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Fintech and Bitcoin get special track at AfricaCom

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Debuting this year at AfricaCom are a range of talks, presentations, case studies and prospects around Fintech and eCommerce, designed to inform and push the boundaries of invention.

AfricaCom 2017 has added a specific track focusing on Africa’s financial digital fluency.  Debuting this year at the continent’s single largest and most influential technology, media and telecoms event, are a range of talks, presentations, case studies and prospects around Fintech and eCommerce, designed to inform and push the boundaries of invention.

The 20th staging of AfricaCom takes place from 7 to 9 November in Cape Town.

“More than ever before, AfricaCom 2017 will provide the ability for Africa to shape itself for the future, drive itself forward and serve as an example for other economies looking to get ahead, as Africa’s innovation often leads, not follows,” says Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director of AfricaCom organiser KNect365.

“Digital disruption equals digital democracy and nowhere will this be more keenly felt than in the ability for all levels of society to engage in the monetary exchange and rewards that fin-tech can provide. For this reason, we have developed a detailed stream of content to appeal to all players in the financial value chain – from developers, payment partners, retailers and end users. It is a must for any business looking to transact online.”

It’s a wide open and thoroughly exciting time for players in this market to disrupt the status quo and champion more equality and opportunity, agrees Shirley Gilbey,  Head of Rise and Co-Creation at Barclays Africa Group Limited, who is responsible for driving partnership with the world’s best and brightest start-ups and experts to create the future of Barclays Africa and who will deliver a keynote address on Wednesday, 8 November 2017 12:10 – 12:30.

Also on the agenda at AfricaCom, are a host of discussions and debates such as a look into future mobile payments trends, the uptake of wearables, near-field-communications (nfc) and M-Pos that are driving the global mobile payment market.

Not to be excluded from the conversation, retailers are also realising the fruits of digital and mobile payments.  A panel discussion on how retailers can incorporate eCommerce as a central strategy will explore greater insights into customer profiles and preferences; examine whether the consumer is driving their own experience or not, and, where that leaves retailers in the communications and trading mix. In another, but related discussion, the question of reward and redemption will be tackled by speakers like Peter Miller, head of Retail at wiGroup and Andreas Demeleitner, Peach Payments.

While much has been done to include the previously unbanked, still more has to happen to truly realise an economic democracy.  Things like mobile money and decentralised virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Blockchain are going a long way to addressing these needs, and disrupting global markets, What’s next? Is Bitcoin the digital version of Gold?  It’s not hard to see how these technologies can be deployed in Africa, a continent that has famously leapfrogged many technological stages, but is it enough? To find out, delegates will hear from the likes of Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and Founder of BitPesa, a pan-African digital FX and payment platform.

On the other side of the coin, disruptors like Abraham Cambridge, founder of The Sun Exchange, are using crypto-currencies to create new paradigms in powering Africa using solar energy to spark positive change.

But to define the real opportunities in Africa for blockchain, delegates will be invited to hear from a panel of experts that include South Africa’s foremost blockchain expert, Lorien Gamaroff, founder of blockchain and cryptocurrency consultancy BankyMoon.  Lucien has addressed the IMF, World Bank, FBI and Commonwealth Secretariat, the South African Reserve Bank, TEDx and a host of banking professionals and attorney generals throughout the world. He offers insight and guidance to business executives and advises government on blockchain technologies and their implications. Many of these he will share at AfricaCom 2017.

Africa is in the throes of a technological revolution, with increasing access to the digisphere through the Internet and mobile phones, changing the lives of ordinary Africans everywhere. The rapid acceptance of digital technologies across Africa presents real opportunities for development and economic growth across the continent, not only modifying all sectors of the African economy, but triggering a radical transformation of the entire society.

AfricaCom 2017 is therefore, an essential resource for enterprises, start-ups and entrepreneurs alike, to become financially fluent in the digital age.

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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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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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