Arko, one of the Philippines’ top weather monitoring mobile applications, is one of forty winners featured during the 2015 World Summit Awards-mobile (WSAm), held at the Global Congress in Abu Dhabi last 1-3 February 2015.
Arko was chosen as one of 40 winners from over 500 mobile applications representing 30 countries honored in a global gathering of the best minds and brilliant content at the WSA Mobile Congress. It was one of five winning apps competing for Global Champion in the m-Inclusion and Empowerment category. Arko received its distinction from H.E. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The award was jointly received by Dr. Mahar Lagmay of Project Noah and Ms. Beng Coronel, President of Pointwest Technologies Corporation.
Arko is the only Filipino app that made it to the finals of the WSA’s mobile awards. This is the first time that the Philippines is being honored in the ten years that the WSA has been recognizing the best software products, web services and mobile content in the world.
“To drive meaningful and relevant innovation in mobile technology, you have to connect smart minds,” Prof. Dr. Peter A. Bruck, WSA Chairman, said. “With the WSA-mobile we dive into the state-of-the-art of mobile content and showcase development. This year’s winners are an excellent selection of this momentum, matching local solutions to local needs.”
The World Summit Award (WSA) is the global follow-up initiative of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) organized by the International Center for New Media (ICNM). It partners with the key UN organizations and agencies in the framework of the UN Geneva Agenda and the Tunis Action Plan and selects and promotes the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications from the 178 UN- Member states that impact the daily lives of millions of people all over the world.
Through national pre-selections and contests together with a global jury process, WSA demonstrates the local diversity and rich creativity of ICT use. WSA is a global hub for everyone who values the crucial importance of local content to make today’s information society more inclusive.
“Mobile content developers and producers create exciting content and innovative applications that do more than just meet basic needs of communication,” Dr. Bruck said. “They impact the daily lives of millions with mobile content and apps that connect minds.”
Arko is an easy-to-view and use mobile application of flood maps and rain forecast data taken from Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Arko was developed to make people in the Philippines aware of flood hazards in their community by providing a flood scenario in any location within a 250 meter radius if the user. This makes them aware of possible hazards and allows them to plan ahead before floods begin. Arko also fits in the disaster management and hazard awareness of local government units as well as the private sector in the Philippines.
The app can also show the official storm track from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It is a free standalone mobile application available in Google Play and the iOS.
Arko was developed by Pointwest Technologies Corporation as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. Pointwest embarked on a public-private initiative with Project NOAH by undertaking the mobile app development to be used by the hazards-mapping office. Arko was one of these apps.
Countries like the Philippines are under threat from storms made more powerful by climate change. Supertyphoons like Yolanda and powerful thunderstorms are the “new normal.” One of the ways to deal with this “new normal” is to know more. Digital apps like Arko hope to provide people and organizations that edge to deal with the effects of climate change.
“Innovation is a key part of Pointwest’s corporate DNA,” Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel, Pointwest’s president, said. “You can’t be successful in the field of IT without recognizing the rapid pace in which changes happen. If you can’t adapt to those changes, then you’re left at a big disadvantage.”
The Philippine delegation to the WSAm Global Congress was composed of a group from the Philippine government and Pointwest. The government was represented by Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro of DOST, and Project NOAH’s Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay and Chief Science Research Specialist Oscar Lizardo. Pointwest was represented by a formidable team composed of its President, Beng Coronel, Senior Executives Josefina Reyes, Rene Quizon and Rene Canlas, and Senior Mobile Software Engineer John Joseph Aguado, who was part of the original team that made Arko.
Pointwest Technologies Corporation, the Philippines biggest fully Filipino-owned IT-BPO Company, also recently won as the Most Admired ASEAN Enterprise for Innovation category during the regional level of the ASEAN Business Awards last 12 Nov. 2014 at the Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. It is the winner in the same category for the first 2014 Asean Business Awards in the Philippines.