In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights FNB’s newest mobile app, DStv Now for Compact and Extra customers, Child Friendly SA, Opera 3.0 Max, BBM News for SA and CarZar’s updated website.
FNB updated website
FNB’s latest banking app update allows users to view and pay for traffic fines and renew car licenses. For a fee, the licence is delivered by courier, and saves standing in lines and dealing with bureaucrats. It also features Augmented Reality and FNB TV. The augmented reality technology is designed to help customers find nearby eBucks retail partners, and the FNB TV service helps customers navigate banking easily with video clips that take them through the process step-by-step. The app also offer the ability to temporarily block, unblock, cancel and order any cheque, credit or debit card.
Platform: Android and Apple iOS
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device
DStv Now for Compact and Extra customers
DStv Now previousl allowed DStv customers of premium services to watch streaming Live TV and access the Catch Up channel on mobile devices. These features are now available on lower-cost DStv Compact and Extra accounts at no extra cost.
By downloading the mobile app, or logging on via a desktop browser, one gets to watch Live TV, see the full DStv TV Guide, enjoy DStv Catch Up content (via streaming or download) and manage accounts.
The Live TV and DStv Catch Up content on DStv Now will be based on the package to which the user is subscribed.
Platform: Android, Apple iOS and any device with a supporting Internet browser.
Expect to pay: A free download.
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device or log on at www.now.dstv.com
Child Friendly SA
The Child Friendly SA app offers a easy solution to help parents-on-the-go to make more of their own day and their kids’ lives. More than 10 000 listings of child-friendly activities, services and shops are readily accessible from a smartphone. The app offers a wealth of ideas and valuable shortcuts to enriching family lives and to manage them more efficiently. Information is presented in more than 200 categories and sub-categories, covering the needs of kids from birth to the end of the high school years.
Platform: Android and Apple iOS
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.
Opera 3.0 Max
Opera has rolled out its new 3.0 version of the Max app. This is a major update with a new design, optimised for easier use of the data savings and data management tools inside Opera Max. The new version also introduces an improvement to its data savings technology by adding support for Facebook savings.
Opera Max 3.0 acts like a user’s smart assistant to manage Android apps. It starts off on a familiar feed that is customised to a user’s current data usage. It then shows “app by app” mobile and Wi-Fi data usage and also provides personalised advice on how best to reduce data usage. The tip cards on Opera Max’s new home feed will guide users through the most efficient ways to stretch their mobile data plan and help better manage their apps’ data consumption. Also, Opera Max will report on external security threat,s while providing data encryption when, for example, users are on public a Wi-Fi network.
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store
BBM News now in South Africa
BBM News is a source for news from around the globe: breaking, world, local, technology, sports, entertainment, business, and more. Accessible from the BBM Discover menu, this new service provides a personalised experience that “learns” which news stories are important to a user.
BBM News also includes the ability to share news with friends and family — making it easier for consumers to pass along interesting articles, and for content providers to take advantage of “dark social sharing,” which appears to be more effective than social advertising.
Platform: Mobile devices running the BBM messenger service
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Download BBM News through the Discover menu in BBM messenger.
Updated CarZar website
CarZar has a new website which will deliver a faster and easier experience when selling secondhand cars. Sellers enter their car’s details on the CarZar.co.za website, after which CarZar’s algorithm will instantly generate an estimate for the vehicle’s selling price. If the seller is happy with the estimated value, they can book a free inspection with one of CarZar’s trained car inspectors. Within 20 minutes, the inspector will make a final offer to the seller. CarZar then makes an instant payment and takes care of all the paperwork. In all, the process takes only 30 minutes.
Platform: Any device with an Internet browser
Expect to pay: A free service.
Smart grids needed for Africa’s utilities
Power utilities across Africa should rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem, says COLIN BEANEY, Global Industry Director for Asset-intensive and Energy and Utilities at IFS.
Africa’s abundant natural resources and urgent need for power mean that it is one of the most exciting and innovative energy markets in a world that is moving rapidly towards clean, renewable energy sources. The continent’s energy industry is taking new approaches to providing unserved and underserved communities with access to power, with an emphasis on smart technologies and greener energy sources.
Power systems are evolving from centralised, top-down systems as interest in off-grid technology grows among African businesses and consumers. And according to PwC, we will see installed power capacity rise from 2012’s 90GW to 380GW in 2040 in sub-Saharan Africa. Power utilities are needing to rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem.
Energy and utilities providers are transforming from centralised supply companies to more distributed, bi-directional service providers. They can only achieve this through the evolution of “smart grids” where sensors and smart meters will be able to provide the consumer with a more granular level of detail of power usage. This shift from an energy supplier to “lifestyle provider” will require a much more dynamic and optimised approach to maintenance and field service.
African companies must thus embrace digital transformation as an imperative. This transformation begins by embracing enterprise asset management to improve asset utilisation. The subsequent steps are enhancing upstream and downstream supply chain management; resource optimisation; introducing enterprise operational intelligence; embracing new technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and predictive maintenance; and becoming a smart utility.
Embracing mobility to drive ROI
Getting it right is about putting in place an enterprise backbone that accommodates asset and project management, multinational languages and currencies, new energies and markets, visualisation of the entire value chain, and mobility apps. Mobile technologies that support the field workforce have a vital role to play in driving better ROI from utilities’ investments in enterprise asset management and enterprise resource planning solutions.
Today’s leading enterprise asset management solutions feature powerful functionality for mobile management of the complete workflow of work orders – from logging status changes and updates, from receiving and creating new orders to concluding the job and reporting time, material and expenses. Such solutions are easy to deploy and intuitive for end users to learn and use.
Importantly for organisations operating in parts of the continent with poor telecoms infrastructure, connectivity is not an issue. The solutions work offline and synchronises when network connectivity is available. Users can work on any device—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—commercial or ruggedised.
By ensuring that field technicians have easy access to information and processes, the mobile solution enables technicians and maintenance engineers to easily do the following tasks:
· Create a new work order on the fly and log new opportunities
· Access both historical and planned work information when requested
· Permit customers to sign when the job is completed
· Capture measurements and inspection notes on route work orders
· Create new fault reports on routing
· Facilitate documentation through photo capturing
· Provide easy access to technical data and preventive actions.
The power of mobility allows the engineer to be the origin of all data capture on a service event. They can easily inquire on asset history, record parts used or parts needed for repair, record labour hours, and expenses as they occur, and any notes of repairs performed. When coupled with workforce management tools, such solutions unlock significant productivity gains for utilities who are trying to get the most from their workforce and assets.
Brands fall for app vanity
The experience of a mobile screen full of icons, representing independent apps that your need to open to experience them, is making less sense. Instead, businesses should serve customers with an ‘app-like’ experience inside the digital platform they already use, says PIETER DE VILLIERS, Group CEO at Clickatell.
Many brands remain obsessed with creating mobile apps. This not only defies trends that point to increasing consumer app apathy, but can exclude a sizeable portion of your customers in emerging economies. Companies need to engage with their users where they are rather than forcing them onto an app, in what can only be described as brand vanity.
In 2017 there were around 2.2 million apps available in the iOS app store and over 3 million on Google Play. And, while the number of apps being downloaded continues to rise, analysis shows that consumers are only using 30 apps per month and accessing just 9 on a day-to-day basis.
While these numbers still seem attractively high, in reality the majority of the apps we use are for messaging (like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat) and our social networking, gaming, leisure, dating or utility activities.
Despite the facts, the application strategy as the holy grail for digital transformation is still being pushed even within large progressive brands. What’s more, some advertising agencies and digital consultants are still pushing apps as the best means for companies to connect with their customers. This has resulted in some organisations stubbornly doubling down on app strategies which are simply not showing return on investment (ROI).
It’s not immediately clear to us whether the fascination with apps is a roll-over from long overdue projects or whether brand owners equate a mobile-first strategy with a mobile app. Mobile-first in 2018 means customer first, and therefore embracing chat commerce in order to deliver services with convenience and simplicity in mind.
Why apps won’t win the internet
The problem with apps goes beyond user fatigue. In the first instance, many apps are poorly designed, assuming technical sophistication which may not match reality for the average customer. Poor user interfaces and attempts to provide complex engagement can result in even the best ideas missing their targets due to lack of engagement.
Secondly, we all know that economic realities drive consumer behaviour. In Africa, new mobile phone users typically opt for feature phones over smartphones. With a longer battery life and a much more accessible price point, feature phones still allow for a basic internet connection, chat platforms like WhatsApp, and call and message functionality. In these regions, the cost of an app – even if it’s free – goes far beyond installing it. Constant updates require reliable and cheap access to the internet. For the average phone owner in an emerging market, this can be a serious challenge.
Thirdly, and most importantly, apps must be relevant to their intended market. Frequency of usage is a key measure of relevance.
Apps which are used on a daily basis, like health and fitness trackers, enjoy constant engagement. New features which are added are eagerly awaited by users who are happy to update their apps.
However, users may well question the relevance of the app if they are required to conduct updates on a monthly or even weekly basis when they are only making use of the app once or twice a year.
On average, I download one app per quarter. Some I use more frequently than others, but all of these apps need to be regularly updated to maintain security, update features, and fix bugs. Many apps are pushing out updates much more frequently. I noticed over the past year that I could go from having all apps updated, to 32 apps requiring an update in five days.
When it comes to a customer-first digital strategy, companies should be asking themselves if an app is really the best way to reach their target audience.
In fact, at the end of 2016, Gartner predicted that by 2019, 20 percent of brands would ditch their mobile app. What’s more, in its 2018 predictions, the company forecast that by 2021, more than 50 percent of corporations would spend more per annum on bots and chatbots than on mobile app development.
So, we need to ask, what is the alternative for CIOs, CDOs, CMOs, and digital leaders who are looking for ways to reach, retain and grow their customer base?
The logical app alternative
The old battle advice goes: fight your enemy where they are not. Military strategists agreed that having your enemy come to you and fight you on your own terms was preferable. In a world where customers have access to thousands of offerings and millions of deals online, we need to flip that idea to Meet Your Customers Where They Are.
Any marketeer will tell you just a how difficult it is to drive app downloads. Development, cross platform testing and user interface aside, the marketing campaign required to get customers to download the app can swallow entire annual budgets and still come up short.
Looking at the facts, it makes infinitely more sense to work within the digital platforms already being used by your target audience.
Clickatell is already enabling chat commerce for some of the leading global brands with its Touch solution. This allows organisations to serve their customers with an ‘app-like’ experience inside the chat or browser platform of their customer’s choice (Twitter, Facebook Messenger, etc.)
Brands can now send an actionable Touch link such as ‘find the nearest ATM’ or ‘reset my password’ within a chat stream that will open an intuitive touch card without the user having to download an app to perform the action. Services can also be linked to the in-app experience for brands not looking to abandon their app efforts.
Working with our clients, many of whom are global innovators and thought leaders, we’ve found that having the courage to design with an ‘end user first’ approach and dealing with the back-end complexity behind the scenes results in cost efficient customer delight and ROI.