Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Nokia 3.1 Plus offers big screen, dual cameras, 2-day battery life

A large HD display, 2-day battery life, dual cameras, and an affordable price: that’s what the Nokia 3.1 Plus offers consumers. HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced…

A large HD display, 2-day battery life, dual cameras, and an affordable price: that’s what the Nokia 3.1 Plus offers consumers.

HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced the availability in the Philippines of the Nokia 3.1 Plus. It is the most affordable Nokia smartphone with dual cameras and is the latest device to join the Android One family, delivering the best of Google with monthly security patches.

“We went big in a more accessible category to deliver premium experiences at an exceptional value. The Nokia 3.1 Plus delivers a large display, dual cameras, two-day battery life and the power of an octa-core processor – all in an affordable package,” said HMD Global Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas, “And we didn’t stop there. The phone is encased in a metal body with die-cast metal interiors and the craftsmanship and attention to detail you expect of a Nokia smartphone. In short: with the Nokia 3.1 Plus go big without having to spend big.”

Nokia 3.1 Plus

 

Great viewing experience

HMD Global Country Manager for the Philippines Sancho Chak said “I am more than thrilled to begin my journey in the Philippines with the introduction of the Nokia 3.1 Plus to our beloved Filipino Nokia fans. We will continue playing in the ever-competitive Philippine smartphone market, with its constant growth and rising demand for new models featuring enticing innovations. With the Nokia 3.1 Plus, Filipinos can get refined performance without compromising on the experience.”

The Nokia 3.1 Plus delivers great viewing experiences in its category, thanks to its 6-inch HD+ display and 18:9 aspect ratio, which enables users to view more content on their screen. All these make social media browsing through favorite newsfeeds, apps and videos ideal and more fun.

With its 3500mAh battery that lasts two days between charges, the Nokia 3.1 Plus can also effortlessly get you through your Netflix binges without needing a top-up.

Nokia 3.1 Plus

 

Crisp images, fast focus

Bringing crisp images with fast and accurate focus even in low light, the Nokia 3.1 Plus steps up the photography game with its 13MP Phase Detection Auto Focus main camera. The rear camera also includes a 5MP sensor for rear depth sensing imaging, making professional studio style shots possible. The selectable bokeh blur feature allows users to adjust blur even after the image has been taken.

On the front is an 8MP camera designed to make selfies stand out. With its high-quality dual camera photography and AI-accelerated experiences powered by the octa-core chipset, the Nokia 3.1 Plus makes premium photography features available at an affordable price point.

With the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor’s perfect balance of high performance and power efficiency, the Nokia 3.1 Plus delivers only the necessary power by using fewer cores during basic tasks for optimal efficiency. The chipset also provides a boost during intensive tasks such as watching videos to ensure sustainable high performance and a consistently reliable experience.

 

Android One

The phone’s precision-fit, CNC-machined rear aluminium cover delivers a seamless, pure design which, combined with a die-cast metal structure, provides impressive solidity. The Nokia 3.1 Plus’s matte, highly tactile finish with diamond cut detailing and curved 2.5D glass offers a precision-crafted feel in the hand expected of a Nokia smartphone.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus joins the comprehensive lineup of Nokia smartphones in the Android One family, delivering high-quality experience endorsed by Google. Nokia smartphones with Android One offer great storage and battery life out of the box but also come preloaded with the very latest in AI-powered innovations developed by Google.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus will receive three years of monthly security patches and two years of OS updates as guaranteed in the Android One program. This ranks the Nokia 3.1 Plus amongst the most-secure phones out there and is kept always up-to-date with the latest Google services, including Google Assistant and Google Photos with free unlimited high-quality photo storage.3

Nokia 3.1 Plus availability

The Nokia 3.1 Plus ships with Android Oreo preloaded so you’ll immediately be able to enjoy the latest and greatest features, including Google Lens, picture-in-picture for multitasking and Google Play. Discover and run new apps whilst enjoying the phone longer through Android One’s AI-powered battery-saving features that intuitively limit background usage.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes in Blue, White or Baltic, and may be availed at all authorized Nokia mobile resellers, MemoXpress and Megacellular, and at Nokia mobile-branded stores, kiosks and exhibits for P9,990. (Press Release)

 

Nokia 3.1 Plus datasheet

 

Nokia 3.1 Plus datasheet

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Stronger signal improves life in mountain barangays of Cebu City

From being able to quickly call for emergency vehicles to bring patients to bigger hospitals to being able to receive orders for flowers, residents of Barangay Guba and Bonbon in…

From being able to quickly call for emergency vehicles to bring patients to bigger hospitals to being able to receive orders for flowers, residents of Barangay Guba and Bonbon in Cebu City say their lives have improved with the stronger cellphone signal in their area.

The two mountain barangays that are an hour’s drive from the central Cebu City business district now have better connectivity after Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) turned on 2 4G LTE cell sites in the area.

With the improved signal coverage, residents can now tap mobile services to improve their lives and boost their livelihood and businesses. Vital facilities like schools and hospitals also benefitted from the improved connection.

Smart LTE Cebu City

IMPROVED SPEEDS. The connectivity in Barangay Bonbon, a mountain barangay in Cebu City.

 

Emergency communications

Fr. Peter Necesario, parish priest of St. Niño Parish in Guba, said that with stronger signal, they no longer feel isolated, especially during emergencies.

“In times of emergencies such as storms, it is easier for us to communicate and be updated about the weather through the internet,” Fr. Necesario said.

He added that Guba is a strategically located barangay with a community hospital and church, so communications is very important.

Resident Gemma Sandigan, 40, said that the better mobile phone service helps them address the needs of the community, especially on health care. Her father was the former head of Guba Community Hospital. Since the community hospital is small, it can’t cater to complex medical procedures and has to refer patients to bigger hospitals. However, there are times when no vehicles are available to transport the patients.

LTE Cebu City

LTE CONNECTION. The improved connectivity allows residents of Barangays Guba and Bonbon to tap online services like live streaming of community events.

 

Contact family members

“With better signal, we can call for vehicles and ask for help in transferring patients to bigger hospitals faster,” Gemma said.

The activation of 2 new cell sites is part of a larger rollout plan covering several more mountain barangays of Cebu City at the request of Mayor Tomas Osmeña. The city government plans to deploy new services for these communities that require improved mobile phone coverage and data services.

For Gemma’s mother, 62-year-old Emerlisa Veloso, the benefits are personal. She is thankful for the stronger signal because she can now contact her children who work away from home.

“Before, we really have to get out of the house just to get signal. Now, we can just stay indoors to contact my children. This is a huge help,” Veloso said.

In terms of education, better signal also means improved learning.

Research, school work

For 14-year-old Grade 8 student Faith Mae P. Tabal, communication with teachers and classmates for school-related activities has become easier, now that she can use LTE for research and other school work.

In Barangay Bonbon, meanwhile, farmers are reaping the benefits of good signal and data connection.

Flower farmer Donyo Tapia, 71, said that the better Smart signal has helped him a lot with his flower deliveries.

“Stronger signal is a huge help. They (customers) can just call us when they order flowers. Even if we don’t have the flowers, we can still look for them,” he said.

Tapia also said they have the phone numbers to the local market and the customers can now call them for orders anytime and anywhere.

LTE in Guba, Bonbon, Cebu City

STRONGER CONNECTION. The new LTE connectivity allows students in Barangays Guba and Bonbon to use the internet to research and to link up with family, friends, and classmates.

 

Strong signal anywhere

“We can make sure to deliver flowers immediately, especially rush orders, now that the signal is stronger. Unlike before when we still have to go to higher places just to look for signal. It was hard. Now the signal is very strong anywhere,” he added.

Another thankful resident of Barangay Bonbon is 50-year-old micro-entrepreneur Marites Cabos. Upon experiencing stronger signal for calls and LTE for mobile data, she now sells Smart SIM cards in her store.

“Before we didn’t have network signal from Smart, now we finally have it. We are very thankful because this is a huge help for us here in Bonbon, especially because our children live far away. Now I am also a retailer here because the signal is faster. The LTE data (signal) is now very fast here in Bonbon,” she said.

Over 80% of cell sites across Cebu now have LTE.

This continuous expansion of LTE services across Cebu is part of efforts to provide the best mobile data experience across the country.

LTE is the best technology to help bring fast, affordable and reliable mobile internet services to as many customers as possible. It is also quickly upgradable to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with capable smartphones.

In Cebu, major cities like Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mandaue City already have LTE-A sites.

LTE in Guba and Bonbon

IMPROVED LIVES. The stronger Smart signal in Barangays Guba and Bonbon have improved the lives of people in the community.

 

Award-winning network

Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access within three years from the grant of the use of frequencies by the NTC in 2016.

Smart has increased its total LTE base station count across the country by 65% in the first three quarters of 2018. PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network, the country’s most extensive fiber network at 221,000 kilometers, meanwhile, provides high-capacity fiber connections for these LTE base stations.

For these continuous network upgrade efforts, both PLDT and Smart have been cited by third party firms for being the country’s fastest networks. Earlier this year, PLDT and Smart were cited for being the country’s fastest fixed and mobile networks for Q1-Q2 2018, respectively, by Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis. Mobile analytics firm OpenSignal has also consistently cited Smart for having the country’s fastest LTE network for its past four study rounds.

Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources for network transformation. For 2018, PLDT capex was expected to reach P58 billion.

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Disaster preparedness, response in communities boosted via tech, partnerships

Communication services, technological innovations and partnerships with various organizations—these factors have helped communities all over the Philippines bolster disaster preparedness and response efforts. As the Philippines faced typhoons, volcanic eruptions…

Communication services, technological innovations and partnerships with various organizations—these factors have helped communities all over the Philippines bolster disaster preparedness and response efforts.

As the Philippines faced typhoons, volcanic eruptions and other hazards in 2018, several communities weathered the storm with the help of solutions initiated by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications.

As part of its #SafePH advocacy, Smart ensured the availability and quick restoration of its services in areas hit by calamities. These areas include Albay, which was affected by the eruption of the Mayon Volcano; Benguet and other provinces in the Northern Luzon, which bore the brunt of Typhoon “Ompong” (Mangkhut) and “Rosita” (Yutu); and other areas all over the country that experienced heavy rains, strong winds and floods.

Smart disaster response Ompong

A resident from Benguet (left) uses the free charging station put up by Smart and Vodafone Foundation at the Typhoon Ompong command center in Itogon.

 

Free calls, charging, Wi-Fi

In areas where communication services were limited because of damage to infrastructure and power lines, Smart offered libreng tawag (free calls), charging and Wi-Fi services to both affected residents and responders.

Smart also forged cooperation with international organizations to further enhance its emergency communications services and enable these solutions to serve more communities.

When Ompong hit Northern Luzon and triggered a deadly landslide in Benguet, Vodafone Foundation teamed up with Smart to provide emergency solutions for those affected by the typhoon. Smart and Vodafone set up free charging and Wi-Fi stations at the command center and the retrieval site in Itogon for the use of both responders, evacuees and family members of landslide victims and others in need of assistance.

Nokia drone disaster response

Representatives of Smart, Nokia and PRC during the drone and network solutions presentation. They are (from left) Thomas Eder (Nokia), Leonardo Ebajo (PRC), Ramon Isberto (Smart), Nicolas Bouverot (Nokia), Christina Cabrera (Nokia), Elizabeth Zavalla (PRC), Colin Von Hardenberg (Nokia), Ana Mariquina (PRC), Dullip Tillekeratne (GSMA) and Alvin Ilano (Smart).

 

Nokia drones

Nokia also tapped Smart to be its connectivity partner for a program that employs drones and network solutions for disaster response. The Nokia Saving Lives program seeks to provide communications technology and technical assistance to emergency response teams. In the Philippines, Smart will provide high-speed connectivity to the drone system to help boost the disaster response efforts of the Philippine Red Cross.

For its pioneering and collaborative system, the Nokia Saving Lives project received funding from GSMA, the organization representing mobile operators globally. Early this year, GSMA selected Nokia Saving Lives as a recipient of its Humanitarian Innovation Grant.

On the local front, Smart joined forces with the academe and local government units to help bring disaster preparedness closer to the youth. Through its TNT brand, Smart brought its Tropang Ready disaster preparedness caravans to more state colleges and universities all over the country. TNT Tropang Ready aims to train the youth and their friends (tropa) on disaster preparedness. With their agility and technological know-how, the youth are best suited to mobilize their communities in times of calamities.

The Tropang Ready program recently won in the Community Engagement category at the prestigious Golden World Awards, which recognizes public relations practices that meet international standards of excellence.

Smart Vodafone response Itogon

Vodafone volunteers (in red) get help from Itogon residents as they set up the free charging and Wi-Fi stations for responders and affected residents near the area hit by landslide in Barangay Ucab.

 

TNT Tropang Ready

Since 2016, the TNT Tropang Ready program has covered more than 10,000 students and school personnel in more than 10 state colleges and universities nationwide. Joining the roster of Tropang Ready schools this year are the following universities: Holy Name University in Tagbilaran, Bohol; University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City; Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte, and Mindanao State University in Marawi City. The students were trained to cascade their learnings to their extension communities, bringing the lessons to more residents and amplifying its benefits.

Smart Naga landslide free calls

A resident of Naga, Cebu, uses Smart’s free calls service to contact a relative following the landslide that hit their community.

 

Smart also extended support during nationwide earthquake drills by providing various emergency communications facilities, allowing residents and responders to experience first-hand the solutions that are available to them as the need arises. The drills were held in San Mateo, Rizal; Davao City; and in various locations all over Metro Manila.

As Filipinos gear up for 2019, Smart also recognizes the importance of being prepared for the year ahead. Smart continues to ensure the reliability of its services and, in times of distress, offer communications as relief, as part of its commitment to a #SafePH. (Press Release)

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Fitbit enhances health, fitness smartwatch experience with software update

Fitbit, the leading global wearables brand, announced advancements to the on-device Fitbit user experience for its popular smartwatches: Fitbit OS 3.0 for Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition and Fitbit…

Fitbit, the leading global wearables brand, announced advancements to the on-device Fitbit user experience for its popular smartwatches:

  • Fitbit OS 3.0 for Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition and Fitbit Versa smartwatches lets you see even more personal data at-a-glance, including sleep and expanded exercise view. It also adds quick logging for weight and water intake. With these, it’s easier than ever to take action based on data right from your wrist.
  • 10 new popular brand apps across health, fitness, smart home and lifestyle brands were announced, including achu health, Couch to 5K, Genius Wrist and MySwimPro. Others like FitBark, MINDBODY and TRX are coming soon to the Fitbit App Gallery, offering more tools to help maximize your health and simplify your life.
  • New Fitbit Exercise API and open-source developer tools provide Fitbit’s global developer community with faster, more efficient ways to build complex and innovative health and fitness apps and clock faces for Fitbit smartwatches; new developer apps Alpine Snow and Skateboard launch starting today.
  • Female Health Tracking trends will arrive in the Fitbit app in early 2019, offering a comprehensive view of menstrual cycle data including symptom trends, over time.

“We are excited to announce these software and app updates as they provide Fitbit smartwatch users with more ways to take action based on their personal data to achieve their health and fitness goals,” said Jon Oakes, Senior Vice President of Product at Fitbit.

Fitbit OS upgrade

QUICK LOGGING. With quick-logging on-device, keeping track of your weight and water intake is now easier than ever.

 

Take action right from your wrist with more health data and quick logging

The Fitbit OS 3.0 update delivers an expanded on-device dashboard to easily view additional and expanded stats and data, including sleep, log water intake and weight, with expanded exercise stats, heart rate and hourly activity, allowing you more ways to take control of and manage your important personal health data right from your wrist. Goal-based exercise modes have been added to Ionic, Ionic: adidas edition and Versa, so you can set a goal for calories burned, distance or time for 15+ exercises, including running, biking, swimming and more, and see real-time stats, progress and celebrations when goals are reached.

Fitbit OS upgrade

New health, fitness apps.

 

New health and fitness apps from popular brands

Fitbit is expanding its Fitbit App Gallery with 10 new popular brand apps to deliver enhanced health and fitness experiences and provide you with more unique ways to simplify your every day. These apps integrate with Fitbit data to offer guidance and insights to help track your progress and motivate you along your health and fitness journey.

Available in the Fitbit Featured App Gallery are four new popular brand apps and clock faces:

  • achu health: This clock face transfers your Fitbit data to achu’s illness prediction technology to help you evaluate potential illness, providing alerts when your body show signs of sickness before it happens.
  • Couch to 5K: Pulls your Fitbit data including distance and calories burned to provide you with insights and training programs for races ranging from 5K to a marathon.
  • Genius Wrist: Features four apps (Gym Genius, Gym Time Pro, Workout Builder and Workout Genius) which provide structured on-device workouts, productivity and visualization tools, offering different ways for you to view your Fitbit data and workout anywhere, anytime.
  • MySwimPro: Offers custom guided swim workouts, training plans and video coaching for all levels, using real-time heart rate from your Fitbit device to help you improve your swim performance. Post-workout analytics pull personal workout data to track progress and measure improvement.

“We are partnering with some of the most popular health and fitness brands to develop apps that leverage Fitbit data to offer unique experiences and deliver more valuable and personal insights to help our users to live healthier lifestyles,” said Tim Rosa, Chief Marketing Officer at Fitbit. “For example, apps like achu health pairs your Fitbit data with illness prediction technology to help you manage signs of sickness, and MySwimPro helps you improve swimming performance with personalized coaching plans based on your heart rate data during swimming workouts.”

Fitbit OS upgrade

GOALS. You can now set goals and get real-time stats during your workout for 15+ exercises including running, biking, yoga and swimming.

 

Additional third-party apps coming in early 2019 include:

  • Charity Miles: Syncs with your Fitbit activity data to raise money for 40 of the world’s top charities for every mile logged.
  • FitBark: Helps you and your dog get healthy together by showing your daily Fitbit stats such as activity, distance and calories burned alongside those of your canine companion.
  • MINDBODY: Keep your fitness and wellness top of mind with the ability to check the schedule at your favorite studios and view your upcoming MINDBODY classes from your wrist.
  • TRX: Guided workouts coach you through quick and effective TRX Suspension Training workouts that track biometrics using your Fitbit data, helping you get stronger and reach your fitness goals.

Advanced developer capabilities and innovative new apps

Since Fitbit launched its App Gallery in late 2017, its growing global community of more than 44,000
developers will now have access to more advanced capabilities, including a new Exercise API that makes it faster and easier to create, build and innovate more complex, high-quality apps for Fitbit smartwatch users. A new Scientific API helps developers and researchers perform advanced data processing through a more efficient collection of math, statistical and digital signal processing functions.

Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa

 

Developers can now use their own algorithms when building health and fitness apps, in order to create more intricate apps in less time, and can easily record custom exercise sessions on the Fitbit platform. This allows developers to design Fitbit smartwatch apps for more complex activities like snowboarding, skiing and skateboarding, so you can keep track of more specific activities that aren’t necessarily step-based.

For example, starting today are two innovative developer-created apps leveraging the latest APIs that will appear in the Fitbit Featured App Gallery:

  • Alpine Snow: Take your Fitbit device on the slopes with the ability to track distance travelled, number of runs, speed, altitude, weather conditions, calories burned and heart rate in real-time, with the session available to view in the Fitbit App along with your GPS route.
  • Skateboard: Track your speed, heart rate, calories burned, and distance traveled while you skateboard, based on your Fitbit data.

All new popular brand and developer apps will be available in addition to the existing suite of 15+ Exercise Modes and more than 1,200 apps and clock faces currently accessible to Fitbit smartwatch users.

Period trends coming to Female Health Tracking

Last, Female Health Tracking, a highly engaged feature by women in the Fitbit app , will introduce menstrual cycle trends in the Fitbit app, allowing you to see your menstrual cycle data, logged symptoms and trends all in one place no matter what Fitbit device you use.

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Realme C1 ready for its first flash sale on December 5

Realme Philippines, the newest smartphone brand in the Philippines, recently unveiled its first smartphone in the country, the Realme C1. Designed to be the Philippines’ #RealEntryLevelKing, the C1 defies the…

Realme Philippines, the newest smartphone brand in the Philippines, recently unveiled its first smartphone in the country, the Realme C1. Designed to be the Philippines’ #RealEntryLevelKing, the C1 defies the expectations of affordable smartphones with its enticing performance, design and affordable price of P5,490 on Lazada this December 5, 12pm.

Realme C1 offers an Octa-Core Snapdragon 450 processor, 6.2” Full Notch Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a mega 4,230mAh battery on an entry level device. This created waves in the local smartphone scene due to its strong value proposition and competitive price, giving Filipinos the best experience in its price point.

Realme C1

Realme Philippines aims to elevate the confidence of e-commerce in the Philippines with Lazada Philippines. Through a special online flash sale on December 5, 2018, 12pm, the brand will offer the Realme C1 for a discounted price of P5,490 instead of the original price of P5,990.

“We encourage the Filipino consumers to experience today’s king in the entry level smartphone segment, the Realme C1. For P5,490 on Lazada this December 5th, 12NN, you can already experience a highly competitive smartphone for a lot less as compared to others,” said Jacky Chen, Chief Operations Officer of Realme Philippines.

Realme C1

Designed to last more than a day with its mega battery and shoot IG worthy shots using its Dual-Rear camera, you’ll have more ways to be creative in your social media feed and always ready to share.

Check out young achievers @dgrazon @janinamanipol and @appledavid in their posts in the upcoming days with the Realme C1 to see its full potential.

You may start adding the Realme C1 to your carts by visiting Realme’s official Lazada shop here. For more information about Realme Philippines and its products, you may follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. (Press Release)

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PLDT, Smart fire up PH’s first 5G cell sites in Makati and Clark

Leading telecoms company and digital services provider PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have fired up the country’s first 5G cell sites in the Makati Central Business…

Leading telecoms company and digital services provider PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have fired up the country’s first 5G cell sites in the Makati Central Business District and at the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) in Pampanga.

PLDT and Smart on-aired the first 5G cell site at the PLDT headquarters in Makati City with technology partner Huawei, while it also activated the first 5G cell site at the Clark Smart 5G City in the CFZ with technology partner Ericsson. The 5G cell sites are 3GPP standard compliant and are the first to be activated in the Philippines.

 

Among top global operators

“I am happy to announce that PLDT and Smart just fired up the first 5G cell sites in the country, putting the company alongside the first-tier operators in the world to have deployed live 5G base stations. This is part of our commitment to bring the most advanced technologies to the country,” said PLDT and Smart chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.

By firing up a 5G cell site in a central business district, PLDT and Smart are looking to pilot 5G solutions catered to densely populated areas.

“With 5G resources now in place, we are looking at developing 5G solutions and applications for central business district areas like Makati, which host a dense population of businesses, people and advanced devices,” said Ernesto R. Alberto, PLDT and Smart Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer.

This is in line with PLDT and Smart’s recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Clark Development Corp. to transform the CFZ into the country’s first Smart 5G City.

Powerful platform for solutions

“With 5G cell sites now live and on-air, we are now set to test 5G’s powerful platform to develop solutions such as autonomous vehicles, connected fleets, and smart buildings and factories, and be able to deliver 5G services to our customers soon,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor.

According to Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering, Smart is continuously upgrading its network’s Core and Transport elements, including upgrading to fiber the backhaul connecting the network’s cell sites around the country and deploying 5G-ready equipment in its ongoing nationwide LTE roll-out. In the CFZ, PLDT and Smart are also ramping up the roll-out of LTE in key areas and equipping all of them with 5G facilities in the coming months.

“I would like to congratulate PLDT and Smart for this momentous occasion as they lay the foundation for the network infrastructure, to take it to the next level as it enables the country to fully realize its ambition toward a more digitalized economy. I am very happy to be part of this partnership as we enable 5G capability in Smart network today,” said Ericsson’s Nunzio Mirtillo, Market Area Head for South East Asia, Oceania and India.

According to Arthur Wang, director of Huawei Philippines’ PLDT group account: “We are happy to partner with PLDT and Smart in helping bring 5G to PLDT-Smart. Through this partnership, we hope to continue developing more innovations to deliver digital services to PLDT and Smart customers.”

Powered by PH’s most extensive fibver network

Armed with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by the country’s most extensive fiber network now at over 221,000 kilometers, PLDT and Smart are best positioned to deploy 5G in the country.

5G opens up exciting possibilities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities for Filipinos, particularly for the transport sector, traffic management, manufacturing, airport and mall operations, logistics and warehousing, retail, customer support, and smart homes, among others.

Apart from ultra-high speeds, the key features of 5G include enhanced mobile broadband services, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications. (Press Release)

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Working on a desktop? You must install this app

When you look into how you work on a desktop or laptop nowadays, you’d probably find you do most of your work on a browser. When before we used to…

When you look into how you work on a desktop or laptop nowadays, you’d probably find you do most of your work on a browser.

When before we used to send emails via software like Outlook, now many of us work on emails using browser via products like GMail and custom domains running on online services provided by Google and Microsoft.

When before we had to work on documents and share files through local company networks or via USBs or CDs, now many of us use office suites online like Google Drive or Office 365. Apart from the ability to work from anywhere, these services also have built-in collaboration and file sharing.

Station OneNote

ONENOTE. Station allows you to use services like Microsoft OneNote in a single app and then quickly switch among the different work windows.

 

When before we used to call up colleagues through internal company phone systems or PBX (remember extension numbers?), now we collaborate via chat systems like Slack or even Facebook Messenger.

With all these services going online, many of us end up working with several browser tabs or windows open. At times, you might end up accidentally closing a tab because it occupies the same browser instance of a site you want to leave. The arrangement also leaves your work windows alongside productivity sinkholes like Twitter or Facebook.

That is where the Station app is useful. It organizes hundreds of web applications and services into a single app and makes them accessible via a smart dock.

Station was also built as “as a work only, distraction-free platform.” Apart from the interface that encourages you to focus on your work window, it also centralizes the notifications, the bane of modern connectivity.

Rather than get buzzed every time somebody shares a file on Google Drive or sends an email or even a chat message, your notifications are listed in a single central window. You also have the option to snooze notifications for a period of time or turn these off by toggling a Do Not Disturb button.

Station

SHARED SPACE. Station simplifies the on-boarding of co-workers based on shared apps via company email addresses.

 

Station has all the important work web apps that your company probably already uses: GMail or the soon-to-be-sunsetted Inbox by Gmail, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Facebook Workplace, Hangouts, Trello, Asana, among hundreds of others.

Tools like Google Keep, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, even SimpleNote are there. For messaging, there’s Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Chat, Skype, WeChat, and even Telegram.

Station also supports Android Messages, which allows you to send and receive messages on your computer via a connected Android device.

Station is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I work on all three platforms and this makes Station indispensable. Whereas before I’d use different apps to use the same set of online services on different operating systems, now I just use Station. This is how I use OneNote, which has native apps for Windows and Mac but not for Linux.

It also allows you to use multiple accounts for services that allow it. That way, you can have Station open your personal email along with your office address.

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Access sites, apps for free and win prizes with freenet app

More than just an app by which you can access websites and apps for free, freenet is now a platform where users can win prizes and rewards. “Our freenet users…

More than just an app by which you can access websites and apps for free, freenet is now a platform where users can win prizes and rewards.

“Our freenet users get to enjoy free data access to our partner sites, while getting rewarded at the same time with points that they can redeem for items in the freenet shop. With the Dailygaya raffle promo, they get the chance to win more rewards. We’re happy to share this awesome digital experience to more Cebuanos,” said Dindo G. Marzan, managing director of hatch, the digital marketing technology arm of Voyager Innovations.

Marzan was in Cebu recently to share the update on freenet with local bloggers and journalists.

Freenet Cebu

FREENET. Dindo Marzan, Managing Director for hatch, marketing technology arm of Voyager Innovations, talks about freenet in a briefing with Cebu bloggers and journalists.

 

Digital campaigns

Freenet started as a way for people to access websites and apps like Facebook for free. It’s more than just free access now, Marzan said during the press conference.

He said companies like Lazada and BPI partner with their platform to mount digital campaigns. With BPI, for example, the bank saw an increase in mobile banking after a campaign for people to use its app with freenet, Marzan said.

The app now has 7 million users.

To reward its users, freenet is giving away prizes ranging from PayMaya credits, smartphones, to brand new motorcycles via its Dailygaya raffle promo. The promo runs until September 29. You can register until September 24.

Freenet Dailygaya prizes

There have already been 2 Cebuano winners in the promo, Marzan said.

To join, one only needs to install the freenet app and sign up for an account.

On Sundays, P2,000 worth of Sodexo GCs are up for grabs. On Mondays and Fridays, freenet will give away 10,000 freenet points that can be used to redeem airtime load, data packages, as well as gaming pins.

On Tuesdays, freenet gives away PayMaya credits while on Wednesdays, they will raffle off a Supreme 4K action cam. On Thursdays, users have a chance to win a Huawei Y6 2018. On Saturdays, freenet users get the chance to win 3 JBL FLIP speakers, a GoPro session, an iPhone 7+, a PS4, or a Yamaha SZ1.

Winners are announced daily on the freenet Facebook page.

Freenet Cebu

DAILYGAYA PROMO. From left, Kim Vargas, Senior Public Relations Officer for Voyager Innovations; Dindo Marzan, Managing Director for hatch, marketing technology arm of Voyager Innovations; Nick Wilwayco, Head of PR and Communications for Voyager Innovations, during the Cebu briefing on freenet.

 

Freenet concert

With freenet, those who shop on Lazada and transact via PayMaya can do so free of data charge. It also has Netzee Hour, which allows people to use certain sites for free on different hours of the day: post photos on Facebook from 7am to 8am, read tweets on Twitter at from 12pm to 1pm or play Mobile Legends and PUBG from 8pm to 10pm, the company said in a press release.

Members of the freenet community are also offered “missions” that allow them to earn points that can be redeemed for prepaid load, data packages, gaming pins and gift coupons. Users also get the chance to watch FREENIVERSAYA: A freenet concert on September 20 by redeeming a concert ticket inside the app using their points. The concert will have performances by artists like Bamboo, KZ Tandingan, Gloc9, Moira Dela Torre, Shanti Dope, Ben&Ben, and Hashtags.

Freenet can be downloaded by users of any network. Those in Smart, Sun, and TNT, however, get free access to apps and sites of top brands in the country including PayMaya, Lendr, Lazada, Philippine Star, and many more.

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Cebu schools dominate Accenture innovation contest

A student project that seeks to teach speech to children with cleft palate was named the grand champion of Accenture Philippines’ Program The Future 2018 today during the finals in…

A student project that seeks to teach speech to children with cleft palate was named the grand champion of Accenture Philippines’ Program The Future 2018 today during the finals in Taguig City.

The team from Cebu Institute of Technology University won the top prize with their Tingog app, which seeks to help children with cleft palate and speech difficulties learn how to speak. Tingog is meant to complement professional speech therapy, the students said in an earlier interview.

The CIT students won P300,000 while the school got P50,000.

A team from University of San Carlos won the Accenture Tech Vision Award for its project, Tactus. The project taps internet of things and artificial intelligence to allow blind people to read via a glove that transforms words into Braille feedback on the finger tips.

CIT Accenture Program The Future

SPEECH HELP. Cebu Institute of Technology students receive their grand prize for winning Accenture’s Program The Future 2018 with Tingog, an app that seeks to help teach speech to children with cleft palate. (Photo from Accenture’s Twitter page)

 

Sumulong College of Arts and Sciences completed the winners with a project aimed at preventing flash floods by using sensors.

Five teams from Cebu made it to the national finals. CIT had another finalist that proposed using tech to manage and monitor Cebu City’s free medicines program. University of the Philippines Cebu made it to the nationals with its Cancervive, an app to support cancer victims in their treatment. University of San Jose Recoletos, meanwhile, had a finalist team that proposed a portal to analyze and assess needs of communities hit by calamities.

Program The Future is an annual event started by Accenture five years ago as a way to link up with the academe.

“The intent really is through the months-long program, we want to help students rediscover their power to shape the future through technology,” Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines Managing Director Arvin Yason said in an earlier interview.

“We’re also helping them see that it’s not just about technology it’s also about creativity, imagination, teamwork–because we’re a very team-oriented organization–and the power of technology to make the world a better place,” he added.

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Boost your internet connectivity with Linksys mesh WiFi system

With family members having multiple devices requiring good internet connectivity, modern homes now require good WiFi coverage. Apart from good internet provider service, one can improve coverage by using new…

With family members having multiple devices requiring good internet connectivity, modern homes now require good WiFi coverage. Apart from good internet provider service, one can improve coverage by using new devices like a mesh WiFi system.

Signing up for high-speed Internet service and using the default modem as WiFi router is like having a large pipe and using a faulty faucet, said Linksys Philippines Country Sales Manager Jason Villados.

Among the common problems of WiFi connectivity at home are: dead spots in certain areas, multiple SSIDS or WiFi access point names, gadgets not always connecting to the strongest network, interruptions during real time streaming such as during Facetime or Skype calls, speed reduction due to channel interference, and multiple and inconsistent product experiences working with various devices.

Linksys Velop WiFi

WIFI NODES. The WiFi nodes for the Velop mesh WiFi system extends coverage and makes consistent the connectivity in various parts of your house or office.

 

Villados said all these problems can be solved by using a mesh WiFi system like their Velop Whole Home MeshWifi Systems.

Villados launched Velop in a press event in Cebu City on Tuesday.

Seamless WiFi experience

He said a home mesh WiFi system like Velop offers a “seamless WiFi experience similar to an enterprise system.” He said it offers consistent and complete coverage of a home or even a small office.

Using a router and extender setup will have unstable WiFi signal that degrades over the distance. This can present a problem when one uses a gadget and moves to another part of the house, Villados said. The setup also provides poor WiFi to such devices as security cameras or smart TVs.

A mesh WiFi like that of Velop, on the other hand, “creates continuous connections at the edge, providing high performance WiFi to devices on the edge of the home, such as security cameras,” he said.

Linksys Velop Home WiFi

CEBU LAUNCH. Linksys Philippines Country Sales Manager Jason Villados talks about the Velop Whole Home MeshWifi Systems during the launch in Cebu.

 

Simple to set up

“Velop is compatible with any ISP modem or gateway,” the company said in a statement. It comes in several packs that differ on the number of nodes. The different nodes are placed in various areas of the house or office to create the seamless connection.

Villados said the system is very simple to set up and one needs only to install an app to be guided on the configuration as well as the optimal placement of nodes for a reliable and consistent connection.

The company said the system offers True Modular Mesh Design. “Each node is built to connect with each other over WiFi or wired Ethernet or combination of the two for best performance. They auto-configure to connect in multiple different mesh topologies.”

Linksys Velop WiFi

SMART HOME. Devices such as security cameras, smart speakers, plugs, and lights work best when you have good WiFi coverage. This is something Velop can address, the company said.

 

Velop also has Intelligent MeshTechnology “that simplifies WiFi networking and optimizes end-to-end performance. The Velop system adapts to a user’s WiFi needs. It self-heals and optimizes to consistently deliver fast, flawless WiFi everywhere in the home.”

Automatic updates

The system is interoperable and one can just add nodes to extend coverage.

Velop also “comes with custom Amazon Alexa “skills” that can turn the guest network on/off and read back the credentials of both the main and guest networks.”

With automatic software updates, Velop “will always remain up-to-date and highly secure without having to update hardware.”

Linksys Velop WiFi

VELOP comes in different packs with different number of nodes.

 

“Velop will automatically monitor for updates and apply new software that unlock new features, resolution to security vulnerabilities, and improved performance as they become available,” the company said.

In Cebu, Velop can be purchased in NGenius IT Hub, Metro PC, Thinking Tools, Octagon Computer Superstores, and Silicon Valley.

The Dual-Band systems cost P5,995 (1-pack), P10,995 (2-pack), and P15,995 (3-pack).

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5 Cebu teams make it to national finals of Accenture Program The Future 2018

Technology solutions to monitor Cebu City’s free medicines program, facilitate and track donations for calamity-hit communities, teach speech to kids with cleft palate, support cancer patients deal with their disease,…

Technology solutions to monitor Cebu City’s free medicines program, facilitate and track donations for calamity-hit communities, teach speech to kids with cleft palate, support cancer patients deal with their disease, and help the blind read via conversion of text into Braille feedback topped Saturday’s Accenture Program The Future 2018 in Cebu.

The five student teams chosen from the 11 that joined the semifinals in Cebu will head to Manila on August 18 to compete in the national finals.

“Your solutions and apps prove that you can accomplish extraordinary things by combining talent, collaboration, technology, and compassion for others,” said Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines Managing Director Arvin Yason during the awarding of winners.

“Help future-proof talent”

Program The Future: The Accenture Technology Campus Challenge, Yason explained in a press conference after the event, was started five years ago to reach out to the academe.

“Through Program the Future, Accenture is actively collaborating with the academe to help future- proof talent, equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed and lead in the digital age,” the company said in a briefing paper.

“The intent really is through the months-long program, we want to help students rediscover their power to shape the future through technology,” Yason said. “We’re also helping them see that it’s not just about technology it’s also about creativity, imagination, teamwork–because we’re a very team-oriented organization–and the power of technology to make the world a better place.”

Arvin Yason Accenture

EXTRAORDINARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines Managing Director Arvin Yason: “Your solutions and apps prove that you can accomplish extraordinary things by combining talent, collaboration, technology, and compassion for others.”

 

New technologies to solve social problems

This year, the competition’s theme is “Tech4Good.”

Accenture said the competition provides students the opportunity to learn about new technologies such as blockchain, cloud, Internet of things or IoT, extended reality, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

The students underwent training and mentoring sessions by Accenture employees on design thinking and the new technologies that they should tap in building their solutions, Yason said.

He said the program received 132 submissions from 21 schools all over the country.

In Cebu, the following teams won and will compete in the national finals:

 

Team: A1 of Cebu Institute of Technology University
Project: Aeon

Cebu Institute of Technology University

Team A1

Aeon is an app and platform that will help Cebu City Hall’s Long Life Program, a project that delivers maintenance medicines to residents with with hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. The app aims to solve problems on the program such as manual recording by digitizing records. It uses GPS to verify and track deliveries. It also has a predictive stock ordering capability to make sure there is enough stocks for beneficiaries. The platform can also be used to gather health data of beneficiaries to evaluate potential health risks.

 

Team: Aid 2.0 of University of San Carlos
Project: Tactus: Tactile text to Braille glove for the blind

University of San Carlos

Team Aid 2.0

Tactus taps AI and IoT to transform text into Braille feedback on the fingertips of a glove. The team says it offers a “portable, wearable, and affordable” solution for the blind and visually-impaired to read.

 

Team: Amigos of University of San Jose Recoletos
Project: JUANation

University of San Jose Recoletos

Team Amigos

The project taps IBM Watson AI to analyze data from verified news sources about calamities and then generate assessments, based on location and population, on needs of the community for donations. It also taps the blockchain for monitoring of the donations.

 

Team: Repository Blues of University of the Philippines – Cebu
Project: Cancervive

University of the Philippines – Cebu

Team Repository Blues

The project is a support platform for people with cancer deal with their ailment. It has a profile of the patient, a private diary to track the treatment, reminders and tracking of medications, and a community portal for interaction with other cancer patients and medical personnel.

 

Team Coop of Cebu Institute of Technology University
Project: Tingog

Cebu Institute of Technology University

Team Coop

Tingog is an app that aims to teach speech to children with cleft palate. It is meant as a complement to professional speech therapy. During the presentation, team leader Fritz Hoyle said the team will be working with Smile Train Philippines to deploy the app, whatever the outcome of the contest.

Yason said the teams in this year’s edition of the event “pleasantly surprised us in terms of the readiness of their prototypes.”

Unlike in the previous staging of the events when they focused on specific technologies, Yason said this year is more open-ended in terms of solutions.

Integrate multiple technologies

“That actually mimics real life. In real life, we rarely deliver solutions just on one technology. When we build solutions for our clients, we integrate multiple technologies,” Yason said.

“The evolution this year is tech for good. We wanted these students to actually look at society’s problems and ask themselves how can we start solving these problems with new and emerging technologies,” he said.

The 10 finalists that made it to the national competition will get P20,000 cash each team. The team that deploys solutions closely aligned with Accenture’s Tech Vision will receive P50,000 cash. The grand champion will win P300,000 cash and the school will receive P50,000. The Accenture mentor of the winning team will get a gadget.

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OCEAN18 conference in Cebu to focus on how to protect, expand homegrown innovation

A conference that started after the World Economic Forum was held in the Philippines in 2014 will focus this year on homegrown innovation and “how to protect, grow, expand, and…

A conference that started after the World Economic Forum was held in the Philippines in 2014 will focus this year on homegrown innovation and “how to protect, grow, expand, and make sustainable our own industries.”

“We’re beginning to worry about our industries, like we consume a lot more shoes from outside the Philippines than shoes made here. We’re beginning to lose our furniture industry, we’re beginning to import more and more rice, we’re beginning to depend so much on imports and our exports are also declining so we wanna try to make sure that we can focus on that,” said Winston Damarillo, co-chair of OCEAN18 and founder and CEO of Amihan Global Strategies.

Multi-sectoral strategy for growth

The Open Collaboration with East Asian Networks or OCEAN18 will be held in Cebu this November.

Organizers said that the conference seeks to “shape the future of the Philippines by bringing together indiepreneurs, sector industry champions, and policy makers to create a multi-sectoral strategy for economic growth.”

Damarillo said indiepreneurs or independent entrepreneurs are early-stage ventures “have the potential to scale up tremendously and shake up their sectors.”

Damarillo is a venture capitalist and founder of several successful startups.

Unlike in the previous two stagings in 2014 and 2016, however, this year’s OCEAN conference will have a series of masterclasses throughout the country starting in this Friday, July 27, at the Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu.

OCEAN18 Cebu

HOMEGROWN INNOVATION. Cecilia Martinez-Miranda and Winston Damarillo discuss the theme of the OCEAN18 conference in Cebu and masterclass roadshow.

 

6 high-impact sectors

This will then be followed by masterclasses in Iloilo, Davao, and Manila.

The masterclasses will focus on 6 high-impact sectors identified by the team: Creative Economy, Education, Food, Global Filipino Engagement, Healthcare, and Tourism, said organizer Cecilia Martinez-Miranda.

This Friday, Damarillo said indiepreneurs will learn about business basics that are “foundational” to enterprises.

This Friday’s masterclass in Cebu will have Damarillo, who is also a WEF Young Global Leader, discuss key business fundamentals. Niña Terol of Kick Fire Kitchen will handle a session on design thinking techniques, and Richard Dacalos of Upstart the Game will talk about effective pitching.

At the end of the day, participants will close the master class with a round of benchmark pitches.

Global Filipino

In coming up with the 6 high-impact sectors, Damarillo stressed the importance of engaging the “Global Filipino.”

“We call them OFWs. That is so 1980s because we tend to forget that 10 million Filipinos are no longer in the Philippines and some of them go out to work overseas but a good part of them are Filipinos who have emigrated from the Philippines who still care a lot about the Philippines. And they remit a lot of money,” he said.

“The idea of this particular discussion is how do we look at those Filipinos who are still very connected to the Philippines as an expansion of our market. The Filipinos who are not in the Philippines, they have a lot of buying capability. They would be the most likely to patronize our exports. And they miss the Philippines, they miss our content. they miss our products and I think it’s a huge opportunity for us to address them as a buyer of our services and not just remitter of money,” Damarillo said.

The masterclass workshops are free and organizers will choose 6 teams to represent each high-impact sector and attend the OCEAN18 in November. They will also get mentorship and assistance in getting access to markets.

Filipino way

Damarillo said that in encouraging entrepreneurship, the country should look to build “Filipino startups the Filipino way, not the Silicon Valley way, not the Singapore way.”

“I think the model that would work in the Philippines is more like the examples of Injap Sia of Mang Inasal, from small to big and growing it. An example more like Penshoppe of Bernie Liu, right from tshirt to an empire. More like Jay Aldeguer from tshirts to Island Souvenir,” Damarillo said during the press conference to announce OCEAN18.

Damarillo said that what differentiates OCEAN18 and the masterclasses from other events is that “we’re going grassroots.”

“We wanted to make sure that as many people are touched. Dili lang siya novelty, it impacts our overall economy not just the tech economy,” he added.

OCEAN18 is a collaboration among the Global Shapers Communities of the Philippines, independent initiatives of the World Economic Forum; DevCon Philippines, a nonprofit aimed at promoting IT Pinoy Talent, and Kaya Collaborative, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, educating, and mobilizing diaspora youth as partners to long-term, locally led social change in the Philippines.

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Boost your home, office security with network cameras

Easy to install and convenient to use, the CP Plus network camera line offers a great option for home and office security. With increasing incidents of theft and vandalism near…

Easy to install and convenient to use, the CP Plus network camera line offers a great option for home and office security.

With increasing incidents of theft and vandalism near where we live in Lapu-Lapu City, our family decided to install a security camera. We studied options for video surveillance including standard CCTV packages and decided that our best option was to use an IP camera system.

Unlike the old analog CCTV camera, IP or internet protocol cameras are digital video surveillance systems that connect to your home network and the internet. The digital capability allows you to remotely control the camera, store video footage, listen to and talk to people within audio range, and even set triggers such as movements to capture photos and video clips.

ezykam cp plus

CONTROL. You can control and configure your ezykam cameras on your computer by accessing it using its IP address (example 102.168.1.17). To find out your camera’s IP address, you can use an app like Fing. Notice the REC notification to indicate that the camera is recording video. This was triggered by the motion detection system when the trisikad passed by.

 

We checked on a few options and decided on the Ezykam line of CP Plus. I had attended a company demo some months back and was familiar with the line.

Ezykam EP10, HC10

We got the Ezykam models EP10 and HC10 from CP Plus distributor RC Goldline. The EP10 retails for P3,490 while the HC10 sells for P2,490. The 2 units have basically the same functionalities except for a key difference: the EP10 allows 360-degree pan and tilt while the HC10 is fixed.

Installation and setup of the devices were easy. You just need to follow the manual on which parts to attach to which, download the app, and then go through the process of connecting to the devices. To connect, you just need to scan a QR code at the bottom or behind the unit. Not being a handyman, it took me longer to install the camera to the ceiling outside the house than to set the system up. You can then control or configure your ezykam camera through your desktop by entering its IP address (such as 192.168.1.4). To find out the IP address of your camera, you can use an app like Fing to scan your network.

CP PLUZ ezykam EP10

CP PLUS EZYCAM EP10. This has pan and tilt capability.

 

Ezykam app for iOS, Android

The ezykam app for iOS and Android also makes it easy to monitor not just one camera but several others on your phone. That way, you can actually surround your house or office with different ezykam units and have a comprehensive video surveillance system that costs less than what CCTV systems used to sell for.

The ezykam cameras have a motion detection system with sensitivity settings that you can define. You can then set it to send you an email whenever it detects movement and provide app notifications. At the same time, it will also take photo snapshots and videos and save it to a microSD card for later retrieval via app download. You can also set it to send these files to a NAS or network attached storage via FTP if you have a home computer network.

CP Plus ezycam HC10

CP PLUS EZYCAM HC10.

 

You can also set the ezykam cameras to record videos on certain days and hours. The system will just overwrite the data on your microSD if it needs the space.

The exykam also has excellent night vision capability of about 10 meters. The video and photos it takes at night are clear and people’s features are easily discernible.

Video monitoring

You can also define several preset views with ezykam for devices like the EP10 that supports pan and tilt. That way, you can let the camera pan to a certain view just by entering its preset number. You can even set it to do vertical and horizontal patrols.

We’ve used the cameras for several weeks now and are very happy with its performance. We’re now assured that if anything untoward happens within our immediate vicinity, we’ll be able to capture it on video. It also allows us to remotely check our home whenever we’re out for work or even traveling. The most important feature, however, is that all these capabilities and control are available on the phone.

CP Plus ezykam phone

MONITORING, CONTROL ON YOUR PHONE. You can monitor and control your network of CP Plus ezykam cameras on the phone via its iOS and Android apps. This makes home or office security mobile and convenient.

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Want to market to Chinese tourists? Go digital, mobile, social, says airline exec

China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market and offers a lot of opportunities for destinations like Cebu and the Philippines, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan. To…

China is the world’s largest outbound tourism market and offers a lot of opportunities for destinations like Cebu and the Philippines, said AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan.

To engage with Chinese tourists, however, brands have to go digital, especially mobile, Tan said.

“What’s happening is that if you look at China they now have 1 billion smartphone users, it’s a cashless country right now. Everyone pays using the mobile,” Tan said during an interview held at the launch of AirAsia’s daily Cebu-Shanghai flights.

AirAsia China Kathleen Tan

AIRASIA China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan with AirAsia Philippines CEO Dexter Comendador.

 

Tan said “social media is a must-have channel today” for brands.

“AirAsia is a very big brand in China because we started before anyone. We were the first low cost airline-we put the low cost concept into China. When we started no one has heard of the AirAsia brand, no one has heard what is the low cost concept,” she said. “So we spent a lot of years educating young Chinese and it is now a brand that when you search on Baidu, AirAsia is a brand name that pops out.”

Tan said this is important because young independent Chinese travelers comprise a huge market.

AirAsia China Kathleen Tan

MUST-HAVE CHANNEL. AirAsia China, North Asia President Kathleen Tan says social media is a must-have channel today for brands.

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Cebuano kids, parents urged to download Kaalam learning app

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano. Sosas enjoyed exploring the…

Third grader Christine Sosas of Argao Central Elementary School recently discovered a fun mobile application that enables her to learn important lessons in her native Cebuano.

Sosas enjoyed exploring the Kaalam app, launched recently by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and its local partners in Cebu. The app, which can be downloaded for free from Google Play, features Cebuano culture and folklore. It also teaches kids to count, read, and write in Cebuano.

Sosas said her favorite feature is Magbasa na ta (Let us Read) which contains local stories. “Siyempre ang story, kay nindot gyud kaayo unya makakat on pud ka sa story (The stories are my favorite because they are very nice and you can learn lessons from them).”

Kaalam app launch

KAALAM LAUNCH. (From left) Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino, CTU-Argao Campus Director Dr. Juanita Pinote, Smart Public Affairs Center Head Atty. Jane Paredes, Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero, and DepEd Regional Director for Region 7 Dr. Juliet Jeruta during the launch of Kaalam in Argao.

 

Moma Ortega, dean of the College of Computer Studies at University of Cebu-Banilad campus (UC Banilad), encouraged parents like her to download the app for their children. “The output is very good and it can help the kids. It is also timely for the K-12 program wherein we have the mother tongue-based lessons.”

UC Banilad is one of Smart’s partners for the Kaalam app. Other partners are the local government of Argao in Cebu, Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu Province and Cebu City, and Cebu Technological University-Argao (CTU-Argao).

The Argao local government and CTU-Argao provided content for the app, which includes local folktale. This content was then digitized by UC Banilad students. Smart took care of app development.

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero said the Kaalam app facilitates learning for kids using technology with which they are very familiar. “The app is a very effective way of trying to marry culture, heritage and infuse these in the learning environment of the children.”

During the recent launch of the app, Smart also turned over 10 tablets preloaded with Kaalam to the local government of Argao.

Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino said the Kaalam app is part of Smart’s larger efforts to help develop literacy apps in different local languages. She said studies show that children learn better when they are taught using their mother tongue.

Smart and its partners have worked on apps in Arabic, Ilokano, and indigenous languages. For more information on Smart’s efforts to use technology for development, please visit the Smart Communities page on Facebook. (Press Release)

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Need a cab? Micab app now provides ride-hailing service for 3,000 Cebu taxis

Getting a taxi is now easier in Cebu, thanks to ride-hailing platform Micab that was developed by a team of young entrepreneurs. If you haven’t installed it yet, download the…

Getting a taxi is now easier in Cebu, thanks to ride-hailing platform Micab that was developed by a team of young entrepreneurs.

If you haven’t installed it yet, download the Micab app from the Play Store or App Store to get access to 3,000 taxis enrolled in the platform for Cebu alone.

Micab Systems Corp. was granted accreditation as a transport network company (TNC) by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last April 30, said founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez.

What makes Micab different from transport networks like Grab and Uber is it doesn’t charge a booking fee when you hail a taxi using the app.

Micab founder Eddie Ybañez

INTERVIEW. Micab founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez answers questions during an interview by Cebu journalists.

 

Taxi 2.0

Ybañez said taxis subscribed to the Micab platform pay P500 a month and the fee covers the tablet and data that drivers need to run the app.

Without the booking fee, Micab Systems Corp. plans to get its main revenues from MiAds advertising. It has partnered with ad agencies to get companies to advertise on the tablets in the taxis.

Ybañez said the Micab platform, which he co-founded with Kenneth Baylosis during the Startup Weekend Cebu in 2012, came about as a solution to the perennial difficulty of getting a taxi that he used to frequently experience.

The TNC accreditation is a step forward in the company’s vision of a Taxi 2.0, which will involve clean and modern cabs driven by polite and friendly drivers. Although drivers can see a passenger’s destination in the Micab app, they won’t be able to cancel a booking once they’ve accepted it.

Micab target

The Cebu-based Micab company also now covers Metro Manila, Baguio, Bacolod, and Iloilo. In Manila, taxi bookings through Micab now go as high as 10,000 per day.

Although 80 percent of taxis in Cebu are already covered by the Micab platform, it still has to catch up with Manila in terms of usage, said Ybañez.

He added that they will continue to work with LTFRB and other government agencies “to innovate how Filipinos commute across our cities” to reach a shared goal that is the convenience of the country’s riding public.

Micab Eddie Ybañez

NO BOOKING FEE, NO SURGE PRICING. Micab founder and CEO Eddie Ybañez says their app does not charge a booking fee.

 

Digital hailing stations

Ybañez said they will also be soon deploying what he described as digital taxi hailing stations in major malls in Cebu City. Through these stations, commuters without the app can book a Micab unit.

The target for the year is to increase the number of taxi units enrolled in the Micab platform from 5,000 to 15,000.

Ybañez also said they will be building a system based on Micab for route-based units like buses, jeepneys, and vans-for-hire. He said this would likely be deployed early next year.

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Get P75 cashback when you shop with GCash QR in National Book Store branches

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual. This year, shopping is even better because everything you…

Shopping for bags, paper, notebooks, pencils, and all other school items at the National Book Store is a yearly back-to-school ritual.

This year, shopping is even better because everything you need for school are made available at all National Bookstore branches. Head to any of the over 230 branches nationwide and you’ll find Back-to-School Zones – areas where basic school supplies, uniforms, shoes, bags, and more are grouped together for a quick, easy, and convenient shopping experience.

National Bookstore also launched the 2018 Grand Back to School Fair in select mall locations.

GCash National Book Store

“National Book Store is one of the most recognizable names in the Philippines, and being able to extend GCash’s reach to Filipinos is a big step for us in encouraging more and more people to have a better shopping experience. In recognition of their 75thyear, we are happy to support National Bookstore’s Back-to-school program by offering a 75 pesos Cashback with GCash QR for a minimum spend of 300 pesos at any National Bookstore nationwide,” said Anthony Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Mynt, which operates GCash.

To use the scan to pay feature, Globe users must download the GCash app on their smartphones and update to the latest version of it before registering an account. Get P50 when you use referral code “NBBTOS” upon registration.With over 12,000 GCash partner outlets nationwide, including Globe Stores, SM Business Centers, Puregold branches, Robinsons Business Centers, 7-Eleven Cliqq kiosks, and TouchPay kiosks, shoppers can easily fund their GCash wallets.

Visit www.gcashpromos.com/gcash-national-bookstore-75-cashback to learn more. (Press Release)

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Move to intelligent operations key to do well in business: Accenture

Companies able to tap innovative talent, harness insights from large amounts of data and applied intelligence and tap benefits from the cloud and smart partnerships will be in the best…

Companies able to tap innovative talent, harness insights from large amounts of data and applied intelligence and tap benefits from the cloud and smart partnerships will be in the best position to survive disruption and do well in business, a recent global report said.

The report by HfS Research and Accenture said the future belongs to organizations that have transformed themselves into “intelligent operations”, said Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez in an interview on Tuesday.

“The future is about taking your business processes to become intelligent operations,” he said. “That is really capitalizing on digital disruption, access to phenomenal amounts of data, and the need to disrupt or improve the customer experience.”

Accenture Benedict Hernandez

MOVING TO INTELLIGENT OPERATIONS. Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez discusses results of a study that showed the importance of turning processes into intelligent operations in a press briefing in Cebu.

 

Move to intelligent operations

“The move to intelligent operations is fast becoming a make-or-break proposition for organizations, with 80 percent surveyed saying they are concerned with disruption and competitive threats, especially from new digitally savvy entrants.” Accenture said in a report on the study.

“It’s exciting to be looking at what used to be known as BPO (business process outsourcing) or BPS (business process service) and the challenge in front of us is how do we take our clients to an intelligent operations status to actually deliver all these benefits,” Hernandez said.

The research identified 5 essential components of intelligent operations: innovative talent, data-driven backbone, applied intelligence, leveraging the power of the cloud, and a smart partnership ecosystem.

Innovative talent

To move to intelligent operations, businesses need employees skilled in the new IT – data scientists, analysts, and experts on technology such as the cloud, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.

In the case of Accenture operations, Hernandez said “talent is very important to us” and the company has 11,000 business advisors globally. “These are process experts who understand where is it that we can apply digital enhancements so that the client actually benefits.” The company also has 49,000 cloud practitioners and 4,000 data scientists globally.

“Having said that, you also have your current workforce that you continue to invest in so that they can actually be up-trained and re-skilled,” he said. Training workers to a redefined and changed nature of work is the “heavy lifting that companies need to be doing.”

“Because we’ve been automating so much over the past couple of years, what we have done is majority of the cost savings in automation is actually re-invested in up-training and upskilling everybody,” Hernandez said.

Accenture augmented reality

AUGMENTED REALITY. Members of an Accenture team demonstrate the use of augmented reality that allows people to virtually check out automobile models.

 

Data-driven backbone

Companies accumulate a large volume of data. The challenge for their clients, Hernandez said, is “how are you able to access and harness all of that data and run analytics, whether it’s predictive or prescriptive, so that you can actually improve the way the companies are performing?”

In one of the booths during the internal innovation roadshow at Accenture, a team showed how companies can spot trends in collection of payments by analyzing volumes of historical data.

Applied intelligence

Applied intelligence is using automation, analytics, and AI to improve processes. While many people see cost savings as a big driver for this, Hernandez said automating a process “benefits many other areas.”

“When the process works better, the end-customer experience is better, and there’s less of the routine tasks that people are doing, it allows the employee experience to also be better,” Hernandez said. “Now I don’t have to do all those mundane, repetitive, boring tasks because applied intelligence has already taken care of that. I can now make use of my human talent and skills to do more judgement, creative, problem-solving, more challenging, and more interesting kinds of activities.”

Automation can also eliminate human errors that expose companies to risk and compliance issues.

Leverage the power of the cloud

Companies are already plugging into “what’s available out there and have infrastructure as a service” rather than building their own. This allows them to be agile and flexible in their technology infrastructure.

“Buying and maintaining your own technology infrastructure is very costly and it actually becomes obsolete faster and faster because of just the rate of evolution,” he said.

With cloud companies continuing to evolve their offerings, “you’re able to get to the latest every time, you don’t need to do your own investment for that,” he said.

Accenture innovation roadshow

INNOVATION ROADSHOW. Accenture Operations Lead in the Philippines Benedict Hernandez with employees taking part of the innovation roadshow that highlights new IT like big data analytics, augmented reality, and AI.

 

Smart partnerships

Companies have also realized they “don’t have to be an expert in all areas” and could just tap partners to move to intelligent operations.

“In the case of Accenture, we have about 150 enterprise partners around the world of different technology and services that we work with. In AI alone, we don’t do AI on our own – we do a lot of R&D on AI but we partner a lot with Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services,” Hernandez said. “The main thing about the partnership ecosystem is that you can plug in to who are the best enterprises out there in their particular fields.”

This migration to intelligent operation is well underway and the nature of work that the company is getting from its clients have markedly changed.

“A lot of the companies getting into operations partnerships with Accenture is actually to innovate their operations to become more intelligent operations. And this is an example of a smart partnership ecosystem. Because they realize that I can’t do this alone. I don’t have the expertise, I don’t wanna build all that expertise so I can actually transform myself. Why don’t I work with Accenture so they can take my process to become more intelligent,” he said.

Where next opportunity is

From cost arbitrage years back, clients conversations have moved beyond that into “how do I make my process more digital, how do you allow my operations to save me money, to give me insights so I can actually improve my cash flow position, how I can be more competitive?” he said.

He said the move to intelligent operations “is really where the next opportunity for us and our clients.”

“My hope is when you now say BPO or you think about Accenture and intelligent operations, these becomes the example that comes to mind versus traditionally what we think about in BPO terms.” Hernandez added.

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Tholons chair: Cebu must embrace, see opportunities in digital disruptions

Cebu needs to improve in the areas of digital credentials and skills to move up to the top 10 in the Super Cities of the World list of Tholons, Inc….

Cebu needs to improve in the areas of digital credentials and skills to move up to the top 10 in the Super Cities of the World list of Tholons, Inc.

Avinash Vashistha, Tholons chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), said Cebu continues to score low in such areas as open innovation, startup culture, cybersecurity, and digital competitiveness.

A Tholons team computed the average scores of the top three and bottom three of the top 20 in the Super Cities list and measured where Cebu fell within the range.

A panel (from L) composed of Jonathan de Luzuriaga, moderator, and resource persons Cebu City Councilor Joy Augustus Young, Symph CEO Dave Overton, Tholons Chair Avinash Vashistha, and Accenture, Inc. Cebu Delivery Center Lead for Technology Arvin Yason discusses Cebu City’s ranking in Super Cities of the World list.

He said Cebu did not fare well in the following areas: 3.5 against a high of 7.2 in digital credentials and 3.8 against a high of 7.14 in quality of life, citing political, social, natural, and commercial risks. Vashistha was one of the speakers of the 2018 Transformation Summit held today, May 16, at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City.

Digital, talent skills

For digital skills and scale, Cebu was in the 4.6 range against the top average score of 8.12. This category looks at the digital talent and evolution of a particular place, also taking into consideration as well the prevalence of mobile and Internet users and patent grants for technology ideas or products.

“All industry in the future will be technology-enabled. We can’t ignore the impact of digital because it is transforming the way business is done,” Vashistha added.

When Cebu thinks about what it needs to do in the area of digital, it has to look at the examples set by Singapore and Seoul. Tholons ranks the two cities as among the top 25 digitally competitive cities throughout the globe.

Compared against the average high score of 8.9, Cebu’s ranking of 6 for talent skills and quality could do with some improvement, according to Vashistha. Cebu rose to seventh place in the list of best outsourcing sites but fell to 12th place in 2017 when Tholons added new digital categories.

New tech opportunities

2018 Transformation Summit Speaker Avinash Vashistha, Tholons, Inc. chair and CEO, talks about what it takes to be part of the top Super Cities of the World list.

He added that Cebu should also focus on the opportunities instead of threats posed by digital disruptions, citing that trillions of dollars in new technology investments from 2013-2022 will result in the creation of more than 200 million jobs. India and the Philippines currently hold close to 5 million jobs in the IT-BPM industry.

These jobs will come in bulk from three main areas, including robotic process automation, big data analytics, and mobile app testing.

Vashistha said during the summit that digital shifts will also require upskilling and reskilling the industry workforce. Degree programs must also include cultivating the culture of innovation in universities through innovation labs and partnerships with industry stakeholders. Other ways will involve utilizing digital media for Cebu’s branding initiatives and collaborating with a global network of startups through mentorship programs.

The 2018 Transformation Summit is organized by the Cebu IT BPM Organization (CIB.O) in partnership with the Cebu City Government and Sykes. Other sponsors include Accenture, Lexmark, and Cognizant.

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PLDT launches P1-billion data center in Cebu

Built from the ground up to withstand an intensity 8 earthquake, secured with 11 layers of protection, powered with electrical capacity enough for 1,600 households, and completed at a cost…

Built from the ground up to withstand an intensity 8 earthquake, secured with 11 layers of protection, powered with electrical capacity enough for 1,600 households, and completed at a cost of P1 billion, the 2nd Vitro data center in Cebu was launched by PLDT yesterday.

The facility was built with quadruple the capacity of the first one that was built in Cebu in 2012, which is now 96% utilized. That, PLDT officials said, illustrates the increasing demand for and embrace of the utility of data centers by businesses, including local enterprises.

Vitro Data Center Cebu 2 illustrates the “stellar rise of the Vitro network and the way it has revolutionized how enterprises from all over the country do business,” said PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer and EPLDT Group President and CEO Eric Alberto. The Vitro network “is now the largest network in the country with 10 locations covering the entire length and breadth of the archipelago. It is internationally recognized and certified.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 lobby

The lobby at PLDT Vitro Cebu 2.

Accelerate digital transformation

“The addition of a second data center in Cebu ensures that even more businesses can gain access to the benefits of having world-class data management,” Alberto said. “All this is in keeping with the vision that started 18 years ago – to accelerate the digital transformation of the Philippines.”

Today’s business environment is marked by heightened risks, said Vice President and Head of PLDT Enterprise Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba. He said an an important way to help companies manage business risks is to provide them “digital infrastructure that helps them with business resiliency and continuity.”

PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto

SUPPORT COMPANIES. PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto says, “this new state-of-the-art facility is part of the PLDT Group’s nationwide effort to support local organizations and enterprises of all sizes—helping them store, manage and safeguard mission-critical data from cybersecurity threats and physical disasters.”

Alcoseba highlighted key features of the data center launched yesterday – 4 days of uninterrupted full load operations during a power outage and without refuelling, 99.99% service availability, 11 layers of facility security, cyber defense, and a highly resilient configuration in power, cooling, and connectivity.

Stability, reliability, security

“If I were to summarize what Vitro Cebu 2 is all about, it’s about providing business stability, ensuring ultimate reliability, and security of clients. When you talk about security it’s all about peace of mind, knowing that they are in a facility that will allow them to run, regardless of what happens,” Alcoseba said.

PLDT said in a statement that “the second Cebu VITRO Data Center is supported by PLDT’s robust fiber optic network spanning over 187,000 kilometers, enabling the delivery of digital solutions nationwide.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

PLDT officials after a press conference held to launch the new facility. In photo are (from left) ePLDT Chief Information Security Officer Angel Redoble, ePLDT Group Chief Technology Officer Dave Simon, ePLDT Group SVP and Chief Operating Officer Nerisse Ramos, PLDT Group EVP and Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric R. Alberto, PLDT SVP and Head of PLDT & Smart Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez, and PLDT VP and Head of Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba.

The new facility in Cebu has a capacity of 800 server racks, bringing the nationwide network’s capacity to 9,150 racks, said ePLDT Group SVP and Chief Operating Officer Nerisse Ramos. With that addition, total utilization of the entire network is now at 35%, said Alberto.

This increasing adoption contrasts with the tepid initial response of a few years back, said SVP and Head of PLDT & SMART Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez.

Vitro Cebu data center

“Six years ago when we launched Vitro Cebu 1, the companies weren’t really going into data centers. Over the past 6 years, a lot of companies, even small and medium enterprises, saw the value – why will I put up my own cooling system? I can never make my own cooling system on my own scale similar to the one here. As more companies now rely on their servers, which traditionally were hosted only in my room at the back of my office, we’re seeing a lot more demand,” Hernandez said.

Alberto said the pace of technology adoption has accelerated. “More and more companies are undergoing their own digital transformation where they have to look to technologies to be able to enable their business to be competitive,” he said. “Looking toward the future, I think it is imperative now that you get connected and you expand your market beyond the typical brick and mortar physical sphere of your legacy market.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 security

SECURITY LAYERS. The security monitoring room in PLDT Vitro Cebu 2. The facility is protected by 11 security layers, including finger-vein scanning features, special CCTV cameras, and 24/7 monitoring and surveillance.

“The rapid pace at which technology changes, particularly in hardware and software, is forcing a lot of business owners to rethink their digital transformation strategies. Are we going to spend CAPEX to be able to own this hardware and software or are we going to turn into an expert partner who has the skill, the reach, plus the attendant and necessary connectivity by which to protect me from high CAPEX outlay into an OPEX?” Alberto said.

Adding to the equation is the “managed service that aptly protects me from cyber security attacks that have become more prevalent, more dynamic, and disruptive,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 Benedict Patrick Alcoseba

PEACE OF MIND. “If I were to summarize what Vitro Cebu 2 is all about, it’s about providing business stability, ensuring ultimate reliability, and security of clients,” said Vice President and Head of PLDT Enterprise Disruptive Business Group Benedict Patrick Alcoseba.

PLDT expertise, scale, network

He said businesses that build such facilities on their own have to contend with the rapid technology advances that quickly render systems outdated.

“So are you gonna take the obsolescence risk? And do you have the capability to be able to provide the necessary cooling, the power, the security, the connectivity, plus the cyber security protection? Do you want to own these elements where you don’t have the scale nor the expertise?” Alberto said.

“These are the challenges that we put to the market and we present ourselves in PLDT Group to be the trustworthy and leading partner when you are ready to look at those issues and you are prepared to take on the world through technology,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2 cooling towers

The cooling towers at the facility.

“Our expertise, our scale, our buying power, our connectivity, our investments in network connectivity and diversity, our purpose-built data centers with security experts and the managed services experts actually are resources that no one particular company – no matter what the size – will be ever able to scale to,” Alberto said.

Hernandez said their customers are “pretty diverse” in terms of size and location. “More and more companies from our Asian neighbors are actually looking at the Philippines. Before when you talked about data centers in Asia, it was only 2 countries — Singapore and Hong Kong. That’s it. But the Philippines is now being looked at even by international companies as a place for them to co-locate.”

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

COLOR-CODED. Lines in the facility are color coded – blue for primary and yellow for secondary.

No longer just contingency but business strategy

Ramos said that changes in the business environment encourage them to build capacity. She said that they often ask themselves, “are we over-building?”

“But the reality is whenever we have discussions with our clients, in all industries, even government, dati ang usapan, we need a data center for contingency, but right now that’s not the discussion anymore. The discussion is about the need to be hosted because of risk management, because it’s a business strategy. (It’s no longer) simple contingency but part of a business strategy. This kind of discussion is happening in their boardrooms, not anymore at the IT level,” Ramos said.

Alberto said demand for data center services will increase with the changing business environment. “This is the wave of the future – big data, analytics, AI. Artificial Intelligence is machine learning. It’s growing. And machine learning must be fed with continuous data, historical as far back to be more accurate and current,” he said.

PLDT Vitro Cebu 2

SECURITY LAYER. Entry and exit to the facility include going through this security-controlled turnstile.

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