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Road freight facing disruptor?

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Following the lead of tech innovators in the taxi industry, SA’s road freight sector is set for a similar shake-up as Linebooker has launched an online-bidding platform that connects transport customers and trucking companies to offer transparent pricing.

Following the lead of tech innovators in the taxi industry, South Africa’s road freight sector is set for a similar shake-up. According the latest Logistics Barometer (published by Stellenbosch University), transport remains the most significant portion of logistics costs (57% of the total in 2014)* — an opportunity that is being seized upon by Cape Town-based start-up Linebooker.  A spinoff from the innovation arm of CCS Logistics (part of the Oceana Group), the company has launched an online-bidding platform that connects bulk business transport customers and trucking companies to offer transparent pricing, as well as end-to-end delivery facilitation services.

“It’s time for South Africa’s road freight industry to join the 21st century,” says Naudé Rademan, MD of CCS Logistics and Linebooker. “Technology exposes the imbalanced relation between buyers and sellers, and with our online tools and a single point of service, customers can enjoy more control and insights over the transport of various goods and products.”

Operating nationally, Linebooker is challenging an industry plagued by opaque pricing and antiquated systems. With its online bidding platform, transport customers can quickly submit load requests online to alert multiple transporters that are given a two-hour window in which to provide the best bid, often competing up to the last second. For transport customers, the offering features:

  • A single creditor (a set fee is charged per transaction based on the value of a load)
  • Vetted transporters and truck availability; and
  • Facilitation of the entire delivery process.

Average savings: 13% per load 

Naude Rademan, a respected professional in South Africa’s logistics and road transport industry, is MD of CCS Logistics, which owns and operates some of the most advanced and largest cold storage facilities in southern Africa. With a handful of colleagues — possessing almost 50 years of experience in the sector between them — they developed Linebooker in mid 2016. Since then, the company has facilitated the delivery of more than 1000 loads, saving customers an average of 13% per load. Linebooker currently has more than 60 transporters with over 1300 trucks on its system — an amount increasing weekly — and serves some of the country’s most respected brands, including Lucky Star, Shoprite and Heinz.

Reformed transport brokers

Composed of several former transport brokers, the company emphasises that it is not — nor does it want to be — a transport brokerage.  And while it does not own any transport trucks, Linebooker uses its technology, combined with the team’s knowledge of the industry (including some time as brokers), to ensure that trust and fairness are part of every transaction.

“Today, each transport request made online is like a mini RFP,” concludes Nick Hoffman, Linebooker Manager. “With our system we are improving the efficiency of the industry, connecting customers with more transporters (and vice versa), and ensuring transparent pricing. In some cases, customers are saving up to 18% per load.”

Levelling the playing field for transporters

For transporters — challenged with cash flow issues due to payment terms averaging 40 days in the industry — Linebooker offers:

  • Access to more customers;
  • A single debtor (with no broker mark-up);
  • Payment within 15 days; and
  • Improved ‘lane balancing’ (deliveries loaded in two directions).

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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