‘Augmented intelligence’ in BPO combines man, machine

Augmented Intelligence BPO

MANILA – The automation of mechanical tasks will give Filipino workers in the business process outsourcing industry the opportunity to upgrade their skills, an industry official said Friday.

Outsourcing will shift to “augmented intelligence” will see artificial intelligence taking over data input tasks while humans handle critical and situational analysis, said IT-Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines vice chairman of the Cathy Ileto.

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/10/27/17/augmented-intelligence-in-bpo-combines-man-machine

Arts, entertainment are now emerging industries in W. Visayas

Iloilo Entertainment

Iloilo City – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has found that arts and entertainment are emerging working industries in the Western Visayas region.

“These are industries we have to reckon with,” said Salome Siaton, DOLE assistant regional director for Western Visayas.

DOLE released the results of Job Fits, the labor market study conducted by the Bureau of Local Employment that identified in-demand occupations in each region.

Siaton noted how 3D animators, flash animators, 3D artists and 3D modelers were once considered part of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry for catering to clients abroad.

“But it’s actually an industry on its own,” added Siaton.

DOLE’s Job Fits also found that entertainment is another emerging industry in Western Visayas.

To fill the demand for skills requirement of these industries and other top employment generators, DOLE is encouraging both high schools, colleges and universities in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces to offer right training programs or courses.

Source: https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/10/29/arts-entertainment-are-now-emerging-industries-in-w-visayas/

1Go Loadr delivers logistics innovation

1Go Loadr

In1Go Technologies, a 100% Filipino-owned IT Services and BPO Company offering a suite of value enterprise solutions in project and sales force management, logistics, distribution and supply chain systems, introduces 1Go Loadr, a web and mobile enabled collaborative platform—an online marketplace —where both logistic outsourcees and services providers—haulers and shippers—converge to address the numerous delivery requirements of customers.

Through a revolutionary mobile app that’s downloadable from the Google Play Store, or on the web at www.1go-load.me, haulers of varying scales—whether operating just one truck or an entire fleet—can gain access to a wide variety of goods and items available for shipment, resulting in increased productivity and convenience for both haulers and shippers.

“We realized the existence of a gap, a sweet spot, that fleet managers couldn’t fill,” said Manny Miranda, Operations Head of 1Go Tech. “Through 1Go Loadr, we are creating a marketplace among our users. Our business to consumer model allows them to open their fleets of trucks to a larger community.”

Small-scale operators, can benefit from expanded business. Larger fleet operators will enjoy reduced truck downtimes and better operational efficiency as well as the ability to manage and deploy their fleets with ease. Shippers will find it is so much easier to find a reliable hauler and the right vehicle that fit their exact shipping requirements, as the service has over 2000 enrolled trucks to take a load on-demand!

Peace of mind is assured as the exact truck location can be tracked in real time including the updated estimated time of arrival through GPS. A photo of the driver and the truck is provided for increased security, together with full transaction details.

By downloading the 1Go Loadr app on a smart phone and enrolling, a secured log-in enables shippers to post their requirements and to find from an extensive directory of enrolled haulers, with complete vehicle specs, the ones capable of matching their needs. Eligible haulers will then be notified. Posted shipping requirements will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once a hauler accepts, the shipper can then monitor the whole delivery process from pick-up to final unloading.

1Go Loadr harnesses the power of technology to revolutionize logistics, resulting for cheaper, faster, and highly efficient delivery for utmost customer satisfaction and better business backed by 1Go’s solid experience, impressive roster of world-renowned clients, and robust end-to-end technology solutions.

To experience the future of logistics collaboration, download the 1Go Loader app at the Google Play Store or visit www.1go-load.me.

Source: http://thestandard.com.ph/tech/business0/249948/1go-loadr-delivers-logistics-innovation.html

BPO industry’s increasing shift to automation worries call center agents, impacts women more


BAGUIO CITY – The government continues to tout the business process outsourcing sector as a key growth driver and jobs generator, but has not done much to stem the danger of job losses as many big businesses, especially foreign clients, shift to automation, an industry leader said.

According to BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) spokesperson Mylene Cabalona, the IT-Business Process Management (ITBPM) has reported the alarming impact of automation on jobs, given that at present BPO workers do not enjoy security of tenure even if they are considered regular employees.

According to the ITBPM, employment in the low-end services will be slashed by at least 43,000 due to the shift to automation. The International Labour Organization (ILO) paints a dimmer picture – citing that 89% of BPO workers in the Philippines are at high risk due to the change in technology.

“Companies implement many schemes in order to ‘manage out’ employees when necessary. Workers are forced to resign or their companies render them floating for months with no pay when clients pull out from vendors, even if the company is continuously hiring for other clients. With the projected job losses due to automation, the situation can get worse and massive,” Cabalona said.

The group underscored the precarious nature of jobs and the vulnerability of the BPO industry itself. “The possible impact on jobs and workers of this shift to automation also exposes how insecure jobs are in the BPO industry and even the industry itself. It is heavily reliant on foreign markets and changes, outside of our control. The danger is the government seems to depend on BPO industry to generate employment, however precarious. If the government is serious at securing decent jobs for the people, then it should look into developing more robust industries to create jobs,” Cabalona said.

No unions

The group noted that since trade unions in the BPO Industry are virtually non-existent, BPO employees do not have a voice, are unable to defend their rights, and are thus bound to suffer the consequences of automation.

“The shift to automation is ultimately driven by companies’ desire to further bring down its costs. And the disruptions due to the shift to automation do not pertain to business disruptions, because this shift will benefit companies more while livelihoods of thousands of Filipino workers and their families will be at risk,” Cabalona added.

The group is also worried that the shift from low-end services to middle and high-end services with automation will disadvantage more women working in the BPO industry. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), majority of those working in the BPO sector are women but they are largely employed in low-paid and low-skilled jobs.

“Companies and the government should be reminded that it is first and foremost their responsibility to uphold and respect the right of workers to secure and decent jobs. The shift in technology should not mean displacement and burden for the workers. BPO workers are thus summoned to unite and take action to assert our rights in this context,” Cabalona added.

Source: http://www.interaksyon.com/bpo-industrys-increasing-shift-to-automation-worries-call-center-agents-impacts-women-more/

Manila’s Bay Area dubbed hottest residential investment destination

Manila's Bay Area

Metro Manila’s Bay Area now records the city’s fastest average monthly take-up by local and foreign buyers in the past 12 months, according to real estate service provider, Santos Knight Frank.

Part of the large track of land reclaimed from Manila Bay, the Bay Area is the site of the Mall of Asia Complex, home of one of the world’s largest shopping malls; Aseana City, an office and IT-BPO hub and Entertainment City, which houses three of the four multi-billion-peso integrated resorts.

Companies such as Double Dragon, Ayala Land, SM, Federal Land and Robinsons Land are carrying out more projects within and along the district’s fringes.

The Bay Area has seen a sharp increase in residential project launches over the last five years as more occupiers have arrived and gaming and tourism facilities have opened.

After registering an average monthly sale of 51 units in October last year, take-up in the Bay Area increased to 70 units during the second quarter of 2017 and outperformed central business districts such as Makati (16 units per month), Bonifacio Global City (14 units), Ortigas (13 units) and Alabang (10 units).

The Bay Area is dominated by middle and high-end projects that range from P117,000 to P175,000 per square meter, with about 91% of the current stock already absorbed.

“Aside from local and overseas Filipino worker (OFW) investors, buyers from China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East are driving residential sales in the Bay Area,” says Jan Custodio, Senior Director of Research and Consultancy

Also, “Residential investors see strong demand coming in from office occupiers, tourists and the gaming market.”

“As Manila’s fastest growing district, the Bay Area contains the right ingredients to accommodate the city’s continued expansion,” added Rick Santos, Chairman and CEO

The Bay Area’s closeness to the airport and new infrastructure makes it an ideal emerging hub for the entertainment, office, retail and residential market sectors, he concluded.


Source: https://business.mb.com.ph/2017/10/14/manilas-bay-area-dubbed-hottest-residential-investment-destination/

PSEi slides 0.47%, closes at 8,358.47

PSEi October 11, 2017

The local stock barometer shied away from record highs yesterday as investors pocketed gains after recent tests on the 8,400 barrier.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) shed 39.57 points or 0.47 percent to close at 8,358.47. Elsewhere in the region, stock markets were mostly up, tracking firmer trading in Wall Street overnight.

The PSEi hit an all-time high on Tuesday, marking its best-ever finish of 8,398.04 while a new intra-day peak of 8,409.92 was hit.

“Philippine markets gave in to profit taking while US Stocks finished slightly higher last Tuesday,” said Luis Gerardo Limlingan, managing director at stock brokerage Regina Capital Development.

Overnight, the closely-tracked Dow Jones Industrial Average The DJIA was up by 0.31 percent to 22,830.68 points, its eighth gain in the past 10 sessions.

“Investors are taking money off the table to wait for more hints on next movement of the Fed (US Federal Reserve) with the next rate hike. The September FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting announced the start of balance sheet runoff, as expected. The dot plot continued to show strong support for a third rate hike this year and three hikes in 2018, and chair (Janet) Yellen continued to downplay the soft inflation data in her post-meeting press conference,” Limlingan said.

At the local market, all counters fell yesterday, led by the industrial counter which lost 1.17 percent, while the holding firms, services, mining/oil and property counters slipped.

Only the financial counter ended slightly higher.

Foreigner investors were net sellers in the stock market, resulting in net outflow of nearly P1.3 billion for the day.

Total value turnover amounted to P11.63 billion, including a P2.8-billion discounted block sale on retailer RRHI.

Shares of RRHI—the latest company to join the PSEi—were crossed at P97.80 each, marking a 5.7-percent discount from Tuesday’s finish of P103.74 per share.

There were 97 decliners that edged out 90 advancers while 56 stocks were unchanged.

RRHI fell by 4.85 percent to close at P98 per share. Another Gokongwei-led stock, URC, likewise fell by 3.87 percent.
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/238456/psei-slides-0-47-closes-8358-47#ixzz4vFrIV7mw 

PAL to start servicing Clark-Catanduanes route

PAL Aircraft

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is beefing up operations in Clark International Airport in Pampanga province.

The flag carrier said it would launch flights from Clark to Virac, Catanduanes starting Dec. 15, 2017.

“This latest pioneer route enables us to serve the flight needs of our ‘kababayans’ in the province of Catanduanes,” PAL president Jaime Bautista said in a statement yesterday.
“It will be our pleasure to serve the Clark-Virac route and provide them our trademark heartfelt service on this short hop. The new flights further expand our domestic route network and our hub at Clark International Airport giving travelers the flexibility to choose from our wide array of domestic services,” he added.

PAL noted that the Clark-Virac link was a “prime initiative” of Cesar Sarmiento, Catanduanes representative and chair of the house committee on transportation.

Sarmiento has been in dialogue with airline officials amidst calls for expanded air links to Virac, PAL added.

“As a company imbued with public interest, it is important to respond to the needs of the flying public, particularly the untapped markets. I am pleased with PAL’s positive response to my request for this much-needed service,” Sarmiento said in the same statement.

PAL will serve the route three times a week using its 76-seater Bombardier Q400.

PAL’s domestic hub operations in the Central Luzon Province of Pampanga serve the following routes: Clark–Basco, Clark-Busuanga, Clark-Caticlan, Clark-Cebu and Clark-Puerto Princesa. New domestic flights out of Clark this December will serve Bacolod, Cagayan, Davao and Tagbilaran.

From Clark, the flag carrier also serves Seoul (Incheon) four times per week.

Source: http://business.inquirer.net/238450/pal-start-servicing-clark-catanduanes-route#ixzz4vFq9aYEc

Andrew Tan proposes 2km Fort Bonifacio-Guadalupe ‘Skytrain’


The group of tycoon Andrew Tan has submitted an unsolicited proposal to build a two-kilometer monorail that will link Fort Bonifacio to the MRT Guadalupe Station, seeking to boost connectivity for commuters amid worsening traffic conditions in the metropolis.

The proposal was submitted by INFRACORP Development Inc., a new company created by conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) to handle infrastructure projects, particularly to participate in the government’s private-public partnership (PPP) projects.

This diversification into infrastructure is in line with the Duterte administration’s promise to usher in a “golden age of infrastructure” in the country, the conglomerate said.

INFRACORP submitted the unsolicited proposal “Skytrain” this week, pitching to benefit around 60,000 to 100,000 passengers daily, based on AGI’s disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The project, which will utilize the automated cable-propelled monorail technology, will reduce travel time from Fort to MRT Guadalupe to only five minutes, the disclosure said.

Under the proposal, a station will be built in Guadalupe, Makati near the MRT station and another in Uptown Bonifacio, a township development of AGI’s real estate arm Megaworld, at no cost to the government.

“Given the country’s strong and stable economy, we see a huge opportunity to invest in infrastructure. We are excited to participate and optimistic about the government’s aggressive push for infrastructure developments,” said AGI executive director Kevin Tan, who is also appointed president of INFRACORP.

If and when approved, the Skytrain monorail project will take three years to construct. It is also proposed to be interconnected with the government’s planned subway system project passing through Fort Bonifacio.

“Funding of the project will be internally-generated as part of AGI’s existing capex (capital expenditure) program. We cannot disclose the exact amount of the investment yet until the government gives us the gosignal to proceed. We will follow the rightful process of this exercise,” Tan said.

INFRACORP is also looking into other potential infrastructure projects, particularly on transport solutions, in several business districts around Metro Manila and in key growth areas around the
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/238403/andrew-tan-proposes-2km-fort-bonifacio-guadalupe-skytrain#ixzz4vFnRWQz2

Real estate prices ease in second quarter — BSP

Real Estate

HOME PRICES declined in the second quarter, with costs to acquire single units down a tenth from a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced over the weekend.

Housing prices dropped by 4.6% in April-June, marking the first time in two years that overall property costs slid since the central bank’s residential real estate price index (RREPI) started in the second quarter of 2015. This compares to a 1.2% increase recorded in January-March and the 11.6% surge in prices posted in 2016’s second quarter.

The RREPI measures the average change of home prices across building types and locations, enabling the central bank to assess overall real estate and market conditions and detect any bubble forming in the property sector.

It was cheaper to buy homes in the provinces in the three months to June as prices posted an 8.2% decline from a year ago, according to central bank data.

On the other hand, those who bought houses in Metro Manila paid 2.5% more on average.

By type of structure, single detached/attached houses actually saw costs drop by 9.9% nationwide, offseting increases in the prices of other residential units. The price decline came after a modest 0.3% growth posted the previous quarter and an 18.7% surge a year ago.

Single homes in Metro Manila saw prices drop by 6.1%, while those located in the provinces fell by 10.3%.

Prices of duplex units inched up by 5.1% across the country, although the increase was much bigger at 11.9% for those within the National Capital Region (NCR). In the provinces, price tags for duplexes rose by 7.2%.

Condominium units also posted an overall 5.1% price increase, led by a 7.1% pickup in the provinces and a milder 5.2% increase in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, overall prices of townhouses added 2.9% from a year prior, with a 5.5% increase in the provinces offsetting a 0.9% decline in Metro Manila.

Central bank officials previously noted that there remained strong demand for commercial and living space in the Philippines, rendering property price adjustments reasonable and allaying fears of a bubble.

A bubble forms due to a perceived rising demand for housing units that drives developers to build more, and is said to “burst” as demand stagnates, leading to an abrupt drop in property prices that could jolt the banking system.

The BSP currently limits a bank’s real estate exposure to 20% of its total loan portfolio.

Condos are largely preferred among Metro Manila residents, while single detached units are favored by those in areas outside the NCR.

The BSP said most bank property loans were secured by those in NCR, followed by those in Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, Davao Region and Northern Mindanao.

Last Sept. 22, the central bank announced tighter reporting standards by requiring banks to submit more detailed data on property loans and project financing. Fitch Ratings said the new rules would give the regulator a more comprehensive view of the property sector.

Banks have extended P1.644 trillion in property loans as of end-June, which accounts for 20.79% of their total loan portfolio, according to BSP data. A third of the loans were extended to retail clients, while two-thirds went to commercial borrowings.

Roughly 75% of real estate loans went to the purchase of new homes, with singe detached units and condominiums accounting for 45.3% and 44.8%, respectively.

Source: http://bworldonline.com/real-estate-prices-ease-second-quarter-bsp/

Uber suspends surcharge in low-demand routes


MANILA – Ride-sharing service Uber said Friday surcharges for trips in areas with relatively low demand were on hold until further notice from regulators.

Uber does not receive any portion of the surcharge and removing it will “decrease significantly” the reliability of its service in the affected areas, the company said in a statement.

“The imposition of a surcharge benefits everyone. Drivers are properly compensated and motivated to bring passengers to lower demand areas,” Uber said in a statement.

Uber users pay P80 to P100 for trips that enter the Skyway, Magallanes and C5 and exit at Bicutan, Sucat, Alabang, Filinvest and Susana Heights.

The dispute over surcharges is the latest in a string of regulatory difficulties for Uber in the Philippines, one of the first countries in the world to regulate ride-sharing services.

In August, Uber was suspended for defying a moratorium on registration of new vehicles. It was lifted only after the company paid a P1-billion fine.

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/09/29/17/uber-suspends-surcharge-in-low-demand-routes