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AppDate: Absa brings Masterpass to banking app

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In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Absa’s MasterPass, Cell C MiAssist, NordVPN for Android, PokerConnect and QualityTime.

Absa Masterpass

Absa’s new Masterpass App is a digital wallet powered by Mastercard, enabling South Africans to make payments with their phones wherever Masterpass is accepted. Payments via the Absa Masterpass App currently gives people the power to make online purchases using the digital wallet on their smartphones, without needing to carry their bank cards with them. Absa customers will also soon be able to do in-store shopping using Absa Masterpass, with a variety of merchants presently being signed up. Consumers can store all their MasterCard or other branded credit, debit or cheque card information, and shipping and billing address details, securely in the Absa Masterpass digital wallet. This gives them the ability to make secure payments wherever they see the Masterpass logo, without the hassle of entering these details each time they purchase an item using their Masterpass digital wallet.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cell C MiAssist

Cell C and Cellfind have partnered up to launch Cell C MiAssist. Like many of the emergency apps available, the Cell C MiAssist app gives users access to pre-defined contacts at the click of a button. Once the panic button is pushed, the app uses Cellfind’s location-based technology to provide contacts with the smartphone’s GPS co-ordinates. Dedicated crisis managers are on call 24/7 and will immediately dispatch a road or air ambulance to provide life support and take the patient to the nearest hospital. In addition to providing help on the road, a home assist feature helps customers deal with home emergencies and also provides a list of emergency plumbers, electricians, etc., when urgent action needs to be taken to minimise damage to the home.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: R45 per month

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

NordVPN for Android

NordVPN is a virtual private network specially designed for  Android. It is fairly easy to use as it requires no setup. All one has to do is select a destination on the interactive map to where an encrypted message needs to be sent. NordVPN offers in-app support via live chat and, besides being used to encrypt messages, can also be used to securely create a connection to video on demand services like Netflix.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: R114 per month

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.

 

PokerConnect

PokerConnect is the first poker app that allows users to play across platforms offline through their PokerConnect app on the device – a great addition for players who have little or no Internet connectivity.  The PokerConnect app serves as a digital poker table and gamblers have the option of playing with real money or with chips. PokerConnect offers a single-player mode where one plays against the computer, or multi-player mode where up to ten players can sit in at a table.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

QualityTime

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on your phone and on which apps you spend the most time? The QualityTime app measures this and provides a breakdown of the time you have spent on the phone. In addition to measuring the time a device has been used, it also lets one set break alarms for when a time-out from work is due. Users can also use QualityTime to turn off all notifications for a set period of time.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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