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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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IoT at starting gate

South Africa is already past the Internet of Things (IoT) hype cycle and well into the mainstream, writes MARK WALKER, associate vice president of Sub-Saharan Africa at International Data Corporation (IDC).

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Projects and pilots are already becoming a commercial reality, tying neatly into the 2017 IDC prediction that 2018 would be the year when the local market took IoT mainstream. Over the next 12-18 months, it is anticipated that IoT implementations will continue to rise in both scope and popularity. Already 23% are in full deployment with 39% in the pilot phase. The value of IoT has been systematically proven and yet its reputation remains tenuous – more than 5% of companies are reluctant to put their money where the trend is – thanks to the shifting sands of IoT perception and success rate.

There are several reasons behind why IoT implementations are failing. The biggest is that organisations don’t know where to start. They know that IoT is something they can harness today and that it can be used to shift outdated modalities and operations. They are aware of the benefits and the case studies. What they don’t know is how to apply this knowledge to their own journey so their IoT story isn’t one of overbearing complexity and rising costs.

Another stumbling block is perception. Yes, there is the futuristic potential with the talking fridge and intelligent desk, but this is not where the real value lies. Organisations are overlooking the challenges that can be solved by realistic IoT, the banal and the boring solutions that leverage systems to deliver on business priorities. IoT’s potential sits within its ability to get the best out of assets and production efficiencies, solving problems in automation, security, and environment.

In addition to this, there is a lack of clarity around return on investment, uncertainty around the benefits, a lack of executive leadership, and concerns around security and the complexities of regulation.  Because IoT is an emerging technology there remains a limited awareness of the true extent of its value proposition and yet 66% of organisations are confident that this value exists.

This percentage poses both a problem and opportunity. On one hand, it showcases the local shift in thinking towards IoT as a technology worth investing into. On the other hand, many companies are seeing the competition invest and leaping blindly in the wrong direction. Stop. IoT is not the same for every business.

It is essential that every company makes its own case for IoT based on its needs and outcomes. Does agriculture have the same challenges as mining? Does one mining company have the same challenges as another? The answer is no. Organisations that want their IoT investment to succeed must reject the idea that they can pick up where another has left off. IoT must be relevant to the business outcome that it needs to achieve. While some use cases may apply to most industries based on specific circumstances, there are different realities and priorities that will demand a different approach and starting point.

Ask – what is the business problem right now and how can technology be leveraged to resolve it?

In the agriculture space, there is a need to improve crop yields and livestock management, improve farm productivity and implement environmental monitoring. In the construction and mining industry, safety and emergency response are a priority alongside workforce and production management. Education shifts the lens towards improving delivery and quality of education, access to advanced learning methods and reducing the costs of learning.  Smart cities want to improve traffic and efficiently deliver public services and healthcare is focusing on wellness, reducing hospital admissions and the security of assets and inventory management.

The technology and solutions selected must speak to these specific challenges.

If there are no insights used to create an IoT solution, it’s the equivalent of having the fastest Ferrari on Rivonia Road in peak traffic. It makes a fantastic noise, but it isn’t going to move any faster than the broken-down sedan in the next lane. Everyone will be impressed with the Ferrari, but the amount of power and the size of the investment mean nothing. It’s in the wrong place.

What differentiates the IoT successes is how a company leverages data to deliver meaningful value-added predictions and actions for personalised efficiencies, convenience, and improved industry processes. To move forward the organisation needs to focus on the business outcomes and not just the technology. They need to localise and adapt by applying context to the problem that’s being solved and explore innovation through partnerships and experimentation.

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ERP underpins food tracking

The food traceability market is expected to reach almost $20 billion by 2022 as increased consumer awareness, strict governance requirements, and advances in technology are resulting in growing standardisation of the segment, says STUART SCANLON, managing director of epic ERP

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Just like any data-driven environment, one of the biggest enablers of this is integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

As the name suggests, traceability is the ability to track something through all stages of production, processing, and distribution. When it comes to the food industry, traceability must also enable stakeholders to identify the source of all food inputs that can include anything from raw materials, additives, ingredients, and packaging.

Considering the wealth of data that all these facets generate, it is hardly surprising that systems and processes need to be put in place to manage, analyse, and provide actionable insights. With traceability enabling corrective measures to be taken (think product recalls), having an efficient system is often the difference between life or death when it comes to public health risks.

Expansive solutions

Sceptics argue that traceability simply requires an extensive data warehouse to be done correctly, the reality is quite different. Yes, there are standard data records to be managed, but the real value lies in how all these components are tied together.

ERP provides the digital glue to enable this. With each stakeholder audience requiring different aspects of traceability (and compliance), it is essential for the producer, distributor, and every other organisation in the supply chain, to manage this effectively in a standardised manner.

With so many different companies involved in the food cycle, many using their own, proprietary systems, just consider the complexity of trying to manage traceability. Organisations must not only contend with local challenges, but global ones as well as the import and export of food are big business drivers.

So, even though traceability is vital to keep track of everything in this complex cycle, it is also imperative to monitor the ingredients and factories where items are produced. Having expansive solutions that must track the entire process from ‘cradle to grave’ is an imperative. Not only is this vital from a safety perspective, but from cost and reputational management aspects as well. Just think of the recent listeriosis issue in South Africa and the impact it has had on all parties in that supply chain.

Efficiency improvements

Thanks to the increasing digital transformation efforts by companies in the food industry, traceability becomes a more effective process. It is no longer a case of using on-premise solutions that can be compromised but having hosted ones that provide more effective fail-safes.

In a market segment that requires strict compliance and regulatory requirements to be met, cloud-based solutions can provide everyone in the supply chain with a more secure (and tamper-resistant) solution than many of the legacy approaches of old.

This is not to say ERP requires the one or the other. Instead, there needs to be a transition provided between the two scenarios that empowers those in the food supply chain to maximise the insights (and benefits) derived from traceability.

Now, more than ever, traceability is a business priority. Having the correct foundation through effective ERP is essential if a business can manage its growth and meet legislative requirements into the future.

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