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USSD ‘race’ draws record 400 000 users

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Mastercard in collaboration with Digitata Insights recently launched a gamification campaign to educate South Africans on the benefits of making safe, secure and fast payments with Masterpass.

An interactive game to educate users on digital payments drew almost 400 000 users, believed to be a record for a campaign using the cellphone short-code system known as USSD.

Mastercard ran the campaign in collaboration with Digitata Insights, a subsidiary of Digitata, using ‘gamification’ to educate South Africans on the benefits of making safe, secure and fast payments with Masterpass, the global digital payment service from Mastercard.

The interactive game – “The Masterpass Race” – showed South African consumers the benefits of  Masterpass across digital payments channels including airtime top-up, online purchases, bill payments and in-store payments. It also demonstrated the security features, convenience and ease of use people will find in Masterpass—including the fact that they can pay with a smart app on their smartphones and leave their physical wallets at home.

Gabriel Swanepoel, Product Development and Innovation, Mastercard, said: “To create widespread adoption of our Masterpass solution, we looked for a unique, fun and engaging platform to bring its benefits to life for consumers. Gamification was a perfect opportunity to educate consumers about how digital payments can improve their lives.”

To participate, subscribers had to dial a USSD short code. Players earned points for by answering questions relating to information supplied in the game about mobile and cashless payments and Masterpass, and completed actions such as downloading and using the Masterpass app. Accumulating points got players to the next level of the game and points could be converted into airtime.

Richard Walton, acting CEO at Digitata Insights, said: “Gamification – the incorporation of game play into online marketing – is an extremely effective way to keep mobile users engaged, offering the ideal opportunity to educate them in an interactive manner.  The fact that players could receive free airtime ensured continued engagement and made the game extremely popular.”

Digitata Insights developed the USSD-based gamification service using the company’s MeMe measurable mobile media platform. “Text-based USSD was the ideal channel as all mobile users are familiar with the *111# service. It is also a prolific channel because it is device and network agnostic, which means there is potential to deliver bespoke content to a huge market, all without the subscriber incurring any charges as no data is required.”

To ensure the broadest reach, Digitata Insights partnered with South Africa’s two largest network operators, gaining access to millions of potential customers. The results from the campaign were impressive: more than 398,595 people started the race and some 153,000 reached the finishing line by completing all 17 levels in the game.

“Overall we feel that the Masterpass campaign was on par with some of the biggest USSD-based consumer engagement campaigns run globally,” said Walton. “And despite this form of mobile marketing being around for 15 years already, we’re not aware of any other campaigns that have been able to generate these numbers. We therefore feel that we’ve taken USSD-based marketing to the next level, and are now starting to realise the full potential that this form of mobile engagement has always held.”

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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