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AppDate: From Sports to Spotify, apps get serious

Roundup of new apps by SEAN BACHER include SAP Sports One, Spotify for the Apple Watch, FNB nav» Home, Opera with cookie dialog popup blocker and Nando’s ordering app.

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SAP Sports One

SAP Sports One, a sports-specific cloud solution powered by SAP’s HANA platform, provides teams and administrators with a single platform for the management of teams and players by delivering analytical insights for performance optimisation. The solution was born out of a partnership between SAP and the German football team. Following the team’s victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, SAP was heralded as the team’s “12th Man” by the Wall Street Journal and credited with a significant contribution to the famous win.

Deployed in the cloud, SAP Sports One helps clubs and organisations digitalise sports performance management by coordinating all administrative, training and team management, scouting and medical processes. In short, it’s an app for serious sports professionals.

Platform: Most devices with an Internet connection and up-to-date Internet browser
Expect to pay: Price is available on application
Stockists: SAP Sports One is not available for download from any app store as it is a specialised application.
Those interested can get more information here: https://www.sap.com/africa/products/sports-one.html

 

Spotify for the Apple Watch

Spotify has recently brought its mobile streaming music app to the Apple Watch, allowing users to listen to music on the move without having to access their smartphone. With this new app, users can enjoy a better music experience with better control. The added ability to connect the watch to external speakers or devices using the Spotify Connect feature essentially turns the watch into a mobile DJ platform. There is also the option to listen to music and podcasts offline for when connectivity is limited or non-existent.

The app makes full use of the watch’s screen, with a clean and clutter free layout. The volume, skip, rewind and pause controls are prominently displayed, making it easy to take control of the music without getting too distracted.

Platform: An Apple iPhone connected to an Apple Watch
Expect to pay: A free download, but Spotify subscriptions need to be paid to stream and download music.
Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store.

 

FNB nav» Home
FNB’s nav» Home functionality enables FNB customers to list and sell their homes privately and securely to buyers who qualify for a home loan, while saving costs associated with the process.

The solution allows sellers and buyers to engage, arrange to view a listed property and negotiate the price via secure chat on the FNB Banking App. Sellers and buyers can also  disclose personal contact information only when they are comfortable to do so.

To date, nav» Home has over 1 million visitors and has paid out R4.7 billion worth of home loans.

Platform: Android and iOS
Expect to pay: A free service, but users must bank with FNB
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Opera for Android with cookie dialog popup blocker
Opera for Android, with a cookie dialog blocker built in, means that one’s mobile browsing experience will become cleaner and neater, allowing one to focus on content while still being confident of online safety and privacy.

The cookie dialog blocker can be switched on in the browser settings. To configure the feature, go to Settings, tap on “Ad blocking”, and you find the switch to toggle it on or off.

When enabled by the user, the cookie alert blocker will hide dialogues but will not block websites from setting any cookies. To control cookie behaviour, the Opera browser has a dedicated setting that allows users to choose between accepting all or no cookies,  or blocking any third party cookies.

Opera for Android now also has home screen short cuts. Users with an Android 7.1 operating system or later can do a long tap on the “O” logo on the phone’s home screen and navigate through the new home screen shortcuts. These shortcuts allow a user to start a new search, scan a QR code or open a new private tab. In addition, one can now long tap on the “+” new tab button, and open a shortcut to a website on the device’s home screen.

Platform: Android 7.1 or higher
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store

 

Nando’s ordering app
The Nando’s ordering app allows users to place orders via voice or text. Its simple design means that users can order something like a hot chicken with fries and a coke without having to scroll through endless individual menu items and tick what they want.

All they have to do is place their order in simple English. An artificial intelligence engine running in the back-end makes sense of this, adds all the items to the basket and sends them directly to the checkout section, where payment is made. The AI engine also remembers a user’s previous ordering preferences and so brings those up as soon as the app is opened.

In addition, users can place their order for a specific time in the future, meaning they don’t have to scramble around placing an order when their stomachs start grumbling. Deliveries can be tracked in real time.

Platform: Android, iOS or directly through the Nando’s website
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

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Meet the ambassador to the future

Tilly Lockey, 14, lost her hands as a toddler, but sees it as a massive opportunity to embrace technology. She chatted with ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK about the human of tomorrow.

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Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

It is a description that defines 14-year-old Tilly Lockey: She lost her hands at the age of 15 months, and now uses bionic hands to show the world how to overcome disability.

That could easily read as an advertisement for a prosthetics company, but Tilly refuses to be defined by marketing messages. She has not only embraced what is supposed to be a disability, but wants to become nothing less than an ambassador to the future.

Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

That is in effect what she is achieving by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with artificial hands. It means that, eventually, she will have more capabilities built into her body than most able-bodied humans can imagine. She collaborates closely with Open Bionics, a start-up that is using 3D printing to create low-cost prosthetics with high-tech capabilities.

“I have very high hopes for the future,” she said during a chat on the sidelines of the SingularityU Summit at Kyalami north of Johannesburg. From Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom, she was at the Summit as a guest speaker, chaperoned by her father Adam and sister Tia. 

“When I started working with Open Bionics, I wanted it to include lighting, music, Bluetooth, a projector in my palm, all over-optimistic things. But then I feel that is not too far away, and then a disability would turn into and enhancement of normal human hands. I’m really excited about it.

“I know there’s a couple of things they are working on right now, like trying to get the built-in battery thinner, because it’s hard to get overcoats and jackets over it, so they are trying to get the hands slimmer. They’re working on haptic feedback, to give a sense of touch of vibration, which tells me of I have a good grip on something. It could be coming soon. These hands I’m using now were made in the past five years. In another five years, I think we’ll have all of it.”

The hands in question are called Hero Arms, which its creators, Open Bionics, say is “the world’s first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm, with multi-grip functionality and empowering aesthetics”.

Click here to read more about the development of Open Bionics’s Hero Arms.

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How Tilly Lockey became a Hero

Part 2 of ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK’s interview with Tilly Lockey explores her amazing career.

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Picture courtesy SingularityU South Africa 2019 Summit

This is the second part of this series of articles. To start from the beginning, click here.

Tilly Lockey was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B when she was 15 months old.

Her mother spotted the tell-tale signs one day in 2007: a fast-spreading skin rash that looks like pinpricks, along with symptoms like lethargy and bruising. She was rushed to hospital, but the bacterial poisoning spread so aggressively, doctors gave Tilley no chance of survival. They had to make a quick decision to amputate her hands to save her life.

Twelve years later, her future truly came into focus: “I was surprised with really cool Alita: Battle Angel bionic Hero Arms and went on the blue carpet at the world premiere of the movie with Rosa Salazar and director James Cameron.”

That pivotal moment in her life would not have been possible without the intensive efforts of her mother, Sara, to raise funds to buy something better than the metal prosthetics issued by the National Health Service in the UK. She increased Tilley’s profile with a campaign to “Give Tilley a Hand”, and today works as a fundraiser and events organiser for the Meningitis Now support group. Her involvement in an event meant she was unable to join Tilley on her trip to South Africa last week, when she spoke at the SingularityU Summit. After coming off stage, Tilley told us that Sara was her biggest inspiration in her life, and the closest to a role model.

“I’m usually a speaker at her events. I tell everyone my story and what I’m doing now and give these kids inspiration, because they often feel they can’t do anything because of what Meningitis did to them.

“I am home schooled now, which is pretty cool, because I’m able to have a career and get educated at the same time. I feel I can do a lot of things that friends can’t do. I can take a whole class on an aeroplane. I have a great time traveling and meeting so many inspiring people who are making a difference in the world.”

The form of Mengingitis that attacked her leaves hidden scars and issues that only become apparent years later. She is almost absurdly cheerful about the challenges that have faced her.

“I personally figured out that my left leg had stopped growing. I’m still finding out things it has caused, but you survive. At least I’m here and I’m alive.”

It does help that she’s comfortable in the spotlight, happy to give interviews, and eager to show what she can do with her bionic hands.

“I want to go into public speaking a lot more, and it could be an option as career. I want it to continue because it’s a lot of fun, and I feel I’ve got a story to share. If I can inspire people to change the world, I will. “

Her travels this year will still take her to Barcelona, Jakarta and New York. In the Big Apple, she will accept a humanitarian award, and intends “to give a funky speech”.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, she will take part in a fashion catwalk and do a makeup tutorial live. She learned to do makeup with one of her bionic hands when she fractured her right elbow in a fall at school

“I got makeup for Christmas and wanted to play with it, and got the idea of doing it with an open hand. It took a lot of perseverance and patience, but after studying how to do it, I was able to recreate a full makeup routine using one hand. It wasn’t a great situation at the time, but now I’m happy it happened because it got me into doing what I do now.”

What she is doing with makeup is remarkable in its own right. She gives tutorials on YouTube, where she says she is “kinda new”, as she has “only around 16,000 followers”. That may well soon expand into cooking videos.

In other words, everything is an opportunity: “I could be sad, just sit on my bed and cry, or I can live my life and realise what I’ve got: these amazing bionic Hero Arms.

“All I want to do is help give people confidence in themselves, accept who they are, accept their scars and everything about them. That they don’t have to impress everybody and just be themselves.”

Read more in the third article of the series about how family remains at the centre of Tilly’s life.

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