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SARTiNE’s Deunida blazes thru US tech expos, says it’s ‘innovate or die’


The Philippines was well-represented by SARTiNE chief executive officer Renesar Deunida in all three of the tech world’s recent must-attend events on information technology innovations, cybersecurity, and digital marketing trends held in the United States within days of each other.

First stop for the 44-year-old father of two was the 2022 Augmented World Expo (AWE) which gathered together in Sta. Clara 2,500 attendees, 200-plus tech gurus and speakers, and over 100 exhibitors showcasing the latest hardware, software, and extended reality (XR) concepts in over 5,000 square meters of exposition space.

“SARTiNE’s goals in coming to AWE, the RSA Conference in San Francisco, and the Digital Marketing Convention (DigiMarCon) in San Diego are to bring back home and adopt for the peculiar needs of Filipinos the latest technologies that could elevate our quality of life, empower businesses and, ultimately, help our country traverse the ever-changing digital trade and social media landscape,” Deunida said.

“I never travel for leisure, but to learn and to be inspired that we, Filipinos, can get to enjoy the latest technologies in a world where nations may be separated by geography and geopolitics, but are nonetheless conjoined by digital innovations,” he added.

Back home at Sartine’s office in Makati City, Deunida said that a key takeaway from the AWE convention is that the Philippines must open up its markets and take advantage of the virtual world industry, in order to grow and expand even amid the economic slowdown precipitated by the pandemic, rising fuel prices, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

He pointed out that with the pandemic exposing individuals and businesses to cyber threats from multiple vulnerable entry points like unprotected Wi-Fi connections, the RSA convention brought out the best available tools and systems to stop hackers and other malevolent digital players who are always looking at the Achilles heels of the Internet of Things (IOTs) like modems, smartphones and online security cameras, just to name a few.

DigiMarCon, on the other hand, put the spotlight on new insights, methodologies, and strategies to help bring brand campaigns to the next level, he said.

Asked why he chose to spend nearly all of June flying from one US expo to another, Deunida said it is very important for local industries to innovate lest they go the way of the dinosaurs. “It’s either you embrace technology or you go extinct; either you innovate or die,” he warned.

While he is considered by his peers in the local tech industry as an innovator and disruptor, one who’s not averse to reinventing the wheel when not creating something from scratch, Deunida said it’s all about “helping industries differentiate themselves and their products from the competition.”

“Innovation serves as a connection to developing and even to uncharted markets, especially when it comes to advertising and technology. With the proper tools, local industries can save time, money and get an overwhelming advantage over old-school, think-inside-the-box competitors,” he said.

Even for ordinary people, the SARTiNE CEO said innovation meant interacting with friends, relatives, and classmates through Facebook, holding classes and business meetings through Zoom, or having food and other goods delivered through Shopee or Lazada using fintech such as online payments.

“At AWE, we’ve seen how XR has gone beyond virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) gaming and how we, at SARTiNE, are on the right track in the adoption of immersive technologies,” he said.

“Indeed, we can help businesses implement that buzz phrase ‘try-before-you-buy’ experiences, like people knowing if that huge 80-inch 8K video panel would fit on their living room wall and whether that’s too big a screen for comfortable viewing,” he said.

“With XR, businesses that are on the red can improve their bottom line in the same way that upstarts can disrupt the norm and just fly like the icons of Silicon Valley,” Deunida said, who obliged in his US trip Founder’s Courier and Markets Herald with sit-down interviews.

He told the Courier and the Herald that SARTiNE, in seven short years, has positioned itself to keep a lot of companies float amid the lockdowns and depressed consumer appetite brought about by the pandemic.

Deunida recounted helping companies develop loyal customers, with repeat engagements, whether through online commerce or even the traditional brick-and-mortar stores now coming back to life with the easing of Covid mobility restrictions.

“Social media has inarguably changed the game plan for advertisers, marketers, and brand developers, offering unbelievable opportunities to promote products and services to a massive audience while establishing a strong brand name,” Markets Herald wrote in its interview with Deunida.

“The change was revolutionary compared to how they marketed brands 10 years ago when social media was simply a space for people to gather and connect — and has eventually developed to become a perfect landscape for advertisers. From traditional media of television, print, and radio, advertisers have found a gold mine in social media,” it added.

Deunida told the Herald that even traditional media companies have embraced social media to allow consumers to engage brand developers and sellers directly.  “This definitely changed the landscape of the advertising industry,” he pointed out. “The consumers are on social media, all kinds of them, and advertisers must follow,” Deunida said.

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