To boost Iloilo City’s bid to be one of the country’s best urbanized cities, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. has signed an agreement with the Iloilo City government and Mayor Jerry Treñas to deploy free Wi-Fi services via Google Station across key public areas in the city.
Under the agreement, Smart will roll out Google Station in the Iloilo City Hall, the Esplanade, La Paz Plaza, and Mandurriao Plaza, as well as in the Cultural Heritage Tourism Zones of Jaro Plaza Complex, Molo Plaza Complex and Plaza Libertad Complex.
CHONGQING, China — A team of high school students from Cebu representing the Philippines placed 2nd in the recent World Adolescent Robotics Competition (WARC).
TechFactors Philippines, led by Coach Jomar Cruz, displayed amazing teamwork and one of a kind interschool collaboration between Sacred Heart School Cebu, and University of San Carlos North and South in the competition after their two-week intensive preparation focused on programming, troubleshooting, and designing the robot.
Grade 10 Nicolas Francisco Amor acted as the team captain while Grade 7 students Hernan Herven Morale and Charles Matthew Ty fulfilled the roles of project manager and publicity manager.
FROM CEBU. (From left) Jomar Cruz, head coach Techfactors Inc; Nicholas Amor, Sacred Heart Cebu; Charles Matther Ty, University of San Carlos South; and Herven Morales, University of San Carlos North.
Xiaomi recently launched two powerful smartphones in the country–the Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 8 Pro.
The Redmi Note 8 Pro is the first 64MP quad-camera phone in the Philippines. It features a powerful LiquidCool system, making it an ideal companion for photographers, gamers, and anyone seeking an accessible flagship-quality experience. The Redmi Note 8, on the other hand, is sure to impress with its high-end specifications, premium design, and a 48MP camera at an entry-level price.
Redmi Note 8 and Redmi Note 8 Pro are packed with 4,000mAh battery and 4,500mAh battery, respectively. Both support Type-C fast charging of up to 18W. The phones are built with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and provide a comfortable viewing experience with their TÜV Rheinland certified blue light protection.
“The Redmi Note series is among Xiaomi’s most popular devices, with the Redmi Note 7 becoming the best-selling smartphone in the recent 9.9 online sales events in the Philippines,” said Steven Shi, Xiaomi’s Head of Southeast Asia.
“As we move into the new era of smartphone photography, Xiaomi pioneers the 64MP quad camera smartphone in the Philippines with Redmi Note 8 Pro, and offers one of the best bang-for-buck quad-camera phones in the market with Redmi Note 8. These devices strengthen the company’s commitment to provide amazing products at honest prices,” Shi said.
Redmi Note 8 Pro
Pioneering 64MP Quad Camera
Redmi Note 8 Pro has our high quality shooters. Its ultra-high resolution 64MP primary camera captures stunning photos that can be printed up to 3.26 meters tall. It also uses 1.6μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel to capture more light for bright night shots. An 8MP ultra-wide angle camera with a 120° field of view, a 2MP macro camera and 2MP depth sensor come together to create Redmi’s most versatile camera yet. The 20MP front camera’s built-in AI technology lets users put their best face forward through detailed portrait selfies, scene detection, and face unlock.
Equipped with a large 6.53” FHD+ Dot Drop display and rear fingerprint sensor, the device achieves a 91.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Redmi Note 8 Pro is powered by the latest MediaTek Helio G90T processor, an octa-core CPU clocked up to 2.05GHz for extended everyday use. The device also features LiquidCool – a first for the Redmi Note series – to facilitate high-speed, hassle-free gaming without overheating.
Redmi Note 8’s 48MP Quad Camera
Redmi Note 8 is a photography powerhouse, sporting a quad camera setup on the rear. Its 48MP ultra high-resolution primary camera features a ½-inch sensor with an f/1.79 aperture and 79.4° field of view. Its 8MP ultra-wide camera with 120° field of view, 2MP macro lens, and 2MP depth sensor join forces to capture stunning images at any distance. It also has a 13MP selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and built-in AI technology. It also has a panorama selfie feature — a first for the Redmi Note series. — that can capture group images without cropping anyone out.
Redmi Note 8
Equipped with a 6.3” Dot Drop Display with 2.5D rounded rear glass design, Redmi Note 8 offers an incredibly immersive FHD+ visual experience that achieves a 90% screen-to-body ratio.
Redmi Note 8 runs on the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset to enhance the overall user experience through its advanced AI technology, and improvements in power-efficiency ensure peak performance that will last all day.
Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8 will go on sale at the Mi Authorized Stores and Lazada starting October 12.
Redmi Note 8 Pro will come in Forest Green , Mineral Gray, and Pearl White in 6GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB for P11,490 and P12,990, respectively.
Redmi Note 8 in Space Black, Neptune Blue, and Moonlight White will be available in 4GB+64GB for P8,990. The Redmi Note 8 3GB+32GB for P7,990 and 4GB+128GB for P9,990 will be available soon. (Press Release)
Realme Philippines, the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the country, launched its first quad-camera smartphones, the realme 5 Pro and realme 5. Designed to deliver premium mobile experience, these phones are equipped with exceptional smartphone essentials such as strong system performance, superior camera capabilities and long battery life set to disrupt their respective segments.
The realme 5 Pro and realme 5 feature a quad-camera setup comprising an ultra-wide-angle lens, main camera, portrait lens and ultra-macro lens to elevate the photography experience of every Filipino.
“We at realme Philippines are thrilled to revolutionize the smartphone experience of the Filipinos by leading the leap to attainable quad camera technology, which marks realme’s new era of smartphone imaging technology. By bringing the realme 5 Pro and realme 5 to the Philippine market, we put an end to the notion that only flagship phones can have premium features. Both these cutting-edge devices are a testament to our steadfast commitment of providing Filipinos, more specifically the youth, with the smartphone experience they deserve,” said realme Philippines Marketing Director Austine Huang.
Realme Philippines also maintains strong relations with key players in different industries such as Home Credit, which introduced a 9-month 0% plan for realme devices; and Qualcomm, whose powerful processors are present in the realme 5 Pro and realme 5.
To further cement its position in mobile gaming, realme Philippines also reinforced its partnership with Moonton, the developer of the No.1 MOBA game Mobile Legends, which is spearheading the realme Mobile Legends Cup Season 2 finals on October 18 and 19 at SM Southmall. Realme is also the official Epic Sponsor of the Mobile Legends: Bang Professional League Philippines Season 4 Finals which is set to happen on October 5 and 6 in collaboration with Moonton.
realme 5 Pro
The realme 5 Pro comes with features and specs unparalleled in its price segment. The device boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 AIE processor to provide the best operation, game and entertaining experience to its users. It is also equipped with the Qualcomm Adreno 616 GPU, which improves the phone’s graphics performance and energy efficiency by up to 35 percent.
The phone is available in two variants – 4GB RAM+128GB storage and 8GB RAM+128GB. The realme 5 Pro sports a new holographic color and cutting textures reflective of the design gene of realme, with upgrades on the material and hardware technology to achieve a richer layered visual. It is available in Crystal Green and Sparkling Blue colors.
To provide users with a more immersive display experience, the realme 5 Pro features a 6.3-inch FHD+ screen with a dewdrop design for a wider and clearer display. This gives the phone a high screen ratio of 90.8 percent, providing users a bigger display for even more enjoyable web navigation, data checking, image browsing and video streaming.
Taking photography to another level, the realme 5 Pro has a flagship quad-camera setup comprising an 8MP 119-degree ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP portrait lens, a 2MP ultra-macro lens and a 48MP Sony IMX586 main camera that provide users with an all-around photography experience for various scenarios. The IMX586, which underwent stringent research and tests by users and industry experts, features sensor optimization to deliver higher-quality images.
The realme 5 Pro also features a 16MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture and Sony IMX471 image sensor with 5sP high-concentration lens. It supports Quad Bayer smart pixel 4-in-1 technology that can synthesize 2μm large pixels for excellent selfie performance in low light.
The realme 5 Pro also features the Nightscape and Chroma Boost modes that are original to realme smartphones. Like the realme 5, it supports slow-motion video recording but in 960fps and 720p. Users can also edit videos on the device, allowing them to adjust video speed and add filters, text and soundtrack effects. They can also render edited videos through the theme function, which enables more convenient social network sharing.
The realme 5 Pro is equipped with a 4,035mAh high-capacity battery. Its AI Freezer function can intelligently predict the user’s app usage and freeze unused apps accordingly to save power. The smartphone also supports a 20W VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge Technology, which uses a low-voltage, high-current mode to ensure fast charging speed while reducing the heat of the adapter and the mobile phone in the process.
The realme 5 runs on a powerful Snapdragon 665 processor with 11nm process technology, 2.0GHz clock speed, enhanced gaming performance and third-generation Qualcomm AI Engine. It is also equipped with an Adreno 610 GPU to guarantee real visual sense and allow users to play a variety of mobile games with a seamless experience resulting from smooth frame rate, rapid operation, surround sound and HD true image. A 6.5-inch HD+ mini-drop full-screen display allows users to enjoy an immersive smartphone experience excellent for gaming and video marathons.
The realme 5, which comes in three variants—3GB RAM+32GB storage, 4GB RAM+64GB and 6GB RAM+128GB—boasts the largest RAM and storage combinations in the market today. It features a 5000mAh large-capacity battery, allowing users to take advantage of the phone’s features all day long.
The phone’s imaging features kick up photography in the midrange smartphone segment a notch higher. The AI quad-camera setup is designed to deliver upgraded imaging. The realme 5’s primary camera adopts a 12MP image sensor to secure enough lighting for clearer and brighter pictures. The phase-detect autofocus (PDAF) guarantees rapid and precise focus. The 8MP 119-degree ultra-wide-angle lens allows users to take photos of landscapes and other distant scenes while the ultra-macro lens takes clearer photos in closer distances for easier capture of subjects with small details. The 13MP AI front camera optimizes the selfie beauty function for the best self-portrait. It adds AI beauty algorithms to accurately recognize photographed subjects using a total of 296 feature recognition points, thereby providing 8 million beauty effects for different groups of people.
The realme 5 has the two unique camera features of earlier realme smartphone generations – the Chroma Boost mode, which optimizes photos and produces a richer color presentation, and the upgraded Nightscape mode, which smartly adjusts the exposure of images taken in extremely low-lit scenarios. The realme 5 video function can also record slow-motion videos in 240fps and 720p.
The phone sports two new colors – Crystal Blue and Crystal Purple. It has an upgraded diamond-cut design with holographic color and reflecting texture, which is different from the matte diamond pattern of the previous generations. It now adopts the original polished surface and new nanometer holographic color with cutting touches.
Set to disrupt the sub-P15k price segment, the realme 5 Pro 4GB+128GB storage and 8GB+128GB storage variants are priced at P11,990 and P13,990, respectively, while the realme 5 is available in 3GB+32GB, 4GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB variants for P6,990, P7,990, and P9,900, respectively.
The offline pre-order for the realme 5 Pro will run from October 4 to October 11 with a minimum deposit of P500. Purchasers may claim their brand-new devices on October 12 in all realme kiosks and partner stores nationwide during realme’s first day sale. Those who will pre-order will receive a realme 10,000mAh power bank worth P1,599.
Those keen on purchasing the realme 5 Pro online may avail of the device through pre-order starting October 3 until October 8 in Lazada. Realme 5 Pro smartphones pre-ordered online can be redeemed beginning October 9. On the same day, October 9, at exactly 12 midnight, realme will be holding its very first Lazada online sale for the realme 5 Pro.
The realme 5 will also be available in all of the 4,500+ realme kiosks and concept stores nationwide on October 3 starting 7:30PM. While the 3GB+32GB variant of the realme 5 will be exclusively available through online platform Lazada.
Both devices may also be availed through a Home Credit plan. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant of the realme 5 Pro may be availed through a 6 or 9-months 0 percent interest plan while the other storage variants of the realme 5 Pro and realme 5 may also be availed through a 6-month plan at 0 percent interest.
Customers are encouraged to follow the realme official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Purchasers of the realme 5 Pro and realme 5 are also welcome to join the realme community on Facebook to see the latest news and discussions about the brand. Members also get exclusive invites to gatherings, special offers and many more.
PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) delivers the best video experience across the Philippines and in 18 regions and provinces, based on the latest independent report from mobile analytics company Opensignal.
The Philippines Mobile Network Experience Report September 2019, which covered the period May 1 to July 29, 2019 and independently analyzed over 533 million measurements from over 190,000 devices, found that Smart won in four categories—Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and Latency Experience—and scored a draw in 4G Availability.
Smart’s Video Experience score was 47.6, well ahead of competition’s score of 30.4.
Smart won 4 awards in the latest Opensignal report. PLDT chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan received the awards from Opensignal executives Andy Burns and Rob Lerner. Also present during the ceremonies were Smart President Al S. Panlilio and PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor Joachim Horn.
“Smart’s Video Experience score of 47.6 out of 100 places it comfortably in our Fair ranking bracket (40-55), which means its users may be able to watch videos with reasonable load times and minimal stalling at low resolutions,” Peter Boyland, Opensignal senior analyst, wrote. “Globe’s score of 30.4, however, is well into Poor ranking (0-40) territory, meaning its users will struggle to get anything close to an acceptable Video Experience, even at the lowest resolutions.”
In terms of overall Download Speed Experience, which factors in both 3G and 4G download speeds along with the availability of each technology, Smart posted 9.4 Mbps, ahead of Globe’s 6.5 Mbps. In terms of 4G Download Speed alone, Smart scored 12.7 Mbps, compared to the competition’s 8.3 Mbps.
In terms of overall Upload Speed Experience, Smart posted 3.3 Mbps, ahead of the competition’s 1.7 Mbps.
In terms of Latency Experience, which is measured in milliseconds and refers to the delay users experience as data makes a round trip through the network, Smart also scored better at 61.9ms, compared to competition’s 64.2ms. When measuring Latency Experience, a lower number is better.
The latest Opensignal report also includes data from 19 regions and provinces across the Philippines – Aklan, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Davao del Sur, Iloilo, Laguna, Metro Manila, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, South Cotabato and Tarlac.
Smart dominated Video Experience in 18 provinces, leading by as much as 29.4 points and 21.4 points in Nueva Ecija and Metro Manila, respectively.
In terms of Download Speed Experience, Smart was also ahead in Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Quezon, Cebu, Iloilo, Misamis Oriental and South Cotabato, while in terms of Upload Speed Experience, Smart also led in 18 provinces.
In terms of Latency Experience, both operators scored a draw in most areas, with Smart leading in Metro Manila and Quezon province.
“These results are a testament to Smart’s commitment to continuously improve and expand our network across the country in order to support our customers’ growing appetite for mobile data,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
Smart won in 4 categories – Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and Latency Experience.
Amid Smart’s Video Every Day and Giga Gaming offers, increasing data usage for video and games, alongside robust subscriber growth and increasing adoption of LTE SIMs and smartphones, have boosted PLDT’s consumer wireless business revenues for the first half of 2019, which grew 20% year-on-year to P34.4 billion.
Powering these services is PLDT and Smart’s sustained fixed and mobile network roll out and modernization. PLDT’s total fiber infrastructure spanning over 283,000 kilometers at the end of June also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links to its more than 19,000 LTE base stations.
PLDT has set aside a historic-high capital expenditure program in 2019 amounting to P78.4 billion, to further enhance the reach and capacity of its fiber-powered fixed line broadband network and LTE and 3G mobile networks, as well as modernize its IT support systems.
Aiming to make Cebu a safer and secure place to live in, Avigilon gathered attendees from the community, business leaders, and government agencies for an AI powered video surveillance Technology Awareness Seminar by Hello Marketing in partnership with Motorola Solutions Company.
With the theme: “Embracing Artificial Intelligence for Public Safety & Security: A Unified Approach”, the event was held on September 4, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Golden Prince Hotel & Suites.
“Seeing an increase in the demand on secure communications and AI/video analytics surveillance system particularly for peace and order, public safety, and disaster preparedness, we are committed to providing public an integrated solution for video security, access control, and critical communications,” said Engr. Francis Dy, General Manager for Hello Marketing.
Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company, designs, develops and manufactures from North America solutions in video analytics, cloud, security cameras, video management software, hardware and access control.
Key technologies that were discussed in the seminar included:
Appearance Search – Locate and track people & vehicles across a site without
the need for conventional fast forward / rewind technology
Unusual Motion Detection – Deep learning capability to detect abnormal motion
Focus of Attention Interface – A completely new UI for monitoring live video
High Definition Stream Management – High resolution with minimal bandwidth
Ultra-High Resolution – Cover more area with fewer cameras
Self Learning Video Analytics – The next generation in object classifications
Within the information flowing between citizens, responders, and agencies is the intelligence that builds a safer city. It will help you collect more of it, make it actionable and securely distribute it across mission-critical devices and easy-to-manage networks. It’s the technology and expertise that turns noise into information, information into intelligence, and intelligence into safety. And it’s how to do the absolute most with less — build safer cities, counties and states, and communities that thrive.
Xiaomi’s latest mid-range smartphone features a 48MP ultra-wide
triple camera setup with the most advanced in-screen fingerprint sensor on the
Global technology leader Xiaomi today announced Mi A3 as an extension to its best-in-class Android One lineup. Priced at P11,990, Mi A3 has a 48MP triple camera, in-screen fingerprint sensor, updated design and massive battery, making it an ideal daily driver for recent grads to tech enthusiasts, or anyone who appreciates exceptional features at an accessible price.
“We look forward to expanding our Android One series in the
Philippines with the introduction of the Mi A3,” said Steven Shi, Head of
Southeast Asia, Xiaomi. “It enables Filipinos to enjoy an amazing Android
experience on a sleek Xiaomi smartphone.”
MI A3. Priced at P11,990, Mi A3 has a 48MP triple camera, in-screen fingerprint sensor, updated design and massive battery.
“We are thrilled to strengthen our partnership with Xiaomi to add
another great device to the Android One portfolio this year,” said Jon Gold,
Director of Partner Programs, Google. “The all-new Mi A3 will deliver a
software experience that is up-to-date and easy to use, with built-in malware
protection and regular security updates that keep users safe.”
Mi A3 sports a triple camera setup on the back with 48MP main lens
and a large 1/2” sensor for ultra-high-resolution day photos. Its 8MP
ultra-wide angle lens intelligently detects when users are shooting large
images and recommends when to switch to ultra-wide angle mode for a more
optimal shot. And to top it off, built-in AI scenes detection automatically
applies photo tuning to help users capture the perfect image, every time.
On the front, Mi A3 uses a 32MP AI-equipped sensor for its selfie
camera which merges four pixels to form large 1.6μm pixels and allows it to
capture more detail in low-light conditions. Its unique panorama selfie feature
lets users capture stunning group images without having to switch to the rear
camera, use a selfie stick or cut people out. And its palm shutter feature
eliminates the possibility of camera shake from pressing the shutter button by
adding a simple gesture to start a countdown towards the perfect selfie.
Featuring a large 6.088” AMOLED Dot Drop display, Mi A3 offers more
vivid colors and deeper blacks with a blazing fast response speed and enhanced
power efficiency. For a more secure user experience, Mi A3 features an improved
in-screen fingerprint sensor with a 15% increased fingerprint detection area.
Compared to its predecessor, the sensor pixels and size has been doubled,
allowing for an increased reliability and a 30% increased unlock success rate
in extreme conditions – from dry fingers to strong light and ultra-low
MI A3 CAMERA. Mi A3 sports a triple camera setup on the back with 48MP main lens and a large 1/2” sensor for ultra-high-resolution day photos. Its 8MP ultra-wide angle lens intelligently detects when users are shooting large images and recommends when to switch to ultra-wide angle mode for a more optimal shot.
All-new dynamic design
Tech enthusiasts will be pleased to find impressive new design
upgrades in Mi A3 that enhance the overall look and user experience. With a
weight and thickness of 173.8g and 8.475mm respectively, the device’s compact
size gives it a leg up for multi-taskers seeking single-hand operation.
Mi A3’s front display and curved back is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass
5, offering a durable yet comfortable experience. Importantly, the device’s compact form factor
doesn’t sacrifice on audio — Mi A3 sports a cutting-edge front audio system
and a 3.5mm jack.
Mi A3 is available in three attractive color choices to suit all
different styles: Kind of Grey, Not just Blue and More than White. A nano-level
holographic pattern enhances the blue and white color options to create a
dynamic design effect that will appeal to style-conscious consumers.
DESIGN. With a weight and thickness of 173.8g and 8.475mm respectively, the device’s compact size gives it a leg up for multi-taskers seeking single-hand operation.
Mi A3 packs a punch with its massive 4030mAh battery — the Mi A
series’ largest power capacity to-date. By pairing extended battery life with
the efficiencies of Android One, Mi A3 enables a more reliable and extended
experience for users on the go. And when it’s time to recharge, the device
offers up to 18W fast charging via USB Type-C.
As one of the very first devices powered by Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 665
Mobile Platform, Mi A3 also boasts smoother performance, faster speed, and
improved AI capabilities for those taking advantage of features like AI
Beautify and Google Lens.
Android One with Google Assistant
Mi A3 is powered by Android One and runs on the latest Android 9 Pie operating system out of the box. Users can enjoy the latest Google innovation and stay productive with the Google Assistant, Digital Wellbeing Dashboard and Wind Down. With Google Assistant on Mi A3 you can get things done and stay on top of your plans while on-the-go, in the car or at home – using just your voice. You can ask questions, pull up your schedule, navigate places, set reminders, call, text and control connected smart home devices, hands free.
The Mi A3 4GB+128GB variant will be available at P11,990. It will come in three colors- Kind of Grey, Not just Blue, and More than White. Sales will start on September 9 via Lazada and Shopee, and will be available in Mi Authorized Stores starting August 24. (Press Release)
PLDT Inc.’s resurgent mobile business posted record revenue growth in the first quarter of 2019, riding on the growing appetite of its customers for online video and mobile games.
Service revenues of its individual wireless business, which includes the consumer sales of its Smart, Sun and TNT mobile brands, jumped 18% year-on-year to P16.9 billion, net of interconnection costs. The surge in revenues was driven by a robust increase in data and broadband revenues which accounted for 65% of the total.
PLDT’s wireless brands also added 3.4 million customers in the first quarter of 2019, adding to a subscriber base that is increasingly becoming more active in using data. About two-thirds of these subscribers are smartphone owners, of whom about 70% are data users. Mobile data traffic rose by 127% year-on-year to 304 petabytes.
Video, mobile gaming
These data-savvy customers are watching more and more video on their smartphones. With the introduction of the Video Every Day data packages late last year, more customers have been accessing various video services like YouTube, NBA, iWant and iFlix.
The monthly users of YouTube, already boosted by last year’s Free YouTube promo, further increased by 35% in the first quarter. Viewers of other popular video apps also increased sharply: users of the NBA video service nearly doubled; those of iWant soared 153%; and iflix, 170%.
Mobile gaming has contributed to the continuing increase in data usage, following PLDT and Smart’s initiatives to organize their official professional eSports team, “Omega”. They also sponsored the professional league in the Philippines of the popular mobile game Mobile Legends.
The upshot: the number of monthly unique users of Mobile Legends increased by 5x from June 2018 to end-March 2019.
PLDT network upgrades
To support Filipinos’ increasing appetite for data, PLDT and Smart are continuously expanding and modernizing their fixed and mobile networks, backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic. The ultimate aim is to deliver the best data customer experience.
The growth of mobile video viewing among Smart subscribers, for example, has been supported by the ability of its cellular network to deliver what internet analytics firm OpenSignal called, in its latest country analysis, “the better video experience.” Other third-party organizations like Ookla, Tutela and P3 have also recognized the network superiority of the PLDT group network.
More LTE base stations
Smart has added about 1,700 LTE base stations in the first quarter, raising the total to about 18,000. Smart is also activating carrier aggregation across its sites, enabling the network to deliver even faster mobile internet services by combining the capacity of two or more frequency bands. Smart has likewise also increased its 3G base station count to about 12,100.
Meanwhile, PLDT has further expanded its total fiber optic cable network footprint to 259,000 kilometers. PLDT’s fiber-powered fixed line broadband network has now passed 6.7 million homes as of end-March, while total number of fiber ports available has reached 2.96 million, of which 1.2 million are available for new customers.
PLDT’s fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links to cellular base stations.
PLDT has also partnered with global technology leader Cisco to help transform its fiber transport network in to a fully automated, software-defined 5G-ready IP transport network over the next three years.
“This transport transformation program is a crucial part of our ambition to strengthen the network leadership that PLDT and Smart nave won through consistent efforts over the past three years,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for network planning and engineering. (Press Release)
Cebuano book lovers can look forward to a more convenient and rewarding shopping experience as PayMaya enables cashless payment options at the Big Bad Wolf Sale on its second run in Cebu from August 16 to 26, 2019.
PayMaya customers are in for a surprise as they can get a chance to receive up to 100% cashback each time they pay using PayMaya QR from August 16-26, 2019. For new PayMaya users who will scan-to-pay at least P1,000 for the first time, they can enjoy an extra treat of P100 PayMaya credits.
WORLD’S BIGGEST BOOK SALE. Book lovers and new readers will have time to search for their favorite titles and authors as the BBW Book Sale will be open 24 hours daily until Aug. 26, 2019 at the IEC Convention Center (IC3) in Cebu City.
Aside from that, shoppers paying via their PayMaya physical card can also get up to 100% cashback for a minimum spend of P1,000. This promo is part of PayMaya’s Online Shopping Promo that will run until August 20, 2019.
Big Bad Wolf Book Sale shoppers can experience seamless cashless payments as cashiers are equipped with One by PayMaya Business, a device that can accept credit and debit cards powered by VISA or Mastercard as well as QR payments through the PayMaya app.
“Through our continued partnership with Big Bad Wolf Sale, shoppers can definitely enjoy an upgraded book shopping experience with the help of PayMaya QR and the One by PayMaya Business device. We’re really happy to support the Big Bad Wolf Sale and offer cashless convenience and amazing rewards to all Cebuano book lovers,” said Raymund Villanueva, Director and Head of Growth and Marketing of PayMaya.
CONVENIENT PAYMENT. With PayMaya, Cebuano book lovers can look forward to a more convenient and rewarding cashless shopping experience.
After a successful debut in Cebu last year, the Big Bad Wolf Sale is once again bringing 24-hour book shopping on heavily discounted books at the IEC Convention Center (IC3) in Cebu City.
From best-selling novels to popular children’s books, Big Bad Wolf shoppers can enjoy a wide-range of book selections and conveniently use their PayMaya app as their wallet to scan and pay for their book purchases via PayMaya QR. They can also avoid bringing cash or coins as they can pay using their debit or credit card via the One by PayMaya Business device.
To know more about how you can maximize your PayMaya account for shopping, visit www.paymaya.com/deals or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Ayala Corporation (Ayala), one of the oldest and largest
conglomerates in the Philippines, has adopted GCash’s Powerpay+ disbursement
platform to release incentives to its employees at the parent company.
Powerpay+ is a bundled funds disbursement facility that allows companies to pay out salaries, commissions and allowances more conveniently and securely to people by crediting funds directly to employees’ GCash accounts. It provides the flexibility to disburse scheduled or recurring payouts and is easily accessible via mobile phone. GCash is operated by Mynt, a partnership among Globe Telecom, Ayala Corporation and Ant Financial.
Logical next step
“Digital payments within the group was a natural move for us at
Ayala. As a 185-year-old company, we are taking advantage of a new digital
format that gives our employees ease, convenience, and security. We used to
give gift cheques, which later became electronic gift cheques, so the move to
e-wallets was a logical next step for us following the increasingly digitally
savvy lifestyle of our employees and GCash’s recent exponential growth as the
country’s leading mobile wallet,” said John Phillip Orbeta, Ayala’s Chief Human
Resources Officer and Corporate Resources Group Head.
Mynt CEO Anthony Thomas also emphasized the added security and
convenience that are innate to e-wallets. He says that with a digital format, “you
have a trail, you have the ability to send out money for any purpose. Payroll
is one, but incentives, reimbursements, agent commissions—all these needs are
taken care of through an enterprise interface which allows you to pay
instantly, and even small amounts, making it very efficient.”
Like the rest of GCash’s 20 million users, Ayala employees have been
using the platform to accomplish daily tasks like buying prepaid load, paying
bills online, booking movie tickets, sending money to other GCash accounts and
traditional bank accounts, and transacting with over 50,000 QR-enabled merchant
partners nationwide. GCash also offers GSave, which gives the highest savings
rate in the country and requires no minimum balance, and GCredit, which uses
alternative credit scoring models to provide microloans.
GOING CASHLESS. Anthony Thomas (left), President and CEO of GCash, and John Philip S. Orbeta, Ayala Chief Human Resource Officer & Group Head of Corporate Resources.
Orbeta says that using the Powerpay+ platform will simply take their
Ayala employees’ GCash use to another level.
At Ayala’s 2019 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting last April, Ayala
Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said the company is undergoing a
massive transformation to ramp up the digitalization of its companies, as this
was key to propelling the company into the future.
Zobel emphasized that the corporation, with business interests in
real estate, banking, telecommunications, water, power, infrastructure,
industrial technologies, health care, and education, has started “to
participate in digital businesses that we believe are disruptive. These
Digital transformation journey
investments are designed to complement our group’s traditional
brick-and-mortar operations, future-proof our existing portfolio, and broaden
the digital experience of Filipinos.”
“We spend significant time studying other markets that are in the advanced stages of digital maturity and we have teams constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies,” Zobel added. “Absorbing and learning from these experiences, we have become more deliberate in our own digital transformation journey and have elevated it into a group-wide strategic agenda.”
Aside from enjoying the benefits of going digital, Thomas said GCash users also contribute to Philippine environmental sustainability efforts through GCash Forest, a feature within the app that computes how transactions done via GCash help the environment. The app computes one’s carbon credits, which upon hitting a predetermined target will require GCash to plant a tree at the Ipo Watershed, the biggest source of water for Metro Manila. (Press Release)
Order your favorite caffeine fix from Bo’s Coffee even when you’re still on your way so that it’s ready for you when you arrive.
All you need to do is look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks. After picking your drink and choosing your payment option, you will be informed how many minutes it would take to get your order ready and again when it is.
The system has been rolled out in 47 mostly company-owned Bo’s Coffee outlets across the Philippines, including 19 in Cebu.
SKIP THE COFFEE ORDER LINE. Bo’s Coffee allows you to order in advance via Facebook Messenger and pick it up at the store.
Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez said during the launch of the Advance Ordering BOTTY in Cebu that the move is intended to enhance the customer experience and a means by which he intended to bring his homegrown coffee chain to the future.
Bo’s Coffee tech innovations
“As we reach our 25-year mark, we want to cater to the fast-paced lifestyle of our customers. We want to make your daily coffee runs simpler, faster, and more accessible so you have more time for more important things in life – your passions, your advocacies, and your relationships,” added Benitez, who is President and CEO of WS & Landin, Inc., the corporation behind Bo’s Coffee.
The Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY is just the first of several technology innovations that are on the pipeline for Benetiz’s coffee shop chain.
BETTER EXPERIENCE. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez says they deployed Facebook Messenger chatbot to enhance the experience of their customers.
According to Benitez, the goal is to integrate Bo’s Coffee rewards and even delivery services to Messenger-based system through Grab Express.
Digital payment options
While the Advance Ordering BOTTY allows customers to pay cash, its secure and cashless digital payment options through PayMaya as well as credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) allow customers to really skip the line, according to Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme.
“In a developing world like ours, we have to do all we can to optimize our efforts and save time,” she added.
CHATBOT LAUNCH. Speaking during the press conference to launch the Bo’s Coffee Facebook Messenger chatbot are (from left) Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme, founder Steve Benitez, and developer Cary Gee.
By paying via the system, customers can park curbside in strategic stand alone branches, get their coffee, and continue on with their day. Payment options like Grabpay and GCash will also be available soon.
Some of the Bo’s Coffee branches with the Advance Ordering BOTTY include Capitol, Banilad Town Center, Filinvest Cyberzone, Ayala Center branches, SM City Cebu branches, SM Seaside, and Mactan Domestic and International Airports.
CHAT TO ORDER. Look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks.
Consumer market patterns
System developer Cary Gee, who was also present during the launch in Bo’s Coffee Capitol Branch last July 25, 2019, said the Advance Ordering BOTTY was initially developed for the Singaporean market.
He decided to bring the system to the Philippines when he saw similar patterns in the two consumer markets, both of which are fast-paced, in need of personalization while skipping the queue, and has a good percentage using Messenger instead of downloaded apps.
TRYING IT OUT. Ka Bino Guerrero tries out the Bo’s Coffee chatbot to order drinks.
The system keeps a record of orders and helps the coffee shop push the right promotions to customers. It can also be used to engage customers for rewards purposes.
While it was created with customers in mind, the system will also free up some tasks for coffee shop employees.
PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continue to set the pace for Internet services in the Philippines, posting the country’s fastest fixed and mobile data speeds for the first half of 2019, according to Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
The latest report, which covers Q1-Q2 2019, also shows both PLDT and Smart widening their respective leads over their competitors.
According to the Ookla report, PLDT achieved a Speed Score of 20.44, with top download speeds of 51.36 Mbps and top upload speeds of 54.22 Mbps. The fixed network award is based on 25,169,867 customer-initiated Speedtest nationwide for the same period.
On the other hand, Smart achieved a Speed Score of 17.07, with average download speeds of 19.33 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.16 Mbps. The mobile award is based on 1,857,286 consumer-initiated tests taken with Speedtest on LTE-capable devices in the Philippines.
Speed score improvement
Speed Score is a measure that takes into account both upload and download speeds.
These latest figures are improvements from the Q3-Q4 2018 scores, when Smart posted a Speed Score of 15.57 and PLDT achieved a speed score of 18.57.
PLDT and Smart have also widened their respective leads over their competitors in terms of Speed Scores. For instance, from a gap of between 7.3 to 9.2 in Q3-Q4 2018, PLDT now leads over its competitors by as much as 8.7 to 10. Smart, on the other hand, widened its lead from 5.5 to 7.
Drilling down, initial data also showed PLDT posting big leads in key cities like Quezon City, Cebu City and Pasig, whereas Smart’s Speed Score more than double that of competition in Quezon City, Makati, and Manila.
In Pasig City, for example, PLDT posted a Speed Score of 21.7, more than 9 points ahead of Globe’s 12.2, while PLDT’s 20.77 Speed Score in Cebu City is double that of Globe’s 10.46 Speed Score in the area.
Meanwhile, Smart’s Speed Scores were consistently more than double that of Globe’s in Quezon City, Makati and Manila.
Better customer experience
“Our network investments have considerably improved customer experience so that they can now watch videos without buffering, update their social media accounts, or easily check their email and open attachments while on-the-go,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
“Now that our subscribers use more data, and as we continue to bring in new customers, we have to ensure they get fast and reliable connection all the time. We continue to build and expand our fiber and LTE network to meet those needs,” Tamayo added.
For mobile, Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. Tests used to calculate the Speed Score exclusively come from ‘modern devices’, which are devices capable of connecting to the market’s fastest, generally available technology.
For fixed, Ookla assesses the best network speeds attained across a given network, accounting for tests that are taken on various Speedtest applications that connect to a fixed network, including tests taken on mobile phones over a Wi-Fi connection. Each top carrier accounts for at least 3% of the sample size in the geographic area.
Integrated fixed, mobile network upgrades
PLDT’s total fiber optic cable network footprint is now at over 259,000 kilometers, while its fiber-powered fixed line broadband network has now passed 6.7 million homes as of end-March.
Of LTE sites nationwide, 71% have already been upgraded to LTE-A, which means each cell site has multiple LTE base stations activated. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, Smart deployed an additional 1,700 LTE base stations across its sites nationwide, raising the LTE base station count to around 18,000 as of the first quarter.
Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access.
Investment in network transformation
This recognition comes as PLDT and Smart continue to pour significant resources into their integrated fixed and wireless network expansion, which is backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year.
Alongside Smart’s ramped-up LTE and LTE-A roll out, PLDT is also aggressively rolling out its fiber broadband service, which also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.
PLDT has also partnered with global technology leader Cisco to help transform its fiber transport network in to a fully automated, software-defined 5G-ready IP transport network over the next three years.
More mountain barangays are now enjoying fast, reliable, and affordable mobile internet connection with the activation of Smart Communications Inc. LTE cell sites. The latest is Barangay Linut-od, 24 kilometers from the Argao town center in Cebu, or about an hour by motorcycle on rough road.
Improved connectivity is boosting livelihood, community efficiency and the general wellbeing of residents of this farming and coal mining village.
Seventy percent of households have members living elsewhere, and residents had to move from one place to another in search of a signal just to keep in touch, said former Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero. “So, when Smart fired up its new LTE cell site, people were ecstatic!”
LTE NOW AVAILABLE. LTE is finally in Linut-od, Argao after Smart fired up their LTE cell site in the mountain barangay. Leading the ceremony to mark the availability are former mayor Stanley Caminero (3rd from left) and Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, AVP and Center Head of SMART Public Affairs Visayas and Mindanao.
Contact family members
Among them were farmer Luciano Zamora and wife Lorenza, who see their three grown children only on special occasions. “We are thankful that now the signal is strong even up here in the mountains. We can contact our children anytime, and we don’t even have to leave the house,” said Luciano. It is a comforting thought, in case of an emergency, he added.
Now the couple even get to see their grandchildren, by making video calls using smartphones provided by their children, along with an “allowance” of credit load.
Farmers like Zamora are also learning to search the internet for new and better farming methods, Caminero said. Improved connectivity could also help boost upland tourism through social media, he added.
With better connectivity, families in Linut-od can stay in touch with relatives working far away.
Councilor Resurreccion Gonzaga of barangay Cabantug said the new technology helps facilitates information dissemination and processing of documents, thus improving efficiency of local government units.
Aside from Linut-od, Smart has also fired up LTE sites in the mountain barangays of Colawin in Argao, and Guba and Bonbon in Cebu City.
LTE can be quickly upgraded 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.
Better connectivity also means peace of mind for Linut-od residents, who can easily contact family especially in times of emergencies.
To date, Smart has 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 in the country. Supporting Smart’s mobile network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, now extending over 259,000 kilometers.
PLDT and Smart’s nationwide network transformation efforts are backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic, with the ultimate aim of delivering the best data customer experience.
Linut-od residents can use this improved connectivity to stream videos online and share photos via social media.
Xiaomi announced the arrival of Mi 9T, the latest smartphone in its highly popular flagship Mi 9 family, in the Philippines today.
Mi 9T will be available on July 12, 2019 with prices starting at P15,990. The device sports the latest Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 730 Mobile Platform, a 6.39-inch Full Screen Display, a 20MP pop-up front camera and a rear 48MP triple camera setup.
“We’ve seen an incredible reception for Mi 9’s current flagship series, including Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE. With Mi 9T bringing features like a massive 4000mAh battery and true full screen display, we are demonstrating our philosophy of bringing innovation to every Filipino consumer at honest prices,” said Steven Shi, Head of Southeast Asia, Xiaomi
35% increase in CPU performance
Mi 9T features the best-in-class Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 730 mobile platform, offering an increase of 35 percent for CPU performance, and of 10 percent for GPU, as well as twice the AI performance, compared to its predecessor SnapdragonTM 710– all enabled an octa-core KryoTM 470 chip processor based on the 8nm process for extreme power efficiency, along with the 4th generation AI smart engine for delivering powerful AI performance.
The smartphone comes with the new Game Turbo 2.0 for an ultimate gaming experience by optimizing touch response, display, sound quality, network and in-game calls. Touch response rate goes up to 180Hz, while click and touch response times are reduced to about 70 milliseconds, the new Mi 9 family member is able to offer an esports-level gaming experience.
Featuring a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen without a notch, the display of Mi 9T supports Reading and Sunlight mode 2.0, low-brightness color grayscale optimization, and 256-scale eye protection technology, delivering an incredible immersive viewing experience. It has also received low-blue-light eye protection certification by Germany’s VDE Testing and Certification Institute. By adopting an elegant pop-up selfie solution, Mi 9T is able to achieve a true full screen display.
Mi 9T applies a nano-holographic technology to produce a unique flame design on its four-sided curved glass back. The combination of 3D-glass and extremely narrow frame gives the phone an incredibly comfortable hand-feel.
The device is equipped with the 7th-generation in-screen fingerprint technology. The dual optimization of hardware and software significantly improves the fingerprint recognition rate and speed.
48MP AI triple camera
Offering an AI triple camera setup, Mi 9T features a main 48MP camera with a 1/2″ Sony flagship IMX 582 sensor that can produce ultra-high resolution photos. For night portraits, the camera sensor supports merging four pixels to form large 1.6μm pixels to capture more details in low-light conditions.
In addition to the 48MP main camera, the Mi 9T also features a 13MP ultra wide-angle lens with a 124.8-degree field of view, and an 8MP telephoto lens. The options offered by the combination of these three lenses can cover most settings, delivering an SLR-like photography experience.
Mi 9T sports a 20MP pop-up front-facing camera with a sapphire glass cover. When the front camera is raised, it will display lighting effects and is accompanied by one of six sound effects. The light ring on top acts as a notification light for incoming messages and charging status. Group selfies taken with the panorama feature, which allows panning the 20MP selfie camera, will let you include all your friends in a single shot.
Power to last through day
Featuring a large 4000mAh battery and an AI energy saving mode to automatically adjust screen brightness and for activating sleep mode at night, Mi 9T has power to last through a day of heavy use. Mi 9T supports up to 18W charging.
Mi 9T offers multi-function NFC, with payment transaction speeds increased by up to 30 percent. It also offers superb audio quality, featuring 1217SLS speakers and Smart PA as well as a 0.9cc large sound chamber for powerful playback. The device retains a 3.5mm headphone jack, and has received Hi-Res Audio certification.
Pre-orders for the Mi 9T will be from June 24, 12 noon, until June 30, 2019 at Xiaomi’s official store on Lazada and at Mi Authorized Stores. It will first come in Carbon Black at a retail price of P15,990 for 6GB+64GB, and P17,990 for 6GB+128GB. The Mi 9T will be initially be exclusive on Lazada and will soon roll out on Mi Authorized stores. (Press Release)
When the Department of Education (DepEd) conceptualized the Alternative Learning System (ALS) over 15 years ago, its primary goal was simple: to assist out-of-school youth and adult learners who haven’t completed basic education.
Years later, the government agency realized the need to further enhance ALS education interventions. This led to the development of ALS-Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST), an initiative that combines the ALS curriculum with technical, vocational, and other skills training.
The integrated program aims to produce completers who are not only able to catch up with basic education, but have also acquired technical competencies for immediate employment. “The program was developed based on the assessment that ALS learners showed they were more likely to stick with the program if they also learned work skills along the way,” said DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan.
Improved employability for ALS learners
While the ALS-EST is already implemented in 98 volunteer DepEd schools and five non-DepEd partners, the recently completed pilot ALS-EST Learning Center in the town of Lawaan in Eastern Samar is expected to further promote the effectiveness of alternative learning.
Located within the Lawaan National School of Craftsmanship and Home Industries, the facility has a large hall for lectures and workshops that can be divided or merged. The structure also takes into account the needs of student mothers and learners with disabilities, which would help remove the misconception that non-formal schooling equates to second-class education. “ALS is just another modality or pathway to literacy and – for many learners of special circumstances – it is their prized chance at basic education,” he said.
The first-ever ALS-EST Learning Center was funded by the Australian government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). The partnership intends to construct four more identical facilities throughout the Philippines as they believe that education is the most effective solution against poverty.
“We hope that this donation will provide a conducive environment for learning and ensure that young people will get access to relevant skills,” said Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson.
DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno A. Malaluan with Smart’s Head for Education Programs Stephanie V. Orlino at the inauguration of the pilot Alternative Learning System – Education and Skills Training (ALS-EST) facility in Lawaan, Eastern Samar.
“The end goal is to improve the employability of ALS learners and provide them with the expertise to start microenterprises,” he added.
Platform for offsite learning
According to USEC Malaluan, many alternative learners are unable to regularly show up for school, thus preventing them from completing their basic education. This is where Smart Communications (Smart) was able to support ALS-EST, as it provides a platform for offsite learning through the Smart School-in-a-Bag.
The flagship education program of the Philippines’ leading wireless services provider, Smart School-in-a-Bag is a portable digital classroom designed to provide access to technology to help deliver 21st century education even to remote schools without access to electricity. The 2×2 feet backpack contains a solar panel and battery, teacher’s laptop and tablet, Smart pocket WiFi, projector and screen, DVD player, TV, and student tablets that are pre-installed with literacy apps developed by Smart together with its community partners. Teacher training and program evaluation are also conducted.
With over 110 kits donated as of May 2019, the School-in-a-Bag program has benefitted over 30,000 learners and over 1,000 teachers in communities nationwide. These numbers are expected to grow with the use of the technology package in Lawaan ALS-EST.
“Having access to technology tools provided by School-in-a-Bag will surely motivate ALS-EST learners to attend sessions, since there are no limits to the resource materials that we access on the internet,” said Vicente R. Antofina Jr., a teacher for over 14 years.
More skills trainings
Aside from the School-in-a-Bag donation tailored for the program, Smart also plans on supporting ALS-EST by providing technology support and digital skills training, where needed,” said Stephanie V. Orlino, Head for Education Programs, Smart.
With its 20 million users composed mostly of young, working Filipinos, GCash has tailored its mobile financial platform to fuel the growth of the country’s gig economy.
Anthony Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Mynt (Globe Innovations, Inc.), which operates GCash, said the company sees a huge opportunity in the gig economy and continually innovates to address the needs of freelancers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Most of our businesses are micro-businesses, and the gig economy is alive and well. A lot of opportunity comes from freelancers or businesses that employ just a few people. GCash could be a very convenient disbursement platform for them,” Thomas said at the IN_PACT Asia 2019 forum held on May 28 at the ADB headquarters in Manila.
The Philippines’ leading mobile wallet and a pioneer in fintech services, GCash provides an efficient end-to-end payroll to payout solution for Filipinos operating outside the usual employment schemes, Thomas said. It also allows payment acceptance through QR transactions, and InstaPay transfers, which lets users send money to any banks in the Philippines for free.
“We make it very easy to accept payments offline through QR codes, or online with minimum to no cost so entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers can really focus on what they need to do rather than worrying about administrative problems in their lives and businesses,” he said.
The Mynt CEO was one of the speakers representing the fintech sector at the IN_PACT Asia forum, which this year centered on “Convening for Collective Impact.” The event gathered more than 300 social designers and innovators, and over 30 thought leaders and experts on social innovation and impact.
Anthony Thomas speaks at the ADB In_Pact Asia 2019 – Convening for Collective Impact.
The Philippines, which has one of the youngest workforces in Asia, is an emerging hub for social entrepreneurs, numbering nearly 165,000, and online freelancers, estimated to be around 1.5 million. Self-employed Filipinos make up 26.9% of the country’s 41.2 million labor force, the second biggest category of employed workers, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Still, financial inclusion remains a challenge as 2 out of 3 Filipinos do not have access to bank accounts, and 9 out of 10 do not have access to loan credit.
“But the smartphone penetration is good, and the Philippines is an increasingly social media savvy country… What we’re doing is incentivizing people to go online,” Thomas said, presenting GCash’s financial services, which include GScore, GCredit, GSave and GInvest.
Financial services platform
“We’re not stopping at just creating payment convenience in your day-to-day lives. We are ultimately a financial services platform where we collaborate with lenders, asset managers, banks, and insurance companies. And we’ve already launched a way where we’re giving people a digital identity,” he said.
UNDP resident representative Titon Mitra, who was also a guest speaker at the forum, recognized that the most impressive social innovations were coming from emerging economies, citing fintech companies like GCash.
“In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, innovations are imperative,” Mitra said. “It’s not just about fostering social innovations but fostering social innovations with a coherent purpose. If we’re going to drive social innovations the right way, we have to make it everyone’s responsibility.” (Press Release)
The roster of mother tongue-based literacy apps developed by leading wireless services provider Smart Communications (Smart) has been shortlisted in this year’s Asia Mobile Awards (AMO 2019).
Organized by mobile network operators group GSMA, AMO 2019 serves as the Asia Region’s leading stage for the latest and most innovative mobile products, apps, devices, services and initiatives.
Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia
Smart is in the running for its #LearnSmart Mother Tongue-Based Literacy Apps that were developed in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and academic institutions nationwide. The PLDT subsidiary initiated the local content development program in 2018 as a response to the lack of interactive local content for education and is the only finalist from the Philippines among the 50 contenders shortlisted by the AMO.
The apps are nominated under the category of Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the UN SDGs in Asia. Other finalists include edotco Myanmar for Sustainable Connectivity Solution, China Mobile, Huawei Technologies & The 301 Hospital for The World’s First Successful 5G-Enabled Remote Surgery on a Living Human Patient, KaiOS for the emerging OS, KT & UNEP for Air Map Korea, and Mahindra Comviva for AsiaHawala.
The presentation of the Awards will take place at this year’s Mobile World Congress-Shanghai from June 26 to 28, 2019.
First of its kind
The LearnSmart mother tongue-based literacy apps feature lessons on local alphabet and numbers, videos showcasing local stories and songs, and games that help develop a learner’s essential memory and thinking skills. The mobile tools were designed to be interactive to make teaching and learning basic literacy in the local language more interesting and encouraging for both the teachers and the learners.
To-date, Smart has launched nine #LearnSmart literacy applications: Bahay Kubo (Filipino), Kaalam (Cebuano), Ta’allam and Tahderiyyah (Arabic), Matisalug (Matigsalug indigenous peoples Tribe of Davao and Bukidnon), Kaaram (Waray), Katao (Inabaknon), Singsing (Kapampangan), and Sanut (Ilokano). To-date, the suite of apps are the only mobile tools in the Philippines that feature localized educational content. In the case of Matigsalug, it is the first tribal app of its kind in the country, while Tahderiyyah is the first literacy app for the Bangsamoro children.
The main delivery pipeline of the apps is through the Smart School-in-a-Bag program, which are portable digital classrooms that are donated to remote and under-served schools in the Philippines with intermittent to no power. With more than 110 learning packages deployed as of end-2018, over 30,000 students around the Philippines have been given the opportunity to improve their performance in school though Smart’s flagship education initiative.
Aside from School-in-a-Bag beneficiaries, anyone can also download the #LearnSmart apps for free via Google Play.
Game-changing mobile devices and technologies
Prior to being named as a finalist in AMO 2019, the roster of mother-tongue literacy apps was previously awarded by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines with Silver citations at the 54th Anvil Awards. The nods were for Best PR Program Directed at Specific Stakeholders and Best PR Tool – Mobile Application.
Now on its fourth year, the AMOs recognize game-changing mobile devices and technologies, to applications and services developed for, or available in Asian markets, showcasing the ever growing value that mobility brings to users, industries, businesses, communities and economies across Asia’s countries and regions.
Smart’s previous AMO nods include a nomination in 2018 for SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system spearheaded by Smart and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center. From 2007 to 2009, the company also won AMOs for several Mobile Money and Advertising-Marketing initiatives, as well as a nomination under the Green Mobile Award for the company’s tarpaulin recycling initiatives. (Press Release)
Businesses that embrace technology and social media grow at incredible rates, according to an official of Facebook Philippines.
With platforms like Facebook, there has never been a better time to have a business idea or solution and connect that idea with someone who will need it, Facebook Philippines Client Partner Chay Mondejar-Saputil said in a media briefing last Friday in Cebu City.
Facebook Philippines held last Friday an Accelerator Workshop to train Cebu businesses on online marketing, branding, and digital tools provided by the platform. Saputil said the business tools offered by the social media giant “level the playing field” for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB).
Reach potential customers
“Whereas before only big businesses were able to reach out to a large number of people, now even small businesses can reach hundreds of thousands” of potential customers using Facebook and its tools, she said.
More than 50 million Filipinos are connected to an SMB page on Facebook, the company said in a press statement. About 130 million people outside the country are connected to a Philippine-based SMB on the platform, it added.
The biggest shift right now is how we are so connected to our mobile phones
Chay Mondejar-Saputil, Client Partner, Facebook Philippines
Saputil said a survey of small businesses showed that by using technology and social platforms, 86% were able to sell their products outside their geographic boundaries and to customers in other provinces and even abroad. The same survey also found that 91% of businesses saw these tools as having helped them attract customers and 73% said they were able to hire more people. She said 82% of businesses reported increased sales because of the Facebook platform. She also said that 60% of these companies built their businesses on Facebook.
Saputil also shared what she said were the four Cs that are important to do well online: community, curation, conversation, and commerce.
Empower SMBs with training
Facebook Philippines said the digital skills training they conducted for SMBs started in 2017 and have trained over 5,000 small businesses in 23 cities all over the Philippines.
“We are glad to be working with Facebook in helping create inclusive, innovation-led growth for Philippine SMBs. Ninety-nine percent of businesses in the country are SMBs and they are the backbone of the Philippine economy. Together with Facebook, we will continue to empower SMBs as their success ultimately translates into more jobs and economic opportunities for Filipinos,” said Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas OIC Assistant Regional Director Ma. Elena Arbon.
Jackie Morales of Digital Printing PH said platforms like Facebook allowed their company to operate fully online. Digital Printing PH started with two physical locations in Manila. Morales said that with the shops, they were limited by their location and their customers were mainly students. By going online, they were able to attract corporate customers from all over the country and even abroad.
Fully online, relocate to Cebu
She and her husband eventually decided to go fully online and relocate to Cebu, having been attracted to the province after spending their vacation here. Morales said her biggest consideration in going online is her being a mother. With the physical stores, she barely had time with the responsibilities of running their operations while raising a child. By going fully online, she now has more time for the family and for herself. She said she was able to travel more since she could run the business from anywhere.
EMPOWERING ENTREPRENEURS. (From left) Jackie Morales of Digital Printing PH; Gina Romero, CEO and co-founder of Connected Women; Facebook Philippines Client Partner Chay Mondejar-Saputil; and Facebook Philippines Communications Manager Michelle Fojas brief reporters and bloggers about Friday’s Accelerator Workshop for Cebu businesses.
Gina Romero, CEO and co-founder of Connected Women, said technology is empowering to women and allows them to connect with other female entrepreneurs and share tips and experiences. Romero used to be a flight attendant while selling used laptops on eBay. With technology, she was able to run the business wherever her assignment was. She later on started organizing sessions for women entrepreneurs. She has brought that online by tapping Facebook and her community now has 35,000 members.
Saputil said tools like Messenger foster interaction with the community and potential customers. She said this “conversational commerce” drives business and will be increasingly contributing to transactions in the coming months.
Mobile is biggest shift
Romero said they had to hire a dedicated employee to handle chats and would be adding another person soon. She said people prefer to use Messenger chat than other avenues like email and contact forms. Morales said she often has a deluge of chat messages that she has to use the “away” option because she is unable to deal with all messages.
Saputil said tools like chatbots will enable entrepreneurs like Morales to deal with the volume of customer inquiries.
Romero said platforms allow her members to interact with each other. She shared how a post or question by a member would often generate hundreds of answers by others in the community by the time she reads it when she wakes up in the morning.
Saputil also emphasized the importance of thinking mobile in doing business in today’s digital and connected world.
“The biggest shift right now is how we are so connected to our mobile phones,” Saputil said, citing a study by We Are Social that indicated Filipinos spent up to 10 hours a day online, mostly via phones.
“Most of our users are on the phone. Think of what your photo will look like on the phone, if you can’t read what’s on the photo on the phone then I would say 90% of our users won’t be able to read it as well. If it’s on the phone, the rule is the bigger the better,” she said.
Saputil also said that based on feedback and their experience in attending and holding events in Cebu, “I feel and I see that digital transformation is happening here.”
PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. is ramping up the rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology across the Eastern Visayas to improve the mobile data experience of customers in one of the country’s biggest regions.
Smart LTE is already available across the region’s major cities of Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, and was recently fired up in the Eastern Samar capital city of Borongan, the tourist town of Guiuan, Northern Samar capital of Catarman City, and Western Samar cities of Calbayog and Catbalogan.
For veteran Borongan-based broadcast journalist Daisy Belizar, better connectivity would be a boon to her city, where almost all of the families have at least one member working abroad. “With LTE in Borongan, we will now be connected to the rest of the world,” she said.
This year, Smart will continue upgrading all its Eastern Visayas sites to LTE, as well as add more LTE capacity by deploying multi-band base stations. Doing so will enable Smart to cater to more subscribers and improve speeds with the activation of LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation.
Carrier aggregation is a feature of LTE-A which allows the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver much faster data speeds to customers using capable phones.
In Eastern Visayas, particularly in Leyte and Eastern Samar, around half of Smart subscribers are already smartphone users, bulk of whom are also already using LTE devices. Compared to a year ago, the number of customers in the region who use mobile data on LTE devices with LTE SIMs has also increased significantly.
Aside from upgrading its existing sites, Smart is also rolling out additional sites in the coming year, particularly to provide seamless network coverage from Tacloban City to Ormoc City and from Baybay to Abuyog, as well as to improve connectivity in heavy foot-traffic areas such as airports in Calbayog, Catarman, Ormoc and Tacloban; in malls and hospitals; and in dense residential and resettlement areas, among others.
World class internet
“With our continuing rollout across Eastern Visayas and in the rest of the country, we are bringing the benefits of world class internet closer to Filipinos nationwide,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
“Improved connectivity in the region will enable our Waray customers to access services like online banking and e-commerce while on-the-go, stay in contact with friends and family through messaging apps, and share photos and videos of their beautiful beaches and historic spots to help boost tourism in the area,” Tamayo added.
Underpinning PLDT and Smart’s fixed and mobile network roll-out is the expansion of PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network. PLDT’s fiber footprint, now the most extensive in the country at more than 259,000 kilometers, also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations.
PLDT and Smart’s network transformation efforts are backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic, with the ultimate aim of delivering the best data customer experience. (Press Release)
Catriona Gray’s journey to the Miss Universe crown is an inspiring story of a woman who has reimagined herself to win the most coveted beauty pageant title, bringing pride and honor to our country.
Make no mistake about it, Catriona could have simply rested on her laurels with her Top 5 finish in Miss World 2016, plus a flourishing career as a commercial model. But, fueled by the support of family and friends, the now 25-year old beauty queen decided to embark on a much bigger dream that revealed the goal slayer in her – someone who is confident with her vision, and put every ounce of her energy to realize it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast-paced digital lifestyle
“Catriona’s inspiring story and her disposition as the ultimate goal slayer makes her the perfect ambassador for Smart Signature, a new mobile experience that prioritizes customers,” said Oscar A. Reyes, Jr., PLDT-Smart SVP and Consumer Business Market Development Head.
“Designed to cater to a new generation of goal slayers like Catriona, Smart Signature keeps up with the fast-paced digital lifestyle of our customers and empowers them as they tick off more milestones in their career or life,” he added.
“I’m very goal-oriented, and once I’ve set my mind on something, I put my heart and soul to it, and make sure I have all the tools to make it happen,” said Catriona, whose dedication showed in her hands-on approach to preparing for an international title: from putting together her own team or designers, trainers and creatives to displaying her proud Filipino heritage in her captivating national costume and now iconic gowns.
“This is why I am thrilled to represent Smart Signature, which empowers everyone with the digital experience they need to achieve more and realize a much better version of themselves. With Smart Signature, we have one less thing to worry about while pursuing our goals and making a difference.”
Tech-savvy beauty queen
Catriona uses digital platforms not only to connect with family, friends, and fans, but as an effective way to get her voice out there as an advocate for educating the youth and raising HIV/AIDS awareness.
But what else does the most beautiful woman in the world do when she’s online? For starters, she listens to music. “I never like it when it’s quiet. So, I stream music all the time,” she shared. She also enjoys watching videos, especially during her downtime. Here’s a fun fact: She likes watching beauty and make-up videos online, and even trained to do her own make-up as part of her preparation for the MISS UNIVERSE competition.
As an only child who lives away from her parents, and with a hectic travel schedule, she also heavily relies on mobile apps to constantly keep in touch with family and friends.
Always a go-getter, Catriona is ready to embark on her new role as endorser for Smart Signature. It’s going to be a hectic reign, but it’s a journey that she has prepared for all her life, and one that she hopes will inspire more Filipinos.
“I would love to share to people that my story is not an overnight success, and there were years that I really struggled. But I never gave up,” she revealed. “I always play to my own strengths. You need to find a circle of people that believe in what your goals are. And in this digital age, you need a mobile partner that will always prioritize your needs.”
Smart Signature prioritizes subscribers on the Smart LTE network, the country’s undisputed fastest mobile network as awarded by world-renowned firms including Ookla, OpenSignal, Tutela, and P3. This prioritized network experience makes sure that you can enjoy consistent data to connect to their favorite apps, sent messages in real time, and make uninterrupted calls – even during peak hours.
Smart Signature comes in four plans – Plan S, Plan M, Plan L and Plan XL – with generous data allocation; worry-free unlimited calls to Smart, Sun, and TNT; worry-free AnyNet call minutes to PLDT landline and other networks; and unlimited texts to all networks – so you never have to worry about connecting with family, friends, and colleagues on any network.
Experience a reimagined postpaid and achieve more with Smart Signature Plans now! Sign up as a new subscriber, or upgrade your current Smart Postpaid Plan for free, at select Smart Stores nationwide.