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AppDate: Loans on tap

SEAN BACHER’s latest app roundup includes FNB’s loan service through its app, myFanPark, Bolt for Business, BookBeak and ZAR X Mobi

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FNB’s new in-app loan service

As part of its commitment to help grow SMEs through lending, FNB now allows businesses to take up credit and investments via the FNB app.

This service allows businesses with an annual turnover between R0 and R60-million to apply for an an overdraft, business loan and revolving loan, as well as a 48 hour cash accelerator notice investment product, and get approval in a few minutes, on the FNB App.  

Previously, business customers could only apply for credit via branches or online banking. But, given that over 50% of all FNB business credit is currently being digitally originated and approved, SMEs will now be able to take up credit through a channel of their choice.

They do so by following a few steps on the FNB app: logging in and selecting Business Credit Solutions/Investments, selecting the preferred option, viewing the quote and accepting the agreement. Businesses without an FNB account will be offered the products during the application process.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free service 

Stockists: Visit the FNB website here for downloading instructions.

myFanPark

myFanPark is transforming the way fans  connect with South African celebrities through a platform that allows them to request and purchase personalised, video-recorded shout-out messages from celebrities.

Since inception a few months ago, myFanPark has signed up 60 celebrities, with new ones being added each day. The app lets one request a personalised video message for any occasion, from words of encouragement, to big announcements or special celebrations.

Some examples of what the app offers include: 

A message from Springbok and Blue Bulls centre Jesse Kriel or Faf de Klerk to motivate your son on his 1st rugby match, with a good luck message. 

A message from Lee Thompson, the first bachelor on the reality show The Bachelor SA, to congratulate your best friend on getting engaged.

If you need to give someone a laugh, how about asking comedians Schalk Bezuidenhout or Casper de Vries? 

Each celebrity charges their own rate. The cool thing is no video will ever be the same, as each video will be personalised by the celebrity and recorded especially for the fan. myFanPark will also be donating a portion of proceeds from each video to The Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust or Laureus Sport for Good.

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

Expect to pay: Prices range depending on the celebrity and the message you want him or her to send out.

Stockists: Find it at www.myfanpark.com

Bolt for Business

Bolt has launched Bolt for Business, allowing companies of all sizes to manage and pay for corporate trips via a single, easy-to-use portal.

This addition to the Bolt range of services broadens the impact of on-demand transport for businesses, as companies can now democratise access to jobs by removing the “own transport required” condition for employment, and have access to a simple service offering for employees and clients.

They can do this by allocating a monthly budget through the Bolt platform to individual employees.

Bolt for Business gives companies the ability to offer employee groups, clients and recruits the option to utilise the Bolt service at the company’s expense, and gives account managers the ability to set and customise spending allowances and the number of trips employees can take.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Interested companies can sign up for the service here.

BookBeak

Africans have been telling stories for centuries, passing nuggets of cultural knowledge and heritage from one generation to the next through fables, folktales, and epic narrations. Recently launched storytelling app, BookBeak, is now making it possible for those new and old African stories to be shared with the world.

The idea stems from the fact that many of these stories need to be shared with the rest of the world but, before now, there was no way to do so. However, with Africa being one of the fastest growing smartphone markets, it makes sense to create a platform that will allow Africans to share their stories on a device that nearly all own.

One of BookBeak’s most meaningful and impactful features is its revenue sharing model to benefit its contributing writers. Revenue generated from BookBeak’s global subscription base will be shared on a 50/50 basis with contributing writers, and then further tiered remuneration based on the number of downloads received by their respective stories. This will allow people to earn money from their unique storytelling talents.

Stories are updated weekly and are available for adults and children.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Three premium reads for free, and then a monthly subscription of R59

Stockists: Visit BookBeak here.

ZAR X Mobi

ZAR X Mobi app is a newly launched application that allows beginners to start dabbling in the stock market.

The app’s interface is intuitive and easy to navigate and removes the complexity associated with equity investing. Once registered with ZAR X, users can track the value of their portfolio, as well as access crucial information like portfolio holdings, cash on hand and open orders in real-time. The app also offers push notifications for placed trade instructions, matched orders in the market, new listings, cash movements and more.

The idea of the web-based app is that it breaks down the barriers that have for so long excluded the majority of South Africans from investing in equities.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Free to download, but percentages but brokerage fees are charged.

Stockists: Visit ZAR X here for downloading instructions.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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