2017 Year in Review

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If describing the Cebu 2017 tech circuit were to be summed up in one phrase, it would read something like this: This year, Cebuanos did not trivialize technology as much as they did in the past.

Here are some of the proofs that this year Cebuanos did more than just snap selfies or tap on like buttons.

A solution to the Sinulog 2017 mobile network downtime

The mobile network downtime during the Sinulog 2017 season saw Cebuanos harness messaging alternatives that did not depend on active cell sites to properly function.

The peer-to-peer network-based “FireChat” app was popularly used as a solution to the “no signal” problem, given that it worked via Bluetooth, WiFi and Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework in sending short chat messages through wireless mesh networking protocols.

This meant that the app connected person A to person C and person B to person D by piggyback-riding on a mesh network that was made by persons A, B, C and D. Basically, the app worked because an active number of users made a messaging network using their mobile devices and the app.

Though the app did not exactly resolve all messaging-related concerns (there were, after all, users who said it did not work for them), the fact that Cebuanos were one in finding a solution to keep in touch with each other happened early on in the year.

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A “pivot-to-video” year for local digital content creators

2017 saw more Cebuano content creators produce more video-oriented content, marking the year as a “pivot-to-video” period.

From bloggers gaining a following with “vlogs” (video blogs or video web logs) to print media outfits producing more videos and publishing them online, 2017 pretty much prefigured the many progressive changes that are to be expected from Cebu’s digital content creators and media outfits in the year to come.

For its part, The Freeman strengthened its roster of online features with #thefreemanCONVERSATIONS – a live-streaming talk show hosted by The Freeman’s online editor Joeberth Ocao. The series had its kick-off in October 2016 and has since been gaining a steady following.

The well-received #thefreemanCONVERSATIONS was backed by the launch of Banat News’ #BANATanay Live na Live! talk show in July and #MARKado LIVE in August.

Needless to say, The Freeman also bolstered its WATCH, LOOK and LIVE features published online and in social media channels in 2017. These short features dipped into breaking news reports, current events, weather updates, live interviews and all else in between.

Outside of its live streamed video offerings, 2017 also witnessed the launch of The Freeman’s #quickFOCUS short video series in March, the stop animation-themed #whiteboardFEATURES in July and the #inFOCUS feature series in September. These text-on-video features drew attention to local events and happenings that fell under the soft news vein.

A total of over 140 episodes of #thefreemanCONVERSATIONS,

#BANATanay Live na Live!, #MARKado LIVE, #quickFOCUS, #whiteboardFEATURES and #inFOCUS was produced by The Freeman and Banat News this year.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Come to Cebu

The tail-end of 2017 saw Cebuanos develop content that dipped into augmented and virtual reality.

From panoramic photos that covered a 360 degree field of view to videos captured using special imaging devices then posted online, the eagerly anticipated features of AR and VR in 2016 became a reality in 2017 for Cebuanos.

Though AR and VR content did not exactly take over online channels in Cebu by storm, content of this caliber was more nuanced this year compared to 2016.

Not one to be left behind in ongoing advances, The Freeman had the launch of the #inFOCUS VR series in December – a short virtual reality video series that brings viewers “into the scene” of various happenings and events.