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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

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Second-hand smartphone market booms

The worldwide market for used smartphones is forecast to grow to 332.9 million units, with a market value of $67 billion, in 2023, according to IDC



International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.

This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable. Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, says: “In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone. Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)

2018 Market
2023 Market
North America39.022.2%87.226.2%17.4%
Rest of World136.877.8%245.773.8%12.4%

Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023, Dec 2019.

Table Notes: Data is subject to change.
* Forecast projections.

Says Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones: “Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth. Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward.”

According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand me down” or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade.

The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023 (Doc #US45726219), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2023. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.

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Customers and ‘super apps’ will shape travel in 2020s



Customers will take far more control of their travel experience in the 2020s, according to a 2020 Trends report released this week by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

Through independent research with thousands of global travellers – including 500 in South Africa – hundreds of travel professionals and interviews with leaders of some of the world’s biggest travel brands, Travelport uncovered the major forces that will become the technology enablers of travel over the next decade. These include:

Customers in control

Several trends highlight the finding that customers are moving towards self-service options, with 61% of the travellers surveyed in South Africa preferring to hear about travel disruption via digital communications, such as push notifications on an app, mobile chatbots, or instant messaging apps, rather than speaking with a person on the phone. This is especially important when it comes to young travellers under 25, seen as the future business traveler, and managing their high expectations through technology.

Mobile takeover

With the threat of super app domination, online travel agencies must disrupt or risk being disrupted. Contextual messaging across the journey will help. Super app tech giants like WeChat give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, find a date, get food delivery, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. Travel brands that want to deliver holistic mobile customer experiences need to think about how they engage travellers within these super apps as well as in their own mobile channels.

Retail accelerated

In the next year, research shows, we will see an accelerated rate of change in the way travel is retailed and purchased online. This includes wider and more complex multi-content reach, more enriched and comparable offerings, more focus on relevance than magnitude, and an increase in automation that enables customer self-service.

“How customers engage with their travel experience – for instance by interacting with digital ‘bots’ and expecting offers better personalised to their needs – is changing rapidly,” says Adrian Roodt, country manager for Southern Africa at Travelport. “We in the travel industry need to understand and keep pace with these forces to make sure we’re continuing to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone.”

Read the full 2020 Trends report here: 2020 Trends hub.

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