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Tech & Innovation

Filipino-founded audio company finds growth globally amid a pandemic

H-Audio Technologies is an audio tech company founded in 2017 by a Filipino American whose primary purpose was to sell sports headsets to raise money for the troubled, underprivileged Filipino youth.

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare for millions of businesses in every sector; most especially with the audio industry. There has been nothing but losses for huge companies such as Danish brand Bang & Olufsen who saw over one year’s worth of losses every single quarter, and Bose closing over a hundred stores this past 2020. With millions of loyal customers jobless, manufacturing services and shipping costs at ridiculous prices, and cashflow drying up, many wonder how they will survive.

But amid all the unfortunate circumstances, some companies were lucky enough to strategically build their business model canvas to survive an economic crisis.

H-Audio Technologies is an audio tech company founded in 2017 by a Filipino American whose primary purpose was to sell sports headsets to raise money for the troubled, underprivileged Filipino youth.

“I was a troubled kid and a nutcase growing up, so I pretty much know what these kids are going through on a day-to-day basis, and why they make the bad choices that they choose,” says founder Marcelle Marcelino, a veteran radio broadcaster and music industry veteran in the Philippines.

“I tried the white labeling route where I would ask get an already made product and stamp my logo on it, but unfortunately being a DJ and studio sound engineer for over two decades, I was never satisfied with the outcome. So I did what most would not do, fly around various cities, meet with manufacturing plants, and source every part that I needed to create a pretty solid product in terms of sound and durability.”

Going on its fourth year this June, H-Audio has already collaborated with major brands and companies such as Coca-Cola, Huawei, Philippine Airlines, and even the likes of Kobe Bryant who needed their own audio components and products manufactured for them.

On the other side of the spectrum, H-Audio currently has their own products in major retail stores such as Urban Gadgets, Power Mac Center, The Listening Room, and many others nationwide, such as the PH3, a Filipino designed active noise cancelling headphone whose majority proceeds (60%) goes towards animal welfare & programs to help the troubled Filipino youth.

They also are not stopping there with growth and expansion as their primary driver, H-Audio has been very busy the past year forming a solid partnership with a US-based company, The Four Pillars Company; a service supplier for multi-family, hospitality, and healthcare buildings. Some of their biggest current projects together this 2021 is innovating student housing projects and hotels with their customized audio mirrors, multimedia tables, and other products specifically made for their current on-going projects in Florida, Utah, and Alabama.

“The Four Pillars Company is proud to partner with H- Audio. The most valuable part of our partnership with H-Audio is their vision of infusing technology and audiophile-quality sound into everyday products. H-Audio has an eye for detail and design that creates excellent user interfaces for our clients.  Lastly, their vision to produce products that aren’t available from other manufacturers keeps us several steps ahead of our competition,” says J. Ryan Barrett, President and CEO of The Four Pillars Company.

Taking more giant leaps, H-Audio has also been in negotiations with a certain Brazilian company to open H-Audio Brazil by the end of 2021, along with its current trajectory to expand operations in Australia; all for the goal of having more people worldwide experience high quality audio products at a very fair price.

Definitely something a lot of us who have to stick to budgeting our expenses during what seems to be a never ending pandemic, really need.

For more information on H-Audio Technologies, head to the company’s Facebook page; Instagram account; and YouTube channel.

Strategies

5 Practical ways to keep your finances safer online

Kaspersky’s fresh data for Q2 2021 showed a 60% increase in mobile banking Trojan attacks blocked in the region versus same period last year.

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Photo by Blake Wisz from Unsplash.com

Kaspersky reveals its Q2 2021 mobile threat report for Southeast Asia (SEA) where it has monitored a 60% uptick in the number of attacks using malicious mobile bankers detected and blocked in the region. 

Mobile banking Trojans – or bankers – are used by cybercriminals to steal funds directly from mobile bank accounts. These malicious programs typically look like legitimate financial apps, but when a victim enters their security credentials to try to access their bank account, the attackers gain access to that private information.

Overall, since the beginning of 2021, Kaspersky products have foiled 708 incidents across six countries in SEA. This is already 50% of the total number of mobile bankers blocked in 2020 which was 1,408.

Indonesia and Vietnam logged the most number of incidents during the first half of the year. However, globally, the two countries are not among the top 10 countries affected by this threat. Vietnam is only 27th and Indonesia is 31st as of June this year.

The five countries with the most number of mobile banking Trojan detections in Q2 2021 are Russia, Japan, Turkey, Germany, and France.

*Mobile banking Trojans attacks detected from users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions in the country

While the number of mobile banking Trojan attacks in SEA remains low, 367 incidents from April to June 2021 versus 230 detections during the same period last year, the continuing pandemic continues to force users to start using mobile payment systems.

“We are almost at the second year of the pandemic which has fast tracked the mobile payment adoption in the region at a breakneck speed. During the beginning of this health crisis, our survey already showed that the majority of internet users here have shifted finance-related activities online, like shopping (64%) and banking (47%),” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

The same survey revealed that seven in 10 (69%) are worried about conducting financial transactions online and 42% of the respondents admitted to being afraid about someone accessing their financial details through their devices.

In addition, another Kaspersky report titled “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy” discovered that the majority (76%) of 861 respondents from SEA confirmed their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet. The sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85%), followed by Gen X (81%), and Millennials (75%).

“Clearly, there is an awareness about the threats present when we do banking and payment transactions through our mobile phones. But there is still a gap between knowing and acting on it. So to help users from SEA embrace the power of their smartphone and also keep their finances safe, we suggest some practical tips but also encourage everyone to please look into using security solutions as a safety net in case they accidentally clicked a malicious link or downloaded a rogue mobile banking application,” adds Yeo.

Here are some practical tips from Kaspersky which you can do to beef up your money’s safety online:

1. Get a temporary credit card

Cyber criminals have developed incredibly sophisticated techniques and malware that can sometimes thwart your best efforts for safe online shopping. As another level of security for safe online shopping, you can use a temporary credit card to make online purchases, in lieu of your regular credit card. Ask your credit card company if you can be issued a temporary credit card number.

Just remember to avoid using these types of credit cards for any purchases that require auto-renewal or regular payments.

If a temporary credit card is not possible, an alternative is to use a credit card with a low credit limit.

2. Dedicate a computer to online banking and shopping

If you have more than one computer, it may be wise to dedicate one for online banking and shopping only. By avoiding using the computer for any other Internet browsing, downloading, checking email, social networking, and other online activities, you effectively create a ‘clean’ computer that is totally free of computer viruses and any other infections. For added security for safe online shopping, install Google Chrome, with forced HTTPS. This ensures you are visiting only secure websites.

3. Use a dedicated email address

Create an email address that you will use only for online shopping. This will severely limit the amount of spam messages you receive and significantly reduce the risk of opening potentially malicious emails that are disguised as sales promotions or other notifications.

4. Manage and protect your online passwords

Using strong passwords and using a different password for each online account is one of the most important things you can do for safe online shopping. We know it can be difficult to remember so many different passwords, especially when they are composed of numerous letters, numbers, and special characters. But you can use a password manager to aid you in keeping strong passwords for multiple accounts.

5. Use a VPN

If you absolutely must shop online while using public Wi-Fi, first install a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt all data that is transferred between your computer or mobile device and the VPN server, preventing hackers from hijacking and viewing any sensitive data you input.

In the Philippines, Kaspersky endpoint solutions like Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) that have a password manager and  VPN features is currently included in its 9.9 promos in Shopee and Lazada.  Filipino customers can enjoy up to 50% discount.

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Tech & Innovation

3 Things Canon introduced to improve your digital life

Whether for work or play, everyone can now enjoy a wide range of options from Canon, each one designed to fit today’s demanding digital needs. From cameras and projectors that will elevate your next digital project to innovative software that will simplify your ways of working, Canon has a solution for you. 

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“At Canon, we take pride in being an all-in-one solution provider, catering to the different needs of our customers. We are driven to continuously create and innovate, and at times like this, we pivot to adjust when customer needs change. It is our commitment to innovation that allows us to continuously delight people with products and services that fit their business or lifestyle,” said Kazuhiro Ozawa, Canon Marketing (Philippines), Inc., President & CEO. 

Expanding Creativity and Staying Connected with High Quality Video  

In this digital normal, livestreaming, virtual meetings, classes, and even social occasions like e-weddings, have become essential in everyday life. With the entire world streaming, it is important to have high quality videos that allow for people to stay connected and creative. That is why Canon has developed the EOS Webcam Utility, a free and easy-to-use feature on Canon cameras that turns your camera into a webcam. Take beautifully crisp, in-focus videos while on calls, or opt to defocus a distracting background with a natural and bandwidth-friendly bokeh. 

You can use the EOS Webcam Utility with the full-frame Canon EOS RP. The EOS R system, Canon’s celebrated range of mirrorless cameras, is built for creators who demand the power and performance of a full-frame sensor with the ergonomics of a mirrorless camera. With Canon EOS RP, get a better broadcast experience for your virtual audiences with 4K 30p video resolution, a fun, vari-angle screen, and the reliable EV-5 focus feature that keeps the subject crisp without the need for external light.

Aside from EOS RP, Canon’s PowerShot G7X Mark III is a favorite among many vloggers. The top-of-the-line compact camera captures 4K video without crop, at an improved ISO sensitivity range of 125 – 12,800 and can continuously shoot up to 30 frames per second during RAW Burst Mode.Designed for today’s digital nomads, the camera supports a direct, wireless, and for a mobile-first experience for your audience, vertical content sharing to popular social media sites like Instagram, Tiktok, and Faceboook, as well as livestreaming to YouTube.  

An optimized Business Solution for the new normal 

Beyond consumer products, Canon advocates for making business as simple as possible. With Therefore, business owners and their employees don’t need to manually rummage through physical files because the solution serves as an organized, centralized data bank with highly customizable security access options. Companies large and small can now smartly store any kind of file, such as income statements, receipts, employee files, or even photos, in Therefore™ and conveniently find it in a few clicks from anywhere in the world, even their own living room. Click here for more information. 

Lifestyle Solution for Fun, Entertainment, and Work 

Movies and presentations can now be viewed with utmost flexibility with Canon’s pocket projector.  The compact and lightweight MP250 lasts up to 2 hours of operation, projects up to 93″ wide at up to 250 lumens brightness. 

The MP250 is ready to work with any laptop thanks to its embedded media and document viewer and HDMI and USB ports. For those who can’t be bothered with a laptop, the mini projector can also support wireless content sharing from Android OS devices or direct playback from a USB flash drive. 

Whether for work or play, everyone can now enjoy a wide range of options from Canon, each one designed to fit today’s demanding digital needs. From cameras and projectors that will elevate your next digital project to innovative software that will simplify your ways of working, Canon has a solution for you. 

Follow Canon Philippines (@canonphils) on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and updates. 

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Tech & Innovation

Globe 4G LTE eyes to be stable, reliable partner of online sellers

At a time when practically anything can be ordered online and delivered right at one’s doorstep, a stable and reliable internet connection becomes a necessity both for sellers and buyers.

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At a time when practically anything can be ordered online and delivered right at one’s doorstep, a stable and reliable internet connection becomes a necessity both for sellers and buyers.

This is what Shane Constantino-Flores realized when she explored the world of online selling while juggling her 8-hour day job and taking care of her family. Shane works as a product executive at a digital media company in Quezon City and is a top online seller of imported beauty products.

In the past, Shane had difficulties communicating with her online customers due to weak or non-existent mobile signals at her hometown in Bustos, Bulacan.  Thankfully, this is no longer the case today.

“Malaking tulong talaga itong mas mabilis na internet na dala ng 4G lalo na ngayong full time akong work from home tapos may side hustle of online selling. With faster internet, namamaximize ko ‘yung time ko for my family, my kids, my job, and my online shop. It’s an achievement for me,” said Shane.

She added: “Dito sa area namin sa Bustos, puro bukid siya kung mapapansin, medyo ramdam natin dito ‘yung weakness ng signal pero dahil sa mga ongoing construction nararamdaman naman namin na may improvement na kasi may mga areas na mayroon na talagang signal compared sa dati na talagang dead ‘yung signal.”

Globe helps online sellers like Shane reach the full potential of their business, be it on the side or a primary source of income, through continuous improvement and aggressive infrastructure development in Bulacan and other parts of the country to bring better and faster connections to Filipinos.

“Globe fully supports online sellers who go out of their way to earn extra for their family, so we make sure that their extra effort won’t go to waste. We continue to provide them fast and reliable 4G LTE connections that will help them manage their business and respond to more customers promptly,” said Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Delivery, Network Technical Group.

4G LTE refers to the mobile network technology that offers higher bandwidth or faster data speed, improved network responsiveness, lower latency, higher network capacity, backward compatibility, and future-proofing. 4G/LTE also gives enhanced security for its users.

To enjoy improved connectivity, customers who are still using the obsolete 3G SIM cards must shift to the 5G-ready 4G LTE SIMs now.  Globe assures customers that their mobile numbers will be retained when they switch to the new technology. If quarantine protocols in their respective areas allow, customers can go to the nearest Globe Store to change their SIM cards for FREE.  For more information, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/help/mobile-internet/lte/faqs.html.    

Aside from changing their SIM cards to 5G-read 4G LTE SIM cards, customers are also encouraged to update their mobile devices to 4G LTE-capable ones and their handset firmware to the latest available on the system for a better mobile data experience. Interested customers can inquire at Globe Stores nationwide for affordable 5G or 4G/LTE capable mobile devices.

Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, which highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.  The company is also committed to upholding the UN Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To know more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph.

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