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Big Data analysis pays off

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According to Deloitte Analytics, data-driven decision-making and performance is the next wave of the digital revolution that companies need to prepare for to enjoy the opportunities on offer.|According to Deloitte Analytics, data-driven decision-making and performance is the next wave of the digital revolution that companies need to prepare for to enjoy the opportunities on offer.

“Companies need to get smarter with how they harness the immense benefits of these changes, or be left behind by those that do. And with the jobs crisis causing such profound problems in our society today, businesses can harness the efficiencies data analytics provides to generate new jobs by innovating to grow faster,” says Wesley Govender, Director, Risk Advisory from Deloitte.

In its recently issued report, Magic Quadrant for Business Analytics Services, Worldwide, Gartner defines Business Analytics (BA) as services that “encompass decision management capabilities, analytics capabilities, and information management (IM) capabilities.

“This field continues to grow, moving squarely into the mainstream of business decision-making worldwide. Data is everywhere around us and analytics should be everywhere too—in every corner of the business, every day. It should not be a special initiative, or a ‘department’, but an ongoing part of how decisions large and small are made every day,” says Mr Govender.

However, the missing link in the chain is education and insight that matters and is at the cutting edge.

To help plug these gaps, and to provide the corporate world with the tools to bring about true data-driven change, Deloitte School of Analytics begins hosting a series of in-depth training seminars with international partners in South Africa in February next year.

“We want to see companies innovate and grow faster – but we are also the first to know that this cannot happen without regular and constant training and insights into current best practice. Our programmes are therefore designed so that the best international expertise in this field can be brought in to boardrooms in SA and on the continent, as it were, and the process of learning and implementation can truly begin,” says Mr Govender.

Deloitte was recently named a global leader in Business Analytics Services by Gartner and it aims to ramp up even further the assistance it provides to clients in solving a wide variety of data related problems and define strategies for them to better manage, interpret and monetise their data assets.

Analytics innovators continue to push the edge, looking for new ways to gain advantage over slower-moving competitors.

“ In some cases, that advantage comes through sweeping discoveries that can upend entire business models. In other cases, more modest insights may emerge that unleash cascading value,” says Mr Govender.

“The disruptive effects of these changes on business models are significant. However, this change creates opportunities quickly – one of which is an ability to expand and create jobs for people with the right skills sets. To us, this is extremely exciting when you consider youth unemployment in SA is at 51% according to recent world development indicators,” he says.

Exponential growth in the areas of mobile data generation, real-time connectivity and digital business has made the job of protecting these assets and securing the gates in a “big data” world an altogether different–and more challenging undertaking.

“Due to the increase in regulator involvement from a privacy perspective, it is best to have more efficient use of data, rather than more data,” says Mr Govender.

According to Deloitte, companies need to constantly ensure they are a step ahead of the changes, which continue to come at a very fast pace. Questions that need to be answered, and which the Deloitte seminar series hopes to answer, include the most efficient way to make long-term technology investments and the best ways to protect sensitive data on networks.

“Unexpected ways to understand a business or client’s needs can emerge by using rich data analysis, often to information that has been sitting idle for more than two decades. Near real-time insights can be highly beneficial – it is not about simply counting customer numbers or transactions anymore. Simply put, big data analysis pays off,” concludes Mr Govender.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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