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AppDate: Absa brings Masterpass to banking app

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In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Absa’s MasterPass, Cell C MiAssist, NordVPN for Android, PokerConnect and QualityTime.

Absa Masterpass

Absa’s new Masterpass App is a digital wallet powered by Mastercard, enabling South Africans to make payments with their phones wherever Masterpass is accepted. Payments via the Absa Masterpass App currently gives people the power to make online purchases using the digital wallet on their smartphones, without needing to carry their bank cards with them. Absa customers will also soon be able to do in-store shopping using Absa Masterpass, with a variety of merchants presently being signed up. Consumers can store all their MasterCard or other branded credit, debit or cheque card information, and shipping and billing address details, securely in the Absa Masterpass digital wallet. This gives them the ability to make secure payments wherever they see the Masterpass logo, without the hassle of entering these details each time they purchase an item using their Masterpass digital wallet.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Cell C MiAssist

Cell C and Cellfind have partnered up to launch Cell C MiAssist. Like many of the emergency apps available, the Cell C MiAssist app gives users access to pre-defined contacts at the click of a button. Once the panic button is pushed, the app uses Cellfind’s location-based technology to provide contacts with the smartphone’s GPS co-ordinates. Dedicated crisis managers are on call 24/7 and will immediately dispatch a road or air ambulance to provide life support and take the patient to the nearest hospital. In addition to providing help on the road, a home assist feature helps customers deal with home emergencies and also provides a list of emergency plumbers, electricians, etc., when urgent action needs to be taken to minimise damage to the home.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: R45 per month

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

NordVPN for Android

NordVPN is a virtual private network specially designed for  Android. It is fairly easy to use as it requires no setup. All one has to do is select a destination on the interactive map to where an encrypted message needs to be sent. NordVPN offers in-app support via live chat and, besides being used to encrypt messages, can also be used to securely create a connection to video on demand services like Netflix.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: R114 per month

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store.

 

PokerConnect

PokerConnect is the first poker app that allows users to play across platforms offline through their PokerConnect app on the device – a great addition for players who have little or no Internet connectivity.  The PokerConnect app serves as a digital poker table and gamblers have the option of playing with real money or with chips. PokerConnect offers a single-player mode where one plays against the computer, or multi-player mode where up to ten players can sit in at a table.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

QualityTime

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on your phone and on which apps you spend the most time? The QualityTime app measures this and provides a breakdown of the time you have spent on the phone. In addition to measuring the time a device has been used, it also lets one set break alarms for when a time-out from work is due. Users can also use QualityTime to turn off all notifications for a set period of time.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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