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Disrupt or be disrupted

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Multiple small companies are challenging the status quo and embracing the notion – disrupt or be disrupted. These disruptors are leveraging the key digital transformations to reinvent – if not invent, writes INDRAN NAICK.

Across the continent we see more and more forward-thinking empowering applications of technology. There is a surge in tech start-ups and a swell in the optimism for what technology can do to help the manifold challenges facing the continent.

Companies like the winner of IBM Smart Camp 2015 in South Africa, micro jobbing platform M4JAM (Money for Jam), are shaking up industry with their disruptive business models.  They are on a mission to change the world one micro job at a time – disrupting traditional players in the research, mystery shopping, merchandising and brand activation sector. Their engaging platform enables their community of over 90000 people the opportunity to earn money by using their smart phones as they go about their daily routines.

In just under 15 months M4JAM has been able to demonstrate value to 95 of the biggest brands in South Africa. Providing them with real time data which, with the help of Pondering Panda, is now being turned into real time insights. This access to immediate information allows brands the opportunity to change strategy or respond to market changes while a promotion is on or product is still offered.

Real time, in the moment insights, is proving to be a significant competitive advantage for companies embracing M4JAM.

Interestingly, it’s not alone. Multiple smaller niche digital companies are challenging the status quo and embracing the notion – disrupt or be disrupted.

These disruptors are doing something different. They are leveraging the key digital transformations to reinvent – if not invent – their business processes.

Using new mobile apps to bring data and decision making to the fingertips of people at the front lines, disruptors are enabling the people who need to respond. In doing this they enable the organisation to become more nimble and provide better service.

Today more data, insight and capabilities are available in both employee and customer devices at the point of action, enabling faster, better decisions and action in the business moment. Disruptors are using insight from nontraditional data – social data from the likes of Twitter, the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable devices and m2m to capture insight and create new business moments.

Disruptors are also focusing on creating their unique differentiation and sourcing from developer communities to help complete complex products and solutions. They are leveraging digital services from a broad ecosystem so they can focus on their core competencies. Pretty smart, right?

Yet these new perspectives and approaches are grounded firmly in digital business transformation.  Understand which business processes are going to change, which ones are impacted and which have potential for improvement with technology – specifically cloud.

Above all, disruptors understand the next generation of IT is built around a hybrid cloud. That’s cloud that uses private cloud foundation combined with the strategic integration and use of public cloud services. The best of both worlds so to speak.

Cloud technology in this hybrid format offers the company the ability to securely connect apps, data and services across the cloud and traditional systems – along with devices – and also seamlessly weave data and services with APIs to create new apps.

Now imagine using the insight from that data in real time business critical processes and you can begin to grasp just how this new hybrid cloud provides access to a wealth of data for innovation.

Another example of this born-on-the cloud innovation is from a company called Figtory, a small mobile development shop that has adopted Bluemix and Softlayer to accelerate their product development lifecycle. The IBM cloud platforms gave them the ability to quickly host and test new products and services. They can now quickly turn innovations into prototypes to show their prospective clients what the finished product might look like, reducing the cycle time from weeks to days.

So, while there may not be a “one size fits all” remedy for business today, or a cloud solution that fits every situation, there is a growing awareness that cloud technology enables and accelerates digital business. It’s the transformation required to disrupt or avoid being disrupted.

* Indran Naick, Cloud Ecosystems and Enterprise Development Leader, IBM South Africa.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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