Let’s admit it: part of the fun in following the Bitcoin world is not really knowing where it will go. A cryptocurrency has never reached the scale that Bitcoin appears to be getting now, so we have no benchmark with which to predict its progress. This idea holds especially true for how Bitcoin will affect developing countries like the Philippines, where it has been hailed as a solution for expensive remittance fees – but, on the other hand, some dismiss it as a technology too complex for the masses.
The Philippine government is introducing wireless internet connectivity to 600 more remote areas by next year using unassigned television frequencies. This is part of the Department of Science and Technology’s nationwide project to improve internet connectivity, so that citizens can benefit from e-government services in the long run, Undersecretary Louis Casambre told FutureGov in a separate interview.
Citizens in Metro Manila, the Philippines, can now authenticate their documents at satellite offices in four malls across the city, the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced. Previously, citizens needing an official stamp had to visit the consular office. Now, the same service is made available at malls from Monday to Saturday.
To support its open data initiative, the government needs “an effective platform for the management of environmental information that the public can use with greater efficiency,” said Analiza Teh, Undersecretary, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The government currently uses several systems both for monitoring and managing data internally, as well as publishing information and applications for citizens and businesses, said Bresilda Gervacio, Human Resource Development and Information Systems Assistant Secretary.
The Philippines’ initiative to engagement citizens in deciding National Budget priorities has been ranked the best in Asia by the Open Government Partnership. The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Programme (GPBP) encourages local communities and civil society organisations to work with local governments in proposing priorities for the National Budget. The initiative was ranked third overall and was the only one from Asia included in the top 10 ranking by Open Government Partnership.
The Philippine Department of Justice has two approaches to enterprise mobility: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned, Personally-Enabled (COPE). Geronimo Sy (pictured), Assistant Secretary and CIO speaks to FutureGov about why enterprise mobility has become more important and the benefits of these approaches. Cost savings is one of the main reasons for implementing BYOD, says Sy. “This approach cuts device and carrier costs by allowing employees to bring their own device. It reduces the need for company-owned devices.”
The Philippines is integrating open data provisions into the draft Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, the Open Data Philippines team has announced, to bridge gaps in demand and supply of information. The team was tasked with coming up with a plan to integrate its open data activities and the bill. “This collaboration has now borne fruit, with the proposed bill containing some provisions recommended by the [Open Data] Task Force,” the team wrote in a blog post this week.
The next big thing in business is actually quite small. Like many countries in the region, the Philippines sees startups as a key part of its economic future. By the end of 2016, its key IT agency wants to have 50 local startups based in the country with a minimum annual revenue of US$230,000. The recent Philippines Startup Report suggested that the country has “great potential” to become a startup hub in the region because of its fast growth, low operating costs, minimal competition and large English speaking population.
Australia’s public service union has kicked up a stink over a proposal being assessed by the Tax Office that would see its application development and testing sent to the Philippines. The ATO has confirmed that it is thinking about handing its test and dev functions to Accenture, which already undertakes hundreds of millions of dollars worth of IT work for the agency. Under the deal, the work would be supported out of Accenture’s Philippines-based delivery centre.
It’s big news when a major corporation or non-profit, such as Wikipedia, starts accepting Bitcoin . A number of people want to have more places to spend their bitcoins. So Tech in Asia spoke with entrepreneurs in the Philippine Bitcoin space on what companies they would like to see accept the cryptocurrency. There were no restrictions placed on the people we surveyed – they could name an international company with a strong Philippine presence, or a local brand.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) has taken to cloud computing with its deployment of the Microsfot Office 365 suite of office automation applications for use by its employees. A press statement by the Seattle, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. said the deployment makes PAL part of the list of at least 10 other airlines in the Asia Pacific now using the Office 365 cloud computing suite. A few other airlines in Asia using the suite are Quantas Airways, Japan Airlines and Tiger Airways.
MUMBAI: India is winning back some voice-based BPO services from the Philippines, as the small southeast Asian country grapples with high attrition and the advent of multi-channel customer service offerings.Voice call centres, which handle customer service, telephonic sales and collections, were the start of the BPO boom in India in the nineties. But the country lost a large chunk of that business to the Philippines over the past seven or eight years due to the closer cultural affinity and a natural American accent found there.
As user of SAP’s Ariba Networks, a small family owned-business that supplies the Philippines’ seafood industry has reaped gains from its migration from manual process to this B2B trading platform. Among such benefits is its experiencing an 80 percent reduction in late or overdue payments. An SAP AG press statement cited this case as it reported on the success enjoyed by the Manila, Philippines-based Charles Seafood Company, which transitioned from its use of manual process into the use of the SAP Ariba B2B trading platform.
NTT Communications Corporation has partnered with the Philippines’ largest telecommunication company, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) to provide Enterprise Cloud. Enterprise Cloud, which enables enterprises to virtually access their individualised customer portal to configure virtual data centres, is offered via multiple servers in multiple international locations, including Japan, US, UK, Germany, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. PLDT will provide globally standardised IaaS services combining Enterprise Cloud and its own network services for Philippine-based enterprises.
On the morning of July 16, just a night after tropical storm Typhoon Rammasun (also known by the Philippine name Typhoon Glenda) left swathes of the country in devastation with wind speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, a Philippines company launched a relief campaign. It’s being done with a twist – using bitcoin. People can donate in bitcoin by scanning a QR code on the donations microsite. Then the organizing company sends the collected funds in cash to both the Philippine Red Cross and the ABS-CBN Foundation.
Xiaomi’s first sale of Mi3 smartphones in the Philippines today marks its slowest sell-out ever. 3,000 Android-powered Mi3 phones were snapped up by shoppers after more than an hour. Tech in Asia reached out to Xiaomi for further details and the exact time taken. Xiaomi, known for its online flash sales, usually sells out a batch of phones in minutes. The devices were sold through the Chinese phone-maker’s local partner, Lazada, at 12 noon today. By watching the availability of the phone on Lazada, we saw that it took the Mi3 about 75 to 90 minutes to sell out completely.
Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra’s visit to the Philippines last week signalled the Chinese smartphone maker’s imminent arrival in the country. Now Xiaomi has revealed that 3,000 Mi3 smartphones will be on sale in the country on June 26 at 12 noon. The Mi3 16 GB smartphones will be sold at Php 10,599 (US$241), which is lower than Barra’s earlier estimate of Php 12,000 (US$272). That’s likely due to Xiaomi lowering the cost of the Mi3 in China, where it costs RMB 1,499 (US$240) for the 16GB version.
Tablet shipments in the Philippines grew 110 percent year-on-year, according to a recent report for Q1 2014 by research firm IDC. That’s the strongest growth rate for tablet uptake in Southeast Asia. In total, there were 598,375 tablets shipped in the Philippines in the first quarter of 2014. While Samsung and Apple still lead the race, IDC underscores that tough competition is now arising from local gadget makers as well as other global players. This is similar to the smartphone situation in the Philippines where cheaper homegrown phones are in big demand.
MANILA, June 17 — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Singapore supports the Philippine delegation to CommunicAsia 2014 to further enhance the country’s position as Asia’s e-services hub and global leader in information technology and business process management (IT-BPM).
Japanese telco Softbank (TYO:9984) will invest over $20 million in startups in the Philippines with the creation of a new fund, Tech in Asia has learned. The Softbank venture fund in the Philippines is set up with the help of its regional partner, IP Ventures (IPVI). SoftBank China and India’s Bodhi Fund invested in IPVI in 2011. It will be led by IPVI’s CEO Enrique Gonzalez and also Softbank’s very own Kabir Misra, Katsumasa Niki, Teddy Himler, and Yen Theng Tan.