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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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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget visited the Netflix studios last week. In the first of a series, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read about Netflix’s international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Take these 5 steps to digital

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By MARK WALKER, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Digital transformation isn’t a buzz word because it sounds nice and looks good on the business CV. It is fundamental to long-term business success. IDC anticipates that 75% of enterprises will be on the path to digital transformation by 2027. 

However, digital transformation is not a process that ticks a box and moves to the next item on the agenda – it is defined by the organisation’s shift towards a digitally empowered infrastructure and employee. It is an evolution across system, infrastructure, process, individual and leadership and should follow clear pathways to ensure sustainable success.

The nature of the enterprise has changed completely with the influence of digital, cloud and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and success is reliant on strategic change.

There is a lot more ownership and transparency throughout the organisation and there is a responsibility that comes with that – employees want access to information, there has to be speed in knowledge, transactions and engagement,” he adds. “To ensure that the organisation evolves alongside digital and demand, it has to follow five very clear pathways to long-term, achievable success.

The first of these is to evaluate where the enterprise sits right now in terms of its digital journey. This will differ by organisation size and industry, as well as its reliance on technology. A smaller organisation that only needs a basic accounting function or the internet for email will have far different considerations to a small organisation that requires high-end technology to manage hedge funds or drive cloud solutions. The same comparisons apply to the enterprise-level organisation. The mining sector will have a completely different sub-set of technology requirements and infrastructure limitations to the retail or finance sectors.

Ultimately, every organisation, regardless of size or industry, is reliant on technology to grow or deliver customer service, but their digital transformation requirements are different. To ensure that investment into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, knowledge engines, automation and connectivity are accurately placed within the business and know exactly where the business is going.

The second step is to examine what the business wants to achieve. Again, the goals of the organisation over the long and short term will be entirely sector dependent, but it is essential that it examine what the competitive environment looks like and what influences customer expectations. This understanding will allow for the business to hone its digital requirements accordingly.

The third step is to match expectations to reality. You need to see how you can move your digital transformation strategy forward and what areas require prioritisation, what funding models will support your digital aspirations, and how this tie into what the market wants. Ultimately, every step of the process has to be prioritised to ensure it maps back to where you are and the strategic steps that will take you to where you want to go.

The fourth step is to look at the operational side of the process. This is as critical as any other aspect of the transformation strategy as it maps budget to skills to infrastructure in such a way as to ensure that any project delivers return on investment. Budget and funding are always top of mind when it comes to digital transformation – these are understandably key issues for the business. How will it benefit from the investment? How will it influence the customer experience? What impact will this have on the ongoing bottom line? These questions tie neatly into the fifth step in the process – the feedback loop.

This is often the forgotten step, but it is the most important. The feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the digital transformation process is achieving the right results, that the right metrics are in place, and that the needle is moving in the right direction. It is within this feedback loop that the organisation can consistently refine the process to ensure that it moves to each successive step with the right metrics in place.

There is also one final element that every organisation should have in place throughout its digital evolution. An element that many overlook – engagement. There must be a real desire to change, from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom, and an understanding of what it means to undertake this change and why it is essential. This is why this will be a key discussion at the 2019 IDC South Africa CIO Summit taking place in April this year. With this in place, the five steps to digital transformation will make sense and deliver the right results.

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