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‘Online? I do not even know what’s that all about’

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There is a massive push for organisations to migrate their services to the digital world, but says Liesel Kirsten MD of CanPro, this often alienates some users as they are not equipped to use many of the services offered.

Earlier this year, ewn.co.za carried reports showing that parents of school children feel they have failed them because they are not digitally competent, so could not enroll their children in desired schools using the online medium.

When organisations are confronted with the question of the digital divide, they typically downplay the reality that users first need to find an internet connection and then miraculously acquire the skills with which to use the online services or download and use associated applications.

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Internationally there is a massive drive for public and private organisations to become more effective and efficient by migrating their services to the digital world. Examples are online application forms, banking, learning and sales, to name just a few. Companies wanting to make the transition or broaden the reach of their offerings in this way have large budget allocations to the development of the required hardware and software to achieve their particular objectives.

The mere provision of technological tools unfortunately does not guarantee successful implementation towards digital migration objectives. Successful implementation requires that their target audience has the necessary know-how to confidently use the hardware and software.

To achieve the full scope of benefit, therefore, companies must devote time and resources to the digital activation of clients and other end-users. Only then can it be considered effective service delivery in the digital world, otherwise what they will find is that they reach even fewer people than with paper-based systems.

Only 5 % self-activate

CanPro is a company that digitally activates hardware and software and has found that a mere 5% of people activate themselves on new technology as a result of their prior learning and experiences. This means that if a company is launching a new app or online services such as those of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), that requires parents to register learners or banks requiring online transactions on apps, only 5% of their existing customers will be sufficiently competent to do so without support.

Digital migration plans are incomplete if they do not include budget that allows for training interventions in order to ensure clients have the know how to use new technology. This does not just apply to software but also to data-enabling hardware such as WiFi.

Speaking with the insight gained from activating over 600 000 people in a variety of communities, CanPro says that while self-activation remains at 5% for the first three months that training is available, it increases to 10% within six months as a result of peer training and support.

CanPro supports organisations with digital migration of their business and, alongside this, the activation of their technology. To achieve this, CanPro has developed a cloud-based platform called WorkPro to manage youth enterprises and their staff as digital trainers. The application, which is available on smartphones and tablets, structures their tasks, records their data, tracks their progress, and validates their services, allowing them to invoice for successfully delivered work. It further provides the organisation with a live BI app to view progress throughout the project.

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Figure: A Youth Enterprise representative training a resident how to use Ivanplats’ community portal

Organisations can thus contract youth enterprises to deliver on core business outcomes such as digital migration whilst also contributing to national goals such as enterprise, youth, community and skills development. As more and more life-critical services become digitized, opportunity for realistic and fair uptake of those services must be created.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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