Two ladies are leading the digital revolution in the Philippines as top executives of an IT conglomerate that opened the world of virtual reality for local industries.
“We at Synergy 88 are very excited to be in the midst of this digital revolution. Technology gives us incredible power to change the world in almost every facet of society. From education to agriculture, finance, marketing and finance. You name it, and technology is right there at the helm of development. The possibilities are limitless,” says Jackeline Chua, the managing director and co-founder of Synergy 88, an IT conglomerate that employs 200 Filipino professionals.
“We are committed to the continuous flow of change, disruption and revolution. Constant innovation and evolution is in our DNA. We not only create products or services, but we also create products that help improve the everyday life of ordinary people. Synergy 88 wants to put its most valuable assets--the Filipino talent front and center of the digital entertainment industry,” says Chua, who obtained degrees in political science and marketing management from the De La Salle University.
Synergy 88, which is comprised of six companies that provide IT services and solutions to various industries, formed a new company called Renderbee Technology Inc., which became the first local firm to render virtual reality, or VR solutions to the real estate sector. Renderbee offers 3D visualization, based on the architect’s blueprint. It allows real estate clients to experience roaming around a virtual building, house or subdivision even before construction begins.
“We saw there is a growing demand since most of the studios catering to the real estate market are foreign companies whose developments are done elsewhere and not in the country. So we established Renderbee Technology Inc. Our team is comprised mostly of graphic and multi-media artists, with some of them having architectural background,” says Maria Carmencita Burgos-Nepomuceno, the chief executive of Renderbee.
“More or less, the Synergy Group has about 200 in-house artists. We have dedicated approximately 30 to 40 multi-media artists and developers for Renderbee,” says Nepomuceno.
Nepomuceno says women are increasingly becoming active in the IT industry. “Women are now empowered. We are not just constrained to traditional industries. We see there are a lot of female graduates now, even in our company, who are already taking part in the IT industry as artists, developers,” she says.
Chua says Synergy 88 is the only Philippine company with the most advanced VR devices and the only studio in the country that has animation, gaming and publishing services under one roof. “As an outsourcing company, it is the first and only Microsoft-certified studio. We have created environment assets for top selling global games and local concepts as well,” she says.
“As a local industry leader, our corporate social responsibility includes partnering with academic institutions to develop homegrown talents. By doing so, we not only address the educational and industry skills gap and enable Filipinos to reach international standards, but more importantly provide and create jobs that reduce the number of Filipinos leaving their families,” Chua says in a news briefing at RCBC Plaza in Makati City.
“This is our unique strength. This is synergy. Our wish is for future Filipinos to become digital natives. Our country can become a force to reckon with in the digital world,” she says.
Synergy 88 provides services such as multi-media production, game development, publication, digital graphics, animation, co-location and web-development and rendering services.
Aside from Renderbee, other member companies of the Synergy 88 Group are ASI Studios, a full service animation studio based in Quezon City; Synergy 88 Digital, a Manila-based art-strong creative digital solutions studio that provides games and non-game applications; Kalaro Games Philippines Inc., the publishing arm of Synergy88; South Eastern Data Center Inc., a carrier-neutral data center which provides IT solutions such as co-location and web development services; DGx Hub, an innovative digital graphics studio and game software provider; and Synergy 88 Productions, a full service multi-media digital production company that handles TV commercial production and audio-visual campaigns.
ASI Studios, a partnership between Synergy 88 and Singapore’s August Media Holdings, has a team of 140 highly trained artists and technicians. Chua says ASI is set to engross prime-time audiences in the Philippines with the country’s first animated drama for adults next year.
“We are in the process of doing it right now [animation film]. We started the production already. The animation, we are doing it in our company. Pre-production is being done in Japan. It is a partnership with a big broadcast network in Japan,” says Chua.
Nepomuceno, a 10-year veteran of the IT industry who has a political science degree from the University of the Philippines-Diliman and a Master’s in business administration from Ateneo de Manila University, sees VR as the next major technology that will sweep the country. He says Renderbee, which was derived from the words ‘rendering’ and ‘bee’, is set to lead the adoption of 3D and VR designs.
“Renderbee was established in 2015 as a brand and was later on as incorporated as a company early this year. Originally Renderbee came about just as a product line of one of our sister companies back in 2015. Coming from trade exhibits, shows and talk with students, the academe and schools, we saw there was actually a need, a demand for students, for faster computer processor to render their projects into 3D models. For an ordinary computer processor, it can take two hours. But with a Render farm, it will take just seven to eight minutes,” says Nepomuceno.
“If your are to render an animation, it will take a three-minute animated walkthrough 80 days to finish. With the Render farm, we can finish it in six days,” she says.
“Based on this demand and supply, we created our own Render farm. We are the first and only mainstream Render farm service provider in the Philippines,” says Nepomuceno, explaining that a Render farm is a cluster of servers assembled for the purpose of rendering 3D images, computer-generated imagery and visual effects.
“In layman’s terms, we can render designs and blueprints faster than usual,” she says. “With the Render farm, we are able to speed up the workflow process for architects, interior designers and real estate developers.”
“Based on the discussion we had with developers, we saw there was a need and there was a demand. Surprisingly, we learned that the current service providers are actually foreign companies that cater to their demands. With the current team of professional artists and multi-media artists who have experience in architectural 3D modeling, we created architectural designs for project developers, architects, interior designers and students,” says Nepomuceno.
Renderbee is taking VR solutions beyond video games and into mainstream industry. “Renderbee is able to see the growing demand for virtual reality or VR in the architectural industry. Last year, we started hearing about VR for movies and games, which is probably the trend nowadays. But we also saw the potential of VR for different types of industries such as in the field of architecture,” says Nepomuceno.
“In the Philippines, we are probably the first to provide development of VR for the architectural industry. We make project designs and plans come to life even before they are built,” she says. “Real estate clients can now experience going through condo unit, buildings and even subdivisions through what we call Renderbee VR.”
Nepomuceno says Renderbee will open a door for more opportunities as it shares ideas with the people and enterprises, using the infrastructure and the talents of Synergy 88. “The market itself is very huge. Right now, what we are trying to do is educate the market,” she says. “We probably haven’t tapped 5 percent of the market, because we just started this year. We have gained increasing demand already. It is more of educating the market to increase it even more.”
“Synergy 88 Group, including Renderbee’s primary goal is not just for our own profit. We see that we can actually tap the talent of young people in the Philippines. Our primary goal is to share the technologies of the world to our countrymen, to Filipino people by helping businesses attain their business goals and by contributing to the development and betterment of the country,” says Nepomuceno.
“We believe that virtual reality would be welcomed by the Filipino people as the next cellphone, mobile phone or technological part of our everyday life,” she says.
Chua says she sees an enormous potential for VR solutions and other digital services. “Internet penetration is growing. Right now, 58 million Filipinos have Internet access. Since we are selling digital products, it is so easy to reach and make products available to this market via the Internet,” she says.
“I firmly believe that the Filipino, who by nature is passionate, dedicated and hardworking is highly capable of innovation. Couple with excellent communication skills, he or she can be a valid force in the digital world,” says Chua.
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