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Snapcart joins Kickstart Ventures Investment Portfolio in One of the Biggest Series A Funding Rounds in PH

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Photo (L-R): Laith Abu Rakty, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer; Teresa Condicion, Co-Founder & Chief Data & Operations Officer; Araya Hutasuwan, Co-Founder & Chief Financial Officer; Reynazran Royono, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Snapcart, the real-time offline shopper and consumer insights startup, late last month closed a USD10 million series A funding from several investors, which include Kickstart Ventures, the wholly-owned venture capital company of Globe Telecom.

The amount, which is significant for a data B2B startup, would be used to advance further Snapcart’s AI-based OCR technology, as well as expand its operations and teams in the Philippines and Indonesia, where it currently operates. Snapcart is pushing to widen its market to include other Southeast Asian countries.

“A sizable amount of the fund will be used to further enhance our product’s proposition. Given our unique organization structure, where our Data Science team is based in Manila, we would ultimately ramp up the Philippines organization,” says Teresa Condicion, co-founder and chief data & operations officer of Snapcart.

Condicion added: “The participation of Kickstart in our Series A fund-raising will definitely boost our business development efforts in the country as well, given their vast network.”

Snapcart is the 34th firm to receive funding from Kickstart, which invests in digital startups globally. It is Kickstart’s second portfolio company from Indonesia.

“Kickstart supports entrepreneurs and accelerates the growth of new businesses in the digital technology space. It is co-creating a dynamic innovation ecosystem in the Southeast Asian region, and helping to promote partnerships between startups and large enterprises. Snapcart has an excellent founding team, possibly the most diverse we’ve seen at this stage. The product is innovative and robust, and the business model demonstrates good traction as can be seen from its A-list corporate clients. We believe in what Snapcart offers and we’re thrilled to support its growth,” said Minette Navarrete, Kickstart President.

The Series A round was led by Vickers Ventures Partners, with participation from Social Capital and Endeavor Catalyst. Existing investors also followed on like Wavemaker Partners and SPH Ventures.

Snapcart previously closed a USD3 million pre-series A round in early 2017.

Launched in September 2015, the app has over 700,000 users and is collaborating with more than 75 FMCG brands across the region such as Unilever, L’Oreal, Unilab, and Nestlé.

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Discovery May Lead to Faster-Charging, Longer-Lasting Batteries

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Image Source: PQBattery Batteries For PLC, Scanner & Two Way Radios - WordPress.com

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have observed an unexpected phenomenon in lithium-ion batteries, the most common type of battery used to power cell phones and electric cars, creating possibilities to develop batteries that “charge faster and last longer.

The discovery, published in the newly released journal Science Advances, shows that as a model battery generates electric current, the concentration of lithium inside individual nanoparticles reverses at a certain point, instead of constantly increasing.

It is a major step toward improving the battery life of consumer electronics.

“If you have a cell phone, you likely need to charge its battery every day, due to the limited capacity of the battery’s electrodes,” said Esther Takeuchi, a distinguished State University of New York professor at Stony Brook University and a chief scientist in the Energy Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven Lab. “The findings in this study could help develop batteries that charge faster and last longer.”

Inside every lithium-ion battery are particles whose atoms are arranged in a lattice — a periodic structure with gaps between the atoms. When a lithium-ion battery supplies electricity, lithium ions flow into empty sites in the atomic lattice.

“Previously, scientists assumed that the concentration of lithium would continuously increase in the lattice,” said Wei Zhang, a scientist at Brookhaven’s Sustainable Energy Technologies Department.

“But now, we have seen that this may not be true when the battery’s electrodes are made from nano-sized particles. We observed the lithium concentration within local regions of nanoparticles go up, and then down. It reversed,” Zhang added.

“Similar to how a sponge soaks up water, the overall level of lithium continuously increases inside the nano-sized particles,” said Feng Wang, the leader of this study and a scientist in Brookhaven’s Sustainable Energy Technologies Department. “But unlike water, lithium may preferentially move out of some areas, creating inconsistent levels of lithium across the lattice.”

The scientists explained that the uneven movement of lithium could have lasting, damaging effects and can lead to fatigue failure of the battery.

“Before lithium enters the lattice, its structure is very uniform,” Wang said.

“But once lithium goes in, it stretches the lattice, and when lithium goes out, the lattice shrinks. So each time you charge and drain a battery, its active component will be stressed, and its quality will degrade over time. Therefore, it is important to characterize and understand how lithium concentration changes both in space and time,” Wang added.

While the study focused on lithium-ion batteries, the scientists say the observed phenomenon may also occur in other high-performance battery chemistries. (Xinhua)

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Globe Wins TM Forum Catalyst Award for Innovation, Pushes for API Standardization

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Project OAsIS Team led by Globe Head of Enterprise Architecture Vincent Seet (5th from left), receives the Outstanding Catalyst for Innovation Award at the recently concluded TM Forum Live!

Globe Telecom is taking the lead in setting standards for APIs with Project OAsIS having received the award for Outstanding Catalyst for Innovation in the recently concluded TM Forum Live! Asia 2017 in Singapore.

Short for Open APIs for a vibrant IoT ecosystem, Project OAsIS takes on bridging the fragmented IoT industry. The goal of Project OAsIs is to identify and adopt the best-suited APIs for Telco IoT applications, platforms and connected things to make them interoperable regardless of which protocol or framework they use.

At the TM Forum Live! Asia 2017 event, Globe Telecom demonstrated Project OAsIS through a workflow of working prototypes for a connected home and a connected parking use case. These prototypes included application management systems and mobile apps that were connected to devices including a fan, a lamp, and a motion-sensor for the connected home; and a demonstration parking lot with gantries, proximity sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and an LCD screen for the connected parking scenario.

The mobile app for the connected home was also equipped with a security feature. This is an added user experience as the app notifies the user if motion is detected inside the home while the system is in “away” mode. On the other hand, the mobile app for the connected parking makes it easier for the user to search for and reserve parking slots. With the mobile app, it can easily track available parking spaces around the area and do mobile payments when leaving.

“We want to ensure that Globe Telecom can open ways to onboard new connected things and applications with less integration but, with great impact to our users,” Globe Chief Technology and Information Officer Gil Genio said.

David Pleasance (extreme right), Chairman of the TM Forum Board Directors, visits the booth of Project OAsIS as one of the judges.

The POC project proposed a standardized set of working APIs to interconnect different IoT ecosystems, aiming to bridge gaps in IoT. These OAsIS APIs will facilitate the interconnectivity of IoT applications, platforms and connected things. It will allow customers’ orders to be processed and billed, and devices to be controlled across platforms. “In terms of connected things and IoT applications, Globe through Project OAsIS, could provide more options to our users in making the IoT ecosystem an attractive package to other partners, which in turn could lead to a more comprehensive adoption of the technology,” Genio also said.

He explained that even without the award, the entire OAsIS team, led by the Enterprise Architecture Group, and Emerging Technologies under Solutions Delivery Division, Information Systems Group, is hoping to leverage on TM Forum’s reach. “The award gives more focus on the importance of standardizing APIs as a building block in IoT, and also acknowledges the vision and effort of the OAsIS team. We’re hoping that this will further motivate the TM Forum community in the adoption of these IoT APIs,” Genio added.

He further emphasized that device manufacturers, communications service providers (CSPs) and application developers can eventually benefit from the network effect, find ways to expand the IoT as a whole and accelerate the maturity of the market.

The TM Forum Catalyst Award is a rapid-fire innovation project that allows telco operators and solution vendors to participate openly and solve industry challenges. As a digital service provider, Globe Telecom has always aimed for a digital transformation through the power of technology. Earlier this year, Globe Telecom has endorsed TM Forum’s suite of Open APIs. To date, these Open APIs are now being used to enable a range of business scenarios and enable a wide range of revenue growth opportunities for communications service providers (CSPs) and their partners and suppliers.

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Celebrate New Beginnings with the OPPO F5 Youth Now at Php12,990

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OPPO Philippines kicks off 2018 with a price drop announcement of the OPPO F5 Youth. Now priced at Php12,990, everyone can experience the innovative A.I. Beauty Technology for natural selfies with 6” Full screen display for an immersive visual experience.

“Our OPPO F5 Series is known for its strong value proposition, especially its admirable selfie feature and solid performance. With an OPPO F5 smartphone matching our customers’ needs, we believe our lineup is now more appealing to the market,” said Eason de Guzman, OPPO Philippines’ Public Relations Manager.

The OPPO F5 Series now has a more competitive lineup: the F5 Youth at Php12,990, the OPPO F5 at Php15,990, and the OPPO F5 6GB Red at Php21,990. All smartphones feature OPPO’s A.I. Beauty Technology, known for its unique approach of delivering natural looking selfies. It can analyze the face of a subject with more than 200 recognition spots and determine the age, gender, skin type, and skin tone. This produces a customized selfie experience with effortless editing.

For more information about the whole OPPO F5 series, you may visit Oppo or Oppo F5 Youth. You can also follow OPPO on Facebook  for the store list and latest updates.

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Photic Releases Smart Wi-Fi Audio Processor in CES 2018

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Image Source: PRNewsfoto/Photic

Photic (Shenzhen Photic Technology Co., Ltd), a promising new strong force in mobile industry, founded by Mr. Richard Shi (Shi Lichao) with the belief of innovating the traditional mobile accessory line by injecting artistic design and new technology, build up full lines of mobile chargers, wireless audio processor and voice controlled car audio system, all these will hit market in 2018 and start the first show in CES this time, welcome to visit our booth at Sands Hall A-D, BOOTH No. is 42837.

The most prominent new item is the wireless audio processor, it will be a great help to upgrade normal speaker into Wi-Fi speaker with lossless sound quality. What’s more, you can manage and tune the sound effect in Photic app to meet every independent requirement towards a specified criterion for bass, mid and high.

Image Source: PRNewsfoto/Photic

Audio processor

Alexa® Echo® controlled audio processor

  • Start and control your music with your voice. Amazon Alexa built right in, connecting into IoT world.
  • Connect to your home audio system and normal speakers to play music wirelessly, that will enhance the sound quality brought by cloud streaming, as Wi-Fi offers wide bandwidth ensuring the lossless music download and play smoothly.
  • Manage the sound effect in Photic app to your customized sound effect, a specified criterion for bass, mid and high.
  • More online resources like music/radio can be played and transmitted to the audio devices by Wi-Fi/DLNA/Airplay connection.
  • The metal housing with slim body delivers stylish and scientific sense, matching the latest technology development.

Wireless Charger

  • The smart phone can be leaned on the charger while center part is opened up with extensible length to fit the size of different smart phones and reach an optimal charging status; The center part is also foldable only if it is pressed, to meet the demands from customers who prefer to put their phones flatly.
  • The center part is decorated by a silica plate in green, also functions holding the phones firmly.
  • 10W output charge delivers faster wireless charging for all Qi-enables devices at optimal speed.
  • Available in Spring 2018 at Photic

Voiced controlled car audio system and charger

This is a good and inexpensive choice when it comes to adding Bluetooth calling and streaming capabilities to your car’s music system. One of the most important aspect is that you can answer/reject a call or hang up after phone conversation closed, increase/lower the volume of the music streamed from your smartphone to the car stereo system, control the playlist without any participation of your hand-operation, just by your voice. That brings you a safe and convenient driving experience, what’s more, the Photic car audio system also powers up the dull car audio by connecting the smartphone into the system, more online radio/music/novel will be broadcasted on the car stereo transmitted from your smart phone. The extra two USB outputs maximum 4.8A juicing up two mobile devices.

The following instructions can be activated by voice:

 Feature

  • Stream music and calls directly from smart devices to the car stereo system via FM (87.5-108.0MHz), turn the traditional car audio into smart car stereo system.
  • Support A2DP, achieve the stereo music lossless transfer to your car audio system with crystal sound effect.
  • Built-in silica microphone, gives sensitive response to the command execution that brings good convenience when you are driving without the participation of hands that may lead to accident from distraction. So a hands-free phone conversation, music streaming will be enjoyed in the driving time.
  • Works with most Bluetooth enabled smart devices including iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Tablet and more.
  • High performance FM transmitter with very small power output but delivers powerful signal, that’s accord to the EU safety regulation on the RF products.
  • Supporting AUX output alternating FM, work with smart devices, MP3, MP4 players via 3.5mm audio jack input that delivers a even better sound effect without any lossless.
  • The extra two USB outputs maximum 4.8A juicing up two mobile devices simultaneously, we choose good quality components from Taiwan/Samsung/Toshiba to ensure good performance and long durability.

Mobile Power Charger

As a pioneer for mobile chargers, Photic keeps on creating the most unique and stylish mobile chargers for smart phone, tablets and other mobile related devices. Especially the foldable phone mount with inbuilt battery that works as an integrate power bank after removing from the socket, this is a miracle design that combines all these solutions into one stylish gadget. We are and will always be the leader for mobile chargers. (Photic)

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