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Apps with impact win scholarships

SA coding bootcamp awards three scholarships to creative forward thinking South Africans

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An education app, one for paying on Metrorail, and an accessible credit scoring platform earned their orginators scholarships in the #ChangeWithCode competition tun by Southern African tech educator HyperionDev. South Africans were invited to share great tech ideas, and win one of three coding bootcamp scholarships to the total value of R45 000 each.

The winners, announced this week, competition are: 

●        Virtual education platform with gamification by John-Paul Robert Andrew aka @JPAndrew

A platform that uses gamification techniques to get learners hooked on the reward feedback loop which ensures they play more and therefore, learn more.

●        Accessible credit scoring platform by Justin Swart aka @JustSwart

A platform that offers South Africans access to a credit scoring platform, which is fundamental to accessing affordable financial capital.

●        Payment, chat and scheduling app for Metrorail by Regan Jansen aka @reganjansen33

Named ‘Trainbuddy’, the app hopes to alleviate the long queues for ticket purchasing and GPS tracking to see exactly where specific trains are located on the route.

Winners were chosen by a judging panel of  South African tech pioneers in their respective fields: Wesley Lynch of Snapplify, David Torr of UCOOK, Justin Norman of The Flip Africa, Andrew Smith of Yuppiechef, and Sam Wright @TechGirlZA.

“It was really fun and inspiring to see so many great ideas and audacious individual participants,” said Justin Norman. “The competition saw nearly 100 valid entrants, with a plethora of forward-thinking ideas.”

Riaz Moola, founder and CEO of HyperionDev, said: “The competition has shown off the immense talent in South Africa and the hunger of both young and old to solve everyday problems with tech. It’s inspiring and exciting, especially at a time when innovation and creativity is so desperately needed to solve issues like unemployment. The breadth of submissions has been incredible and spans everything from biodegradable drones to coding software for the disabled.”

The judges had to score on three criteria:

  1. Community impact – how powerful is the idea’s capacity for changing its community?
  2. Feasibility – how easily can this idea be created and implemented?
  3. Scalability – how well can this idea be extended to other communities, or include more features?

“The top two ideas for me were the Metrorail App and the Education app,” said Sam Wright. “Both aren’t necessarily new concepts, but they are concepts that I think we need in South Africa. I thought the Metrorail app  was the best of the bunch and something that would make a difference in many lives. Just an online update on delays would go a long way. I thought the education via gamification app was clever and easy to execute as well.” 

All three candidates have the option to study on campus in either Johannesburg or Cape Town or correspond online.

This article is a follow up on the detailed outlines of the projects. Click here to read it.

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DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’

In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app

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Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv. 

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.

The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks. 

 Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum. 

The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. 

“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”

The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:

100 – DStv

180 – People’s Weather

238 – SuperSport Play

313 – PBS Kids

317 – Mindset PoP

320 – Channel O

343 – TBN

400 – BBC World News

401 – CNN

402 – Sky News

403 – eNCA

404 – SABC News

405 – Newzroom Afrika

405 – AlJazeera

414 – Euronews Now

417 – africanews

To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com 

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FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free

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FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.

This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.

“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”

Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”

The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:

“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer.  “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”

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