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MWC: Visa to promote public transport contactless payments

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Visa announced it has signed 14 new technology companies, from across 10 countries, as part of its Visa Ready for Transit program.

The program works with companies whose technology solutions are accelerating seamless, friction-free commuting with contactless payments – helping to promote contactless growth in public transportation globally. The Visa Ready for Transit program was first announced in November 2017 with initial partners, Vix and Worldline.

The Visa Ready certification sets a benchmark for high-quality, ready-to-deploy solutions, enabling transit companies to implement a more convenient experience for commuters worldwide using secure solutions.

“We’re seeing renewed interest from transit-related companies around the world to learn how new innovations in payments can improve their customer experiences,” said Jason Blackhurst, senior vice president, innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa. “Since launching Visa Ready for Transit, we’ve welcomed 16 world-class technology partners to the program, ranging from small tech companies to multinational organizations. Each of these partners are empowered to help extend the benefits of Visa’s digital payment technology to transit companies around the globe.”

The newest Visa Ready for Transit partners all produce software or hardware to support a more seamless commute for people around the world:

  • AS Ridango (Estonia) provides state-of-the-art transit solutions and services.
  • BBPOS International Limited (Hong Kong) distributes mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) technology.
  • Conduent Business Solutions (France) provides diversified business process services offering capabilities in transaction processing, automation and analytics.
  • Digicon (Brazil) specializes in the provision of access controllers (turnstiles), traffic controllers, parking control systems (parking meters), electronic time clocks and automatic ticketing systems for urban transportation.
  • FIME (France) works with transit operators to deliver the interoperability of fare collection systems to provide seamless travel to commuters.
  • Mennica Polska (Poland) is a leading Polish ticketing operator and automatic fare collection solutions integrator.
  • Paycraft (India) provides contactless, open loop products with capabilities of processing online and offline transactions.
  • Perto (Brazil) develops technology products and services for banks and retailers.
  • Planeta Informática (Brazil) provides solutions for secure online and offline payment systems and devices.
  • Quadrac (Japan) provides ultra-high-speed payment servers and proximity communication devices.
  • Schiedt&Bachmann (Germany) provides intelligent ticketing and information systems.
  • Spire Payments (Luxembourg) provides point-of-sale hardware and software solutions.
  • Smartran Ltd (United Kingdom) delivers smart business solutions utilizing contactless EMV and NFC mobile applications.
  • T-Systems Ltd (United Kingdom) operates information and communication technology systems for multinationals and public sector institutions.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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