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SA on brink of smart home revolution

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Thanks to the spread of fibre networks and reductions in data costs, South Africa is set to start benefiting from true smart home innovations and ship new smart home appliances to local shores in 2017.

“2017 will be the beginning of an exciting new phase in SA’s evolution to smart living. Now that the high speed connectivity infrastructure is in place and data costs are dropping, the foundations are ready for highly advanced, connected digital appliances to take their place in South African homes,” says Michael McKechnie, Director: Digital Appliances at Samsung South Africa.

While South Africans have enjoyed the benefits of Samsung smart TVs for several years, the smart home revolution is now moving beyond the TV. Early in 2017, Samsung Electronics will change the South African smart home game when it starts shipping its Family Hub fridges to South Africa.

Family Hub fridges are the next generation core for the connected family. These appliances, with built-in screens on the doors, Smart Things sensors and Smart Power Outlets, serve as the centre for all devices. Families are able to centrally monitor, control and secure the smart home, all from the fridge. They can share diaries and schedules on the screen, enjoy video and music while in the kitchen and even check what’s inside the fridge from wherever they are, all just by connecting to the fridge with their smartphones.

The arrival of the Samsung Family Hub fridges is just the beginning, says McKechnie. Over the next 18 to 24 months, Samsung South Africa will distribute more of its smart appliances, including washing machines, additional smart fridges and even smart cooking appliances. These will add to new levels of convenience which Samsung is already bringing to market through product solutions such as its AddWash washing machine, allowing people to add forgotten laundry items during mid-cycle and the new top mounted freezer with independent ‘twin’ cooling technology.

Appliances and smart hubs will set the scene for smarter lifestyles for South Africans, mentions McKechnie. “A key driver for Samsung in 2017 will be enabling a happier home. By providing a range of intelligent, linked home appliances to South Africa, we are opening the door to new lifestyle possibilities, giving people more ways to connect and reducing the time they must spend on household chores – all of which contributes to a happier home.”

Samsung expects South African premium customers to be the first to buy into the smart home concept, with mid-to-entry-level markets to quickly follow. Since Samsung’s smart appliances will be available in a range of models suited to all budgets.

“Consumers might see smart home appliances as a gimmick at first, but as soon as they experience the convenience of living within that smart and connected environment, they will look to build on their smart home ecosystems. South African consumers are more value-focused than ever before, they depend on brands such as Samsung, with a trusted history in the country, a solid warranty and service offering and a well-deserved reputation for innovation, to take them into the smart home future,” concludes McKechnie.

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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