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AppDate: Learners get mathematical edge with Olico

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights the Olico maths supplement tool, FNBs latest award for its banking app, Impression digital signature, ShowMax on Android TV and Sentian 3i security.

Olico maths supplement tool

Olico’s grade 7, 8 and 9 maths maths tools are now freely availably online. The program has been in development for over five years and now contains over 20 000 interactive maths questions and 330 tutorial videos. The content is aligned to the South African CAPS curriculum and is written with a South African context in mind. Developed by Dr Lynn Bowie and a team of experienced education specialists, Olico’s online maths tool is a supplement for learners as well as teachers, tutors and parents.

For the past 5 years, Olico has been offering a blend of tutoring and technology support to learners from surrounding communities, with proven results. Learners enrolled in the program are achieving significant improvements in mathematics performance. Olico is also used  in ten under-resourced schools in the Western Cape in partnership with the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Stockists: Register at http://learn.olico.org

Expect to pay: Free to register and use

 

Another global award for FNB’s Banking App

FNB’s Banking App has been recognised for having the ‘Best Mobile System/Service Initiative’ during the Annual Banking Technology Awards 2016 held in London late last year. The FNB Banking App is currently used on over 2 million devices and remains the most downloaded banking app in South Africa. It has also won numerous other awards, including best banking app of the year in the Internet Banking SITEisfaction Survey;  best in Customer Experience Award for 2016 at the international Bank Customer Experience (BCX) Summit held in Chicago, and has also been ranked 6th best banking app in the world and the best in Africa at the bi-annual UX Masterclass conference  in Sydney, Australia.

Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and above

Stockists: Visit the store linked your device

Expect to pay: A free download

 

Impression digital signature

How often have you had to drop everything and rush off to sign an important document in person? Or wasted time by receiving a document, printing it out, signing it, rescanning it and sending it back? These days it is as easy as a few swipes of a smart device to send money anywhere in the world, so why aren’t we doing the same with our signatures? Impression is a new app that is designed to allow users to sign and send documents digitally from a smart device. All signatures signed with Impression are secure, legally recognised and fully compliant with relevant legislation. Impression also captures 3D information, such as how hard a person presses at each point of the signature, making it difficult to replicate fraudulently. The app allows one to digitally sign PDFs, Word documents, spreadsheets and most other documents with a finger or a stylus.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Expect to pay: A free download

 

ShowMax comes to Android TV

ShowMax’s latest app release now offers support on compatible Android media players or on  smart TVs running Android TV software. The app can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store and, once installed, allows users to stream content directly to that device. Should there be enough storage space, content can be saved for viewing at a later stage; there is no need for a notebook or any additional external devices.

Platform: Android TV

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store on the Android enabled set-top-box or Smart TV

Expect to pay: A free download

 

Sentian 3i

Although physical security systems like electric fences, cameras and beams do work, they are just a deterrent and will not stop an determined criminal. Local security company Sentian has launched the i3, which it calls the brain of home security and which it believes will beef up almost any analogue security system. The i3 connects a home’s fence and alarm ,along with any other security devices, to the cloud, allowing a user to view a 12 second video of their property remotely . It also allows home owners to activate individual security devices, like night-lights, and open or close gates – functions that only high-end and integrated alarm systems would nornally allow one to do.

Platform: Android, iOS and most up-to-date Internet browsers

Stockists: Visit: www.sentian.co.za

Expect to pay: Price is dependent on client’s needs

 

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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