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Uber gets accessibility in focus

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Uber has launched uberASSIST for those who need transportation but have access challenges.

Transport for someone with access needs can be expensive, often requiring paid-for help such as caregivers to assist. As a result, Uber has launched an affordable alternative called uberASSIST for those with access challenges.

uberASSIST is a new option that caters for senior riders and riders with access needs. uberASSIST aims to step up and offer assistance to those that require it when travelling from one point to the next, offering a safe and reliable option for these underserved riders that are not as mobile and able to move around their city as others.

“At Uber, we strive to provide convenient options that fit everyone’s needs. uberASSIST is currently piloting in Cape Town for us to gather necessary data, understand how best it can work and understand who uberASSIST is adequately able to cater for,” says Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa.

Uber partnered with DGMT, a private foundation which supports initiatives that aim to bring about dynamic and fundamental impact to the lives of people in South Africa.

In order to provide the best service to riders with special needs, Uber invited only the top rated driver-partners to be part of the uberASSIST pilot – drivers interested then opted-in to the pilot. All drivers on the uberASSIST view completed a disability equality course reviewed and supported by DGMT’s Inclusive and Innovative Society portfolio. This course provided the necessary knowledge and safety requirements driver-partners need when assisting people with different accessibility needs.

Renisha Patel, Innovation Manager at DGMT, says: “Our hope is that this partnership with Uber, will expand options for riders with special access needs, facilitating greater social inclusion for South Africans.”

“Thanks to our partnership with DGMT driver-partners now know how to best provide an efficient and seamless service to senior riders and riders with access needs,” says Lits.

When requesting a ride, special needs riders can contact the uberASSIST driver-partner ahead of time to inform them of any unique requirements. Like all ride options Uber offers, UberASSIST riders will also be asked to rate every trip, this is an important tool to ensure drivers receive valuable feedback about their involvement in the uberASSIST programme to better their business offering.

uberASSIST riders will need to be able to navigate a smartphone in order to request a vehicle, or have someone close by to help. uberASSIST vehicles do not have wheelchair accessible ramps, therefore unfortunately cannot accommodate motorised wheelchairs at this stage, but uberASSIST can cater for fold up wheelchairs.

uberASSIST riders are welcome to bring along service animals; Uber recognises the need for service animals and driver-partners know that these animals serve a very important role.

How to access uberASSIST in Cape Town?
1. Riders will need to open the Uber app
2. Enter in the destination required
3. Swipe left on the app and select uberASSIST
4. Confirm pick-up location and request a ride

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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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