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London calling cyber start-ups

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Cyber London (CyLon), Europe’s first dedicated cyber security start-up accelerator and incubator, is inviting cyber security start-ups to apply for its third programme. Applications are welcome from teams across Europe and further afield.

Cyber London’s cyber security accelerator consists of a 12-week programme where entrepreneurial teams with innovative business ideas are provided access to professional training and guidance from an accomplished network of mentors, investors and CyLon Alumni. At the end of this programme, the companies will present their solutions to potential customers, investors and partners at an in-house Demo Day. The Demo Day for CyLon’s second cohort recently took place, and saw the teams pitching to over 150 key stakeholders. In addition to training, mentorship and fully-furnished office space, the teams selected to participate in the programme will receive a £15,000 investment in their businesses in return for 3% equity.

Applications for the next Cyber London programme are now open at https://www.f6s.com/cyberlondon3cylon/apply. Participants may include the very earliest stage teams, through to established companies seeking support to accelerate development and reach new customers and markets. Entrepreneurs working on any technology with security applications and with the ambition to build a successful business are encouraged to apply.

Kirsten Connell, MD of Cyber London said: “We’ve had such diverse and interesting members in our previous cohorts, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next group brings to the industry. The breadth of talent we’re seeing and the success our previous cohorts have had reinforces the value Cyber London provides to entrepreneurs and the wider economy. We’ve learned a lot from our first two programmes and look forward to helping this next cohort build and establish their brands and technologies.”

Paul Manister, CTO of cohort two start-up Fabric commented: “CyLon has been absolutely amazing in terms of the quality of mentors, staff and of course the commercial relationships and reach that has been extended to us. We’ve learned a lot, benefitted greatly and are now ready for the next stage of the company’s evolution. Thanks to being involved in the CyLon Programme we have already raised a substantial portion of the current funding round, which looks like it will be over-subscribed. I am in no doubt that a large part of this is thanks to the kudos CyLon brings.”

Closing date for cohort three applications is Sunday 27th March 2016 with the programme running from Tuesday 3rd May until Saturday 23rd July.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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