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Standard Bank pilots Apple Watch

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Standard Bank has announced plans to embrace wearable technology, with the forthcoming release of its Apple Watch banking app.

In another first for banking in South Africa, Standard Bank’s Apple Watch app is currently being tested with pilot users and will be available to the general public by the end of September 2015. It follows Standard Bank’s recent launch of SA’s first biometric-enabled banking app – giving users access to smartphone banking using Apple’s Touch ID technology.

“We are continuously looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier and to make banking a seamless part of their daily lives.  With our smart watch app we are providing greater choice to customers about how they would like to stay in control of their finances,” says Magnus Taljaard, Head of Digital Customer Solutions at Standard Bank.

The first version of the Standard Bank’s Apple Watch app will contain a Balance Peek feature – allowing users to check their latest account balances without having to log into internet banking or their smartphone app.

“Balance Peek on smart watches is perfect for those moments when you need to quickly and unobtrusively check your balance,” explains Mr. Taljaard.

“The Apple Watch app will be followed by similar rollouts for Android Wear-enabled watches later in the year,” Mr. Taljaard adds.

As more users start embracing smart watches and other forms of wearable personal technology, Standard Bank will continue to work with customers to understand their requirements and develop a roadmap of banking features for wearables.

Already on the agenda are smart watch services that allow share trading clients to track indices and shares, see the biggest market movers and track changes in their share portfolios.

Importantly, as with any new customer solution, privacy and security issues are high on the bank’s agenda. For this reason, users are able to de-link their Apple Watch from their iPhone, as well as to toggle the Balance Peek feature on or off from the main banking app.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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