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Tag: Smart Communications Inc.

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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LTE, 3G speeds significantly up in Metro Cebu

The nationwide network modernization program of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the mobile unit of PLDT, Inc., is in full swing and recent field tests in Metro Cebu are showing impressive…

The nationwide network modernization program of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the mobile unit of PLDT, Inc., is in full swing and recent field tests in Metro Cebu are showing impressive LTE and 3G speeds in the Visayas region’s premier urban hub.

Internal field tests conducted in key areas in and around Metro Cebu have shown that download speeds on Smart’s LTE service have jumped at least 146% to 19.7 Mbps and have reached up to 52 Mbps in certain areas like Cordova, while upload speeds have also risen by 134% to 14.3 Mbps.

Download speeds on Smart’s 3G service, on the other hand, are also up 275% to 6 Mbps, while upload speeds likewise improved 45% to 1.6 Mbps.

LTE speeds in Metro Cebu

LTE speeds exceeding 20 Mbps have been recorded in both indoor and outdoor areas around Metro Cebu.

LTE speeds of more than 24 Mbps were recorded in SM Seaside Mountain Wing and Banilad Road in Cebu City, while speeds in excess of 37 Mbps were reached in Jollibee Minglanilla.

LTE speeds above 21 Mbps were also posted in tourist-favorite Lantaw Native Restaurant in Mactan and at the Mactan International Airport, while LTE reached speeds of 47 Mbps in Brgy. Tingub in Mandaue City.

Magellan’s Cross. Speeds exceeding 20 Mbps were recorded at Magellan’s Cross using LTE-capable handsets.

Carrier aggregation, LTE-Advanced

On the other hand, speeds in excess of 90 Mbps have also been achieved in and around the Minglanilla Sports Complex, using carrier aggregation (CA) and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)-capable handsets.

Carrier aggregation refers to the capability of LTE-A to combine two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds to mobile users.

“We are accelerating the rollout of LTE because it provides an immediate significant boost to the speed, quality and reliability of our service. Moreover, it lays the foundation for the rollout of LTE-A with CA and puts us in a position to further improve internet service as more handsets capable of CA become available in the market,” said Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor for PLDT and Smart.

Just initial results

“These are just initial results, and we are already nearing the midpoint of our implementation in Metro Cebu,” Horn added.

“We are asking for people’s patience and understanding as we make changes in our network facilities. These activities are being done during the most inactive hours of the day, and we are putting systems in place to minimize the impact 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,” said Horn.

These improvements were brought about by an increase in 3G and LTE base stations in Metro Cebu, which are up by 16% and 108%, respectively. As a result, data volume traffic on 3G and LTE have also increased, according to network monitoring data.

Fast, reliable network

“In upgrading mobile and data services in Metro Cebu, we are helping improve the quality of life in one of the country’s biggest provinces, where millions work and play,” said Horn.

Metro Cebu is home to more than 2.8 million Filipinos, while passenger arrivals at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport hit nearly 9 million last year. It is also the country’s largest outsourcing destination outside of Metro Manila.

“This progress in Metro Cebu is just a preview of what Smart will be rolling out to the rest of the island and the rest of the country—a fast and reliable mobile data network for all Smart subscribers,” Horn added.

Nationwide expansion program

This is part of Smart’s nationwide network expansion and overhaul program to improve both coverage and quality of service, particularly its LTE service. Earlier, Smart already completed its network overhaul program in Boracay and Metro Davao, where users have already reported improved quality of LTE services.

A major leg of this network expansion is also currently underway in and around Metro Manila, where it is likewise expected to significantly boost Smart’s voice, SMS, and mobile data services, specially its indoor LTE coverage.

The fruits of the Metro Manila rollout can now be felt in nearby Rizal, where Smart’s average LTE download speeds jumped 455% to 23.3 Mbps, and average 3G download speeds rose by 37% to 3.7 Mbps, on the back of significant increases in the number of LTE and 3G base stations in the province.

Redemptorist Church. LTE-capable handsets were also able to post download speeds as high as 36 Mbps outside Redemptorist Church.

Acceleration of LTE deployment

Network improvement activities in Metro Cebu include re-equipping cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz, 850 MHz, and 900 MHz for its LTE and 3G services. These frequency bands travel farther than high-frequency bands thus providing mobile data services better coverage, including indoors.

Smart’s network rollout took a big bulk of parent company PLDT’s ramped-up capital expenditure program of $1 billion for 2016, with an additional $100 million allocated to utilize the new frequencies freed up with the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco assets.

In the three-year network roll-out plan that PLDT submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last July, Smart said it is focused on accelerating its LTE deployment, to make it progressively available to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by end-2018.

LTE, an all-IP network, delivers superior experience for users, particularly for data. It can also be quickly upgraded to LTE-A, which can provide even faster speeds and greater capacity to subscribers who are using LTE SIMs on LTE-capable handsets.

Bandwidth-heavy services

Smart began rolling out its LTE-A service in April 2016 in preparation for the rise of bandwidth-heavy services such as video streaming and gaming. Initially rolled out in Boracay, Smart’s LTE-A service delivers peak speeds of more than 100 Mbps to users with LTE-A capable smartphones.

“The Smart network modernization program is a key part of the PLDT Group’s massive nationwide effort to roll out superior and reliable fixed and mobile networks for the delivery of a wide range of content and gigabit digital solutions. Through the group’s superior telecommunication networks, PLDT and Smart will deliver impressive customer experience,” said Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, Chief Corporate Services Officer at PLDT and Smart. (Press Release)

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Smart’s mobile digital lab for preschoolers wins award in Singapore

Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award at the prestigious Asia Communication Awards (ACA)…

Smart TechnoCart – a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to develop literacy among kindergarten students – won the Social Contribution Award at the prestigious Asia Communication Awards (ACA) ceremony held recently in Singapore.

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

The TechnoCart, developed by Philippine mobile leader and PLDT unit Smart Communications, is a 2ft x 2ft cart containing 20 student tablets and a laptop, projector, and mobile WiFi for the teacher. The tablets are preloaded with the Batibot mobile application, the first educational app for kids in Filipino which is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.

Smart TechnoCart

Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino receives the Social Contribution Award for Smart TechnoCart.

Digital learning

In just a year, 29 public schools from as far as Pangasinan in the North and Tawi-Tawi in the South have received a Smart TechnoCart. Fifteen of these were donated by Smart, while the rest were sponsored by individuals and organizations who wanted to help spread the benefits of digital learning to more public schools.

Because the TechnoCart can be easily wheeled from one classroom to the next, each unit can reach up to 20 kindergarten classes or 250 students per day.

“The Smart TechnoCart introduces public school kindergarten classes to the benefits offered by tablets and relevant digital content. It is one of Smart’s many initiatives to use technology for the development of various sectors of society,” said Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino.

Positive feedback

“Since we launched the program last year, we have received a lot of positive feedback from teachers. They say their students’ skills have significantly improved, and that they have become more eager to learn,” she added.

Preschool teacher Violeta Bellen of Bacacay East Central School in Albay, one of the recipients of the Smart TechnoCart, shared: “Absenteeism has declined. One time, classes were suspended because of heavy rains. But a lot of the students still went to school. They asked me, ‘Teacher, aren’t we using the tablets today?’ I had to tell them to go home.”

“During our first grading lecture, my children were not really interested in reading letters and they didn’t even participate in our daily activities. Only a few of them could identify the letters or the numbers. But when the TechnoCart arrived they improved a lot. They really enjoy tracing letters using the Batibot app, and I am surprised they can now easily identify the letters,” said kindergarten teacher Hja. Shaiha A. Irahani of Datu Halun Laboratory School in Tawi-Tawi.

Smart Technocart

The Batibot app, downloadble for free on Google Play, has fun features that teach kids the alphabet and basic skills like grouping similar objects. It also features stories that highlight values.

Awards

Aside from winning in the ACA, the year-old Smart TechnoCart program has also received a Gold Anvil from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, and a Quill Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippine chapter.

Those interested in sponsoring Smart TechnoCarts may get more information at www.smart.com.ph/learnsmart.

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Smart starts deployment of LTE-Advanced mobile service

PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart) has begun to roll out the country’s first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service, which can provide significantly higher data speeds than existing LTE services using a…

PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart) has begun to roll out the country’s first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service, which can provide significantly higher data speeds than existing LTE services using a capability called “carrier aggregation.”

Initially deployed in Boracay, Aklan, one of the country’s leading tourist destinations, Smart’s LTE-A service there has posted speeds of up to 260 Mbps.

“With the introduction of our LTE-Advanced service, the next stage of development of 4th generation of mobile technology, Smart is again at the technology forefront, setting the bar higher for mobile service experience,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor.

Smart joins the short list of operators around the world that have tested and rolled out the technology, which is also referred to as 4.5G. This list includes Optus in Australia, Sprint in the US, and Turkcell in Turkey, among others.

Boost internet services

“Combined with our other network improvement initiatives for both our mobile and fixed line networks, the introduction of LTE-A will help boost internet services in the country and enable more Filipinos to enjoy and benefit from the fast-growing range of digital services that PLDT and Smart offer,” he said.

Smart LTE-A

SUPERIOR EXPERIENCE. For Smart subscribers using LTE-A capable devices, this translates into superior experiences when using various data services, particularly bandwidth-heavy services like video- and audio-streaming, and gaming.

“We are also planning ahead, in anticipation of future advances in technology. Our current investments in network facilities are already being done in a way that will enable us to be ready for 5G when it arrives sometime in 2020. For this purpose, we are working closely with NTT DoCoMo, which is one of the global pace-setters in the development of 5G,” Horn added.

Carrier aggregation refers to the ability of LTE-A to combine two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and faster data speeds to mobile users.

Superior experience

“This is like being able to put together two or more separate highways in order to create a wider highway through which vehicular traffic can flow more freely and at a much faster rate,” Horn said.

“Wireless technologies being a shared resource, the actual customer experience is typically less than the peak speeds being registered during tests. But, carrier aggregation on LTE-A, by combining the capacities of two or more frequency bands, will enable Smart to deliver to subscribers with LTE-A devices consistently higher speeds than is possible using LTE. In Boracay, we have combined three frequencies, which is a first in the country,” he said.

For Smart subscribers using LTE-A capable devices, this translates into superior experiences when using various data services, particularly bandwidth-heavy services like video- and audio-streaming, and gaming.

Currently, the LTE-A capable devices include the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. Other handset manufacturers are expected to introduce their own LTE-A devices soon.

LTE-A tests

Smart ran several tests of LTE-A in 2013 – in Boracay during the Geeks on a Beach startup conference; in Davao City during the Kadayawan festival; and in Makati City. The introduction of LTE-A capable devices since then has opened the door for its roll-out.

Horn explained that LTE-A is the “cutting edge” of a broader effort to improve the cellular and mobile internet services of Smart and Sun subscribers.

In a network integration program started last year, for example, Smart and Sun have been synergizing their networks to improve the coverage and quality of service for the subscribers of both brands using 2G, 3G and LTE capable devices.

Increase in coverage

“For example, where it makes technical and marketing sense, we equip a single cell site – either of Smart or Sun – so that this can serve the subscribers of both brands,” Jorn said.

As a result of this program, depending on the area, the effective coverage for Smart and Sun subscribers increases by anywhere from 50% to 100%. The program is expected to be completed by end-2016 or early 2017. This was part of PLDT’s P43-billion capital expenditure program (capex) in 2015 and will be funded by the 2016 capex budget which has been set at the same level.

In this program, specific attention is being given to enhancing 3G/HSPA/HSPA+ coverage and capacity because about 90% of Smart and Sun subscribers who go online use 3G handsets.

“Improving our 3G data service thus delivers immediate benefits to the largest number of people in our subscriber base. At the same time, we have been expanding the coverage of our LTE network because the number of subscribers using LTE phones is steadily rising,” Horn said.

“And now, we have also begun to deploy LTE-A. The pace of this deployment will be driven by several factors, including the rate at which subscribers start using LTE-A capable devices,” he added. (Press Release)

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Smart named best mobile operator anew in World Communication Awards

For the 2nd straight year, the country’s mobile leader Smart Communications was named Best Mobile Operator in the prestigious World Communication Awards, an annual recognition program for innovation and outstanding performance in the global telecommunications industry.

For the 2nd straight year, the country’s mobile leader Smart Communications was named Best Mobile Operator in the prestigious World Communication Awards, an annual recognition program for innovation and outstanding performance in the global telecommunications industry.

In a ceremony held recently in London, Smart bagged the coveted prize over Australian company Telstra and Middle Eastern operator Ooredoo.

Last year, Smart won in the invitation-only category over six other finalists, including Globe Telecom and Turkcell.

Digital strategy

The WCA is organized annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom.

In naming Smart Best Mobile Operator, the WCA recognized the company’s ability to “develop its business by moving into new areas or through service innovation.”

Powered by its strengthened digital strategy which focuses on new mobile data offers and digital partnerships, Smart posted an all-time high growth for its mobile data and broadband businesses in the first nine months of 2015. Combined revenues reached P15.6 billion, aided by a 139% upsurge in mobile data usage within the network.

Smart Life

PARTNERSHIPS. Smart forged partnerships with leading global digital technology companies like Uber and Airbnb, and with entertainment companies like iflix, FOX, MCA Music, and Sony Music and introduced a slew of digital offers under the “Smart Life” campaign.

‘Smart Life’ campaign

Smart recently forged partnerships with leading global digital technology companies like Uber and Airbnb, and with entertainment companies like iflix, FOX, MCA Music, and Sony Music. It introduced a slew of digital offers under the “Smart Life” campaign, which gives Filipinos the best of entertainment, convenience, urban comforts, and peace of mind wherever they go.

These new partnerships are tied into a more streamlined suite of mobile data offerings, bannered by Smart’s Big Bytes 50 offer that includes 350MB of open-access data, plus 600MB of additional data for iflix, FOX, and SPINNR, valid for three days.

Undisputed leader

Smart has received several international awards this year, including Best Mobile Music App for SPINNR which was given at the Global Mobile Awards in Spain. Smart’s president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno was also named Telecom CEO of the Year at the Telecom Asia Awards in Indonesia.

Smart remains the undisputed Philippine leader in mobile, with 67 million cellular subscribers under the brands Smart, Sun, and TNT. It has 3.8 million broadband subscribers under the brands Smart Bro and Sun Wireless Broadband. (Press Release)

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Smart promotes preparedness lifestyle to children

As part of its advocacy to promote a culture of preparedness, mobile leader Smart Communications (Smart) unveiled a series of disaster-readiness educational videos especially designed for children who are most vulnerable during disasters.

As part of its advocacy to promote a culture of preparedness, mobile leader Smart Communications (Smart) unveiled a series of disaster-readiness educational videos especially designed for children who are most vulnerable during disasters.

The video series, entitled Maging Laging Handa, covers precautionary measures and safety tips for various calamities such as typhoons, floods, tsunamis, storm surges, earthquakes, and landslides.

Reviewed and approved by PAGASA, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the video materials will be used by DepEd as additional resources for the disaster risk reduction education of elementary students. A teacher’s guide as to how these videos can be integrated in the curriculum has already been developed by DepEd.

“We are very happy to collaborate with our government partners on this project. It’s good to include the children, as early as now, in the entire preparedness exercise as we try to become a nation that is more capable and ready for any type of disasters,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

The video features Tonipet Gabba as online instructor; three puppets namely Inay Lena, a mother hen; Brownie, a dog; and Kali, a carabao; and all-original Tagalog songs aimed at making the learning journey richer and more exciting.

The videos were able to simplify disaster-related concepts like the typhoon signals, rainfall warning signals, and the differences between a storm surge and a tsunami.

The Maging Laging Handa videos are available online via the #SafePH website at www.smart.com.ph/SafePH.

Smart as an organization has embraced preparedness, and has been aggressively promoting the culture of preparedness among its partner organizations under its #SafePH program.

The telco has been holding caravans all over the country for household preparedness, and supporting different government agencies to help strengthen disaster management capacities of the LGUs.

To aid in disaster communications and response, Smart has developed mobile apps and technology solutions such as the Batingaw and Project Noah apps, and the Smart Infocast. The telco has also been consistent in providing immediate libreng tawag services to areas affected by disasters using its satellite services.

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Smart gives free rides, in-car WiFi in partnership with Uber

Smart subscribers in Metro Manila can now gear up for a sleeker and more convenient ride through the city as the country’s undisputed mobile services provider is giving away free rides on Uber, the world’s leading ride-sharing tech company.

Smart subscribers in Metro Manila can now gear up for a sleeker and more convenient ride through the city as the country’s undisputed mobile services provider is giving away free rides on Uber, the world’s leading ride-sharing tech company.

As an exclusive treat, Smart is giving away two free Uber rides – worth P300 each – to Metro Manila-based subscribers who are also first time-users of the Uber app. The rides can be used anywhere within Metro Manila from now until Sept. 30.

To avail yourself of Smart’s free Uber rides, simply visit www.smart.com.ph/uber and register your Smart number. Upon successful registration, you shall receive a Promo Code which you can input on the Uber app before requesting a ride.

Free in-car Smart WiFi on Uber rides

This exciting promo comes with Smart and Uber’s groundbreaking partnership that will allow Uber passengers to enjoy free in-car Smart WiFi – a first in Southeast Asia.

With free in-car Smart WiFi on Uber rides, more Filipinos can now experience the Smart Life even while stuck in traffic or breezing through the metro. This means you can now update your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and stay productive by accessing your work and personal email on the way to work or school.

The snarling rush hour traffic on the way home can also be a bit more bearable now that you can stream your road trip music on Spinnr and catch your favorite sport and Fox shows on Viewstream, or even binge-watch trending series and shows on iFlix and YouTube – all in the comfort of your Smart WiFi-powered Uber car.

“Uber and Smart share the same vision – a world where transportation is smarter and more convenient to passengers. By powering Uber cars with free Smart WiFi, we are able to bring the Smart Life experience to more Filipinos who can now stay productive and entertained while rushing to work or school, heading to the mall or on the way back home after a long day,” said Ariel P. Fermin, executive vice president and head for consumer business for both PLDT and Smart.

More exclusive Uber perks for Smart subscribers

Uber’s free in-car Smart WiFi will be available initially in select Uber Black vehicles and will be rolled out in other Uber vehicles over the next few months. Smart is also set to introduce exclusive voice and data packages, bundles and add-ons for Uber partner drivers, as well as offer special promotions, discounts and on-demand experiences for subscribers.

Experience the Smart Life on the road now by downloading the Uber app on Google Play Store, App Store and Microsoft Store for free. Also follow Smart’s official accounts on Facebook and Twitter @SMARTCares for the latest promos and services. (Press Release)

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Smart, MyCebu.ph to deliver info on tourism, heritage sites through phone scanning

Philippine wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based website MyCebu.ph have partnered to deliver information on tourism and heritage sites to mobile phones and tablets through quick response or…

Philippine wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based website MyCebu.ph have partnered to deliver information on tourism and heritage sites to mobile phones and tablets through quick response or QR code scanning.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Department of Tourism.

Smart and MyCebu.ph will place special markers on tourism and heritage sites all over Cebu. The markers will contain a snippet of information about the site and a QR code that, when scanned, will open an article about the landmark. To be able to load the information, users must be connected to the Internet and they must have a QR code reader in their devices. Most phone platforms offer free QR code scanners in their respective application markets.

QR Code demo on Colon Street

MYCebu.ph editor Marlen Limpag explains to bloggers and journalists gathered on Colon Street, the country’s oldest street, the QR Code data tagging of Cebu tourism and heritage structures, a joint project between MyCebu.ph and Smart Communications Inc, done in partnership with the Department of Tourism. During the demo on Colon St., journalists and bloggers were able to load a photo of old Colon by scanning the QR Code contained in a special marker.

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