PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) technology solution Smart Infocast reaches a milestone, serving a record 1.3 million Filipinos during the pandemic in almost 800 communities across the Philippines.
A web-based text-broadcasting solution powered by Smart since 2015, Smart Infocast has enabled public and private institutions and organizations to easily distribute important information within their community, especially during the restrictive COVID-19 lockdown.
The service also allows registered subscribers to send reports or feedback to the system administrator, helping officials or authorities engage with their community members.
In the last five quarters, Smart Infocast has been able to broadcast over 13 million official advisories, reminders, and messages to schools, colleges, and universities; local government units (LGUs); cooperatives; and government agencies in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“Our goal is to equip our communities with Smart Infocast and enable them to access relevant and accurate information — from disaster preparedness and response, tourism, local government initiatives, to health and weather reminders and new protocol advisories — in order to build a well-informed community,” said Pedro Luis de Guzman, head of Community Solutions & Business Development at Smart.
Text broadcast solution
Smart has also teamed up with the Department of Education (DepEd) to connect local divisions to their respective communities and make the flow of information and instruction seamless through Smart Infocast. This technology was also used extensively by over 400 partner schools nationwide and has helped thousands of students and teachers when they shifted to online learning at the onset of the pandemic.
Smart Infocast is also helping almost 170 LGUs ramp up their efforts to respond to emergencies, calamities, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart Infocast is available in the cities and towns of Cagayan De Oro in Misamis Oriental, Digos, and Zamboanga, in Mindanao; Batuan, Pitogo and Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol, Danao, Bantayan, Santa Fe, Lapu-Lapu and Brgy Tisa in Cebu in the Visayas; as well as in the Northern Mindanao provinces, and the provinces of Batangas, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Surigao del Norte and Basilan, and Pasig City, among others.
Disaster Risk Reduction Management
This technology also helps local Disaster Risk Reduction Management departments, like in La Trinidad, Benguet and Cagayan de Oro, to provide the public with correct information, crucial during emergency situations.
“This communication tool helps us reach those without internet access and people who rely only on SMS,” shared Nick Jabagat, head of CDO-City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Department.
The Infocast service is also beneficial to members of cooperatives, such as the Cordillera Basic Sector Transport Cooperative and the Bukidnon Pharmaceutical Multipurpose Cooperative (BUPHARCO). “We can easily update and receive inquiries from them. It will also help us disseminate information about our products and services to the public,” said Christine Dalogdog, Chief Executive Officer, BUPHARCO.
Youth leaders have also been utilizing Smart Infocast to encourage their members to participate in nation-building programs. They also assist their respective LGUs with information campaigns on COVID-19 prevention, voter registration, vaccination, and combating fake news.
“We need a secure, efficient, and cost-effective means to distribute information. Even though we have a presence on social media, there are still many people who do not have smartphones and access to the internet,” said President John Demdam, president of SK Federation, General Santos City. “We should always look for information that comes from official government channels. Let us not be agents in the spread of fake news.”