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Disruption driving innovation – or causing chaos?

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Disruptive technologies are changing lives and transforming markets and according to GYS KAPPERS, CEO of Wyzetalk, this brings two elements to the fore – that a company is not being made obsolete and that rather than seeing chaos, businesses see the opportunity.

The only constant is change and today this has never rung truer. We are in an age of change where disruptive technologies are not only changing lives, but transforming markets. Accordingly to Wyzetalk, two critical elements become important – that your company is not being made obsolete and that rather than seeing chaos, businesses see the opportunity.

“We are in an era of engagement and those technologies that enable collaboration, communication and connection also provide a platform that allows businesses to create,” says Gys Kappers, CEO of Wyzetalk. “However many businesses are still beholden to traditional models driven by silos and hierarchies and as a result, are finding it difficult to truly capitalise on disruptive technology and the potential innovation that can be reaped from open collaboration and a culture of engagement.”

However, there are those businesses that have realised the potential of disruptive technology and ‘organised chaos’. In fact, according to Forrester, many organisations are making a fundamental bet on social business and collaboration to drive worker effectiveness (not only knowledge workers) as a competitive differentiator – stating that the next generation of market-leading organisations will digitise their enterprise model with new capabilities enabled by social technologies.

“Business as we know it has changed and continues to change, just more rapidly,” adds Kappers. “While business has always been about providing a service or product that a customer wants – today it’s about enabling them to consume it through their desired platform(s) – anytime, anywhere. In order to make this possible, business needs to truly listen to their customers, their wants and their needs and ultimately create not just a destination, but a portal for engagement with the brand.”

The role of mobile and technology even in Africa cannot be denied as it opens up enormous opportunities not only for increased productivity – but for broader engagement, collaboration and communication across all levels of the business not just externally, but internally as well.

“As businesses open up they need to be focused on not only creating communication channels for customers and external parties, but also internally for their staff,” adds Kappers. “In many respects, social media has created a culture of collaboration. People share information freely which often translates to a similar mindset in the workplace. This means that projects, in theory, should be able to get done faster as more people are working on the problem. Additionally, it helps organisations retain knowledge, drum up corporate spirit, get new employees up to speed, collaborate on business-purpose projects, foster innovation and improve customer service by creating highly engaged communities.”

“Businesses need to adapt. It’s as simple as that. They need to challenge paradigms and test hypothesis – looking to everyday challenges and experience and asking the question – how can this be improved or how can we make it better? Technology has been a catalyst in driving new behaviour and interconnectedness and has led to an awakening that helps us realise change is possible and that we can make it happen. Therefore, instead of viewing social networks and disruptive technology as a bad thing, organisations should harness the spirit of collaboration and ‘out of the box’ thinking and apply it into their own environment to truly reap the benefits,” concludes Kappers.

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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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