook.com/SmartCommunities. (Press release)

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Among Cebu CEOs, technology solutions have yet to make an impact: survey

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority. Results of the…

Despite innovations in the field of finance, e-commerce, consumer services, transport and logistics, only a third of Cebu entrepreneurs believe that technology should be a business priority.

Results of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey showed that only 35 percent of business leaders look at how technology can help in the company’s overall strategic plan.

Less than half or only 48 percent of the 108 Cebu CEOs surveyed by Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines feel threatened by the speed of technological advancements.

PWC Cebu CEO survey

Factors for successful innovation

The sentiments of Cebu businessmen are in contrast to the 80 percent of 2015 Philippine CEO survey respondents who consider technology breakthroughs like robotics, automated supply chain, enterprise solutions, and digital platforms as crucial to business transformation.

A slightly higher number or 50 percent of Cebu CEOs, which PwC Philippines calls Cebu’s next generation business leaders, see the need to continuously innovate to stay relevant for the long term.

The CEOs cited strong visionary leadership, right culture, willingness to challenge norms and take risks, capacity for creativity, and close collaboration with customers as factors for a successful innovation.

PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey

CEO SURVEY FINDINGS. Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, presents findings of the PwC Cebu 2017 CEO Survey. On stage are Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng and PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner Atty. Alexander Cabrera.

Technology as threat, opportunity

Aldie Garcia, PwC Philippines lead branch operations partner, said that for these CEOs, technology is both a threat and an opportunity.

“Our next generation business leaders believe the first to adopt will be the first to succeed,” he added.

Atty. Alexander Cabrera, PwC Philippines chairman and senior partner, said during a forum to share survey findings that “building a lasting legacy for the organization and the people they serve while growing the business is fundamental to our CEOs’ success.”

Vision for Cebu

Sought for their thoughts on how they envision a new Cebu, CEOs said focus should be on stronger partnerships between government and the private sector (83 percent), better investment incentives (63 percent), and maintaining and growing the local Cebu brands (49 percent).

PwC also found out that close to half of business owners were not originally from Cebu but moved here because of trade and economic opportunities.

Many of them or 77 percent worked for top companies as junior executives (40 percent), management executives (32 percent) , and board executives (10 percent) before going into business for themselves.

Series of CEO surveys

The survey was conducted by PwC Philippines in partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and marked the first of a series to be done on Cebu business leaders.

Melanie Ng, CCCI president, said the undertaking is “envisioned to benchmark the changes in how our CEOs think and innovate.”

She added that the CEO Survey will provide a glimpse into the entrepreneurial journey of business owners that hopefully will inspire more entrepreneurs in the region. Respondents in the first CEO survey represent about 12 percent of CCCI members.

Other CEO Survey findings

Other survey findings showed that:

  • Majority of CEOs started their business in trading but have diversified to manufacturing, retail and wholesale distribution, and consumer and food beverage.
  • Over the next three years, business owners plan to enter the following industries: real estate and construction, tourism, food manufacturing, and consumer retail and technology.
  • Business leaders consider infrastructure, tourism, and technology as industries that need priority.

Survey presentation

PWC Cebu CEO survey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smart programs shine at Philippine Quill Awards

Programs by Smart Communications to improve the daily lives of Filipinos through mobile technology were recognized recently at the 15th Philippine Quill Awards. Smart received second-runner up honors for Company…

Programs by Smart Communications to improve the daily lives of Filipinos through mobile technology were recognized recently at the 15th Philippine Quill Awards.

Smart received second-runner up honors for Company of the Year, as well as 12 Excellence and 9 Merit Awards. Smart’s winning programs sought to make the mobile internet experience more accessible, affordable, and meaningful to Filipinos; use technology to enhance education, disaster preparedness and response, health services, and customer experience; and engage the workforce better through digital technologies.

The Philippine Quill Awards is organized annually by the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippines to recognize excellence in professional communication.

15th Philippine Quill Awards

Smart received second-runner up honors for Company of the Year, as well as 12 Excellence and 9 Merit Awards in the 15th Philippine Quill Awards.

Smart programs

Winning Excellence Awards were the Batibot educational app which is now available on both Android and iOS platforms, the Disaster Communications Summit, GigaSurf campaign, Launchpad program for the youth, #OwnIt campaign, Smart Bro’s iPad Plan 599 campaign, Smart Pokemon GO, Smart University Gamified Mobile Learning program for employees, Sun Deserve Mo ‘To campaign, TNT Super Panalo Day, Welcome Change campaign, and the use of the internal social media platform for employees called Workplace by Facebook.

Receiving Merit Awards were the AlDub for TNT campaign, All New Smart Bro Plans, Employee Rockstars Program, the disaster preparedness video series for kids called Maging Laging Handa, SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), Smart’s efforts to train Filipinos on Android app development for free, Smart Flagship Store, Sun First Job Problems campaign, and the TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs. (Press release)

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M Lhuillier taps Starmobile to build custom smartphones

Philippine smart devices brand Starmobile has been chosen by leading pawnshop and remittance chain MLhuillier to create a customized Android smartphone for its employees and customers. Powered by Smart Prepaid…

Philippine smart devices brand Starmobile has been chosen by leading pawnshop and remittance chain MLhuillier to create a customized Android smartphone for its employees and customers.

Powered by Smart Prepaid SIMs, the modified Starmobile PLAY Five units are pre-installed with MLhuillier’s MLWallet app, which the Cebu-based company hopes will further empower its workforce to embrace the increasing influence of mobile and digital technologies on the remittance industry.

Starmobile

STARMOBILE. (From left) Smart Department Head/VP, National Key Accounts Group Precy Katigbak, Smart SVP/Head for Wireless and Distribution Alex Caeg, MLhuillier GM for Luzon/NCR Lorenzo Escaño, Starmobile CEO Joey Uy, and Starmobile President Uly Lao, wave “Five” to mark Starmobile’s 5th year of operations

Established in 2011, Starmobile is the mobile devices division of Star Telecom Alliance Resources, Inc. (STAR, Inc.). It is founded by telco industry experts with extensive experience in retail and product development.

Since it first offered Android devices, Starmobile has become the winningest Philippine smartphone brand with a slew of innovation awards from reputable media outfits. The company’s flagship KNIGHT series, has won top awards since 2013—a feat that has not been replicated by any local device company.

Learn more about Starmobile and its line of smartphones and tablets by visiting www.starmobile.com.ph or log on to facebook.com/starmobilephones. (Press Release)

 

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Asus ZenFone AR highlights augmented reality, virtual reality capabilities

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual…

From checking out how furniture looks in a room you’re decorating to seeing dinosaurs in the sala as you tell a story to your kids or even doing a virtual and yet hyper-realistic tour of a car, augmented reality (AR) plays a central role in the Asus ZenFone AR.

The latest flagship device from Asus was highlighted during a gathering of developers in Mandaue City last Saturday.

Asus ZenFone AR

ASUS ZENFONE AR with VR headset and controller.

The ZenFone AR will be available starting July 17 but the company provided a preview during the Google I/O Extended Cebu 2017 last July 1. Mike Santos, of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones, said they are working with developers to build AR applications for use on ZenFone AR.

Asus ZenFone AR specs

Santos did a demonstration for journalists and bloggers on the capabilities of the ZenFone AR. He said the phone supports both Google Tango and Daydream. Tango is an AR technology while Daydream offers immersive virtual reality or VR.

Santos said the phone is able to do this because of its top of the line specs: Snapdragon 821 optimized for Tango and up to 8GB of RAM. “That’s like your laptop,” Santos said.

Asus Zenfone AR Cebu

AR DEMO. Mike Santos of Asus product and brand marketing – smartphones demonstrates the augmented reality capability of the ZenFone AR with a virtual and yet realistic tour of a BMW unit.

The ZenFone AR has a TriCam system that lets the phone track your location as you move through space. It also has depth-sensing. This Santos demonstrated through an augmented reality tour of a BMW vehicle. Using the phone, Santos was able to show reporters and bloggers features of the car – from the engine to its interior – as if they were checking an actual vehicle.

Interior design, Harry Potter game

Santos also did a demonstration of how the phone can overlay furniture on a live camera view of a room: allowing a homeowner to preview design options. He also did a demonstration of how AR can be used for shopping of dresses via an augmented reality display of the items.

For its virtual reality capability, Santos did a demonstration through a Harry Potter game that transported the player to the popular book’s universe by donning the phone as a VR headset and using a controller to wield a virtual magic wand.

Asus ZenFone AR Cebu

VIRTUAL REALITY DEMO. Students check out the VR capability of the ZenFone AR with an immersive Harry Potter game.

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#LaLunaSangre’s pilot week scorching hot on Twitter with over 3 million tweets

Filipinos love their TV shows and they show it on social media especially on Twitter. #LaLunaSangre, ABS-CBN’s newest fanta-serye debuted on Monday, 19 June 2017. The episodes from this week…

Filipinos love their TV shows and they show it on social media especially on Twitter. #LaLunaSangre, ABS-CBN’s newest fanta-serye debuted on Monday, 19 June 2017. The episodes from this week erupted on Twitter, hitting more than 3 million Tweets (19-23 June 2017).

#LaLunaSangre is the third chapter of Lobo, a fantasy horror TV series about werewolves and vampires.

It’s also the sequel to Imortal, a popular fantasy show in 2008. Both #Lobo and #Imortal were highly rated and hugely popular shows of ABS-CBN network. La Luna Sangre stars highly acclaimed actors, who are some of the most followed personalities on Twitter in the Philippines: Kathryn Bernardo (@bernardokath), Daniel Padilla (@imdanielpadilla), Angel Locsin (@143redangel), John Lloyd Cruz, and Richard Gutierrez.

Here are the top Tweets of the week related to #LaLunaSangre:

The pilot episode reintroduced Mateo (John Lloyd) and Lia (Angel) as the mother of Malia (portrayed by Kathryn Bernardo). It also presented Richard Gutierrez as Sandrino the Supremo or leader of the vampire rebel group. The episode was embraced by Twitter users despite the main cast not appearing yet – Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Here are the most talked-about moments on its pilot week.

1. On its pilot episode (19 June), the flashback of Lobo and Imortal was shown to help viewers remember history of the vampires and werewolves of the show. The group of ‘ang mga bes’ composed of the young Malia and her friends was also introduced, with their cuteness and innocence, as well as acting talent captured the hearts of the viewers. In fact, it generated 180,000 Tweets per minute.

2. Last night’s action-packed encounter between the good side and the bad side, and the sacrifice of Mateo and Lia to protect their only child Malia captured the heart of the viewers. On 23 June, from 7-8 pm, with its episode #LaLunaSangreAngPaghaharap, it recorded 100,000 tweets per minute.

3. The prophecy that dictates the fate of Lia and Tristan was revealed. This changed the peaceful and simple life of their family. On this episode last June 20, this destiny was the most talked-about topic on Twitter in the Philippines with more than 80,000 tweets per minute.

Fans of the show proved their love and appreciation to #LaLunaSangre by creating different hashtags everyday as the conversation flows on Twitter. Below are the most-used hashtags of the week.

Well-known personalities also got hooked with #LaLunaSangre.

See more from #LaLunaSangre by following the casts’ official Twitter accounts: Kathryn Bernardo (@bernardokath), Daniel Padilla (@iamdanielpadilla), Angel Locsin (@143redangel).

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Accenture launches rapid innovation center in the Philippines

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put…

Systems that detect whether mining vehicles are overloaded or its drivers exhausted to an augmented reality platform to train people how to operate machinery or decorate a house were​ put on display as Accenture launched today its rapid innovation center in the Philippines.

Liquid Studio is an “open center where clients co-innovate with Accenture engineers to turn concepts into applications and solutions with speed and agility,” the company said.

While it is a venue where Accenture clients can work on innovation to stay ahead in business, it is also a place where the company’s workers can be trained or work on the latest technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, said Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines.

Accenture Liquid Studio Philippines

ACCENTURE LIQUID STUDIO. Leading the launch of the Accenture Liquid Studio in the Philippines are (from left) Ambe Tierro, senior managing director and technology lead, Accenture in the Philippines; Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh; and JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines.

Technology innovation hub

It will also serve as a hub in the technology ecosystem in the Philippines, she said.

JP Palpallatoc, managing director and Accenture digital lead in the Philippines, said the Liquid Studio would be a place where the company can co-innovate with universities and schools as well as startups.

The center will help answer the question “how do you use technology to create business value?” said Accenture Technology Services group chief executive Bhaskar Ghosh.

During Thursday’s launch at the facility, which occupies an entire floor with about 2,000 square meters in the Uptown Place 3 at the BGC in Taguig City, Accenture showcased technologies on the connected home, artificial intelligence, internet of things, drones, analytics, robotics, and augmented reality.

Speed up development

The rapid innovation approach with agile methodologies can hasten development time from months to a matter of days or weeks, Palpallatoc said.

Among those they put on demo for journalists who covered the launch was a system that is able to scan faces and identify the person, take note of personal characteristics, and determine the mood: whether he or she is happy. It can be deployed in advertising displays that can tailor the marketing material based on data captured by the system.

That system was built in a matter of days by an Accenture team member. Also built quickly and shown on demo was an internal chatbot platform on which the company can provision systems or work on technical tasks just by messaging.

Data analytics

The company also showcased a mini-racing track with toy cars that used the Oracle cloud to display a dashboard of data analytics gathered by the toy vehicles. It shows how using analytics can help managers determine such things as vehicle fuel efficiency. They also showed a model of a system that can monitor and manage mining vehicles. It can guard against overloading and offer data to increase operational efficiency. It can even determine whether the driver is already exhausted by, among other things, monitoring for micro-sleeps via a camera.

The company also showed a crop monitoring system that used sensors, drones and thermal cameras to monitor the health of plants.

In demonstrating the use of augmented reality, the company showed how using an app, people will be able to focus the camera on a car engine and know its parts and how to do such things as replace the battery. The information is overlaid on the actual display of the vehicle. They also demonstrated how using Microsoft’s Holo Lens, people can preview how furniture, carpets and other accessories will look in the actual room.

Palpallatoc said augmented reality is a great technology to tap in training workers. He said it can provide a safer and cheaper alternative to working on an actual equipment.

Social benefits of technology

The Liquid Studio is part of a network of facilities throughout the world. This makes sure innovation is available to clients in its various facilities globally, said Ghosh.

During the launch, Ghosh highlighted the social benefits of technology by showing how an employee in Manila with hearing and speech impairment was able to work with colleagues in India by tapping AI to facilitate video communication. This, Ghosh said, will enable more people to join the workforce. He said it will enable managers to have a more diverse employee pool, including those who previously would not have been able to work.

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Gadgets for the modern man: Father’s Day gift ideas

With Father’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably mentally listing down gifts for the greatest hero of your life. Here are suggestions to express your love and thanks with…

With Father’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably mentally listing down gifts for the greatest hero of your life. Here are suggestions to express your love and thanks with a gadget gift.

Tech-Savvy Daddy: JUMPU Gadgets and Accessories

If dad already owns a brand-new smartphone or tablet, he would appreciate having multiple mobile accessories that he can keep in his office, car, or at home. Give him the best by selecting JUMPU mobile accessories, guaranteed to deliver the best of Japanese design and manufacturing.

Forget about waiting for one device to fully charge before plugging the next. Save dad’s time with the innovative JUMPU SHUN 4-port and SEHA 5-port chargers, allowing him to power several devices at the same time.

JUMPU

If your dad is the type to leave the house with his phone battery life at 5%, JUMPU’s DUO or KLASIK power banks has got him covered. He would also enjoy the convenience of having multiple MICRO reversible micro-USB cables, LITNIN lightning cables, or DUAL series cables that support both micro-USB and lighting outputs. These would allow him to connect his devices to his laptop for easy file sharing, or to his car charger so he can power them up while keeping his focus on the road.

Practical Papa: Starmobile UNO B208 and B306

For this kind of father, simplicity is the UNO way to go. Starmobile’s latest feature phones UNO B208 and B306 assure to offer the ground necessities of every dad. Focusing on call and text, these Filipino mobile phones promise to be easy-to-use while still offering high-end functionality and reliability.

Personalize the gift based on dad’s preference.

Starmobile Uno

B208 is equipped with FM radio, camera with flash, expandable memory, flashlight, and multimedia support; available in red, blue, or black.

On the other hand, B306 is designed for entertainment suited with an extra loudspeaker, camera, and video recording; available in gray, gold, and black.

Drudging Dude: Starmobile UP Prime and ENGAGE Aura

He’s the busiest dad of all – always on his phone and laptop, but also makes sure to spend time with his family amidst the hectic schedule. Keep him on top of his game with gadgets complementing his fast-paced lifestyle – the UP Prime and ENGAGE Aura from Starmobile.

Crafted to match the everyday lifestyle of professionals, Starmobile’s UP Prime clashes sleek experience of work and entertainment with its split-screen feat which allows dad to seamlessly navigate between texting and playing music. It’s 5-inch 2.5D curved screen perfects the resolution display of watching videos on right side and browsing the internet on the left side through its customizable toggle menus. Dad can also take notes for work by capturing moments with its 8MP rear camera or just bring out his fun personality in a stressful day with wacky selfie on the 5MP front cam. Powered by Android™ 7.0 Nougat, the 700MHz LTE-compatible gadget is the ideal mobile partner for professional dads.

Starmobile Engage

Whether in the office or at home, dad always needs to have a quick access computer to grow his business. The ENGAGE Aura from Starmobile lets him seize that opportunity at an affordable expense. Manufactured with a lightweight design for easy carry, the 1.9GHz Quad-Core laptop powers a heavy performance fitting dad’s everyday line-up of programs.

Equipped with a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mini HDMI, and USB ports of 2.0 and 3.0; the Intel Atom computer makes a convenient working ambiance for dad with effortless connectivity. Its 2MP webcam also enables him immediate reach of his contacts at 720p video capture anytime, anywhere. With Windows 10 as its licensed operating system and long-lasting battery of 9000mAh Li-Ion with 7 hours video time and up to 210 hours standby time, the machine assures reliable job of a pro dad’s needs.

Fun-loving Father: Starcube Digital TV Box

Boost his entertainment experience and let dad enjoy local television shows in crystal clear definition. With over 30 channels to choose from, dad can watch just about as long as he wants without bothering about the monthly cable bill. What’s more, dad can simply tap the recording feature of the digibox in case he needs to work during airtime of his favorite shows.

Starcube

Super Surfer-Father: TP-LINK routers

For web surfing, TP-Link routers are known to be reliable in establishing secure and effective internet connection. With the brand’s collection, faster speeds for more devices are possible without slowing dad’s network. These routers are edged with superior range and coverage, permitting several devices connected nearby and faraway. Its innovative technology supplies solid support for simultaneous HD streaming, online gaming, and other online activities dad may need.

TP Link routers

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Smart named Asia’s top digital services provider

“Welcome Change” also named Best Brand Campaign at Asia Communication Awards For its efforts to boost its network and make relevant digital services accessible to Filipinos, PLDT wireless unit Smart…

“Welcome Change” also named Best Brand Campaign at Asia Communication Awards

For its efforts to boost its network and make relevant digital services accessible to Filipinos, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications was named Digital Service Provider of the Year at the Asia Communication Awards (ACA) ceremony held recently in Singapore.

The ACA recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers. It is conducted annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom.

Best Brand Campaign

Smart’s Welcome Change campaign – which communicated the company’s digital pivot and encouraged Filipinos to empower themselves through mobile innovations – won the Best Brand Campaign recognition.

Janet Watkin, head of the ACA panel of judges and CEO of a customer experience consultancy, said simply making it to the shortlist was already an achievement, given the challenges faced by the telecommunications industry.

“Doing business has become more digital, global, social, and mobile, and the marketplace is vaster and more crowded than it has ever been. Alongside changes in technology and competition are the changing expectations and behavior of customers. As such, making it onto the shortlist for the Asia Communication Awards is indeed a formidable achievement. To win requires that something extra special that is a cut above the rest,” she said.

Smart Asia Communication Awards

Smart, represented by PLDT SG country manager James Melon, receives the first of two awards at the ACA in Singapore.

Digital transformation

“We are honored to receive these awards from a prestigious institution that understands the rapid changes sweeping through the telco industry. This recognition further inspires us to intensify our pursuit for digital transformation and to bring the benefits of the digital life to more Filipinos,” said PLDT and Smart chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan.

Smart has a multi-pronged approach in encouraging Filipinos to welcome the digital change – it continuously improves and expands its network while making available devices, relevant content, and value-packed service offers to its subscribers.

In 2016, Smart and PLDT launched a $1-billion digital transformation program to enable their fixed and mobile networks to support the rising demand for digital services. Smart has committed to progressively deploy LTE services to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by end-2018. To do this, the company is combining low-band frequencies for better indoor penetration and wider coverage, with high-band frequencies for additional capacity. These frequencies include those obtained through the acquisition of the telco businesses of San Miguel Corp.

Smart has finished its LTE deployment in Boracay and Metro Davao, while efforts are ongoing in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila. Internal tests show Smart’s LTE service consistently increasing in speeds and registering improved indoor data coverage. Third-party crowd-sourced tests also show that Smart offers the fastest LTE service in the Philippines.

Because not many Filipinos can afford LTE handsets, Smart has partnered with various device manufacturers to introduce affordable LTE devices with network-compatible frequencies.

Welcome Change

To communicate its digital transformation, Smart in mid-2016 unveiled a new logo resembling the Greek letter Delta which means change. Smart also launched the Welcome Change campaign to encourage more Filipinos to discover what the digital life has to offer.

To expand its library of relevant content, the company has partnered with the likes of iflix, Cignal, ABS-CBN’s iWantTV, and Fox.

On top of these efforts, Smart continues to introduce affordable and value-packed products such as GigaSurf50 which offers 1 GB of data plus 300 MB for YouTube and other apps, as well as unlimited SMS to all networks. All this is valid for three days for only P50.

Smart LTE network

Smart is in the middle of a network transformation program which seeks to bring LTE to 95% of the country’s cities and towns by end-2018.

Digital technology for development

Smart has won several awards at the ACA, including Operator of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

Last year, Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to help develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award. This is part of Smart’s efforts to bring digital technology to underserved communities to aid their development.

Smart’s donation of digital tools and content, even in remote areas without electricity, enable more Filipinos to be part of the global knowledge economy. Depending on the terrain, the learning packages come in the form of the TechnoCart or a backpack called School-in-a-Bag. These contain devices such as tablets, laptops, projectors, pocket Wi-Fis, and solar chargers.

More importantly, the devices are preloaded with learning tools such as the Batibot mobile application co-developed by Smart. This is the first educational app for kids in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education. (Press Release) 

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Huawei showcases P10 with portrait photography workshop in Cebu

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.” To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of…

Beautiful portraits, said fashion and beauty photographer Sara Black, “reveal untold stories.”

To improve your portraits, Black offers these tips: use lighting and consider the quality, direction, and color of the light; look for a good facial angle and ask the subject which she or he considers the best; take into account body dynamic, follow composition rules but feel free to break these, connect with your subject, and have your own style.

Black held a short workshop on mobile portrait photography at the Chateau de Busay in Lahug last June 1. The Behind Portrait Photography workshop was held to showcase the superior image quality of the Huawei P10.

Huawei P10, P10 Plus features

Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gave a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the event. Using the phone is like having a “photo studio in your pocket,” she said in her introduction.

“Make every shot a cover shot,” was how Huawei highlighted its camera, which was co-engineered with iconic brand Leica.

Huawei P10 Sarah Black

HUAWEI P10. Photographer Sara Black demonstrates the use of a Huawei P10 to take great portrait photographs.

The front or selfie camera is also a Leica, the first among phones. This allows the selfie camera to capture “2X more light” and “amazing self-portraits, whether day or night.”

“The Huawei P10 even senses groufies and automatically switches to wide-angle shots when more people enter the picture,” the company said.

Leica dual camera

The rear camera, however, is what makes the P10 stand out among flagship phones.

“The new Leica Dual Camera 2.0 uses precise 3D facial detection, dynamic illumination, and natural portrait enhancements to produce stunning artistic portrait shots in Leica image style,” the company said.

The P10 has a Leica Dual Camera 2.0 while the P10 Plus has a Leica Dual Camera 1.0 Pro Edition.

It has an easy option to do photo bokeh, where the subject stands out because the background is rendered blurred or out of focus while taking the shot. The bokeh options can be finely controlled in the P10 while taking the shot.

Trendy colors

Black showcased these as well as other outstanding imaging features of the phone in her talk.

“The most iconic portraits are defined by outstanding lighting and clarity of details. Working as a lifestyle photographer for many years now, I always place a premium on how these two elements are reflected in every shot I make, and the Huawei P10 makes this very convenient. They instantly give dramatic touches to every photo, revealing interesting stories or realities of every subject that are rarely captured even through words,” Black said.

The P10 comes in trendy colors, generated with the help of Pantone, like Dazzling Blue, Prestige Gold, Graphite Black, and Greenery.

Huawei P10 Corinne Bacani

PHOTO STUDIO IN YOUR POCKET. Huawei Philippines marketing director Corinne Bacani gives a detailed introduction to the P10 and P10 Plus during the workshop.

Not only does the phone have formidable tech specs, it uses machine learning algorithms to make applications open and run faster, said Bacani.

Bacani added, “I’m glad people are curious to learn more about portrait photography, and with the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus’ arrival in the Philippines, I believe they now have the perfect devices to carry and express that curiosity and enthusiasm with them everywhere.”

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are available at P28,990 and P36,990 via Huawei Experience Stores and retail partners nationwide. It is also available via Globe ThePLAN 1799 for frere. The plan comes with 11GB of data, Unli-All Net Texts and Unli-Calls to Globe & TM, Netflix access for 6 months, Spotify Premium access for 3 months, HOOQ access for 6 months. The Huawei P10 can also be purchased either via any credit card at 0% interest for 6 and 12 months or Home Credit at 0% installment for 9 months without the need for a credit card.

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Smart mobile data speeds take lead in PH: JP Morgan

‘Significant momentum’ seen for Smart LTE, 3G speeds, according to JP Morgan PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications posted the highest average download speeds for both 3G and LTE, amid steadily…

‘Significant momentum’ seen for Smart LTE, 3G speeds, according to JP Morgan

PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications posted the highest average download speeds for both 3G and LTE, amid steadily improving scores through the months, the latest JP Morgan study showed.

JP Morgan’s Asia Network Quality study, which cited crowd-sourced data gathered by wireless coverage research firm OpenSignal, showed Smart LTE service leading nationwide in terms of speed, with average download speeds of 11.64 Mbps on the country level.

The May 2017 report also showed Smart leading across areas in terms of LTE service, with average download speeds of 12.52 Mbps in Metro Manila, 11.96 Mbps in the Visayas and 9.44 Mbps in South Luzon.

Significant momentum

“PLDT’s Smart has significant momentum across all circles measured. This likely implies a higher likelihood of market share gains going forward, with potentially better pricing power,” said JP Morgan in its study, which covers the months of February to April.

Smart also led in terms of 3G speeds nationwide, posting 2.29 Mbps average download speeds on a country level. Across areas, average download speeds on Smart’s 3G service were at 3.41 Mbps in Metro Manila, 1.74 Mbps in the Visayas, and 1.82 Mbps in South Luzon.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but these test results show that our network improvement program is making progress. They are a testament to Smart’s commitment to continuously contribute to improving overall speeds in the country,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.

Re-equipping cell sites

Smart is re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz and 850 MHz to provide better indoor coverage. It is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.

PLDT and Smart have committed to make LTE progressively available to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018.

“We have ongoing network improvements in Metro Manila, and we look forward to providing our subscribers there with better indoor LTE and 3G data signal, as well as better indoor 3G and 2G voice signal once these activities are done,” he said.

“With these improvements, our subscribers can live their digital lifestyles to the fullest, using a combination of LTE-ready devices, Smart LTE SIMs and Smart’s newest and fastest network, and be there like never before,” Tamayo added.

“We are asking for people’s patience and understanding as we are upgrading our network facilities. We assure you that we are taking steps to minimize the impact of these activities on our subscribers. In the end, our commitment to all our subscribers is that they will enjoy progressively better mobile data services in the next few months, particularly for those using LTE devices,” he said.

Average LTE speeds

Recent internal tests have shown improvements in speed in areas involved in the ongoing network rollout. Average LTE download speeds in northern Metro Manila, for example, are at 22.2 Mbps, while speeds are at 14.5 Mbps on average using Smart’s LTE service in southern Metro Manila. In Cebu, on the other hand, average download speeds on Smart’s LTE service are at 20.7 Mbps.

For these network improvement efforts, Smart was also recently named Digital Service Provider of the Year at the Asia Communication Awards, which recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers.

This comprehensive network modernization and expansion program is at the core of the PLDT group’s digital pivot. Smart’s network rollout took a big bulk of PLDT’s ramped-up capital expenditure program of P42.8 billion for 2016, which included the utilization of the new frequencies freed up with the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco assets. PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan has announced a total capital expenditure of P46 billion this year. (Press Release)

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