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CES 2017: LG to unveil new smartphone range

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LG will unveil its K Series of smartphones at CES 2017 in Las Vegas as it plans to bring some of the high-end features found on its premium phones to the mid-level market.

LG Electronics (LG) will unveil four new mass-tier K Series smartphones and a new Stylus 3 at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, as the mid-range segment continues its strong growth as the market matures. The new mid-range devices are designed to bring popular technologies from LG’s more premium flagship smartphones, such as the 120-degree wide angle front camera lens and the rear fingerprint scanner.

LG’s updated K Series carries over a philosophy that all customers do not want the same things in a smartphone, rather than offering one main smartphone model and expecting customers to adapt.

The K10 delivers a “best-in-class” 5.3-inch HD In-cell Touch Display for both indoor and outdoor use. Its 5MP front camera with 120-degree wide angle selfie lens complements a premium, 13MP rear camera that has been employed in LG flagship G series devices. Other advanced features not usually available in smartphones in this category include a fingerprint scanner, a metallic U-frame for a sturdy but slim 7.9mm profile and 2.5D Arc Glass design.

The K8 features a 5-inch HD In-cell Touch display and delivers high-quality camera performance with 5MP in the front and 13M on the rear. These are enhanced by LG’s intelligent UX features, such as Auto Shot and Gesture Shot for selfies. Auto Shot automatically triggers the front camera’s shutter when a face is detected and Gesture Shot takes a selfie in response to a hand signal, eliminating the need to press the shutter button and shaking the phone at the most critical moment.

The K4 is equipped with a sensitive 5-inch In-cell Touch display and 5MP front and rear cameras as well as the popular Auto Shot and Gesture Shot features found in the K8. The K4 offers a slim 7.9mm profile and removable 2,500mAh battery as well as a microSD slot for additional storage.

The smallest in the series, the K3 comes with a 4.5-inch On-cell Touch display, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP lens in the front supported by Gesture Shot. With a microSD slot and 2,100mAh removable battery, the K3 offers many features unavailable on other competing smartphones in this category.

LG will also debut the third generation Stylus 3, the latest version of its mid-range Stylus smartphone (Stylo in the United States). The Stylus 3 delivers an improved writing experience with a 1.8mm diameter fiber-tip stylus to provide the feel and feedback of an actual pen when writing on the screen. The Stylus 3 also features a fingerprint scanner and enhanced UX with Pen Pop 2.0 as well as the popular Pen Keeper and Screen-off Memo. With Pen Pop 2.0, your memos are never out of sight and can be set to display on the screen whenever the stylus is removed. Pen Keeper displays a warning when the stylus strays too far from the phone, and Screen-off Memo enables note-taking directly on the screen even when the display is off.

“Our 2017 mass-tier, mid-range smartphones focus on giving our customers a wide variety of options and choices for their smartphone lifestyles,” said Juno Cho, president of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “What’s consistent in all our K Series and Stylus 3 devices is that they look and feel premium, offer replaceable batteries and all come with expandable memory slots, what customers consider key factors when buying smartphones in this category.”

* Information regarding launch dates and markets will be announced locally in the weeks to come. The company’s newest mobile products will be on display at LG’s stand at CES, in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #11100, Central Hall.

K10 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MT6750 1.5 GHz Octa-Core
  • Display: 5.3-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 277ppi)
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM / 32GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP (Wide) / Rear 13MP (Standard)
  • Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 148.7 x 75.3 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 142g
  • Network:  LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0 / NFC
  • Color: Black / Titan / Gold
  • Other: Fingerprint Scanner

K8 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8917 1.4 Quad-Core
  • Display: 5.0-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 294ppi)
  • Memory: 1.5GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP / Rear 13MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 144.8 x 72.1 x 8.09mm
  • Weight: 142g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0 / NFC
  • Color: Silver / Titan / Gold / Dark Blue

K4 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8909 1.1GHz Quad-Core
  • Display: 5.0-inch FWVGA In-cell Touch (854 x 480 / 196ppi)
  • Memory: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 5MP / Rear 5MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Size: 144.76 x 72.6 x 7.94mm
  • Weight: 135g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Black / Titan

K3 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MSM8909 1.1GHz Quad-Core
  • Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA On-cell Touch (854 x 480 / 218ppi)
  • Memory: 1GB LPDDR3 RAM / 8GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Camera: Front 2MP / Rear 5MP
  • Battery: 2,100mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • Size: 133.9 x 69.75 x 9.44mm
  • Weight: 132g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Black

Stylus 3 Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: MT6750 Octa-Core
  • Display: 5.7-inch HD In-cell Touch (1280 x 720 / 258ppi)
  • Memory: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB eMMC ROM / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera: Front 8MP / Rear 13MP
  • Battery: 3,200mAh (removable)
  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Size: 155.6 x 79.8 x 7.4mm
  • Weight: 149g
  • Network: LTE / 3G / 2G
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g, n) / Bluetooth 4.2 / USB 2.0
  • Color: Metallic Titan / Pink Gold
  • Other: Stylus Pen / FM Radio / Fingerprint Scanner

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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