Technology

Science, Technology

Headspace: Meditation, mindfulness minus mysticism

Image credit: Headspace
Image credit: Headspace

In today’s edition of The Wake Up on the Headspace app, Headspace Chief Music Officer John Legend — yes, that John Legend — walked the plank.

The multi-awarded American singer, who is the first Black man to win the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), was using a VR headset to walk a virtual plank way up high under the guidance of neuroscientist Dr. Yewande Pearse. They were testing how music could make us feel less stressed. I found this episode of The Wake Up — a series on this meditation app that features different subject matter experts — very relatable because I have acrophobia, which I sort of overcame in college by climbing mountains. And it’s a perfect example of how Headspace demystifies meditation, and marries ancient wisdom with cutting-edge science and technology to help more people practice mindfulness.

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Technology

Blockchain for shipping: R3 partners with Tramés, IMDA

R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh touts the benefits of using blockchain technology for the shipping industry. Image credit: R3
R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh touts the benefits of using blockchain technology for the shipping industry. Image credit: R3

Proving that blockchain can be a gamechanger for global shipping, enterprise software firm R3 has announced a partnership with Tramés and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

“When it comes to paper-based documents such as bill of lading, blockchain technology is a perfect fit as it eliminates the need for an intermediary or third party due to its decentralized nature — allowing peers on the network to transact directly with each other,” R3 Head of APAC Amit Ghosh told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

Fintech, bank convergence seen to accelerate amid crisis

While fintech startups disrupted the banking industry, the COVID-19 crisis will see traditional banks, neobanks, and fintechs converging and collaborating to address the needs of customers. Image credit: Floriane Vita on Unsplash
Image credit: Floriane Vita on Unsplash

While fintech startups have disrupted the banking industry, the COVID-19 crisis will see traditional banks, neobanks, and fintechs converging and collaborating to address the needs of customers.

“Fintechs, while regulated, almost don’t have any baggage to begin with. This is where they kind of flew up front to provide the experience profile, to provide the experience management for the market. But at the same time, they needed to connect back with systems so that the customer that they are serving has an end-to-end experience. And this is where I think the new age digibanks, the new age fintechs, and the heritage banks have a real opportunity to now leverage technology and leverage partnerships,” Aju Murjani, IBM Public Cloud Executive, Sales, IBM Asia Pacific, told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

Financial woes force Filipinos to cancel digital services

A Philippine survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers shows that 31% of Filipinos have cancelled or reduced digital services due to financial woes. Image credit: TransUnion Philippines
Image credit: TransUnion Philippines

A Philippine survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers shows that 31% of Filipinos have cancelled or reduced digital services due to financial woes. This was among the budget changes reported by respondents, according to the Consumer Pulse study conducted by TransUnion. The research found that 93% of Filipinos surveyed have seen their household income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The survey did not specify the digital services. However, examples of wireless data, cable TV, and internet were provided in the survey, so at least one of these digital services has been cancelled or reduced by respondents,” TransUnion Philippines President and CEO Pia Arellano told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

NFT art: Banksy showcased in new ARTCELS portfolio

If there is one thing you should know about NFT art, it's this: "This isn’t a fad. This is gonna go on for a lot longer.” 

Art investor views 'Girl with a Balloon', distinctive screen print by Banksy. Image credit: HOFA Gallery
Art investor views ‘Girl with a Balloon’, a distinctive screen print by Banksy. Image credit: HOFA Gallery

If there is one thing you should know about NFT art, it’s this: “This isn’t a fad. This is gonna go on for a lot longer.”

That’s what Alex Elias, Head of Digital Art of London-based HOFA Gallery and digital arts investment platform ARTCELS, told Digital Life Asia during a virtual preview of the new blue-chip art portfolio “Millennials” for the media on April 22. The portfolio, which includes pieces by coveted artists such as Banksy, Nina Chanel Abney, Jonas Wood, Josh Sperling, and Yoshimoto Nara, is available to investors as share-based ownership using NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are currently revolutionizing the gaming and collectibles space — including helping Filipino gamers put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Technology

BPI on evolving role, encouraging Gen Z to save

New BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco wants to cement BPI's position as the undisputed leader in the Philippine digital banking space. Image credit: BPI
New BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco wants to cement BPI’s position as the undisputed leader in the Philippine digital banking space. Image credit: BPI

Quoting Charles Dickens, BPI Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” for the bank in 2020. And as the oldest bank in the Philippines — and in Southeast Asia — formally welcomed its new president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco on April 22 after its board meeting, BPI emphasized the evolving role of banks as they navigate the changing digital landscape and the preferences of consumers across different generations and channels.

“In the old days, people wanted to see the cash in the vault. Today, you don’t see the cash in the vault. You know your money’s there, but it’s in data form. And therefore going forward, the successful banks are the ones with the name that people can trust that the data is safeguarded, that the data can be used by themselves, and that the cost of using is actually cheap or actually positive because their data grows, or their wealth grows. And that’s why people love the concept of digital banks. I think there will be people who will come into the Philippines trying to set up a digital bank, but they will always be at a disadvantage to BPI which has the name and the physical infrastructure to attract the customers,” Limcaoco said.

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Technology

Digital literacy: Filipinos seek digital interactions with gov’t

With 77% of Filipino consumers now identifying themselves as “digitally curious” or “digital explorers”, improving digital literacy is a must to address their expectations of having more digital interactions with the government. Image credit: VMware
Image credit: VMware

With 77% of Filipino consumers now identifying themselves as “digitally curious” or “digital explorers”, improving digital literacy is a must to address their expectations of having more digital interactions with the government.

“This shifting consumption pattern and openness to frontier technologies have led to more Filipinos being willing to engage with organizations digitally. Of which, close to half of Filipinos (46%) have indicated that they are happy to keep interacting with the government digitally, putting them ahead of other Southeast Asian counterparts surveyed — Malaysia (45%), Indonesia (29%), and Thailand (30%) — but slightly behind Singapore (60%),” VMware Philippines Country Manager Walter So told Digital Life Asia.

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Entertainment, Science, Technology

Selena Gomez to host Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE concert

To inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, international advocacy organization Global Citizen has announced VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, hosted by Selena Gomez. Image credit: Global Citizen
Image credit: Global Citizen

To inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, international advocacy organization Global Citizen has announced VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World on May 8 hosted by Selena Gomez.

“I’m honored to be hosting VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World. This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably, and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it,” said Gomez in a press statement.

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A Life Less Analog, Entertainment, Science, Technology

‘Seobok’: Gong Yoo, Park Bo Gum, and future of cloning

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Streaming in the Philippines on the same day as its theatrical release in South Korea, “Seobok” brings together Gong Yoo and Park Bo Gum for the first time on screen for a philosophical tale about a dying human and an undying being. Billed as a sci-fi film, “Seobok” is actually a heartbreaking meditation on what it means to be human and what makes life worth living.

“Are you saying he’s a cloned human?” Gong Yoo’s character, a former intelligence agent named Ki Heon, asks one of the scientists. “I don’t know if we can call him human,” the scientist replies. “If potato roots sprout from a tomato plant, what should we call them?” Spoilers ahead.

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Technology

Sentro from UBX means no business gets left behind

UBX Head of SME Ventures Bjorn Pardo says Sentro wants to help MSMEs build their brands. Image credit: UBX
UBX Head of SME Ventures Bjorn Pardo says Sentro wants to help MSMEs build their brands. Image credit: UBX

Launched last year just as the pandemic was wreaking havoc on Philippine businesses, Sentro, the free online shop builder from UBX, has been helping micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) survive and adapt to the new normal.

“We wanted to provide MSMEs the capability to set up their own online shop that they can call their own. We want Sentro to be accessible to everyone starting an online business, which is why we made sure that using our platform would require little to no knowledge in tech and make it easy for even the non-techiest of individuals. In just eight months, the team was able to launch Sentro to the public during the first few weeks of the pandemic and the launch could not have been more timely as it was made available to MSMEs when they needed it most,” UBX Head of SME Ventures Bjorn Pardo told Digital Life Asia.

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Technology

Virtual Visita Iglesia: Smart, Laguna offer VR church visits

Virtual Visita Iglesia: Devotees looking to visit Laguna's historical churches this Holy Week can do so from the safety of their homes. Image credit: Smart Communications
Image credit: Smart Communications

Devotees looking to visit Laguna’s historical churches this Holy Week can do so from the safety of their homes thanks to the Virtual Visita Iglesia.

“We first learned about the project from the Parish Pastoral Council, which I am a part of. We knew that the usual Visita Iglesia would not be possible because of the pandemic, so we’re happy that this platform exists. In fact, our family will be doing this together — including family members from abroad. It’s a good way to spend the Holy Week. We can still fulfill our Catholic obligation while in the safety of our homes,” said Josefina Concepcion Lector, a teacher in Miriam College Nuvali in Calamba.

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Technology

Lenovo APAC business to be headed by Amar Babu

Lenovo has appointed Amar Babu to lead the company’s business in the overall Asia Pacific region, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, and India / South Asia. Image credit: Lenovo
Image credit: Lenovo

Lenovo has appointed Amar Babu to lead the company’s business in the overall Asia Pacific (APAC) region, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, and India / South Asia.

He succeeds Ken Wong, who will become President, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group, to capitalize on the Group’s service-led transformation growth opportunities.

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