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How social tech fights crime

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Over the last few months, ttrumpet has been working with the Community Police Forums (CPF) in Pretoria to connect individuals in real-time with their communities, to syndicate information to keep themselves and their families safe.

“Social media continues to grow exponentially – where the sharing of information amongst individuals has the real potential to improve vigilance and ultimately lead to safer communities,” says Charles Murray, director at ttrumpet. “As such, we’ve engaged with a number of parties in the region to bring two critical parties together – the community and the CPFs – over a mobile platform – for better safety.”

Currently, ttrumpet, along with the CPFs already covers over 700km2 in the Pretoria region, covering an impressive 289 241 households – a number that grows bigger every day as new security channels join the platform. The platform’s security channel is being used to provide updates to the community, report suspicious activity, highlight the real crime hotspots and generate better community awareness and vigilance to assist the police.

Warrant Officer A.C. Holtzhausen, Sector Manager, sector 1 Pretoria North SAPS, is currently using the ttrumpet app to connect with his sector community. He says: “ttrumpet is an enabler to combating crime. Not only is it bringing our community together to raise security awareness and report criminal activity, but if used correctly, it also provides the perfect platform to gather real statistics around the activity in the area – which enables us to deploy units more effectively, look out at certain crime hotspots and be more readily available when needed.”

As an example: if a community member sees a suspicious car that is in the process of stealing another car, they can report the incident on ttrumpet, with a picture and a registration number. Then through the technology, the registration number can be extracted from ttrumpet and placed into a database on which ANPR cameras work on. Once the ANPR camera recognises the registration number it then informs the police/sector manager where that vehicle is situated. The police can then respond accordingly – streamlining the entire process and assisting criminals to be caught faster – just from a message that was sent.

To date, 55 channels have been created in the Pretoria region where the current incidents posted over these channels are at 1318. The current channels include a channel created specifically for schools in the Pretoria North region which keeps parents informed of suspicious activity and/or any incidents related to child-safety as well as a second-hand goods channel that protects store owners from buying stolen goods. Adds Murray: “We’ve seen a major uptake specifically in the school’s channel as parents can now ask for extra patrols during sports or other events and they are made aware, in real time, of any suspicious vehicles/persons in the vicinity of their child’s school.”

“Active citizenry, coupled with a strong purpose-built platform that brings together relevant parties, has real potential to change the status quo. Pretoria is actively looking at this – and reaping the benefits – and we look forward to working with the other regions to drive safer communities,” says Murray.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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