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GDPR to affect Europe and South African companies

ROB LITH, Director: Business Development at Connection Telecom , explores the implementation of GDPR and its potential impact on local businesses.

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As of 25 May, anyone trading with EU businesses, marketing to EU citizens, or holding the personal data of even a single European national, needs to be fully compliant. This means making major changes to how one captures, processes and stores consumer data, with a strong focus on data protection and archiving practices. Ignore GDPR, and you run the risk of hefty fines (up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater), a loss of consumer trust, and untold damage to your reputation. Are you ready to face GDPR head-on? If you have been readying yourself for compliance to our own POPI (Protection of Personal Information) act, then you should not be far off complying with GDPR which is based on similar principles.

The requirements of GDPR

Globally, recent years have seen some of the worst data leaks and malicious hacks in history. As a result, people are far more concerned about their fundamental right to privacy and have also become more vigilant and aware of their liberties when it comes to their digitally-gathered personal data, and what businesses are doing with it. GDPR outlines a new set of regulations that are designed to prioritise the rights of EU citizens and give them more control over their private data, including valuable and sensitive information such as financial details, phone numbers, addresses, religious and political views, and much more. 

Regardless of where a business is located, if it collects or processes the personal information of any EU resident, GDPR applies. In this regard, it’s imperative to understand what data you collect, where it is stored and how it’s being used. The legislation highlights two main data rights for customers: the right to be forgotten, where a customer can request their data be deleted; and the right for data portability, where a customer can request that their data is moved from one company to another. Customers are further protected in the form of necessary updated privacy notices, which need to be worded in clear, concise and plain language that anyone can understand. By outlining exactly what you’ll be doing with the data, a strong focus on transparency is emphasised, and customers feel more at ease. 

Another important aspect of the regulation involves data breaches. Businesses are required to notify authorities of any kind of cybercrime within 72 hours. In an effort to minimise exposure to these kinds of attacks, a company is encouraged to only collect, share and keep the data that they really need, and to ensure that it is effectively searchable in case they are called upon to provide it. 

The importance of change and compliance  

Any South African company needing to align itself with the GDPR requires the appropriate internal processes and technical capabilities to be able to execute these changes correctly. For example, a data processing company, such as Connection Telecom, would need to sharpen its security controls and data breach continuity plans, and seek advice from a specialist attorney that can assist with updating its policies and documentation to ensure informed consent and water-tight compliance. 

The relationship and transfer of data between data controllers and data processors is an important part of GDPR, and businesses need to work together to ensure consumer information is secure. Companies should also consider assigning dedicated individuals or teams to focus on GDPR, to ensure that data is accurately documented, safely stored, and permanently deleted – not to mention that practices are regularly tested to ensure optimal protection. 

Beyond the negative financial implications of non-compliance, there’s another important reason for businesses to implement these data security and integrity practices: a digitally-savvy generation of customers is better informed than ever before, and the reputational risks associated with irresponsible handling of data are known all too well. Consumers expect ethical behaviour and utter transparency, even from the largest corporation. 

Finally, it is worth noting the positives of GDPR compliance. By gaining a true understanding of a business’s data practices, more effective business decisions can be made in the long run. It’s not just a legal responsibility, it’s an opportunity to do better business – and organisations across the globe would do well to embrace it with open arms. 

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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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