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Vodacom demos broadband trunking for safety comms

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Vodacom has demonstrated the first broadband multimedia trunking solution on a commercial LTE network in Africa making it easier for the public safety industry to communicate.

The solution makes it easier and faster for public safety industry to communicate and it incorporates latest multimedia functions which makes it quick to avert disaster situations.

Vodacom believes public safety services such as police, ambulance and fire services and other vertical industries such as public transportation, logistics, mining, construction, air/sea/rail ports and security can greatly benefit from the demonstrated LTE broadband multimedia trunking solution particularly when one factors in its performance, capability, total cost of ownership and time to market benefits.

Andries Delport, Chief Technology Officer for Vodacom Group commented:

“I’m excited by what my team has done here as this is the first LTE broadband multimedia trunking demonstration in the whole of Africa. The mission critical broadband trunking solution is an innovative new technology which leverages Vodacom’s superior coverage to enable exciting new applications on its LTE network. This is yet another example of Vodacom being the first and most innovative network to launch new technologies in South Africa and also Africa.”

Vodacom has partnered with Huawei for the demonstration to use Huawei’s LTE integrated Trunked Radio (LiTRA) application to demonstrate a broadband multimedia trunking solution which runs on Vodacom’s commercial, nationwide LTE network.

The LiTRA solution also overcomes the challenges of using a public LTE network for mission critical communication by prioritising emergency communications with a higher Quality of Services (QoS) and also ensures encryption and security of these messages.

Traditional private mobile radio network technologies (such as TETRA) mainly provide basic voice trunking services such as Push to Talk (PTT) and cannot support new, innovative, high speed data services such as video and multimedia services. In addition, these traditional private mobile radio networks are expensive to construct and maintain, the user terminals are expensive and have limited variety, and the network technology is often proprietary and inflexible.

These issues currently facing traditional private mobile radio networks are overcome by using a broadband public trunking communications system such as the one demonstrated by Vodacom. The Huawei LiTRA application enables Vodacom’s existing and entire LTE network to be leveraged to provide high bandwidth and low latency trunking capabilities to improve the performance of existing mission and business critical services such as PTT, but more importantly which can also support new broadband multimedia trunking services such as push to video, real-time video surveillance, high resolution photos and location based services.

The LTE based trunking service demonstrated by Vodacom is also compatible with existing consumer LTE smartphones and new rugged LTE smartphones, and does not restrict the user terminals to exclusive providers as was the case with traditional private mobile network technologies.

The live demonstration at Vodacom’s Innovation Centre in Midrand showcased how users of mission and business critical services are guaranteed the highest priority on Vodacom’s LTE network. Various use cases were demonstrated such as:

·         Push to video and Push to talk between users in Midrand and Cape Town.

·         Video uploading from a user in Cape Town to the central dispatch centre in Midrand and forwarding to selected other users.

·         Real time video surveillance whereby a user is able to view a camera feed installed at a separate permanent location.

·         Viewing the location of all users in real time from the dispatch centre.

·         Audio and video recording of all activities.

The broadband multimedia trunking solution demonstrated by Vodacom and Huawei is fully compliant with 3GPP standards and is easy and quick for Vodacom to deploy across its entire and existing LTE network which currently provides coverage to 75.9% of the total South African population and which is the widest LTE network coverage in South Africa.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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