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Payments vs Privacy

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According to a report by KPMG International, 55 percent of consumers globally said they had decided against online shopping due to privacy concerns. Furthermore, less than 10 percent of consumers feel that they have control over the way organisations handle and use their data. 

“An executive would be at risk of being fired if half their customer base disappeared after they made a crucial business decision,” said Nathan Desfontaines, KPMG’s Cyber Security Manager in South Africa. “Failure to imbed privacy into the DNA of their business strategy could ultimately lead to the extinction of a business given how closely consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organisations collect, store and use personal data.”

‘Creepy’ versus ‘cool’

When it comes to the global attitudes on the usages of personal data, consumers draw the line in dramatically different places.

What one consumer finds ‘creepy’ …

·         82 percent are not comfortable with the sale of their data to third-parties in exchange for the speed, convenience, product range, home delivery and price comparison that online shopping offers

·         55 percent said a free fitness tracking device that monitors the well-being of users and produces a monthly report for them and their employer is crossing the line

Another finds cool…

·         78 percent think telematics devices that enable emergency services to track their customers’ vehicles are a good thing

·         57 percent are happy to have a smart energy meter installed that enables a provider to deduce how many people live in a home, when they eat and sleep, and the appliances used

While concerns around the “creepy line” vary, the overall top three concerns about the way organisations are handling and using their personal information were: unwanted marketing; personal information being sold on to third-parties and lack of secure systems. The survey found that strong cyber security systems (32 percent) are the most effective thing an organisation can do for customers to trust them with their personal data.

Data sharing

Over half of survey respondents said they were willing to share their gender, education or ethnicity online, while a considerably lower proportion were happy to share more sensitive information, such as location (16 percent), address (14 percent) or medical records (13 percent).

Consumers are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, with half of survey respondents saying they already delete their internet browser cookies or manage their social media settings. Almost one-third even use incognito or ‘do not track’ modes, while a quarter percent use encryption.

Other global highlights           

·         57 percent of people fail to read, or only skim, privacy policies on entering websites

·         Unwanted marketing (59 percent) was cited as consumers’ top concern about businesses using their personal data, followed by their data being sold to third-parties (58 percent) and organisations having unsecure systems (55 percent)

·         Over two-thirds of people are not comfortable with smart phone and tablet apps using their personal data

·         In all markets but one, at least 75 percent of respondents said that they were uneasy with their online shopping data being sold to third-parties.

Regional findings

·         In Spain, 55 percent of respondents said they have no control over the way organisations handle and use their personal data

·         Only 31 percent of consumers in Malaysia said that they had sufficient or full control over the way their personal data was handled and used

·         UK is the country most worried about unwanted marketing

·         Survey respondents in India are the most likely to manage social media privacy settings, and regularly change user names and passwords

·         Respondents in Germany (78 percent), China (72 percent) and Switzerland (70 percent) are the most likely to know their online shopping data is sold to third-parties

For companies seeking to use personal data to personalise their marketing and services to the individual, build brand loyalty and develop better products, it is important that they understand that although opinions on privacy vary around the globe, it is clear that, more than anything, consumers value privacy over convenience.

“Understanding the value exchange between access to personal information and trust has never been more important than it is today,” said Desfontaines. “I truly believed that everyone would take a free TV no matter what. But clearly transparency is the strongest currency for any business.”

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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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