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Appdate: Volvo on call, Samsung on Pay

In this week’s app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Volvo on Call, Money Transfer with Samsung Pay, CharOn, Vodacom Emergency Service App and Malaicha.

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Volvo on Call

Volvo On Call (VOC), an app-based service that helps motorists to communicate with their cars, has arrived in South Africa.

It facilitates a multitude of tasks: with Volvo On Call, motorists can remotely lock or unlock the doors to their car, check the fuel level from their office desk, and cool or heat their car before they get it – all via smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or desktop.

With Volvo On Call a car becomes more than just a means of travel. It becomes a personal assistant. It can tell you about the best coffee spots in town and send the destination to your car’s navigation system. It knows when you have appointments, where they are, and how to get you there.

South African motorists will particularly appreciate the associated safety and security benefits. Motorists who forget to lock their car will get a notification message. Volvo On Call automatically contacts the emergency services if you are involved in an accident and tells them where you are.

Other capabilities of Volvo On Call include the ability to provide an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, which can be accessed by everyone in the car. 

The app can also show the location of the car on a high-definition map with directions, should you forget where you parked it in a car park.

Volvo On Call is a standard feature in South Africa with effect from model year 2020 Volvo derivatives. It is free of charge for five years. Thereafter, it can be extended for a small fee. 

Drivers of vehicles other than Volvos can download the app for free and run it in demo mode.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free service for five years there after it needs to be paid for.

Stockists: Download the iOS version here and the Android version here.

Money Transfer with Samsung Pay

Finablr, a global platform for payments, and Samsung Electronics America, have introduced a Money Transfer feature in Samsung Pay. This new in-app international money transfer service, a first of its kind in the US, offers users seamless and secure cross-border payments to 47 countries through a variety of payout methods, within Samsung’s native mobile wallet. The service combines Samsung Pay’s convenience, scale and security with Finablr’s international reach, and 40 years of cross-border payment expertise to put mobile payments into the hands of millions of consumers.

Money Transfer promises the following benefits:

  • Convenience – The service gives users the ability to send money seamlessly to their recipients through a variety of digital and physical payout methods in 47 countries, with just a few taps on their phone. Consumers simply open the Samsung Pay app and the tools are right at their fingertips.
  • Transparency – With this service, all fees and exchange rates are included upfront so users know how much they will pay before securely transferring funds.
  • Security – Finablr’s network of trusted brands, including Travelex, with its 40 years of experience in cross-border payments, and licensed by over 100 regulators globally, bring security, reliability and peace of mind to the Samsung Pay users of this feature, which uses tokenized credentials and is backed by Samsung Knox security.

Money Transfer in Samsung Pay is available now in the U.S. The service will be expanded to other markets in 2020.

Find out more about Money Transfer here: www.travelex.com/moneytransfer

CharOn app takes TADHack lead

duo #1632 have emerged as the winners of the 2019 edition of the TADHackJHB held at MTN’s head office in Fairland, Johannesburg, earlier this month. 

Their solution called CharOn, is a cell tower protection app, was their claim to the title.

The theme for the 2019 global TADHack was: “Localised and Contextualised – Battle of the Bots”. Participants in the TADhackJHB were required to develop technology solutions to address challenges facing communities in South African townships. #1632 pocketed the prize of $1000 (approximately R15,000) for their winning solution, CharOn, which allows individuals to report suspicious activity within the vicinity of the cell towers. If the app collects enough data of the same case being reported, authorities will be notified. 

More information about TADHackJHB as well as information about the CharOn app can be found here.  

Vodacom Emergency Service App 

 Vodacom has extended a helping hand through the launch of the Vodacom 112 Emergency Service App that enables persons with communication barriers like deafness, speech impairments and blindness to contact emergency services when they need help. 

The Emergency Service App enables deaf users to contact the ER24 emergency contact centre 24 hours, 365 days a year. Users can request emergency services  such as fire, police, sea rescue, traffic and ambulance services which could assist to save their own lives, the lives of loved ones and other people in need.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: In order to get the service, deaf users must download the Vodacom 112 Emergency Service App from the Google Playstore or Apple iStore and register their mobile number. Click here for more information.

Malaicha

A new app created by Hello Paisa makes it possible for Zimbabweans in South Africa to send essential goods and groceries back home.

For Zimbabweans who are far from home, ensuring that their family is fed and looked-after is one of their most fundamental goals. This is often easier said than done when faced with costly solutions, the potential for damaged goods and uncertainty of whether or not their groceries may even reach their final destination. Malaicha.com has changed the way for Zimbabweans to send groceries to their families.

Malaicha allow workers to provide the essentials for their families back home, and is designed to do so in a simple manner. Only three steps are required: a quick KYC onboarding, adding the recipient; shopping for goods and groceries, and finally making payment.

At the moment, Malaicha.com is available for same-day collection and free delivery in the following areas: Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Malaicha.com website here for downloading instructions

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Meet the accountant of the future

The accountant of the future will need a new set of skills, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, as he meets both the local users and the global creators of Xero accounting software

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Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca get a highrise view of London. Pic by Arthur Goldstuck

Meet Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca. They are not only partners in marriage, but also in a thriving accounting business. Buchule and Sivenathi are, respectively, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of SMTAX, which focuses on tax and accounting services for small businesses in the Western Cape, but includes the likes of Absa and Old Mutual among its clients. It employs 18 people and has 4,500 individual and business customers.

That’s not what makes the outfit remarkable. The startling feature of this business is that it has been structured to be a model accounting firm of the next decade. Even more remarkable is the fact that the couple both hail from rural areas where thoughts of the future tend to be about survival rather than blazing new trails.

Last week, they made their first trip out of the country, to attend Xerocon London 2019. This 2-day conference, hosted by the world’s fastest growing accounting software maker, Xero, attracted more than 3,000 delegates from the United Kingdom, Europe Middle East and Africa. A total of 57 Xero partners and users, mostly from accounting practices or suppliers to accountants, made the trek from South Africa.

“It was really about seeing how other accountants on other continents operate in terms of how they think and where their headspace is at,” Buchule told us during Xerocon. “Also, being our first time out of the country, it was to see the culture of other small businesses outside of South Africa. 

“London’s quite different in that regard, but it’s been a really a great learning curve, and we were pleasantly surprised to find elements that look like South Africa, where we can say, at least you’re doing something right. The banking environment is quite unique, as it’s been a really good learning curve in terms of where banking might go to in the future of South Africa if they follow the same trend.”

Buchule comes from the “dusty streets” of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, while Sivenathi grew up on a farm in a deep rural area near Mthatha.

“I had no idea about technology or the rest of the world or how it could impact the economy in general,” she said. The two met at the University of Cape Town, where she was studying to be an actuary, and he completed a Masters degree in tax. She decided to put actuarial science behind her, however, when the opportunity arose to join Buchule’s business. But her skills helped transform the business.

Said Buchule: “When Sivenathi came on board we did the modeling of the business, and we said that in order to in order to automate the whole bookkeeping journey, we would need to turn closer and closer towards ‘x’, meaning fully automated bookkeeping. We looked at the journey of how long it will it take for us to get to time ‘x’. And then we said, OK, once we get there, what then?

“It was a big realization that when we do get to time ‘x’, the most important thing will be the human touch. That will be the differentiator. So we then spent our time developing that.”

Visit the next page to read more about the Xerocon 2019 event.

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Takealot reveals startling numbers for Black Friday

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Takealot has revealed startling numbers for expected bumper sales this holiday season, beginning next week, and peaking with Black Friday.

South Africa’s leading ecommerce group expects to ship at least one order every second, with roughly 10,000 boxes leaving their warehouses every hour, this shopping season. 

Black Friday was first introduced to South Africa by Takealot in 2012, and has since become an important day in South Africa’s annual retail calendar. It has been a record-breaker for both retailers in the Takealot Group: Takealot and Superbalist. Takealot’s Black Friday gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 125% from 2017 to 2018, with orders up 127%. Superbalist’s Black Friday GMV has grown on average around 50%. This year, CEO Kim Reid is anticipating the biggest Black Friday yet, a culmination of months of tech and operational business-wide focus to prepare for increased predicted traffic and shopper volumes.

ABSA bank estimates that two out of three South Africans participated in Black Friday sales in 2018. And FNB reports in 2018, Black Friday transaction volumes grew by 16% compared with 2017 and anticipates a 15% increase in transactions over the sales period in 2019. 

Successfully meeting this massive growth in orders has been a key focus for the Takealot Group. CEO Kim Reid says throughout the year they have been working to scale operations across multiple areas within the business. “After expanding our Johannesburg distribution centre (DC), our warehouse storage space now stands at 75 000m2. We house over 3.7 million items at any given time, and have opened 47 Takealot Pickup Points in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga for order collections and returns, with more to open in the coming months.” 

Takealot Delivery Team delivers to more South African homes than any other courier company in the country. On a monthly basis, they carry out over 1.6-million deliveries,  with this number expected to increase to over 2-million during the shopping season. More than 4,500 drivers currently deliver for the Takealot Delivery Team; a number that is growing every month. The Takealot group anticipates they’ll travel over 4,000 000km from Black Friday until 24 December. “To put that in context, it is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe over 100 times” says Reid.

Takealot.com’s Blue Dot Sale is a five day sale period which starts on Black Friday (29 November) and sees a range of new deals throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday (2 December) and Takealot Tuesday (3 December), with up to 60% off thousands of items. For the first time, takealot.com will also be giving their shoppers early access to some of its Black Friday deals, starting on 24 November. Fresh new app-only deals will be added daily. 

The Superbalist Showdown will run from 29 November to 3 December, with up to 70% off more than 15 000+ items. Superbalist shoppers will also have early access to Black Friday deals on selected days throughout November, with Superbalist’s Black Friday Spoilers – 24 hours to shop deals that they say won’t be beaten on Black Friday. 

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