Enterprise

Philippine Internet turns 22 today, but it hasn’t aged a lot

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Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the Philippines’ connection to the World Wide Web, which might set off waves of nostalgia for some of you who may be old enough to remember the infancy of Internet culture in the country. 

I can hardly remember when I first hooked up my computer using a prepaid dial-up service — Internet cards were all the rage back in the early 2000’s — but I’m certain my use of the Internet involved a lot of time spent listening to the now-iconic modem handshake tone and waiting, and then more waiting. Oh, how I wish I could get all those idle hours back. (Insert situational GIF here.)

But enough about me, let’s talk about how where the Philippines is right now in terms of Internet adoption. Spoiler alert: Things don’t look rosy if the latest State of the Internet Report by networking-services company Akamai Technologies is to be believed. In fact, judging by how local Internet service providers have performed the past quarter, you could argue that the Philippines hasn’t matured enough with time. Which is a bit like saying the rest of the world has moved on to HTML5, whereas we’re still collectively living in the Adobe Flash Player era. Or that we’re rooting for Michael Jordan and the 90’s Chicago Bulls to win the NBA championship in 2016.

Akamai State of the Internet Report Q4 2015

PH ranks second-worst in terms of average download speed in the Asia-Pacific region

The Philippines, based on Akamai’s Q4 2015 survey, has the second-worst average broadband connection speed in the Asia-Pacific region, barely besting only India (3.2Mbps vs. 2.8Mbps). The country’s peak download speed of 27Mbps also trails most of its Asian neighbors, with only China and India faring worse. On a slightly positive note, the numbers have improved drastically year-over-year, which might indicate better days are ahead. Or at least I’d like to think so, what with the proliferation of residential fiber-broadband access and increasing competition between service providers. And I don’t mean the kind of competition that’s led to Australian telecom giant Telstra waving the white flag on a joint venture with San Miguel Corporation, as unfortunate as the situation with the local telecom industry is.

Speed is the metric by which consumers judge ISPs — and this holds true even for the nation with the second-slowest Internet speed in all Asia. Thankfully, more and more broadband companies are learning that lesson, as shown by the recent surge in fiber-network rollouts since the previous year. Akamai estimates around 2 percent of broadband subscribers in the Philippines are able to connect to the Internet at speeds higher than 10Mbps, which represents a triple-digit growth (from a low base) compared to the same period a year ago. So what’s the takeaway from all of this? We’re not where we want to be, but the industry is moving somewhat in the right direction, if at a snail’s pace. Which means it could be some time before things get much better.
Source: Akamai
Image credit: The Taft Life

Computers

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is like a digital whiteboard from the future

We’ll have one for our office, please

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Are you familiar with the Microsoft Surface Hub? Well, we can’t blame if you’re not because that huge piece of touchscreen computer didn’t make its way to homes, but rather to offices. Unlike other Surface products, the Surface Hub was meant for workplace collaboration to practically replace the good old whiteboard.

Despite being a crazy expensive digital whiteboard, here we are now with its second version. The Microsoft Surface Hub 2 is a much improved gigantic touchscreen designed to be placed on a wall or on wheels.

Compared to the first version, the Surface Hub 2 has drastically reduced bezels. It basically looks like a 50.5-inch 4K+ modern TV in 3:2 aspect ratio that can be rotated with a slight push. Surprisingly, the video camera is now gone from the main device and you’ll need to plug a webcam above or beside (depending on the orientation) the display for video conferences. As for the stylus, it magnetically attaches to the sides of the panel.

It’s quite hard to put our awe into words, so we’ll show you the concept video of what you can do with the new Surface Hub 2:

You can see that the device is so fluid in the office. You can hook it up to a wall, put it on a rolling case, or create a wall of Surface Hubs and transform it into an art piece when not in use.

Since the device is designed to be used by multiple people, users can easily log in using the side fingerprint reader and pull up their account. They’ll be able to find all their documents, data, and accept calls through the Surface Hub 2.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 used for video conference | Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 used for collaboration in workspaces | Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft will start testing the Surface Hub 2 with partners later this year. You can expect to see these in corporate offices and maybe commercial spaces in 2019. Pricing details were not announced, but it’ll not come cheap just like its predecessor which goes for US$ 9,000.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft introduces more powerful Surface Book 2 in two sizes

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Enterprise

Airtel and Huawei conduct India’s first 5G network trial

This is a huge step for the country as its 4G service is ranked world’s slowest

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Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel and Chinese equipment maker Huawei said that they have conducted India’s first 5G network trial achieving over 3 gigabits per second data speed. Huawei said in a statement that both the companies “have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test setup.”

The trial was conducted at Airtel’s network experience center in Gurgaon, which is just an arm’s length away from the nation’s capital. “This is a small but a very significant step in our journey towards 5G,” Bharti Airtel Director of Network, Abhay Savargaonkar said. “The promise of 5G is endless. It will be a game changer and will change the way we live, work, and engage.”

During the test trial, a user throughput of more than 3Gbps was achieved using the setup. This is the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in the 3.5GHz band with a 100MHz bandwidth and end-to-end network latency of approximately 1msec.

 

The coming of 5G services in India is likely to open up gates for diversified services enjoyed by developed countries like augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), 4K streaming, and more. India plans to roll out the services for consumers by 2020 and for this purpose, the government even set up a high-level forum to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans for the same.

“We have been focusing on developing the 5G ecosystem,” Huawei Director of Wireless Marketing Emmanuel Coelho Alves said. “The show with Bharti Airtel impressively demonstrates the performance capability of 5G in the 3.5GHz band.”

Mobile industry analytics firm OpenSignal notes that India only experienced an “explosion” in 4G use last year, thanks largely to a free calling and cheap data price war sparked by entrant Jio.

OpenSignal’s February 2018 global LTE report ranked India dead last in 4G speeds, despite the great availability of 4G signals around the country. Indian customers could expect an average 4G speed of only 6.07Mbps — 10Mbps lower than the global average of 16.9Mbps.

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Enterprise

Microsoft now supports email addresses in 15 Indian languages

More than a billion people in India do not speak English

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Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 Indian languages across its apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online, and Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

The initiative by Microsoft comes on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on February 21 every year. The company is also making efforts to support Email Address Internationalization (EAI), which makes technology accessible in local languages.

The 15 Indian languages supported for email addresses include Hindi, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Maithili, Marathi, Manipuri, Nepali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. These languages are a part of the IN Registry that keeps a record of languages in which IDNs can be stored.

An Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is an Internet domain name that contains a language-specific script or alphabet — such as Devanagari, Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Tamil, Hebrew, or Latin Alphabets. They also support Unicode, an international standard that encodes languages and scripts so that it’s accessible on practically any modern computer out there.

Speaking on the addition of support for these languages, Microsoft India COO Meetul Patel said that the move represents a step forward in eliminating language as a barrier to the adoption of technology and communication tools. “Currently, Indian languages are under-represented online. Of the 447 different languages spoken in India, none make it to the list of top 50 digital languages,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Starting with Project Basha in 1998, Microsoft has been working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft currently supports 22 constitutionally recognized Indian languages — including 11 Indian language scripts for Office and Windows.

As a member of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, the company says it will continue to extend support to languages and scripts, including right-to-left languages like Urdu and Arabic.

Google, too, had a launch on International Mother Language Day, and introduced Tamil language support for its advertising products Google AdWords and Google AdSense.

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