SqwidNet has announced that it now covers 83% of the South African population with its network. With over 90% and 75% coverage across Municipal and National highways respectively.
Since its launch in late 2016, SqwidNet has partnered with over 30 of ICT service providers who are at various stages of deploying IoT solutions across a number of industry verticals. The partnerships we have developed will ensure that the country and the continent at large will reap the benefits of inclusion, participation and improved quality of life enabled by IoT.
According to Reshaad Sha, CEO SqwidNet, “IoT and specifically digital transformation journeys that companies are embarking on are expecting to realise tangible benefits either through cost savings or revenue enhancement. We are working closely with our partners and their customers to help realise those benefits.”
SqwidNet with its partners are working on some notable projects that have entered commercial deployment, these include air quality monitoring around a waste management facility where the customer wants to ensure that they operate responsibly by monitoring for gases such as hydrogen sulphide and volatile organic compounds. The objective is to ensure that the facility is able to proactively take action when these gas levels start approaching that of potentially impacting the community around them.
Another notable project is to detect intrusion at thousands of facilities that belong to a customer with the benefit of optimising maintenance and associated service delivery. Asset tracking, be it from a location perspective or associated asset usage is a popular customer request resulting in the deployment of solutions today that are able to track both high value and just valuable goods. Within the asset usage space, we have customers that have adopted solutions that enable them track and monitor driver behaviour which then ties back closely to their own asset management plan and associated service delivery.
“Customer demand for the type of connectivity and associated devices that we enable has been unprecedented. This demand comes from a wide variety of industry verticals and this in turn has triggered further development in the IoT ecosystem that we participate in.” says Sha.
Our global partner, Sigfox has established a network presence that now reaches 45 countries, covering 803 million people with a footprint that exceeds 3.8 million square kms. This rapid global expansion of the Sigfox network has further fuelled the growth in device and platform development which is a key contributor to the availability of solutions that drive digital transformation in businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.