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IFA 2015: Withings gets Spotify’s wake-up call

Withings has announced a partnership with Spotify to offer its Aura users a wake up and sleep experience. Aura is the first connected alarm clock compatible with Spotify Connect, that  allows  access  to  its  catalogue  of  over  30 million songs.

For  an  even  more  personalised experience,  Withings  is developing  a  system  of recommendation  to  their users based  on playlists  effectiveness  on  waking  and  falling asleep. Also,  Aura will  now  be  available  on  two devices:  the  new Aura Connected  Alarm Clock  and  the  Aura  Total  Sleep System,  adding  a sleep sensor to the bedside device to analyse one’s sleep cycles.

According to a sleep study conducted by Withings, 73% of UK respondents say a bad wake up can have a very negative effect on their day. To help start the day, energised users are gradually woken up with the blue melatonin light and Spotify music. The light helps to make users more alert and the music can be chosen and selected from any of the Spotify playlists.

Users with the sleep sensor, which focuses on understanding personal patterns such as body movements, breathing cycles and heart rate, can choose to trust the Aura to wake them up at the most beneficial time of their sleep cycle.

The Withing Aura is the perfect bedside companion when it comes to sleep, mixing the benefits of light therapy and sleep‐dedicated playlists from Spotify. To fall asleep in the best conditions, Aura combines the benefits of light therapy and music specifically designed for sleep. The red light scattered by the Aura is the only light not inhibiting melatonin secretion, and thus helps the user to fall asleep gradually. Colourful noises, nature sounds or relaxing music, as many playlists as Spotify adds to its library available from Aura to sleep on a progressive program of 20 minutes. Some coloured noises are known to have a real impact on sleep, such as pink noise regulating the brain waves and optimising sleep.

Spotify  provides  users  with  the  best  music  for  every  moment  and  to  compliment this, Withings  has  created  a dedicated Spotify account (available  here:  Withings),  which suggests the best music to wake up and to fall asleep to. This  is  only  a  first step,  Withings will eventually provide  a  recommendation  system  directly  available  in  the  Health Mate application.  Suggestions will combine  the  user’s  musical  tastes  and  the  efficiency  of given  music  in  helping similar users fall asleep or get out of bed, based on aggregated data from Aura Sleep Sensors worldwide.

Cedric  Hutchings  from  Withings  says:  “By  combining  environmental  sensors,  light therapy and our partnership with Spotify we can help  people  get  the  better  start  they deserve  and  attack  the  day  energised  after a  sound night’s sleep.”

A new range of Smart Alarm Clocks. 

The Aura range now has two products: Aura Connected Alarm Clock and Total Sleep System.

Aura Connected Alarm Clock 

‐ Aura Alarm clock

‐ Wake up and sleep Programs

‐ Environmental parameters of the room

‐ Spotify Service and web radios

‐ RRP: £149.95

‐ Available on Amazon and www.withings.com

Aura Total Sleep System

‐ Aura alarm clock + sensor

‐ Wake up and sleep Programs

‐ Environmental parameters of the room

‐ Sleep Sensor analysing nights

‐ Spotify Service and web radios

‐ RRP: £249.95

‐ Available on www.withings.com and partners

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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