Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

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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Globe Telecom expands network capacities to hit demand for data

Globe Telecom is continuing to invest aggressively in building on its capacities in a bid to future-proof its network amid continuing adoption of smartphone use among its customers.

Globe Telecom is continuing to invest aggressively in building on its capacities in a bid to future-proof its network amid continuing adoption of smartphone use among its customers.

“As more and more of our customers shift to a digital lifestyle, Globe is continuing to make data-driven capital investments to provide increased network capacities and enhance customer satisfaction. This will build capacities of our network to handle the explosive growth of data traffic of our customers,” said Globe President & CEO Ernest Cu.

Cu noted robust customer uptake in the first half of the year as Globe continues to be the network of choice for smartphone users, the company said.

Infrastructure investments

Globe capital expenditure in the first half of the year stood at P11.4 billion, bulk of which were allocated for data-related projects that include investments for the company’s broadband network, capacities for wireless data, LTE, domestic and international transmission facilities. A significant portion of the company’s capex for the year were also allotted for its IT infrastructure as Globe continues to create platform for new products as well as to build on its IT transmission initiatives, said Cu.

“These investments are intended to provide our customers with holistic digital experience. We expect growth in smartphone use to continue and that presents a very good opportunity for us moving forward. Globe has committed itself out to building on its capacities to ensure that the data requirement of our customers continues to be served,” said Cu, noting that more than a third of Globe mobile customers are using smartphones.

Quality of service

According to Cu, the quality of service from the Globe network has driven the company’s underlying growth in broadband mobile data and strengthened its position as the choice of network for smartphone users in the Philippines.

Globe solidified its leadership in mobile data business after it registered in the January-June period P9.5 billion in mobile browsing and other data revenues, a 53% growth from previous year’s level of P6.2 billion in the first six months of the year. This achievement brought the contribution of mobile data revenues to total mobile revenues by 23% as of 1st half of 2015, coming from 16% the previous year.

With mobile data business growing at a rapid pace, data users from overall Globe mobile customer base have grown to 37% during the same period, a substantial increase from previous year’s 17%. Wireless data traffic on the Globe network has also increased by 82% year-on-year with the growing number of smartphone users and applications that leverage the internet.

Partnerships

Aside from the growing number of smartphone users in the Globe network, sustained emergence of various products and services that include OTT applications, music, video streaming, gaming and social media that leverage the internet and data also provided support for the company’s mobile data business.

“Through various partnerships with global digital giants, we have built a portfolio of products and services that provide relevant content to fit our customers’ digital lifestyle. We also continue to capitalize on these partnerships to further seed data adoption among our customer base,” said Cu.

Such partnerships not only benefitted Globe but also helped these content providers establish a strong foothold in the Philippine market, Cu emphasized. For instance, Spotify, a Globe partner in music streaming, has so far streamed 2.5 billion songs, making the Philippines the fastest growing music streaming market in Asia and second in the world. Hooq, Asia’s first over-the-top video service, has streamed over 3 million minutes since its launch in February this year.

Revenues

Also, as a result of the company’s ground-breaking partnership with Facebook, the social networking site has over 18 million in daily active users, growing by 50% from a year earlier. “These are testaments to the growth of Philippine market and our role through our partnerships in shaping this growth,” he added.

In the first half of the year, Globe Telecom’s consolidated revenues reached a record level of P53.8 billion, 13% higher than the P47.7 billion reported a year earlier. This yielded a core net profit of P8.6 billion, a 14% jump from a year earlier while EBITDA was at P22.7 billion, 19% higher against P19.1 billion a year earlier.

Growth in mobile broadband across Asia Pacific is expected to surge as more and more people are likely to start using smartphones and embrace data connectivity. Estimates indicate the region will have 1.9 billion LTE users and about the same number of 3G users by 2020. (Press Release)

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Smart’s mHealth innovations take spotlight at global forum

Smart Communications showcased its innovative solutions to improve the delivery of healthcare services at the recent Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Smart Communications showcased its innovative solutions to improve the delivery of healthcare services at the recent Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Ramon Duremdes, Jr., adviser for Digital Health Initiatives at Smart, highlighted SHINE, or Secured Health Information Network and Exchange, an award-winning open source innovation platform with core functions of recording, reminding, referring, and reporting.

Used mainly by local government-operated healthcare facilities as an EMR (electronic medical record), SHINE has now evolved into an open sourced health technology solution that is interoperable with other health systems. It allows for the creation of plug-ins and modules that can help the local health IT industry to look into the many gaps and opportunities within the medical system.

Mon Duremdes Shine

Ramon Duremdes, Jr., adviser for Digital Health Initiatives at Smart, discusses or the Secured Health Information Network and Exchange, an open source health platform with core functions of recording, reminding, referring, and reporting.

Working with partners, Smart has also developed mobile screening applications for patients needing prosthesis via ASCENT (Amputee Screening via CEllphone Networking), and for those needing facial reconstruction (Operation Smile). The ASCENT and OpSmile mobile apps and the SHINE OS+ version were developed in partnership with the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center.

Duremdes, one of the panelists for the session on “Increasing Access to Information on Health Equity and Development,” underscored Smart’s efforts in creating value for consumers and in fostering financially sustainable information and communications technology-based innovations that will improve delivery outcomes for health in the country.

He emphasized the importance of enabling access to information on price, care quality, and outcomes to consumers for a better user experience. Empowering people by educating parents on how to renew eu card in order to secure proper care. He also called on government and the private sector to support innovative digital health startups. (Press Release)

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myLifestyle Plan propels Globe postpaid revenues to P15.8 billion

Globe Telecom remains the dominant player in the country’s mobile postpaid segment after posting postpaid revenues of P15.8 billion during the first half of the year on the back of its innovative myLifestyle Plan which set a global standard in postpaid plan offerings, the company said in a press release.

Globe Telecom remains the dominant player in the country’s mobile postpaid segment after posting postpaid revenues of P15.8 billion during the first half of the year on the back of its innovative myLifestyle Plan which set a global standard in postpaid plan offerings, the company said in a press release.

The phenomenal growth in revenues gave Globe the upper-hand in terms of revenue market share, a global metric used in determining market leadership across telcos worldwide.

Postpaid customer base likewise grew by 12 percent to 2.3 million in the same period from 2.1 million in the previous year. These positive gains are derived from the success of the myLifestyle Plan that helped boost gross acquisitions to reach a new record-high of 477,608 for the first six months of the year, up 23 percent from last year. Year-to-date net incremental postpaid subscribers stood at 60,776, 14 percent higher than 2014 level.

Unlimited calls and texts

With the myLifestyle Plan, customers get a base postpaid plan that already comes with built-in unlimited calls and texts to Globe and TM for only P499 monthly. With an additional P99, customers get data access and a free smartphone. Globe has also made available various lifestyle packs suited for their entertainment, social media or productivity needs. The more services they add on top of the base plan, the better the handset they can get.

“The myLifestyle Plan was a significant growth driver of postpaid revenues and customer base in the first half of the year as it was a perfect response to the burgeoning shift to the digital lifestyle and was way ahead of its time. With the myLifestyle Plan, customers get a postpaid plan made for the way they live today, giving them a full smartphone experience with focus on data usage. The myLifestyle Plan is set to become an invaluable life tool to allow our customers to enjoy a world of digital content that is built the way they live now,” said Erli Valdez, Vice President for Postpaid Business at Globe.

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Note 5

To sustain growth momentum for the second half of the year, Globe recently unveiled its innovative postpaid plan offerings for the new Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note 5. Customers can get the new S6 edge+ with 32 GB memory at Plan 1499 with a cash-out of P800 per month for a 2-year contract period. With the plan bundle, customers can enjoy unlimited calls and texts to Globe/TM; GoSURF 999 with 5 GB of mobile internet; free 1 month of Gadget Care, Navigation Bundle that allows access to apps such as Accuweather, Google Maps, MMDA App, Grab Taxi and Waze; and 1 GB of cloud storage through Globe Cloud. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ with 64 GB memory is also available on the same plan with P1,000 cash out for 24 months.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 offers a leveled up mobile viewing experience with its upgraded features such as a bigger screen display, faster processor and improved camera quality. It is now more affordable at Plan 999 with cash-out of P800 for 24 months. At Plan 999, customers get unlimited calls and texts to Globe/TM; GoSURF 499 with 3 GB of mobile internet; free 1 month of Gadget Care, Navigation Bundle; and 1 GB of Globe Cloud storage.

To know more about the offers, customers can visit www.globe.com.ph/S6 for the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ and www.globe.com.ph/note5 for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 The new Samsung smartphones will be available in Globe stores nationwide starting September 5, 2015. (Press Release)

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

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

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

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

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

Free in-car Smart WiFi on Uber rides

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

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

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

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

More exclusive Uber perks for Smart subscribers

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

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

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ACC brings digital learning to schools in Lapu-Lapu via Smart Technocart

Four public schools in Lapu-Lapu City are the latest recipients of mobile digital laboratories called Smart Technocarts, which are intended to boost kindergarten learning using technology tools and solutions.

Four public schools in Lapu-Lapu City are the latest recipients of mobile digital laboratories called Smart Technocarts, which are intended to boost kindergarten learning using technology tools and solutions.

The cart, an initiative of mobile leader Smart Communications, Inc., can be easily wheeled from one classroom to the next and contains 20 seven-inch tablets, a laptop, a projector, and a Smart BRO pocket WiFi that comes with an initial load for Internet connectivity.

Representatives from Pusok Elementary School, Marigondon Elementary School, City Central School, and Pajo Elementary School led by Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Marcelita Solon-Dignos received their technology carts during the opening of the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) 2015 last September 1 in Lapu-Lapu City.

The Smart Technocarts for the four schools were sponsored by the ACC, said Smart education program head Stephanie Velasco-Orlino, adding that each digital laboratory package is worth P200,000.

Fun learning

ACC president Edgar Antonio, who is also the PLDT head of carrier marketing and product development, said the conference allows telecommunications companies to do business with each other and give back to the community at the same time.

“We’re very happy to be a recipient of this program. We’re thankful to Smart, PLDT, and the ACC for this assistance to our schools,” Dignos said in an interview before the turnover.

With the right guidance, kindergarten kids will learn how to use the tablets to learn such subjects as English, Reading, Science, and Math in fun ways, she added.

ACC Smart Technocart

SMART TECHNOCART. Each Smart TechnoCart contains 20 tablets which come preloaded with the Batibot app. It also has a laptop and projector for use by 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.

Technocart beneficiaries

Two other institutions in Cebu, the Regina Mercado Elementary School and Banilad Elementary School, were among 15 learning institutions all over the country that each received a Smart-sponsored digital laboratory last June.

The other schools include three in Tawi-Tawi, two in Basilan, three in Bacolod City, two in Legazpi City, two in Pangasinan, and one in Parañaque City. According to Orlino, the early program recipients were those who had undergone Smart’s Tap and Learn: Tablets for Education or other training programs.

Orlino said Smart is opening an additional 20 program-matching slots for the Smart Technocart program this year. This means that an interested sponsor only puts up half of the amount for the mobile digital laboratory package and Smart takes care of the rest. Sponsors can be a company, foundation, local government unit (LGU), an individual, or even a group of friends, she added.

The Technocart package also comes with a one-year subscription to the learning management system called Smart One Campus. The platform allows school administrators and teachers to track and measure the performance and progress of students.

The tablets already contain the Batibot app, which is the first mobile application for literacy aligned with the K-12 curriculum. Outside of the Technocart program, the Batibot app may be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store to Android mobile devices.

To know more about Smart’s education initiatives, as well as how to sponsor Smart TechnoCarts for schools, please visit www.smart.com.ph/learnsmart.

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PLDT, Smart boost open Wifi access in Cebu airport, key hotels for Asian Carriers Conference 2015

LEADING telecoms and multimedia service provider PLDT, through its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, is boosting its Smart Wifi connectivity services covering Mactan international and domestic airports in Cebu and the city’s premiere hotels to accommodate the influx of international and local delegates attending the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) this year from September 1 to 4.

LEADING telecoms and multimedia service provider PLDT, through its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, is boosting its Smart Wifi connectivity services covering Mactan international and domestic airports in Cebu and the city’s premiere hotels to accommodate the influx of international and local delegates attending the Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) this year from September 1 to 4.

Delegates can access free Wifi connectivity through Smart-powered access points in the primary areas of the International and Domestic airport including the airport’s entrance, waiting lounges, pre-departure and check-in areas, and Mabuhay lounge.

Guests will also be able to access free Smart Wifi at the Shangri-La in Mactan and Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City, while LTE and 3G Smart signals have also been enhanced to complement the wireless connectivity in these areas for Smart subscribers.

International gathering

“ACC has become an international avenue for hundreds of global industry leaders from the wholesale fixed and mobile carriers to discuss and share the latest technologies, breakthroughs, and trends in the telecoms field,” said PLDT and Smart President and CEO Napoleon Nazareno. “Through this initiative, we are supporting Cebu’s efforts to build its position as a vital business hub with enhanced connectivity services.

ACC 2015 is anticipated to exceed the number of participants last year which drew in almost 1,500 guests flying in from 45 countries and local carriers and service providers who are constantly utilizing the local connectivity to communicate to their headquarters.

Supporting events

PLDT and Smart have long been supporting local celebrations and international events in Cebu providing the region the resilient and robust communications systems for its residents, business establishments, and tourists flying in to the city including the Sinulog Festival which draws millions of tourists every year.

This year’s ACC also closely coincides with the Senior Officials Meeting and scheduled Ministerial meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) where more than 2,000 officials from the participating countries will gather in Cebu. (Press Release)

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People ‘aren’t talking anymore’ and telcos are worried

People have made the shift to data connectivity and it is time for carriers to change the way they perceive their roles and move beyond connectivity, Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis said in Tuesday’s opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) in Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

People have made the shift to data connectivity and it is time for carriers to change the way they perceive their roles and move beyond connectivity, Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis said in Tuesday’s opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference (ACC) in Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

Voice, however, is the foundation of the whole industry and the shift away from the traditional and lucrative “voice calling services” is a threat that must be addressed, said Disruptive Views editor Tony Poulos.

In her presentation “Above and beyond connectivity,” Paradis said the world “is going into a new era and carriers have to evolve with it in order to survive.”

Voice is not dead …. yet

“Until up to recently, carriers were busy connecting specific services,” she said, “now it’s all about connecting individuals and meeting their specific requirements.”

While she said that voice is not dead, she added and stressed “yet.” She said the introduction of the Internet into the handset has created new technology, new services, new competitors and new requirements. It also created a new type of user: the “me, me, me generation.”

“Now everything is about me, what I want and I have the power to get it,” she said.

Everything wireless, IP and data

Paradis said service providers have ceded control to users, who want “everything wireless, everything IP and everything data.” The challenge is that users “want everything for free” and they want them anywhere and at any time.

She said people have already made the shift away from voice. Now, data has become the basis of communication and voice is just one part of it. We can do all that we want with data and if people feel they want to talk to someone, they can call them using data.

Paradis cited a survey that said 64% of 4G users prefer to have access to data instead of voice in times of emergencies.

She said that from being just communication tools, mobile devices have evolve into entertainment devices and will soon be a digital lifestyle device.

Asian Carriers Conference Isabelle Paradis

SHIFT TO DATA. Hot Telecoms president Isabelle Paradis says consumers have made the shift from voice services to data and telcos have to evolve in order to survive.

Voice is a ‘wonderful thing’

Poulos, on the other hand, said telcos had it good with voice services.

“Voice has been the same but we managed to present it differently, we billed it differently. How did it work out that the longer the call distance was, the more we could charge for it? It is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“If you were a hundred miles from the power station or a thousand miles from the power station you still pay the same electricity, it’s the same with gas but in the telephone industry, we managed to charge people more because they were a longer distance away. We were very clever,” he said.

But then things change when smartphones arrived and so-called over-the-top services and products rose.

Threat or opportunity?

While companies like PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. work with and see OTT players as a business opportunity, some view them as threats.

“Many in the industry are terrified of these people and don’t actually want to talk to them, they want to keep away from them and for some reason they’re not here at our ACC event. It makes you wonder why they are not here. Because if we were so relevant for them running their business, then perhaps they should come along and have a chat with us.”

Poulos said issues on security and privacy on mobile can be a potential new area of business for telcos.

But, he asked, with “people talking less and applications taking over,” are telcos losing control of their networks?

“I’d like to know why we can’t make money like the utilities do. When you buy water from the utility, you pay for the amount of water you use, when you get electricity you pay for the amount of electricity you use. What do we do? We give it away, we created this monster. We allowed people to access data for a set price per year,” he said.

They need our networks

Telcos, he said, should be making money out of data and from OTT players.

“They need our networks. We can provide the thing that they need. None of the OTTs can survive without our networks. We have seamless delivery, we can do quality of service, we can bill for the stuff and they need that,” he said.

He proposed to differentiate connectivity into various service standards. “We can sell gold quality standard to companies that need high bandwidth such as those for videos,” he said.

Internet of Things challenge

“Don’t think videos will be about people watching movies, the problem of the Internet of things is that every monitor or surveillance camera in the world is now connected to the internet and that’s the video that’s gonna clog our networks,” Poulos said.

But net neutrality legislation will stop telcos from doing this, he said.

“Maybe we should change emphasis from constantly improving our networks to improving or even controlling the technology that uses and abuses those networks. Maybe that’s what we should be spending our money on or doing our innovation,” he said.

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Telcos need to transform into platforms for digital services: PLDT president

Although networks remain a core business for carriers, these are no longer enough for them to thrive in the digital age, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said during the opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City. “We need to go beyond that to survive and thrive,” Nazareno said.

Although networks remain a core business for carriers, these are no longer enough for them to thrive in the digital age, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said during the opening of the 11th Asian Carriers Conference at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

“We need to go beyond that to survive and thrive,” Nazareno said.

He said today’s telcos, as with every major industry in the world, have to operate in an environment reshaped and disrupted by digital technologies. He said there is a profound change in the lives and livelihood of people brought about by the widespread move to mobile.

The increasing availability of powerful and yet affordable smartphones “has made it possible to put the magic of the Internet in the hands of more and more people,” Nazareno said.

Mobile, Nazareno quoted the GSMA Mobile Economy Report 2015, “is at the heart of the new digital ecosystem.”

“Indeed, mobile penetration has soared from just about 20% of the population 10 years ago to 50% by 2014. This is expected to further increase to nearly 60% in 2020,” he said.

Massive network investment

That shift, however, requires telecommunications companies to build and run extensive, ubiquitous, and robust data networks.

He said carriers globally are “stepping up to this task.” Mobile broadband or 3G and 4G account for 40% of total connections in 2014 and will increase to 70% by 2020. Mobile operators, Nazareno quoted a 2015 GSM Association report, “will invest US$1.4 trillion in networks until 2020 to support a data-driven future.”

That, he said, is the traditional role of carriers.

He said Internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, “have balance sheets that dwarf those of telecom companies.”

Today, there is an opportunity for carriers “to transform themselves into platforms for delivering new digital services – both their own and those of other players in the digital ecosystem,” Nazareno said.

Compelling content and solutions

“The name of the game is compelling digital content and powerful digital solutions,” he said, adding that these are the ones that drive customer engagement and generate revenues.

Nazareno said PLDT is undergoing “digital diversification by partnering with global digital content and solutions companies” and investing in them or setting up joint ventures “in ancillary businesses that add value to our core network business.”

“We are putting not only money, but also our own innovations into these joint ventures,” Nazareno said.

ACC Napoleon Nazareno Smart TechnoCart

TECH IN EDUCATION. PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno (center) with Smart officials and teachers from Lapu-Lapu City schools that are recipients of the latest batch of Smart TechnoCart units, an education package that contains a laptop, projector, portable WiFi and tablets for use in classrooms. (See separate story.)

 

Partnership, investments

He said that it was this approach that spurred them to invest in global e-commerce group Rocket Internet. “Alongside that investment, we are setting up with Rocket Internet a joint venture e-payments company that will use our award-winning Smart Money platform. This e-payments service will help power the growth of Rocket Internet’s e-commerce businesses in the Philippines and emerging markets all over the world where the majority of consumers are uncarded and unbanked,” he said.

Nazareno said PLDT has also partnered with companies like Fox and Disney and invested in iFlix as part of its digital diversification.

Enrich connections

The company has also undertaken projects that provide government digital solutions for development work, such as one with the Department Of Agriculture that involved distributing tablets with an app that “enabled municipal agriculture officers to quickly and efficiently calculate and report the fishing capacity of the boats of small fishermen all over the country.”

“As telecom companies, we are here not just to provide connectivity in the digital economy but more importantly, to enrich connections that improve the quality of life of our people,” Nazareno said.

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Launch of Philippine Startup Roadmap just the start: GOAB organizer

The Philippine Startup Roadmap, launched at the just-concluded third Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) in Boracay, looks forward to spawning 500 startups with an estimated cumulative valuation of $2 billion by 2020.

The Philippine Startup Roadmap, launched at the just-concluded third Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) in Boracay, looks forward to spawning 500 startups with an estimated cumulative valuation of $2 billion by 2020.

Deputy Executive Director Mon Ibrahim of the Department of Science ande Technology-Information Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) led the launch of the roadmap, which he described as a list of what the Philippine startup community needs to do. The roadmap declares that its “main goal is to produce the next billion dollar tech startup from the Philippines.”

“The launch of the roadmap is just the beginning,” said Tina Amper of TechTalks.ph, the community that organized the annual Geeks on a Beach conference.

Next steps are critical

“The next steps of implementing, funding and constant collaborating are critical to positive impact to the Philippine economy,” she said. Amper said GOAB 2015 generated inquiries to take GOAB to other parts of the country.

“We are open to partnering with like-minded companies who can bring this happiness business to other parts of the world,” Amper said.

According to Amper, “Year 3 produced lots of positive feedback from participants about connections made, lessons learned, dreams re-discovered, and passions stirred.”

Partners

“We are so honored to work with some of the best in the country and the world during GOAB3. With the solid support of our co-organizer DOST-ICTO and the groundbreaking launch of the Philippine Startup Roadmap, TechTalks.ph feels a sense of accomplishment in participating in this collaborative effort to uplift our startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs, she said.

Amper also expressed thanks for the support of the co-presenters: IdeaSpace.ph, Smart Communications, Smart DevNet, SmartBro and PLDT Innolab. With their anchor sponsorship, they provide GOAB3 with seed money to start organizing the event long before the audience hears about it.

Strategic partners include Sym.ph, Happy Garaje, PRWorks and Third Team Media with AirAsia, Amazon Web Services, 1337 Ventures, A-Space, Ipanema, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Plug and Play Tech Center, Mingle, One Pouch, Microsoft, Islands, Salarium, Pascual Pharma Corp., Frontier Ventures, RTI International and USAID-STRIDE, Metro Drug Inc., GT Cosmetics Manufacturing, Synacy, Kickstart, STAC-Silicon Valley, Istorya.net, Department of Tourism Region VI, Chef on Demand, RC Victory World Trading Inc., Medifi, Partyphile, and The Tide as main sponsors.

Other partners include Syntactics as official event app partner, Globaltronics as official out of home advertising partners, Agos Boracay as accommodation partner. Media partners are Everything Cebu, Auza.net, Innovation is Everywhere, Geeks in Cambodia, InnoPub Media, OurAwesomePlanet.com, Tech in Asia, Vigattin Radio, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Amplify.ph, Speed Magazine, InewMedia.org, Hubnob.tv, and MyTechIsland.com.

Impact

Organizational partners are Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, Brain Gain Network, Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Young Entrepreneur Society, Mavericks Web Marketing Solutions. Supporters include Tekworx, E-science, Impact Hub, SkyEye Inc., and ventureLab Growth Partners.

“Do we want to do it again? Yes, we want to continue to impact people’s lives. As a startup ourselves, we have to continue to evolve and move with the times to make sure there is a product-market fit. So, we welcome the public’s feedback and support on how we can make this more worthwhile and sustainable,” she said.

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Lenovo launches VIBE Shot in Cebu

With a 16-megapixel camera, a dedicated shutter button and a toggle to activate auto and a pro mode with manual controls, the Lenovo VIBE Shot “gives consumers the best of both worlds.”

“It is a stylish and powerful smartphone that consumers want and an advanced camera that budding and seasoned photographers will love to use,” said Dino Romano, Country Manager, Lenovo Smartphones Philippines.

With a 16-megapixel camera, a dedicated shutter button and a toggle to activate auto and a pro mode with manual controls, the Lenovo VIBE Shot “gives consumers the best of both worlds.”

“It is a stylish and powerful smartphone that consumers want and an advanced camera that budding and seasoned photographers will love to use,” said Dino Romano, Country Manager, Lenovo Smartphones Philippines.

Vincent dela Cruz, marketing manager of Lenovo Smartphones Philippines, said the Lenovo VIBE Shot is a great camera phone that is exceptional in low-light photography. It also has optical image stabilization (OIS) technology to reduce blurring and shakes.

Lenovo VIBE Shot Cebu launch

Lenovo Smartphone Philippines marketing manager Vincent dela Cruz, National Geographic photographer Hannah Reyes, and Lenovo Smartphone Philippines country manager Dino Romano show journalists some photos Reyes took using the Lenovo VIBE Shot.

 

First with tri-color LED flash

Dela Cruz said the Lenovo VIBE Shot is the first smartphone to have a tri-color LED flash “that offers the most natural-looking photos.” The phone also has an on-board infrared auto-focusing (AF) system that is “twice as fast as conventional autofocus.”

Dela Cruz also said that the Lenovo VIBE Shot has a dedicated camera shutter button that wakes the phone into camera mode in just a second. It also has a hardware toggle that turns on either a smart auto mode or a pro option that has manual controls. The auto mode has point and shoot composition guides for portrait, food and scenery shots. In this mode, the viewfinder will tell you whether the shot is good or whether the subject is too close, among other tips.

Manual controls

In pro mode, users have controls on various aspects of the camera from aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO setting. Controlling the settings is via a slider interface that’s intuitive, dela Cruz said.

The phone also has a panoramic selfie capability that lets users take 3 selfies to include more people and combine these into 1 image.

Using the Lenovo VIBE Shot is like “having a full camera but the only difference is that I’m touching the screen and not the buttons,” said National Geographic documentary and travel photographer Hannah Reyes.

Lenovo VIBE Shot launch in Cebu

MANUAL CONTROLS. Multi-awarded photographer Tonee Despojo, Cebu Daily News photography chief, tries out the Lenovo VIBE Shot in taking a culinary photo.

 

Designed for users

Reyes said during the launch in Cebu last August 14 that the VIBE Shot “feels good in my hands.” She said she liked that it had a dedicated shutter button and you didn’t have to press screen controls to take a photo. She said she felt that the phone was “designed for the user.”

Reyes, who has been using the phone to take photographs, including in Cebu, for an exhibit, said she “liked that there is a lot of manual controls.” She also said that the Lenovo VIBE Shot’s “range of focus is really good, even up close.”

VIBE Shot hardware specifications

The VIBE Shot has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with an octa-core chip “engineered for multitasking, but is extremely power efficient at the same time,” the company said. It has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, expandable up to 128GB through a microSD card. The VIBE Shot has 4G / LTE connectivity.

Dela Cruz said the VIBE Shot uses Corning Gorilla Glass front and back with an aluminum outer frame.

The Lenovo VIBE Shot is sold at P17,999 and comes with a free screen protector worth P299 and free back cover worth P599.

Lenovo VIBE Shot launch in Cebu

AUTO, MANUAL MODES. The Lenovo VIBE Shot has a toggle that turns on either a smart auto mode or a pro mode that offers manual control of the aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO setting.

 

VIBE ON campaign

Romano said the phone is part of the VIBE ON campaign for Lenovo smartphones targeted at millennials.

“The VIBE ON brand promise aims to empower individuals to go their own way, by providing smartphones with the latest technology and features that they care about, at a price they wouldn’t expect. VIBE ON is not only a rally cry for millennials to accomplish what matters to them, but also expresses Lenovo’s commitment to making cutting-edge innovation and premium technology accessible to help them achieve that,” the company said.

Vibe Shot photos

The following photos were taken by documentary photographer Hannah Reyes using the Lenovo Vibe Shot. They have been scaled down to reduce file sizes.

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Cebu Guide tourism app new version released in time for APEC meetings

Delegates attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Cebu now have access to a handy guide on where the top attractions and latest activities in the province are with the release of the updated travel app Cebu Guide.

Delegates attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Cebu now have access to a handy guide on where the top attractions and latest activities in the province are with the release of the updated travel app Cebu Guide.

Made available by InnoPub Media and mobile leader Smart Communications (Smart) in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government, the mobile app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store for Android devices and Apple App Store for iOS. The app can also be downloaded from apps.myguide.ph/cebu/.

The guide lists island attractions – from heritage structures like ancient houses and centuries-old stone churches to white sand beaches and island-hopping destinations, a wide range of land and water activities, the best accommodations, food to try, and important contact numbers.

Tapping partnerships

“Cebu is working to make APEC 2015 meetings a success. One of the initiatives is tapping existing partnerships like the Digital Tourism program with SMART and InnoPub,” said Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.

“By providing delegates with information through the Cebu Guide app, we make their visits meaningful. By using the platform for announcements, we are also helping Cebuanos get the latest updates on APEC activities,” Gov. Davide said.

The app directory also provides a complete listing of Department of Tourism-accredited tour guides, tour operators, transport services as well as consular offices and emergency contacts like police and hospitals.

ALERTS, UPDATES. Cebu Guide can send users notifications from APEC alerts to updates on places to go and things to do in Cebu.

ALERTS, UPDATES. Cebu Guide can send users notifications from APEC alerts to updates on places to go and things to do in Cebu.

 

Tourist attractions, hotels and other locations featured in the app have GPS data and users need only to tap the “check location” link to be guided on how to get to a place. Contact details are also active and users need only to tap on phone numbers to call a guide, tour operator, police station or any person or organization listed on the app.

Comprehensive, handy guide

“We are happy to support the Cebu Provincial Government in promoting what Cebu can offer to the APEC delegates. A comprehensive and handy guide to Cebu, the Cebu Guide can help the delegates maximize their stay in the country. This is aligned with our digital tourism program which aims to enhance the delivery of tourism information through the use of mobile and digital technologies,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

A chapter of the travel guide will carry important Cebu updates, such as developments pertaining to the anticipated APEC meetings scheduled from August to October. The locally-relevant APEC updates will be provided by the Cebu Provincial Government.

The mobile app has a notification function that allows users to immediately receive information on such things as traffic changes like rerouting and road closures for the duration of the APEC 2015 meetings in Cebu.

Nationwide Digital Tourism program

“We are excited to collaborate with SMART and the Cebu Provincial Government to help tourists and APEC delegates make the most of their Cebu visit by providing them with important information on where to go and what to do when in Cebu,” said Max Limpag, InnoPub Media co-founder.

The app is released as part of the nationwide Digital Tourism program by SMART and InnoPub Media in collaboration with local government units and private organizations. The program started in Cebu and is now in Iloilo, Baguio, Albay and Bohol and is set for expansion in key tourism areas in the country.

The program was given an Anvil Award of Merit in February 2014.

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Sony unveils Smart B-Trainer running device in Cebu

A GPS device that tracks your runs with a heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap and a coaching system that taps music tempo, the Sony Smart B-Trainer was developed “with the modern runner in mind.” Sony unveiled the Smart B-Trainer in Cebu leading to the Ironman weekend earlier this month.

A GPS device that tracks your runs with a heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap and a coaching system that taps music tempo, the Sony Smart B-Trainer was developed “with the modern runner in mind.”

Sony unveiled the Smart B-Trainer in Cebu leading to the Ironman weekend earlier this month.

“It’s a fantastic product,” said Jaymie Pizarro, a popular runner and blogger who is also known as The Bull Runner.

Pizarro demonstrated using the Smart B-Trainer during the launch, held last July 31 at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, venue of the Ironman expo.

Heart rate monitor

Pizarro said her favorite feature was the heart rate monitor that doesn’t need a chest strap. The Smart B-Trainer uses a sensor to measure your pulse from your ear.

“You forget that you’re wearing a heart rate gadget,” Pizarro said. She said you can use the Smart B-Trainer to answer calls while on the run if you have your phone with you. She said another feature that she liked was the ability to record voice memos during the run. She said she uses this to record her thoughts and observations while running, a useful feature for a blogger like her.

Pizarro said you can use the Smart B-Trainer even while swimming.

Smart B-Trainer for Running

SMART B-TRAINER. The gadget offers “every fitness feature you need in one device,” Sony said. The Smart B-Trainer is shown above with its companion app, the Smart B-Trainer for Running.

Fitness features

The Smart B-Trainer offers “every fitness feature you need in one device,” the company said in a brochure distributed during the event.

“Its built-in heart rate monitor, GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and barometer record 11 different types of activity logs to help you achieve any workout goal,” the company said. These activity logs include distance, steps, elevation, pace, lap, time, cadence, stride, heart rate, calories, and route.

The device comes in a neckband housing that is non-slip.

Basing on a preset user profile and a defined heart rate goal, the Smart B-Trainer keeps track of your heart rate and selects music based on an analysis of tempo.

“When your heart rate is higher than your targeted speed, a song with slower tempo will be automatically selected to guide you to slow down, and vice versa when your heart rate is lower than the targeted speed,” the company said.

The Smart B-Trainer has a built-in memory of 16GB, enough to store about 3,900 songs.

Smart B-Trainer companion app

The device has a companion app, both for Android and iOS, called Smart B-Trainer for Running. The app helps you manage running logs and keeps track of your training. It also has various training programs that you can choose and send to your device via Bluetooth. The training plans allow you to set running goals such as time, distance, pace or calories burned. It also offers training themes such as “fat-burning training” or “endurance training.”

The Smart B-Trainer, however, can be used on its own and without bringing a phone with you.

Sony said the Smart B-Trainer is water-proof and has an IPX5/IPX8 rating and was tested by being submerged with a swimming earpiece 2 meters deep in water for 30 minutes without damaging the product.

The Smart B-Trainer is available at the Sony Centre in Ayala Center Cebu for P12,999.

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Tourism in Southern Cebu gets digital boost from Talk ‘N Text, Internet.org

FOUR eco-tourism groups in Aloguinsan, Cebu are now ready to move to the digital space after attending the Panalo Community Training sponsored by Talk ‘N Text, the value brand of Smart Communications, Inc., and organized by Grassroots Travel, a local company working with communities to help promote responsible and sustainable travel.

FOUR eco-tourism groups in Aloguinsan, Cebu are now ready to move to the digital space after attending the Panalo Community Training sponsored by Talk ‘N Text (TNT), the value brand of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), and organized by Grassroots Travel, a local company working with communities to help promote responsible and sustainable travel.

During the four-day training, the participants were able to create a demo website for their community groups. They also learned about travel trends, branding and packaging, blogging, photography, videography, social media marketing and analytics, online and digital marketing tools, and responsible use of the Internet.

Aloguinsan training

Boboi Costas, founder of Grassroots Travel, talks about sustainable eco tourism during the four-day Panalo Community Training in Aloguinsan, Cebu sponsored by Talk ‘N Text. During the training, members of people’s organizations who run eco-tourism programs in the town were able to create a demo website for their community groups and learned about travel trends, branding and packaging, blogging, photography, videography, social media marketing and analytics, online and digital marketing tools, and responsible use of the Internet.

“We are happy to support Aloguinsan people’s organizations (POs) because we see their commitment to promote their town through eco-tourism. The goal of the Panalo Community trainings is to help them provide better tourism experience by going digital,” said Smart Public Affairs-VisMin Senior Manager Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes.

Eco-tourism associations

Aloguinsan Mayor Cynthia Moreno, during the closing remarks, also thanked the communities for taking the lead in promoting Aloguinsan. “Kamo, ang mga local community dinhi sa Aloguinsan, ang nagdala sa pangalan sa atong lungsod nga mailhan sa tibuok probinsya sa Sugbo, sa tibuok nasud ug sa kalibutan. Diba, nindot kaayo palandungon? (You (the local communities) made Aloguinsan known in the province of Cebu, in the country, and in the world. That’s really wonderful.),” said Mayor Moreno.

The participants of the training are members of four associations managing four different eco-tourism activities in Aloguinsan: Baetas or Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (Bojo River cruise), Kea or Kantabogon Ecotourism Association (The Hermit’s Cove), Chat or Cultural Heritage for Aloguinsan Tourism (organic farm and culinary), and Arra or Aloguinsan Reef Rangers Association (snorkeling and dolphin-watching).

Atty. Haidee Acuña talks about the responsible use of the Internet during the training.

Atty. Haidee Acuña talks about the responsible use of the Internet during the training.

Internet.org initiative

The Panalo Community trainings are part of TNT’s campaign to promote Internet.org to empower communities by providing free access to 30 websites using mobile devices.

A Facebook-led initiative, Internet.org aims to make mobile Internet services available to two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected. Currently, over 4.5 million Filipinos use Internet.org.

Some of the sites that can be accessed without data charges are Accuweather and Rain Check for weather updates; Ask.com, Bing Search, WikiHow and Wikipedia for general information; BabyCenter and MAMA for pregnancy and childcare; Interaksyon.com, Inquirer.net, PhilStar.com, GMA News Online, Rappler and Sun.Star for news updates;

ESPN and Spin.ph for sports updates; PEP.ph for entertainment news; Facts for Life for health and hygiene; iMoney.ph and Your Money for personal finances, JobStreet.com for job search; Facebook and Messenger; OLX for online shopping; Sakay.ph for bus and train directions; TESDA for free programs and training; Wattpad for books and stories; and Dictionary.com.

 

First of 3 modules

TNT subscribers who are Android users may download the Internet.org app on Google Play Store while non-Android users can access the site by typing www.internet.org on their mobile browser. For step-by-step instructions, text INTERNET to 9999 or visit talkntext.com.ph/internetorg.

Participants gather after the day’s session.

Participants gather after the day’s session.

The Panalo Community training in Aloguinsan is the first of three modules designed by TNT and Grassroots Travel to help POs maximize the use of online and digital technologies in promoting eco-tourism in their town. The other two modules will cover resilient and sustainable tourism; and effective customer service as well as online mobile payments, respectively.

The same set of trainings will be held in three other towns in Southern Cebu namely Boljoon, Samboan, and Santander. (Press Release)

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Xiaomi products now available in Cebu stores

Xiaomi has made available its Mi products in retail stores across the Philippines, including in Cebu. The company said the offline availability of their products will make it more convenient…

Xiaomi has made available its Mi products in retail stores across the Philippines, including in Cebu. The company said the offline availability of their products will make it more convenient for Mi fans to easily get their hands on Mi products such as Redmi 2 and Mi Pad. Mi products were previously available only via online purchases with Lazada.

Mi products will now be sold at over 200 locations nationwide, including MemoXpress, Silicon Valley and PC Express stores. More stores will be added gradually, Xiaomi said in a press statement.

Among the company’s products is the Redmi 2, which sells for P5,999. The Redmi 2 features a 4.7-inch HD display and runs on a quad-core 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor for faster and more powerful performance. With dual SIM, dual standby, users won’t have to manually switch SIM cards around with data support on both slots. The 8-megapixel rear camera on Redmi 2 features a 28-mm wide angle lens that is great for capturing photos, while the 2-megapixel front camera supports 720p video recording.

xiaomi

All Mi products will continue to be available online on Lazada Philippines. The suggested retail prices of Mi products at the retail stores will be the same as the online prices. This allows Mi fans to pick the most convenient way of purchasing their desired products, the company said.

In Cebu, the products are now available at:

  • Aerophone SM City Consolacion
  • Aerophone SM City Cebu
  • Aerophone Parkmall
  • Aerophone Ayala Center Cebu
  • Cellcom World in Cyberzone SM City Cebu
  • JR.MX in Savemore in Elizabeth Mall
  • MemoXpress in Cyberzone SM City Cebu
  • Rulls in Gaisano GrandMall in Carcar
  • Rulls in Metro Gaisano Colon
  • Rulls in Gaisano Mactan
  • Rulls in Gaisano Mandaue
  • Rulls in Cyberzone in SM City Cebu
  • Rulls in Cyberzone in SM Consolacion
  • Rulls in Ayala Center Cebu
  • Save n Earn in Cyberzone SM City Cebu

Steve Vickers, General Manager Southeast Asia, Xiaomi, said, “Mi fans in the Philippines have asked for more ways to purchase Mi products, and we’ve listened. In addition to our main online sales channel, we’re excited to offer offline sales as an option. Mi fans will also benefit from being able to try out our latest products at experience zones located in certain stores, before making a decision and buying them on the spot.”

The initial list of products available offline and their corresponding suggested retail prices are as follows.

  • Redmi 2 – P5,999
  • Mi Pad – P10,999
  • 16000mAh Mi Power Bank – P1,299
  • Mi In-Ear Headphones – P849

Offline buyers will also enjoy the same great after-sales support from Xiaomi, which includes chat support and a hotline service. They can also visit any of Xiaomi’s eight service centers, one of which is an Exclusive Service Center. Products can also be sent to Xiaomi for inspection through offline dealers, giving users even more choices for service support.

Xiaomi aims to bring innovation into the hands of everyone. Making Mi products available both online and offline in the Philippines will allow more users to experience for themselves Xiaomi’s high-quality products offered at incredible price points.

Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun. With more than 61 million handsets sold in 2014, and products launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India and Indonesia, Xiaomi is expanding its footprint across the world to become a global brand.

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Philippine Government’s goal: 500 startups by 2018

Develop at least 500 startups with a total worth of US$2 billion by 2018. That is among the “ambitious” goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap that’s currently being formulated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the lead of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

Develop at least 500 startups with a total worth of US$2 billion by 2018.

That is among the “ambitious” goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap that’s currently being formulated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the lead of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

“We would like to establish a framework for the development of startups…The various sectors in the (Philippine startup) ecosystem believe it is possible to achieve these goals,” said Frederick Amores, director of the DOST-ICTO Visayas Cluster 1 field operation office.

There was a debate over suggestions to propose higher targets but a consensus was reached on “more realistic” figures, he added.

Rik Amores Geeks On A Beach

STARTUP ECOSYSTEM. Frederick Amores, director of the DOST-ICTO Visayas Cluster 1 field operation office, says that under the 2018 goals of the Philippine Startup Roadmap, government will be able to foster 1,250 startup founders that will lead to the generation of 8,500 high-skilled jobs.

500 startups

To achieve its goal to create around 500 startups in three years, Amores said they would need funding of US$200 million and are looking at the private sector to help them out.

According to Amores, under the 2018 goals of a Philippine Startup Roadmap, government will be able to create no less than 1,250 startup founders that will lead to the generation of 8,500 high-skilled jobs.

“This will all depend on the cogs of the ecosystem working together,” he added, citing that events like Geeks on a Beach play a significant role in shaping the country’s startup community.

The third installment of Geeks on a Beach or GOAB 3 will happen on August 20-21, 2015 at the Boracay Crown Regency Resort and Convention Center, said Techtalks.ph founder Tina Amper. Techtalks in organizing the event in collaboration with Sym.ph and other parties.

Geeks On A Beach

GEEKS ON A BEACH 3. (From right) Frederick Amores, iSkwelahan.com founder Keith Lumanog, TechTalks.ph founder Tina Amper, Dave Overton of Sym.ph and Dulce Lada of TechTalks.ph during the launching of Geeks On A Beach 3.

GOAB 3

DOST-ICTO supports GOAB 3 because it can help with the department’s targets for Philippine startups, added Amores.

Aside from promoting technopreneurship, GOAB 3 will help generate leads for tech startups and introduce them to possible venture capitalists and angel investors.

DOST places the tentative number of startups in the country at 100. Amores said the more immediate objective is to define what a startup is and vet the current numbers against this definition.

“When we give figures, it will be based on this definition. We will then be able to come up with a complete inventory in the next few months,” he cited.

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Microsoft, TechTalks.ph boost startups with free tools, seminars in Startup Camp series

Most startups focus on their application of technology to solve a problem but fail to think about how to monetize this, Microsoft Philippines technical evangelist for Azure Arnie Locsin said over…

Most startups focus on their application of technology to solve a problem but fail to think about how to monetize this, Microsoft Philippines technical evangelist for Azure Arnie Locsin said over the weekend.

Locsin was in Cebu for the Startup Camp, a one-day workshop on technology and entrepreneurship held last May 9 at the University of San Carlos in Talamban, Cebu City. The event was organized by Microsoft Philippines in collaboration with TechTalks.ph.

Startup Camp discussed free software and services that startups can use to build their business. A key focus of the event was Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which offers startups free software and credits for Azure cloud services for 3 years.

Startup Camp Cebu

STARTUP CAMP. (From left) Microsoft Philippines technical evangelist for Azure Arnie, Dulce Rose Lada, TechTalks.ph founder Tina Amper and Edison Go Tan of Hubnob.tv during the Startup Camp held in the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.

Providing support

“It’s really about providing support and visibility to startups,” Locsin told MyCebu.ph in an interview during the event. He said the free Azure cloud services credits are a big help to the startups that many work to be included in the program primarily because of it.

Apart from the software and services, BizSpark helps startups through networking. “We set up a community networking environment. We also link startups with other entities that can help them,” Locsin said.

He also said the company helps startups through business mentorship.

Locsin said Microsoft also helps boost startups by introducing them to and bringing their products to “actual customers” that are some of the biggest companies in the country. He said the company has account managers working with top firms who can help introduce startups under their fold.

BizSpark membership

He cited as example Tudlo, a Cebu-based startup, that they introduced to different local governments through its Microsoft Next program.

Locsin said there are 700 startups in the Philippines who are part of BizSpark. About 15 are in BizSpark Plus, a program for more advanced startups.

During the event, Locsin highlighted the capabilities of Azure including the ability to run non-Microsoft Windows and open source technology like Linux. Among the topics discussed in the Startup Camp were free tools, the cloud, and building apps.

Innovation

In Startup Camps, “the participants will learn about tech startups or Innovation-Driven enterprises as well as ways to start their own businesses. Entrepreneurs and members of the business sector will gain more knowledge on the ways to enhance their businesses with technological tools,” said TechTalks.ph founder Tina Amper.

The first Startup Camp was held on April 11 in Batangas and was co-organized with Brainsparks.ph. Microsoft partnered with TechTalks.ph for the Startup Camp last May 7 in Tagbilaran City. Succeeding Startup Camps will be organized in collaboration with TechTalks.ph.

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3rd Geeks on a Beach summit set in Boracay in August

Tech startups, technoprenuers, businessmen and designers from all over the world will meet again in Boracay Island this August for the third installment of Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) organized…

Tech startups, technoprenuers, businessmen and designers from all over the world will meet again in Boracay Island this August for the third installment of Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) organized by Techtalks.ph in collaboration with partners.

“Also known as the International Summit for Tech, Startups and Design, GOAB 3 eyes to create productive discussions on building products that make a difference and enhancing​ the lives of everyday people with less hype but more action,” said Tina Amper, TechTalks.ph founder.

Banking on the successes of its past two events, GOAB will be held on August 20 and 21, 2015 with more innovative minds, funding opportunities, and fun, fun, fun.

Amper said she already received confirmation from 17 tech champions who will be speaking before an expected 600 to 1,000 participants from across the globe.

Geeks On A Beach 3

(Image credit: GeeeksOnABeach.com)

Speakers

Some of the speakers include IdeaSpace president Earl Valencia, Monk’s Hill Ventures managing director Kuo-Yi Lim, Kickstart Ventures president Minette Navarrete, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, SMART Communications developer evangelist Paul Pajo, Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Office (DOST-ICTO) deputy executive director Mon Ibrahim, and 500 Startups Managing partner Khailee Ng.

“GOAB will be maintained as an honest-to-goodness, no holds-barred conference where people exchange their share of truths about startups, technology, and design—minus the long sleeves, coat and tie,” said​ David Overton, founder and CEO of Sym.ph and chief geek for GOAB.

Two days are set aside exclusively for the main event, but all geeks are welcome to join the week-long run of workshops, training sessions, networking opportunities, pitching events, and product demonstrations.

Providing a backdrop to the conference is the postcard-sized tropical paradise Boracay Island, voted by Travel+Leisure Magazine at its Best Overall Island of 2012. The island is famous for its powdery fine white sand beaches and coastlines.

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Partners

Organizers TechTalks.ph and the DOST-ICTO have partnered once again with Sym.ph, Happy Garaje, and PRWorks Vis-Min, with major sponsorships by SMART DevNet, IdeaSpace, Microsoft, and Monk’s Hill Ventures.

DOST-ICTO continues to team-up with TechTalks.ph to encourage Filipino startups to get mentoring and funding in the country instead of going abroad.

​GOAB is open to anyone who is interested in the tech and startup industries in the Philippines – including those looking for tech and entrepreneurship learning events, business and investment opportunities, outsourcing partnerships, and connection with leaders in startups or “innovation driven enterprises” (IDE) in the Philippines as well as Southeast Asia.

​Interested participants are invited to view event details or register at www.GeeksOnABeach.com. Early bird discount is up to 45% off and is valid until May 15 only. Those interested to be sponsors are invited to contact GOAB at [email protected].

TechTalks.ph, organizer of numerous startup gatherings in the country including GOAB and Startup Weekend, is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, supporting, and empowering Filipinos tech entrepreneurs and promoting the Philippine tech sector to the world.

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Internet vital to businesses, groups told in ‘Panalo Ang May Alam’ Communities launch

Online promotions and word of mouth referrals through social networks helped a community in Aloguinsan build its eco-tourism project into what it is now: a sustainable project that has become a benchmark for other places embarking on a similar program.

Online promotions and word of mouth referrals through social networks helped a community in Aloguinsan build its eco-tourism project into what it is now: a sustainable project that has become a benchmark for other places embarking on a similar program.

Jomelyn Manigos, vice president of the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association (BAETA), stressed the importance of the Internet in spreading word on businesses like theirs during the launch of the “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities by Talk ‘N Text and Smart Communications, Inc. in Boljoon, Cebu.

Manigos said marketing is about providing information and the Internet is where people get information from nowadays. She said BAETA was able to grow largely because of word of mouth through social networks. She also cited the importance of the Internet in educating people. The group has a Facebook page where people can contact them to book tours.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch

CONNECTIVITY, RETAILER PACKAGES. Representatives from partner communities in Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan and Santander receive connectivity and retailer packages from Smart and Talk ‘N Text. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

Award-winning eco-tourism program

Many now know about Aloguinsan and their tours because of the Internet, Manigos told MyCebu.ph in an interview.

BAETA is the group behind the award-winning eco-tourism program centered on the Bojo River. The group was organized by the local government in collaboration with Boboi Costas of Grassroots Travel.

During the event on Tuesday in the Boljoon Sports Complex, Smart and Talk ‘N Text introduced Internet.org to members of partner communities from Aloguinsan, Boljoon, Samboan, and Santander.

Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama said people now understand the importance of social media and the Internet and their use in boosting tourism.

Connecting to mobile Internet

Representatives from Smart and Talk ‘N Text demonstrated to those present how to connect to the Internet using feature phones and smartphones. They also walked them through connecting for free via the Internet.org program, which is being implemented in partnership with Facebook.

Internet.org is a program that offers free Internet access to a group of websites that provide important information. In the Philippines, Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun subscribers can get free access to 24 websites, among them Accuweather, ESPN, Inquirer.net, Interaksyon, JobStreet.com, OLX.ph, Philstar.com, Rappler, Spin.ph, Wattpad, wikiHow, and Wikipedia.

“A groundbreaking app, the Internet.org provides Filipinos with free access to an initial list of 24 informative and useful websites, including Facebook and Messenger, so that more are able to benefit from the wealth of information available through the mobile Internet,” Smart said in a press statement.

The launch on Tuesday is the first in the country, company officials said during the event.

‘Panalo ang may alam’

The program’s rallying call “Panalo ang may alam” (loose translation: knowledge wins) stresses the importance of information in a global knowledge economy.

“These communities are admirable for their own panalo or winning stories, and we see them achieving more as they learn to harness the power of free online information and services through TNT and the Internet.org app by Facebook,” TNT marketing head Cherish Canizares-Tupaz said in a press statement.

Even in the purchase of airtime load, more people are buying for Internet connectivity, said Glenn Loayon, Smart Communications retail sales manager for the region. He said this shows Filipinos are increasingly going online.

He said the event was “just the start” and that Smart and Talk ‘N Text would engage with the communities in helping them do business. He cited as example one of the company’s retailers who is now a millionaire after 10 years of selling airtime load.

Panalo Ang May Alam launch

PANALO ANG MAY ALAM LAUNCH. Smart and Talk ‘N Text officials and representatives from various communities in Cebu mark the launch of “Panalo Ang May Alam” Communities in Boljoon with a groufie or group selfie.

Business training

Apart from lessons on going online, the program also covers “business training specially designed according to their needs,” Smart said.

The partner communities were also given connectivity and retailer packages to help them in their respective programs. The packages include a laptop, a pocket Wi-Fi, printer, and Android phones.

“Through this unique program, TNT hopes to assist deserving communities in creating new opportunities and reaping the many real-life benefits of mobile Internet. For example, they can easily promote their products and services on Facebook and coordinate with peers through Messenger,” said Canizares-Tupaz in the Smart statement.

TNT launched Internet.org with Facebook last month, which is the first in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the company said. Facebook director for global operator partnerships Markku Makelainen said during the launch that Internet.org is a tool to “address the barriers that prevent people from connecting and joining the knowledge economy.”

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