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TECHNOLOGY

Tonik builds on Google Cloud to accelerate financial inclusion, open banking innovation in PH

January 12, 2022 1:11 p.m.

SINGAPORE – Tonik Digital Bank (“Tonik”), the Philippines’ first digital-only neobank, is tapping Google Cloud’s advanced platform to accelerate financial inclusion for all Filipinos.

Leveraging Google Cloud’s expertise in scalable infrastructure, application programming interface (API) management, machine learning (ML) and data analytics, the bank has taken just 10 months to become an established leader in open banking innovation and delivering next-generation financial services.

  Tonik, which is part of Singapore-headquartered fintech firm Tonik Financial Pte. Ltd., was launched in March 2021 after obtaining an initial rural bank license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Its digital platform provides core services like deposits with interest rates of up to six percent per annum.

There are also unique features for customers to create separate pockets of savings to meet specific goals over time called “Stashes,” such as affording a vacation, a college education, or accumulating an emergency fund.

“Fewer overheads from being branchless allows us to offer industry-leading interest rates that enhance Filipinos’ financial wellness, but our value proposition cannot be solely driven by lower costs. We have had to first earn the trust of consumers by investing heavily in a superior customer experience,” said Greg Krasnov, Founder and CEO, Tonik. “Google Cloud has enabled us to deliver frictionless and customer-centric services that allow Filipinos to easily embrace the financial system. This collaboration – having played an integral role in Tonik being entrusted with more than US$100 million in consumer deposits to date – will empower us to continue expanding our product portfolio and drive real societal impact across the region.”

Secure APIs Open Up New Possibilities for Consumers and Developers

  With the BSP requiring banks to conduct due diligence by verifying each customer’s identity to prevent fraud and money laundering, applying for an account traditionally involves individuals having to first visit a physical branch to present valid government-issued identification (ID) to an officer.

This makes it difficult for millions of Filipinos to open accounts or make deposits. Unlike urban cities that have bank branches or ATMs at every corner, the people in rural Philippines – who account for 52.6 percent of the total population[1] – must travel long distances and arrive before the branch closes.

  By using Google Cloud’s Apigee API Management platform to build and scale open banking APIs, Tonik could quickly integrate its mobile application with capabilities from third-party providers to make account opening and cash deposits fast, seamless and convenient.

To help Filipinos set up accounts in under five minutes – instead of hours or days, Tonik interoperates with Daon, its partner for automated customer onboarding and biometric authentication.

The process starts with Tonik asking the customer for a selfie and a scanned copy of their ID. Tonik extracts text from these images through Google Cloud’s optical character recognition (OCR) APIs and shares the information with Daon through another trusted API.

Daon then cross-checks the customer’s identity against official sources that issued the ID. This complex data flow is invisible to the user, who only needs to download the Tonik mobile application, verify their identity for account opening, and start banking.

Using APIs, Tonik also exchanges data securely with authorized ecosystem partners like 7-Eleven convenience stores and pawn shops to capture transactions in real-time. When a user makes a deposit at a 7-Eleven, which are readily available across the Philippines, they would see the completed transaction on their Tonik application and start earning interest immediately.

 “Interoperability is core to our business strategy and everything on our digital banking application is therefore API-driven,” said Arivuvel Ramu, Chief Technology Officer, Tonik. “As our architectural foundation, Google Cloud’s industry-leading Apigee API Management platform allows us to unlock new digital channels, expand our business model, and generate new revenue streams. While APIs are not new to conventional banks, they tend to be private APIs tailored for a specific partner, which means third parties cannot reuse that API. In line with our commitment toward supporting broader ecosystem innovation, we have taken the private APIs that we have developed and converted them into public APIs.”

 Third-party developers who want to create new features or services for Tonik’s ecosystem of partners and users can now reuse its public APIs to do so expeditiously. Apigee also provides a sandbox environment for developers to test and refine what they have created. Issues that would cause downtime can then be identified and rectified before the feature or service is authorized and rolled out to its intended users.

  “Customers trust us with sensitive information like demographic and transaction data. As a custodian of data and a facilitator of open banking innovation, it is imperative that we uphold the highest standards of consent management and API security. By capturing and managing customer consent on what data we are permitted to share with authorized third parties, Apigee ensures that we comply with stringent regulatory requirements like PSD2. Apigee simultaneously secures our APIs to avoid data breaches by malicious users,” said Ramu.

  Pooling Insights to Deliver Financial Wellness and Hyper Personalized Customer Experiences

  Tonik currently serves more than 190,000 customers. To further advance financial inclusion and achieve its target of growing its active customer base to a million users by December 2022, the bank has built an intelligent data lake using Cloud Storage on Google Cloud and BigQuery to provide hyper personalized customer experiences and help many Filipinos access loans for the first time.  With data generated from every event along the customer journey and residing across systems, connecting datasets and analyzing them manually is an uphill task. A cloud-based contact center software, for example, captures customer interactions and feedback across channels, while a core banking system captures deposits and withdrawals.

  By unifying data across systems and applying machine learning, Tonik can, for instance, implement quick and accurate alternative credit scoring methods. This enables it to serve individuals who have not formally engaged with financial institutions in the past, have no credit histories, and do not qualify for traditional bank loans as a result. Tonik has recently pioneered a consumer lending product called “Quick Loan” without the need for credit histories or collateral, followed by approvals within 30 minutes and real-time disbursement.

  “To drive financial inclusion and transcend physical distance, pivoting to digital-first business models and customer interactions are now a necessity,” said Ruma Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Google Cloud. “Tonik, through its mature API- and data-led strategy, is creating an open finance ecosystem that will accrue richer digital user experiences and flexibility for players to securely share and maximize digital assets – with Filipinos the ultimate beneficiaries. Google Cloud is proud to be a part of Tonik’s innovation journey. We look forward to supporting the bank’s continuous commitment toward serving the Philippines’ unbanked and underbanked, while it scales for growth and empowers the region’s fintech developer community.”

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TECHNOLOGY

HONOR is launching world’s thinnest foldable phone in PH 

January 6, 2024 1:00 a.m.

Leading smart devices provider HONOR Philippines has yet again teased its fans with what seemed to be the launch of its much-anticipated foldable smartphone of the year.

It was just recently that the tech giant released its newest viral smartphone HONOR X9b 5G. While its reign is far from over, HONOR Philippines is highly excited to introduce the world’s thinnest foldable smartphone in the market. 

“HONOR fans asked for it and now, we’re finally bringing it! This is by far the most anticipated launch we have and we are very proud of it. What we’re unveiling in the coming weeks is the world’s thinnest foldable smartphone to date so tech enthusiasts and alike really have to watch for it,” said HONOR Phlippines Vice President Stephen Cheng. 

As seen on its social media pages, HONOR Philippines hinted the launch of its first foldable smartphone in the Philippines. More updates will be shared in the coming days that HONOR fans should definitely monitor very closely! 

For more information and announcements, you may visit HONOR’s website www.hihonor.com or social media platforms: Facebook (Facebook.com/HonorPhilippines), Instagram (Instagram.com/honorph/) and TikTok Shop: (Tiktok.com/@honorphilippines). To check out HONOR’s complete list of retail stores, go to https://www.hihonor.com/ph/retailers/

In the meantime, check out HONOR’s wide array of mobile phones, tablets, and laptops at any HONOR Experience and Partner Stores nationwide or online via Shopee (https://bit.ly/HONORPHShopee), Lazada (https://bit.ly/HONORPHLaz) and TikTok Shop (https://bit.ly/HONORTikTokShop). 

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TECHNOLOGY

LG’s commitment to innovation recognized with numerous awards at CES 2024

January 29, 2024 6:35 p.m.

LG Continues Long-Standing History of Honors at World’s Preeminent Consumer Technology Show With More Than 200 Awards & Accolades

At this year’s CES®, LG Electronics (LG) was honored with more than 200 awards and recognitions for a wide range of innovations and technologies across the home appliance, home entertainment and B2B categories.

The LG SIGNATURE OLED T – the world’s first 4K wireless transparent TV – led the way with countless honors as the Best TV or Best in Show from a wide range of press outlets.

With LG’s reputation as the global leader in OLED technology – the company continues to assert its dominance at CES, taking home the industry’s top awards and honors for its latest OLED TV lineup including the aforementioned LG SIGNATURE OLED T and the LG OLED evo M4, G4 and C4 TVs. Utilizing the wireless technology introduced in last year’s M3 TV, LG’s 77-inch LG SIGNATURE OLED T is considered the next step in the evolution of OLED TV technology and was honored by major tech publications including CNET, Digital Trends, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, Forbes, The Verge, Wirecutter, PCMag and Mashable.

The LG OLED evo series featuring a new 144Hz refresh rate and LG’s Alpha 11 AI processor was also applauded by CNETTechRadar ProPCGamer and BGR. Additionally, Digital Trends highlighted the LG UltraGear OLED gaming monitor 32GS95UE in its lineup of best monitors seen at CES 2024 noting its one-of-a-kind ability to toggle between 4K at 240Hz and FHD at 480Hz with the press of a button.

LG also garnered accolades from top publications such as USA Today and Tom’s Guide for its new LG Wash Combo™ All-In-One with Heatpump™ Technology. Marking LG’s commitment to a greener world – the new Wash Combo uses 60 percent less energy than a vented model.The cutting-edge home appliance was widely recognized for its compact ventless design and ability to complete a wash-and-dry cycle in under two hours.

Named as a winner of Reviewed’s Accessibility Awards for CES 2024 –  LG’s Universal UP Kit – a collection of innovative home appliance accessories and add-ons embracing universal design has been crafted to enhance usability for individuals facing physical challenges. It was also recognized in Apartment Therapy’s Best Home Design Products from CES 2024.

From the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) CES Innovation Award program alone, LG won 34 CES Innovation Awards including two Best of Innovation Awards given to the LG 4K Transparent OLED T and the 83-inch 4K OLED Zero Connect TV (M4).

Highlights from LG’s over 200 awards and recognitions earned at CES 2024 include:

LG SIGNATURE OLED T (77-inch)

·   CNET: Best TVs of CES 2024

·   Digital Trends: Top Tech of CES 2024 Awards

·   PCMag: The Biggest (and Coolest) TVs at CES 2024

·   Engadget: Best of CES 2024

·   Reviewed: The Reviewed Awards: CES 2024 – Home Theater

·   TechRadar: Best Gadgets of CES 2024 – Best TV

·   The New York Times: Wirecutter: Best of CES 2024

·   Tom’s Guide: Best of CES 2024 Awards – Best Design

·   The Verge: The Verge Awards at CES 2024 – Best in Show

·   CNN Underscored: Best of CES 2024 – Best TV

·   NBC News: Best of CES 2024

·   Fox News: Top 10 Tech of CES 2024

·   The Hollywood Reporter: Best of CES 2024 – Best OLED TV

·   Variety: Best of CES 2024 – Best 4k TV

·   Popular Science: Best New Gadgets and Tech from CES 2024

·   Rolling Stone: Best of CES 2024

LG OLED TVs (M4, G4, C4 and B4)

·   Tom’s Guide: Best TVs of CES 2024 – LG OLED evo G4

·   Reviewed: The Reviewed Awards: CES 2024 – LG OLED evo G4

·   TechRadar Pro: 2024 Pick Awards – LG OLED evo M4

·   Tech Advisor: Best of CES 2024 – LG OLED B4

·   Gear Patrol: Coolest TVs and Monitors Revealed at CES 2024 – LG OLED evo G4, C4, and OLED B4

LG QNED TVs

·   Tom’s Guide: Best TVs of CES 2024 – LG 98 inch QNED TV

·   Residential tech today : CES 2024 Reflections and Superlatives- LG 98 inch QNED TV

LG gram Pro Laptops

·   Digital Trends: Best and Most Exciting Laptops at CES 2024 – LG gram Pro

·   Inverse: Best Laptops Announced at CES 2024 – LG gram Pro 2-in-1

·   Laptop Mag: Best of CES 2024 – Best 2-in-1: LG gram Pro 2-in-1

·   Live Science: CES 2024: Best Laptops for Coding & Programmers – LG gram Pro 2-in-1

LG CineBeam Qube Projector

·   PCMag: Best of CES 2024 – Best Projector

·   WIRED: Best of CES 2024 – Best Home Theater

·   Gizmodo: Best, Coolest, and Weirdest Gadgets at CES 2024

·   Yanko Design: Best of CES 2024

LG UltraGear OLED Gaming Monitor

·   Digital Trends: Best Monitors of CES 2024

·   Inverse: Most Eye-Popping Gaming Monitors from CES 2024

·   The Shortcut: The Shortcut CES 2024 Awards

·   Windows Central: Best of CES 2024 – Best Gaming

LG Wash Combo™ All-In-One with Heatpump™ Technology

·   Reviewed: The Reviewed Awards: CES 2024

·   Tom’s Guide: Best Smart Home Gadgets of CES 2024 – Best Smart Appliance

·   Tom’s Guide: Best of CES 2024 – Best Home Appliance

·   Good Housekeeping: Coolest Gadgets at CES 202

LG Smart Home AI Agent

·   Reviewed: CES 2024 – Top 9 New Gadgets You Need To See

·   Mashable: The Best of CES 2024

·   The Washington Post: The Best (and Strangest) Tech We Found at CES 2024

·   T3: Best of CES 2024 Awards – T3’s Top Tech from This Year’s Show
 

For more information on LG’s CES 2024 awards and honors and additional information about LG’s products announced at CES, please visit LG Newsroom.

Life’s about more than having the latest technology, rather, it’s about the experiences technology creates that impact our lives. LG Electronics Philippines delivers consumer electronics through top-of-the-line home entertainment, home appliances, and air solution products that prepare Filipinos for their greatest moments. LG promises to bring “Innovation for a Better Life” nationwide – from Luzon, to Visayas, and Mindanao. For more details, follow LG Philippines on FacebookInstagramYoutube and Tiktok. LG products are available in all authorized dealers nationwide both in-store and online. Visit lg.com/ph for a complete list of our retail partners. You can also visit LG’s Official Flagship Stores in Lazada and Shopee.

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TECHNOLOGY

GCash, Heart Evangelista collaborate

January 19, 2024 8:30 p.m.

GCash, the country’s leading finance super app, brings a powerful start to 2024 with the launch of its newest endorser — international fashion icon, Heart Evangelista-Escudero.

The unveiling of Heart as the new face of GCash was announced together with the release of the brand’s latest digital film, set to take over our feeds. The film not only showcases Heart’s exciting partnership with GCash, but also demonstrates how GCash has made its way into her heart, being her go-to super app for easy, safe & secure transactions, whether it be online, in-store, or even abroad.

Inspired by her travels and experiences, Heart shared her anecdotes of the moments GCash saved her in times of need –from receiving a sweet gift from her loved ones by using the app’s Send Money feature, to shopping online for cute trinkets for her dog, Panda. She even talked about how the ease of the Scan to Pay feature when it comes to simple things, like buying kwek-kwek when the craving strikes, and of course, who could forget her delighted reaction when she successfully used her GCash Card for the first time to pay for a coffee run in Paris!

“For me, GCash has been a game changer. You can use it for so many things, and literally EVERYWHERE! From my local cravings, shopping finds and even now that I’m getting ready to head out for Fashion Week season, there is no limit when I’ve got my GCash with me. Ang galing diba? ” – Heart Evangelista-Escudero

Much like Heart, there are so many new things to discover and love about GCash! Apart from being able to send and receive money for FREE, and get free vouchers and discounts when paying online, thanks to the GCash Card, its users can transact seamlessly in over 200 countries — with lower foreign exchange rates vs. competitors, it instantly became one of her travel essentials!

The different scenes showcased in the brand’s new film were inspired by the star’s day-to-day life. In fact, Heart was heavily involved in crafting the script, and dressing herself in some of her signature pieces from her personal wardrobe, some of which we’ve seen all over social media!

“In my Heart, GCash is the best way to pay”

Quoting Heart’s ending line in her newest film, GCash invites its users to enjoy the best things life has to offer in the most convenient and secure way possible.

“Heart was really the perfect, and easy, choice for us when it came to developing this campaign. She gave a mountain’s worth of ideas from the very first time we met her and the team was left inspired! Her attention to every detail was key for us to develop a material that was unique but also very personal to her. We loved the way she was able to share her personal experiences with us in highlighting how her GCash has made her transactions easier, not only in the Philippines but all over the globe. ” – Neil Trinidad, GCash Chief Marketing Officer

GCash, the country’s no. 1 finance super app continues its mission to empower Filipinos to move towards financial progress. Through this new collaboration between Heart and GCash, users can only expect more to come in 2024 as they continue to open doors to a brighter future for all Filipinos, so that they too can say that GCash is the best way to pay.

Watch the full GCash short film produced with Heart through the official GCash page @gcashofficial on Facebook and YouTube.

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