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Uber evolves beyond rides

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Since launching UberEATS six months ago, the company has learned some interesting insights into South African eating habits. JAMBU PALANIAPPAN, Regional General Manager for UberEATS in EMEA looks into the facts to do with eater’ and restaurants using the app.

First, Uber made it simpler for South Africans to get around. Next, we applied the concept of getting a ride at the touch of a button to bringing South Africans their favourite meals at their fingertips.

In the six months since UberEATS first launched in the country, we have learnt some fascinating insights into the habits and appetites of South Africans. You’re a classic bunch, with the most-ordered dish for 2017 being the cheeseburger. As UberEATS has food options to match all budgets, we have noticed certain trends throughout an average week.

Efficient businesspeople are pre-scheduling breakfast orders to arrive at work at the same time they do and offices are ordering in food or coffee for their business meetings. However, not everyone in the office is indulging. Many are turning away from canteen food in favour of ordering a healthy, nutritionally-balanced lunch!

UberEATS is also changing the way South Africans entertain. Instead of slaving over the stove and dirtying a sink of dishes, groups of friends are ordering in large quantities of small dishes to share on Friday and Saturday nights. Sundays are times when families gather, often ordering in their favourites for the Sunday night movie.

Observant eaters cottoned on to the fact that they are now able to order alcohol, something that we’ve not officially announced. However, eaters are responding well to this offering, requesting drinks for dinner parties and sun downers. Like most of our competitors one is able to order alcohol through UberEATS if it’s on the restaurant’s menu, and they have a ‘off premise license’. Uber has a strict policy that ID must be provided to the courier upon delivery.

Our largest order was over R6000, ordered by a generous company for an in office celebration, which is unsurprising as many businesses use the app to cater for corporate events.  In the first 2 months over 100 000 eaters downloaded the app so far.

Over 700 local restaurants are also benefitting from the ease of UberEATS as they use its intelligence for everything, from serving their customers better to deciding on the location of their next store. We have, for example, already seen how successful some businesses that are not ‘restaurant based’ have been. Restaurants are now exploring fascinating new business models, such as running their entire business online.

Take Bruno Persic for example. Persic, Joint MD at Philly Cheesesteak Co. recognises the potential of the UberEATS app, “we want to be part of the next big thing in food,” says Persic. “After meeting with the UberEATS team we decided to put the idea of a revolutionary “Digital Kitchen” into action. Essentially a digital kitchen is the same restaurant as Philly Cheesesteak Co. without the traditional front of house “dining area”. The key benefit being able to service an area like Sandton without opening a full service restaurant with the burden of exorbitantly high retail rentals of shopping malls or high streets. We honestly believe the Digital Kitchen concept will add a new dimension to dining convenience.”

Now, with the help of a new ‘restaurant manager’ restaurants are able to take their businesses to the next level. The newly unveiled UberEATS Restaurant Manager is becoming the one place restaurants need to go to manage and grow their business. As a first for South Africa and by partnering with UberEATS, restaurants have access to real-time data, which gives them access to their sales, performance, and customer sentiment data in an easy-to-understand format.

They see visualizations of key insights, such as customer satisfaction, most and least popular dishes, average prep time and sales by day. None of our competitors offer this kind of in-depth insight, and one can only begin to imagine the benefits this provides to restaurant owners. It means no more ‘guestimates’ – restaurant owners can make decisions on real data that is easily picked up and understood. Owners can now see exactly when they are busiest and need more support, whether a new menu is going down well, or if a price change is impacting sales.

With some restaurants increasing their sales by 20-50%, there is no doubt that UberEATS is great for business. Restaurants are employing extra chefs and runners specifically to meet the extra demand that UberEATS is generating. We have also welcomed over 1000 courier partners since our launch in South Africa. We’re just overwhelmed by our success and what a great, new form of economic opportunity UberEATS is providing in South Africa, a country with an unemployment rate as high as 26.5%¹.

UberEATS will continue to evolve to suit the needs of the eater and restaurants that use the App. Our data helps us to understand which areas are more popular at different times of day and week, which we communicate to our courier partners accordingly in real-time. The impact of the weather has been a great learning curve for us, as we learn how to manage the increase in demand while prioritizing the safety of our courier partners.

The UberEATS app is giving restaurants the opportunity to get real-time feedback from their customers on their service experience and favourite dishes. The learnings we have gathered around kitchen structures will also assist restaurants in making the most of their assets to drive new revenues.

We are also responding to our customer’s needs through analysing which campaigns they love most and listening to which services would make life easier. For example, we are currently exploring the possibility of offering freshly made, frozen baby food through the app for new moms. We already offer fresh food delivery; in Cape Town, Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants is using UberEATS to get their fresh produce to homes in minutes – taking away that extra trip to the butcher before a Sunday lunch or braai.

We are expanding super-fast so keep a look out for UberEATS, which could be available in your area soon. We’re excited to announce that we are now further expanding our reach in Gauteng, launching in Pretoria and Centurion soon, and within Cape Town, we will be launching in Constantia, Wynberg, Tokai, and Plumstead.

We are getting requests from both eaters and restaurants in all major cities, requesting launch dates, and our goal is to be in all major cities by end of the year or early 2018.

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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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