Cauayan is the first of 144 cities in the Philippines to become a “smarter city”, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo announced. A smart city should have ICT infrastructure to connect systems, and share and analyse data, resulting in “faster, real-time responses to present situations”, Montejo said. Cauayan’s initiatives include an e-government system, a computerised police clearance process and a city ID system.
Taiwan-based Acer is looking to export its cloud computing services to other countries and has targeted China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines as it looks for local system integrators for cooperation. Acer’s president of Pan-Asia Pacific Regional Operation Oliver Ahrens noted that the company is developing fast in both China and India and has already seen progress in a few cases in Malaysia. Acer’s president of Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) business Maverick Shih pointed out that the business has three major product lines: cloud computing services, which the company is aggressively looking to export; Internet of things (IoT); and Acer Octon, the telecom solution unit. The company is also seeing strong orders for related solutions.
The Philippines will use technology developed by Japan to provide Wi-Fi access in parts of the country with lower connectivity. Japan’s National Institute of ICT will provide a database (pictured) which will allow the Philippines to use unassigned television channel frequencies, known as TV white spaces, for Wi-Fi. The Philippines is rolling out free Wi-Fi in 997 cities across the country, having tendered for the US$31.6 million project last month.
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) announced it will contruct an eighth data center in the country at a cost of nearly $29 million. The data center will accommodate around 1,200 rack equivalents bringing its total capacity to more than 8,000. The five-story data center will be constructed in the Clark Special Economic Zone and Freeport in Pampanga, located in the Central Luzon region. PLDT has planned IT hubs there, which the data center will serve, in addition to regional businesses in general. The data center is also positioned to meet disaster recovery requirements.
MANILA, Philippines – Let’s start with a few assumptions, said May-Ann Lim, executive director of Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA): if you think that Asia will be the next driver of global growth, then you’ll wonder what powers that growth. “Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up 99.95% of all enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region,” Lim said in an exclusive interview. Enabling faster SME growth therefore enables you to have the greatest positive impact on regional development, she added.
Imagine the day when scanning your face, waving your phone, or using some kind of a wearable are the new norms of paying for goods and services. The transactions could be anything – from buying a train ticket to sending money to a relative, buying clothes in the mall, or riding a jeepney. The world dreams of a cashless society. And as it acquires a multitude of non-cash payment options, this dream only comes closer. The progress of economies varies, though.
Agencies in the Philippines are connecting their systems to improve data sharing and meet a target of citizens incorporating their businesses in eight days, rather than the current 34 days. Companies will be able to get their social security employer numbers and tax identification numbers at the Securities and Exchange Commission, instead of having to visit the tax and social service agencies separately.
Access to a whole new range of streaming movie and TV content is one step closer to viewers in Southeast Asia, as internet media startup iFlix has successfully completed a US$30 million funding round. iFlix’s parent company Catcha Group and telco Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company led the round. The funds will be used towards the continued rollout of the service throughout Southeast Asian territories, as well as acquiring the rights to more content and producing original content.
The Philippines plans to roll out free Wi-Fi to nearly 1000 cities by November, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has said. This week it tendered for the PHP 1.408 billion (US$31.6 million) project to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in 997 cities. Town plazas and parks, public schools and universities, libraries, government hospitals, train stations, airports, city halls and central government offices will all have free Wi-Fi, according to the Terms of Reference for the project.
Philippine telecommunications giant Globe Telecom announced today it is injecting up to US$50 million into its incubator arm Kickstart Ventures, which will use the fresh capital to support high-potential startups. The amount the group dubs as “Fund 2” is possibly the largest commitment to early-stage startup investing coming out of a Philippine company, Globe claims. It will target startups expanding anywhere in the world with clear regional and global prospects.
Philippine tech company Xurpas has announced yet another acquisition, this time of a mobile content provider in Indonesia, marking its first foray into the country. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Xurpas said it bought 49 percent of PT Sembilan Digital Investama, parent of Ninelives Interactive, for US$245,000. The Indonesian companies are engaged in mobile content development and distribution, the same business as Xurpas’. They have existing contracts with top carriers such as Telkomsel, as well as XL Axiata and Indosat.
In a milestone for smartphone growth in the Philippines, the nation is now the third largest market for smartphones in Southeast Asia. Jerome Dominguez, market analyst at IDC in the Philippines, tells Tech in Asia that the Philippines overtook Vietnam in 2014, which now drops to fourth. Indonesia is first, while Thailand is second. This is thanks to the growing adoption of smartphones by consumers. According to IDC, a total of 26.8 million mobile phones were shipped to the Philippines in 2014. The ratio of smartphones increased to 47 percent in 2014, up from 24 percent in 2013.
Philippine budget phone maker Cherry Mobile beat South Korean giant Samsung as the leading smartphone brand in the Philippines in 2014, IDC said today. It was the second straight year that Cherry has whipped Samsung in the nation. According to the research firm, Cherry cornered 21.9 percent of the Philippine market in terms of volume of smartphones shipped in 2014, overtaking Samsung, whose share declined further to 13.3 percent.
MANILA, Philippines – Cherry Mobile recently launched two new Alpha series devices at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain recently. In its five years in the industry, Cherry Mobile has continued to expand its gadget lineup and market share despite international brands dominating the country. In 2014, Cherry Mobile it worked with Microsoft to introduce the Alpha series which boasted of two smartphones and two tablets – all equipped with a Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 operating systems.
MANILA, Philippines – Subscribers of Talk ‘N Text, Smart, and Sun Cellular can now access a suite of mobile Internet services for free through Facebook’s Internet.org app, which made its Southeast Asian debut in the Philippines last Wednesday. Subscribers with a data-capable device can access Facebook, Facebook Messenger plus 22 other websites — providing news, health, weather, and other services – by downloading the Internet.org application on Google Play or visiting http://www.Internet.org on their mobile browser. They can get more information by texting INTERNET to 9999.
After rolling out the service in six countries since 2014, Facebook today announced the availability of the Internet.org app for millions of people in the Philippines. The app provides mobile phone users free access to basic internet services related to education, health, employment, communication, and information and news. This means Filipinos will now be able to browse Wikipedia for information, read the Inquirer for news updates, check the weather using Accuweather, look for jobs on Jobstreet, chat with friends on Facebook and more – without data charges. However, it’s limited to a bunch of curated sites that Facebook has chosen.
The University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines has joined the NetSuiteAcademy Program to offer hands-on education in cloud technology. The program is designed to bring cloud-based business management solutions to university classrooms. It offers no-cost licensing, resources and training to help schools equip students with the next-generation cloud IT and business skills prized by today’s employers.
The Philippines plans to create a new Department of ICT to deliver online services to citizens. A bill to create the new department will be passed by June, a Senator said. The bill will lead to a restructuring of the Department of Transportation and Communication, into two separate departments responsible for transportation and ICT. E-government initiatives are currently implemented by the ICT Office in the Department of Science and Technology.
HackOsaka 2015, held earlier this month in Osaka, featured a pitch contest where 10 startups pitched their services and products. The event was hosted by Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH) and Osaka Economic Strategy Bureau. I would like to introduce prize winners and other presenting startups. mClinica CEO Frouk Meralli is originally from Canada but now based out Manila, the Philippines.
Manila-based Yoyo Holdings, the Japanese-led startup known for its mobile rewards platform Candy, announced last week that it has launched a lock screen-based rewards platform for Android users in Indonesia, called PopSlide. The app is available on Google Play in Indonesia. The platform distributes news, weather forecasts, other updates, and ads to your smartphone lock screen. In return for viewing such information, users receive rewards for free Internet access on their smartphone.