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Sean Bacher

New in apps: Clash of Clans fun and addictive

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In his first round-up of the latest apps, SEAN BACHER spotlights Clash of Clans as most enjoyable app, and downloads Silent Foto, CrumbTrail, Tumblr for Windows Phone 8 and Laser Gun the most annoying app.

Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is a real-time-strategy (RTS) game that requires a good mix of strategy and combat, earning it the spot of the ‚”Most enjoyable app‚” in this week’s new apps roundup. Start off small and slowly grow a village where troops are trained and their abilities upgraded. Then enter battle mode, where rival clan members are fought and their gold stolen. Although the game can be played from start to finish without any in-game purchases, it may be a good idea to buy a few gems to speed things along, as the more you progress, the longer buildings take to erect with some of them taking up to two weeks to complete.

Platforms: iOS

Stockists: Apple App Store.

Expect to pay: Downloading the game is free, but in-game purchases can set you back a few hundred Rand.

Silent Foto

A smartphone’s camera resolution is now at the point where it can be used to take print-ready photos, but many of them still make a fake shutter noise to alert you that a photo has been taken. In loud situations, this doesn’t really matter, but when at conferences, for example, the shutter noise not only distracts speakers, but annoys fellow delegates. Silent Foto turns off the shutter sound completely, allowing for complete silence when the next pic is taken.

Platforms: BlackBerry OS 6 and OS 10

Stockists: BlackBerry World.

Expect to pay: Downloading the app is free and in-app purchases are available.

CrumbTrail

CrumbTrail transforms a phonebook from a basic directory with limited functionality and reliant on human memory into a tool to manage professional and private networks. It updates contact information with dates and times they were last seen or spoken to, offering an option to add notes to the contact. Contacts can then be viewed by the last time they were spoken to or by the notes added to their names, instead of only by names or surnames.

Platforms: iOS

Stockists: Apple App Store.

Expect to pay: Around R10.

Tumblr for Windows Phone 8

The social networking site that allows the posting of text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from a browser, phone, desktop, or e-mail is now available for Windows Phone 8. The app features the Windows 8 look and feel and allows users to add posted images to their lock screens and live tiles.

Platforms: Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android.

Stockists: Visit the app store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: The app is free.

Laser Gun

An image of a high-tech laser gun that measures the number of times a user taps the screen, sending out a high-pitched sound, earns Laser Gun the spot of ‚”Most annoying app‚” in this week’s app roundup. It is a waste of storage space and bandwidth and will drive friends and family mad.

Platforms: BlackBerry OS 10, although similar apps are available for most other platforms.

Stockists: Visit the app store linked to your device.

Expect to pay: The app is free to download.

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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AppDate: Whistleblowing with confidence

In his latest app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights ExposeIT, OceansCam, Standard Bank’s My360, Samsung Pay on Galaxy A70 and A9 and WorldRemit.

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ExposeIT

EOH has announced the internal launch of the ExposeIT app, a whistleblowing tool that provides a secure, completely anonymous and confidential platform to employees who may be victims of, or bear witness to wrongdoings of any kind within their organisation.

The development of the app came about after Pretoria-based fraud-prevention experts XTND came across an app called Bravely, which was designed to combat bullying at schools by allowing children to anonymously report bullying incidents to authorities. XTND saw the potential and signed an agreement with Bravely’s developers, ZappApp, to adapt the app for use in an organisational context as a tool to enable robust cases to be constructed on whistleblower evidence, without the anonymity of the whistleblower becoming compromised.

Identification information isn’t stored anywhere on the system, meaning that even if the app is somehow hacked, whistleblower identities will not be compromised. It is not only difficult to establish the identity of a whistleblower using the app; it’s impossible. The ExposeIT App also allows users to upload and securely send video files, photos, documents or any other form of evidence available to the whistleblower. This allows a case to be built that stands a high chance of leading to convictions or disciplinary action.

All information collected via the ExposeIT App is reviewed by an independent law firm, categorised, recorded and stored for further analysis. Evidence and investigative actions are automatically time and date stamped for compliance and reference purposes, ensuring that no complaint is neglected or ignored.

Platform: Accessible through devices with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: Details were not available at the time of publishing.

Stockists: ExposeIT is still only available to EOH employees but is set to be made available to the public in the coming months.

OceansCam

The JET8 Foundation has partnered with The Lewis Pugh Foundation to develop the first social commerce mobile application focused on saving the oceans.  

The OceansCam app incorporates JET8’s FinTech technology to reward users for in-app engagement through JETPoints – a social currency with which users can make contributions to the The Lewis Pugh Foundation.

OceansCam lets one share photos to encourage friends to support ocean protection. It’s message: “So next time you pick up a piece of plastic on a beach, find an alternative for single use plastic, or have a memorable ocean encounter, share it on OceansCam and spread the love!”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here.

Click here to read about Standard Bank’s insurance app, Samsung Pay on the Galaxy A series, and a money transfer app for international business payments.

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AppDate: My Muze brings music to the masses

In his latest roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights My Muze, Kauai, SANRAL’s Mobility, KWV augmented reality and iiDENTIFii

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Vodacom My Muze

Since launching its music gateway in April, Vodacom has made over 30-million songs available on My Muze, which has attracted 1,3 million visitors and almost a million app installations.

Vodacom says this is mainly due to its ease of use, the ability to catch up on music industry news and watch music videos on integrated apps like Video Play or YouTube Music, and to livestream radio and listen to podcasts from radio stations.

Designed to curate music experiences into a single destination, My Muze is aimed at empowering young or new artists and ensuring access to music.

Another differentiating feature is that My Muze gives aspiring musicians the opportunity to expose their talents, as they can upload their music with the prospect of being discovered and signed to a music record label. My Muze is a partner to the 2019 South African Music Awards and for the first time allowed consumers to cast their vote digitally for the Record of the Year.

Vodacom is offering free data for use on My Muze: It is available across all networks, but Vodacom subscribers can browse the platform without using any data.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit www.mymuze.com for downloading instructions.

Kauai

Kauai, which operates under the multi-brand food group Real Foods, has launched an app with the aim of making it easier and more rewarding for customers to enjoy healthy eating.

The app allows customers to order ahead, skip the queue and collect their meals, smoothies and healthy snacks at a dedicated app order collection area in-store. Customers can order 10–20 minutes ahead, or can choose to collect at a pre-set time. Order ahead will be available at all Kauai stores nationwide. 

The app features a rewards programme that gives customers 2% cash back on all purchases. It also has 3 status levels, with accompanying perks that customers can unlock over time, as they use the app more frequently:

  • All customers starting on Green status qualify for a free coffee on their birthday
  • Customers moving up to the next status level (Gold) qualify for a free smoothie on their birthday and are rewarded with a free snack when they achieve Gold status.
  • Kauai customers who achieve Black status will receive a complimentary reusable smoothie cup when they reach this milestone, and also qualify for a free birthday coffee and breakfast

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit www.kauai.co.za for downloading instructions.

SANRAL’s Mobility Account

Another cashless parking app has popped into the marketplace, this time in the form of a partnership between SANRAL’s ETC (electronic toll collection) – yes, the e-toll guys that we all wish would disappear – and KaChing.

The app works much like any the other cashless parking app, except this one is reserved for registered e-tollers. A user sets up an account with a number plate, then loads some money into it and drives in and out of paid-for-parking places without having to put a hands in  pocket. At the moment, the parking feature is is an opt-in service on the app, and it enables users to park at 34 KaChing operated parking lots without the need for a paper ticket or cash. Through licence plate recognition technology, parking garage booms automatically open for people using the SANRAL Mobility app. More will be available as the service picks up.

The app also allows users to view e-tolls, settle them, arrange financing and share with friends and family. A variety of additional features are offered. Bear in mind that a variety of other cashless payment apps are available for both iOS and Android operating systems in case you are not yet ready or willing to register for e-tolls. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device or download the app directly here.

KWV augmented reality app

KWV has launched a rather novel app that works with the Cathedral Cellar  wines label: it now allows wine enthusiasts to add to their dinner time conversation via augmented reality.

Cathedral Cellar is a premium wine portfolio by KWV and includes the Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Triptych (a red blend), Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The new labels depict the Cathedral Cellar with copper line drawings. The labels also honour the cellar’s most impressive feature: its 32 “stukvats” (barrels), which measure approximately 3 metres in circumference, some of which tell the stories of the South African wine industry with intricate carvings.

Cathedral Cellar combines this art of storytelling with the use of augmented reality and modern marketing to share its most important element with consumers. The technology, developed by label print and augmented reality experts LABELinmotion by Vollherbst, enables consumers to scan Cathedral Cellar’s new labels using a dedicated app. By hovering their phones over the Cathedral Cellar labels, they can watch the winemaker appear on the façade of the bottle, from where he provides guided wine notes on each of the wines and shares the stories that inspired them.  

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit KWV here for more information

iiDENTIFii

Consumers want ease of access when opening and maintaining bank accounts, and banks want to provide this, but they do so at their own peril, as fraud syndicates are getting cleverer each day.

iiDENTIFii, an app that provides a remote biometric digital authentication and automated on-boarding technology platform, is designed to minimise many of these risks by offering various features to ensure one’s online identity is protected from start to finish. The application claims to prove the identity of a person within 30 seconds and with an accuracy of 1 error in 10 000. The current industry ratio is about 11 inaccuracies per 100 using standard biometrics.

Should a user decide to use a mobile phone and an ID document to sign up for a bank account, the app puts the following steps into process:

  • It checks to see that the person is  alive;
  • It then matches a selfie the user has taken with the image on their ID document;
  • The data is then extracted off the identity document – including the person’s name, surname and ID number;
  • Finally, all the data is matched with a facial biometric at an issuing authority or government department like Home Affairs.

Once all the steps have been satisfactorily met, iiDENTIFii will sign the customers onto its systems and hand them over to a bank of their choice where they can open up a new bank account.

In addition to setting up new bank accounts, iiDENTIFii allows one to set up accounts for online gambling, retail, property and travel.

Platform: A smartphone with a hi-res camera

Expect to pay: For costs relating to signing up with iiDENTIFii visit their site here.

Stockists: Visit iiDENTIFii here for more information.

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