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Kidz app boosts budgeting

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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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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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