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CES: Now, a robot to feed pets



The automatic pet feeder has been “reimagined”. At CES 2020 in las Vegas this week, AutoPets unveiled Feeder-Robot, a Wi-Fi enabled automatic pet feeder that offers pet owners multiple operating modes and customisable programming options for pet’s mealtime needs. AutoPets says it has transformed the automatic pet feeder In much the same way the litter box was transformed by its Litter-Robot.

The Feeder-Robot features advanced scheduling software, allowing pet owners to monitor and control their pet’s feeding habits from the convenience of their phone. Its sophisticated hardware includes sensors that detect food backup, anti-jamming technology that prevents missed meals, and an automatic gravity feeding option to keep a pet’s bowl full. If food isn’t dispensed for any reason, pet owners immediately receive an alert through the app or on the unit itself. 

For those who may not be comfortable using smart devices, the mobile app isn’t required to operate Feeder-Robot. Controls on the unit allow users to set the amount of food per meal and number of meals per day, while an LED light alerts pet owners when Feeder-Robot is low on kibble. 

Pet owners who do use the Connect app will have even more customizable programming options and insight into their pet’s weekly and monthly feeding patterns. They can set multiple feeding schedules, give a snack or skip meals, and receive notifications about being low on food. Cat owners who also have a Litter-Robot can manage both the Feeder-Robot and Litter-Robot from the same app.

“We wanted to give pet parents the absolute best automatic feeding solution possible and I think we’ve done just that,” says Jacob Zuppke, COO at AutoPets. “The Feeder-Robot is simple to use, with or without the app, and you can have confidence that your pet will get the right amount of food on time, every time. We built the product that we wanted for ourselves and for our pets.”

Feeder-Robot works for multiple pets, including cats and dogs 35 lbs and under, with a capacity of 25 cups of dry or semi-moist kibble, and its components are friendly to both pets and pet owner. It includes:

  • Dishwasher-safe components for easy clean-up 
  • Auto-locking hopper and tamper-resistant lid to keep the feeder secure and food fresh 
  • BPA-free plastics 
  • Chew-resistant power cord

The Feeder-Robot’s modern design blends seamlessly with any home decor. It includes a plastic bowl, with additional stainless steel and glass bowl options available for purchase at $15 and $25, respectively. It will retail starting at approximately $249 when it goes on sale in Spring 2020 and will include a 90-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.

AutoPets will demonstrate Feeder-Robot and Litter-Robot during CES in Sands Halls A-D, booth 40961. For more information, visit


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



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 

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



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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