SAP has announced the addition of new partners to its open, standards-based services Vehicles Network marketplace at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
New secured and tokenized payment options from Mastercard, navigation capabilities from HERE and on-demand delivery services from Postmates further expand and enrich the portfolio of services SAP Vehicles Network offers.
Powered by SAP Leonardo, SAP Vehicles Network connects vehicles to intelligent, automated services for parking, fueling, food, navigation and payment, transforming driving into the ultimate mobile experience. Through the network, participating members can provide mobility services to drivers and passengers, independent of devices or vehicles. Network members also can offer secure mobility services tailored for business travelers and individual consumers. (For more information, see video here.)
The following network features will be on display at Mobile World Congress:
Mastercard will leverage its technology to provide safe and secure payments for consumers while they are in their vehicles. The company will enable tokenized payments, providing for the replacement of the personal account number (PAN) associated with a consumer’s credit, debit, commercial or prepaid card with a secure “token” — an alternative number that replaces the existing PAN on the front of the card. Mastercard services including security, loyalty and analytics may also be incorporated into the network to further enhance the overall experience.
“With people so connected today, there is the potential for every device to be used not just to interact but to transact —and ultimately drive a better consumer experience,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships, Mastercard. “As a part of SAP Vehicles Network, we’ll engage our bank and retail partners and use our technology to provide a seamless and secure way for people to pay for things like parking or gas while in the comfort of their car.”
HERE, one of the world’s leading companies in traffic, navigation and mapping products, intends to integrate SAP Vehicles Network into its product offering with an initial focus on parking solutions, allowing for easy navigation to the most convenient parking spaces and secure payments.
Postmates helps people unlock the best of their cities — and their lives — with a reliable on-demand “everything” network intended to enable drivers to place orders through the Postmates merchant and courier ecosystem using SAP Vehicles Network.
“From sidewalk-class robotic rovers to being able to order your next meal safely while you’re driving, Postmates is focused on finding innovative ways for people to experience the platform,” said Dan Mosher, Postmates senior vice president and merchant lead. “By being a part of SAP Vehicles Network, we’re able to give our users an additional way to get the things that they need.”
SAP Concur solutions are an expense, travel and invoice management offerings. By integrating SAP Vehicles Network with the Concur Expense solution, network transactions can be seamlessly pushed to Concur Expense to expedite reporting and reimbursement. The integration automates travel expense reporting, including parking and fueling transactions, eliminating multiple time-consuming and manual steps for the business and individual traveler. The integration will be available in the SAP Concur App Center.
“With new customers and partners Mastercard, HERE and Postmates combined with the power of SAP Concur solutions and SAP Leonardo, SAP is redefining the intelligent, connected driving experience,” said Gil Perez, SAP senior vice president, IoT & Digital Supply Chain. “SAP Vehicles Network is not only growing its member companies but also exponentially increasing the value of its open network by integrating with HERE, Mastercard, Postmates and SAP Concur solutions. It offers drivers a comprehensive portfolio of global services that make travel a seamless, digital and personalized experience.”
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.