Progresif keen to help startups commercialise technology

A demonstration on augmented reality app kARya that was developed by Itsybytes. Picture: BT/Leo Kasim
A demonstration on augmented reality app kARya that was developed by Itsybytes. Picture: BT/Leo Kasim

PROGRESIF Cellular Sdn Bhd is keen to help startups to commercialise their own technology, a senior company official said yesterday.

Progresif’s Chief Marketing Officer Devin Edwards said the telco aims to help startups earn revenues from their innovation.

He said this during a media session with Progresif and local startup company Itsybytes. The telco recently collaborated with the startup to introduce augmented reality app kARya for use with its brochure.

Edwards said the collaboration is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to promote entrepreneurs and their ideas.

“Commercialising new tech for our own benefit (such as augmented reality) is not our main approach. Through our CSR, we promote entrepreneurs and innovative ideas. In this instance, there’s any number of opportunities to bring this (new tech) into the market,” he said.

He said Progresif will be working with Darussalam Enterprise to help run its startup hub lab which is slated to run next year when the company moves into its headquarters.

“By mentoring incubatee companies, we’ll be able to recognise and present opportunities to our partners so that they can best capitalise on it,” he said.

Edwards said the collaboration with incubatees will range from sharing ideas to possibilities for a joint venture which could then grow into an intellectual property that both companies can capitalise on.

Ikmalina Hakimah Hj Md Yunos, founder and CEO of Itsybytes, said the startup is finding ways to bring the latest technological trends into the sultanate.

We’ve already been experimenting with augmented and virtual reality technology because that is happening on a global scale,” she said.

She cited some industry applications such as in tourism and in education where the interactive technology could aid learning for students.

Both technologies can improve certain sectors. But what is important, Ikmalina said, is that people see the value in using these technologies.
Meanwhile, Progresif’s Acting CEO and Chief Finance Officer Roger Plahay said it is important to keep track of the latest technology to stay relevant.

The Brunei Times

Reopening of revamped Progresif store at The Mall

A group photo of Progresif’s Executive members and staff during yesterday’s reopening.
A group photo of Progresif’s Executive members and staff during yesterday’s reopening.

“IT’S a matter of providing solutions to meet individual needs instead of just selling cell phones or plans,” said the Chief Sales Officer of Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd, Bob Gill, during the reopening of their branch yesterday at The Mall in Gadong.

The revamped store, located on the second floor of the building, is now not the basic retail outlet it was before, but an engagement centre that allows customers the touch and feel the latest technology.

At the event, a Doa Selamat was read, followed by a speech from Roger Plahay, the Acting CEO of Progresif, in which he said that Progresif has been consolidating their operations and moving their staff into a new facility to reflect the brand and corporate culture as a platform to help nurture developments.

The branch’s reopening is the company’s pathway towards creating a Start-Up Lab, where they will be incubating small businesses and working with partners such as Universiti Brunei Darussalam, the iCentre and DARE (Darussalam Enterprise) in further developing entrepreneurial opportunities for the advancement of the ICT sector, he added. Plahay further revealed Progresif’s infrastructure overhaul, which is currently underway to improve network quality and data speed capabilities.

Also in attendance yesterday were Progresif’s Board of Directors member, Edzwan Zukri bin Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Adanan, Progresif’s Head of Legal and Regulatory Nurul Haniah Jaafar, and the company’s staff.

Borneo Bulletin

Progresif is here to stay

Customers being consulted by Progresif staff about products and services during the opening of Progresif’s fourth flagship store at KB Sentral in Belait, October 24, 2015. Picture: BT File
Customers being consulted by Progresif staff about products and services during the opening of Progresif’s fourth flagship store at KB Sentral in Belait, October 24, 2015. Picture: BT File

LOCAL telecommunications company Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (Progresif) is growing from strength to strength with the company maintaining financial stability and continually investing back into the business, the telco’s senior official said.

Roger Plahay, Progresif’s acting CEO and chief financial officer, said that the company has a strong financial base with “record breaking” revenue but was unable to reveal numbers.
“From a financial perspective, the business is growing… We’re constantly putting back into the company. Part of the key strategy is to ensure that we are a self-funding and sustainable business,” the acting CEO told The Brunei Times.

In an interview at Progresif’s headquarters in Beribi recently, Plahay said that the telco has registered a total of 155,000 subscribers from both prepaid and postpaid. The company also has over 260 staff hired to serve the needs of customers.

“Our focus is to be a lean and efficient business and to have that reflected in our productivity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Devin Edwards, chief marketing officer of Progresif, said that the company has done much of the critical hiring required to support the company’s growth objectives which included the opening of new branches and improving network infrastructure.

In terms of staff development, Edwards said that the company is mapping out the career path for its employees to ensure career progression.

This will give company staff an idea of what opportunities are available to them in the next two or three years and the training that will also be provided for them, he added.

“This is something we’ve committed to when we first started, which is about training and development of staff.”

The company’s current number of staff is already more than its 240 target it set back in December 2014, most of whom were needed as the company was seeking to open new branches.

The company has nine stores in the country with the latest flagship store opened in May 2016 at the Brunei International Airport.

The store aims to serve demand from tourists for communications services during their visit in the sultanate.

Meanwhile, its headquarters is expected to be relocated to Gadong early next year. The new office will feature a startup hub lab which acts as an incubator space for local ICT startups.

The Brunei Times

Progresif to set up incubation hub in 2017

Roger Plahay, acting CEO of Progresif, poses for a picture. Picture: BT/Leo Kasim
Roger Plahay, acting CEO of Progresif, poses for a picture. Picture: BT/Leo Kasim

MOBILE service provider Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd is setting up a startup incubation facility as it is relocating its corporate headquarters next year, senior officials of the telco said recently.
Devin Edwards, Progresif’s chief marketing officer, said that the telco has plans to have a startup hub lab which acts as an incubator space for local ICT startups.

The firm is also seeking to run a “cultural hub” with the space as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility programme. “We’re aiming to get all this started in January 2017 which is when we move into the new branch,” Edwards said.

Roger Plahay, Progresif’s acting CEO, said that the company’s headquarters will be relocated at a new building situated between Gadong and Kiulap, two of Brunei’s most prominent commercial areas.
In an exclusive interview, the acting CEO said the new headquarters will serve as a hub for technology development, which is in line with the telco’s efforts to launch its 4G network.

Plahay, who is also the company’s chief finance officer, said that the telco is continuing on the same direction of pursuing a 4G network, getting new sites and improving network coverage and consistency.
“Even with the change in management, we’re staying with the same direction and aiming for the same objectives,” said Plahay who took over as acting CEO last month.

A February 2016 press release from the company stated that the new headquarters will consolidate operations to create a more efficient working place.

By using the new space, the company would also explore enterprise solutions including smart nation technology and a commercial data centre, the company said in a statement.

The building, which is a 55,000 sq ft facility, will house Progresif’s corporate offices, training facilities, a retail flagship store, enterprise solution showroom and a technology incubation lab. Earlier this year, the company said the lab is also part of its efforts to reach out to educational institutions, entrepreneurs, small businesses and researchers as well as initiatives related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

Currently, the company’s office is located in Beribi where it had been headquartered since after taking over operations from the now defunct B-Mobile Communications in July 2014. Progresif is one of the companies under the telecommunications portfolio of Darussalam Assets, an investment holding company for government-linked enterprises.

The Brunei Times

Honouring charity run sponsors, volunteers

A group photo of the attendees of Plus+ Magazine Anniversary Charity Run enlivening the night at The Energy Kitchen. Picture: BT/Billah Hasan
A group photo of the attendees of Plus+ Magazine Anniversary Charity Run enlivening the night at The Energy Kitchen. Picture: BT/Billah Hasan

SPONSORS, committee members and volunteers of the Plus+ Magazine Anniversary Charity Run were feted last night following the success of the running event last September 18.

Founder of the local lifestyle magazine Louis Loo expressed his appreciation and thanks for all parties who have supported the event and ensure the success of its execution.

Representatives from various renowned companies and institutions in the sultanate received certificates and tokens of appreciation. These included Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (Progresif), Royal Brunei Airlines (RB), Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC), Fitness Zone, The Energy Kitchen, Mixel Brunei, Magic Media Studios, GHK Motors, Rizqun International Hotel, Interhouse Company, BruneiHalal and Bubble Monkey Brunei. It was highlighted that more than 1,000 runners participated in the event and contributions received from donation cards amounted to $11,721.81. Representatives of the Humanitarian Emergency Aid Response Team (HEART) Volunteer Group, or HEART Brunei, were also present to receive the donation as the beneficiary of the running event.

The running event, which took place at the Jerudong Park Amphitheatre, was held in conjunction with the International World Heart Day that falls annually on September 28. The event also aimed to spread awareness on the subtle signs and symptoms of cardiac disease and cancer.

For updates on future events, follow Plus Brunei on Facebook or on Instagram.

The Brunei Times

Smartphones and more for TV quiz winners

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A PRIZE presentation for winners of a Teacher’s Day SMS TV Quiz organised recently by Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) was held at its Studio A in the capital, yesterday.

Each of the winners walked away with prizes such as rice cookers from Intracorp Sdn Bhd, a Vivo Y22 smartphone from Progresif Celullar Sdn Bhd (Progresif) and powerbanks and pendrives from Concepts Computer Sdn Bhd. These were presented to them by RTB’s Director Hj Md Suffian Hj Bungsu.

The quiz was opened to Progresif users from September 21 to 27 with the objective of enlivening this years Teacher’s Day celebrations through RTB’s interactive channel (RTBi) which was aired live for an hour from 2pm to 3pm daily.

Participants were required to answer questions given on air by sending them through Short Message Service (SMS) via their mobile phone or smartphone.

Head of New Media TV Zulkarnain Hj Ibrahim in his welcoming remarks said participants were given questions related to the history of education and establishment of universities in the country.

He added that the quiz also attracted more than 200 participants.

In a press statement, the SMS TV Quiz is an initiative of RTB in maintaining its relevance in the world of TV broadcasting, while keeping up to date with changes in technology.

It also added that the quiz received an encouraging number of participants throughout its opening.

The project is a collaboration between RTB and Progresif with support from De Anggerek Service Apartments, Intracorp and Concepts Computer.

The Brunei Times

Progresif Introduced Uni Plans at the Big BWN Cookout Event

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THE open parking area opposite the Royal Regalia in the capital was enlivened with street culture enthusiasts and local young entrepreneurs yesterday, ending the final Sunday of September on a high note.
Dubbed as the BWN Street Festival, the event was organised by Big BWN Cookout and supported by Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd. It aimed to showcase local talents in art, fashion, music and sports.
The founder of Big BWN Cookout, Noorhafizah Hj Rashid, said that event hopes to recognise street culture and promote sportsmanship as well as entrepreneurship.
“A total of 35 vendors are joining us today, where more than half are new and haven’t been exposed to such events. They’re very underground so it’s interesting, and there hasn’t been much public-private event focusing on youth in Bandar Seri Begawan, so this is a good start.”
“We also want to remove social stigma related to graffiti, skateboarding and those along the lines where Bruneians generally associate it with negative element. This isn’t always true and we want to break the stereotype,” she said.
Meanwhile, Corporate Communications Manager of Progresif Hafiza Mohamad, said: “Progresif’s main goal is to connect with the community, and what better way to reach out to the community by supporting an event organised by Bruneian youth.”
She added: “We have also been supportive of entrepreneurship as our corporate social responsibility strategy to support education, environment, culture and arts.”
Progresif also set up a booth and held a prelaunch sale of its Uni Plan. It is the telco’s latest plan that caters to university and college students aged 18 to 30 years old.
The plan, will be officially launched on October 2 at all Progresif stores, is available in weekly plan for $7 per week, or the monthly plan for $25 per month.
Among the local entrepreneurs who joined yesterday’s event were Lokal Ground, The Krema, HZR BBQ Services, Vastpot Icrecream, Coulee, Funkey Monkey Burgers, Wardrobes Inc and Sneaker Trailer.
There were also street art, graffiti demonstration and doodle jam by Stain BN and Sketchone Studios; spotlight calisthenics demonstrations by Mairgix Brunei; and Games of Skate by Uneek Skateshop by Neon Borneo; basketball clinic and games by Shooting Stars Brunei.

The Brunei Times

UBD Shell team thank sponsors

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TOKENS of appreciation were presented on Wednesday to sponsors of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Team GenNext Pejuang, who competed in the Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell category at Shell Eco-marathon Asia (SEMA) 2016, in Manila from March 3 to 6.
It was the university’s fourth participation in the competition, a press release said yesterday.
The team had finished second runner-up — its highest achievement so far — in the same category with its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle debutant Nakhoda last year. GenNext Pejuang’s participation this year concluded after the team made two attempts, but were unable to obtain any valid records on the track, the university said.
However, GenNext Pejuang and Universiti Teknologi Brunei’s Team One-U gained valuable knowledge and experience throughout their journey.
They were able to share ideas and broaden their network with other teams from the region. Their journey was not limited to just seven days of competition but it was a year-long process of hard work to ensure that their fuel-efficient vehicle was up to competition standard.
The team expressed their sincere gratitude to UBD and all their sponsors — Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), Brunei Shell Marketing Co Sdn Bhd (BSM), Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), Swee Sdn Bhd, Brunei Transporting Company (BTC) and Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd.
The team also thanked Pg Dr Mohd Iskandar Pg Hj Petra, Dr Quentin Cheok, Pg Md Aderus Pg Hj Tengah, Mr Chong Kim Onn.
The UBD SEMA team are currently preparing for the next SEMA competition, to be held for the first time in Singapore next year.
To know more about the UBD SEMA team or follow their journey to SEMA 2017, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/ubdsem at and Instagram @ubdsem.

The Brunei Times

Progresif, UBD in tie-up for projects

Chief Marketing Officer of Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd Devin Edwards (C) and UBD’s Associate Professor Dr Mohd Ayub Sadiq (2nd R), assistant vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs), exchange documents after the signing of an MoU between the two parties while the company’s Government Relationship Manager, Normah Ahmad (2nd L), Head of Product Development Radi El Fassed (L) and Chair Professor David Koh (R), UBD’s assistant vice-chancelor (Research and Innovation), look on. Picture: BT/Sally Piri
Chief Marketing Officer of Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd Devin Edwards (C) and UBD’s Associate Professor Dr Mohd Ayub Sadiq (2nd R), assistant vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs), exchange documents after the signing of an MoU between the two parties while the company’s Government Relationship Manager, Normah Ahmad (2nd L), Head of Product Development Radi El Fassed (L) and Chair Professor David Koh (R), UBD’s assistant vice-chancelor (Research and Innovation), look on. Picture: BT/Sally Piri

MOBILE communications provider Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) will collaborate in the areas of education, innovation, research and development following the signing of a memorandum of understanding yesterday.
A number of projects are already in discussion which will focus initially on discovery year or internship programmes involving UBD students encompassing innovation and commercialisation activities in relation to technology, inventions and patents from UBD, said a press statement issued by Progresif.
“As the programme gets started off with UBD, Progresif is in the process of building a startup lab or incubator within their new corporate headquarters which will be incorporated into the next phase of the programme to help stimulate entrepreneurship and further diversify the economy,” it said.
Under this cooperation, UBD students will be provided access to the working environment and startup lab programme as well as get to work alongside experts in the telecommunication and information technology industry.
“Knowledge-sharing and training sessions will include research, innovation, product development, entrepreneurship and commercialisation. The programme will provide unprecedented access to UBD students to help jumpstart their efforts,” said Progresif’s Head of Human Capital Administration, Fauzi Mosdaram.
During the signing ceremony, which was held at UBD’s Integrated Sciences Building, Progresif was represented by its Chief Marketing Officer, Devin Edwards, and witnessed by the company’s head of Product Development, Radi El Fassed.
Meanwhile, signing on behalf of UBD was Associate Professor Dr Mohd Ayub Sadiq, assistant vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs), who was accompanied by Chair Professor David Koh, assistant vice-chancelor (Research and Innovation) as a witness.
“Education and entrepreneurship are critical to innovation and are foundational to our business and our brand,” said Edwards.
“We have partnered with UBD on a number of initiatives with great success, which makes this effort a prudent and mutually beneficial evolution of our relationship for the betterment of the opportunities for students as well as for ongoing innovation and intellectual property development in Brunei,” he added.
Also in attendance were Progresif’s Government Relationship Manager, Normah Ahmad, and other UBD officials.

The Brunei Times