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Now for connected lighting

Each day, companies find intuitive ways to connect people and devices, and lighting is no exception. REGGIE NXUMALO, GM at Philips Lighting explains how simple devices like lights can be connected to a network – making them smart and allowing businesses to save money.

Over the course of the last few years, an avalanche of transformational change has swept through all industries and society at large, forever changing the manner in which we communicate, collaborate, learn, play as well as engage with friends, family and colleagues.

Employees can now collaborate in teams composed of members from different nations as effectively as though they were in the same room, while billions of consumers generate an innumerable amount of data daily for marketers, advertisers, researchers and the like to analyse.

Lighting can also become part of a network, in which luminaires are uniquely identified and seamlessly integrated into the IT network within a building or even on a larger scale like a city, enabling these to share information about their status and operations.

Embedded sensors allows each luminaire within the connected lighting system to act as a point of intelligence that can share information on changes in temperature or humidity, as well as activity patterns.

More uses, less power usage

Connected lighting systems allow for many exciting consumer usage cases such as tying in Philips Hue to your music in order for the bulbs to change colours to the tune of the beat, or more practical uses such as setting up Hue-connected lights to flash when the phone rings, enabling a deaf person to more easily know when someone is phoning them.

From a business perspective, companies can integrate wireless communications into the lighting system, allowing them to deliver location-based services and in-context information by way of mobile apps to people in illuminated spaces.

Moreover, organisations can boost staff retention by making office spaces more comfortable for their employees. Office workers can personalise and adjust LED lighting to their preferences and tasks for instance via the connected lighting system, making harsh office lighting a problem of the past. For mobile access, office workers can even use a smartphone app to access other building services through a communications network.

Future developments in the connected lighting pipeline include Ethernet-powered connected lighting that can transmit data to mobile devices. This is done through light, by way of embedded code. This means that building owners and facility managers can monitor and manage a building’s occupancy patterns, its lighting systems, as well as other important services simply by opting for intelligent lighting systems.

By gathering information on how spaces are being used, managers can simplify business processes, optimise energy efficiency, and gain deep insight into customers’ preferences and their tenants’ needs.

When individual users are connected through technology their ability to do more by utilising less resources is multiplied. When every light point is connected to an intelligent system that delivers high-quality, reliable illumination and acts like a pathway for information and services, the working space and connected lighting system within it is able to allow for even greater levels of performance by employees and teams.

Connected lighting systems allow for the delivery of extraordinary value beyond illumination for companies, employees as well as managers of spaces.

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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