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IFA: Moto expands Mods

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Lenovo, through its Subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, introduced two new and mobile devices at IFA in Berlin – the moto x4 and the moto z2 Force Edition along with the latest in Moto Mod, the new 360 Camera Moto Mod, for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The fourth generation moto x offers a great user experience, with smarter software, the latest camera technology, and a beautiful design. And the moto z family and compatible Moto Mods continues to grow with the introduction of the moto z2 Force Edition and 360 Camera Moto Mod – offering consumers even more possibilities.

moto x4: Bringing Style into Sharp Focus

The moto x has always incorporated the best software experiences, providing users with a uniquely intuitive, smarter, and easier to use device. The latest addition, the moto x4, features all the latest Moto Experiences, coupled with all-new software features.

A smarter camera 

moto x4 features a smarter camera that does more than just capture photos. The new Landmark Detection1 feature on moto x4 lets the camera serve as an eye to the world, from scanning a business card to animating selfies with Face Filters.

The combined capabilities of dual 12MP and 8MP rear cameras, and advanced software with dual Autofocus Pixel technology, creates professional quality images, whilst the 16MP front-facing camera, with an adaptive low light mode3 and new Panoramic Selfie feature, provides a wider background that take selfies to the next level.

Powerful, protected, performance

Powered by a 3,000 mAh battery and equipped with powerful performance capabilities, the moto x4‘s is protected by IP68-rated water resistant design4 – offering protection from accidental spills, splashes, and even puddles – and a 3D rear contoured design, anodized aluminum frame and Corning® Gorilla® Glass that protects the front and back from scratches, making for a strong and beautiful device.

New and intuitive experiences 

Even at the busiest moments, moto x4 is a genuinely smart smartphone. Amazon Alexa is integrated into moto x4 device – so there’s no need to unlock to get started9 – and the wireless sound system, allows users to connect up to four Bluetooth® audio devices at the same time7.

For even greater accessibility, the moto x4 is also equipped with Moto Key – allowing you to access your favorite password-secured websites on your phone or laptop with a simple touch of your finger, while strong encryption ensures data stays protected8.

moto z2 Force Edition: Protected, Polished and Powerful 

The new moto z2 Force Edition shatters limitations with a screen that’s guaranteed not to crack or shatter, and a slim, all-metal design, dual 12MP cameras and the fastest possible data speeds.

Strength and performance 

With a 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display that’s guaranteed not to crack or shatter, the new moto z’s thin, polished design is reinforced with the strength of 7,000 series aluminium.

The all-day battery allows users to keep going without searching for a power outlet – and when it is time for a boost, add 8 hours of power in just minutes with TurboPower charging. The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform features unbeatable performance, instant responsiveness, and the fastest possible data speeds that allow users to download large files and apps in no time, or stream music and videos effortlessly.

Professional shots made easy 

Two cameras mean twice the focus. The dual 12MP cameras, one monochrome and one colour, work together to capture brilliant, top-quality photos which also allow users to add a blur effect to the background or foreground and capture true depth of field.

Just like moto z2 Play, the moto z2 Force Edition features the latest Moto Experiences including night display and instant queries in Moto Voice and the front fingerprint reader.

And because this new moto z is also compatible with Moto Mods, users can control their mobile experience – instantly transforming into a 360° camera, gaming console, powerful stereo speaker, video projector, battery powerhouse and more.

Moto 360 Camera: Capture Everything

Simply snap the new 360 Camera Moto Mod onto any moto z device and turn it into a 360-degree camera that captures everything. With the click of a button, users can record interactive 360-degree 4k video featuring immersive 3D audio that will follow the direction you’re viewing.

Advanced editing software allows users to adjust content to fit their unique needs, and once they’re ready to be viewed, photos and videos can be easily shared with friends and on social media right from the Google Photos app.

Africa News

Smart grids needed for Africa’s utilities

Power utilities across Africa should rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem, says COLIN BEANEY, Global Industry Director for Asset-intensive and Energy and Utilities at IFS.

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Africa’s abundant natural resources and urgent need for power mean that it is one of the most exciting and innovative energy markets in a world that is moving rapidly towards clean, renewable energy sources. The continent’s energy industry is taking new approaches to providing unserved and underserved communities with access to power, with an emphasis on smart technologies and greener energy sources.

Power systems are evolving from centralised, top-down systems as interest in off-grid technology grows among African businesses and consumers. And according to PwC, we will see installed power capacity rise from 2012’s 90GW to 380GW in 2040 in sub-Saharan Africa. Power utilities are needing to rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem.

Energy and utilities providers are transforming from centralised supply companies to more distributed, bi-directional service providers. They can only achieve this through the evolution of “smart grids” where sensors and smart meters will be able to provide the consumer with a more granular level of detail of power usage. This shift from an energy supplier to “lifestyle provider” will require a much more dynamic and optimised approach to maintenance and field service.

African companies must thus embrace digital transformation as an imperative. This transformation begins by embracing enterprise asset management to improve asset utilisation. The subsequent steps are enhancing upstream and downstream supply chain management; resource optimisation; introducing enterprise operational intelligence; embracing new technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and predictive maintenance; and becoming a smart utility.

Embracing mobility to drive ROI

Getting it right is about putting in place an enterprise backbone that accommodates asset and project management, multinational languages and currencies, new energies and markets, visualisation of the entire value chain, and mobility apps. Mobile technologies that support the field workforce have a vital role to play in driving better ROI from utilities’ investments in enterprise asset management and enterprise resource planning solutions.

Today’s leading enterprise asset management solutions feature powerful functionality for mobile management of the complete workflow of work orders – from logging status changes and updates, from receiving and creating new orders to concluding the job and reporting time, material and expenses. Such solutions are easy to deploy and intuitive for end users to learn and use.

Importantly for organisations operating in parts of the continent with poor telecoms infrastructure, connectivity is not an issue. The solutions work offline and synchronises when network connectivity is available. Users can work on any device—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—commercial or ruggedised.

By ensuring that field technicians have easy access to information and processes, the mobile solution enables technicians and maintenance engineers to easily do the following tasks:

·         Create a new work order on the fly and log new opportunities

·         Access both historical and planned work information when requested

·         Permit customers to sign when the job is completed

·         Capture measurements and inspection notes on route work orders

·         Create new fault reports on routing

·         Facilitate documentation through photo capturing

·         Provide easy access to technical data and preventive actions.

The power of mobility allows the engineer to be the origin of all data capture on a service event. They can easily inquire on asset history, record parts used or parts needed for repair, record labour hours, and expenses as they occur, and any notes of repairs performed. When coupled with workforce management tools, such solutions unlock significant productivity gains for utilities who are trying to get the most from their workforce and assets.

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Brands fall for app vanity

The experience of a mobile screen full of icons, representing independent apps that your need to open to experience them, is making less sense. Instead, businesses should serve customers with an ‘app-like’ experience inside the digital platform they already use, says PIETER DE VILLIERS, Group CEO at Clickatell.

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Many brands remain obsessed with creating mobile apps. This not only defies trends that point to increasing consumer app apathy, but can exclude a sizeable portion  of your customers in emerging economies. Companies need to engage with their users where they are rather than forcing them onto an app, in what can only be described as brand vanity. 

In 2017 there were around 2.2 million apps available in the iOS app store and over 3 million on Google Play. And, while the number of apps being downloaded continues to rise, analysis shows that consumers are only using 30 apps per month and accessing just 9 on a day-to-day basis. 

While these numbers still seem attractively high, in reality the majority of the apps we use are for messaging (like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat) and our social networking, gaming, leisure, dating or utility activities. 

Despite the facts, the application strategy as the holy grail for digital transformation is still being pushed even within large progressive brands. What’s more, some advertising agencies and digital consultants are still pushing apps as the best means for companies to connect with their customers. This has resulted in some organisations stubbornly doubling down on app strategies which are simply not showing return on investment (ROI). 

It’s not immediately clear to us whether the fascination with apps is a roll-over from long overdue projects or whether brand owners equate a mobile-first strategy with a mobile app. Mobile-first in 2018 means customer first, and therefore embracing chat commerce in order to deliver services with convenience and simplicity in mind. 

Why apps won’t win the internet

The problem with apps goes beyond user fatigue. In the first instance, many apps are poorly designed, assuming technical sophistication which may not match reality for the average customer. Poor user interfaces and attempts to provide complex engagement can result in even the best ideas missing their targets due to lack of engagement. 

Secondly, we all know that economic realities drive consumer behaviour. In Africa, new mobile phone users typically opt for feature phones over smartphones. With a longer battery life and a much more accessible price point, feature phones still allow for a basic internet connection, chat platforms like WhatsApp, and call and message functionality. In these regions, the cost of an app – even if it’s free – goes far beyond installing it. Constant updates require reliable and cheap access to the internet. For the average phone owner in an emerging market, this can be a serious challenge. 

Thirdly, and most importantly, apps must be relevant to their intended market. Frequency of usage is a key measure of relevance. 

Apps which are used on a daily basis, like health and fitness trackers, enjoy constant engagement. New features which are added are eagerly awaited by users who are happy to update their apps. 

However, users may well question the relevance of the app if they are required to conduct updates on a monthly or even weekly basis when they are only making use of the app once or twice a year. 

On average, I download one app per quarter. Some I use more frequently than others, but all of these apps need to be regularly updated to maintain security, update features, and fix bugs. Many apps are pushing out updates much more frequently. I noticed over the past year that I could go from having all apps updated, to 32 apps requiring an update in five days.

When it comes to a customer-first digital strategy, companies should be asking themselves if an app is really the best way to reach their target audience. 

In fact, at the end of 2016, Gartner predicted that by 2019, 20 percent of brands would ditch their mobile app. What’s more, in its 2018 predictions, the company forecast that by 2021, more than 50 percent of corporations would spend more per annum on bots and chatbots than on mobile app development. 

So, we need to ask, what is the alternative for CIOs, CDOs, CMOs, and digital leaders who are looking for ways to reach, retain and grow their customer base? 

The logical app alternative 

The old battle advice goes: fight your enemy where they are not. Military strategists agreed that having your enemy come to you and fight you on your own terms was preferable. In a world where customers have access to thousands of offerings and millions of deals online, we need to flip that idea to Meet Your Customers Where They Are. 

Any marketeer will tell you just a how difficult it is to drive app downloads. Development, cross platform testing and user interface aside, the marketing campaign required to get customers to download the app can swallow entire annual budgets and still come up short. 

Looking at the facts, it makes infinitely more sense to work within the digital platforms already being used by your target audience. 

Clickatell is already enabling chat commerce for some of the leading global brands with its Touch solution. This allows organisations to serve their customers with an ‘app-like’ experience inside the chat or browser platform of their customer’s choice (Twitter, Facebook Messenger, etc.) 

Brands can now send an actionable Touch link such as ‘find the nearest ATM’ or ‘reset my password’ within a chat stream that will open an intuitive touch card without the user having to download an app to perform the action. Services can also be linked to the in-app experience for brands not looking to abandon their app efforts. 

Working with our clients, many of whom are global innovators and thought leaders, we’ve found that having the courage to design with an ‘end user first’ approach and dealing with the back-end complexity behind the scenes results in cost efficient customer delight and ROI. 

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