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Outsource Web, Mobile and Software Development

Unknown to many, it is now possible to outsource developer jobs. As an entrepreneur, you can outsource the whole function of IT development, so that you can focus on your companies’ core competencies. Outsourcing is highly advisable especially if you are not adept with web, mobile and software development. Here’s why you should consider outsourcing.

 

 

Why Outsource Web, Mobile and Software Development

Outsource or do it in-house?

Hiring an experienced developer can be expensive, particularly for residents of a First World country. Aside from the salary, you also spend on recruiting costs, onboarding, employee benefits, and continuous training. Furthermore, your developer needs his office space, table, chair, computer, and other equipment.

If you have a big project, you need to hire many developers and a project manager to supervise the entire development project. However, the expense doesn’t stop there as development costs can skyrocket, eat up a big slice of your budget, and even lower your net profits.

Web or mobile development

Plus, that’s only just the basic components of development. Depending on what needs to be developed — web, mobile, or software — you may need to hire other specialists, purchase a specific set of equipment and tools, and spend a more considerable sum of money.

Aside from the developers, there’s also the need to hire a quality assurance expert, business consultant, and UX specialist — who are experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled. Do take note that when it comes to hiring people with a higher level of experience and skills, the cost such as salary and benefits goes up.

Once, you do decide to build an in-house team of developers, a considerable amount of your time will be spent in screening job applicants who have the expertise and skill set that you need. Hiring alone takes a huge chunk of your time, and even if you’ve got a department to take care of the process — you, as the company owner, always end up making the final decision.

The challenges don’t stop there because once you start hiring experienced professionals, there’s another job of monitoring their work, giving feedback, testing and making sure that app, web, or software development strictly follows the set schedule. Also, there’s the job of ensuring that development is still within the budget. More often than not, development costs exceed the limit because of revisions and glitches.

Going through hiring and monitoring a development team, to purchasing all the equipment needed can be taxing on your part as a business owner. Apparently, you spend a lot of time in this department alone that you neglect the core activities of your company.

Outsourcing software development

Managing development projects can eat up much of your time as you need to become as hands-on as possible. Chances are, you spend less time on activities that are vital to the growth of the company such as searching for new leads and closing more business deals. As the business owner, you need to focus on matters that are more important — and the most vital task of all is managing the entire company, not just one department.

Rather than opting to create an in-house development team, choose to outsource it to a proficient IT company. Outsourcing web, mobile, and software development have become quite the norm, all thanks to the advent of the Internet. Plus, by outsourcing, there’s more time to work on strengthening your business’ vision, realizing its goals, improving its services, and creating better products for your clients.

Advantages to Outsourcing Web, Mobile and Software Development

  • Up to 70% savings
  • Certified App Developers
  • English Proficient
  • WordPress Experts
  • UI/UX Specialists
  • Process Engineers
  • Website Optimization
  • CRM, CMS, ERP Solutions
  • Enterprise Softwares
  • Java, Python, C#, PHP Coders
  • Android/iOS Developers
  • High-quality Programming
  • Database Architecture

Outsourced Web, Mobile, and Software Development Jobs, and Roles

· Mobile App Developer

The market for a mobile app is growing; thus, the demand for developers is growing faster. There is a growing number of mobile app developers that you can hire for your project. Many of these developers have the skills and experience to develop your mobile app.

A mobile application developer knows various platforms for tablets and smartphones. Moreover, this is someone who is adept at using different operating systems, has an excellent understanding of multiple computer languages, and can cooperate with computer engineers and analysts to create and develop a mobile app.

Among the responsibilities and duties of an app developer is to create, install, and maintain the source code.  Also, the app developer can design prototypes, help the app development team in planning, and providing the unit structure.

· Game Developer

A game developer designs and creates video games for consoles and computers, and is someone who conceptualizes and executes game creation. At the very least, a game developer must have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or any related field.

As someone adept in all aspects of game creation, such as conceptualization, story writing, coding, and programming, a game developer should have experience in visual arts, production, design, and audio.

Game developers must also be able to create storylines and biographies of characters, conduct design reviews, and design role-play mechanics, as well as develop prototypes — all while documenting the entire process.

· Software Developer

A software developer handles the design, testing, installation, and maintenance of software systems. In addition, a software developer writes and codes individual programs, and provides an entire resource for new software. This guy ensures that the programs you use for your business are efficient and error-free.

If you want to outsource software development, you must ensure that the developer reviews your current systems first. After the review, system improvements are suggested before work is done with designers and IT analysts.

The outsourced software developer produces specifications in detail and writes program codes. Other tasks include testing software application before it goes live, preparing the user manual, and maintaining the system to ensure that it is up and running.

· iOS Developer

The iOS developer handles the creation and maintenance of applications for Apple devices, and ensures quality, performance, and responsiveness of applications. In addition, this is someone who can develop iOS apps and integrate them with back-end services. Like other roles in development, an iOS developer works with other engineers on various infrastructure layers. The collaborate in the creation result to quality applications.

Among the skills required of an iOS developer are Swift, Objective-C, and Cocoa Touch skills. The developer must have experience with Core Animation, Core Data, and other iOS frameworks. Besides, iOS developers must have experience in performance tuning, threading, and offline storage, and must be familiar with RESTful APIs, UI/UX standards, and other web technologies.

· Android Developer

An Android developer is someone who can design and develop applications for the Android platform. As a “full stack” developer, this developer takes charge of the project from the design phase to the submission phase. With an understanding of UI/UX trends, android developers can easily incorporate this in the application.

Furthermore, the Android developer performs unit testing to ensure robustness and usability, conducts testing for general reliability and edge cases, and works with outside data sources and APIs. Like an iOS developer, an Android developer provides improved performance and error fixing, and evaluates, discovers, and implements new technologies to maximize the app efficiency.

· Website Developer

Adept in computer programming and graphic design, the web developer designs, codes, and layouts your website depending on your specifications. After creating your site, a website developer assists, maintains, and upkeeps it; and has experience in planning and delivery of applications across different platforms.

With a working knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML/XHTML, a website developer must be an efficient coder to be able to create websites using standard practices. As someone who works with web programmers and designers, a website developer should be able to properly communicate with other stakeholders to be able to develop and deploy content.

Furthermore, the developer must know server architecture and server-side frameworks like ASP.NET, ASP, Java, PHP, Ruby, and python. Website developers are also tasked with researching new technologies and maintaining software documentation. Moreover, in case of the website down times, a developer must always have a contingency plan.

· CRM Developer

A CRM developer deploys, customizes, and integrates CRM in the business. Moreover, this type of developer creates and maintains the platform map, customizes the system to ensure the business meets its needs, and can integrate existing services and systems into the CRM architecture.

Like app and web developers, the CRM developer collaborates with business analysts, other application developers, IT professionals, and software architects.

CRM developers must have a degree in Computer Science or other related disciplines. In addition, this developer is proficient and experienced in developing, customizing, deploying and integrating CRM with other business systems; and has experience in installation and deployment of CRM.

· Full Stack Developer

A full stack developer handles both front and back-end development of the website. So, a full understanding of the different programming languages and databases such as PHP, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript is necessary.

The full stack developer has experience in converting graphic designs to virtual element, and is someone who understands and implements security and data protection. Moreover, this developer is knowledgeable in all web development stages and works with other developers and engineers.

Capable of designing the web application architecture, a full stack developer ensures responsiveness and maintains website quality. Furthermore, a full stack developer works well with the entire engineering team in the design, as well as the launch of new website features.

· WordPress Developer

If you want to outsource your WordPress development, you must find someone who can create WordPress themes and plugins. This person must be able to handle front-end and back-end development, and has experience and expertise in various programming languages like PHO, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Moreover, a WordPress developer should be knowledgeable of website aesthetics.

Part of the duties and responsibilities of a WordPress Developer include the design and implementation of new functionality and features. Your chosen developer must be able to guide and establish the architecture of the website, and ensure availability and high performance of CMS technical aspects.

A WordPress developer helps in formulating a responsive and practical design, and transforms it into a working plugin and theme.

· Backend Developer

If you are looking for a back-end web developer, you need to search for someone who can integrate front-end functionalities with server-side web logic. The backend developer writes APIs and web services used by mobile app and front-end developers, focuses on the development of all server-side definition and logic, and maintains the central database.

An efficient back-end developer integrates the server-side logic and the user-interface elements, creates reusable libraries and codes, and optimizes the application for scalability and speed. Also, this developer ensures data protection and security, as well as designs and implements data storage solutions.

Apart from working on the backend development, this developer ensures responsiveness to front-end requests and high performance, and integrates front-end elements into the application.

When it comes to web, mobile and software development, there are different jobs and roles that you can outsource so that you can focus on activities that can boost your business. For all IT-related applications for your business, now is the time to outsource.

· SaaS Developer

A good SaaS developer is someone who is adept at web technology. He develops cloud-hosted applications that people can use. The software can be an accounting application or a CRM application. It can also be a content management platform or a collaboration tool. Whatever the application is, the SaaS developer can develop it.

If you want to outsource your SaaS development, you need to search for someone who can design, code and set up the software. This person must be able to debug procedures and perform routine testing as required.

However, you need to keep in mind that SaaS development differs from your regular programming. An experienced SaaS developer knows scalability, software architecture, security, service, and dynamic infrastructure.

The following skills are essential to an excellent SaaS developer:

  • advanced IT Skills
  • attention to detail
  • application support and maintenance
  • innovation
  • problem-solving
  • organizational skills
  • software knowledge
  • trend awareness
  • time management

· UI/UX Specialist

If you are searching for a UI/UX Specialist, you need to find one who has the appropriate work experience. He must have a college diploma in Computer Science, Design, or any related field. In addition, a UI/UX Specialist must have a portfolio of design projects, excellent time management skills, strong communication skills, knowledge of wireframe tools, and updated knowledge of design software.

A UI/UX Designer gathers and evaluates user requirements, and collaborates with product engineers and managers. He illustrates his design ideas through sitemaps, process flows, and storyboards.

Furthermore, a UI/UX designer should be good at designing elements of graphic user interfaces such as widgets, tabs, and menus. He should also be capable of making software that’s easy-to-use and creating appealing and functional application features.

· Process Engineers

A Software Process Engineer has a deep understanding of tools, practices, and concepts used in software development. He works with other stakeholders in identifying opportunities and issues to support the development team.

The Software Engineer creates well-scoped and clear problem statements and pursues projects to completion. Moreover, he facilitates the adaption of content, standards, and processes within the organization.

If you are looking for a Software Process Engineer, you must search for one who has strong leadership ability, technical expertise, creativity, communication skills, and initiative. This person must have at least a college diploma in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or any related field. He has professional experience in software development and a demonstrated ability to communicate and collaborate with other teams.

When it comes to web, mobile and software development, there are different jobs and roles that you can outsource so that you can focus on activities that can boost your business. For all IT-related applications for your business, now is the time to outsource.

More reasons to outsource offshore than just the cost

A Google search for “Why should I offshore?” will give you a plethora of search results with a very common theme, “reduce costs”. While this isn’t incorrect, it is one of many reasons to consider offshoring. This article will explore a handful of reasons, not directly related to costs, that may encourage you to consider offshoring.

Access to talent

To put things into perspective, in 2016, Australia had a total of 14.5 million residents who were of working age (Australian Beauro of Statistics). Comparatively metro Manila, akin to Greater Sydney had 5.6 million residents of working age (Philippine Statistics Authority) and the offshoring market has grown significantly outside of Metro Manila in locations such as Cebu and Baguio. Across the Philippines, their are over 41 million residents of working age (Philippine Statistics Authority). Now it is important to note that none of these statistics breaks down workers expertise or industry but it does provide context about the differences in populations.

Cultural Diversity

The benefits of cultural diversity within teams have been thoroughly studied and reported on, but key benefits include; improved innovation, better team decisions, increases language skills, increased employment attractiveness for new candidates and improved team performance.

The fundamental benefit of diversity is that it injects different points of view and influences into your internal, strategic and operational discussions. The statistics back up these statements too; a study conducted by MIT found that racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by as much as 35%, that’s huge!

 

Better support for your customers

Offshoring enables your organisation to consider more thorough support for your customers. It may initially mean extending your support hours, but as your processes adapt to an offshored team, then a more traditional “follow the sun” model can be adopted without the need for local “on-call” staff, that is likely to lead to job dissatisfaction and increase your staff turnover.

 

Don’t underestimate the leadership or managerial opportunities

Most people automatically think of offshoring as “low-value” roles or tasks, but that is an unfair estimation of the talent available. There is great leadership and managerial talent available in the offshored environments, whether it be an “internal promotion” or a recruitment campaign. It will, however, take an open and innovative mindset to realise the benefits of these opportunities.

Of course, like any leadership or managerial position, there will be a need to mentor, develop and guide your team members but dismissing this as a possibility is a mistake.

 

Access to strategic advisory services as part of the process

There are many great advisors who offer information and support to offshoring initiatives, just as Change Fox does, and this is a great opportunity to engage with them and leverage off of their experiences. Definitely within the offshoring or outsourcing field, but even business strategy, training and management support.

 

All the other reasons that are really about costs

There are also a number of reasons that should be considered but ultimately they also come back to a costs discussion so we will not go into any detail:

  • Removing operational tasks from your most knowledgeable local resources
  • Remove staff overheads
  • Get more staff for your buck

Business Cost and Equation of Outsourcing

Outsourcing is one of the best strategies a company can use when it comes to growing their operations and gaining a competitive advantage over their peers. There are many reasons for this belief, ranging from how outsourcing can quickly provide a company access to the resources it needs in order to grow, to how it can save a company a considerable amount of money when it comes to overhead costs.

However, it would be a disservice to our quest to provide information about outsourcing if we only extol its benefits and not speak of the potential issues that businesses may encounter should they choose to adopt outsourcing. In this article, we hope to bring to light those issues, so that those who are truly willing to take up outsourcing can know full well what they’re getting into and prepare accordingly.

The Growing Pains of Outsourcing

There is no doubt that one of outsourcing’s biggest draw is its cost-effectiveness, especially when the service supplier is from a top outsourcing destination such as the Philippines. Without this particular benefit, outsourcing probably wouldn’t be as popular as it is currently, or even get off the ground as a viable business strategy. After all, cost cutting is one of the most important tenets of keeping a business going. By keeping costs low and maintaining customer and employee satisfaction, a business will remain operational and profitable for the foreseeable future.

However, it must be acknowledged that at the earliest stages of its implementation, outsourcing may in fact cost a bit more than the enterprising business owner may like. This is because a business would have to invest quite a bit more money in setting up the “soft” infrastructure that would allow the outsourced personnel to seamlessly fit into the organization and contribute to work.

Let’s illustrate this with an example scenario. First, let’s say that an individual with enough resources at his disposal is trying to build a tech company with a medium customer service component. In an ideal setting, he would be building this company in Silicon Valley, allowing him to assemble his production team from the world’s most talented and tech-proficient workforce pool. Logically, his customer service team will also be taken from that very same pool and will be working in the same building as his production. Such a setup would allow for the maximum amount of cohesion when it comes to understanding and addressing customer issues and complaints, which in turn create a high degree of customer satisfaction.

Now, working off the above ideal scenario, we can easily see that it would cost such a company an immense amount of money to stay afloat. Silicon Valley is, after all, set right at the heart of San Francisco, arguably one of the most expensive cities in the US when it comes to living and occupancy expenses. The bill for renting even a small office here would be huge. An office that can accommodate a production team and a customer service team would cost even more.

Then there’s the fact that the company owner would have to pay out a salary commensurate to the average Silicon Valley tech employee’s salary, which can easily balloon up to six or seven figures monthly. Combine that with other miscellaneous expenses and the salary/space expenditures needed for the in-house customer team, and you have an overhead cost that could easily bankrupt even the most moneyed and financed business owner.

As expensive as it will be, we should still point out that the result is a very well-oiled and efficient machine. Despite the high asking price, the business owner will still be getting what he paid for: the world’s best employees on the job, and a highly-adept customer service team that has direct access to the people who can make things happen. This can easily translate to high profit margins if the business manages to carve out its own niche and set itself apart from its competitors early. Such a setup would have a lot less friction when it comes to setting and hitting goals and achieving success.

Now, let’s compare that to a similar business venture, but with an outsourced customer service team instead of one that’s developed and cultivated in-house. Specifically, the business owner chose to work with a competent firm in the Philippines that should be able to reliably handle customers.

Right off the bat, the tech company with the outsourced customer service team will be spending significantly less than the one with the in-house customer service in terms of overhead and salary costs. Not only will the former save money by not having to buy or rent the infrastructure needed for an in-house customer service team, its decision makers also won’t have to worry about paying their own outsourced customer service team Silicon Valley salaries or get them health insurance. They will only need to worry about paying the outsourcing firm the price they agreed upon, which would be a flat service fee and nothing else.

So the savings that outsourcing promises will be there right at the outset. However, these enormous savings will be somewhat countermanded by the business owner having to spend a bit more on top of that outsourcing fee to get things going.

These extra expenditures are due to the inherent difficulties related to employing a team that’s based overseas. These difficulties are as follows:

  • The team is in a different country, which means they will be operating in a completely different time zone.
  • Cultural and language barriers exist, which can make communication and collaboration a bit challenging at first.
  • Face-to-face meetings may be difficult to set up, which could result in miscommunication of instructions, company directions, and/or demands.
  • Production efforts facilitated through telecommuting or remote work may not be as efficient or adept as in-house production.

While these difficulties may sound serious enough to make anyone reconsider outsourcing, in reality they can be easily addressed through the investment of “soft” infrastructure, like we mentioned earlier. For example, time differences can be managed by hiring a few more in-house employees and using a shifting schedule. In this way, there would still be in-house employees to instruct and supervise the outsourcing team once they log on for the day, no matter what time of the day it is. As such, the business owner would have to spend a bit more, on top of the outsourcing fee.

The cultural and language barriers can be addressed by more meetings over VOIP, as well as hiring interpreters or other in-house employees that can understand the outsourced team’s native language, and thus work as a middleman for instructions and demands. Again, these steps entail more spending on the part of the business owner.

Finally, to ensure that both the outsourcing team and the in-house employees are on the same page in terms of company direction and instruction, the company would have to invest resources and time on creating more policies, guides, manuals and other instructional/failsafe systems. This is the only way to ensure that no unfortunate mishaps due to misunderstandings or missed instructions happen.

All of these solutions will lead to the business spending quite a huge chunk of the money saved through outsourcing. Not to mention that the company will need to have a dedicated personnel who can facilitate and disseminate these solutions.

We can therefore conclude here that while outsourcing is a lot more cost-effective than in-house solutions, it can still cost business owners quite the handsome amount. This is arguably the biggest downside to outsourcing that many of its proponents often gloss over.

Outsourcing Is Still Worth It

With that said, outsourcing is still something we heavily recommend. This is because of the following reasons:

  • These growing pains are simply that. Once the business owner pays all the “hidden” fees and his in-house employees get through the learning curve in dealing with their offshore counterparts, all the difficulties cease to exist. What results is a well-oiled machine geared towards profit. Communication between teams is normalized and made more efficient.
  • It forces the business and its employees to mature quickly. All companies will inevitably have to scale up their training resources and staff. With outsourcing, the need to scale up soft infrastructure is just presented a bit earlier than usual, which can be a great boon in preparing the company for any turbulent times ahead.
  • Ultimately, it’s still a lot cheaper. Even if we sum up all the added expenses a business owner would have to pay when they dabble in outsourcing, it would still be considerably cheaper than if they had gone with an in-house team. There’s just no contest, whether we compare GROSS values or NET.

But most importantly, we continue to recommend outsourcing because of the simple fact that the Philippines, arguably the best destination for business process outsourcing, still remains primed to help western companies get the business growth and success that they deserve.

No Better Time to Outsource to the Philippines than Now

Outsourcing has long become an integral part of the Philippine economy. There’s no ifs and buts about it. The industry contributes significantly to the country’s economic health and standing in the world stage. Information technology businesses and organizations bring in 10% of the country’s GDP, and outsourcing’s importance comes to the fore even more.

As such, we can easily and safely predict that the cost of outsourcing to the Philippines will remain very affordable to Western companies. The government and the local BPO-related organizations know all too well that while the Philippines is currently at the top, its competitors are hot on its heels, itching to take the crown and the huge business that such a position entails. There is a need to price BPO services competitively to stay in that position. If the cost of services in the country gets too high, then companies may start looking four service providers from other parts of the world.

Pricing aside, what about the quality? Will that remain constant as well? We believe so. We must remember that the BPO industry has been responsible for the boom in the middle-class population in the Philippines, with many families rising out of poverty because one of their members gained employment into one of the many call centers that had sprung up in the country back then. Consider that every year, hundreds of thousands of fresh graduates are on the lookout for high-paying jobs. A large portion of those graduates will inevitably end up in the BPO industry regardless of their course, simply because BPO companies offer higher and more lucrative salaries, even in entry-level positions.

We must also consider that most Filipinos have access to Western culture and language. English is commonly used as the language of instruction in schools and colleges. Students thrive on the internet and social media where English is needed in order to communicate with others. Most TV shows feature English in one way or another, and local movies are always dubbed in. This will not likely change soon.

All these elements make the Philippines perfect as an outsourcing destination. There’s just no contest.

Conclusion

Outsourcing is not something that a business owner or company manager should look into lightly. While it does offer enormous savings and other essential benefits, those seeking to adopt it should be prepared to shoulder the growing pains and costs needed to truly facilitate outsourcing. Once they manage this, the benefits—both in the short and long term—will pay off in a huge way.

Freelancers OR Outsourcing Companies???

We’re now witnessing a bright age in global workforce expansion. The internet, mobile workstations, and ease of transacting online have all made their mark on industries worldwide, especially in the IT sector, the financial sector, the creative sector, the service sector, and many others.

We have 2 types of remote workers to thank for these developments and for the competitive edge they’ve helped smaller businesses achieve. These are the freelancers or individual contractors and the outsourced agents. The 2 are often the subject of lively debate: are freelancers the best option to grow businesses on a budget, or is it a smarter decision to rely on full-fledged business process outsourcing (BPO) companies? Either mode has its own unique set of perks and drawbacks, as well as the potential to yield some world-class results.

f you’re part of a business that is aiming to change up its expansion strategy and are looking for help in the different corners of the globe, you should weigh your decision on the following factors: recruitment, marketplace conditions, safety, standard of work to be achieved, and costs. Read up on these takeaways per issue and see which mode has the strategic advantage over the other.

  1. Recruitment. Even if you’re trying to cut down on labor costs, you won’t want to scrimp on employing premium talent for your office. The great news is that there’s no lack of skilled and well-educated global contractors out there. In that talent pool, there are freelancers who practically have name-brand recognition for the specialized work that they do, and outsourcing agents that are a commanding force in their industry. In this respect, we think that the playing field for freelancers and outsourcing agencies is wide as well as even.
  2. Marketplace conditions. On the other hand, the quality of labor you’re seeking out might also depend on where it’s sourced from. Various freelancing sites accumulate high traffic and serve as hubs for thousands of freelancers. But not all of them contribute to the gig economy at an even pace. In fact, the breadth of portfolios available on these sites can cause choice fatigue, and there’s a risk that the quality of work won’t be worth the time you spent browsing. The same can apply to combing the Google rankings for the best outsourcing agents.
  3. Safety. If we bring up marketplace conditions, it’s impossible to mention the possible safety concerns of transacting within them. Take note of some scams to watch out for on popular freelancing sites, as not all registered users have the best intentions for you as a client. In this regard, outsourcing has the advantage. Most outsourced companies adhere to trade regulations and sound business practices. You’ll be investing in their reputation and trustworthiness as well as their talent.
  4. Standard of work. Some clients will find working one-on-one with freelancers very fulfilling. The best freelancers can bring a very personal, tailor-fit exclusivity into the quality of their work. That’s why work that’s set on a per-project basis and that is demanding of very specialized and creative skills seems a good fit for freelancers. However, if there’s a great volume of work to be done and you are looking for a uniform standard of service delivery, it may be better to put your trust in a full-fledged outsourcing company. It’s also easier to bank on outsourcing agencies for long-term engagements as they will likely have the manpower and the protocols to see these through.
  5. Costs. Down the line, this is probably the biggest reason why you want to contract with a freelancer or with an outsourcing agency. It’s a common misconception that it will be cheaper to hire a freelancer over an entire company and that it is the best way to cut costs at the moment. The fact of the matter is this: hiring an individual isn’t the only way to get a bigger bang for your buck. The important thing is to assess the costs per service, hours to be rendered, and experience level, which varies from job to job. It’ll be possible to obtain very fair rates even with the machinery of a BPO company.

 

It was a good week

dict_aptusIt was a good week for the Department of Information and Communications Technology and its mission to improve the nation’s broadband services. Not only did the restructuring of the Mislatel Consortium, the new third telecom provider, pass approval in the senate, but the department also received a P23.8 million grant from US Embassy to put towards the roll-out of broadband services.

There was more good news from the government. Three proposed bills that will amend the Foreign Investment Act, the Retail Liberalization Act of 2000, and the Public Service Act, and which intend to reduce restrictions on inbound foreign investment, received a warm reception from the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines. The flexible work arrangements bill that aims to formalize regulation of remote working also passed its second reading in the senate. Even the controversial TRABAHO bill, with its provision to support training, has received the acceptance of the Nordic IT-BPO sector, according to the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Welcome Bea!

China’s cotton seed sprouts on moon but will be left to die

A cotton seedling that sprouted on the moon has been left to die as China’s historic lunar lander continues a freezing night-time nap that will last as long as two earth weeks, scientists said.

The Chinese space agency announced earlier this week that the seed had germinated inside a special canister aboard the Chang’e-4 probe, after the spacecraft on January 3 made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon.

The mini biosphere — which operated for over 212 hours — was shut down as planned on Saturday, said Chongqing University, which designed the experiment.

The lander also carried potato and arabidopsis seeds — a plant of the mustard family — as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast.

Temperatures inside the ecosystem were expected to plunge below minus 52 degrees Celsius (minus 61.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and the organisms will be “in a frozen state”, the university said in a statement on Tuesday.

The experiment ended hours before Chang’e-4 entered “sleep mode” on Sunday as the first lunar night fell since the probe’s landing. Temperatures plummet to about minus 170 degrees Celsius (minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit).

A lunar night lasts for about two earth weeks, after which the probe is expected to wake up, the statement said.

“Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, told the official Xinhua news agency.

Once the temperatures start to rise next month, the organisms will be allowed to “slowly decompose” in the permanently sealed canister.

Chang’e-4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon’s surface.

The lander released a rover, dubbed Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit), that will perform experiments in the Von Karman Crater.

China’s space agency said it is planning four more lunar missions, confirming the launch of a probe by the end of the year to bring back samples from the moon.

Beijing wants to establish a lunar research base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the agency said Monday.  — Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

China to collect samples from moon this year

BEIJING — China will launch a probe to collect samples from the moon around the end of this year, a space official said on Monday, weeks after Beijing hailed the successful touch down on the far side of the moon.

The Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on Jan. 3 and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of the far side of the moon.

China’s National Space Administration applauded the event as a first that “lifted the mysterious veil” of the far side of the moon and claimed it as a major achievement for the country’s ambitious space program.

The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain and mineral makeup and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side.

The Chang’e-5 mission, set to collect samples from the near side of the moon, will be carried out at the end of the year, while another probe will be sent to Mars by 2020, Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the space administration, told a briefing, according to an official online transcript.

The Chang’e 5 mission will lay the ground work for further probes to be sent to the moon’s south pole and possibly to return samples from the far side of the moon, depending on the results collected in the upcoming mission, Wu said.

Tests carried out by future missions could lay the groundwork for building on the moon’s surface, by testing technologies like 3D printing or the use of moon soil in construction, he said.

“China, the United States, Russia and European nations, among others, are all exploring whether or not to build a base or research station on the moon,” he said.

The moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, so most of the far side—or “dark side”—is never visible to us. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it.

China has made space exploration a top priority in recent years, as it races to catch up with Russia and the United States and become a major space power by 2030. Beijing plans to launch construction of its own manned space station next year. — Reuters

Credits to GMA News.

Hyundai shows off walking car project

LAS VEGAS — South Korean car maker Hyundai on Monday gave a look at work it is doing on a vehicle with robotic legs to let it walk or crawl over treacherous terrain.

Hyundai showed off its Elevate project on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza, billing it an unprecedented “Ultimate Mobility Vehicle” that combines technology from electric cars with robotics.

“What if a car designed with robotics could save lives in disasters,” said Hyundai executive John Suh, who heads a Cradle arm of the company devoted to innovation.

“The need for search and rescue, and humanitarian aid, is growing around the world.”

Elevate is designed with four mechanical legs with wheels for feet, according to a small-scale model shown at the press event.

Elevate vehicles can roll along on extended legs or retract them to be driven like a car.

 

 

The future is here!! SF’s Manager of Design and Innovation Strategy, David Byron @byrondesigns, demonstrates #HyundaiElevate’s ability to switch out it’s various modular bodies for specific use cases for @Hyundai_Global’s press conference at #CES2019pic.twitter.com/p0gbPMdZ6Y

— Sundberg-Ferar (@SundbergFerar) January 8, 2019

Extended legs could also be used to climb or crawl while keeping the passenger compartment level, according to David Byron of Sundberg-Ferar, an industrial design consultancy, which is working with Hyundai on the project.

“This design is uniquely capable of both mammalian and reptilian walking gaits, allowing it to move in any direction,” Hyundai said in a release.

Elevate can climb over walls as high as five feet (1.5 meters) while keeping the vehicle body level with the ground, Byron said.

Hyundai has been working on the walking car for three years, according to the company.

Examples of how this might be used included being able to carefully extract injured people from disaster zones or rugged terrain.

“It can go where no vehicle has gone before,” Suh said.

An scaled-down model of Elevate along with video of how it would perform were displayed at the CES press event.

“This technology goes well beyond emergency situations – people living with disabilities could hail an autonomous Hyundai Elevate that could walk up to their front door, level itself, and allow their wheelchair to roll right in,” Suh said.

“The possibilities are limitless.”

For example, an Elevate stuck in snow on a roadside could get up and walk back to lanes of traffic, or the vehicle could be put to work exploring other planets.

AutoPacific market research vice president Daniel Hall considered the Hyundai project “interesting,” noting that while robotic vehicles are already used by the military to deal with bombs “climbing obstacles in certain situations can be helpful.”

For Hyundai, the project is also a chance to demonstrate that, like rival car makers, the company is pursuing innovation, Hall added. — Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg plans 2019 forums on tech’s role in society

NEW YORK – Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his personal goal for 2019 on Tuesday: convening a series of public forums on how technology can better serve society.

“My challenge for 2019 is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society — the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes and the anxieties,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.

The announcement follows a difficult period for the social media company, which has come under fire for its handling of private consumer data and its brass-knuckles approach to company critics, among other issues.

Zuckerberg, without directly acknowledging the criticism, said he recognized the need to get out of his comfort zone.

“I’m an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they’d mostly speak for themselves,” he wrote.

“But given the importance of what we do, that doesn’t cut it anymore. So I’m going to put myself out there more than I’ve been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go.”

Zuckerberg plans a series of forums that will be broadcast on Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram or other media.

Zuckerberg has made a practice of setting a personal goal each January, such as running 365 miles during the year, or visiting all 50 of the United States.

But Zuckerberg’s statement on Tuesday suggested he recognized there was still work to do on the 2018 goal of “fixing” problems at Facebook, such as safeguarding the site from misinformation and propaganda that many experts believe affected the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit vote in Britain.

“Last year, I focused almost all my time on addressing important issues around elections, speech, privacy and well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“Facebook is a different company now than it was a couple of years ago because of a much greater focus on these questions. These issues are complex and we will continue focusing on them for years to come.” —Agence France-Presse

Credits to GMA News.