Arming the military with information technology

We see it in movies. Navy Seals conducting covert operations carrying laptops and satellite phones to combat zones deep in the jungle. Military operations carried out by generals far from the battlefields overseeing and directing combat troops in the desert. These are exciting reflections of how the military can use satellite telecommunications technology as weapons of war.

But as experts in providing Internet access in areas with inadequate telco facilities, AZCOM has been helping different branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines the Army and the Navy enjoy practical benefits of satellite technology. And we're happy to say it's not all about wars but Internet and Intranet communications and information management.

AZCOM helped the Philippine Army Management and Info Center (PAMIC) set up a point-to-point
and point-to-multipoint Intranet network that extends from its Fort Bonifacio headquaters to remote camps all over the country. PAMIC admits it can also use dial-ups and cable connections, but still prefers AZCOM because it offers secure Intranet links and equipment that can be relocated with ease.

Our Navy is modernizing its operations with AZCOM satellite technology. The Philippine Navy Technical Intelligence group values the secure communications network and mobility of satellite equipment for use as its primary medium for correspondent among its units across the archipelago.

The good word about AZCOM has gotten around the Armed Forces because now, even the AFPSLAI, a military cooperative, has approached us for help in streamlining fund management and loan processing. We helped links in Camp Capinpin Office in Tanay, Rizal to cooperative's main office in Camp Aguinaldo.

Energizing the power sector

It makes us all at AZCOM feel good learning about how we helped our clients do business a lot better and make their lives a lot easier. We never expected or even realized some of the ways until we've heard the stories from our clients.

Take the case of CAPELCO, a power cooperative based in Panitan, Capiz. CAPELCO had to get connected to the Internet to comply with new government regulations. All power cooperatives and distributors have to get online to participate in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

CAPELCO has already computerized its operations and getting connected should have been an easy matter. But CAPELCO was located in Panitan, Capiz, where telephone service is bad. Locals would complain of dropped lines and we know what that can do to dial-up connections. CAPELCO also services areas where phone lines are unheard of. We approached CAPELCO with our broadband Internet satellite services and much to our surprise and delight, the cooperative ordered four VSAT connections.



Why multiple stations? Well, the cooperative wanted to use the Internet for its billing and tellering operations. The process begins with people going around house to house to read the electric meters. These are recorded and compiled by area, and then brought over to the main office in Panitan. The main office computes how much each house needs to pay and then bills are sent out. Power subscribers pay at branch offices and these are transmitted to the main office. The process takes about 14 days, our client said.

Now that AZCOM has come into the picture, the whole billing process takes just two days. After being recorded, meter readings are transmitted via the Internet from the CAPELCO branches to the main office. The main office then transmits the billing computation back to the branch office, again via internet. Another client who has benefited from our services is AURELCO, the power distributor based in Aurora, Quezon.

AURELCO used to have messengers transporting overland floppy discs with data for billing and other operations between its main office and sub-areas. The trip takes about 5to 6 hours one way. Imagine what happens when floppies are damaged in transport?

Today, that is a thing of the past. AURELCO managers are being conducting meetings via the Internet. AURELCO people sure know how to get the most out of their AZCOM connection.

The bridge to on-line rural banking

We at AZCOM are proud of our association with rural banks like the United Coconut Planters Bank in Mayantoc, Tarlac and Enterprise Bank in Mindanao.

Rural banks have rich legacy of financing agricultural endeavors of townsfolk, safeguarding their savings, and stimulating growth and development of towns and municipalities in provinces.

It is the legacy born of the need, first stated in the Republic Act 720 of 1952, for towns and municipalities far removed from urban centers to have their own banks run by trusted professionals or leaders in the community.

In essence, rural banks bridge the gap between the common folk and the national financial institutions. This is something that we share with rural banks. We are also in the business of bridging gaps.

Much like rural banks who serve communities without ready access to national financial institutions, we help provide Internet access to communities that cannot be reached by dial-up and cable systems.

The role rural banks play in communities has evolved from just being local loan cooperatives. To better serve depositors and clients, some of whom have interests that go beyond provincial boundaries (i.e. OFW's, entrepreneurs, farmers /traders), rural banks have taken on roles and functions played by national or even multinational financial institutions.

From the 18 rural banks established during the first year of RA 720, there are now 799 banks with a total of 938 branches with more than P69.9 billion in total resources, P45.7 billion in deposits, and covering 85% of municipalities and cities nationwide.

AZCOM is the only internet service provider with nationwide coverage that can help all rural banks get on-line. Within a week of signing up, they can be connected to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, other banks and, more importantly, their clients anywhere in the world.

Public Service within your reach

The national government is requiring all departments and local government units to computerize record keeping and operations to bring the country well into the digital age.

The next step is for all to go on-line so communications and sharing of records and documents can be facilitated. The objective is to make government more transparent and accessible to the public. Ultimately, it's all about improving public service.

We at AZCOM believe we are also public servants. Each time we help a local government unit have reliable on-line satellite Internet service we are performing public service. Each time we help connect a remote municipality to the provincial and central governments via the Internet we, in effect, become public servants.

This motivates and gives us a great sense of pride to reach out to LGUs and present our VSAT technology to help them overcome the lack of telco facilities for going on-line.



And it's not just sales that we're after. We want to become partners of progressive local government officials in rendering better service to their constituents. Like Governor Dominador Belac of Kalinga, Vicente Valera of Abra, and Mayor Rodolfo Guerrero of the Municipality of Anao, Tarlac.

We now understand how it feels for those in government to be frustrated by antiquated technology when life can be made a little easier with AZCOM linking the barrio, the municipality, the city and the province to the rest of the country.

Imagine the tsuper in a remote municipality foregoing a day's income to have his licensed renewed in the provincial capital hundreds of kilometers away. Think of the hardship a retiree from the boondocks has to suffer to follow up retirement benefits in the city.

Then envision a future when residents of a far-off community can go to the local municipal office to renew licenses or permits, follow-up papers with various National Government departments, secure NBI clearances for employment, all on-line via the LGU's VSAT stations provided by AZCOM.

We at AZCOM are working towards a future when all communities, far removed from the city or in the densest of urban centers, are all connected to each other via the wonders of satellite technology. That is our commitment to serve the public.

Taking education to a higher level

It's no surprise that all schools, colleges and universities across our archipelago want to be connected to this seemingly infinite fountain of information. Not only because the government requires to schools to have access to the Internet for accreditation to teach computer education, but also for reasons that make us at AZCOM, a provider of satellite internet connection, feel we are helping in the development of education in our country.

Educational institutions provide students with access to the computer for purposes of study and research. But others have discovered more benefits from computers and satellite internet connection. We've received email from one of our clients in North Luzon, Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), thanking us for connecting the school to the internet. The school administrators said Internet has awakened them to the benefits of computerization and Internet connection. Accounting and information management are now all computerized with on-line access to administrators, faculty and students. No more long lines fro registration and tuition assessment. Administrative processes have been streamlined resulting in huge savings and more efficient operations.

ISPSC has its main campus in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, with eight satellite campuses spread out in more remote parts of the province. The easy installation and flexibility of AZCOM satellite equipment have made it possible for the main and satellite campuses to be linked in one big campus on the Web. We are proud to say we helped ISPSC become a more efficient, effective and cohesive learning institution.

Even in areas heavily served by cable and dial-up Internet connection, AZCOM has clients who take pride in being our subscribers. The University of Perpetual Help of Laguna conducts on-line exams for Microsoft certification, much sought after by students with an eye out for a successful career in the IT industry. We've been informed that satellite connection adds to the university's prestige while helping its graduates become globally competitive.

We're also happy to hear that an entire community surrounding the Bohol Institute of Technology in Jagna, Bohol, is benefiting from our satellite link-up. Aside from its main use as a laboratory for computer learning for students, the school's internet connection serves as an Internet café for the community.

We at AZCOM can go where other providers tied down by telephone and cable lines cannot. And that means we can reach schools everywhere.