Pinoy tech: Games, apps, gadgets and other innovations
Eden Estopace (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - We hear ‘U’ well. There is a dearth of locally made games, apps, and gadgets. In some ways, this undermines our self-esteem. Can we ever move away from just being consumer to becoming producer, inventor, or provider of tech goods and services? If not for the world, maybe just for a hundred million people?

We say: there may be a few, but there are locally produced technologies and they need your love. Once in a while, we need to brag about our tech swag. 

Not just another horror game

Halloween is over but here’s a game that would feed your need for mystery and suspense all-year-round because as the game makers themselves say, “We all love a little horror and thrill in our lives.”

NightFall by Zeenoh Games is a first-person survival horror game based on, believe it or not, Philippine folklore. You guessed it: you would have to deal with mythical creatures like the aswang, paring pugot, manananggal and the quintessential white lady. 

If you have a taste for the macabre, then role-play the part of Ara Cruz, an aspiring female journalist who decided to investigate an abandoned mansion where many people allegedly went missing. Forget about ‘Silent Hill’ and ‘Resident Evil,’ this could be your own version of ‘Shake, Rattle, and Roll’.

Zeenoh Games is an all-Filipino company with an all-Filipino game design team. Nightfall has been presented in various gaming conventions such as the Tokyo Game Show and has now reached over 10,000 downloads via http://www.nightfallhorror.com.

Mobile app for PWDs

For teenagers Marian Elaine Deceives and Charmaine Aubrey Galindez of Bansud National High School-Regional Science High School for MIMAROPA, hanging out with their computers has a purpose: mastering the art of writing code.

Their work – an Android mobile app for the hearing-impaired – was their official entry to the  Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits, which coincided with the Southern Luzon Cluster Science and Technology Fair held in Puerto Princesa City last September.

The app, “I Hear U”, is basically an instant messaging system that helps people with hearing impairment communicate via fingerspelling or using alpha and numerical systems through hand gestures. The app has icons showing the various dactyl or hand gestures representing letters and numerals to spell out words to relay messages. 

From its main menu, users can choose from Normal or Deaf configurations. The Deaf option shows a keypad with various finger gesture icons with the equivalent alphabet subscripts.

Though the app is still in its very early stage of development, DOST said the app was demonstrated at the Gloria Central School and Juan Morente Sr. Memorial Pilot School in Oriental Mindoro and based on the evaluation of 30 users in the Special Education class, it was found to be easy to use, with accurate and fast data transferring capability.  

Say Croo

There is something about urban life (at least in this side of the world) that makes us feel the need to constantly watch our backs). Now a gadget may be able to help assuage some of that fear.

One of the tech startups being supported this year by tech incubator IdeaSpace Foundation invented a wearable safety button that informs people about the user’s location during an emergency.

Croo collects, analyze and verify data from other Croo users to identify which areas are danger-prone. With the data presented in the heat map, Croo says they can help users plan their route and take the necessary precautions when traveling.

The user’s phone can send an SMS to emergency contacts containing the user’s current location and informing them that you are in danger. 

Team members Ralph Chua, Arisa Ochavez, JL Dimla, Arvin Tomacruz, Jayvic San Antonio and Riza Talavera showcased the prototype during the IdeaSpace Demo Day held recently. Tomacruz said in an email that they will start pre-selling soon.

Anahaw retail POS

Local retailers may want to try this Filipino-made fully integrated, browser-based retail software system that was launched last month.

Michael Lim, chief executive officer, Exist Software Labs, said the end-to-end retail solution was designed with the Filipino market in mind and caters to the unique needs of small, medium and large enterprises.

The retail suite called Anahaw offers point-of-sale, inventory and merchandising management, CRM and marketing, reporting and analytics, and financial management capabilities. It has three basic offerings: a basic PoS solution, an enterprise retail suite with full functionality that includes store management, back office, reporting and accounting functions; and a custom-developed software tailored for specific needs.

Founded in 2011, Exist Global is a global software development and technology consulting company that builds technologies and solutions for enterprises. In 2006, it received the Red Herring Asia 100 award as one of the promising startups that will lead the next wave of disruption and innovation. In 2008, it was awarded the Most Progressive Homegrown Company in the field of Software Development by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Over the years, it has done major works for many industries including banking, telecommunications, and health care. In the retail space, among its biggest clients is French multinational retailer Carrefour, which was franchised by Transmart in Jakarta. In 2013, Exist Global built their POS, vendor management and CRM. The solutions were deployed in Carrefour stores in Jakarta.

Lim said Anahaw’s advantage, aside from its end-to-end functionality, is its ability to grow with any business and local IT support. “What we built here and what we built in the past for other verticals is always open for expansion, more features, and it is something that can always evolve,” he said.

ACIRC ANAHAW ARA CRUZ ARISA OCHAVEZ ARVIN TOMACRUZ CROO DEMO DAY DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EXIST GLOBAL STRONG ZEENOH GAMES
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