Tag: novel coronavirus

Geek Culture

Hatsune Miku tapped by Japan gov’t vs coronavirus

Japan has appointed Hatsune Miku, one of the world's most popular virtual idols, as Coronavirus Countermeasure Supporter. Image credit: Crypton Future Media, INC.
Image credit: Crypton Future Media, INC.

The Japanese government has appointed Hatsune Miku, one of the world’s most popular virtual idols, as Coronavirus Countermeasure Supporter.

Developed by Sapporo-based music technology company Crypton Future Media, INC., Hatsune Miku is a singing voice synthesizer featured in over 100,000 songs released worldwide. Her name means “the first sound from the future”.

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Technology

CreditVision: TransUnion aims to transform lending in PH

TransUnion has announced on Aug. 4 that it has launched CreditVision in the Philippines.

TransUnion has announced on Aug. 4 that it has launched CreditVision in the Philippines. This solution is set to transform lending in the Philippines, where it is the only trended data product available in the market.

CreditVision has changed the way financial institutions around the world understand, manage, and evaluate their customers. It has empowered lenders to offer loans to millions of new customers and new-to-credit individuals in global markets. This suite of trended data capabilities provides a more detailed and accurate picture of a consumer’s financial behavior over a period of time compared to traditional scoring models.

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A Life Less Analog, Science

Wildlife trade must end to help prevent future outbreaks

Technology column header

Scientists have not yet identified the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. What we do know, however, is that the wildlife trade increases the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases. Do we want to reduce the threat of future outbreaks? Then we must take a serious look at the dangers posed by the wildlife trade.

Richard Thomas, head of communications for TRAFFIC, was the speaker in a webinar on April 23. TRAFFIC is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. Internews and its Earth Journalism Network held the webinar to provide more information on zoonotic diseases. Thomas discussed the role of the wildlife trade and the possible origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I asked Thomas what we can do to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of COVID-19. After all, what has made this pandemic worse is that it has been accompanied by an infodemic and fake news. Thomas, by the way, spearheaded the response to the H5N1 bird flu virus (also called avian influenza) outbreak in 2006 and 2007.

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Technology

Vertical Relief Plan offered by Zoho amid pandemic

Zoho Co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu says the Vertical Relief Plan will provide maximum assistance for businesses and organizations within the most affected  industries.
Zoho Co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu says the Vertical Relief Plan will provide maximum assistance for businesses and organizations within the most affected industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted three verticals: education, non-profit and government, and retail. To help businesses and organizations in these verticals, global technology company Zoho Corporation has introduced its Vertical Relief Plan.

Earlier this year, Zoho unveiled its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program to help its small business customers.

“We are so grateful to all the workers who are helping us weather this storm,” said Sridhar Vembu, Zoho co-founder and CEO, in a press statement. “Beyond those on the front lines, there are workers in industries who are struggling, who are persevering, who are inventing new paths forward. The Vertical Relief Plan is a way to support those people, whether they be teachers, government workers, or retailers, who are entirely committed to helping others and returning the world to solid ground.”

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Technology

Virtual tidying sessions offered by KonMari consultant

KonMari consultant and Yorokobi owner Renelyn Tan-Castillejos offers virtual tidying sessions so she can help clients despite the enhanced community quarantine.
KonMari consultant and Yorokobi owner Renelyn Tan-Castillejos offers virtual tidying sessions so she can help clients despite the enhanced community quarantine.

Now that you’re working from home, are you happy with your home office? Do you have a designated space where you can work undisturbed? Or, like many of us, is every day a struggle to find a good spot amid all the clutter? Then maybe decluttering via a virtual tidying session is what you need to spark joy.

You’re probably familiar with Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo and her KonMari method. Maybe you’ve read her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“. Or watched “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix. But did you know we have a certified KonMari consultant in the Philippines, who runs her own decluttering business called Yorokobi (which means “joy” in Japanese)?

“The virtual tidying session is something that’s new. A KonMari home visit is really done face to face. And so before the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) happened, that was my life. I’d go to homes, either condos or house and lots in subdivisions, and I’d help them tidy from weeks to months depending on them,” said KonMari consultant and Yorokobi owner Renelyn Tan-Castillejos.

“So now because we’re not able to do that, I’ve had my clients ask me to do virtual tidying sessions. And because that’s something that worked, I’m also opening that up now for people who really just want to start tidying up.”

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Technology

Digital is the new normal, says UnionBank Chairman

Businesses should think long-term and realize that digital is the new normal, says UnionBank of the Philippines Chairman Justo A. Ortiz.
Businesses should think long-term and realize that digital is the new normal, says UnionBank of the Philippines Chairman Justo A. Ortiz.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to embrace digital transformation. It would wrong, however, for businesses to think that digital is just a means for survival, or part of their business continuity plan. Instead, they should accept that digital is the new normal.

“Clearly the pandemic has given us a use case for digital. Many corporations — large, small-, and medium-scale — have realized that investing in resiliency is going to be a lot more important going forward. But having said that, we don’t want the idea of digital and digital transformation to be just BCP,” said UnionBank of the Philippines Chairman Justo A. Ortiz.

“I think that clearly there’s a lot of opportunity for digital to be mainstream as our new normal. So it’s not about social distancing and face masks, because there could be other black swans that come down the road. Other pandemics, other natural disasters, and, God forbid, even wars. But it’s important that we basically focus on digital and mainstream it,” he said.

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Technology

Boosting security of Zoom, the pandemic’s social network

Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, says boosting security is the company's priority.
Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, says boosting security is the company’s priority.

Almost overnight, Zoom has become part of our daily lives. Whether to conduct company meetings, or catch up with our friends. In fact, Zoom has been called the pandemic’s social network. This is why the recent acquisition of Keybase is important. With this, Zoom has taken a strategic step in boosting the security of its video communications platform.

“We are proud of the role we are playing during this challenging time, including supporting healthcare providers around the world as they work to stay connected with their patients and teams; helping numerous governments and government agencies continue fulfilling their public duties safely and effectively; and supporting tens of thousands of schools and universities globally for remote learning,” Abe Smith, Head Of International at Zoom Video Communications, told Digital Life Asia.

“On May 7, Zoom announced the acquisition of Keybase, whose exceptional team of security and encryption engineers will accelerate Zoom’s plan to build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability. Once completed, we believe Zoom will provide equivalent or better security than existing consumer end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms, but with the video quality and scale that has made Zoom the platform choice of over 300 million daily meeting participants, including those at some of the world’s largest enterprises,” he said.

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Technology

Funding platform launched by Draper Startup House

Draper Startup House Founder, International Vikram Bharati wants their funding platform to bring together startups and investors from all over the world.
Draper Startup House Founder, International Vikram Bharati wants their funding platform to bring together startups and investors from all over the world.

“Why can’t a startup from Indonesia raise capital from an investor in Estonia?” Vikram Bharati, Founder, International of Singapore-based Draper Startup House, aims to change this situation with the launch of their funding platform, Draper Startup House Ventures.

“Most platforms are local or regional. In our globalized world, geographic boundaries are starting to get blurred. Companies and investors are starting to go beyond their borders, searching for opportunities anywhere in the world. There are not many platforms that can help startups and investors find opportunities globally. We see an opportunity to place ourselves as a platform that can extend beyond the reach of one’s geography,” Bharati told Digital Life Asia.

Draper Startup House Ventures aims to help entrepreneurs receive better access to funding. This new funding platform provides an opportunity to submit pitch decks to the Draper Venture Network, which has 23 global funds. Moreover, it allows startups to raise capital beyond geographical borders through the funding platform’s worldwide network.

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Entertainment, Technology

Gretchen Ho: Use digital platforms to inform and inspire

Kapamilya TV host and former volleyball player Gretchen Ho says that instead of spreading negativity, we can use our digital platforms to share the good news.
Kapamilya TV host and former volleyball player Gretchen Ho says that instead of spreading negativity, we can use our digital platforms to share the good news.

Social media should bring us together, not tear us apart. It’s time for us to take action and use our digital platforms as a powerful force for good.

“I’ve seen so much good ever since the quarantine started. The only problem is, good news doesn’t get as magnified as the bad. I’ve made it my mission to use my social media pages for spreading all of these good stories. It’s good that we all have a chance to be heard using our own platforms,” Kapamilya TV host and former volleyball player Gretchen Ho told Digital Life Asia.

As part of this mission, Ho launched her Woman In Action website in April to uplift the spirits of people during this pandemic, and provide them a platform for telling their stories.

“I wanted to do something special for my 30th birthday, and launching my brand ‘Woman In Action’ came to mind. I wanted a place where I could engage with people with my stories, and also allow them to share theirs. It just so happened to have the perfect timing given the coronavirus, and people needing an outlet for their stories. I think it helps a lot to share your story, good or bad, and just allow people to empathize with you. It also helps to read other people’s stories so you know you’re not going through anything alone,” she said.

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Technology

Business survival: Accept new normal for at least a year

Business survival tips from Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca: adapt to the situation, stay relevant, and weather the storm.
Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca’s business survival tips? Adapt to the situation, stay relevant, and weather the storm.

One day, the enhanced community quarantine will end. It is wrong, however, to think consumer confidence will return immediately. In fact, business survival means asking yourself if your company can adapt to the present conditions for at least a year.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it’s really not a matter of whether the President lifts the lockdown,” said George Royeca, Chief Transport Advocate of Angkas. “It’s a matter of when we find a cure. The only way to beat this virus is when you find a vaccine or a cure. In the meantime, what do we do to co-exist with COVID?”

According to Royeca, the key to business survival is accepting this reality.

“Even with the ECQ being lifted, it’s not going to be back to normal. Consumer confidence is shot. It’s going to take a while for that to ramp up. Give it a year or two in your business horizon. At least a year, to see how your business will survive. So looking at it from a three-month perspective is very dangerous. It could be damaging to the decisions that you make on how to move your business forward,” he said.

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Science, Technology

Turn your screen time into climate solutions with this app

Put your screen time to good use by joining We Don't Have Time.
Put your screen time to good use by joining We Don’t Have Time.

(Editor’s note: A different version of this article on screen time was originally published on TessDrive.com. Reposted with permission.)

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced community quarantine, many of us are staying home and spending more time online. What if we could use all that screen time to help solve the climate crisis?

Stockholm-based WeDontHaveTime AB (publ) is a startup crowdfunded by over 550 investors from 15 different countries. This Swedish company operates We Don’t Have Time, which seeks to harness the power of social media to find solutions for the climate crisis.

People can join this social network free of charge, where they can create climate actions and collaborate with other users. By building a community of climate heroes from all over the world, We Don’t Have Time members can influence companies, organizations, and public figures.

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Technology

Telehealth seen to decongest PH healthcare system

MEDIFI CEO and Co-founder Jay Fajardo says telehealth will democratize access to doctors.
MEDIFI CEO and Co-founder Jay Fajardo says telehealth will democratize access to doctors.

With people forced to stay home, many Filipinos are now relying on online consultations with doctors. Because of this, the COVID-19 pandemic might prove to be the tipping point for the Philippines to embrace telehealth.

“For non-urgent medical needs, telehealth offers a real way to decongest the country’s healthcare system and provides huge convenience to the patient. It has also become a welcome economic benefit for our doctors who have found a new venue to continue their practice,” MEDIFI CEO and Co-founder Jay Fajardo told Digital Life Asia.

MEDIFI is one of the tech startups helping Filipinos cope with the enhanced community quarantine. It is a telehealth platform that allows people to consult with a licensed doctor online for non-emergency health concerns. The site has two components. MEDIFI for Patients lets people consult remotely, while MEDIFI for Doctors allows doctors to take their practice online. MEDIFI for Patients is also available as an app that can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

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