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Kidz app boosts budgeting

In this application roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Standard Bank Kidz, UberEATS, Google Allo, Instagram with Safe Comments and Pokemon Go in South Africa.

Standard Bank Kidz Banking App

The Standard Bank Kidz Banking App is designed primarily for kids aged 6 to 11, and is a tool designed to engage and entertain children while enabling parents to explain concepts of money management such as earning, saving, and spending. The app is set in an animated fantasy realm where digital representations of South Africa’s Big Five animals maintain habitats, each representing a different area of money management. For example, a leopard encourages kids to complete “missions”, or chores, assigned by parents – things like tidying their rooms or watering the plants – in order to earn money. In addition, the app becomes a handy way of being paid pocket money. As it is spent, debits are noted and the balance in the account is recorded, teaching budgeting skills. When money is spent through the app, kids will gain a practical appreciation for the value of items like toys, movie tickets and books.

Platform: Android

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store

Expect to pay: A free download.

 

UberEATS

UberEATS is an on-demand food delivery app powered by Uber, and it works in much the same way as Uber rides. Users can search for the meal they want by the type of cuisine – for example Indian or Italian – or can order directly from a restaurant. Once an outlet is chosen, a menu is displayed from where a meal is selected. At the moment UberEATS in Johannesburg only offers delivery from a cpiuple of dozen putlets, but more are being added each day.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

 

Google Allo

Google Allo is not like other messaging apps that only lets one chat to friends, family and colleagues. It features a preview version of Google Assistant, which helps with news, weather or incoming flight status information. It can also help find nearby places, from pharmacies to petrol stations, andassists in planning a weekend away – from destinations to flights and accommodation. The more the Google Assistant is used, the more useful it becomes as it answers and remembers previous questions.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download.

 

Instagram with Safe Comments

Instagram’s keyword moderation tool lets one filter out inappropriate comments, depending on the words they contain. Users can select the filters already provided by Instagram or can create their own. To activate it one selects the new Comments option under the settings of the profile. Once the Hide Inappropriate Comments option is selected, words or sentences can be added, separated by commas.

Platform: Android and iOS running the latest Instagram version

Expect to pay: A free download.

 

Pokemon Go in South Africa

The recently launched Pokemon Go is now officially available in South Africa. Before, South Africans had to find workarounds – many of them opening up their mobile devices to malware, viruses and Trojans. Those who successfully installed the game also had problems with saving their progress and sometimes couldn’t install game updates without losing their current status.

Pokemon Go uses a player’s location and augmented reality to display a range of Pokemons in their vicinity. It is then up to the player to hunt down the Pokemon, lob power balls at it and catch it. Some Pokemons are more difficult to catch than others, and the more characters caught, the more experience points a player gains, increasing playing level and options.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: A free download, but with loads of in-app purchases.

 

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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