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Essential apps for small biz

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SEDA Nelson Mandela Bay ICT incubator (SNII) has identified seven apps that are essential for South African small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Our team wanted to review and curate a holy-grail of essential apps for start-ups, young businesses and entrepreneurs.  Our mission was to create apps that would increase productivity, offer innovation and boost profitability,” said Scott Zambonini, SNII enterprise development manager.

“Now there is no more excuse for mediocrity. The neat selection of apps takes into account all the unique challenges of new start-ups and small businesses,” he said.

These seven innovations are:

1.   Resource Guru

If you are having difficulty keeping track of your schedules, Resource Gugu is your answer. It is a web-based resource scheduling and calendar tool which specialises in online collaborative software that can be used for employment, project management, events, task management or resource planning. The scheduling software is designed to automate the process of scheduling appointments and staff time. Packages range from R290 per month ($19 a month) to R1 508 ($99).

2.   Headspace

If you are heading for burn-out, you need to breathe and get this app. Stay cool, calm, and collected with Headspace – a meditation app that will strengthen your state of mind.  The first 10 days offer guided mediation sessions free of charge.  The app provides animations explaining how the mind works, and offers tips on how to sit and breathe effectively. You can also track your activity, and set reminders with the app. Once the free trial period is completed, a subscription for more content is available for R107 ($7).

3.   Growth Geeks

As a start-up entrepreneur or small business, you might not yet be in a position to employ staff. So the best option is to hire the tech warrior army of Growth Greeks. Growth Geeks is a marketplace of freelancers specialising in electronic marketing stuff for social, SEO and content.  They are vetted and ranked by other users.

4.  Clear

This task-management app allows you to create and manage separate lists for daily tasks, along with the setting of reminders. We loved the design interface. Users can create several lists and multiple schedules. The price of Clear isR76 ($4.99) for iPhones and R153 ($9.99) for desktops.

5.  Shoeboxed

Finally! Here is an app that helps you to digitize paper.  If you are a hoarder of receipts, notes, lists and business cards, say hi to Shoeboxed, and goodbye to those disorganised piles of paper messing up your desk and piling up in your car, wallet and handbag. Now you can dump them into a digital shoe box.   This app allows you to digitize and store receipts, invoices and business cards in an easily searchable archive. An additional bonus included with the app is a GPS-based mileage tracker.

6.  Basecamp

Basecamp is a really user-friendly project-management app. It has a sleek and intuitive graphic user interface that allows you to invite team members, include file attachments and create checklists as you check on the progress of the task or project.  With Basecamp, you pay per project instead of per user. Plans start at R305 ($20) per month for 10 projects. Multi-tasking mutant entrepreneurs who need more can sign up for unlimited access with no cap on the number of projects for R2284 ($150).

7.  Square

Square Register is a user-friendly point-of-sale system, available in the App Store and Google Play. The app accepts debit and credit cards, EMV chip cards and Android Pay. If you are a small business owner who depends on point-of-sale purchases, but you have a limited budget for payment systems, then plug in a small card-reader to your smartphone or tablet. With this app you can swipe credit cards and process payments just like any established retailer. You don’t have to be connected to the Internet, you can use email or text messages to send receipts, and the system even allows for your generous customers to leave a tip of 15%, 20% or 25%. There is no monthly fee; instead, you’ll pay 2.75% of each transaction, or a little more if you have to manually enter the payment information instead of swiping.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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