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How LTE moves the workforce

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Many organisations rely on cloud services or VPNs for their employees to conduct business on the move, but GREG HATFIELD says that if theses services are not secure or running incorrectly, a company’s data could easily fall into the wrong hands.

Many organisations are now turning to mobile-first strategies that provide more access and encourage employees’ mobility in order to improve productivity and overcome tough economic time. These strategies depend on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions that enable a mobile workforce to stay connected anywhere at any time.

These solutions, coupled with advances in mobile Internet connectivity such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), enable employees to connect seamlessly and faster via a corporate network or secure Cloud service.

One of the biggest headaches for Information Technology (IT) and business executives over the past decade has been securing company data and networks. Several solutions and interventions have been developed to prevent data loss if a device is lost or stolen, or simply to prevent unauthorised access to business critical information.

This has been achieved through Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions and policies that provide the necessary security. However, such interventions, are dependent on sufficiently fast mobile data services that offer a quick and seamless connection.

In the absence of such convenience, the entire structure of the best-laid EMM strategy falls flat. For instance, users are more likely to download critical documents to their mobile devices for offline use if the process of accessing and editing work through the Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Cloud service is retarded by a slow data connection.

In order to overcome sluggish mobile data connections, some users have added to IT executives’ headaches, by opting to use WiFi networks while in the field. Whether free, public networks or paid-for connections, this strategy is fraught with security threats that run counter to many organisations’ IT security policies.

And with a growing number of devices being LTE compliant – whether smartphones, tablets or laptop computers, there is little reason for organisations not take advantage of the speed and security that broadband speed connections offer.

Given the move to a more mobile workforce and the evolution of technologies to enable this, there is little doubt that organisations will be looking for the most efficient way to reap technology benefits.

From MTN Business point of view, LTE will play a central role in alleviating this pain-point and facilitating the move to a mobile first strategy. MTN Business solutions such as Managed Networks, Unified Communications, Cloud, Security and Internet of Things to SMEs, public and private sector clients are in line with the company’s strategic intent of refining traditional product offering, as well as actively developing new opportunities to help ensure MTN continues to inspire and enable the growth of its clients.

* Greg Hatfield, General Manager for Products & Solutions at MTN Business South Africa

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Car buyers to start abandoning fuel-power by 2025

Car buyers in the United States and Europe expect electric vehicles to become a viable alternative to fuel-powered cars in the next five years.

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A new report outlining consumer expectations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their viability as replacements for traditional fuel-powered cars or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles suggests a massive shift beginning in 2025.

The conclusion emerges from a report by human behaviour and analytics firm Escalent, entitled The Future of BEV: How to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Consumers. It reveals the intent of many consumers in the United States and Europe to abandon ICE vehicles altogether, citing the improved infrastructure and range of BEVs.

The Future of BEV gives auto and mobility manufacturers a strategic view of the benefits of their products in the eyes of consumers and highlights the areas of opportunity for automakers to push the innovation boundaries of BEVs to spur broad adoption of the technology.

“While most buyers don’t plan to choose BEVs over gasoline-powered cars within the next five years, consumers have told us there is a clear intention to take BEVs seriously in the five years that follow,” says Mark Carpenter, joint managing director of Escalent’s UK office. “However, manufacturers will need to tap into the emotional value of BEVs rather than just the rational and functional aspects to seize on that intent and inspire broader consumer adoption.”

The study demonstrates a significant shift in consumers’ expectations that BEVs will become viable alternatives to—and competitors with—ICE vehicles over the coming decade. Though 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, just 37% expect to make that same purchase in five to ten years. Similarly, while 50% of European consumers favour buying vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the near-term, that figure drops to just 23% in five to ten years.

At the same time, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic see BEV adoption rising to 36% in Europe and 16% in the US, with respondents also indicating intent to purchase hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.

Infrastructure clearly continues to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption. While some work is being done in Europe as well as in the US, the data show there is a significant need for some players to take ownership if manufacturers want to move the needle on BEV adoption.

US and European consumers have stark differences in opinion as to which entities they believe are primarily responsible for providing BEV charging stations. American consumers consider carmakers (45%) the primary party responsible, followed by fuel companies, local government/transport authorities, and the national government in fourth. On the other hand, European consumers view the national government (29%) as the primary party responsible for providing BEV infrastructure, followed by carmakers, local government/transport authorities and fuel companies.

For a full copy of the report, visit https://landing.escalent.co/download-the-future-of-bev.

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New cell phone to help with dementia and memory loss

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A new cell phone that takes simplicity to the extreme is designed to address the unique needs of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone, developed by RAZ Mobility, a provider of mobile assistive technology, was launched this week. The handset is also well-suited for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, with one in ten people over the age of 65 diagnosed with the disease. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase rapidly as the proportion of the population 65 and older increases. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one percent of the population has an intellectual disability.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone consists of one primary screen, and one screen only. It is always on and includes pictures and names of up to six contacts and a button to call 911. That’s it! There are no applications or settings to cause confusion. No notifications or operating system updates. No distractions. Users can simply tap and hold the picture of the person they wish to call.

Caregivers manage the RAZ Memory Cell Phone through a simple online portal. The portal is used to create and edit the contacts, track the location of the phone/user and select certain options, such as the option to restrict incoming calls to people in the user’s contacts, thereby avoiding unwanted calls such as predatory robocalls.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone can now be ordered at https://www.razmobility.com/solutions/memory-cellphone/.

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