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Rise of Crowdsourced Safety

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The very nature of social media’s open communication and crowdsourced information provides a powerful tool for public safety says co-founder of ttrumpet, GRANT THEIS.

“The growth of social media continues to grow exponentially – and the sharing of information amongst individuals has the real potential to improve vigilance and ultimately lead to safer communities.”

Recent community horror stories have sparked the debate around public safety through citizen engagement, and the role technology is playing here has come to the fore.

“With so many citizens witnessing and experiencing almost daily incidents in their city – imagine the sheer volume and content that can be generated,” adds Theis. “One of the best ways to garner this information is through crowdsourcing – which involves engaging and enabling citizens to actively take a part in the fight against crime and by reporting suspicious activities or crime or vandalism by reporting information in real-time and in a convenient and accessible way using their smartphones.”

Theis cautions that these platforms shouldn’t be mistaken for a security app – but rather they are about connecting individuals in real-time with their communities and syndicating information that enables individuals and communities to empower themselves when it comes to keeping themselves and their families safe.

“Having said that however, follow-me-home features and community channels are just a few aspects that can be incorporated here,” says Theis. “Think of the possibilities of correlating these citizen activities and reports with data from other systems, such as video surveillance, traffic monitoring or even security companies. Having such an integrated system, with the community at the centre, allows officials to gain a better understanding of what is happening at any moment, where their serves are required as well as trends that may emerge over time and work hand-in-hand with the community to eliminate crime.”

Over the last 6 months ttrumpet has been focused on creating a security eco-system with tailored features including:

·         Tag-Me: a my-safety, real time feature within the app aimed at families, friends and active sportsmen. The feature enables individuals to “pin” or mark their journey while travelling, allowing personally selected people to identify their exact location and whether they have gone off route, as well as allowing the user to alert their “followers” in cases of distress

·         Security Channel: a dedicated channel for communities to report and record security issues and other community related information. Ttrumpet’s security gives an intelligent view of all incidents as well as a map and of course, full user control of notifications. Ttrumpet offers this service for free to all resident’s associations, safety/community forums and similar groups.

·         SOS Button: a free SOS service which contacts your loved ones and sends them your location when pressed.

Ttrumpet is being used actively across Pretoria and Johannesburg currently – with over 100 Community Police Forums and Neighbourhood Watches actively using the app for their security communities. Warrant Officer A.C. Holtzhausen Sector Manager, sector 1 Pretoria North SAPS, is currently using the ttrumpet app to connect with his sector community. He says: “Having used it for a few months, I have to say it’s become a must to combat crime in the community as not only does it bring the community together, but it is helping the police to combat crime in the area and encouraging fellow residents to identify hotspots, be more vigilant and be on the lookout to assist the police.”

“Active citizenry, coupled with a strong purpose-built platform that brings together relevant parties, has real potential to change the status quo. It truly is the rise of crowdsourced safety,” says Theis.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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