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Fintech and Bitcoin get special track at AfricaCom

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Debuting this year at AfricaCom are a range of talks, presentations, case studies and prospects around Fintech and eCommerce, designed to inform and push the boundaries of invention.

AfricaCom 2017 has added a specific track focusing on Africa’s financial digital fluency.  Debuting this year at the continent’s single largest and most influential technology, media and telecoms event, are a range of talks, presentations, case studies and prospects around Fintech and eCommerce, designed to inform and push the boundaries of invention.

The 20th staging of AfricaCom takes place from 7 to 9 November in Cape Town.

“More than ever before, AfricaCom 2017 will provide the ability for Africa to shape itself for the future, drive itself forward and serve as an example for other economies looking to get ahead, as Africa’s innovation often leads, not follows,” says Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director of AfricaCom organiser KNect365.

“Digital disruption equals digital democracy and nowhere will this be more keenly felt than in the ability for all levels of society to engage in the monetary exchange and rewards that fin-tech can provide. For this reason, we have developed a detailed stream of content to appeal to all players in the financial value chain – from developers, payment partners, retailers and end users. It is a must for any business looking to transact online.”

It’s a wide open and thoroughly exciting time for players in this market to disrupt the status quo and champion more equality and opportunity, agrees Shirley Gilbey,  Head of Rise and Co-Creation at Barclays Africa Group Limited, who is responsible for driving partnership with the world’s best and brightest start-ups and experts to create the future of Barclays Africa and who will deliver a keynote address on Wednesday, 8 November 2017 12:10 – 12:30.

Also on the agenda at AfricaCom, are a host of discussions and debates such as a look into future mobile payments trends, the uptake of wearables, near-field-communications (nfc) and M-Pos that are driving the global mobile payment market.

Not to be excluded from the conversation, retailers are also realising the fruits of digital and mobile payments.  A panel discussion on how retailers can incorporate eCommerce as a central strategy will explore greater insights into customer profiles and preferences; examine whether the consumer is driving their own experience or not, and, where that leaves retailers in the communications and trading mix. In another, but related discussion, the question of reward and redemption will be tackled by speakers like Peter Miller, head of Retail at wiGroup and Andreas Demeleitner, Peach Payments.

While much has been done to include the previously unbanked, still more has to happen to truly realise an economic democracy.  Things like mobile money and decentralised virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Blockchain are going a long way to addressing these needs, and disrupting global markets, What’s next? Is Bitcoin the digital version of Gold?  It’s not hard to see how these technologies can be deployed in Africa, a continent that has famously leapfrogged many technological stages, but is it enough? To find out, delegates will hear from the likes of Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and Founder of BitPesa, a pan-African digital FX and payment platform.

On the other side of the coin, disruptors like Abraham Cambridge, founder of The Sun Exchange, are using crypto-currencies to create new paradigms in powering Africa using solar energy to spark positive change.

But to define the real opportunities in Africa for blockchain, delegates will be invited to hear from a panel of experts that include South Africa’s foremost blockchain expert, Lorien Gamaroff, founder of blockchain and cryptocurrency consultancy BankyMoon.  Lucien has addressed the IMF, World Bank, FBI and Commonwealth Secretariat, the South African Reserve Bank, TEDx and a host of banking professionals and attorney generals throughout the world. He offers insight and guidance to business executives and advises government on blockchain technologies and their implications. Many of these he will share at AfricaCom 2017.

Africa is in the throes of a technological revolution, with increasing access to the digisphere through the Internet and mobile phones, changing the lives of ordinary Africans everywhere. The rapid acceptance of digital technologies across Africa presents real opportunities for development and economic growth across the continent, not only modifying all sectors of the African economy, but triggering a radical transformation of the entire society.

AfricaCom 2017 is therefore, an essential resource for enterprises, start-ups and entrepreneurs alike, to become financially fluent in the digital age.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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