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TECHNOLOGY

How smart homes are changing our lives

By Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky

Smart home technologies have long ceased to be something new or surprising. Today, the idea of smart home appliances or switches isn’t from a cyberpunk scene, but rather an actively emerging reality.

For example, the report from Berg Insight revealed that the number of smart homes in Europe and North America reached 102.6 million in 2020.

What was once a collection of single and separate devices, smart homes are turning into fully-fledged smart systems that can supply coffee on time, adjust the temperature, and monitor the security of your house while you are away. All of this is possible thanks to the digitalization of an increasing number of devices. Kaspersky has developed a list of the most interesting benefits which the modern smart home can provide to become a fully-fledged personal assistant or protector.

Safety

Smart home technology can take the safety of your home to the next level. And we aren’t just talking about alarms. Modern cameras, motion sensors, and even smart door locks will help turn your home into a real fortress, and immediately send a message to your smartphone if something happens.

One of the most obvious examples is the installation of a home video surveillance system connected to the internet. Such cameras will work 24/7 and allow owners to look at what is happening anywhere in the house through an app on a smartphone. Sometimes such cameras have a motion sensor – if a camera sees something moving (be it a cat, a dog, or an intruder) it records the file and sends it to the server. Your device then receives a notification so that you can react as quickly as possible and perhaps prevent your property from being broken into.

The smart home has also made it possible to reinvent door locks. In order to secure your home as much as possible, the easiest option is to stop intruders from being able to get through the door. However, modern locks have moved on from being just a mechanism. Today, they can do much more than just prevent intruders from getting inside. For example, they can send you a notification when someone walks in and out, or create access codes for you or those who work in your home (nanny, housekeeper, gardener, etc.).

All of these solutions can turn your house into a high-tech home, but even smart defenses need protection. To ensure your defender has a shield, solutions have been created that help protects not only individual devices from being hacked but the entire IoT ecosystem.

Peace of mind

There are always numerous small things to worry about around the house – have I turned off the iron or closed the door? Who will water the flowers while I am on vacation? Even a small doubt is enough to ruin an evening out with friends or a short vacation with a loved one.

Smart devices can provide much-needed reassurance in such situations. Smart water leak detectors, for example, which react to contact with water, can help you to stay calm and relaxed. Sensors can be installed next to batteries, pipes in the bathroom and in the kitchen. The devices are not only able to monitor the water level, but also determine the level of humidity in the room: if you are suddenly flooded from above, you will know immediately even if you are not at home.

The same situation is true with smart smoke detectors, which can warn of danger before it is too late. If wiring suddenly lights up in the house or an open fire remains burning, the sensor will immediately react.

Another important assistant – a smart socket – will also warn you if you forgot to turn off the iron whilst in a rush. Seeing the notification on your smartphone, you can remotely disconnect the device from the power no matter where you are.

Comfort

The time has finally come when you can allow yourself to truly relax and leave some of your household duties in the hands of technology. By automating some types of furniture, we can take comfort and health care to a new level.

For example, Eight Sleep has developed a bed equipped with sensors capable of monitoring the user’s sleep quality based on 15 parameters, including the duration of REM and deep sleep phases, and heart rate patterns. This allows you to choose the optimal time for going to bed and waking up.

A smart bed will gently wake up the owner, catching the moment when the body is ready to rise, and create a pleasant morning environment, for example, turn on calm music or a light vibration, turn on the light or start the coffee machine via voice command.

Besides sleep comfort, a smart home can also make cooking much easier, enjoyable and fun. For example, the EYWA Kitchen Smart Screen is a small panel, no larger than a standard wall cabinet door. It easily fits into any kitchen, making it an indispensable helper. It can:

⦁ Find recipes for dishes online;

⦁ Make a list of required ingredients;

⦁ Independently purchase them online;

⦁ Order delivery at a specified time;

⦁ Turn on household appliances and set timers;

⦁ Distract children with a cartoon;

In order to safely use such smart solutions which are integrated into your daily activities (including cooking, shopping, choosing content), you need to ensure the safety of the devices themselves. Otherwise, attackers could get into your home network and gain access to personal data through convenient smart boards or switches.

The first and simplest step may be to change the default device password to a more complex one – but resist the temptation to copy the password from other accounts. If you have lots of devices and are finding it difficult to remember all the passwords, you can use a special solution to protect the ecosystem of the smart home. This will not only keep passwords safe, but also warn you if the password has already been compromised.

Pet help

In addition to caring for the safety and comfort of home owners, the IoT market seeks to make life easier and better for pets. According to research, the size of the PetTech market in the United States has reached $5.5 billion – this includes connected collars, smart doors, feeders, fences, toys etc.

Some of the most popular smart pet devices are for drinks and feeders. They help to not only control nutrition and prevent overeating, but also allow you to leave pets for a while at home alone, without worrying that your cat is hungry or has knocked over a bowl of water. Of course, in some extreme situations cats can also turn on survival mode – for example, a cat was recently discovered eating cardboard and drinking from a leaking tap for 52 days. However, no owner would like to repeat this scenario for their pet.

If everything is covered with feeding and drinking, what else can manufacturers of smart devices develop to support pet care? How about chatting with your dog?

Start-up FluentPet, has come up with a device for human-dog communication. The device is a panel with buttons labeled with different symbols. With its help, the company seeks to test the hypothesis that animals can express their emotions and desires by clicking on pictures.

Another example is smart animal houses which are designed to improve comfort for pets. They are equipped with intelligent temperature control and environmental sensors that regulate the temperature inside depending on the number of degrees outside. In addition, the houses can monitor the health of the animal, tracking and recording pet activity and sleep data. All of this information can be read from the app in the smartphone in order to timely monitor the health of your pet.

Eco-friendly living

Besides comfort and safety, smart home technologies help make our lives more environmentally friendly by using resources more smartly – for example, using water and electricity in a more rational way.

For example, sensors can turn lights on and off in a room, depending on whether there are people there or not. Another option is smart heating, which will allow you to maintain certain microclimate parameters in each room. For example, if everyone leaves for school and work in the morning, the system can reduce energy consumption and increase it later in the day when everyone is back.

However, in addition to controlling energy consumption, modern smart homes are also able to produce energy. For this, systems for the production of alternative energy are built in – such as solar panels, wind turbines or geothermal installations.

Depending on the location of the building, in some cases, even the energy of water – currents or tides – can be used. As a result, the smart home control center can not only control energy consumption but also monitor its production, as well as rational distribution.

Modern smart homes built from scratch include energy-saving technologies. Heat leakage and CO2 emissions from such buildings are minimal. Smart walls, roofs, and other building elements can inform the owner about their problems: the appearance of moisture or heat leaks. This allows you to promptly correct the defect that has appeared.

In general, the market for smart devices is actively growing and manufacturers of such systems are striving to digitize more and more elements of the house. This not only improves safety and comfort but also benefits the environment. As a result, smart homes are being transformed from a cluster of single, simple devices into true multi-layered digital ecosystems, which also require an appropriate level of protection.

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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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TECHNOLOGY

3 ways to build a sustainable, digital Asia-Pacific

June 21, 2022 9:38 p.m.

By Baifeng Lin

Many countries in the Asia-pacific have released digitalization strategies. Cloud Computing technologies are the cornerstone of the digital frontier. For digital economies to thrive they must adopt an open and green ecosystem.

The last two years have been a series of trials. Out of the changes, there has been increasing attention in the digital world and rekindled vigor in how people, businesses and organizations should adapt.

As one of the most populous and diverse regions in the world, the Asia-Pacific is set to be the fast growing economy at the forefront of the global digital landscape. It represents two-thirds of the world’s population, and would reap an economic dividend of more than 1.7 trillion annually.

Mckinsey notes that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation by seven years globally and 10 years in Asia Pacific.

To catch up with this sweeping trend, many countries have released national digitalization strategies. For example, Singapore released its Smart Nation 2025 blueprint, Indonesia and Malaysia released strategies to Go Digital, Bangladesh released its Digital Bangladesh blueprint, and Thailand announced its vision to become a digital Hub in ASEAN.

From a technological point of view, the future of Asia-Pacific will require a digital economy underpinned by leading Information and Communications technology solutions and an open and green industry ecosystem is needed as soil for innovation.

And finally, we will need to chart an effective course that addresses gaps in equality to normalize the playing field.

  1. Build ICT Infrastructure for digital economy

ICT has already proven its value in accelerating economic recovery post-pandemic. Connectivity and computing are the lifeblood of the digital frontier. While connectivity  continues to bridge the digital divide offering new education and employment opportunities, enterprises look to the cloud, connectivity and AI to optimize their businesses.

However, the digital readiness of the region varies greatly. For example, China is stepping into data dividend and information dividend, and Southeast Asia is still under the peak phase of demographic dividend. In China, 5G has been widely covered across the country and the penetration rate is more than 40% -100+Mbps, fiber home pass rate is over 90%. However, the large-scale use of 5G has only started in some SEA countries. In SEA, 4G mobile coverage is slightly above 50%, and fiber broadband only reaches one third of households. Cloud penetration in SEA enterprises is less than 20%, which indicates a huge space for data monetization and industry digitalization.

Regarding 5G technology, it is already emerging as a game changer in key industry sectors. For example, Siriraj Hospital, the largest hospital in Thailand on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, launched the first 5G smart hospital in the ASEAN region featuring smart logistics, 5G Ambulance and smart inventory management.

According to professor Dr. Prasit Watanapa, Dean of Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, “the 5G smart hospital project will be a new model for modern medical facilities, 5G provides the high-speed connections needed to ensure seamless transfer of patient data and operation of telemedicine equipment”.

In some remote areas with limited access to 5G, digital infrastructure is playing an even more important role. The Bangladesh government has made great efforts and progress in implementing network in over 2,600 townships and enabling social well-being service including e-government and finance.

In Malaysia, known as “the kingdom of spices”, HEXA Food established an Internet of Things team to train a chili identification model on Cloud MOdelArts. The image recognition technology of Atlas 500 quickly and accurately identifies the quality of the chilies. Intelligent AI-powered sorting eliminates errors in manual sorting and improves the efficiency by 50%.

  • Create an open and green ecosystem

Meanwhile, every country, business and individual has faced some common questions recently — how to survive and develop with resilience and robustness in an environment full of uncertainties? The booming digital economy and low carbonization will generate new business form, new production relationships, and new value distribution systems. A healthier and greener industry ecosystem is therefore required.

First, embracing a digital Asia-Pacific will make an open and collaborative ICT ecosystem will include government, partners, operators and users and will help shape opportunities for transformation in different industries. A good example would be the joint open lab in Singapore. All companies, academics and government agencies can use the lab, where they can have access to cutting-edge robotic solutions, intelligent digital twins, and Ai development kits for research.

Secondly, moving towards carbon neutrality, digital power technologies will be essential to enable energy digitalization for a greener future. In Thailand, smart photovoltaic rooftops are being installed in over 1,200 convenience stores. This is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for more than 1,300 tons every year. By integrating Ai and Clod in PV for optimal power generation, this makes the solar power plant to highly efficient, safe and reliable and builds the foundation for the solar to become the main energy source.

  • Chart a sustainable and inclusive course

Simultaneously, we need to be aware that half the world doesn’t have internet access. In Asia-Pacific, according to the APNIC Foundation, the total internet adoption rate in the region remains below half of the total population at 48.4%. By 2023, it’s estimated this will increase to 72% (3.1Billion users), leaving more than a quarter of the region’s population still disconnected.

That’s simply untenable in an increasingly digital world as people can’t be empowered by technology if they don’t know how to use it. Service like mobile payments, government services, access to digital education and healthcare should all act as gateways to anyone and help underserved communities, including women, girls and older generations.

Take education for example, the ability to learn knowledge regardless of location has helped democratize education resource access. In the Philippines, PLDT-Smart Foundation worked with the tech company to promote the School-in-Bag project. Each backpack includes a laptop for the teacher, 20 tablets and a Smart LTE pocket Wi-Fi kit. It significantly enhanced the students’ learning capabilities, helped children absorb their lessons, and improved the teaching strategies.

Future is digital

Technology has the power to level the playing field. It can bring education, healthcare and jobs to anyone, anywhere around the world. It will revolutionize businesses and industry and it can help manage our use of the world’s resources to enable a sustainable and green future.

In the Asia-Pacific Region, the digital economy ignites social recovery and enables resilient future. It provides synergies for public-private industrial collaborations across country boundaries and scenarios. As we arrive on the precipice of a digital future, we must strive to focus on the harmony that exists between our real world, and the digital one ahead.

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TECHNOLOGY

Infinix announces NOTE 12-PUBG partnership for smoothest gaming experience

June 16, 2022 8:23 p.m.

Infinix has announced a partnership with massively popular Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and its newly-released NOTE 12 promising gamers hours upon hours of the smoothest gameplay experience that will test their skills and unleash their fullest gaming potential.

“Filipinos are some of the most passionate and skilled gamers out there and we, at Infinix, want to highlight that talent and the ever-growing E-sports community with this NOTE 12 partnership with PUBG,” said Infinix’s Marketing Head, Joseph Cernitchez. “From the limited edition PUBG packaging at launch, show matches with your favorite gaming influencers, to a nationwide PUBG tournament, we have so much in store for everyone that will show gamers  why the NOTE 12 is the ultimate gaming phone.”

PUBG is an online multiplayer battle royale shooting game released in 2017 by PUBG studios. Inspired by the film Battle Royale (2000), the game follows how up to 100 players get parachuted onto one of several maps and how they manage to scavenge for weapons and equipment to eliminate the other players and win the round by being the last man–or team–standing.

As part of the Infinix x PUBG partnership, Infinix launched a limited edition PUBG box and case exclusively for the NOTE 12 G96.

Infinix and PUBG will also be holding a nationwide PUBG tournament that seeks to gather the best players and teams across the Philippines in a series of battle royale showdowns.

They will also bring together some of the renowned mobile gamers in an All-Star game during the tournament.

In the meantime, while you’re gathering your team for the Infinix x PUBG Mobile Cup, view the NOTE 12 in action at Infinix’ official website.

The smoothest gameplay experience 

Experience the best mobile gaming experience with the MediaTek Helio G96 Ultra Gaming Processor providing more speed and power to the NOTE 12.

The chipset is a 64-bit octa-core that incorporates two powerful Arm Cortex-A76 and six Arm Cortex-A55 processor cores clocked up to 2.05GHz and Arm Mali G57 GPU that work together to harness next-level intelligence for groundbreaking performance.

Casual and heavy gamers alike will find that no game is too heavy for the NOTE 12. Infinix expands the NOTE 12’s 8GB memory to 13GB by integrating RAM and ROM to provide users with up to 5GB extended RAM.

This improves the smartphone’s processing speed and accelerates performance when users are using their smartphone to multi-task by delivering extra power when it’s needed.

The NOTE 12 is also one of the thinnest smartphones at 7.8mm that comes equipped with a 33W Fast Charge feature, and a huge 5000mAh making this lightweight smartphone more portable than ever while staying powered all day long. So gamers need not worry if they have enough juice while training and even competing.

Beyond gaming, photography enthusiasts will also love the 50MP Ultra Night Triple Camera, which can take clearer night pictures, and its large AMOLED screen with blue light technology.

The Note 12’s screen features the brightest colors on an eye-friendly display that gives the best performance in contrast ratio and color calibration in 1080×2400 pixels resolution.

Want to test your shooting skills and mettle against some of the best PUBG players in the Philippines? Watch for the Infinix x PUBG Cup–see how the Infinix NOTE 12 gives you that smoothest gameplay experience for you to reign supreme and your team may just get the chance to win the massive prize pool!

Learn more about the Infinix Cup and register your team by visiting Infinix Facebook Page. 

The NOTE 12 is available in Force Black, Sapphire Blue, and Snowfall in 128GB and 256GB for P8,990 and P9,990, respectively at Infinix stores nationwide, via Shopee. For more information, visit http://www.infinixmobility.com/.

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