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AppDate: RICA SIMs in seconds with Trace Mobile

In his latest app roundup SEAN BACHER highlights Trace self-RICA, WhoYou, FNB’s fitness, health and savings tracker, Moya Messenger and Spotify’s Premium 3 month deal

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Trace self-RICA service

Trace Mobile has launched a SIM card ordering and self-RICA system that takes users less than two minutes to complete via the Trace app.

The app lets users RICA their SIM card in three steps, using an ID and profile facial recognition system to process the application. Trace Mobile also makes it easier to order a SIM, RICA it and collect it instantly at more than 600 Clicks stores countrywide. The user’s selfie, ID number, surname and address are verified against each other, using optical character recognition technologies which comply with the POPI and RICA acts to protect the subscribers’ personal information.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Download the app for Android here and for iOS here.

Expect to pay: A free download.

WhoYou

Smartphones can now act as advanced ID fingerprint scanners in South Africa, thanks to WhoYou.

The app allows you to verify who you’re dealing with by just taking a photo of the person’s two thumbprints. In seconds, WhoYou will compare the photographed thumbprints against the National Population Register (NPR), maintained by the Department of Home Affairs, and return a confirmation of the person’s ID details as well as their photo.

Until now, only South African banks and telecommunications companies have had the ability to verify people’s identities against the NPR — and even this has depended on the use of traditional fingerprint scanners.

Although the app is easily installed, users of the app have to register themselves, which involves scanning the left and right fingers and thumbs. This is easier said than done and, after trying numerous times, I eventually gave up. This comes after the once-off R4 enrolment fee.

The app is expected to play a significant role in curbing identity fraud for a range of scenarios — from retailers dealing with account openings to insurers handling claims processing, and authentication for debit orders from customer accounts. The app can also help individuals verify the identity of suppliers working at their homes or businesses.

WhoYou is fully compliant with the South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act. However, the subjects of identity verification have to first give consent and accept the terms and conditions in-app before allowing their fingerprints to be photographed.

Businesses can either use the WhoYou smartphone app or they can use their existing fingerprint scanners with the WhoYou Windows app. The WhoYou computer app works on desktops or laptops.

Platform: Android and Windows with iOS coming soon.

Expect to pay: A free download with an enrolment fee of R4 for individuals. Individual users will then pay a R4 fee per transaction or verification, while a volume-based fee or licence model will be aimed at businesses.

Stockists: Visit WhoYou here for registration details.

FNB now tracks fitness, savings and health

FNB has expanded the nav» functionality on the FNB App by allowing customers to set and track their savings, health and fitness goals.

The new functionality is a continuation of the nav» journey which began in 2016 when FNB introduced nav» Home, followed by nav» Car and, more recently, nav» Money.

The process has been designed to calculate how much a customer needs to save for a goal, recommend a personalised savings solution and include the ability to track progress. 

The bank’s goal-based solution offers customers the option of 10 main savings goals categories, including: education, emergencies, travel, save to start a business as well as health and wellness – with over 50 different sub categories. Customers also have an option to create and name their own goal.

The nav» Wellness feature requires users to complete a questionnaire to get insights into their wellness score before setting goals to improve their score. There is also a feature that allows them to order prescription medicine from their nearest Dis-Chem pharmacy from within the FNB App, and be notified when it is ready for collection. The bank has also negotiated discounts with a number of health and wellness partners and has set  up monthly deals with the following:

Deals:

  • VIVA Gyms: 40% off 12-month contract if paid in full up front;
  • Body Tec: 35% off a 10-session contract and/or 75% off a trial voucher and eBucks are accepted;
  • Life Day Spa: 20% off during the week with the convenience of using eBucks to pay for treatments;
  • BOUNCE: 25% off for Bounce Fit/Students/Junior Jumpers/General Access and eBucks are accepted;
  • DNAlysis: 35% off diet, health and sport genetic testing and accepts eBucks;
  • Monthly Deals: Exciting discounts which change month to month. Current discounts from Fitchef, Faithful to Nature, Ucook, Life Day Spa, Bounce and Bodytec, with many more partners and deals coming soon.

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit FNB here for downloading instructions

Expect to pay: A free download.

Moya Messenger

biNu has announced that its Moya Messenger and content app is now being used by more than one million people in South Africa every month, with 650 000 people using it every day.

The key differentiator between Moya, WhatsApp and other messaging platforms is that no data costs are incurred by users to send and receive 1-to-1 or group messages – and visit a range of #datafree websites and apps.

For enterprises looking for new  ways to engage with mass-market mobile users in South Africa, Moya includes the “Discover” feature, where people engage with #datafree digital content and services.

biNu helps commercial businesses, public agencies, NGOs, not-for-profits, and other organisations to build content for Discover, including full and micro websites, apps, full screen video advertising and surveys. 

Early adopters that are interacting with Moya’s one million users through Discover include Tiso Blackstar, Cosmopolitan magazine, Assupol Insurance, iQ Academy, Adzuna Job Search, Kuba Services, WeMarket, Sanlam Insurance, DirectAxis, Arial, Nivea and Project UBU.

Platform: Android with an iOS version coming out soon

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Moya Messenger can be downloaded here.

Spotify Premium free for 3 months

Spotify Premium is giving users who are new to the Premium package more time to use its features, offering the first 3 months for free.

The offer is based on always-on/not limited time, and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally.

“Music and podcasts play an important role in people’s lives so we wanted to give users the first 3 months for free to fully enjoy everything that Spotify Premium has to offer,” says Spotify Chief Premium Business, Officer Alex Norström. “We know it takes time to fully experience all of the features available with Premium, so we’re giving people the time that they need to fall in love with Premium’s listening experience and on-demand access to more than 50 million tracks, billions of playlists and 450 000 podcast titles for free.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Free to download and use for the first three months

Stockists: Sign up for Spotify Premium here.

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Small SA town goes smartphone-only

Vodacom partners with farming business to upgrade all residents of Wakkerstroom from 2G devices to smartphones

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All residents of the small town of Wakkerstroom, which straddles Mpumalanga and kwaZulu-Natal provinces, have had their 2G feature phones upgraded to 3G devices.

The initiative is a result of Vodacom partnering with BPG Langfontein, a farming business that employs the majority of the people living in Wakkerstroom. It is now the first smartphone-only town in South Africa. This is a model the network provider says it hopes to replicate across the country as part of its mission to connect people who live in deep rural areas and are still dependent on 2G networks.

Wakkerstroom, is the second oldest town in Mpumalanga province, on the KwaZulu-Natal border, 27 km east of Volksrust and 56 km south-east of Amersfoort.  

“There are growing expectations for big corporates the size of Vodacom to serve a social purpose, and for us to use our resources and core capabilities to make a significant contribution in transforming the lives of ordinary people,” says Zakhele Jiyane, Managing Executive for Vodacom Mpumalanga. “We are helping to remove communication barriers, so that citizens in the area can be part of the digital revolution and reap the associated benefits. By moving the more than 1400 farm workers from 2G to 3G devices, this will also free much needed spectrum and this spectrum can be re-farmed to provide for faster networks such as 3G and 4G.

“Crucially, the move opens a new world of connectivity for farm workers in Wakkerstroom. As a result, most people in the area will now be able to use the Vodacom network to connect on the net and access online government services, eHealth services such as Mum&Baby and eCommerce. Learners can now surf the internet for the first time and access Vodacom’s eSchool free of charge and those who are actively looking for jobs can start using their smartphones and tablets to apply for jobs over the internet on Vodacom’s zero-rated career sites. This will be key for driving growth to the benefit of people living in this area.”

Vodacom has already deployed 4G base stations in Wakkestroom as part of this initiative.

For the next phase of this project, says Vodacom, it is going to educate the farm workers about data and the benefits of the Internet. Vodacom will also look at various ways in which it can help empower members of this community in areas of education, gender-based violence and health.

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Facebook fact-checking goes to 10 more African countries

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Facebook today announced the expansion of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme to 10 additional African countries, which now join  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal in the project,

In partnership with Agence France-Presse (AFP), the France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa, this programme forms part of its work in helping assess the accuracy and quality of news people find on Facebook, whilst reducing the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network, third-party fact-checking will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.

Feedback from the Facebook community is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows firsthand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme. Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook. While we’ve made great progress, we will keep investing to ensure Facebook remains a place for all ideas, but not for the spread of false news.”

When third-party fact-checkers fact-check a news story, Facebook will show these in Related Articles immediately below the story in News Feed. Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.

Providing fact-checking in English and French across eight countries, Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director said: “AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”

Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English added: “Social networks like Facebook haven’t just changed how Africans consume the news. Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans. They shape our perceptions of the world, our public discourse, and how we interact with public figures. This project helps us dramatically expand our fact-checking to debunk claims that could otherwise cause real-world harm. The project helps us respond more quickly and directly. We’re seeing real positive results in our interactions with both publishers and the public itself. The project also helps our fact-checks reach a far larger audience than we would otherwise. This has helped us better understand the information vacuum and other viral dynamics that drive the spread of false information in Africa. Our growing impact is a small but tangible contribution to better informed societies in Africa.”

Caroline Anipah, Programme Officer, Dubawa (Ghana) said: “Dubawa is excited to be in Ghana where the misinformation and disinformation have become widespread as a result of technological advancement and increasing internet penetration. Dubawa intends to raise the quality of information available to the public with the ultimate aim of curbing the spread of misinformation and disinformation and promoting good governance and accountability.”

Derek Thomson, editor-in-chief of the France 24 Observers, said: “Our African users are constantly sending us questionable images and messages they’ve received via social media, asking us ‘Is this true? Can you check it?’ It’s our responsibility as fact-checking journalists to verify the information that’s circulating, and get the truth back out there. Participating in the Facebook programme helps ensure that our fact-checks are reaching the people who shared the false news in the first place.”

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