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October only means one thing — winter is coming. Don’t let the cold bother you this time around; meet the USB heated vest from JY Electronics.

This vest keeps you toasty and warm, thanks to heating pads inside. If you need it warmer, you can adjust the temperature with varying degrees with a single press of a button.

Not feeling the design? Let JY Electronics customize your jacket for you. Aside from bubble vests, they can make you a wool coat, leather biker jacket, or even a faux-fur parka filled with heating pads that powers up through USB.

The basic USB heated vest starts at $20, with no minimum amount of orders.


Global Sources Consumer Electronics is the world’s largest electronics sourcing show bridging suppliers and resellers. For more information visit GlobalSources.com.

Automotive

A glimpse on the future of motorcycles

Lycan takes on its ambitious desire to bring the first Filipino smart motorcycle

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It was like a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie. A futuristic motorbike greets me as I enter the garage of Lycan, the first all-Filipino independent motorcycle and technology company.

The sound of the welding machine fusing the parts of an avant-garde motorbike echoes like a chant in a campaign rally. It was invigorating, filling my body with effervescence; enthusiastic to meet the people behind Lycan in their headquarters in Quezon City.

The promise of a connected tomorrow

A few weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of what could be the future of motorcycles in the Philippines. GadgetMatch had a sit-down with Jaggy Gangat, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lycan Motors, and JM Grefaldo, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Gangat vividly remembered how Lycan started; a custom garage understanding what the market needs. Gangat was certainly part of the market, being a rider before more than an entrepreneur. With his background in business, strategic thinking, love for motorcycles, and desire to create an impact — Gangat was filled with idealism as he birthed Lycan.

Jaggy Gangat, CEO of Lycan Motorcycles, standing in front of the G6 prototype. | Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

But it wasn’t a simple, spontaneous plan that abruptly came to fruition, like those enacted in the movies. Gangat knew having a Filipino-made motorcycle isn’t enough.

Grefaldo came into the picture to make Lycan stand out. The answer was technology, or rather, making motorcycles smart. “Lycan wouldn’t be Lycan without technology and JM,” says Gangat as he vehemently introduced his CTO.

Gangat and Grefaldo believe in putting Filipinos one step closer to the future. The two shared the promise of a connected tomorrow; their eyes flickering with excitement like a star-eyed emoji as they discussed what they were about to bring in the nearest future.

From futuristic experiences of showcasing their motorcycles to a modern approach to purchasing a vehicle — Lycan wants to use technology to propel the Filipinos to a better tomorrow.

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

Artificial intelligence (AI) at Lycan’s core

Ah, artificial intelligence. That tech jargon usually gets lost in translation. Lycan believes most people don’t fully understand or grasp the concept of AI. I agreed ardently. People fear what they don’t understand.

But artificial intelligence is found in almost every device we have now. It makes so much sense to see a motorcycle applying the same computer system to make it smart. As a matter of fact, life got easier in terms of communication, social interaction, and doing business — thanks to our smartphones employing AI properly.

In the same way, Lycan aspires to use AI to deliver convenience and ensure safety. The Filipino start-up is working on a proprietary voice assistant akin to Siri and Alexa, dubbed Luna.

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

Luna AI is expected to give commands. With machine learning, it aims to hold a conversation with the rider to prevent distracted driving.

It’s bound to be paired with a smart helmet, making Luna the ears and mouth to help operate the system. With one command, Lycan’s motorcycles can activate without throttle assist.

In the nearest future, as Luna takes a more tangible shape after its development, the voice assistant will help navigate maps, exhibit the important statistics from the dashboard, integrate the data between the smartphone and mobile app, access remote diagnostics, and check the overall performance and condition of the motorcycle.

Gangat hopes to make the technology as solid as it can, like Elon Musk’s TESLA. Eventually, hopefully, the CEO dreams of a future where the motorbike can be smart enough to predict a situation, and hopefully, keep more bodies safe.

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

An integrated experience

Lycan is also developing its own operating system called LmoS. In full, it’s called Lycan Motorcycles Operating System, functioning as the brain of its motorcycles, and eventually, the system for Luna AI.

Aside from the smart motorcycle, the company is developing a mobile app slated to be launched later this year alongside the G6. The app will be integrated into the motorcycle and is expected to work seamlessly with the smart helmet — operated by Luna AI and connected via Bluetooth and/or WiFi connectivity.

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

For security purposes, Lycan is considering blockchain as a foundation to safeguard its users and the technology.

Helmet like Iron Man’s

The smart helmet is Lycan’s answer to the problem of distracted driving. A split second of taking your eyes off the road can unravel endless possibilities; one of which could be accidents happening in the blink of an eye.

While still under development, the smart helmet promises an Iron Man-like experience. The visor will have a heads-up display to give an overview of the riding experience, and to communicate with fellow smart helmet users.

Sensors are equipped inside the helmet, measuring your pulse and heart rate while communicating with the mobile app. One important thing would be its unique Smart Helmet Crash Detection technology. The helmet’s impact sensors will assess the kind of fall and the gravity of the impact.

Different levels will determine the next course of action, whether Luna will update Lycan, alert a local LGU — if the company gets to partner for emergency dispatch — or simply ask the rider about his/her/their current condition.

Personalize your motorcycles

Apart from the infusion of artificial intelligence and the application of Internet-of-Things on its products, Lycan prides itself on another innovative platform. Called BuilderX, the online configurator gives people the ability to design their motorcycles and get them personalized.

The platform aims to let people customize, save their designs, download, and place their orders. Lycan aspires to make purchasing their vehicles simpler, taking cues from the booming e-commerce platforms. The company promises to make it easy even for non-tech savvy individuals, making the process as easy as three steps: designing, ordering, and receiving.

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

There will also be an option to pick up the motorcycle or receive it at home. The platform was backed by Gangat’s background in customizing motorcycles, reducing costs by tapping into e-commerce instead of opening up several dealerships, and answering people’s desire for a more personalized motorcycle — shying away from designs brought by foreign brands.

Reducing carbon footprint

Photo by MJ Jucutan, GadgetMatch

Like any company of tomorrow, Lycan wants to help in reducing its carbon footprint. Currently, the motorcycles are available in gasoline and hydrogen fuel-cell versions. Moving forward, Lycan is looking into a hybrid engine using hydrogen fuel cells and petroleum for internal combustion and eventually transforming into a pure hydrogen vehicle.

Concurrently, Lycan is developing batteries and engines to prepare for an EV variant. The company is looking into a 5000-kilowatt battery for high-speed electric vehicles.

A company that listens

As a start-up, Lycan offers one thing most motorcycle companies don’t: two-way communication with its consumers. Aside from the service and technology, Lycan aims to listen intently to the market. One way to prove this is the retail price that its market can afford (and potentially disrupt the industry).

The 400cc G6‘s MSRP is PhP 179,999 and reservation starts at PhP 9,850. Meanwhile, the 650cc GC6‘s MSRP is PhP 294,999 and reservation starts at PhP 19,720. Prices are subject to change.

Aside from being the company’s consumers, interested investors can take part in the growth of Lycan. See investment opportunities and be part of history as a shareholder.

Visit Lycan’s website for more information.

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Reviews

CyberSoul X3 Pro review: Coasting just fine

For commuters who don’t want to use their last three brain cells

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Electric kick scooters (EKS) are flocking the streets more than ever. The advent of a personal mobility solution has caught the attention of commuters looking for an alternative form of transportation.

Presently, there is a myriad of electric kick scooters you can find. Several of which are costly to one’s pocket. We’ve driven some EKS in the past and recently, we’ve discovered a new gem unbeknownst to many.

Meet the CyberSoul X3 Pro — an electric kick scooter from CyberSoul, a young transport brand focused on safe, eco-friendly, and effective mobility.

Oh, it’s new! The shape of your body, it’s blue~

The CyberSoul X3 Pro, which we’ll call X3 Pro for brevity, looks like your typical electric kick scooter. The resemblance is uncanny to most EKS found on the streets.

What sets it apart are the intricate details and thoughtful design to make it functional. And of course, a user experience that’s enjoyable when going in on a ride.

Forgive me for the dust and dirt that you’ll find in the visuals. I’ve been using the X3 Pro for more than a month and even though I’ve been cleaning it regularly, I accidentally took photos and videos outdoors when it rained torrentially.

Granted, the dust, dirt, and wet deck and wheels are inevitable. And it’s something we’ll be talking about later on.

Locked me out and threw a feast

Out of the box, you’ll find the X3 Pro unfolded. It weighs 16.9kg, so lifting the electric kick scooter would be a piece of cake — if you’re a lifter, that is.

The material’s made of aluminum alloy — a strong yet light component commonly used in aeronautics.

The stem is easy to grip, and you can lock it firmly on a special hook to ensure it stays in its position when folded.

Upfront, you can find the shackle with two locking systems. The inner one automatically locks when you raise the stem, while the other one is a folding shackle familiar to most electric kick scooters.

This type of shackle needs extra pressure for both locking and unlocking the scooter’s stem. Frankly, I always find it difficult to apply pressure on the shackle since it requires strength from your fingers.

Though it’s hard and extremely tight, the process gave me peace of mind knowing that my electric kick scooter is firmly functional and secure.

Nonetheless, there’s a stand on its left side so you can park it while you fold and unfold, or just when you need to step away from your EKS for a moment.

Devil’s in the details, babe

The CyberSoul X3 Pro comes with a striking design adorned with intricate details that are both astonishing and bothersome. For one, the engraved style in its wheels and deck accumulate dust and dirt that are grueling to remove.

Unlike the Lenovo M2 Electric Scooter I test drove early this year, the X3 Pro uses a pair of tubeless tires. It’s the same tire you commonly see on automobiles.

A good thing about tubeless tires is that they’re more heavy-duty, and can keep up with your electric kick scooter’s performance. Tubeless tires are also puncture-resistant so you won’t have to worry about debris puncturing your beloved wheels.

It’s also undoubtedly stronger and can handle heavier load — both the deck and the tires. The X3 Pro has a maximum load of 120kg, so trust that it can carry you wherever you want to go.

The only con I would think about having a tubeless tire is how it can be a pain to have it repaired if it became flat or it badly needs to be changed.

But it shouldn’t be a big deal if you love riding on bicycles, scooters, and motorbikes. Or if you own one. The amount of love and care you’ll tend to those babies will be the same if you have the X3 Pro.

On its back, you can find the X3 Pro sporting a tail light that activates whenever you use the brakes. Speaking of brakes, the X3 Pro uses a double-brake system: an electronic brake on the front wheel and a disc brake on its rear.

Easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song

Since we’re talking about brakes, the brake lever can be found upfront, situated on the left side of the handlebar. There’s also a headlight — which lights up decently when used in a dark alley.

Further, there’s a bell that I rarely use because I end up sounding like an ice cream delivery guy. But it’s loud enough to warrant attention from commuters and people on the sidewalk.

In the middle, you can find the multi-functional power button and the control panel with a simple interface. The display isn’t that legible under extreme sunlight, so you might need to cover it up when you want to preview the panel. Or you can just find a shaded area.

You can also just download the CyberSoul app and connect the X3 Pro through Bluetooth. The app houses important information such as your total mileage, its battery state, a light switch just in case you don’t want to press the button, and an option to lock your scooter for security.

Just a heads-up, having the X3 Pro locked via the app doesn’t mean the EKS will be immovable. You can still move it and let its wheels roll, but you won’t be able to speed up and use the throttle. So, consider having a chain and padlock for security.

On the right side, you can find the hook that lets you lock the handlebar when folded and the throttle that lets you navigate the electric kick scooter.

Unlike other EKS, the X3 Pro doesn’t use gears. Rather, it has two speed modes to choose from: Relaxing mode and Sports mode. Relaxing mode limits the speed up to 5km/h only, perfect for strolling.

If you want to move faster, you just need to double press the power button to switch modes. Riding while in Sports mode increases the maximum speed up to 25 km/h.

Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes

Riding the X3 Pro was blissful and liberating. The electric kick scooter felt durable, safe, and stable every time I step on it. Its deck is larger than the decks from previous electric kick scooters I’ve used before.

Surprisingly, it feels lighter when I was riding it. It was easy steering the handlebar, which I deem essential when navigating curves, slopes, and uneven roads. The performance is impeccable and smooth, thanks to its 300W motor power (which has a maximum output of 600W).

To fully test the electric kick scooter’s capabilities, I went around my village where there are 40- to 60-degree slopes, along with uneven, cracked, and bumpy roads.

It’s the perfect spot for my test drives and I did it gracefully even when the roads are wet caused by torrential rains.

I’ve been an adventurous soul and despite the warnings that electric kick scooters shouldn’t be used on a slippery road, I still did it anyway.

The tubeless tires made a screeching noise, or what I call ‘the sounds of horror’ since the roads were too slippery for the wheels to handle. Despite that, I went downhill on a 40-degree slope.

We were flyin’, but we’d never get far

Riding down like a daredevil, the maximum speed went beyond 25 km/h — capping at 28 km/h. This made the lights flash a warning sign of overspeeding. But I still ignored it. At that time, I was the only one on the road and there were no pedestrians on sight.

But going uphill is another story. With a maximum of 24-degree incline, the X3 Pro struggled driving upwards. Its velocity deteriorated the higher I went — from 23 km/h on a 20-30 degree slope to 19 km/h as I move higher. Then, it alternated between 14 to 15 km/h while I was moving up around 50- to 60-degree slope.

If you didn’t build any momentum, the max velocity would play between 10 km/h to 11 km/h. Riders were laughing at how slow I’ve been going up when they pass by me, and some were even worried if the EKS’s motor can handle the drive.

Move to me like I’m a Motown beat

Moving forward, you need to find a sweet spot when using the throttle. Pressing hard would result in the electric kick scooter speeding up uncontrollably.

When you’re speeding up, especially on a flat surface, removing the pressure on the throttle won’t slow you down. However, putting light pressure on the brake lever would signal the brakes that you’re about to slow down.

Just don’t hit the brake suddenly lest you’ll slip up and possibly crash on a wall. It’s common sense for most motorists, but if you’re a beginner, consider this a heads-up.

On another note, your brake lever is your friend on a downhill ride. The electric kick scooter automatically speeds up when it detects movement on a downward slope, so you don’t need to use the throttle anymore. All you have to do is find the sweet spot for the brake as you slow down sliding on a slope.

Can I go where you go?

I had the CyberSoul X3 Pro for more than a month now, and it has been an excellent companion for short-distance trips. Whether it’s picking up an order at the entrance of our subdivision, or going on a stroll to visit neighborhood cafes.

But for what it’s worth, the X3 Pro can be your solution to the never-ending traffic and unstable transportation system. That is if you live in third-world countries.

Surprisingly, major roads have been adding designated bicycle lanes. The government has regulated electric kick scooters, too, as personal transportation for the average commuter.

My office is situated seven to eight kilometers away. A back-and-forth trip can accumulate a 16-kilometer range — still enough since the X3 Pro has a total range of 55km on a single charge. I’ve never fully drained the battery; the closest I get was having it down to 12 percent in which I realized I need to charge it.

You can fully amp up its juice by charging it for seven hours. I find that a bit slow for an electric kick scooter with only a 12,000mAh battery since most EKS has more. Nonetheless, the X3 Pro doesn’t have a lot of functions to tinker with or background processes that might drain the battery quickly.

It’s still a win for some, especially when you can last two days or more without constantly having your rideable plugged near a wall socket.

Take the long way home

Aside from having an aerospace-graded material, there’s also one feature that the CyberSoul X3 Pro gives me peace of mind: an IP rating.

With an IP55 rating for dust and water protection, the X3 Pro can handle the usual dust, dirt, mud, and drizzle of rain. But not enough to ride offroad and during heavy rains.

Of course, it’s ‘kwazy’ to even do that. The right thing to do is wait under a roof to protect you and your electric kick scooter. Case in point: motorists hiding under a footbridge during a sudden barrage of rain.

Having an IP rating gives comfort and security that the circuitry inside your rideable won’t unexpectedly shut down because it drizzled one day when you’re out riding on the streets.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

What I like the most about the CyberSoul X3 Pro is how it exudes an all-arounder vibe. It’s simple, easy to operate, functional, and a bit snazzy. The experience is dedicated to commuters who don’t want to use their last brain cells trying to figure out how to drive from one point to another. Which is remarkable, honestly. Especially for simpletons like yours truly.

It could very well be my GadgetMatch. And anyone who needs a personal mobility solution because they just need to take the matter of transportation into their very own hands. Or feet.

Of course, there are other options to choose from since we all have different needs and lifestyles. But whatever you choose, make sure you wear a decent helmet. And don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road. Lastly, drive safely.

The CyberSoul X3 Pro retails for PhP 26,990. In the Philippines, it’s distributed by Xiaomi Zone — a global authorized reseller available in Lazada.

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Enterprise

Marvin Agustin shares secrets to business survival during the pandemic

The digital entrepreneur highlights the value of listening to people and health investments

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Maxicare

“Healthcare is expensive.”

A one-liner quote from Captain Raymond Holt from the comically epic Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which struck a chord to Gina Linetti as she decides to part with the precinct in season six.

In this era, healthcare is indeed expensive — passing off as an indispensable investment. For serial entrepreneurs, healthcare plans seemed like an extra expense. That’s what celebrity chef and digital entrepreneur Marvin Agustin thought of, like any other entrepreneur. Especially when your business doesn’t make enough profit during the pandemic.

But a dawning realization struck Agustin similar to how Gina Linetti had a light bulb moment the instance she realized that healthcare is indeed expensive. Agustin knows that well.

Having to follow safety protocols and being overly cautious about the threat of COVID are points that gave him an idea to provide healthcare plans to all his employees.

A people-first mindset

“We won’t be able to operate if people, your employees, and your staff would get sick, and also not safe for the customers,” said the celebrity chef.

People. Employees. Marvin Agustin understands that businesses won’t thrive without their people. Despite being an “extra cost,” health plans were a surefire investment to keep his people safe, functional, and happy. In the end, the cost won’t be as high as compared to when your employees get hospitalized.

What bugs entrepreneurs are the availability of quality healthcare at a reasonable price. Agustin had believed that only big companies get to provide health plans, not until he chanced upon Maxicare. Surprisingly, the celebrity chef found a credible company offering affordable and convenient health plans for both him and his employees.

Maxicare

Not all quality healthcare is unreachable as many people perceived

Maxicare’s reputation has put off Agustin like many other entrepreneurs. The company seemed expensive and an extra expense — being 33 years in the business with over 1.6 million members, and widely accepted over 1,000 hospitals and clinics around the country.

But Maxicare has an array of healthcare plans, particularly tailored to small-to-medium enterprises. There are plans that are a lot less than PhP 21,000 — which is the average of healthcare expenses that SMEs spend on employees per year — and even as low as PhP 4,600 to PhP 6,000 per employee per year.

The computation can wrack a nerve as your expenses pile up which pushed most enterprises to shy away from healthcare plans. But in return, employees don’t get access to quality healthcare and businesses don’t get protection from unplanned expenses caused by unforeseen circumstances — diseases, pandemics, accidents, and so on.

The best investment for a growing business

Marvin Agustin understood this well: healthcare plans are an investment for employees and the business itself. The digital entrepreneur realized that when his employees are in tiptop shape, his businesses are more profitable.

Jennifer Haw, Operations Manager of Yummyverse Group and one of Agustin’s employees, revealed how relieved and happy she feels knowing she’s taken care of. She has highlighted the importance of having peace of mind brought by Maxicare through their affordable plans.

“We won’t be able to operate if people, your employees, and your staff would get sick.”

Haw advises not to be frugal to people since they’re the foundation of businesses. Haw even applauded Agustin, touting the healthcare plans as the celebrity chef’s best investment for his business so far.

And it has been paying off, especially in this pandemic where the food business has been disrupted and has taken on too many challenges that the industry is still trying to overcome. From the threat of contracting the virus in numerous transactions to the struggles of making a profit, to taking a toll on our mental health.

Surviving entrepreneurship

Despite the struggles Agustin has faced, he was glowing with optimism; seemingly ready to brave the future and whatever it holds. At least during the roundtable. I was giddy looking at his ostensibly never-aging face until a question sparked in my head: What would be his advice to entrepreneurs struggling in this pandemic, too?

Agustin brazenly responded to my question, hinting about the uncertainty of the future. “We don’t know what works. What we thought are our advantages? We’re all back to square one.”

“What is important now is we listen to the new challenges, to the people that we work with, to our audience — old and new. So that we will be able to navigate this pandemic and get out of it alive,” he added.

The celebrity chef highlighted the importance of patience and even asked people to meet him at the finish line, encouraging people to be strong so everyone can attain their goals.

He further added, “We have to listen. This is the perfect time to step back and really figure out anong importante sa inyo.” (We have to listen. This is the perfect time to step back and really figure out what’s important to you.)

Finding the right plan

Maxicare offers a variety of healthcare plans. There’s Maxicare Plus, a comprehensive HMO program for small businesses with 10-99 employees. For micro-businesses, there’s a Maxicare Starter Plan apt for 3-9 employees.

For a different kind of premium, Maxicare BusinessEssential is Maxicare SME’s most affordable offer. The plan has options to have an Outpatient Care Program or an Outpatient Care + Confinement Care HMO program for companies with 3-99 employees.

Maxicare understands that businesses are wary of its piling expenses, which is why they put it into consideration when they offered affordable premiums.

Micro-businesses can get a plan for as low as PhP 4,651 per employee per year. Meanwhile, small businesses can go as low as PhP 6,260 if they have 10-19 employees or PhP 5,301 for those with 20-99 employees.

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