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Order food via WeChat

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OrderIn, the popular online food ordering service, has opened an official account on WeChat that lets users easily and securely order and pay for food from restaurants, fast food outlets or corner cafés without leaving the WeChat app.

Launched in 2013 by former Goldman Sachs New York banker Dinesh Patel and former Groupon COO Heini Booysen, OrderIn is the first mobile phone delivery service of its kind in South Africa. More than 650 restaurants make up the OrderIn ecosystem in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Dinesh Patel

Dinesh Patel

Now, WeChat users can order food from anywhere during restaurant hours and pay for their orders through WeChat. To celebrate the partnership, WeChat users will get R50 off their first three orders placed through OrderIn.

“OrderIn is perfect for people while they’re at work, students who notoriously value convenience or busy families that don’t have time to cook” says Patel. “It’s convenient, easy and, unless the restaurant charges a delivery fee, the customer won’t pay a cent more for their order than if they had ordered from the restaurant directly.”

OrderIn detects the user’s location, or customers simply enter their address and are presented with a list of restaurants in the area. They then place and pay for their order, which is confirmed via WeChat. In the restaurant, a wireless printer connected to OrderIn’s server alerts staff when there’s an order pending and prints it out. Staff then enter the expected time of collection or delivery into the printer, which sends a confirmation to the customer via WeChat. Within WeChat, customers also have access to a customer care feature, which allows users to chat live with OrderIn’s customer service team.

“Partnering with OrderIn is just another way WeChat is merging the online and offline worlds, by turning online food orders into real-life deliveries,” says Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat Africa. “Seamless payment integration means customers never have to leave the app and can conveniently complete their orders from start to finish within WeChat. Our location sharing feature allows restaurants to geo-target content to users in the area, so they can, for example, offer discounts and special deals to encourage customers to order from them. It’s a win-win situation.”

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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