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Digital media jobs rise in SA

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With digital agencies looking at a turbulent marketplace and fierce competition, hiring in the sector is increasing year-on-year, says JESSE GREEN, Country Manager for South Africa at Adzuna.

Despite considerable competition and challenges facing the advertising agency sector, employment activity is up. This is according to data from online job aggregator Adzuna, who measures activity across all jobs on a constant basis.

With growth from around 556 jobs in 2017 to almost 900 jobs in January 2018, the digital agency space is growing rapidly.

Salaries have, on average, rocketed from under R300,000 to R380,556, more than 20% growth in just one year. Many industry experts see the growth in salary attributable to the increased hiring of developers in the sector, as opposed to paying for these skills through development providers.

Lee Williams, owner of Luminous Recruitment, a recruitment firm placing numerous developers, agrees. “More media agencies might be hiring developers to create better solutions, systems for clients,” says Williams, who added that this organically increases sales.

In 2017, a number of agencies were bought or sold in South Africa, mainly by overseas companies expanding internationally. These include FOXP2 in 2017, and recently The Jupiter Drawing Room, Machine, Quirk and Hello Computer. However, this is in an industry in a slight decline, as reported by Moneyweb in June 2017. Nevertheless, skills are in high demand.

Others mention the fact that companies still prefer to outsource their digital efforts, citing cost and efficiency benefits for larger, especially international, firms. Media agencies thus cut out the middleman if they offer these developers directly.

Traditional media agencies, however, report a higher average salary (R419,470), led seemingly by brand specialists and the above-mentioned digital-related positions creeping in. While this average is presumably boosted by the very same digital positions entering into the agency world, strategy and brand roles are commanding higher remuneration, according to the research done by Adzuna.

Mobile developers, hired to build apps for agency clients, are often hired on a contract basis, bringing home even more bacon, as these developer positions in media houses show, some at over R800,000 per annum.

Adzuna continues to watch various sectors closely, with technology-driven areas a strong focus. The highest paid and most demand position are repeatedly shown to require mostly engineering, IT and finance skills.

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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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