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AppDate: Apple brings Clips to video

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER features Apple Clips, Bidvest Snappdrive, Shazam with AR, Facebook Messenger Lite, and StockupApp.

Apple Clips

Apple Clips is a new app that is designed to create expressive videos on iPhones and iPads. It allows one to combine video clips, photos and music into videos that can be shared via Apple’s Messages app, or on Instagram, Facebook and most other popular social networks. The app introduces Live Titles, a feature that lets users create animated captions and titles using just their voice. It includes comic book filters, speech bubbles, shapes and full-screen animated posters.

Platform: Apple iPads and iPhones running iOS 10.3 or later.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store from any compatible device.

 

Bidvest Snappdrive

After a long trip, the last thing many travellers want to worry about is organising a rental car. Bidvest’s Snappdrive app makes this is a lot easier. Before leaving for a trip, users arrange a car online. After arriving at their destination, they use the app to locate their car, and will be able to unlock and start it using just a smartphone. In addition to creating a better customer experience, Bidvest is able to monitor a car’s location, speed and fuel consumption – all in real time.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Shazam, now with Augmented Reality

Shazam, one of the first apps allowing users to identify an artist by simply letting their phone “listen” to a song, has gone one step further. With its AR platform, users can now scan a QR code on marketing materials, products, packaging, advertising, events and more. Once scanned, the codes are capable of delivering AR experiences, including 3D animations, product visualisations, mini-games and 360-degree videos, directly to their phone or tablet.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Facebook Messenger Lite

In an effort to help users with older Android smartphones or slow mobile Internet connections, Facebook has launched its Messenger Lite service. It is a slimmed down, standalone version of the standard Facebook Messenger for Android that allows one to quickly and easily send text, photos and links to anyone else using Messenger or Messenger Lite. It is designed to give people the Messenger experience, no matter what technology they use. The app is less than a 10MB download, making it a lot easier to install and easier to access.

Platform: Android with an iOS version being released later this year.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store for downloading instructions.

 

StockupApp

Long queues, disgruntled checkout staff and the idea of spending hard-earned money on something as boring as groceries are just a few issues that make going to the supermarket a chore. Although StockupApp doesn’t help with the money that needs to be spent, it does eliminate queues and many of the other shopping problems. Much like UberEATS, StockupApp uses a phone’s geo-location to find stores in an area. One is then able to order a range of everyday goods, including groceries, certain alcoholic beverages and even gifts – all dependent on the retailer chosen. A credit card is used to pay and the items ordered will be delivered to your door in hours.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download but a service and delivery fee is added to each purchase.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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