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PayU goes recurring

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PayU has launched a real time recurring (RTR) offering, called PayU Xpress, designed to boost security and convenience for both retailers and consumers.

The solution provides South Africa’s eCommerce stores with a platform for their shift to a one-click checkout, offering increased customer engagement and the potential for increased sales through improved customer conversions.

“It is our conviction that shoppers just want payments to “happen” and not to be an integral part of the online checkout experience. With RTR we can achieve this, says Karen Nadasen, Country Manager of PayU South Africa.

“Data shows that where shoppers are able to virtually tap and go whenever they see an item at a retailer they trust, they are more likely to purchase impulse items and keep returning to the same site for further service,” concludes Nadasen. “Online operators have experienced a drop off as significant as 30% due to poor functionality and user accessibility – it is a costly mistake to make.”

One-click checkout services have been implemented by numerous retailers over the past few years, with brands such as Amazon, PayPal and Uber taking advantage of its potential and capability. These merchants long since recognised the value of convenience and the importance of customer experiences in an increasingly customer-controlled world.

Uber’s payment platform uses RTR to accept recurrent payments upfront. For Visa Checkout and PayPal, the solution gives their customers a central stop for all their payment options. Amazon Mobile Payments has been available since early 2016 to overcome the barriers around mobile conversion and, along with one-click and Amazon Payments, is one of the reasons why the company achieved $US107 billion in sales in 2015.

The World Wide Worx Online Retail in South Africa 2016 report has found that online retail in the country is growing at a steady rate and it is expected to reach 1% of the total spend for the first time this year. The fact that shoppers still only spend small amounts may be ascribed to legacy issues hindering adoption, but can ultimately benefit the retailer if frequency of payments increases with the right payment solution in place.

Ultimately, some of the biggest barriers to customer conversion are delays, complexity and security on mobile devices, frustrating input methods. Mobile devices are with people 73% of the time according to Facebook and according to a Google / Ipsos study, 29% of users will switch to another site if the one they are on is too slow.

With PayU Xpress, consumers need only enter their details on their first purchase. The platform becomes their central payment repository for as long as they require. PayU offers additional fraud protection for merchants and consumers as users have the option to activate 3D Secure on a user’s first transaction without having to do it every time. For the retailer, the addition of the PayU Xpress button to their payment page is quick and easy so their consumers can use the feature as needed.

“PayU Xpress delivers a shopping experience which is safe, easy and requires only a single click for authentication,” explains Nadasen. “It is the ideal option for eCommerce stores looking to drive richer engagement and improve conversion rates, and gives returning customers a simple and safe space in which to transact. The system uses a PCI-DSS level 1 certified card tokenization service to assure all users of complete security throughout.”

PayU Xpress has been designed to simplify the checkout experience and bring a high-level of online sophistication to South Africa’s eCommerce culture and its simple system and easy controls will give the online merchant the support they need when it comes to reassuring the careful customer.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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