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Cisco joins forces with IBM

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IBM and Cisco have announced they will partner to form a suite of cloud-based workplace tools and applications infused with IBM Watson.

As part of the transformation, the highly secure Cisco Spark and WebEx collaborative workspace platforms will be integrated with IBM’s leading cloud collaboration solutions, including Verse and Connections, and underpinned by IBM’s cognitive computing capabilities.

The companies aim to make collaboration simpler by combining IBM’s advanced analytics, Watson, and email and social offerings with Cisco’s collaboration solutions, including business messaging, meeting and calling offerings.  The two companies will design joint solutions that take advantage of all types of data to help people get more done, in less time. This will be achieved by providing the right insights in the right context – served up through the tools, apps, documents, or actions needed at any given moment based on an individual employee’s role, historical work patterns, and current work assignments.

With Watson powering a joint IBM-Cisco solution, backed by a robust partner ecosystem, new classes of solutions will emerge. For example, a financial advisor could meet with a high value investor over Cisco video with a Watson service offering real-time advice and handling tasks, while files would be securely stored and available in IBM Connections, shared through WebEx for a seamless transaction.

IBM and Cisco are working to address today’s fast-paced work environment. Currently, the average employee is distracted once every 11 minutes and needs an average of 25 minutes to refocus on tasks.1 People compensate by working faster (but not necessarily more effectively), and experience more stress, higher levels of frustration, and greater time pressures.2 By bringing the best of collaboration and cognitive tools together, IBM and Cisco plan to create a more inspiring, productive and data-driven workplace.

“The irony of many workforce tools available today is that with because there are so many to choose from, they can reduce employee effectiveness,” said Inhi Cho, General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions. “With our combined technology strengths and understanding of how teams get work done, IBM and Cisco can deliver the next generation of collaboration tools needed to cultivate innovation and drive productivity. By incorporating analytics and cognitive technologies into these solutions, we expect them to be able to learn what is important, in context, and take the right actions on behalf of the user.”

The goal is for the combined IBM and Cisco offerings to be integrated to connect seamlessly on behalf of users to complete mundane tasks such as scheduling and note-taking, and proactively bring people and content together in the context of specific tasks.

“At Cisco, we are constantly innovating to improve the collaboration experience and there has never been a better time to take our offerings to the next level,” said Jens Meggers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Cloud Collaboration Technology. “That’s our goal here—to think exponentially and together with IBM create the next generation of collaboration. Now we can deliver amazing, next-generation “Intelligent Collaboration” that allows enterprises to compete in this fast moving digital world.”

The new solutions will incorporate structured and unstructured data in any form, whether from on-premises, the desktop, or the cloud. With applications to handle hundreds of work-related tasks, they are built to seek, consume and analyze all types of data, uncover meaningful workflow patterns, and provide actionable insights through the course of daily activities and interactions.

The joint solutions will utilize IBM Watson and Connections APIs as well as Cisco Spark and WebEx APIs. This allows solutions to take action on routine tasks like prioritizing complex and chaotic collaboration and communication environments and connecting users to powerful cognitive sources of expertise in the moment they need them.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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