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FICA in seconds

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Fintech startup DocFox has partnered with global law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, to provide a digital solution to help companies simplify the FICA compliance process.

“DocFox is an easy-to-use web application that helps customers submit their FICA documents electronically in a just a few taps.  Customers can upload copies of their proof of identity and address documents, or submit documents using their smartphone camera,” says DocFox CEO and cofounder, Ryan Canin.

Legislation prescribes that in non-face-to-face interactions, companies must take ‘reasonable steps’ to verify a client’s identity. Certified copies of documents, while commonly used, do not provide concrete proof of authenticity.

DocFox offers a higher level of authentication than current paper-based solutions. It conducts various fraud checks using the latest technology to ensure document authenticity and compliance. The tool also simplifies and speeds up the entire process. In addition, all communications with clients can be white-labelled by the institution.

DocFox is now exclusively available to the South African market, with plans to expand internationally via its US investor network and Norton Rose Fulbright’s global presence across Africa, Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Marelise van der Westhuizen, Director, Norton Rose Fulbright, says, “Our firm advises many of the world’s leading banks, asset managers, financial investors and insurers and consequently has detailed country-specific regulatory knowledge. We have worked with DocFox to codify FICA legislation into intelligent decision engines which assess what is required for every application in a simple, secure and compliant way. We are also closely monitoring know-your-client trends in compliance internationally.”

Various companies have already signed up to the ‘Know Your Client’ tool. David Lloyd, MD, Liberty Innovate, says, “Our experience with DocFox has been brilliant and helps fulfil our aim of taking FICA from being a pain into a pleasure. Our compliance teams are also satisfied with the solution. DocFox presents an exceptional experience and our policyholders and financial advisers have been impressed with its simplicity and ease of use.”

DocFox’s seed round of investment was oversubscribed, which gives the business everything it needs to grow and further refine the product offering. Canin attracted investment interest from Silicon Valley and South Africa.

DocFox is a gold member of AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) club for fintech startup entrepreneurs. Dominique Collett, RMI’s senior investment executive and head of AlphaCode explains, “The regulatory landscape is becoming an exciting space to be playing in. Consequently regtech startups are starting to revolutionise the financial services industry.  DocFox has found a way to address a very real problem that all financial institutions face daily while adding tremendous value and removing a real pain point. The partnership with Norton Rose Fulbright makes this startup even more attractive – the backing of a global law firm which has vetted processes gives potential clients peace of mind and DocFox instant credibility.” 

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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