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Facebook PH 10-year roadmap zeroes in on AI, VR, and AR


By Emmie V. Abadilla

Facebook Philippines’ 10-year roadmap zeroes in on artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), integrating new technologies in its platform to best serve its community of users, Country Head John Rubio disclosed in a media roundtable discussion the other day.

From 2017 to 2020, they want to focus on Facebook and the photo-sharing app Instagram as their main ecosystems  afterwhich, they will push for products – primarily Messenger, Workplace, WhatsApp, Video, Search and Groups.

Specifically, the social network intends to transform Messenger so users can use the app to pay for online purchases.

“Through messenger, they can order and pay (for goods and services) and have their purchases delivered, all within the same platform,” he explained.

“It expands what the users can do, from just communication to business. In the future, people can order food via Messenger. Banks and telcos can use it, especially for customer service, because it’s a proven fact that clients prefer messaging more than waiting on the phone.”

Overseas, Facebook has partnered with a movie house and people are using messenger to order movie tickets.

Anyway, banks have been using the app for customer service.  It can be used for others – wish fulfillment for retail and even for hotel reservations and bookings.

In the country, Messenger is directly linked to local online payment platforms such as Voyager Innovations’ PayMaya and Globe Telecom, Inc.’s G-Cash.

At present,  66 million Filipinos access Facebook every month. Majority, or 67 percent of 67 million Filipinos are connected to at least one SMB (Small and Medium Business). Significantly, 93 percent of Facebook users access the social network via their mobile gadgets.

Filipinos are avid mobile Internet users, spending an average of 4.2 hours on mobile internet daily and one in 2 minutes of smartphone time is spent in using apps, where they expect to discover things they are interested in.

Facebook Philippines is also pushing for Workplace, a platform where users communicate via groups, and allowing them to use Facebook in a more corporate and professional environment

Another platform, Marketplace, allows Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) to post their products and access their buyers directly through the app, creating  “more meaningful interactions”, Rubio pointed out.

The bulk, or 70 percent, of SMEs who used the platform to advertise their business increased their customer base. Furthermore,  80 percent managed to sell their products better, according to a Facebook study.


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