Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been buzzwords for quite some time. The idea that you can strap on a VR headset, however clumsy it may appear, and totally immerse yourself in a virtual world makes great headlines and appeals to tech fans and gamers everywhere.
Augmented Reality is quite a different proposition. While VR has tended to dominate the news, AR has been quietly breaking new ground in the enterprise sector.
Where VR lets users escape into a totally different reality, AR is proving highly effective in our own world, as it overlays digital imagery onto the reality we are experiencing. When used with wearable technology such as smart glasses, this blending of digital information with the physical world allows hands-free operation in such environments as healthcare, logistics, maintenance, and construction, where the ability to devote both hands to the specific task is critical. Operators can benefit from remote work assistance and projected instruction manuals, saving time, increasing productivity and enhancing safety.
Adoption of Augmented Reality
The market opportunity for Augmented Reality is clearly not just for gamers or consumers. It directly targets the enterprise market of technical and skilled workers, from engineers to architects to healthcare professionals.
The potential for the technology is perhaps best underlined by the fact that major tech industry players are committed to developing AR marketing. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook all are providing deep toolsets for developers to create apps for this approach. All have quietly adopted the implicit assumption that a persistent, wearable artificial reality is the next big thing.
Indeed, as AR adoption gains momentum with an increasing number of industrial applications being launched, some businesses are expected to soon place smart glasses at the core of their IoT systems, as they look to enhance worker productivity and streamline their backend operations.
According to Amy Kwa, Regional Manager, Visual Products, “Deploying AR will enable more efficient processes by enhancing the reality of the user, so they’ll be able for example to maintain an engine or a complex electrical board in an intuitive and easy way. They’ll be able to see inside the device and act on the information there and then.”
Epson launched their first Moverio smart glasses model in Southeast Asia in 2012 and have continued to expand their product range. Their latest models, the BT-350 and BT-2200, offer video and access to new AR experiences for a variety of commercial and industrial market applications respectively.
Augmented Reality through Smart Glasses
These include healthcare, where Moverio smart glasses are helping surgeons and clinicians concentrate fully on their patients by freeing them from manually handling data, allowing them to focus on their often complex tasks. Dentists, too, find their work is greatly aided by Moverio, using the smart glasses to provide a precise heads-up overlay of their patient’s teeth. This enables better hand-eye coordination and a more precise treatment time.
As smart glasses evolve to become a truly seamless experience that users interact with as a daily routine, one of the most important issues for developers of AR wearables to address is form factor. Future generations of glasses are expected to offer wifi, stereo 3D graphics and enhanced processing of images and audio.
The user’s choice of smart glasses will depend on their purpose. Key considerations include their ability to deliver digital information crisply and legibly, but also on their weight and comfort.
For use in applications such as healthcare or at museums, galleries and tourist destinations where they can provide background data on whatever the visitor is viewing, the components must be packaged into a lightweight and compact format. Operational management is also a consideration for such environments, where a multiple-device management dock or admin software could be ideal.
But when operators are using the glasses in a heavy industrial job site that may also be hot and cramped, it is crucial that they are not a distraction. The glasses need to be in a headset format secured with a firm headband, or even adjustable to fit over a safety helmet, for workplaces where these are mandatory.
Smart glasses, of course, do not have prescription lenses, so it is important that they can fit comfortably over the wearer’s normal glasses in every environment.
It is likely that adoption of AR technology will reach a tipping point this year. Developers will be launching innovative new apps to grow the commercial and consumer markets, and working to overcome issues with smart glasses such as predictive head motion tracking to reduce ‘motion to photon’ latency, as well as the constraints on power and thermal factors necessary to keep the glasses cool.
As smart glasses become more common, will we perhaps see them being worn by style leaders as sleek fashion accessories? Whether smart glasses appear on the catwalks of Paris and Milan or not, the potential for AR combined with wearables is huge. Following the personal computer, the Internet and the smartphone, AR and smart glasses are likely to be the world’s next transformative technology. (EPSON PR)
MATCH Connects ASEAN Enterprises and Investors
Built to match start-ups with prospective investors, the Meet ASEAN Talents and Champions (MATCH) Philippines Roadshow launched in Cebu for the first time on July 10 this year, at the Radisson Blu Hotel.
The MATCH Philippines Roadshow was presented by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines (ASEAN BAC) in collaboration with Go Negosyo, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and SGV & Co (EY Philippines).
Additionally, it was supported by the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCI), Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (CCCI), Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (MCCI), Cebu Innovation Council, Cebu IT BPM Organization, among others.
The roadshow was made to circulate and amplify awareness about MATCH. It also served as a call to action for the local start-up community to sign up for the MATCH deal-making portal before its deadline drops on July 31, 2018.
A one-of-a-kind platform, the innovative MATCH deal-making portal connects ASEAN start-ups and growth enterprises of all sectors to renowned global and local investors, thereby making quality funding, expertise, and market linkages significantly more accessible.
After all, “The future is you. You are the game-changers,” said Mr. Jay Yuvallos, Philippine representative to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and President to the Interior Basic Export Corporation.
The roadshow was also created as an avenue for MAS and SGV & Co execs and partners to discuss the successful start-up ecosystem of Singapore in hopes that this may spark learning, empowerment, and partnerships with the Philippines’ own start-up founders.
Apart from that, MATCH has an Investor Summit as part of the Singapore FinTech Festival. The summit features core presentations and relevant talks from respectable entrepreneurs, investors, and founders. Topics like enterprise value creation and financing strategies will be tackled.
The MATCH Investor Summit is set to take place on November 13 to 14 this year at Singapore Expo, but the entire festival runs from November 12 to 14 and includes events such as Hackcelerator, AI in Finance Summit, and FinTech Awards Night.
During the MATCH Philippine Roadshow in Cebu, raffle prizes were given out to 10 lucky participants who won free passes to the said festival. Another 10 participants were granted free passes during the Manila Run of the MATCH Roadshow last July 9.
Interested companies and investors may register to the MATCH portal online via www.surveymonkey.com/r/aseanmatch and to the MATCH Investor Summit via fintechfestival.sg/registration/.
PH Stays at Rank 73 in Global Innovation Index
The Philippines has maintained its spot in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2018, ranking 73rd out of 126 economies.
The GII, which gauges an economy’s innovation performance through innovation input and output sub-indices, is co-published by World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, and INSEAD — a France-based graduate business school.
In the innovation input sub-index ranking, the Philippines landed at 82nd place.
The input sub-index measures the country’s strength in economic pillars that drive innovation which include institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and business sophistication.
Among the indicators under the innovation input sub-index, the Philippines ranked highest in percentage of research talent in business enterprise at 63 percent; share of firms offering formal trainings, with 60 percent of companies gives formal trainings to employees; and share of graduates in science and engineering, with 29 percent of the total tertiary education graduates are in this track.
The country also ranked high in indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) per unit of energy use, which promotes ecological sustainability; and share of market capitalization to GDP at 84 percent.
The Philippines’ ranking in innovation output sub-index is higher at rank 68. This measures the country’s innovation activities in knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.
The country’s share of information and communications technology services exports to total trade has buoyed its ranking in output sub-index.
Earlier, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) noted that strengthening of intellectual property protection and enforcement contributes to the country’s performance in the GII.
Indicators related to intellectual property also made up the innovation input and output sub-indices.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ ranking in the innovation report this year is stagnant compared to its ASEAN neighbors.
Singapore further moved up to rank 5 from 7 last year; Malaysia, to 35 from 37; Thailand to 44 from 51; Vietnam, to 45 from 47; Brunei, to 67 from 71; Indonesia, to 85 from 87; and Cambodia, to 98 from 101.
The GII helps policy and decision makers to craft strategies that will boost the innovation of the country. (PNA)
FDI Net Inflows Reaches USD1-B in April 2018
Foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country reached USD1 billion in April 2018 as positive balances were recorded for all FDI components during the month, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data show.
BSP data released Tuesday show that the bulk of the net inflows in April 2018 was in the form of debt instruments (or lending by foreign companies abroad to their local affiliates to fund existing operations and business expansion), which amounted to USD705 million.
Net investments in equity capital amounted to USD247 million as gross equity capital placements increased more than three times to USD262 million from US$84 million, while withdrawals remained broadly low at USD15 million, it said.
Equity capital placements emanated largely from Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands; the United States and Japan.
These were mainly invested in manufacturing; arts, entertainment and recreation; real estate; financial and insurance; and wholesale and retail trade activities.
Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings by non-resident investors amounted to USD75 million during the month.
FDI for the first four months of this year (January–April 2018) posted net inflows of USD3.2 billion, representing a growth of 24.3 percent from the comparable period in 2017, BSP data also showed.
FDI inflows were boosted by continued favorable investor sentiment on the back of the country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals and growth prospects.
During the four-month period, net equity capital investments grew by more than five times to USD1.1 billion from USD199 million last year as gross placements of USD1.3 billion more than offset the withdrawals of USD124 million.
Equity capital placements during the period were sourced largely from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and the United States.
These were channeled primarily into manufacturing; financial and insurance; arts, entertainment and recreation; real estate; and electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply activities. Debt instruments amounted to USD1.8 billion, lower by 14.5 percent than USD2.1 billion recorded in the comparable period last year.
Meanwhile, reinvestment of earnings reached USD268 million in the first four months of 2018. (PR)
DICT on New Telco Major Player: We Will Move Forward Faster
With stakeholders giving their side on the debate of what Terms of Reference (ToR) for the selection process should be used, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is optimistic in moving forward to the next step of facilitating the entry of the new major telco player.
The DICT-proposed Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS) ToR was more preferred over Auction as Mode in selecting the new major player by both the potential bidders and telco stakeholders according to a survey done during a public consultation on 6 July 2018 in Quezon City.
The consultation/market study was conducted to hear the stakeholders’ feedback and to finally settle the prolonged discussion among the members of the Oversight Committee, created thru Administrative Order No. 11 S. 2018 (Creation of an Oversight Committee for the Entry of a New Major Player in the Public Telecommunications Market) of what of the two draft ToRs will be utilized during the selection procedure.
The HCLoS formula, which takes into account National Population Coverage, Minimum Average Broadband Speed, and Annual Capital and Operational Expenditures in giving points for the selection process, was the obvious choice for the stakeholders, including the prospective bidders.
With this key development, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. is keen on finalizing the HCLoS ToR to push through already with the legal procedures.
“Definitely we can’t delay anymore the entry of a third telco, as instructed by the President. So we will move forward faster, doing what we think is right for the Filipino people,” said DICT Acting Secretary Rio.
“The real moving forward is to come up with a final version that will be subjected to the legal process,” Rio added. (DICT)
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