Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Smart, MyPhone launch P888 Android unit to boost smartphone use among Filipinos

For a one-time payment of just P888, people can now get a smartphone prepaid kit with a Smart Prepaid Sim packed with Free 100MB in connectivity valid for 30 days for 12 months as well as a load rebate of P30 for an accumulated top-up of P100 every month for 12 months.

For a one-time payment of just P888, people can now get a smartphone prepaid kit with a Smart Prepaid Sim packed with Free 100MB in connectivity valid for 30 days for 12 months as well as a load rebate of P30 for an accumulated top-up of P100 every month for 12 months.

The unique offering is a collaboration between mobile services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and MyPhone, the Philippines’ pioneering mobile phone brand. The promotion is aimed at increasing the smartphone adoption in the country, where only 40 percent of Filipinos owned a smartphone as of 2015, based on a recent report by Swedish ICT provider Ericsson.

Smart’s first offer for 2016 is part of the company’s two-track approach in putting the power of digital services into the hands of more Filipinos this year, said Ariel P. Fermin, Executive Vice President and Head of Consumer Business at Smart.

Smart Prepaid Myphone

JUST P888. Smart’s Prepaid Smartphone features a dual-SIM functionality and comes preloaded with the hottest apps like iflix and Spinnr, Smart’s award-winning music streaming app. It has a 5MP main camera and 2MP front camera, as well as an 8GB expandable memory.

 

Smart Life experience

“This 2016, we are bringing the Smart Life experience to more Filipinos by first, leading the way in making the Smartphone a lot more attainable through unprecedented device offers and compelling promos and second, by further expanding our range of digital services in the fields of connectivity, entertainment, home security, urban convenience and financial services – which are at the core of the Smart Life,” said Fermin.

Ericsson’s study estimates the smartphone adoption in the Philippines to jump to 70 percent of the population in three years as devices become more affordable and more digital services are introduced into the market.

“We are thrilled to team up with MyPhone, which shares our vision of democratizing access to smartphones, enabling more Filipinos to enjoy meaningful apps and services that make their life a lot more fun and convenient,” said Fermin.

With the offer, Smart not only expects to entice new smartphone users and Smart Prepaid subscribers, but to also sustain mobile data usage within PLDT’s wireless segment, which grew by 139 percent and led to combined broadband and mobile Internet revenues of P15.6 billion in the first nine months of 2015.

Phone specs

Available at all Smart Stores, Smart Online Store and all MyPhone retail outlets nationwide, Smart’s Prepaid Smartphone has a quad-core processor that runs the latest Android operating system Lollipop, which allows for efficient multitasking – from browsing news sites, emailing, and using popular apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and chat apps like Viber, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Smart’s Prepaid Smartphone also features a dual-SIM functionality and comes preloaded with the hottest apps like iflix, Southeast Asia’s leading internet TV service, and Spinnr, Smart’s award-winning music streaming app, among many others.

The phone is equipped with 5MP main camera and 2MP front camera, as well as an 8GB expandable memory that can be used to save top apps and mobile games like Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Bejeweled, among many others.

“We can’t wait for more Filipinos to discover the Smart Life through our irresistible device offers, apps and services weaved into an unrivaled digital experience that only the country’s mobile services leader can provide,” said Fermin. (Press release)

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Ambient noise? Think ambient news!

UV radiation levels will be high, the smartwatch we have been testing warned at noon of Sinulog Sa Kabataan Sa Lalawigan last Saturday. The data was processed by AccuWeather and detected by the weather app integrated into my wife’s phone and from there, pushed into the smartwatch she was wearing.

MaxBlogUV radiation levels will be high, the smartwatch we have been testing warned at noon of Sinulog Sa Kabataan Sa Lalawigan last Saturday. The data was processed by AccuWeather and detected by the weather app integrated into my wife’s phone and from there, pushed into the smartwatch she was wearing.

That bit of information influenced how we went about going from one place to another in downtown Cebu City to cover the Sinulog: staying on the shade and I being amenable to carrying an umbrella. I made a mental note of bringing sunblock.

That piece of weather alert illustrates the mind-boggling processing capabilities we have in today’s world of cloud technology and increasing mobility.

In the cloud, on the go

The ultraviolet or UV index alerts people on the levels of solar radiation. AccuWeather, a global company that specializes in weather information, explains that “many factors go in to calculating the index for a particular area on a given day, including the elevation of the location, cloud coverage for that day, the amount of ozone in the atmosphere over that area and skin’s sensitivity to UV radiation.” The scale, the company said, runs from 0 to 10 with 0 denoting the lowest risk of exposure that happens at night.

The notification we got last Saturday was triggered by a phone setting in Asus ZenUI for weather alerts every time the UV index reaches level 8. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says in its website that a UV index reading of 8 to 10 “means very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure.”

The EPA warns people to “take extra precautions because unprotected skin and eyes will be damaged and can burn quickly.” Among its recommendations are for people to minimize sun exposure, seek shade when outdoors and wear protective clothing, wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, apply SPF 30+ sunscreen every two hours, watch out for bright surfaces like sand and water, which reflect UV and increase exposure.

Android Wear Google Now

TIME TO GO. Google Now takes into account your appointments for the day, traffic data on roads you are likely to pass and then sends contextual and timely notifications like this one on connected devices such as Android Wear smartwatches.

 

Weather, traffic, news

AccuWeather crunches the complex data points that come with weather forecasting and then unleashes a torrent of publicly-available data that are rendered into bite-size, actionable and easy to understand alerts on mobile devices like the one we received. The system knew where we were and served that timely and contextual reminder.

And that’s just the weather. Such complex and mobile systems already exist for traffic with Waze and for our daily lives, Google Now. Waze takes crowd-sourcing into the mix, getting data from phones running it to calculate traffic speed, improve map layouts and learn about road and turn directions.

Google Now, for me, is indispensable. Throughout the day, it sends alerts on what the system deems are things I should know like when to leave for an appointment, taking into account where I am and the traffic conditions of the roads leading to that place. It also serves weather and news information.

Automated writing

And systems like these will get even more powerful, fueled by the steadfast march to faster and cheaper processing determined by Moore’s Law.

I recently got access into Wordsmith, the platform that writes earnings stories for the Associated Press (AP) and sports recaps for Yahoo!. The system is surprisingly accessible to configure. With the service, you’re setting up your own digital wordsmith, a robot-writing system that devours such data as sports scores, sales reports and earnings figures and turns out AP-quality news reports in the time it takes you to say “rewrite.” And all these without having to invest millions in a data center and a team to configure algorithms.

These systems already tackle health issues, with automated heart rate monitoring and physical activities tracking. Google Fit, for examples, tracks how many steps you take in a day and whether it is by walking or running.

Bargains alert, ambient news

It is starting to cover commerce. We’ll be intelligently alerted of bargains, taking into account where we are and the things we are considering buying. It will definitely cover tourism and history, our startup has projects that tackle this and we have a nascent system for information delivery.

Platforms now include news but this will be much more encompassing in the next few years. News platforms will take into account not just our personal data but will be embedded into our daily lives as a constant stream of information we get in our multiple devices throughout the day as we go about working or traveling. It’s like having a newsroom producing content just for you, a Bloomberg terminal in your watch.

It will be a redefined “news,” with a new set of Ws and H, who you are is determined by data accessible via social media accounts, where you are is determined by GPS, what is grabbed by publicly accessible data feeds, when are data nuggets from online and mobile calendars and why and how are connections of historical data stitched into a narrative through meta information.

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Alcatel Flash unveils ergonomically designed ‘Perfect In Hand’ Flash 2 phone

The Alcatel Flash 2 has a 5.5-inch screen, runs on an Android Octa-core 1.4 GHz and with a Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery, perfect for users who want to make the most out of the Android experience. This phone is a real eye-candy with its volcanic ash color.

Smartphones have transitioned from being just a communication device to an all-in-one mobile technology that complements the lifestyle of different people. While functionality and simplicity are often considered by mobile phone users, a new factor comes in: how the phone feels in the hand of the user.

Back in 2010, consumers believed a 3.5-inch screen best met their expectations of having a handy phone that easily slips into their pockets. Five years later, the norm has changed—most mobile phone users opt for smartphones that fall under the five-inch category to get the overall experience of a tablet and a mobile device in one handset.

Alcatel Flash 2

ALCATEL FLASH 2. The phone was ergonomically designed to perfectly fit in the user’s hand.

Alcatel Flash 2 functionality, sophistication

“Since the trend of owning a five-inch phone boomed in 2015, most mobile phone manufacturers now lean towards developing products that may be classified under that category. However, some of them are missing out on the rather more important considerations in an attempt to ride with the wave,” said Michael Chen, Deputy General Manager and Product Strategy Director of Mobile Internet Group, TCL Communication. “The thing is, consumers are looking for both functionality and sophistication in one mobile device, and that’s just what we’re going to offer.”

Alcatel Flash, one of the leading mobile phone developers in Asia Pacific, launched its Flash 2 phone to offer an ergonomically designed smartphone that fits perfectly in the user’s hand. According to Michael Chen, the new flagship phone offers a perfect feel in the hand due to its remarkable workmanship.

Alcatel Flash 2 design features

The newly unveiled Flash 2 phone has a 147-gram weight, designed with a touch of sturdiness and comfort. The arc of the phone’s back offers a delicate yet sophisticated feel when held in hand. The delicate rims give a comfortable sense to the fingers with noticeable treatment for smoothness in design while allowing no space for slippage. It has a 5.5-inch screen, runs on an Android Octa-core 1.4 GHz and with a Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery, perfect for users who want to make the most out of the Android experience. This phone is a real eye-candy with its volcanic ash color.

“The Flash 2 found its golden curve with the integration of being sensational and being rational. What makes it truly amazing is that, the back of the phone feels delicate and soft with a touch of velvet-like gritty texture slowly permeating into the palm—making it difficult to put down,” Chen said.

Michael Chen said the sophisticated design of the Alcatel Flash 2 was attributable to Eric Chen, product manager of the Flash Team involved in the Flash 2’s research and development. The 25-year-old developer put into consideration today’s modern need, bearing the young people in mind who grew up in the age of mobile phones just like him. It was through his creativity when the copy “Perfect In Hand.” was first coined, referring to the smartphone.

Alcatel Flash 2

SPECS. The Alcatel Flash2 has a 5.5-inch screen, runs on an Android Octa-core 1.4 GHz and with a Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery, is perfect for users who want to make the most out of the Android experience.

Extensive testing

Eric Chen said, “Before, our idea was just about starting from the draft and then making repeated improvements. This is because there exist differences among the hands of people and even for the same person—the left hand is not necessary the same as the right one regarding the feature. So even the slightest differences may substantially affect the details of design, resulting in big differences in users’ experience.”

It was during this time when about 1,000 hands were involved in the testing stage. As adjustment of the feel in hand resembles tailoring to one’s measure, it takes not only courage but also great patience to arrive at the curve that best fits into the hand. It is during the countless times of tests that their previous ethos of making a “Perfect In Hand” smart phone has gradually taken shape.

“We don’t want to follow blindly the market trend. Our design will take into consideration more factors. We are concerned with the market response, but we would like to provide consumers with more humanized and more individualized smart phones,” Eric Chen said.

Quick shutter button

He added, “In choosing the material for the back of Flash 2, we are looking for a sturdy, comfortable and warm feel to offer consumers the sense of ease and pleasure. Eventually, we decided on the fluff paint, which meets in every aspect our requirements of the texture of the back. It offers a sense of stateliness as well as a unique touch of softness while being wearable and when there is sweat in the hand, there will not be sticky fingerprints left on the phone.”

Aside from its very sleek features, the Flash 2 boasts of a quick shutter button which may be found in the right part of the phone’s bottom. This makes it easier for the users to keep pressing the button for fleeting moments and shoot within two to three seconds.

Eric Chen concluded, “With the fierce competition of manufacturers in terms of developing phones with ultra-specs for pixel, runtime and system, Alcatel Flash continues to gain ground in developing phones that boasts of design. In the years to come, we will continue to develop phones that are ‘Perfect In Hand’ all for the young generation.” (Press Release)

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PLDT HOME, Smart allow sharing of DSL monthly data allocation with mobile phones

PLDT and Smart Communications, the country’s leading telecommunications and digital services providers, have come together to offer the Philippines’ first data plan that enables subscribers to a home DSL service to share their data allocation with mobile phones of family members.

PLDT and Smart Communications, the country’s leading telecommunications and digital services providers, have come together to offer the Philippines’ first data plan that enables subscribers to a home DSL service to share their data allocation with mobile phones of family members.

Under its new Speedster Fam Plan 1299, PLDT HOME DSL offers five times faster speeds of up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and a monthly data allocation of 50 gigabytes (GB). Subscribers who upgrade their Speedster Plan with a Smart mobile plan 399 or plan 600 can share 6GB of the 50GB monthly data allocation to their mobile phone lines which they can use even outside the home. Customers may get up to four Smart mobile phone lines bundled with their Speedster Fam Plan, all conveniently billed under one subscription.

Value of sharing

According to PLDT and Smart EVP and Consumer Business Group Head Ariel P. Fermin, this new service takes off from the Filipino value of sharing. “Sharing is at the core of every Filipino family. We share everything, from food to stories, and memories, and now, data connectivity,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, the strongest connections truly begin at home. With this unrivaled and powerful convergence of the country’s number one broadband provider, PLDT HOME; and the undisputed leader in mobile services, Smart, we are going beyond the home and enriching mobile experiences of our subscribers,” Fermins said.

“It’s certainly not just about the shared gigabytes but we humanize technology by empowering our customers to live their digitally driven lives to the fullest and strengthen the connections they have with their loved ones despite physical distance through the power of digital and mobile technology,” he said.

PLDT Home Speedster

PLDT HOME. PLDT and Smart Communications now allow subscribers to a home DSL service to share their data allocation with mobile phones of family members.

PLDT HOME Speedster Fam Plan

PLDT HOME’s launch of the new Speedster Fam Plan 1299 comes at the heels of its groundbreaking partnerships last year that enriched the digital lifestyles of its over 70 million subscribers combined. For world-class entertainment content, the two industry leaders teamed up with iflix and Fox International Channels as well as with online business game changers Uber, Zalora, foodpanda and AirBnB to complement the lifestyle needs of their subscribers.

PLDT HOME also launched the country’s first 1Gbps plan and partnered with technology leaders Intel and Microsoft to level up the pioneering over-the-top device TVolution Stick.

The PLDT Group’s robust and resilient fixed and wireless networks, with the country’s most extensive fiber optic footprint that spans over 100,000 kilometers, enables PLDT HOME and Smart to offer reliable broadband services that power Filipinos’ connected homes and digital lifestyles. For more information, you can log on to www.pldthome.com.

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Smart Padala Pick-Up Anywhere makes remittances even more convenient

Smart Padala, the number one domestic remittance service in the Philippines, is giving Filipino consumers even more options than ever before for both sending and receiving money via Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere.

Smart Padala, the number one domestic remittance service in the Philippines, is giving Filipino consumers even more options than ever before for both sending and receiving money via Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere.

The latest innovation from digital financial services leader Smart eMoney, Inc. now allows consumers to send remittances via Smart Padala to any mobile phone number, no matter the mobile telecom provider.

The sender just needs to fill out the transaction slip, including the recipient’s mobile phone number along with a nominal service fee and proof of identification, and hand it to the Smart Padala agent. After the money is sent, the recipient will receive a text notification with the reference number of the Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere transaction.

Smart Padala Pick­Up Anywhere

CONVENIENT. With Smart Padala Pick­Up Anywhere, consumers can now send remittances via Smart Padala to any mobile phone number, no matter the mobile telecom provider.

Smart Padala Pick-Up Anywhere touch points

He can then present the reference number, along with a valid ID, to any Smart Padala agent. As an added security feature, the recipient will then be sent a one­time verification pin that will allow him to receive the money, a new innovation in the mobile money space.

Previously, recipients picked up their remittances from pre­selected Smart Padala centers. But now with Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere, they can send or claim their remittance from any Smart Padala center in the Philippines.

Smart Padala already has over 15,000 agents and centers, more touch points than Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), bank branches and pawnshops in the country combined. This will provide Filipinos with an unprecedented level of convenience.

Now that anyone can send money to any mobile phone number and claim the remittance from any Smart Padala center, Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere is extending financial inclusion to more Filipinos.

Immediate, convenient

“When you’re sending money to someone who needs it, you want to ensure that they can receive it immediately and conveniently. By enhancing our Smart Padala service with Pick­-Up Anywhere, we are enabling millions of more Filipinos to experience the benefits of financial technology when they need it the most, wherever they may be,” said Lawrence Ferrer, Vice President at Smart eMoney, Inc. (SMI).

Based on data from the first National Baseline Survey on Financial Inclusion released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas this year, it takes Filipinos an average of 22 minutes to reach the nearest financial services provider. In terms of cost, the average roundtrip fare to reach a financial access point is P43.

Ferrer said this hyperlocality that Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere provides will ultimately benefit the Filipino consumer.

Improve standard of living

“While most people will look at Smart Padala Pick­-Up Anywhere as an added convenience, we look it as a tangible way to help improve the standard of living for millions of Filipinos. They no longer have to brave a commute, or even a long walk, to get the money that they need, when they need it. That’s the power of financial technology,” said Ferrer.

According to the survey from the BSP, 44% of Filipino adults had remittance transactions in the past six months and for those on the sending side, 91% sent to their families while 6% sent to their friends. On the other hand, for those who received remittances, 90% received from their families while 7% received from friends. Top line items for purposes of remittances received is for food (71%), education (39%), medical expenses (28%) and emergencies (22%).

Smart eMoney, Inc. is the digital financial services unit of PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. A global pioneer in mobile banking, mobile money and mobile wallet services with over 15 years in the industry, Smart eMoney’s proprietary innovations span products and services across market segments, catering to the financial transaction requirements of the banked and unbanked. It recently launched PayMaya, a digital payments innovation for online transactions. (Press Release)

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Smart named best mobile operator anew in World Communication Awards

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

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

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

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

Digital strategy

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

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

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

Smart Life

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

‘Smart Life’ campaign

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

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

Undisputed leader

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

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

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My Safe Drive app by BPI/MS Insurance promotes safe, smart driving

BPI/MS Insurance Corporation, a joint venture of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, one of the largest non-life insurance companies in Japan, has released an innovative new smartphone application. Called “My Safe Drive.” the app aims to promote safer and smarter driving in the Philippines.

BPI/MS Insurance Corporation, a joint venture of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, one of the largest non-life insurance companies in Japan, has released an innovative new smartphone application. Called “My Safe Drive.” the app aims to promote safer and smarter driving in the Philippines.

Using a smartphone’s built-in camera, global positioning system (GPS) and smart software, My Safe Drive combines navigation, near-collision and lane departure alerts with driving analytics in a user-friendly app that’s available in multiple languages for the convenience of local drivers.

According to BPI/MS Insurance President Kenichi Tanabe, the app is further proof that the company is committed to providing its clients and the public with reliable and innovative insurance solutions that help Filipinos make the best happen for their lives.

My Safe Drive ‘protects investment’

“A car is one of the most significant investments a family can make, thus safe driving by using My Safe Drive helps protect that investment,” adds Tanabe.

BPI My Safe Drive

BPI/MS President Kenichi Tanabe along with BPI/MS key officers and MSIG (Asia) Pte. Ltd. representatives with motoring and technology media, various automobile partners, and AAP Road Safety unit head. (Contributed Photo)

 

The launch has been fueled by rising affluence among Filipino consumers and an expected increase in passenger car purchases. Tanabe says, “The need for better road safety is imperative and the launch of the app empowers Filipinos to make their own contribution to promoting safer driving.”

Building on its commitment as a responsible insurer, BPI/MS Insurance Corporation launched the app by inviting the media to experience My Safe DriveTM in real time while driving different car models. With cars provided by partner automotive brands (Toyota, Isuzu, Honda, Hyundai, and Chevrolet), the media convoy traveled from Bonifacio Global City in Taguig to Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

BPI/MS is a joint venture of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), a member of the Ayala Group of Companies and one of the country’s most respected banking institutions, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, one of the largest non-life insurance companies in Japan.

BPI/MS ushered in a new era of strength and stability, setting a new standard of consumer-driven insurance services in the country, the company said. (Press Release)

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DepEd integrates Smart video materials into disaster preparedness education

“Maging Laging Handa,” a series of disaster-readiness videos developed by Smart Communications (Smart), has been distributed to public elementary schools nationwide in support of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) initiative to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the education curriculum.

“Maging Laging Handa,” a series of disaster-readiness videos developed by Smart Communications (Smart), has been distributed to public elementary schools nationwide in support of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) initiative to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the education curriculum.

Developed in partnership with PAGASA, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the video series was launched recently at the disaster risk reduction and resilience in education forum of DepEd which was attended by the disaster coordinators from all regions. The videos, which promote Smart’s advocacy for a safer Philippines, are especially designed for children who are most vulnerable during disasters.

Localized content, verified by experts

“The Maging Laging Handa videos of Smart are very valuable addition to our DRR curriculum for elementary students. In addition to being a fun educational material which improves memory retention, the content is localized and verified by experts,” said Ms. Ronilda Co, Director IV of the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service. “I’m sure our students will enjoy watching the videos while learning at the same time,” Co added.

The video materials cover precautionary measures and safety tips for various calamities such as typhoons, floods, tsunamis, storm surges, earthquakes, and landslides. The videos simplify disaster-related concepts like the typhoon signals, rainfall warning signals, and the differences between a storm surge and a tsunami.

A teacher’s guide as to how these videos can be integrated in the disaster risk reduction (DRR) curriculum was also unveiled during the forum.

Smart Maging Laging Handa

DISASTER-READY. Participants of DepEd’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in Education Forum try their hand at puppeteering the three characters featured in the Maging Laging Handa video series developed by Smart. The preparedness videos are integrated into the DRR curriculum of elementary students.

 

Extend awareness to families

“The good thing about starting disaster preparedness with children is that these children are able to extend awareness to their families. And when families are aware, it’s easier to get them to participate in the preparedness efforts in their barangay, municipality or provinces,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto. “This is one way to mobilize communities and really start that culture of preparedness among Filipinos,” Isberto added.

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

The “Maging Laging Handa” videos feature television personality, Tonipet Gabba, as well as three puppets namely Inay Lena, a mother hen; Brownie, a dog; and Kali, a carabao. The videos also include all-original Tagalog songs aimed at making the learning journey richer and more exciting.

The videos, which can be viewed at www.smart.com.ph/SafePH, will now form part of Smart’s regular disaster preparedness caravans in various parts of the country to help strengthen disaster management capacities of local government units and their constituents.

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

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Kimstore brings trendiest gadgets to tech-savvy Filipinos

After nine years and more than 673,000 Facebook likes, Kimstore has become an online powerhouse. Its founder, Kim Lato, describes Kimstore as one of the true pioneers of e-commerce in the country. She emphasized that her company’s growth can be attributed to its mission: To make advanced mobile electronics technologies accessible to Filipinos by providing pro-consumer products and services.

Kim Lato was an eighteen-year-old student at the De La Salle University-Manila in 2006 when she toyed with the idea of setting up an online store. Despite the rising popularity of online shops, particularly in the United States, the Philippines only had a few then.

Lato saw an opportunity to earn extra cash while working on her marketing degree. She knew the timing would be perfect given Filipinos’ growing penchant for gadgets, and very few competitors in the online space.

“It was during the peak of Multiply.com when I thought selling gadgets online would be a great idea. I already have the selling channel. I’ve always had a strong interest in gadgets so entering the tech industry was the most natural thing for me to do,” she explained.

After nine years and more than 673,000 Facebook likes, Kimstore has become an online powerhouse. Lato describes Kimstore as one of the true pioneers of e-commerce in the country. She emphasized that her company’s growth can be attributed to its mission: To make advanced mobile electronics technologies accessible to Filipinos by providing pro-consumer products and services.

With new products coming out at a dizzying pace, Kimstore constantly adds new merchandise to its website and Facebook page ranging from mobile phones, laptops, cameras, gaming consoles, tablet PCs, and different accessories and peripherals.

Bozz Awardee for Kimstore founder

At just twenty-seven years old, Lato was awarded Boss for E-Commerce Award at the first-ever Smart SME Nation Bozz Awards held October 28 at the Palace Pool Club, Bonifacio Global City.

The Smart SME Nation Bozz Awards recognizes the new breed of digital movers and shakers who have pioneered entrepreneurial innovation through technology.

The other awardees are: Carlo Calimon of MobKard, Boss for Mobile Readiness; Kristine Reyes-Lopez of Messy Bessy, Boss for Social Responsibility; Jason Magbanua, Boss for Social Media; and Chino Atilano of Timefree Innovations, Boss for Customer Service.

Kimstore Bozz awards

BOSS FOR E-COMMERCE. Kim Lato (2nd from left) bested three other finalists for the Boss for e-Commerce award at the first-ever Bozz Awards. With her in photo during the awarding are, from left, PLDT First Vice President and Head of SME Business Kat Luna-Abelarde, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, PLDT EVP and Head of Enterprise Eric R. Alberto, and IdeaSpace Foundation president and founder Earl Martin Valencia.

 

Online versus brick-and-mortar

At the start, consumers were apprehensive of shopping online, and Lato had to do a lot of convincing that Kimstore is an online shop they can trust and rely on.

“At that time, online businesses were not perceived as a legitimate option to buy products and services from. People still believed it is better buying at physical stores even when they can get the same product at a cheaper price online,” she explained.

“To overcome this challenge, I offered them a 15-day-money-back guarantee in the impossible occurrence that we sell a counterfeit gadget. To top that, we also provided very hands-on customer service.”

Convenience of online shopping

Purchasing gadgets used to be complicated and time consuming. Now, everything can be bought online.

“You can conveniently order your gadgets online and wait for the items to arrive on your doorstep, hassle-free! We also service customers far from the city and constantly look for items not readily available to them,” Lato said.

Kimstore offers its customers different payment options—using their credit cards, payment at a designated bank or pawnshop, paying the Kimstore representative during a meetup, or payment upon courier delivery.

Kimstore FB

One of the early designs of Kimstore’s Facebook page.

 

Increasing profits via digital technology

Kimstore saves a lot on overhead expenses since it doesn’t have to invest heavily on store space, employees, maintenance, and other operating costs. Instead, it invested on a website, strong social media presence, and other online platforms to showcase its products. It also has fewer employees compared to brick-and-mortar stores.

“Technology also enables us to maintain a tremendous amount of historical data economically, and employees benefit from immediate access to the documents they need,” Lato said.

“Digital marketing and advertising campaigns through social media also pushed profitability because of the wider reach. It is more cost efficient, and easier to monitor. We use digital media to make people aware of Kimstore and to entice them to purchase our products and services.”

Caring for customers

Making customers happy makes good business whether one is online or brick-and-mortar.

“I have learned that exceptional customer service is key to success. We’ve continuously improved, learning from our mistakes along the way,” said Lato.

She attests that people will keep coming back and even recommend you if you have given them a happy and memorable shopping experience.

To understand how customers behave, she makes it a habit to stay updated with market trends, and customers’ wants and needs.

“Do research, study the market, and provide great customer service. There will be challenges along the way, and you should persevere to overcome these. Stay focused on your goals and in time you’ll see your business flourish!” (Press Release)

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OFWs can start their own businesses with TackThis! and Smart Padala

Overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were treated to a weekend of business and entrepreneurial opportunities during the Smart Pinoy – Go Negoyso Caravan and Media Day, an event jointly-organized and presented by GoNegosyo, SmartPinoy, PLDT Global, Smart eMoney, Inc., and Voyager Innovations.

Overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were treated to a weekend of business and entrepreneurial opportunities during the Smart Pinoy – Go Negoyso Caravan and Media Day, an event jointly-organized and presented by GoNegosyo, SmartPinoy, PLDT Global, Smart eMoney, Inc., and Voyager Innovations.

The goal of the event was to inspire OFWs to think beyond just saving by putting their money to smarter use and not just keeping it passively in a bank account. Among the opportunities and solutions showcased at the iconic Kennedy Center were online store creator TackThis! and remittance service Smart Padala.

TackThis! online store creator

TackThis! presents an attractive option for OFWs. Fueled by Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and PLDT, TackThis! is an online store creator that allows Filipino entrepreneurs to set up a fully functional online shop in just a matter of minutes.

TackThis! allows sellers to showcase products, manage store inventory and accept payments through a variety of providers. Advanced features include analytics, so sellers can have actionable data by which to generate more sales; marketing and promotions to entice customers to buy and buy more; and customer support to make it easier to facilitate interaction and address consumer concerns.

More than these set of convenient features, TackThis! allows sellers to easily “tack” their store to Facebook and other websites. With TackThis!, sellers are able to not only post their products to social media sites and blogs but they can now actually sell them as they post because the platform allows them to integrate their store to various channels seamlessly.

TackThis! is a natural fit for OFWs according to Mitch Padua, vice president for digital commerce at Voyager Innovations.

TackThis Smart Padala Hong Kong

OFWs in Hong Kong were encouraged to explore business opportunities with TackThis! and Smart Padala.

 

Path to entrepreneurship

“Most OFWs erroneously assume that they have to wait until they return to the Philippines to begin their business. WithTackThis!, they can start selling online in the present, and in fact, do so only in a matter of minutes. At its core, then, TackThis! is not just a means to create stores – it’s a path to entrepreneurship,” said Padua, who added that the natural mindset of OFWs is very entrepreneurial.

While most of the OFWs in attendance at the event were not necessarily tech oriented, they were very keen on creating their own online store, particularly given how easy it was to do so via TackThis!

The TackThis! team shared best practices and tagumpay stories in the world of ecommerce. Such advice was especially well received when coming from Ginger Aganon, the co-owner of Xplo Adventure Shop and a former OFW herself. While many people assume you need a physical store before opening an online one, Aganon did the opposite: She started selling via TackThis! and then established several brick-and-mortar locations in Metro Manila as she became more and more successful with her online venture.

“What I wanted to convey to the OFWs is that I am no exception. Everyone in the room could achieve what I have achieved, if only they equip themselves with the right tools. On this front, the highest recommendation I can possibly give is to TackThis!, which was not just a storefront creator, but an entire ecosystem that enabled me to be a successful technopreneur,” said Aganon.

A kababayan in Hong Kong won a tablet during the Go Negosyo event encouraging OFWs to start their ownbusiness. The event was supported by Smart Padala and TackThis!

A kababayan in Hong Kong won a tablet during the Go Negosyo event encouraging OFWs to start their ownbusiness. The event was supported by Smart Padala and TackThis!

 

Smart Padala business

Smart eMoney also presented the opportunity to start your own Smart Padala business to the OFWs. The advantage of setting up a Smart Padala upon their return to the Philippines, as opposed to another type of business, is the low barrier to entry. All you need to set up a Smart Padala is the requisite government license, an electronic wallet, a small brick-and-mortar location, and only a minimum of 5,000 pesos.

Being a Smart Padala Center allows small business owners to be a one-step center for remittance and payment needs in their community, while providing additional income for their families. These Smart Padala center offers convenience to theircustomers, whether it is on sending or receiving money, loading their prepaid accounts, or paying their bills.

“We want our OFWs to move beyond thinking of themselves as OFWs. When they re-establish themselves back home, we want them committed to becoming entrepreneurs. While it would be nice if they chose to set up a Smart Padala, our goal is really to just get them to see themselves for what they are: leaders with the vision to see a sacrifice through,” said Joshua Jerald Deomano, manager for domestic business at Smart eMoney who spoke at the event.

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APEC leaders get Caraboom sound amplifier made by Cebu-based furniture maker

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) who will be attending the summit in the Philippines will return home with a piece of Cebuano ingenuity: the Caraboom, a non-electronic amplifier made of rattan and other indigenous Philippine materials.

Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) who will be attending the summit in the Philippines will return home with a piece of Cebuano ingenuity: the Caraboom, a non-electronic amplifier made of rattan and other indigenous Philippine materials. You can use the Caraboom to amplify the sound of your phone.

The Caraboom was designed by Cebu-based furniture manufacturer and exporter Pacific Traders & Manufacturing Corporation and “showcases world-class Filipino artistry and innovation,” Smart Communications said in a press statement.

Smart is giving each of the APEC Head of Economies the Caraboom as a gift. (From a press release)

Caraboom Smart DOT

CARABOOM. The Caraboom was made by a Cebu-based furniture maker and exporter and amplifies the sound of mobile phones. Presenting the Caraboom to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. (left) is Smart Public Affairs Group head Ramon R. Isberto. (Smart Communications photo)

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Microsoft launches Windows 10 in Cebu, highlights productivity, security boost with new OS

Today’s workers are highly mobile but many lack the tools and access to important files while on the go that’s why they feel the need to stay in the office, Microsoft Philippines communications manager Pia de Jesus said during a press briefing held during the Cebu launch of Windows 10 last Thursday, November 5.

Today’s workers are highly mobile but many lack the tools and access to important files while on the go that’s why they feel the need to stay in the office, Microsoft Philippines communications manager Pia de Jesus said during a press briefing held during the Cebu launch of Windows 10 last Thursday, November 5.

In releasing Windows 10, Microsoft sought to reinvent productivity and business processes, officials said during the launch.

A study with 5,000 respondents from small and medium enterprises found that “enterprises are lagging behind their employees’ expectations to be more productive, collaborative and innovative in a mobile-first, cloud-first world,” according to a report in the Microsoft Philippines News Center. The report, called the New World of Work Study for Enterprises, had 400 respondents from the Philippines.

PRODUCTIVITY BOOST. Microsoft Philippines communications manager Pia de Jesus says Windows 10 provides productivity boost by enabling people to work from anywhere and yet providing important enterprise security protection.

PRODUCTIVITY BOOST. Microsoft Philippines communications manager Pia de Jesus says Windows 10 provides productivity boost by enabling people to work from anywhere and yet providing important enterprise security protection.

 

Using personal devices for work

According to the study, 69.5 percent of Filipino respondents said they were required to respond to internal communications within four hours and 85 percent said they needed to be reachable even outside of work to be considered effective on their job.

The study also found that 51 percent of Filipino employees are using personal devices for work, a practice more known in the industry as BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. The study also found that 75 percent are using online tools “that go beyond just email – document & file sharing, storage, virtual meetings and social.”

Microsoft-New-World-of-Work

Work anywhere

De Jesus said Windows 10 provides productivity boost by enabling people to work from anywhere and yet providing important enterprise security protection.

Windows 10 works across all devices from phones, tablets, convertibles, laptops to desktops, said Microsoft Philippines Windows Business Group lead Mae Moreno. It offers “one great experience across all devices,” she said.

She said Windows 10 is the last version of the operating system because the company will be continuously updating the software to make sure users will have the best experience. There won’t be version releases like what happened with previous versions like Windows 98 or XP.

Moreno said Windows 10 boosts system performance and offers faster computing and longer battery life, even in older devices. She also said Windows 10 enables professionals to work outside the office and yet continue to have access to important tools and files. She cited as example her own practice of holding video conferencing meetings while on the road in her daily commute.

WEB NOTES. Microsoft Philippines Windows Business Group lead Mae Moreno writes notes on a web page to demonstrate the capability of Microsoft Edge, the new browser that comes with Windows 10.

WEB NOTES. Microsoft Philippines Windows Business Group lead Mae Moreno writes notes on a web page to demonstrate the capability of Microsoft Edge, the new browser that comes with Windows 10.

 

Security features

Moreno also demonstrated security features built into Windows 10 like facial recognition to log into the device. She said the company is moving away from the use of usernames and passwords for security saying this is weaker compared with systems like multi-factor authentication.

Windows 10 was released in July as a free upgrade to existing users of Windows 7 and 8.1 or with a new device. In just two months, it already has 110 million users and has gotten “pretty good reviews.”

Windows 10 Cebu launch demo

FULL WINDOWS. When attached into a dock and connected to a TV, a Windows 10 phone acts like a full desktop computer with all its capabilities.

 

Microsoft also demonstrated the use of a dock with a Lumia phone running Windows 10. When docked and connected to a TV, the user gets a full desktop interface for Windows 10 and could use it similar to a regular desktop computer. They also showed how people could start working on documents on the Windows 10 phone and finish it in another device.

Microsoft officials also showed off Microsoft Edge, the new browser that comes with Windows 10.

“We believe that the new Windows can truly help our customers be productive in both their digital work and their digital life and this represents our first step towards a whole new generation of Windows,” Moreno said in a press statement distributed after the event.

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Smart, Airbnb partner to bring personal hospitality to hosts and guests in the Philippines

Smart Communications (Smart), together with PLDT, and Voyager Innovations, recently announced a partnership with Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company. Together, the companies will offer a complete and convenient travel experience for Filipinos, no matter what their destination in the country and overseas.

Smart Communications (Smart), together with PLDT, and Voyager Innovations, recently announced a partnership with Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company. Together, the companies will offer a complete and convenient travel experience for Filipinos, no matter what their destination in the country and overseas.

To kick off the partnership, Smart subscribers will be able to get as much as P2,500 discount when they book a unique home anywhere in the world via Airbnb. The same discount will soon be extended to PLDT HOME subscribers, as well as selected clients of PLDT Alpha Enterprise and PLDT Smart SME Nation.

“We’re excited to help bring yet another digital innovation closer to more Filipinos nationwide, this time with a global pioneer in travel accommodations, Airbnb. As more and more Filipinos, particularly the younger ones, find the time and resources to travel around the country and abroad, we are providing them convenient access to millions of the most unique accommodations around the world through our partnership with Airbnb, as part of the revolutionary ‘Smart Life’ experience,” said Ariel Fermin, EVP and head of consumer business at Smart.

Smart subscribers will get as much as P2,500 discount when they book a stay in Airbnb.

Smart subscribers will get as much as P2,500 discount when they book a stay in Airbnb.

 

PH among fastest growing Airbnb markets

“The Philippines is among the fastest growing markets for Airbnb in the region and we are excited to reach even more Filipinos through this partnership. Unforgettable travel experiences are literally just a few clicks away on Airbnb. With almost 2 million homes to choose from all over the world, tree houses, holiday villas or designer apartments are safely and easily booked on a computer, mobile phone or tablet,” said JJ Chai, Regional Director for South East Asia at Airbnb. “We can’t wait to see the unique accommodations around the world that Smart customers will book”

From today until January 2016, Smart subscribers will receive a P2,500 discount for any Airbnb booking with a minimum spend of P8,000. All they have to do is text SMARTAIRBNB to 2855 for FREE to receive a unique promo code. The discount is limited to once per registered Philippine user, but is open to all past and first-time bookers. The booking has to be made by March 31, 2016 and the date of travel must be between today and December 2016. More information about the terms and conditions at Airbnb.com/smart.

The partnership is not only targeted towards Filipino travelers, though. Airbnb and PLDT HOME and PLDT-Smart SME Nation are exploring partnership opportunities targeted towards homes and unique hospitality businesses that can easily list on Airbnb. Fully embracing digital technology will empower hosts, especially in the countryside, to expand their reach and allows them to become more successful entrepreneurs.

Convenient booking

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is revolutionizing the travel industry by connecting travelers seeking unique accommodation with local hosts who welcome guests into their homes. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and more than 190 countries.

Smart’s partnership with Airbnb comes on the heels of its back-to-back exclusive partnerships with the world’s leading brands in digital services – including the biggest names in entertainment such as iflix, FOX, MCA Music, Sony Music, and more recently, Uber, the world’s most popular ride-sharing service. As a partner of Airbnb in the Philippines, Smart’s expansive mobile network across the country coupled with the most innovative data packages will allow users to easily book their accommodations anytime, and wherever they may be in the country.

For more information on this partnership please visit smart.com.ph/airbnb.

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PLDT boosts digital lifestyle at home with new products, services

PLDT Home is the top broadband services provider in Cebu and the rest of the country, a company official said recently. PLDT VP and Home Marketing Director Gary Dujali said in a press event to showcase the company’s products that their flagship DSL brand commands a 70 percent market share in the country and maintains its dominant presence in Cebu.

PLDT Home is the top broadband services provider in Cebu and the rest of the country, a company official said recently.

PLDT VP and Home Marketing Director Gary Dujali said in a press event to showcase the company’s products that their flagship DSL brand commands a 70 percent market share in the country and maintains its dominant presence in Cebu.

Dujali was in Cebu two weeks back to discuss with Cebu journalists and bloggers the company’s expanded products and services line. He highlighted the convergence of various services offered by partners and companies within the PLDT group.

Digital lifestyle

From just being a DSL and landline service provider a few years back, PLDT has expanded to encompass various services for a “digital lifestyle” at home, he said in an interview. What makes this possible, Dujali said, is the company’s robust fiber optic network that now spans 100,000 kilometers nationwide.

From the triple play convergence of broadband, landline and cable TV, Dujali touted the company’s “quadplay” move with the addition of mobile capability.

Gary Dujali PLDT HOME

PLDT HOME. Gary Dujali, PLDT VP and Home Marketing Director, talks about the company’s new products and services, including the TVolution Stick by Intel, iflix, Fam Cam, among others, during an event in Cebu.

PLDT Fam Cam

Among the products he showcased was the Fam Cam, a residential security camera that lets parents monitor their children at home. A version of the camera that comes with one of the Fam Cam plans can be controlled with your phone or tablet, allowing a user to pan the device to check out various locations at home.

Dujali also demonstrated their entertainment offerings such as the iflix TV on demand service that offers a varied lineup of shows and movies that can be viewed on the PC, TV and mobile devices. He also said they partnered with Fox International to make its movies and shows available to Home subscribers.

TVolution Stick by Intel

Dujali also showcased its latest offering to Home users: the TVolution Stick by Intel, a small stick slightly bigger than your regular USB drive that connects via an HDMI port in the TV and transforms it into a Windows computer. PLDT is giving away the device for free to new subscribers of DSL Plans 999 and up and all PLDT HOME Fibr plans who apply online at www.pldthome.com. The promotion will run until Nov. 30.

But what created the biggest buzz during the event was a throwback to PLDT’s past – a red telephone unit that looks like the rotary phones of olden times of party lines and long distance calls. The phone is part of the Regine Series after endorser Regine Velasquez and was produced for mothers. Dujali said, however, that there is such a strong demand for the phone unit with the classic design that they could barely keep up with it. Subscribers can have the unit for an add-on fee to their monthly subscription.

Growth in Cebu

“We are grateful to our subscribers in Cebu for their continued trust to our products and sevices. We wanted to give back to them in the form of digital services meant to enrich their lives. We would like to expand all the reach of these new services to more homes in the country especially in Cebu,” Dujali said in a press statement distributed after the event.

“Cebu’s rapid urbanization gives us a lot of growth opportunities. We are also able to build the strongest connections and enrich more digital lifestyle among Cebuano families as we offer our extensive entertainment products and topnotch connectivity at home and even beyond the home,” he added.

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Smart offers iPhone 6s free at Plan 2000 and iPhone 6s Plus free at Plan 2499

Smart Communications has announced its plans for the much anticipated iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, with super-sized data offers and perks aimed at giving subscribers the “Smart Life” experience.

Smart Communications has announced its plans for the much anticipated iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, with super-sized data offers and perks aimed at giving subscribers the “Smart Life” experience.

As a special offer from November 6 until December 31, subscribers can get the iPhone 6s free on Plan 2000 under a 30-month contract, inclusive of a 10GB data allowance for all videos, music and games; plus All-Month Surf, which gives them access to favorite websites and apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and chat apps like Viber, Whatsapp, Line and Messenger, among many others, throughout the 30-month period.

Limited offer

As part of the limited offer, subscribers can also get the iPhone 6s Plus free on Plan 2499 under a 30-month term, inclusive of a 15GB data allowance and All-Month Surf which they can enjoy throughout the duration of the contract.

The latest iPhones will also be available via Smart Infinity, Smart’s premium postpaid brand, where members can get complimentary iPhone 6s 128GB under Infinity Consumable Plan 5000 or two units of iPhone 6S 16GB under Consumable LTE Plan 8000.

Smart’s other offers for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are available at www.smart.com.ph/iphone. For more about Infinity’s perks and privileges that come with the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus plans, visit www.smart.com.ph/Infinity.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus bring a powerful new dimension to iPhone’s revolutionary Multi-Touch interface with 3D Touch, which senses force to enable intuitive new ways to access features and interact with content. The new iPhones introduce a transformative new approach to photography called Live Photos, bringing still images to life by capturing a moment in motion.

Smart iPhone 6s

IPHONE 6S. As special offer from November 6 until December 31, subscribers can get the iPhone 6s free on Plan 2000 under a 30-month contract, inclusive of a 10GB data allowance for all videos, music and games plus All-Month Surf.

 

Live Photos, 3D Touch, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with Retina Flash and more are powered by the Apple-designed A9 chip, the most advanced chip ever in a smartphone, delivering faster performance and great battery life. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are designed with Retina HD displays made from the strongest glass on any smartphone and 7000 series aluminum, the same alloy used in the aerospace industry, in metallic finishes that now include rose gold.

Awesome experiences

Awesome experiences await new and existing Smart Postpaid subscribers who are upgrading to the new iPhones with Smart:

1. Be among the first to get the iPhone 6S Rose Gold (16GB) via special Uber delivery from Smart. Smart and Uber have teamed up to deliver your new iPhone 6s Rose Gold (16GB) at your doorstep when the clock strikes 12:01 on November 6, Friday! Simply click “Request an iPhone6s” on the Uber app, prepare to pay using your debit or credit card, and get ready for much bigger surprises. Moreover, all new Uber users get 50% off (with maximum worth of P200) on their next two Uber rides.

2. Get 20% discount from Zalora. Experience the high life with as much as 20 percent discount for a minimum purchase of P500 from leading online fashion store Zalora.

3. Enjoy P2,500 Airbnb discount. Enjoy P2,500 discount on your Airbnb booking with a minimum spend of P8,000 at any listing in over 190 countries around the world.

4. Get iflix access. Get three months’ worth of iflix access plus 1GB of data for streaming your favorite movies and TV shows.

5. Win a new gadget instantly. With Smart’s Share the Joy Gadget giveaway promo, you can get a chance to take home another brand new gadget instantly when you sign up for a Smart Postpaid Plan or recontract at Smart stores nationwide.

6. Free Gadget Shield. Get free 30-day insurance for your new iPhone with Smart’s Gadget Shield.

7. Upgrade with Smart’s Wipeout promo. Wipe out your existing contract to upgrade to the new iPhones and enjoy corresponding discounts depending on the number of your remaining months in your contract.

8. Purchase from Apple Music, App Store and iTunes even without a credit card. Smart is the only mobile network that lets you enjoy the full range of digital content from the Apple Store, iTunes and Apple Music even without a credit card through the groundbreaking Smart Pay-With-Mobile service. Simply text REG to 4949 so you can start buying apps and charging in-app items on top of your postpaid bill or deducted from your prepaid load – a first in the country.

The breakthrough features of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus can only be optimized when you are on the country’s biggest and most advanced network, according Kathy Carag, Smart Postpaid Head.

Mobile innovation

“With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple has once again pushed the boundaries of mobile innovation, allowing us to achieve so much more with our phones and experience the Smart Life with entertainment, convenience and peace of mind on the go,” said Carag.

“iPhone’s Live Photos lets us capture and share our best moments in a revolutionary way, while its advanced hardware allows us to fulfill all our passions and swoop smoothly from one app to the next – without worrying about efficiency or battery life. For sure, with these new iPhones, we can get more of the Smart Life experience and enjoy the widest breadth of mobile content that only Smart’s nationwidest network can deliver – from your choice of apps, games, music, movies and more – all at your fingertips.”

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in all Smart Stores nationwide. For complete details on pricing, please visit smart.com.ph/iphone. For more information on the iPhone, please visit: www.apple.com/iphone. (Press Release)

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DepEd recognizes Smart as valued partner in education

The Department of Education (DepEd) recently recognized mobile leader Smart Communications for its efforts to help improve education in the country. Smart is one of DepEd’s corporate partners under the Adopt-a-School program, whose goal is to enhance the quality of public education through technology support and training, among others.

The Department of Education (DepEd) recently recognized mobile leader Smart Communications for its efforts to help improve education in the country. Smart is one of DepEd’s corporate partners under the Adopt-a-School program, whose goal is to enhance the quality of public education through technology support and training, among others.

smart-deped

In the photo are (from left to right) DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Smart public affairs senior manager Stephanie Orlino, and DepEd Undersecretary for partnerships and external linkages Mario Deriquito.

Smart’s various education initiatives include the rollout of the Smart Technocart, a mobile digital laboratory donated to public schools to provide teachers and kindergartners with modern learning tools.

Each Smart TechnoCart contains 20 tablets that come preloaded with Batibot, an Android application designed to help children develop essential thinking skills through fun-filled games. The facility also features a laptop and projector for the use of the teacher; a Smart Bro pocket WiFi with prepaid load for connectivity; and the Smart One Campus, a learning management system that helps administrators and teachers track and measure their students’ academic performance.

Smart has so far donated 15 Smart Technocarts, but interested individuals and institutions may still give donations. For more information, please visit www.smart.com.ph/learnsmart. (Press Release)

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Cebu startup cooks up Chef On Demand gourmet food service

FOR the price of a fast food combo, workers at the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park can order a gourmet meal for lunch or late dinner prepared by some of Cebu’s top chefs and delivered to their building’s lobby.

FOR the price of a fast food combo, workers at the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park can order a gourmet meal for lunch or late dinner prepared by some of Cebu’s top chefs and delivered to their building’s lobby.

Chef On Demand, which has been operating for just six weeks, is a Cebu-based tech startup that sells and delivers gourmet meals through a website and soon, via an app. It currently operates in Cebu IT Park and the Cebu Business Park, the centers of operation for Cebu’s thriving business process management industry. They accept orders and deliver them twice a day, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., from Mondays to Fridays.

Chef On Demand is able to sell these meals because it pre-orders a number of meals daily from chefs, who prepare it during their kitchen’s downtime: the hours when their restaurants still do not have customers and they and their staff have nothing to do.

CO-FOUNDERS (from left) Jed Hatamosa, Bryan Yap, and Cacho Menguito are heading to Tech In Asia Jakarta 2015 along with other members of the team. (Taken from Bryan Yap's Facebook post)

CO-FOUNDERS (from left) Jed Hatamosa, Bryan Yap, and Cacho Menguito are heading to Tech In Asia Jakarta 2015 along with other members of the team. (Taken from Bryan Yap’s Facebook post)

 

Like Uber for chefs

“Before 10 a.m., the kitchen is not doing anything,” tech entrepreneur and Chef On Demand co-founder Bryan Yap said in an interview. Their service allows chefs to be productive in these downtimes and open new potential markets, Yap said.

“It’s like Uber for chefs,” said Yap, referring to the company that jumpstarted the shared economy idea. He said Chef On Demand is “all about promoting the chef.” They currently have three featured chefs—Dennis Uy of Mexi Mama fame, Edgar Bulanon of Nonki and Vance Borja of Chop Chop Food Centre. Yap is in talks with more chefs to sign them up to the service.

Yap said that aside from telling the stories of their chefs, they have also become another outlet for them. Chefs also get the chance to try new things by working with Chef On Demand, citing as example Uy, who can now prepare food other than the Mexican cuisine available in his restaurant.

Order, delivery

The service is straightforward: a customer orders a meal through the website at www.chefondemand.com.ph and it is then delivered within 20 minutes to their office building’s lobby. By delivering only to the lobby, Chef On Demand is able to control costs and delivery times as well as deal with issues on office entry, with BPM offices known for their strict security protocols.

The menu ranges from a Kansas Style Chicken BBQ with buttered vegetables and Cajun rice for P99 by Uy to a Chicken Satay and Sambal Fried Rice meal for 109 by Borja to a Chicken Teriyaki Bento for P109 by Bulanon. There are currently 14 meal choices available on the site. Yap said they want to change the menu every two to three weeks.

Yap said that based on reviews and comments they got on Facebook, their customers are happy with the food they are delivering.

Yap, who said he has gone through “many failures,” applied lessons he learned from previous businesses as well as startup events and conferences in building Chef On Demand with his partners. They started with a barebones system and did extensive validation: offering free food in exchange for ordering it through their MVP or minimum viable product website and then later offering 50 percent discount in exchange for ordering it via the website and then picking it up at the lobby.

MENU. Chef On Demand offers gourmet meals prepared by some of Cebu's top chefs.

MENU. Chef On Demand offers gourmet meals prepared by some of Cebu’s top chefs.

 

Expansion plans

Since Chef On Demand operates in building clusters, they are able to deliver at no minimum order. From serving meals for office workers, they are also now starting to deliver food for corporate meetings.

Yap said they started in Cebu, which he described as a “really tough market,” but will soon expand in Manila and other parts of the country. He also plans to go to school clusters and residential areas next. He also dreams of expanding outside the country.

Yap said they are happy with the startup’s traction in its six weeks of operation. They have signed up about 1,500 customers with a daily delivery of 150 to 180 meals and growing by the day. He said that with an estimated population of 46,000 in the IT Park and 20,000 in Cebu Business Park, they have a big potential market.

On Nov. 11 and 12, Chef On Demand will represent the Philippines in the Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015 conference after winning the Philippine leg. Yap said he never expected to win and joined merely for the exposure. But with their victory, the team will be joining the Jakarta event with free air fare and accommodation. It will offer a bigger stage for the Cebu team to serve up their offering: gourmet food for the shared economy generation.

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PLDT opens Startup Studio series in Cebu, invites developers to submit tourism solutions

Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT, through its ICT research and development department Innolab, has partnered with IdeaSpace Foundation in inviting participants to the latest series in the Startup Studio search for the next digital solution slated to enhance the travel experience of domestic and foreign travelers alike.

Got the next big thing that will shake up tourism and travel? Here’s the chance to showcase your startup’s trailblazing idea.

Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT, through its ICT research and development department Innolab, has partnered with IdeaSpace Foundation in inviting participants to the latest series in the Startup Studio search for the next digital solution slated to enhance the travel experience of domestic and foreign travelers alike.

To be organized in November in Cebu, the program, dubbed as “A Travel to Disrupt,” challenges local startups to pitch in their tourism-centric enterprise solutions that can change and enhance the tourism industry in the country.

“Filipinos are very savvy when it comes to developing digital solutions that are feasible to offer in the market, they just need the right support, training, and resources that can help them put it all together,” said PLDT VP and Head of ICT R&D Joey Limjap.

“Our partnership with IdeaSpace Foundation goes way back, and we are optimistic that we can gather new-age and highly innovative developers from this Startup Studio.”
Interested applicants may register and submit their entries at https://pldtinnolab.com/startupstudio until October 28. Shortlisted applicants will be announced on November 2, 2015. For further queries, please contact Dara Ever Juan at [email protected].

PLDT Innolab is the innovation laboratory of PLDT and serves as a testing ground for new products and services; a facility for technical skills training; and a laboratory where real world customer problems are dealt with daily.

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Globe disconnects 30,000 numbers identified as source of spam, scam messages

Globe Telecom has disconnected from service close to 30,000 prepaid numbers found to be consistent source of spam and scam text messages as the leading mobile operator continues to intensify efforts to eliminate such unsolicited and annoying messages.

Globe Telecom has disconnected from service close to 30,000 prepaid numbers found to be consistent source of spam and scam text messages as the leading mobile operator continues to intensify efforts to eliminate such unsolicited and annoying messages.

The numbers blocked from the Globe network were subject of complaints reported through www.globe.com.ph/stopspam where customers are simply required to provide all the details of spam and scam messages they received on their mobile devices. Numbers that are reported to be a constant source of spam messages are then disconnected from service.

Automated filtering system

The numbers were also identified via an automated filtering system implemented by Globe to keep its customers from receiving scam and spam messages. The telecommunications provider recently expanded the coverage of this functionality and the system now covers majority of the company’s 2.3 million postpaid customers.

A total of 29,347 numbers were blocked from the service since July last year, Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said. Of the number, a total of 24,787 numbers were disconnected for sending scam messages while 4,560 numbers were barred from using the Globe network for sending spam messages.

“Globe will never allow the use of its network by individuals who want to take advantage of our customers. As Globe steps up its campaign to purge its network of spam and scam messages, we expect this number to increase further moving forward,” Bonifacio said.

Information drive

Following an information drive launched early last year to educate its customers on how to deal with irritating text spams, Globe also operationalized a filtering mechanism that keeps customers from receiving scam/spam messages.

Globe has so far blocked a total of 30.8 million of spam and scam text messages. The system prevents the transmittal of scam messages to mobile devices, has substantially reduced the number of text scams/scams going through the Globe network. The volume of messages blocked by the network filtering system averages about 90,000/day, reaching a peak of around 200,000 in July this year.

The filtering mechanism can be reconfigured to address the kind of spam and scam messages that goes through the Globe network. Recently, bulk of spam and scam messages delivered to Globe customers originate from sim cards of the competition (with prefixes 0922, 0943). Mobile customers of Globe Telecom reached 48.4 million at the end of the first half, a 13% rise from 42.7 million a year earlier.

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Samboan taps SHINE OS+ to digitize residents’ health records

Samboan municipal health officer Dr. Ianne Jireh Ramos suspected hypertension to be the prevalent case among townsfolk who availed themselves of the municipal government’s health programs. Ramos, however, couldn’t say for certain. She just had a hunch based on anecdotal information.

Samboan municipal health officer Dr. Ianne Jireh Ramos suspected hypertension to be the prevalent case among townsfolk who availed themselves of the municipal government’s health programs. Ramos, however, couldn’t say for certain. She just had a hunch based on anecdotal information.

When she took over as Samboan municipal health officer last January, Ramos found medical records-keeping rudimentary. What was readily available to physicians was vital physical information written on one-fourth pad paper, the type used by high school students for short, mid-week quizzes. These pieces of paper were then dumped into boxes and when medical workers needed to check for medical history, they would have to rummage through the disorganized pile.

SHINE OS+ launch in Samboan

ENHANCE HEALTH SERVICES. Samboan Mayor Raymond Joseph Calderon says using SHINE OS+ will enhance the delivery of health services to town residents.

 

MAKE IT EASIER. Smart public affairs senior manager Maria Jane C. Paredes says that in deploying SHINE OS+, the goal of the partners was to make health services easier.

MAKE IT EASIER. Smart public affairs senior manager Maria Jane C. Paredes says that in deploying SHINE OS+, the goal of the partners was to make health services easier.

 

Medical history

Ramos said it was a challenge for doctors to look into a patient’s medical history and some were taking medication for years with no records to show for the reason for the prescription or the progress in the treatment of the ailment.

But when the town started using SHINE OS+, Ramos said, her hunch was immediately proven correct. Even with just the data of 60 patients that have been encoded so far, the system showed hypertension was indeed the most common case among their patients. Such medical insights, Ramos said in an interview, can help inform policy-makers craft more effective health programs.

SHINE or the Secured Health Information Network and Exchange is a project by Smart Communications, Inc. launched in 2011. Two years later, Smart signed an agreement with the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center (AJWCC) in the Ateneo de Manila University for expansion of the system’s capability and its release as an open source program. That newer and expanded version is called Shine OS+.

SHINE OS+ Samboan launch

EXPANDED. SHINE OS+ project lead Dr. Ma. Regina Estuar of the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center says the new version of SHINE has taken on more capabilities and will be released as an open source program.

 

SHINE OS+ Samboan training

TRAINING. The SHINE OS+ team trains Samboan health workers on how to use the system.

 

Enhance health services

During Samboan’s town fiesta last Wednesday, Sept. 30, the municipal government, Smart and AJWCC launched SHINE OS+ in its historic town center, near the landing of Jacob’s Ladder and beside the watchtower that offers a panoramic, albeit hazy at that time, view of Negros Island.

Samboan Mayor Raymond Joseph Calderon said during the launch that he considered the town lucky to be able to use SHINE OS+ to enhance the delivery of health services. Smart public affairs senior manager Maria Jane C. Paredes said that in deploying SHINE OS+, the goal of the partners was to make health services easier. Paredes said she hoped other towns in Cebu and throughout the country will soon avail themselves of the system.

At the core of the SHINE OS+ is the so-called 4 Rs for recording of patient data, reminding via SMS or email of appointments and medication, referring of services and prescriptions and reporting of required data submissions to government agencies.

SHINE OS+

SHINE OS+ DASHBOARD. The SHINE OS+ dashboard that is displayed when a doctor logs into the system. The system is free to use and will be released as an open source project to allow those interested to modify and improve the code.

 

SHINE OS+ reports

REPORTING. SHINE OS+ simplifies submission of required reports to government agencies.

 

Enhanced capabilities

The system has taken on more “Rs,” said project lead Dr. Ma. Regina Estuar of the AJWCC. One is RN for the nurses, said Estuar. She said when the system was designed, they only did so from the points of view of the doctor and patient, but they realized the importance of nurses during the rollout. Another R, Estuar said, is RX for prescriptions – the system will soon generate prescriptions that can be accessed by pharmacists via scanning a QR or quick response codes.

Yet another R is for response for emergency situations. The ability to store data on the cloud makes sure that these are still accessible even if computers or paper documents are destroyed in a disaster. Estuar said this ability to access records also helps emergency responders identify fatalities or help casualties.

Free for doctors

Estuar said another R is for “reuse” of the code to extend it to other platforms and to release it as an open source project. By making SHINE OS+ open source, its maintainers will be able to accept contributions and fixes from anyone interested to help improve the system. She said the OS in the name stands for open source, open service and open standards.

The basic Shine system is free for doctors to sign up with to handle their clinics’ medical records. Estuar said they will soon make available for download an installer for the program to allow anyone to run the system.

Estuar said the system deployed in Samboan works offline, storing data locally and then synchronizing with the server once the computer is connected to the Internet.

Ramos said they aim to digitize patient records of 5,000 people and have started training Samboan health workers in encoding the data. She said they would tap students, via the NSTP or National Service Training Program, for the encoding of existing paper records into the system.

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