Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It seems the stringent efforts by credit card companies are paying off as online fraud is slighty lower this year. Small merchants are hit hardest by online fraud. Fraudsters pocket US$3 billion from US e-commerce sites this year.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
For 2007, a lot of social networking endeavors that will be launched online will heavily focused on new niche networks, the pre-teen girls market to be exact.
Digital Media Exchange, Inc., an online game distributor and digital entertainment provider based in the Philippines, has just released its family-oriented website mobiuskids in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. The site offers educational games and activities centered on child learning and family interaction. Upon launch, it introduced two popular casual online games -- Disney's massively multiplayer online game Toontown Online and virtual pet game GoPets. The site also has a child-centered social networking feature, arcade game downloads, piggybank, task scheduler, and goal tracker.
Last month, SanrioTown was also launched. New features were added on the existing online community services such as forum and free e-mail as well as download services, new social networking features havebeen launched on Sanriotown, which already has a current user-base of almost 2 million world wide.
Globe Telecom also launched myGlobe IMEVRYWHR integrated communications service. This allows users to share information using a range of integrated voice, messaging, content options, G-Cash services, Share-A-Load service, and AskG search function. Globe Telecom's partner in this service is fastmobile who announced a partnership with Yahoo! early this year to bring its multimedia features to select Yahoo! mobile users. Its Yahoo! Messenger application enables users to send voice instant messages or cameraphone photos within an active conversation.
This is perhaps the way to go in social networking too as it is predicted that there'll be 174 million mobile social communities members worlwide by 2011, according to an ABI Research Brief, and has found that "mobile social communities" currently count nearly 50 million members worldwide. This opens opportunities to monetize for carriers and value-added service providers.
This dynamic growth on the Internet is also affecting advertising spending and revenue impact. Google generates more revenue now compared to traditional TV networks.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Perfect World's entry in the Philippines is coming at a time when more and more Filipinos are playing online games.
Perfect World is a 3D online game that starts from a traditional Chinese myth that Pangu built the sky, land and people. The game created a particular historical period and took players to times of old, with its epic backgrounds and grandiose story content.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Some Filipinos cashing on this trend are also building value added-services on top of card. Polytron, a telecommunications firm based in Silicon Valley, has hit on a technology that combines in one plastic the convenience of a bank card and an international phone card that can be used to call at least 250 countries. It calls the spending card Global Express Money or GEM.
These players will add to the growing and highly competitive money remittance market in the country. Those who will be sensitive to the situation of Filipino families are the ones who will likely be creative in developing new value-added services.
At this time, I think all this bill got is publicity. With charter change and elections being prioritized in Congress, it is unlikely that anything will happen with this bill from now till May of next year.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Gonzalez initially discovered that over half of those surveyed send at least $100 to $500 monthly to the Philippines. The study, to be presented early next year, also looks at the motivation for the act of sending money. Some of the present reasons include:
- Supporting grandparents and parents (24%)
- relatives' health care needs (22%)
- housing mortgage (18%)
- school payments of direct children and nieces or grandchildren (18%)
Money is send usually using money transfer companies (47%), bank channels (32%), and courier channels (21%).
Money remittance is one of the most lucrative business today in the country due to the increasing number of Filipinos working or migrating overseas. Comparing this to our OFW Internet Habits report, the only change is the increasing trust to money remittance companies. Banks used to be the primary medium for this purpose.
Organizations like UNCTAD also sees remittance as a development tool and urges countries, like the Philippines, largely benefiting from the inflow of currency to tap its potential other than further pushing consumption.
As most overseas Filipino workers are women, The World Economic Forum's latest Global Gender Gap Index found the Philippines to be doing more to empower women than the United States, Britain, Canada or Australia. Of 115 nations examined in 2006, the Philippines placed sixth, well ahead of the United States at 22nd (Sweden was first). Although women may be more economically empowered, it is a sad reality that Filipinas abroad are at high risk as well.
Here is my thinking on the issue.
The Philippines E-Commerce Law or Republic Act 8792 did not change any law. However, it strengthened all existing laws by recognizing its electronic counterpart. Therefore, laws covering libel cases are now empowered to recognize its electronic counterparts. That is why you have cases where the likes of celebrity / actress Kris Aquino suing GMA 7 in the past and used e-mail printouts as her evidence. That case resulted to a settlement. If it proceeded and she lost, it will depend on how she lost and thereby which law is to blame. If it's the insufficiency of the case, being considered a libel, then laws covering libel should be the one amended.
If she loses based on evidence presentation, proving authenticity, originality, among others, then that is where the E-Commerce Law can be scrutinized.
With regards to cybercrime, it is not the E-Commerce Law that is weak, it is the implementation and allocation of funding. I'm always paranoid whenever I encounter instances where people can easily be comfortable in blaming a law rather than looking at its implementation. Our cybercrime enforcement is weak because government leaders are not yet fully aware and neither excited in allocating funding to it due to other priorities. Therefore, this is where we should unite and call on government to allocate resources to combat cybercrime.
Global mobile phone sales raced ahead by 21.5 percent to 251 million units in the third quarter of the current calendar year, powered by strong growth in Asia. Gartner said that in emerging markets, the growth of retailers and the expansion of distribution channels have enhanced sales, particularly in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Asia/Pacific, sales rose to 80.8 million units, a 54.7 percent increase from the same quarter last year.
Nokia also remained as the number 1 mobile phone globally.
A lot of opportunities are happening in the mobile phone market. The US is gradually embracing the use of the mobile phone device for electronic payments too. It is an indispensable tool as well for disaster relief coordination.
There are many ways that PC penetration can be improved. This includes making ICT affordable to SMEs. It is important for PC, software, training, website, e-commerce development providers, among others to offer easy to pay terms. Help is available to make this happen by IT vendors through the SME-FIT program or Financing for Information Technology Build-Up for SMEs.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila and Finance Secretary Gary B. Teves signed on 25 October 2006 guidelines on the government’s Electronic Payment and Collection System (EPCS).
“The guidelines will minimize face-to-face interaction in payment transaction, reducing corruption and red tape in the workplace and making it easier for citizens, businessmen, and investors to transact with government at any time and place,” Favila said.
Electronic capabilities will make payment and collection services quicker and more effective, according to Teves. “Electronic transactions will make it easier to monitor payment, which help us maximize government’s financial resources,” he said. “This, in turn, enables us to make more and better health and education services available for our people, as well as invest in infrastructure that improves business and creates jobs.”
The Joint Department Administrative Order (JAO) No. 02, Series of 2006 prescribing the “Guidelines Implementing RA 8792 on Electronic Payment and Collection System (EPCS) in Government” will allow electronic payments through credit cards, automated teller machines (ATMs), debit cards, stored-value cards, mobile wallet payments and kiosks, among others.
The guidelines will apply to all government offices that currently use or intend to use EPCS to collect fees, charges, assessment and revenues.
The JDAO, which takes effect today, also creates a Government Electronic Payment and Collection System Evaluation Team (GEPCSET). This team, composed of representatives from the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), National Computer Center (NCC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will evaluate, accredit and recommend the approval of applications for EPCS.
“EPCS enables more government agencies to implement end-to-end e-commerce transactions and is a concrete step towards bolstering our global competitiveness,” Favila said.
Full implementation of the E-commerce Act was one of the recommendations by government and industry leaders to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the National Competitiveness Summit held last 6 October 2006 in Malacanang.
Copy of the guidelines may be downloaded within the DTI business portal or at the Department of Finance website.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I just got an email today about ReviewMe, a website service that invites bloggers and webmasters to write reviews and earn from it. After signing up, you can submit up to six (6) websites but only those that can qualify shall be approved. In my case, this blog and my DigitalFilipino.com website qualified in the system.
I believe that this service is a great opportunity for bloggers out there especially for the young ones. It has one of the lowest sign-up age (14 years old) that I’ve found and this is great news for the teenager out there who are very active in blogging.
Once you are in, you have to wait for review assignments, so earning more will depend on how ReviewMe's advertising network shall grow, and your capability or capacity as a reviewer.
I'm glad that reviewers are expected to provide feedback, or criticism, and should be taken by advertisers as a means to improve their product or service.
Payouts are made through check or Paypal every 1st of the month. I do hope that networks like this will grow and create more earning opportunities for bloggers alike.
My other blogs did not qualify due to not meeting their minimum number of citations, subscribers, and traffic. Although one can return a few months later and try it again. I only hope that they can give more specific feedback when a site is not approved so that the improvement is well targeted. For instance, if it is a matter of being in a Technorati rank of this range, then one can use that as a barometer as to how a rejected blog is improving and can try again to apply in the future.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
U.S. District Judge John Steele sentenced him to 16 years and 3 months for receiving child pornography as well as owning and making child pornography. At least this is a positive news of some sort in fighting against cybercrime.
This adds to the ever-increasing number of social networks and friend directories that caters to Filipinos.
As Chris Cubos of Fwendz.com was able to demonstrate, there are opportunities indeed for those who are into the creation of niche-based social networks. Check out podcast interview with Chris for more info.
Rodney Jao also helped in the development of a social network for nurses. Check out our podcast interview with Rodney on this topic.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Truly, just one of the many ways that the mobile phone is being used for disaster relief coordination.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
My infatuation with Google started with its search engine. Like an ideal lover, it answered all my inquiries without hesitation and with a high level of accuracy. A sense of attachment developed when it launched Gmail, the free 2 gigabyte e-mail service. Like a lot of Yahoo Mail’s ardent lovers, I downgraded my relationship with Yahoo Mail to back-up, visited when only needed. That is, whenever my primetime love, Gmail, becomes unavailable - which is so rare actually.
However, Google enchanted me to a longer term and more serious relationship when it launched Google Sitemap, AdSense, AdWords, and it bought Blogger and YouTube.
The feeling of being so dependent to one love for the most of your Internet life is so scary. Then, the inevitable happened, I have consumed my 2 gigabyte Gmail account and now I’m confused, as my love supposedly said, I don’t have to delete any of my e-mails. I’m heart broken. I felt betrayed and fooled.
What should I do?"
Of course, the above is more of me trying to humor myself. But I am indeed having a hard time to decide which of my emails should be deleted for good.
Google, slowly creeping our top 2006 websites, I realize, is setting a high level of expectation from Internet users who are becoming more comfortable with its service.
Can Google really sustain its leadership? Let’s see.
On another note, I just found out that one of our club member, Aileen Apolo, is now Google’s Philippines Country Consultant. Although she is not in liberty to discuss Google's plan in the country, it is great to know that the company is taking the Philippines seriously.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Actually, it was just a matter of time and no lobbying influenced it - it is more of a practical decision for Paypal. Today though, the facility is limited to sending of money overseas, not acceptance.
This development meant more payment alternatives for Filipinos. (at least I can already upgrade my podcast site in Podomatic) However we still need more online payment alternatives for individuals that are attuned to the needs of the Filipino today.
As the Philippines has the highest incident of global online credit card fraud today, fixing our implementing policies and law enforcement is must. It will also require Internet users, who cares in uplifting the country's reputation and credibility, to be vigilant and report to authorities those who sell credit card information and commit illegal acts. Our banking system has to improve as well in order to make the money acceptance feature a reality in the Philippines.
I wrote more details about this and published today in Manila Times.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
If you have an important milestone worth recording, please visit our pbwiki today.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I made an e-load to my prepaid mobile number last October 2 (8:00 pm) in the amount of P150. The next day, was trying to use my phone to send a text and call but got a message that I have no enough credits left.
In this situation, it feels helpless being a prepaid user with no logs to check or turn to. In times of crisis, the infrastructure must be stable to avoid glitches like this.
I do hope that NTC and DTI's Order on Data Log Retention and Consumer Protection in Products and Services provided by Public Telecommunication Entities will be out soon.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
With countries like the Philippines and Singapore having a more open regulation on this matter. Will our country embraced it or turn it away as well?
Monday, October 02, 2006
In addition, there's just too much ongoing competitions that calls on texters to vote such as Shall We Dance (my favorite), Philippine Idol, among others.
Lastly, with typhoons and disasters that have come our way, I guess a lot of us are seeing our mobile phones from a different perspective in terms of its relevance.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Blog and news about One Internet Day Davao:
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I kept receiving congratulatory whispers as very rare do SMEs come together with the intent of learning more about e-commerce. Thanks so much to DTI-Cebu, Primary Software, CyberPromdi, National Computer Center/Commission on Information and Communication Technology - Visayas for all the help in making this event a success.
Blog and news about One Internet Day Cebu:
Blog and news about One Internet Day Manila:
- DigitalFilipino.com celebrates 7th anniversary (Manila Bulletin)
- Blogging and the DigitalFilipino (Manila Bulletin)
- One Web Day (Jimmy Soriano)
- One Internet Day (Maoi Arroyo)
- Liveblogging from the One Internet Day, Manila (The J Spot)
- ONE INTERNET DAY ON SEPT 19, 2006 (Adrian)
- Building Buzz with Blogs (Noemi Lardizabal Dado)
- Blogger Stats for Metro Manila (The J Spot)
- 1st Philippine BlogCon and 1 Internet Day (Ernesto Sonido)
Thanks to 5 guests who signed up as a member of the DigitalFilipino.com Club in Manila!
Special cheers to the Department of Trade and Industry directors Ludy Yaptinchay, Domingo Bagaporo, Jeanette Carrillo, and the DTI IT Team for taking time to grace and support our event!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
- about the top 10 amazing ways the web has changed the world.
- about the ways the web has changed your world
- about the ways you'd like to see the web change the world
Once done, let me know and will link your blog post from here. Share your story today!
To be inspired, read those who shared their story!
- OneWebDay: How the internet changed my world (moowagirl)
- How the Internet Changed my World (Joan Piñon)
- The Web & The Internet (Ernesto Sonido)
- One Web Day: How the Internet Changed My World (Noemi Lardizabal-Dado)
- 1 Internet Day (Chris Haravata)
- How The Internet Changed My World (Robert Martin)
- Top 10 Amazing Ways the Web has changed my world (Joel Yuvienco)
- How the Internet changed my world (Janette Toral)
P.S. If you need a guide on how to start blogging, join our free Blogging 101 Online Workshop.
Friday, September 01, 2006
This is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry ICT Business Development Team. This is also supported by the Association of Solution Integrators in Davao (ASID).
The program is as follows:
12:00 - 1:10 Registration
1:10 - 1:40 Keynote: E-Commerce for National Competitiveness and Policy Updates (Janette Toral, DigitalFilipino.com)
1:40 - 2:00 Introduction of ASID members and updates
2:00 - 3:00 Panel: State of E-Payment in the Philippines
Friday, August 25, 2006
This event is in partnership with Prime Software, CyberPromdi, and Department of Trade and Industry ICT Business Development Team.
The program is as follows:
12:00 - 1:10 Registration
1:10 - 1:15 Welcome (Janette Toral, DigitalFilipino.com)
1:15 - 1:45 Keynote: E-Commerce for National Competitiveness and Policy Updates (Provincial Director Nelia F. Navarro, Department of Trade and Industry)
1:45 - 2:15 Internet Enabling Business Software Solutions: New Trends in Client-Server Web Computing (Mike Jurado, Prime Software)
2:15 - 3:00 Panel: State of E-Payment in the Philippines (YesPayments, Innove)
The program is as follows:
12:00 - 1:10 Registration
1:10 - 1:15 Welcome (Janette Toral, DigitalFilipino.com)
1:15 - 1:30 Keynote: E-Commerce for National Competitiveness (Director Ludy Yaptinchay, Department of Trade and Industry)
1:30 - 2:00 Data Privacy and E-Commerce (Director Domingo I. Bagaporo, Board of Investments)
Awarding of Plaques to the principal drafters of DAO #8
- Atty. JJ Disini
- Atty. Lindy Gavino
- Janette Toral
2:00 - 2:30 Building Buzz with Blogs (Maoi Arroyo, Hybridigm Consulting)
2:30 - 3:30 Panel: State of E-Payment in the Philippines
3:30 - 4:30 Panel: New E-Commerce Opportunities
4:30 - 5:30 Panel: Making E-Commerce Work
5:30 - 7:00 Networking and Raffle
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Topics ranges from personal insights, lifestyle, to political. It even allowed the exchange of opinion on emotionally-charged issues affecting the country. As issues are discussed, more individuals and organizations find themselves exposed where their undertakings can be questioned or attacked. This is where bloggers gradually are realizing that there are also copyright and ethical concerns that they had to deal with.
One of the biggest accomplishment that Filipino bloggers have achieved is the staging blogging summits, iBlog and BlogCon, annually and be seen as a event to look forward to. This is the point where bloggers take time out to come together and exchange insights on various blogging developments.
Based on our Metro Manila Blogger Report, more than half of bloggers are very young. However, Angelo agreed with Maoi that the higher age segment with disposable income should seriously be considered for targeted marketing.
Monday, August 14, 2006
In the US, nearly 15,000 foreign fiancees admitted in the country have met their partners through marriage brokers. This is according to Tahirih Justice Centre. There are also risks for women who don't get to fully know their prospective desired partner as well.
In the Philippines, there are sites like itzamatch.com that claims more Filipinos are looking for love online and boast of more than 100,000 users to date. Start-up GrooveNet also entered the scene by licensing and creating a local version of There.
Friendster.com on the other hand is considered one of the world's most popular social networking site. More than 5 million Filipinos are members of the site that prompted the company to explore its potential in the Philippines.
One of the most interesting companies to watch out for in trending this growth is the PLDT group of companies. Reaching 1 million broadband subscribers in 3 years or 2009 is like increasing its current wireless and wireline broadband base by 5x.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
On the other, other sports like basketball admitted being affected by Internet shops.
In fact because of high tech printing gadgets today, there are now fake or counterfeit US dollar bills circulating around the world. Oftentimes referred to as "supernotes," these fake bills was first found in the Philippines as a local cashier caught it by the feel of the paper.
One of the challenges in cybercrime enforcement is the extradition of suspects from one country to another. If two countries don't have the same or similar legislation for that matter, double criminality can't be established which is a requirement for extradition.
Another growing concern is the 1 billion pesos online pornography market in the country where vigilance of the community is needed in capturing these elements and bring them to court. A growing number of alleged traffickers are using the Internet as a medium to market.
Rebels and various cause groups are also using the Internet as a medium to express their grievances, propaganda, and introduce themselves. Although this may work in favor for the government in getting more information. It can also work otherwise.
The passage of the E-Commerce Law or Republic Act 8792 was crucial in demonstrating the Philippines' stability as an outsourcing destination of ICT related or enabled projects. As data privacy is a growing concern as well, the Department of Trade and Industry released a guideline (pdf) that can be shown to local and foreign prospective clients on our resiliency in protecting personal data. It is hoped as well that this guideline can be used in protecting ourselves from unsolicited business calls.
To continue this demanding task, law enforcement entities also face the dilemma of getting funding support and hire cybercrime fighters. Good thing there are entities giving equipment and training donations.
Still, there are global security software executives, despite having Philippine presence, still clueless on policy developments in the country and using old examples.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This community is also seen as potential for in-game advertising. One exciting company worth watching out for is e-Games due to its Free2Play model. Despite that, new games like Freestyle, among others are expected to build a growing user base. With Filipinos becoming experts in online gaming, they perhaps be able to follow the footsteps of overseas-based Filipino professional gamers someday.
The Filipino language, Tagalog, is also influencing international games such as The Sims(TM) native language, Simlish, where it is partly based. Another game, similar to our child's play Jack 'en Poy, is also gaining international popularity because of its mix gaming arcade and card collection approach.
The popularity of online games is also creating a new form of virtual income. I've met individuals who are now earning a living by playing a person's game character and by selling them. Joel Yuvienco challenges educators to harness this as a tool for learning.
Definitely more games are expected to come in the country from Korea, Japan, USA, among others.
Gone are the days when you had to deal with inaccurate flight schedules and poor e-mail response time. However, making frequent flyer programs more customer friendly is still something most of us want to see.
What is good about the Internet is that it also allows small players to compete and allow them to achieve significant revenue online. Those who are also aggressive in marketing and provides fast response time to inquiries are gaining competitive advantage too.
You now see local travel associations as well signing agreements with companies like Triton Distribution Systems to boost their services. Hotels in Makati and Alabang are gearing up to accept online reservations too.
The Internet has also inspired local government units to launch tourism drives and tap the Internet as a resource to achieve that. Inspired bloggers like Anton Diaz contribute to the growing number of high quality sites that makes Filipinos, especially those from Manila, the various places that one, local or balikbayan, oughts to visit.
Friday, August 04, 2006
The popularity of the Internet allowed the surge in online gaming, as well as in online gambling. The Philippine Amusent and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is no exemption from realizing this opportunity and saw it as a venue to boost its revenues, which in turn is used to fund government projects. Last year, PAGCOR granted a ten year contract to broadcast live, in-progress casino table games from Filipino casinos to Kenilworth using Roulabette.
Roulabette(TM) is a method and system for placing wagers on live, in-progress casino table games such as roulette, baccarat and dice from locations remote from the actual casino tables at which the games are taking place. The system begins at the casino, where television cameras in strategic locations above the casino table games follow the games being played at the casino tables, and microphones pick up the sounds of the table play. The game play is transmitted via digital satellite and cable transmissions to subscribers who are able to wager by using set top boxes which receive the broadcast of the game and record wagers and results. Although there were a lot of worries whether it is legal or not especially now that the US government is going on a crackdown campaign. Online gambling is also illegal in France.
However, it is expected that addiction to gaming will increase as the Internet allows a gambler to compete with anyone in the world, 24 hours a day. The Philippines is also becoming a popular destination for global operation of gambling sites due to the government's ability to issue online gambling licenses for online casino sites. Online casino operators in the Philippines pay a 2 percent tax on their gross winnings. Singapore is also competing in becoming an online casino hub.
Online gambling is not only limited in Metro Manila. You now have companies like First Cagayan offering similar services and capable of issuing licenses too. Games are also no longer limited to your traditional casino games but includes regular sports betting services like basketball or football games and even cockfights as well.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
However, real estate players are now exposed to risks as well such as being libel, among others.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
On the other hand, companies like Coinstar have acquired Travelex Money Transfer Limited who has partnership with banks like RCBC, Bank of Commerce, Rural Bank of the Philippines, and Cebu Lhuillier Services Corp. Remittance in 2006 is expected to hit US$13.5 billion this year.
On the online remittance side, sites like YesPinoy are expected to continue growth in this business. Portals that have high traffic and subscription also have an edge in entering into this type of business where trust is already established with its subscribers.
This fast transfer of money is also getting the US government jittery, wary that money laundering is possibly committed through these remittance systems. Another increasing concern are the hidden fees charged in these transactions. This does not only include the upfront fee or percentage, usually at 7%, but also the foreign exchange rates once the money is given to the recipient.
Money remittance growth rate is driven by overseas Filipino worker deployment. From January to July 2006, nearly 662,000 Filipinos left the country and remittance received is up to US$7 billion.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Some of the online libraries I know are:
- Philippine eLib - Note that the government spent like 167 million for this project. The materials in the website, mostly are not for free if I'm not mistaken.
- Science.ph - The portal currently links to some 65 databases of various DoST sub-agencies.
I think the private sector should seriously consider in partnering with the DOST in coming up with a profitable win-win solution to make these highly-valuable information assets useful and sustainable.
Friday, July 28, 2006
If you recall in 2002, PLDT started offering their cheaper overseas phone call service for something like US$0.40 cents a minute to the USA. Although VOIP offerings online can be cheaper than that.
BayanTel VOIP charges US$0.10 per minute. The company will also be deploying IPTV as part of the bundle in 2007.
Globelines Broadband VOIP Softphone is currently pegged at US$0.05 per minute offered to more than 50 destinations such as the USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Korea. Recently, non-telco providers Mozcom and VOIP Global Inc. joined the fray too.
There are also Filipino VOIP providers in the USA, such as Pinoy VOIP, that are also offering Manila phone numbers. This way, Manila callers can feel or assume that they are calling a Manila office when it is actually in the USA.
Even Microsoft is getting in the fray seriously as it open its mobile division with an initial roll-out of its VOIP phones targeted at OFWs, in partnership with OWWA.
In businesses today, especially in the IT outsourcing arena, VOIP plays an important technology in the globalization of markets. The Philippines rank second in the world for having a high concentration of call centers. That would not have been possible if not for technologies like VOIP. Penetration rate for VOIP is expected to reach 65% in two years.
VOIP is also providing opportunities for the schools in rural areas to improve their nfrastructure by tapping into these technologies. One school for example is Catanduanes State Colleges. (I miss this place!)
Websites are also expected to integrate VOIP features as an additional customer service and interaction too. Leading the pack is eBay whose VOIP roll-out is being done in partnership with Skype. Its initial roll-out included the Philippines.
Internationally, VOIP phone companies are becoming more creative. Like in this case, AdCalls Dialers shall advertise Wi-Fi TV and provide free sampling of its programs. It is interesting to note that the Philippines is one of the many countries that have downloaded the AdCalls software.
Another interesting development that happened lately as well in this scene is when movie actress/personality Dina Bonnevie joined Fusion Telecommunications International last June 2006 as its Director of Overseas Market Development.
On another note, VOIP can only be offered by companies that are 60% owned by Filipinos. Some may see this from a protectionist standpoint though. There are pending bills in Congress today filed by Senator Mar Roxas and Congressman Simeon Kintanar that intends to liberalize this. What makes the Philippines interesting as well in the VOIP space is that we are the first country, even ahead of the USA, to declare VOIP as a value added service, not voice.
Despite these challenges, VOIP is considered to be a promising venture in the Philippines as the government is on high gear in embracing VOIP.
On the handset side, Nokia N80s entry signals more wireless VOIP handsets to come in 2007. This will be definitely exciting.
In the 1st volume of the Philippine Internet Review, we had a feature on challenges faced by ISPs. Admitted, the lack of trust in information sharing made it hard to explain in quantifiable terms how the ISPs are being affected by the carriers getting into the same business and give basis for the government to intervene.
Some ISPs are also expanding their offerings through partnerships. Companies like Infocom gradually transforming itself into a "technology utility firm."
Other countries, like Australia, are scrambling also in getting their citizens out there and things don't seem to be turning out well. There's also a disadvantage for citizens of rich countries to be in a war zone as they tend to be more prone to kidnapping or hostage for ransom.
In Cebu, companies like PLDT and InTouch Communications have partnered with OWWA to provide for families to contact their OFW loved ones in Lebanon. Lito Gutierrez of Global Forum also talked about the importance of equipping outgoing overseas contract workers to the Middle East a VOIP phone. Microsoft is about to do this soon with OWWA as they will equip outgoing OFWs with a Microsoft Windows 5.0 Mobile Phone that shall work in wi-fi areas.
Although on the other hand, it is sad to see that there are entities and individuals who had no heart in scamming their fellow countrymen gullible enough to fall prey into it. Telcos should create posters regularly that can be seen in all their retailer outlets to spread the knowledge on text scams or perhaps a monthly text alert about it. On the more proactive level, set up a procedure that a cellphone owner can do it as soon as he or she receives a potential text scam. Of course, this would need tight coordination with the police. In the end, we need solution and action where there is a clear process on how the mobile phone text scammers can be captured. There are now anti-theft services though being offered to combat this. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has released a policy for the reporting and handling of spam complaints. A Text Spam Committee was also created in the process who will handle all complaints. Some local government police units, like Marikina, are also adopting the use of text messaging as an anti-crime tool.
In the recent Senate hearing on the 2006 nursing board exam leakage, pictures taken from the mobile phone was also used to demonstrate that there's indeed anomalies committed by the party accused.
It is estimated that there are 37 million mobile phone users today. The Philippines was also dubbed as the text messaging capital of the world as it processes more than 1 billion text messages a day. As of end-June 2006, Globe Telecomm has a total of 13.9 million client base. Smart with 16.4 million and Talk 'N Text with 6.1 million. With the popularity of 3G and wireless Internet, the mobile phone modems are also making a huge comeback. What makes the mobile phone both a tool for productivity and scamming is its relevance to the lives of Filipinos today. The Philippines is the first to implement a mobile wallet scheme that allows a person to transfer money or prepaid credits to another phone and has served well those who can't afford or not qualified to avail of traditional banking services. More than 7 million Filipinos are now using this service.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Much has changed to the options we have today in accessing the Internet. Especially since the government became more pro-active in enabling wireless Internet.
With the Internet, consumers have more avenues to be vigilant about their concerns. More and more columnists as well have even put forward these issues seeking for proper resolution.
Advocacy can also be done by educating as many users as possible on how to use and avail of support for these applications, rather than imposing.
Looking into our archives, I found that last September 2002, the group Open Minds was launched. One of its goal is "to lobby for the adoption of a pro-open source software policy in the Philippine government."
Well, I don't own it. I wish I do though. ;)
Like most technologies, VOIP is also vulnerable to hacks, theft, and fraud. There's no clear best practices yet to fight them either. Although organizations like VOIPSA are gradually gaining momentum in this area.
In a press conference organized by Motorola last July 2006, I just found out that the Philippines is actually one of its biggest roll-out. Smart alone rolled out 20,000 Motorola Canopy in the country. This is the infrastructure where the Smart Bro service is being deployed. There are also roll-outs being made by Convergence Network Solutions in Kalibo, Boracay, Bulacan, and Metro Manila.
However, as with any other new service, there will be glitches as part of a telcos growing pain. As the service gets further calibrated, we can expect higher adoption of wireless connectivity technologies in the home.
When talking to industry experts, the number of Internet cafes are currently pegged at 8000 to 14,000 all over the country. Most are surviving by offering more than just your traditional Internet rental service. Others are offering scanning, desktop publishing, gaming, encoding, research, among others. I believe that there shall be changes in the Internet cafe market within a year or two as the not so well-funded players, who rely on pirated software, will be more pressured to go legitimate as their competitors are the ones who report them. Microsoft is now actively educating the market with its Internet Cafe Rental Rights program to ensure that these places operate legitimately in using their products. Although there's nothing stopping Internet cafe players to use open source.
Gaming is one popular activity in Internet cafes. Like in China, there are now Filipino gold farmers in these gaming communities who sells account identities or charge a fee for playing another person's account to reach a particular level.
The use of Internet cafe by the youth has also elicited a lot of reaction from the local government units. Some even issued local regulation to ban minors from going to Internet cafes during school hours. Roberto Verzola's experience in this area drives the point to its necessity.
Another expansion approach that some Internet cafes are now pursuing is to function as a call center, or rent its facilities out for such use, like Netopia. Companies like PLDT are also making the Internet Cafe business an option that new entrepreneurs can look into.
On the advocacy side, there are now groups who sees the Internet cafe as a place where their philantrophy work can be deployed.
With the maturing Internet sector, the Internet cafe owners appear to be the most organized and even strategically quantifiable as most cities in the country have been establishing one. Some of these associations are: Internet Cafe Association of the Philippines, Internet Cafe Association of Cebu, among others.
In the Philippines, 3G is being embraced with the entry of High Speed Downlink Packet Access(HSDPA) in the country. As a result, our country is now the leader in this area in terms of deployment. Handset makers like Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, among others are marketing their 3G wares actively. We are now seeing telecomm providers from China actively offering their services here too.
Smart launched its 3G service last February 14. As of our last count, Smart rolled out its 3G infrastructure in 60 cities and 20 municipalities in the country. The Smart 3G infrastructure is powered by Nokia.
Globe on the other hand took the notch higher as it launched 3.5G that uses HSDPA. Although company admits that whether the application will be a success or not is still uncertain.
Mostly, the reason for this is the lack of a killer application. Perhaps, video phone calls are only attractive for people who are far away from each other. But since you can enable web cam capabilities in most instant messaging tools today, with bandwith far more cheaper than 3G. On-demand TV and Internet radio are seen as possible applications that may click. Telecom groups are also encouraging the media to explore this and build content demand for 3G. However, if it is a luxury, rather than necessity, that may still not be true.
3G is here and there a lot of discussion happening right now as to which one is better. What's your take? Have you tried it? Will you upgrade to it soon? Do you think that the 3G phones available today stinks?
Battle of the hearts and minds continue on the issue whether the country needs charter change or not. The debate is not only on TV but also online. I wonder who will prevail.
If there are websites that you believe should be in this listing, let me know!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Hi everyone. Our DigitalFilipino.com Podcast Episode 5 is now online featuring DigitalFilipino.com Club Members and dotcom pioneers Jay Frank De Jesus of TitikPilipino.com and Jovel Cipriano of PinoyDelikasi.com. This kicks off our celebration for the June ICT month and 6th anniversary of Republic Act 8792 or the Philippines E-Commerce Law.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Hi everyone. Our DigitalFilipino.com Podcast Episode 4 is now online featuring DigitalFilipino.com Club Members Rodney Jao (Davao), Dann Diez (Cebu), Stephanie Caragos (Cagayan De Oro), and ePLDT.com about its latest offering for SMEs.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
comScore Media Metrix data show that Game sites reach almost 50% of the Internet universe, representing 76.9 million consumers in April 2006, up from 71.6 million in April 2005. The Players research found that 25% of Gamers are Heavy Gamers, playing 16 or more hours per week across any gaming platform, or playing 11 hours or more per week and playing on two or more platforms. Light/Medium Gamers - those that play less than 16 hours per week on one platform - represent 75 percent of Gamers. Approximately 17 percent of Gamers are in the hard-to-reach age group of 18-24 years old, while another 23% are in the advertising sweet-spot age segment aged 35 to 44 years old. One-in-five (20 percent) have an annual income over $75,000 per year, and the typical Gamer has been gaming for about 9 years, has been online for about 8 years. Gamers are equally split along gender lines.
Gamers are also avid Web users, spending more than twice as many hours online per month versus the norm (53 hours per month versus 24 hours for the average Internet user). Additionally, Heavy Gamers go online more frequently during the month, averaging 24 days compared to the average Internet user who typically goes online 17 days per month.
Gamers Not Opposed to In-Game Advertising
According to comScore’s survey, more than 50 percent of Heavy Gamers and one-third of Light/Medium Gamers are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of in-game advertising i.e. the contextual placement of brands or products within games.
In-game advertising is an innovative way to reach Gamers, but some worry it might be considered an intrusive form of advertising that could alienate an audience. However, while some Gamers are offended by in-game advertising, the results of comScore’s survey suggest the positive effects outweigh any negative consequences. Specifically, when asked about their attitudes towards games with advertisements, only 15 percent of Heavy Gamers claimed they would be “unlikely” to play games that included such product placements. In contrast, more than twice as many Heavy Gamers (33 percent), said they would be “likely” to play those games, while fully 52% of Heavy Gamers and 56% of Light/Medium Gamers stated that the inclusion of advertising would have no impact on their likelihood of playing a game.
While poorly integrated in-game ads may have the potential to diminish the quality of game-play, 35% of the Heavy Gamers disagreed with the statement “these ads interrupt my play and bother me”. Importantly, nearly half of heavy Gamers felt that in-game advertising was an inevitable part of the future of their play. When asked if the ads would make them consider buying the product or service, heavy Gamers were actually more receptive (17 percent) than light/medium Gamers (9 percent).
The Players study is conducted using comScore’s unique dual-mode methodology that combines passively observed online behavior and attitudinal information for the same consumers. Wave I of the survey portion of the Players Study collected attitudinal information from 800 Gamers from February 13 - 27, 2006. Additional waves will be fielded throughout 2006.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
The twice-a-month DigitalFilipino Podcast has the following segments for this 2nd episode:
- DigitalFilipino.com Updates (iBlog2 and Philippine Schools Cyberfair 2006 thanks)
- Chat with Janette with DigitalFilipino.com Club Member: Peachy Herrin (talk about Pinay blogging experience and Pinay G-Spot) and Brian Ligsay (on 5 steps to podcasting)
- DigitalFilipino Events (AboitizLand launches Kishanta and experience in selling real estate online)
- Ask Janette
For this episode, the following articles can be read in reference:
- How to setup you very own Podcast in 5 easy steps
- Team Leadership
- Website design standards and guidelines
- Books cited: (Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design and Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management)
For future episodes, we will have more club members to be featured.
Feel free to send your recorded messages and we might just play them in the next episode.
Thank you for the support! Listen to the podcast now!
(from DigitalFilipino Podcast Home)