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FNB launches own smartphones

FNB today launched the ConeXis X1 and A1 smartphones, targeting both high-end and entry-level customers.

FNB has launched its own branded FNB smartphone, in a move that it says will fully integrate banking and customer mobility.

“For FNB, mobile banking is more than just having the best banking app,” says Jan Kleynhans, CEO of the FNB Consumer Segment. “For us, true mobile banking is enabling customers to bank anywhere, anytime using smartphone technology at affordable prices for our customers.”

FNB is offering customers the choice of two smartphones, the low-end ConeXis A1 with a 4-inch screen, and the high-end and X1 with a 5.2-inch screen.

ConeXis X1

ConeXis X1

The A1 is pitched at the price-sensitive Easy bank account holder, who now has access to a high-quality smartphone at an affordable price of R59 per month. This includes 15 minutes airtime and 50MB of data. Gold and Premium (Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth) customers are being targeted with the higher specification X1, at R150 per month. It includes 25 minutes airtime and 100MB of data.

FNB offers up to a 100 per cent rebate on the X1 monthly instalments, depending on the customer’s eBucks Rewards level. Gold customers on eBucks Rewards level of 3, 4, 5 will be rebated R60, R90, R150 (100 per cent) on the monthly repayment respectively. Premium customers will be rewarded from level 1.

“In line with the global trend towards convergence in digital migration, we believe that it’s critical to empower our customers with smartphones that not only improve their banking and mobile experience, but are also affordable and of a high quality,” says Kartik Mistry, head of smart devices at FNB.

ConeXis A1

ConeXis A1

FNB has tightly integrated the ConeXis smartphone offering with its rewards and banking programme which incentivises the correct products, behaviour and mobile phone usage by rewarding customers with attractive cellular discounts. FNB-banked customers can earn up to 40 per cent on their monthly cellular spend dependent on their eBucks Rewards level.

“The FNB offering is also structured to encourage a savings culture through the use of convenient and cost-effective savings platforms,” adds Kleynhans.

The smartphone comes on the back of the FNB Connect cellular offering launched in 2015, which seamlessly integrates customer’s financial and mobile accounts on a single banking platform.

“We introduced the Connect offering to give customers control over cellular spend, by converging cellular and bank accounts on  a single client profile and platform,” says Kleynhans.

FNB also announced the introduction of the FNB Connect Unlimited Calls offer, which allows subscribers to make unlimited local calls to any network for only R399 per month. The new Unlimited Calls offer can be taken up together with the FNB ConeXis smartphone deal or any other branded mobile phone.

The Unlimited offer is available to customers from 24 August 2016 while the FNB ConeXis smartphones will be available at selected FNB branches from 1 September 2016. When taking up the smartphone offer, customers will be taken through the features and benefits, including how they can manage their cellular costs.

FNB has zero-rated calls when FNB Connect customers make calls to FNB’s Banking Call Centre.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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