Category Archives: IT /Tech

Plantronics Bluetooth Technology: Hands-free, at last

by Geraldine Rullan_Borromeo
(Manila, Philippines)

Being a lawyer on the run, I am beset with endless calls from the office and from my clients as I go from one meeting to another. Every time I step out of the office or outside my home, I am almost always constantly on my cellular phone.

When I was gifted by my husband, Vincent, with a Plantronics lightweight wireless headset, I lost the crick on my neck from where I cradle my phone during times I need both my hands to multitask.

And gone now are the ringing numbness in my ears after a long call and the nervous tick I get when I’m driving as I furtively hope the authorities won’t catch sight of me holding the phone in one hand while the other is on the steering wheel.

I use the sleek and lightweight Plantronics Marque M155 Bluetooth headset, which frees me to literally tap, type and swipe. When a call comes in, I just say “Answer” and I am in a call with no buttons to press. I can even listen to music, podcasts or GPS directions as I drive. Navigating the streets of the concrete jungle while holding a phone to my ear is now a thing of the past.

“Smartphone users want to harness the power of their phones to complement and simplify their busy lives,” said Elizabeth Hamren, vice president of Marketing, Plantronics. “The Marque lets them take advantage of the full range of their phone’s capabilities, even while talking or listening to music or a podcast, all in a great looking, super lightweight device.”

Alvin Kiew, senior regional manager, Southeast Asia, manages the company’s market development, channel distribution and customer growth strategies. Josh Doctolero, senior country manager for Plantronics B.V., Philippines, manages the Office and Contact Center (OCC) business with key accounts and major distribution channels in the Philippines.

Doctolero, a smart and savvy techno aficionado, who keeps track of every development in the communications technology, says that “the way we communicate says a lot about the way we live, the way we work and the way we play. Employing the power of communications allows us to live our lives fuller, work better and even have extra playtime.”

When one turns on the Plantronics Marque M155 Bluetooth headset, it steps you through a voice-guided pairing process for Android smartphones and iPhones. The free MyHeadset app also gives tips and tools to get more from the Plantronics Marque M155 which is available in either Jet Black or Arctic White.

Plantronics offers a complete family of corded and wireless products for unified communications. Widely recognized by the industry for their sound quality, reliability and comfort, Plantronics’ audio solutions help companies extend the benefits of IP communications.

Plantronics has active and collaborative partnerships with the leading UC providers for enterprise, including Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft, as well as consumer VoIP providers to ensure seamless interoperability with our product portfolio.

It has pioneered innovative trends in audio technology for over 50 years, creating new products that allow people to efficiently communicate with the use of unified communication solutions and Bluetooth headsets. Plantronics is used by every company in the Fortune 100, as well as 911 dispatch, air traffic control and the New York Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit www.plantronics.com or call (800) 544-4660.

Plantronics Simply Smarter Communications, MyHeadset, Marque and Vocalyst are trademarks or registered trademarks of Plantronics Inc. iPhone and Apple are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. The Bluetooth trademark is owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc. and any use of the mark by Plantronics Inc. is under license. All other trademarks are the property of the respective owners.

Plantronics – The man for the job

by Geraldine Rullan-Borromeo
(Manila City, Philippines)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Published in the Daily Tribune Life

Josh Doctolero, senior country manager for Plantronics BV PhilippinesJosh Doctolero (JD), senior country manager for Plantronics BV Philippines, recently received the 2012 APAC Competitive Excellence Award. How the contact center industry was served by Plantronics BV Philippines with Josh at the helm is a collaboration of forces that propelled the Philippines to garner the award. This writer asked him a few questions to peer into how he achieved this along with Plantronics distributors and key sales persons.

The Daily Tribune (TDT): What strategies did you employ to work toward excellence as shown by the award you won?

JD: Our strategies are very simple and have been time-tested. Firstly, we offer the right products that cater to the needs of contact centers and enterprises in terms of high quality; excellent audio clarity; global-standard noise cancelling features; ease of use; simplicity in design; and durability. Secondly, we don’t just sell headsets, we do “Value” selling by helping our clients and partners to understand that we are their preferred business partners in reaching their goals as we are not just a “headset vendor.”
Recently, we introduced to the market our very own software bundles (e.g. Spoke, My, Plantronics Enterprise Manager and Instant Meeting) in line with our Unified Communications product lines to provide more value and service to our customers. Lastly, we ensure that our customers and partners in the Philippines will have the same global support provided to our millions of satisfied customers worldwide.

TDT: How is the Philippine contact center industry growing as compared to its other Asian counterparts?

JD: The Philippines’ contact center industry overtook India last year. Considering that the Philippines’ population is one-tenth population as that of India, indeed, the growth is very consistent as more Filipino contact center agents now serve more offshore call centers in the country.
In other Asian countries like India, China and South Korea, the contact center industry had started growing rapidly about three to five years ago. I must say, they were ahead of us, specifically India and South Korea. However, locally, we have reached the point where all our key customers want our local channels to stock up for their one-year supply. This only proves the success of our products and the effectiveness of the value we provide to each satisfied customer.

TDT: Any unique experiences with Philippine contact centers?

JD: Indeed, it is more fun to handle the contact center accounts in the Philippines. I got accustomed to their sense of urgency; when they say, “I need our headsets today,” what they meant was, “We needed it yesterday.” We are always there to meet their urgent requirements as we continuously find ways to serve their fast-paced environment.

TDT: How popular is the Plantronics brand in the contact center industry in the Philippines?

JD: Eighteen out of the top 20 international contact centers in the Philippines use Plantronics headsets. In the US, 100 percent of Fortune 100 Companies use Plantronics.

Doctolero joined Plantronics in 2007. He is managing the Office and Contact Center (OCC) business with key accounts and major distribution channel in the Philippines. He used to be part of ETPI and ePLDT locally. He gained his global commercial sales working experience with PC-Suria Nascom (KL-MNL), Aptech Software (India) and MetaLink (Hawaii, USA).

Please insert your text here.Pinoy phone in fashion

by DINAH S. VENTURA
(Manila City, Philippines)

With patriotism “in fashion,” so to speak, the cell phone brand touted as the “Pinoy Phone” is stepping out and into the realm of fashion.

My|Phone, the first and only local brand that offers dual SIM mobility, recently launched its first so-called “pretty phone,” the S Q27 Duo. This fashion phone is ideal for ladies as it comes in white and is decorated with three Swarovski cubic zirconia stones for the Menu and Call buttons. It also has a mirror on the back for those quick checks and touch-ups!

According to Jingo Fermin, My|Phone president, the S Q27 Duo offers the local market with a stylish phone at a sensible price. Retailed at P5, 990.00 , this China-designed and -manufactured model is indeed an affordable choice for those who want their phone to have all the necessary features plus the added value of aesthetics.

“Its swivel action makes the phone sexier than the usual clams or sliders in the market. The S Q27 Duo has the vibe of the US version of the Sidekick, often seen in the hands of young Hollywood stars. The S Q27 Duo also boasts of a QWERTY keyboard, allowing texting convenience and encouraging proper spelling of words,” informs Solid Group, makers of My|Phone.

Solid Group Inc. ventured into the mobile phone industry in 2006 under the leadership of David S. Lim, son of the company’s founder, Elena Lim.

Fermin relates that the idea for My|Phone “grew from a favor for friends to try out a local mobile phone brand in an attempt to join the playing field of established giants such as Nokia, Samsung and Motorola.”

“We started with sales of 3,000 units with a high of 6,000 during Christmas season. Now sales range from 30,000 to 33,000 per month,” Fermin proudly reveals. “In September 2007, we had three models only, now we have 14 SKUs.” Among these is the latest model, which is a tri-band, dual active SIM mobile phone.

The S Q27 Duo is also imbued with Bluetooth, 2.0MP camera, FM radio, calendar, notes and alarm, as well as an expandable memory card slot of up to 8GB so it can also act as a personal music box. Earphones come with the package.

Fermin says the concept for the phone was developed by the company’s Research and Development team in China. The group, he said, “collaborated with Swarovski with the objective of combining technology and jewelry and producing a high fashion electronic accessory.”

To launch the fashion phone, a star-studded event was held at the Fashion Walk of Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati. Professional models showcased creations by top designers Chris Diaz, Francis Libiran, Louis Claparols, Noel Crisostomo, Joey Samson, Joel Escober and Randy Ortiz, which highlighted glittering details to evoke the new phone’s stylish sensibilities.

As a special part of the night, My|Phone brand ambassador Anne Curtis was introduced at the end of the fashion show. Beautiful, successful and very proud of her Filipino roots, Anne is “the quintessential user of S Q27 Duo,” the brand representatives announced.

In the competitive mobile phone landscape, Fermin notes, My|Phone “won’t compete with features, but in customized content.”

A software exclusively created for MyPhone contains a gamut of data such as recipes, jokes, Filipino quotes and trivia and even prayers in audio format – “Pinoy-ready,” Fermin adds, explaining they took into account the qualities that Filipinos commonly possess, such as being madasalin (prayerful), matawanin (humorous), mahilig kumain (passionate about food and eating) and mahilig sa kasaysayan at sining (interested in history and the arts).

These contents not only make the MyPhone models unique, but also close to the Filipino heart.

Cory Scholarship Program

My|Phone values the role of women in society and recognizes the potential of young, dynamic and independent ladies who may play major roles in steering the country to success. In this light, My|Phone ties up with the Ninoy Cory Aquino Foundation to lend support to its advocacy of nurturing little Corys through a scholarship program that will support the educational needs of chosen young Filipino women.

The CORY (Community of Responsible Youth) Scholarship Program reflects My|Phone’s belief in the ideals espoused by former president Cory Aquino and other great women leaders like her such as Solid Group’s Elena Lim. Through hard work and a strong sense of purpose and determination, they have left a meaningful and lasting legacy. Also, the CORY Scholarship Program reinforces Jose Rizal’s vision of the youth being the future of this country.

My|Phone’s CSR effort is a powerful affirmation of the goal of bringing women to the forefront of all major arenas in life — from fashion and sports, to business and academics. It sustains the conviction that women can do anything, and with style!

The great Blu way

by DINAH S. VENTURA
(Manila City, Philippines)

There was a time you could watch movies in cinemas anytime you wanted because it was cheaper then and the concept of home theaters hadn’t yet been born.

Then the entry of the VCR then made it possible for people to watch movies in their own time and right in the comfort of their homes. Yet even when the VCR gave way to the DVD player, not everybody could afford to have cinema-quality screens and sound systems set up in their homes.

And when the DVD player became more affordable, piracy reared its ugly head. It became a problem not just for the film and music industry, but also to audio-visual manufacturers, who soon discovered that while they could not control counterfeiting, they could race ahead with quality.

Today, true-blue quality aficionados know that Blu-ray technology is the way to go. Blu-ray is the current standard for high-definition (HD) viewing. Blu-ray is the optical disc format that has a much larger storage capacity that the average DVD, thereby allowing better viewing quality. It also uses a blue-violet laser instead of the usual red laser to read and write data, thus the name. See sidebar

Although the Blu-ray disc has been around for a few years, it has not enjoyed as much popularity as the DVD. A Blu-ray disc nowadays costs about P1, 500 to P1, 700, says Sherwin dela Cruz, owner of TradePort, an e-mall.

“Blu-ray right now is still prohibitive in price, so as a way of expanding the market, we thought of offering the Bu-ray Blockbuster promo,” says Sugar Santiago, head of Marketing and Communications – AV, Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation (SEPCO). Samsung has partnered with TradePort E-Solutions, Inc. to launch the Samsung BluPass Promo, an innovative way of renting out high-quality Blu-ray movies.

“It is the first time we are having a promo like this. Instead of offering free additional items with every purchase of the specified Samsung products in the promo, we are giving this free rental pass so that customers can rent Blu-ray movies for free,” explains Jane Ortega-Viola, SEPCO product manager for AV and Plasma.

Samsung information reveals that from Aug. 15 to Dec. 31, 2011, customers nationwide who purchase a Samsung Blu-ray player (BD-D5100 or BD-D5500) or Samsung Flat Panel TV (LED, LCD and Plasma TV, 40” and up) that comes with a Blu-ray player package will automatically receive a Samsung BluPass card.

Within 30 days from date of purchase, they must then go online and register their purchase and BluPass card in order to avail of the service. Upon registration, one may now access their BluBox where they must choose at least 10 titles at a time. This is because the BluPass program has an automatic allocation depending on priority and availability of the titles. The Samsung BluPass rental is unlimited, provided that the card is still valid and the delivery location is within Metro Manila or the nearby provinces (such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal).

The Blu-ray discs will be delivered by a TradePort messenger right at your doorstep without any extra cost. “If you order before 5 p.m., you can have the disc the next day. You can only rent one disc each time,” Sherwin adds. There are about 500 titles currently available at TradePort.

“The promo is a privilege that allows its subscribers to rent high-quality regular and 3D Blu-ray titles from a vast online library of movies, and audio-visual entertainment for free,” says Amby Navarro-Molina, SEPCO head for Product Marketing Group for AV.
Jan Roman, SEPCO product manager, Flat Panel TV, reiterates, “With this promo, we are empowering customers to purchase the Blu-ray player, with the most affordable unit in the market today, at P6, 690.”

The Samsung BluPass is the ticket to unparalleled movie viewing experience right in your own home.

What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray (not Blue-ray) also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a new optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it’s possible to fit more data on the disc even though it’s the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB. Recent development by Pioneer has pushed the storage capacity to 500GB on a single disc by using 20 layers.

Blu-ray is currently supported by about 200 of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has support from all Hollywood studios and countless smaller studios as a successor to today’s DVD format. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month.

Source: www.blu-ray.com/info/

Lusting for an Apple

by DINAH S. VENTURA
(Manila City, Philippines)

My information technology diet consists solely of vitamin-deficient, processed units that offer basic nourishment writers like me require in a day’s work. Beyond the requisite Word, Internet and the occasional bite of someone else’s Pagemaker, I have never really tasted the gourmet delights of McIntosh Apples, aside from a nibble here and there some years back before the sweet little invention called laptop came to be.

But now I am craving for the latest recipe to come out of the McIntosh table: the Apple iBook. I couldn’t help it. When Apple gave us a sizzling preview of the newly designed MacBook, the apple chefs said that its “the world’s most advanced consumer notebook featuring the Intel Core Duo processor and a gorgeous, new 13-inch glossy widescreen display.”

I was drooling. It was an IT dieters dream: at just about one-inch thin, the new MacBook is “20 percent thinner” than the iBook, yet it is “up to five times faster than the iBook, and up to four times faster than the 12-inch PowerBook,” they continued.

Imagine that! Power in stilettos, I call it.

In other words, this nifty little thing renders the iBook and Powerbook practically obsolete, with such a power arsenal that includes such French-sounding ingredients like: “Intel Core Duo processors; a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go; breakthrough Front Row media experience with Apple Remote; and several advanced features including DVI with dual display support, optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor, Scrolling TrackPad and MagSafePower Adapter.”

According to the proud Apple chefs, the new Macbook, together with the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros, “completes Apple’s Intel-based portables lineup and replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook.”

“Apple began the transition to Intel Core Duo-based notebooks in February with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and now just 90 days later we have completed the transition with the release of the all new MacBook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The complete MacBook lineup leads the industry with Apple’s trademark innovative design and advanced mobile features — from top to bottom it is the best notebook line that we have ever offered,” he adds.

With prices starting at just P70,790, the MacBook lineup includes three models: a 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz MacBook in a newly designed, sleek, white enclosure and a 2.0 GHz MacBook in a stunning new black enclosure. I don’t know about you, but I am determined to try on a little 1.83 GHz unit myself. A few more months of a strict shopping diet and I’m all set!

According to the Apple chefs, the new MacBook also has “a completely new system architecture including a 667 MHz front-side bus and 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2GB.” As if that weren’t enough to spice up your Apple, it also boasts of “a display that is 79 percent brighter than the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook.”

This mean, my fellow IT dieters, that “the MacBook provides incredibly crisp images with richer colors, deeper blacks and significantly greater contrast. At a resolution of 1280 x 800, the MacBook display provides 30 percent more viewing area than the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook,” as concocted by the Apple chefs.

And the icing on your Apple pie? The Apple chefs share that “Every new MacBook comes with a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing on-the-go using Apple’s award-winning iChat AV, or recording a video Podcast or iMovie using iLife ’06. MacBook also includes Photo Booth, Apple’s fun-to-use application that lets users take quick snapshots with the built-in iSight video camera, add entertaining visual effects and share their pictures with the touch of a button. The new MacBook gives customers a simple way to enjoy their digital lifestyle content wherever they go, including music, photos and videos from across the room using the Apple Remote. With Front Row, users can effortlessly access shared iTunes’ playlists, iPhoto libraries and video throughout their home via Bonjour, Apple’s zero configuration wireless networking built into Mac OS X.”

I mean, duh! What more can you ask for, right?

Of course, here’s the ultimate topping: the Apple chefs say that your MacBook is designed to “withstand the rigors of life on the go,” since it “comes with Apple’s MagSafe Power Adapter, created especially for mobile users that makes charging the notebook’s battery easier than ever by magnetically coupling the power cord to the MacBook. The MagSafe Power Adapter safely disconnects from the notebook when there is strain on the power cord, helping to prevent the notebook from falling off its work surface. Every MacBook also includes Apple’s Sudden Motion Sensor that is designed to protect the hard drive in case of a fall, and all MacBooks include a Scrolling TrackPad to easily scroll through long web pages or pan across large photographs.” Just don’t pour coffee on it, of course!

And blah, blah, blah – the MacBook is equipped with amazing high-performance connectivity options, such as “built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11g WiFi for up to 54 Mbps fast wireless networking, built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), two USB 2.0 ports, combination analog and optical digital audio input and output ports, and a mini-DVI video output to connect up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.”

Need more sugar?, asks the Apple chefs who state that “Every MacBook includes iLife ’06, the next generation of Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and iWeb, a new iLife application that makes it super-easy to create amazing websites with photos, blogs and Podcasts and publish them on .Mac for viewing by anyone on the Internet with just a single click.”

Of course, the Apple chefs add that “all the iLife ’06 applications run natively on the new Intel-based MacBooks for maximum performance, and every MacBook also comes with the latest release of the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X version 10.4.6 “Tiger” including Safari, Mail, iCal, iChat AV, Front Row and Photo Booth, running natively on Apple’s Intel-based notebook line.”

Proving its edge over all animal prints in fashion land, Apple’s Mac OS X Tiger “includes an innovative software translation technology called Rosetta that lets customers run most Mac OS X PowerPC applications seamlessly,” the Apple chefs continue.

Best of all, Apple is vitamin-enriched, which virus-averse IT dieters like me would choose any day.