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Appdate: Bolt speeds into food

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Bolt’s food delivery service and FNB’s in-app shopping

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Bolt to deliver food

Bolt, the on-demand transport platform that connects passengers with drivers across South Africa, has announced plans to launch a food delivery service. 

The company recently underwent a global rebrand, including changing its name from Taxify to Bolt, aimed at bringing the brand identity in line with the company’s broader vision of transportation. Bolt’s services already include Ride-hailing with cars and motorbikes, as well as scooter sharing.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free app. 

Stockists: Visit Bolt’s website here to sign up.

FNB in-app shopping

FNB has aded functionality to its banking app that enables customers to shop directly from the app. The eBucks Shop, which was previously only accessible on the eBucks website, offers customers exclusive pricing for products ranging from tech and gaming to appliances and outdoor. 

According to Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail, its customers as well as customers from RMB Private Bank can expect to get up to 40% off on exclusive deals. They also have the ability to track their purchases and view their order history.

To access and start shopping on the app, customers must have an existing eBucks account and have the latest version of the FNB/RMB app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit FNB here

B-BBEE Manager

Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is an aspect of business that has to be embraced by many businesses. However, many struggle with creating an integrated point of reference for their B-BBEE engagements.

Global Business Solutions has seen this challenge and developed the B-BBEE Manager. The web-based app gives companies the opportunity to capture their B-BBEE-related data and generate a scorecard based on their inputs. This app is particularly useful for small businesses who need to determine their B-BBEE status for tender work and who do not have the resources to verify this in the usual manner. 

When one logs into the B-BBEE Manager, the app will prompt them to enter details like:

  • B-BBEE Summary, Employment Equity, Management and Ownership Information,
  • The amount a company pays towards skills development, enterprise and supplier development,
  • The Total Measurable Procurement Spend as well as other details such as the amounts spent on preferential procurement and supplier development.

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: A free to use service

Stockists: To find out more about B-BBEE Manager visit the site here.  

WunderChild 

WunderChild is a platform that helps parents discover the natural talents of their kids from a preschool age. It does this by using a fun, interactive and very easy to use interface that asks a series of questions, guiding him or her to find out where their talents may or may not lie. Games, challenges as well as physical activities are offered, getting more and more difficult over time, allowing parents to judge how much talent their child has. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet explorer

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the WunderChild here to sign up.   

FreeMind Meditiations 

The FreeMind Meditations app includes music created by film composers and professional musicians to be enjoyed while meditating. This music includes trigger sounds that are designed to evoke specific states of mind and help one engage more deeply and easily with the meditations. Although I have tried it, I can’t say for certain how well it works in terms of meditation, but the music sure is very soothing. The paid for version includes more than 250 tracks, but only 14 are available on the free version. 

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: Free, but with limited songs. The full version costs around R185 per month – maybe cheaper to buy a few sleeping tablets.

Stockists: Visit the Google Play store here to download the app

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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