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Smart bags award for "Best Community Telecom Project" at the 16th Telecom Asia Awards!

For the second year in a row, Smart Communications (Smart) received the award for Best Community Telecom Project at the 16th Telecom Asia Awards, the region’s longest-running and most prestigious telecom industry awards program that recognizes innovative and outstanding performance by Asian service providers and industry executives.

The citation was given for Smart's leading role in helping develop the Android mobile application for the Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) website of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and PAGASA Weather Bureau which provides updated weather information and storm alerts. The innovative app was cited for providing valuable public service in the Philippines, which is hit by destructive typhoons every year.

In accepting the award, Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto stressed that the mobile app was the product of collaboration between Smart, the DOST and PAGASA, and the software developer community.  He cited in particular application author Rolly Rulete, who developed the prototype of the Project NOAH app during a programming marathon organized by Smart.

“This is an excellent example of a mobile application that was designed to serve the needs of the community.  Smart will continue to support such initiatives taken by what we like to call 'apptivists' -- developers who make apps for social good.  We will step up our cooperation with agencies like the DOST and PAGASA to help the country better prepare for the threat of extreme weather disturbances,” Isberto said.

“In a way, it is not surprising that Rolly spearheaded the development of this app.  He comes from a family of fishermen who must face daily the hazards of weather.  One of his uncles perished at sea because of bad weather.  He knows from painful personal experience how valuable timely, accurate weather information can be,” he added.

Rulete, along with Pablito Veroy and Jay Albano, developed the Project NOAH app prototype during the first HTML5 hackathon organized in July 2012 by the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet) in Davao City. The prototype won the “Best Use of Smart APIs” award.

Smart asked Rulete what the team wanted to do with the prototype. Rulete expressed interest in donating their work to the DOST. Through Smart's partnerships and support, Rulete further developed the app to the agency's specifications. Smart DevNet provided further assistance through developer resources, testing, and validation.

The Project NOAH app gives the government and citizens real-time weather information – location-based probability of rain, intensity of rainfall, projected typhoon track, flood model maps, etc. – wherever they may be.  The information allows them to detect and monitor potential danger, predict the course of a weather disturbance, warn people, and take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of the community.

With more than 50,000 downloads, the app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

In 2012, Smart won the highest number of awards in the 15th Telecom Asia Awards -- Best Community Telecom Project for its digital health program called SHINE (Secured Health Information and Network Exchange), Best Emerging Market Carrier, and Telecom CEO of the Year for Smart president and chief executive officer Napoleon Nazareno.

Photo shows [from left to right] John Tanner, Telecom Asia group technology editor and judge at the Telecom Asia Awards; Mon Isberto, Smart public affairs head; and Joseph Waring, Telecom Asia group editor and head of the board of judges of the Telecom Asia Awards. 

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