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FNB launches own smartphones

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FNB today launched the ConeXis X1 and A1 smartphones, targeting both high-end and entry-level customers.

FNB has launched its own branded FNB smartphone, in a move that it says will fully integrate banking and customer mobility.

“For FNB, mobile banking is more than just having the best banking app,” says Jan Kleynhans, CEO of the FNB Consumer Segment. “For us, true mobile banking is enabling customers to bank anywhere, anytime using smartphone technology at affordable prices for our customers.”

FNB is offering customers the choice of two smartphones, the low-end ConeXis A1 with a 4-inch screen, and the high-end and X1 with a 5.2-inch screen.

ConeXis X1

ConeXis X1

The A1 is pitched at the price-sensitive Easy bank account holder, who now has access to a high-quality smartphone at an affordable price of R59 per month. This includes 15 minutes airtime and 50MB of data. Gold and Premium (Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth) customers are being targeted with the higher specification X1, at R150 per month. It includes 25 minutes airtime and 100MB of data.

FNB offers up to a 100 per cent rebate on the X1 monthly instalments, depending on the customer’s eBucks Rewards level. Gold customers on eBucks Rewards level of 3, 4, 5 will be rebated R60, R90, R150 (100 per cent) on the monthly repayment respectively. Premium customers will be rewarded from level 1.

“In line with the global trend towards convergence in digital migration, we believe that it’s critical to empower our customers with smartphones that not only improve their banking and mobile experience, but are also affordable and of a high quality,” says Kartik Mistry, head of smart devices at FNB.

ConeXis A1

ConeXis A1

FNB has tightly integrated the ConeXis smartphone offering with its rewards and banking programme which incentivises the correct products, behaviour and mobile phone usage by rewarding customers with attractive cellular discounts. FNB-banked customers can earn up to 40 per cent on their monthly cellular spend dependent on their eBucks Rewards level.

“The FNB offering is also structured to encourage a savings culture through the use of convenient and cost-effective savings platforms,” adds Kleynhans.

The smartphone comes on the back of the FNB Connect cellular offering launched in 2015, which seamlessly integrates customer’s financial and mobile accounts on a single banking platform.

“We introduced the Connect offering to give customers control over cellular spend, by converging cellular and bank accounts on  a single client profile and platform,” says Kleynhans.

FNB also announced the introduction of the FNB Connect Unlimited Calls offer, which allows subscribers to make unlimited local calls to any network for only R399 per month. The new Unlimited Calls offer can be taken up together with the FNB ConeXis smartphone deal or any other branded mobile phone.

The Unlimited offer is available to customers from 24 August 2016 while the FNB ConeXis smartphones will be available at selected FNB branches from 1 September 2016. When taking up the smartphone offer, customers will be taken through the features and benefits, including how they can manage their cellular costs.

FNB has zero-rated calls when FNB Connect customers make calls to FNB’s Banking Call Centre.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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