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Improving how a city moves

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Whether you’re in Ghana where the trotos’s are, on a jitney in the Philippines or in a sometimes ironically named ‘car rapide’ in Senegal, there’s no escaping the fact that informal transport exists in every major city in the world. Even more intriguingly, the innovation and agility displayed in these emerging markets have begun to influence the way developed transport systems in the USA and Europe alike – in a concept called “Mobility-as-a-Service”. 

The latest review of Cape Town’s Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan (CITP) estimated that there were about 23 758 minibus taxi vehicles registered as of May 2015.  This mode of informal transport provide connections between various origin and destination pairs within the City, and it is estimated that there are around 800 routes carrying approximately 556 720 passengers per day. Due to the informal nature of their services, it is difficult to know exactly how many routes or passengers are utilizing this type of mode, and therefore it is very difficult to plan or regulate this mode – until now.

On 15 May innovative mobility startup GoMetro, domiciled in South Africa, announced it is partnering with international technology distribution and development firm, GMG Technology, domiciled in Mauritius, to launch the transport mapping and data collection platform, GoMetro Pro, to the global markets through a distribution, product development and internationalization agreement. 

“Thanks to our partnership with GMG Technology and their deep experience and know-how in the distribution and development of enterprise software for the international market, GoMetro Pro has a self-service platform – so users anywhere in the world can log in and build their own projects themselves,” says CEO and GoMetro founder Justin Coetzee. ​

“GMG Technologies focuses on bringing innovative technology to the global market and enhancing these technologies through further development to bring maximum value to our customers, our partnership with GoMetro is a perfect illustration of this and we are very excited about the incredible work done so far. This technology will have a very real impact on the way cities are planned, companies organize staff movements and how people run their daily lives. We are proud to be part of this and we will continue to work together to keep adding more value to the platform.’ Says Richard Dewing, Director of GMG Technologies.

“Better data management from something like the GoMetro Pro app leads to better regulation, which leads to better licensing and planning. This in turn leads to better operations and better passenger information available, which means better revenues and profits for the owners. Everybody wins,” said Coetzee. Because the system works with the data that’s there on the ground, no matter how chaotic, you can turn any unscheduled, highly informal transport system in any country into one that’s scheduled, on-demand and thus convenient, and fully operational in real time. It may well be the great equalizer of public transport systems worldwide, lessening the gap between ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ with just one platform. 

What sets GoMetro as a platform apart is both the sheer amount of data it creates – more than 500 000 kilometers, which is more than 11 trips around the Earth – as well as the accuracy and rapid deployment of onboard vehicle survey methodology. “The Onboard Surveys are critical – it’s the only application that collects all the information you need to profile a route, a vehicle and a passenger at the same time on any transport network, providing unprecedented data on urban mobility,” explains Coetzee. The result is a grassroots approach that tells researchers on the ground, current information about a route and transport method as experienced by passengers and drivers alike.

Recently Transitec, an international transport planning firm, together with France’s Agence Française de Développement, used GoMetro Pro to do onboard data collection in Tunis for their transport systems. Comprehensive data was able to be harvested from 25 stations throughout the city, using GPS tracking and economical analysis. More than 50 routes and 6 kilometers’ worth of data were harvested across multiple vehicles, as well as the ‘mapping’ of both drivers and passengers using qualitative interviews, cellphones, mappers and other technology to get authentic on-the-street information. Rollout and implementation of system improvements and upgrades were ready in just four short weeks, meaning that all that was required was police authorization, and the Tunisian government had a new and improved way for busses to move in just a month. 

GoMetro Pro will create a wealth of data and the means to put it to use – not just for civil engineers or town planning authorities, but anyone who downloads the rider app. Even better, people worldwide will have access immediately. “The software will be available globally from 15 May to be used by anyone who downloads the app, whether they are in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America or anywhere else in the world where informal transport networks are dominant” promised Coetzee.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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