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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon Web Services launches Interactive Video Service in PH, Indonesia

April 21, 2022 5:05 p.m.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the launch of their Interactive Video Service in two new countries, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The new service is aimed at helping customers meet the demand for rich and engaging interactive live video content streaming. IVS will provide a lower latency experience for viewers, making video content more seamless and engaging. 

Growing demand for online video

Video consumption has changed radically over the last two years as people found comfort by connecting through online video during the pandemic.

While pandemic restrictions are easing for parts of Asia Pacific, the popularity of video streaming continues to grow with more than 400 million people now using over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services in the region.

At the same time, consumer demand for personalization is driving organizations such as broadcast, pay TV, and OTT providers to look for new ways to deliver even richer interactive video experiences.

Interactive live video encourages a two-way exchange with viewers and is being adopted across a range of industries – from finance, travel and hospitality, to e-commerce – as enterprises look for new ways to engage their customers.

Today’s consumers– sports fans, entertainment buffs, shoppers, and gamers – want more out of their live streaming experiences, demanding outstanding performances on any device, quick start times, and no buffering.

To provide an optimal user experience, live-streamed interactive video requires minimal latency, which is the time video takes to go from the camera to the viewer.

Seamless and on-demand video streaming

Traditional video streaming required latencies of 20 to 30 seconds to accommodate for content preparation needed for high-quality viewing across multiple kinds of devices, getting the content uploaded to multiple content delivery networks, and finally making the “last-mile” connections to end users’ devices on their preferred networks.

“To help our customers in Indonesia and Philippines meet the demand for rich and engaging interactive live video content streaming at a lower latency, we are pleased to announce the launch of Amazon IVS Points of Presence (PoPs) in Manila and Jakarta,” said Shweta Jain, Head of Media and Entertainment Business Development at AWS in Asia Pacific. “Built on the same live streaming technology that powers Twitch, Amazon IVS is a fully managed service that makes it easy to set up live, interactive video streams for a web or mobile application in just a few minutes.”

By receiving and delivering video streams over local edge infrastructure that is optimized for live video ingest, processing, and delivery, the new Amazon IVS PoPs in Jakarta and Manila will enable end users to benefit from low latency – making video content seamless and more engaging for viewers.

With the Amazon IVS Software Development Kit (SDK) and APIs, customers can also build interactive features into their live streams such as virtual chat spaces, votes and polls, moderated question and answer sessions, and synchronized promotional elements without impacting live video download times.

Not just for media and entertainment

It’s not just traditional media and entertainment companies that are set to benefit from the new Amazon IVS PoPs. Traveloka is Southeast Asia’s lifestyle superapp with the mission to fulfill their customers’ lifestyle aspirations in a single platform, spanning across travel, local services, and financial services.

Founded in 2012, Traveloka was initially established to solve a central problem: to simplify travel from Indonesia to the world.

A decade later, Traveloka now offers more than 20 products and services, featuring more than 200 airlines, 1.8 million accommodation partners, and 111,000 inventories in over 100 countries. The Traveloka app has also been downloaded more than 100 million times by customers in the region.

“Traveloka uses Amazon IVS to accommodate our broadcasting needs for live streaming content related to our Flights, Hotels, Xperience, and Eats products. By using Amazon IVS Player SDK, we are able to significantly reduce the latency on our video content to 5 seconds, meanwhile Amazon IVS Broadcaster SDK allows our content creator partners to directly broadcast on our app,” said Adi Alimin, Vice President of Platform Product at Traveloka.

Since its inception, Traveloka has been leveraging AWS to scale its travel platform and recently adopted Amazon IVS to improve engagement with its customers by adding live streamed product promotions on its platform, including the recent Traveloka Salebrat10n birthday campaign.

Continuing infrastructure investments in APAC

Over the past 15 years, AWS has built out a global infrastructure that spans 84 Availability Zones (AZs) within 26 geographic regions across the globe.

In Asia Pacific, this includes AWS Regions in Singapore, Sydney, Mumbai, Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul, and Jakarta and further investments planned in Auckland and Hyderabad, and Melbourne.

The Amazon IVS PoPs in Jakarta and Manila follow its recent announcement to launch 10 new AWS Local Zones – a type of infrastructure deployment that places AWS compute, storage, database, and other services closer to customers – across Asia Pacific over the next two years.

“We are committed to bringing cloud technologies closer to more customers with further infrastructure investments across Asia Pacific and we look forward to supporting more customers in Jakarta and Manila to build engaging live streaming experiences,” said Jain.

TECHNOLOGY

Upgrade your entertainment experience at Great Samsung TV Sale

July 5, 2022 7:03 p.m.

Samsung’s biggest sale of the year is just around the corner, with up to 40% off on TV and Sound Device products.

Dubbed the Great Samsung TV Sale, the yearly event kicks off from July 11 to September 30, and will highlight an array of devices such as the 98” Neo QLED, the 55” Crystal UHD TV, and the Q-Soundbars with Dolby ATMOS.

Top-tier TV experience

Samsung has earned the Global #1 spot in the market for the past 16 years for its exceptional TV features upgrading one’s home entertainment experience.

The Crystal UHD TVs boasts an outstanding 4K picture quality in a sleek AirSlim Design frame.

It has a powerful 4K upscaling which ensures you get up to 4K resolution for the content you love. 

The TV has smart features including built-in apps so you enjoy movies and shows from your favorite apps and Tap View to easily mirror your phone* to your TV with just a tap.

The 98” Neo QLED QN90A not only takes your viewing experience to the next level, but enhances your gaming experience, too.

Optimize your gameplay in real-time thanks to the built-in Game Bar, an on-screen menu that gives you easy access to screen ratio, input lag, connected device settings, and more.

With the TVs QLED Technology, you get no burn-in or image retention to and 100% color volume for a billion shades of color to ensure the best quality of display. 

Plus with its massive 98” screen size enhanced with Samsung’s Quantum Mini LED Technology, which delivers exceptional blacks, next-level detail and superior brightness and contrast, so you never miss a beat in your next gaming session.

Complete your home entertainment system with the Q-Soundbar this Great Samsung TV Sale.

Built with Dolby Atmos technology, you get to experience 3D sound moving all around just like when you are inside a cinema. Samsung’s Q-Soundbars also come equipped with the Q-Symphony feature, letting you enjoy true immersive sound with audio playing from both a Samsung TV and Soundbar speakers. 

So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars and get the best offers on the latest TV and Soundbar offerings from the Great Samsung TV Sale!

Visit www.samsung.com/ph for more details.

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TECHNOLOGY

5G in PH rising, says connectivity insights provider Ookla

Fifth generation (5G) mobile networks are making significant advances in the Philippines, according to the global leader in network intelligence and connectivity insights provider, Ookla.

Most Philippine operators, according to a report by Ookla, launched 5G mobile networks in 2020 shortly after Thai operators did.

Smart, one of the major Philippine telecommunications service providers, launched 5G technology in June 2019 for fixed wireless units and launched the same for mobile subscribers in February 2020 in Metro Manila.

Globe, another major service provider in the Philippines launched 5G in July 2020, originally targeting subscribers in Metro Manila who had 5G-capable devices.

Both operators used spectrum in the 3,500 megahertz band, which is considered as the “sweet spot” in terms of 5G network capacity and coverage.

Ookla data showed that Smart recorded a median download speed of 200.43 mbps and 19.67 mbps upload speed in the first quarter of 2022. These were way ahead of Globe which registered median download speeds of 121.29 mbps and upload speeds of 9.93 mbps.

Availability of 5G nationwide, Ookla said, nearly doubled in just one year—from 9.4 percent coverage in the first quarter of 2021 to 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

“Part of this is related to the easing of right-of-way (ROW) rules,” said Ookla.

New ROW rules, enforced by the Department of Public Works and Highways in March 2021, lifted the ban on construction of critical infrastructure, particularly cell sites, along national roads.

Another reason for improvements in both 4G and 5G developments was the active involvement of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in allowing more telcos to enter the playing field.

“A third player was introduced to the market to add competition, improve network performance and reduce prices in the market,” said Ookla in its report.

The way was paved for the entry of the third player by the NTC and Department of Information and Communications Technology which declared Dito (then Mislatel) as the new major telco player.

According to Ookla, the Philippines was not the only country to benefit from ROW reforms. India made the same move in October 2021, or eight months after the Philippines did.

In the Philippines, Smart reached 25.5 percent 5G coverage in the first quarter of 2022 Globe reached 15.3 percent coverage. Ookla attributed this to “spectrum deployment strategies” of each company.

Smart had 1.6 million connected 5G devices to its network in the first quarter of 2022, or more than triple its level—376,000—in the first quarter of 2021. Globe, by end of March 2022, had more than 2 million devices connected to 5G.

Ookla noted that plans of both telcos to further invest in 5G bodes well for the spread of the technology, which delivers faster connection to the internet.

Smart is investing up to P85 billion in 5G rollout nationwide which started in December 2021. Smart’s mobile data traffic grew 30 percent year-on-year to 1,010 petabytes while the number of 5G base stations rose to 7,300 in February 2022 from just 5,000 in 2020, corresponding to a 5G population of 66 percent.

Globe added 390 sites in just the first three months of 2022, extending 5G network reach to 95 percent of the National Capital Region and 85 percent of key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Globe spent at least P92.8 billion to build 2,000 outdoor 5G sites and in-building solutions, 1,407 new cell sites and 1.4 million fiber lines.

Dito, the third Philippine telco, has partnered with hardware supplier Nokia to deploy 5G services in Mindanao in May 2021. In March 2022, this telco rolled out 5G home wi-fi services with 145 Metro Manila villages as pilot areas.

Villages in the cities of Manila, Caloocan and Quezon would be the first to benefit from 500 mbps of download speeds. Tests involving 5G in Caloocan showed download speeds of 512.66 mbps in the first quarter of this year.

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TECHNOLOGY

Infinit Care powers mental health in workplace with technology

June 28, 2022 8:12 p.m.

Members of the media were gathered last June 24, to talk about workplace mental health and how Infinit Care is pioneering a tech-based solution that allows companies to support the mental wellbeing of employees.

Workplace Mental Health

Mental health issues are on the rise, especially among the working population and it’s severely affecting overall health and productivity.

The World Health Organization found that mental illness is prevalent in the Philippines. In fact, it is the third most common disability in the country. The National Center for Mental Health also recorded a 500% increase in monthly hotline calls due to depression during the pandemic.

Companies have tried to answer this plight by providing mental health support whether in-house or through a 3rd party provider.

However, a lot of the options in the market focus on delivering solutions that cater to those who are already in crisis and leave out a significant part of the population.

Studies also show that despite increases in stress and burnout, utilization for mental health benefits remain low due to the lack of access to proper mental health solutions and the persistent stigma around talking about mental health struggles.

A Pioneer in Mental Health Tech

Infinit Care partners with businesses and organizations to provide their employees and community with comprehensive mental health support.

“Our platform of care solutions are founded on The Mental Health Continuum which takes into account a wide range of mental health states so that every employee can receive customized support, no matter what they’re going through, wherever and however they need it,” explained Infinit Care Marketing Head, Paola Silva. 

“Everyone needs different kinds of care at different times. We work with companies who care deeply about the mental wellbeing of their employees and understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. We help companies bring the best out of their people by providing personalized mental health support.” said Infinit Care’s Head of Clinical Care, Shyne Mangulabnan.

Infinit Care is the only provider in the Philippines that can provide multi-channel mental health support.

Available via web and mobile app (iOS and Android), Infinit Care can meet the varying needs of all employees.

Our suite of solutions include 24/7 chat support with real live Care Chat Coaches who commit to an average response time of 5 minutes, a team of qualified licensed counselors and coaches available for virtual counseling or coaching at your convenience, a library of mental health tools and content to meet the varying needs of your workforce, and mental health training and capacity building workshops for the leaders and entire organization.

For more information on Infinit Care, visit https://www.infinitcare.co

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