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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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How panic-buying disrupts traditional supply chains

Panic buying has become commonplace during the COVID-19 crisis. PAULO DE MATOS, chief product officer at SYSPRO, outlines how good technology and ingenuity is panic-proof.

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world cannot afford for manufacturing and distribution to grind to a halt. From food on our shelves, to medical necessities, these sectors are at the heart of our economy and must keep going at all costs. Although the global supply chain is usually a well-oiled machine consisting of a system of organizations, people, processes, information and resources, disruption of this well-oiled machine has become the new reality. According to a new survey released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), 75% of companies worldwide have reported supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19.  Added to that is the increasingly unpredictable demand caused by panic buying and consumer stockpiling.  

Reinventing the supply chain to face the challenges of today 

In response to the pandemic, manufacturers and distributors have had to pivot in a new direction, to turn the supply chain challenge into a competitive advantage through ingenuity.  

The US recently invoked the Defense Production Act to allow American manufacturers to suspend their normal production schedules and begin manufacturing materials such as ventilators, which are needed in this time of crisis. The Act, which was originally passed in 1950, was a war mobilization effort. It allowed the government to direct efforts of manufacturers to focus production on the much-needed necessities in times of need, from medical supplies through to necessary disinfection products.  

Australia has applied a similar approach through the implementation of ‘wartime’ manufacturing. Due to a shortage of necessities like ventilators and hand sanitizers, the Australian government is offering financial packages that incentivize factories to manufacture critical supplies. For example, one of Australia’s biggest packaging companies, Pact Group, is converting production lines at three of its Sydney plants as it starts making hand sanitizer for the first time, instead of industrial cleaners.  

Within Canada and South Africa, distilleries have also committed to supplying alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizer.  

Using technology to ensure long-term resilience 

Until recently, China has consistently supplied global manufacturers with the bulk of their required components, raw materials and or processed materials. Presently, 6 in 10 (62%) of the respondents of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey have reported that they have experienced increasing delays in receiving orders from China. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, with the pandemic now impacting almost every country in the world; delays are going to begin affecting deliveries from every country, and the lateness of the delivery is expected to increase.  With the increasing shortages of parts, global manufacturers are now scrambling to identify alternative suppliers and supply chains to make up for the missed deliveries. 

Technology systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, can certainly improve the situation by giving manufacturers improved visibility of the reliable local suppliers and their supply chains. Through ERP integration, representatives from different supplier companies can interact on a single platform, improving the flow and availability of information and improving the reliability of delivery. For example, the SYSPRO Supply Chain Portal was originally launched with a Request for Quote capability, which enabled the formal invitation of suppliers to tender for the supply of goods and services. Not only can manufacturers identify local suppliers who can meet their orders in a time of scarcity, but manufacturers themselves could easily find alternative suppliers.  

ERP also has the added advantage of reducing document handling and other manual activities and facilitates cross functional collaboration by enabling an online process for engaging with customers and suppliers. What’s more, planned receiving and manufacturing process steps can be amended temporarily in your ERP system to include additional Quality Assurance.  For example, the wiping down of surfaces and spraying of goods with appropriate chemical or detergent cleansers and adding waiting times before issue or delivery. 

In times of unforeseen scarcity, as the world is currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that the supply chain is kept open and full.  The challenge that the company faces is to identify the cheapest and easiest way to accomplish this, using their own unique combination of technology and ingenuity.  If there is surplus stock in the supply chain, the surplus could easily be sold onto neighbouring organizations – after all, the function of a manufacturing organization is to fulfil whatever is identified as a shortage in the economy. 

Managing disruption in the long-term 

The World Economic Forum has suggested that moving forward after this pandemic, there will be a “new normal”, a need to manage disruption by developing predictive models for proactive scheduling, and dynamic planning of supply with careful consideration of the uncertainties and risks. This change will most likely usher in the next level of digital transformation, based on the collection and analysis of data from various disparate applications.  

Ultimately, having the right combination of technology and dynamic ingenuity will allow manufacturers to weather the storm and navigate the unknown, bringing with it the success of discovering “the new world.” 

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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