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Samsung unveils “innovation that makes a difference”

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Samsung Electronics today unveiled its product line-up for 2016 at its annual Samsung Africa Forum event.

The company underlined the importance of “innovation that makes a meaningful difference in people’s everyday lives”, showcasing its new bezel-less curved SUHD TVs with Quantum dot display, the industry-first Front Load Washer with AddWash, and a range of refrigerators and freezers with Twin Cooling technology.

“Samsung has continuously worked to help people live smarter lives, and this year we have taken a huge step forward with our diverse products and services,” said Mr. Yoo Young Kim, CEO and President of Samsung Electronics, Africa Office. “We will continue to enhance consumers’ quality of life by listening to their needs and strengthening our ecosystem.”

The Next Generation of Home Entertainment

Samsung unveiled its new line-up of SUHD TVs that feature good picture quality with Quantum dot display; the world’s first bezel-less curved design.

Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs feature the world’s only cadmium-free, 10-bit Quantum dot display. The future of display technology, Quantum dot display converts light into nearly any colour in the visible spectrum without distortion or compromising the brightness level, delivering the optimum viewing experience for consumers, regardless of the lighting environment.

This year, all of the Samsung SUHD TVs will feature the ability to provide a premium high dynamic range (HDR) experience, with 1,000 nit HDR minimum for a higher level of contrast between light and dark images. New Ultra Black technology also significantly reduces light reflection, further enhancing picture quality with minimal glare.

Built on the Tizen operating system (OS), Samsung’s 2016 Smart TVs make it easier for consumers to discover and access all their favourite content and services, from TV shows and movies, to games and programme information, all in one place. The new Samsung Smart TV eliminates the need to juggle multiple remote controls. The Samsung Smart TV will automatically recognise the type of set-top box, game console, OTT box or home theatre system that is connected to the TV. This allows users to control all of the external devices with the Smart Control remote — with no setup required.

Samsung also unveiled the latest additions to its audio product line-up, including the HW-K950 Soundbar, the company’s first to feature Dolby Atmos, and the industry’s first soundbar package to include two Dolby Atmos-enabled wireless rear speakers. The complete HW-K950 package delivers an incredible 5.1.4-channel sound.

Intelligent Digital Appliances Transform the Kitchen

Many consumers have dreamed of owning a spacious refrigerator that keeps food fresher longer so their weekly grocery shop goes further. It is a common disappointment to reach into the refrigerator to find that the fruits or vegetables have lost their natural moisture, even when kept in the vegetable drawer.

“The R&D team at Samsung worked hard to overcome this problem. Now consumers can keep food fresher, longer, with Samsung’s innovative Twin Cooling Plus technology,” says Sunil Gupta, Africa Regional Product Manager, Digital Appliances.

Samsung’s Twin Cooling Plus technology is a truly independent cooling system, preventing unpleasant smells from food moving between the fridge and freezer, ensuring the original flavour of ingredients stored in the freezer is perfectly preserved and odourless.

No air movement between the compartments also means the freezer stays completely frost-free, prolonging the shelf life and the flavour of its contents. It also prevents the build-up of ice, removing the need to defrost the freezer.

Thanks to the Twin Cooling Plus™ technology, consumers can enjoy flexibility with cooling storage depending on their needs. The true independent cooling system allows for turning the freezer into a fridge when required, or just turn off the fridge compartment when leaving home for a long vacation. The five modes are Freezer-Fridge, Energy Saving, Vacation, Fridge Max, and Mini mode.

Samsung today also launches an affordable range of refrigerators and freezers, designed especially for African consumers. These include the vertical freezer, the 180-litre top-mounted freezer, the 1-Door 110-litre fridge, and a chest freezer in the small size capacity of 150 litres.

Making the Washing Machine Work For You

Samsung recognises that in the rush to get laundry done on a frenzied weeknight or during a crazy weekend, a stray sock may simply get overlooked, so Samsung’s simple, practical response to that is to add the industry’s first “AddWash” door to its front load washer.

The Samsung Front Load Washer with AddWash has a distinctive access door that makes it convenient to add any item, such as a piece of forgotten laundry or extra detergent, in mid-cycle without needing to drain the washer and open the main washer door.

AddWash utilises a SuperSpeed feature, which finishes a load in less than an hour. It also features our EcoBubble technology, which premixes detergent with air and water, penetrating clothes 40 times faster than a normal mix of water and soap. It comes with an array of smart functions, making it easier for users to monitor and control wash cycles.

From gently caring for delicate fabrics, to advanced technologies that make detergent work harder, to a full load washed in as little as 30 minutes, Samsung’s Front Load Washer with AddWash can easily keep up with your family’s toughest laundry tasks.

Corporate Citizenship at the heart of business strategy

For the first time at Samsung Forum, Samsung will be showcasing its Corporate Citizenship initiatives in Africa.

Samsung will bolster its efforts in Africa in a bid to help the continent achieve its Sustainable Development Goals.

“As a global citizen, we felt it was important to use our technology to give back to society. We do this in four ways: by creating new learning opportunities so that young people can enjoy access to better education; by using our technical expertise to develop and provide access to new healthcare solutions; by supporting youth employment through vocational training and skills development; and by reducing our impact on the environment,” says Abey Tau, Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs Manager.

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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