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Mastercard powers up Yoco

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Mastercard has announced a collaboration with Yoco to roll out 15,000 mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices to small and medium-sized businesses by the end of the year, while educating them on the benefits of going cashless.

To start accepting card payments, business owners simply connect the Yoco card reader to their Android/iOS smartphones or tablets. The hardware is paired with a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) application and business intelligence portal to give businesses real-time access to sales insights and analytics, helping them to further boost their revenue through informed decision-making.

“Small and medium businesses employ over 60 percent of the labour force in South Africa, yet they lack the basic tools necessary to accept electronic payments and run their businesses effectively,” says Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco. “Through this partnership, we will empower even more small businesses that previously did not accept card payments, while growing the market and making a contribution to our economy.”

According to Mastercard, small and medium-sized merchants that have never accepted card payments are turning to mPOS solutions to expand their customer base and increase sales.

“While the number of South Africans with access to formal banking products has grown substantially over the last few years, the number of card acceptance locations – especially at small businesses – has not grown in parallel,” says Mark Elliott, Division President for Mastercard, Southern Africa.  “Solutions like Yoco enable these small and medium businesses to respond to their customers’ increasing desire to pay for goods and services with payment cards rather than cash, which is higher risk, without making large upfront investments in infrastructure or facing high transaction costs.”

Since launching its mobile card acceptance offering in 2015, Yoco has grown its base to over 14,500 merchants and is now adding over 1,200 new merchants every month. Its affordable pay-per-use transaction pricing model with no fixed monthly rental fee appeals to smaller merchants that normally would not be able to afford traditional card terminals. According to Yoco, over 70 percent of its merchants had never accepted cards before.

The company’s growth is a result of its innovative distribution through the Yoco online store, where 80 percent of its card readers are sold. A business can register and purchase a card reader in less than five minutes, with delivery taking an average of two business days. Yoco is also expanding its physical retail distribution, where businesses can purchase a card reader from several national retail partners and its newly launched Yoco Store in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, and transact the same day

Hlobsile Manana, founder and owner of Mbali Rose Hair, says since signing up with Yoco, her businesses has flourished.

“I can use it on my tablet when I’m at the shop, and when I go out to markets, I’m able to use my phone. Around 65 percent of my sales are processed on Yoco. Offering customers card payments is not only more convenient, it also means they do not have to carry around large amounts of money and feel unsafe,” she says.

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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