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Pre-paid roaming turns on machine-to-machine industry

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The recent introduction by Vodacom of a prepaid data roaming solution could have a significant impact on the machine-to-machine (M2M) market in Africa, says KEES SNIJDERS, MD of Flickswitch.

“While Vodacom is not the first operator to go the prepaid data roaming route, the announcement reflects the need to provide companies who are reliant on M2M solutions, including vehicle telemetry, with a more cost-effective offering. For us, the added benefit is that we can provide our clients with a managed prepaid SIM solution meeting their unique requirements,” says Snijders.

By virtue of the fact that Vodacom is now the first operator covering South Africa and its neighbouring countries with a prepaid data roaming option, the impact on fleet management could be significant.

“In this sector, the bulk of the traffic is confined to South Africa and its neighbours. By now having a prepaid solution that can fill this gap means companies can more effectively run their telemetry and similar services.’

He believes that these kinds of roaming solutions have been on the cards for a long time.

“Vodacom is committed to driving this offering to selected areas which could herald a change in the way companies approach their M2M strategies. The business and telemetry market segments have been ripe for these kinds of solutions for a while. For Flickswitch, this means that we can use it as the foundation to provide companies across various vertical industries with an option that can better be budgeted for.”

For example, there is nothing stopping a truck driver from taking a SIM card out of a telemetry device and using it to surf the Web. This could result in a massive financial implication for the organisation given the high costs of mobile roaming data. With a prepaid SIM, these costs are managed as the driver can only consume the fixed amount of data loaded on the device.

“No matter how you look at it though, roaming is an expensive value proposition. However, in going the prepaid route, operators like Vodacom are looking to diversify their offerings and providing business with more cost-effective, long-term solutions. Working closely with the likes of Vodacom and using an open source-based platform, means Flickswitch is able to customise faster than many of the traditional M2M offerings on the market. Our managed solution approach means we can be nimble to accommodate recent announcements such as that of Vodacom,” says Snijders.

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense for app

DStv Now app expands, FNB gets Snapchat lens, Spotify offers data saver mode, in SEAN BACHER’s apps roundup

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack worked

To win a set of three Fortnite Funko Pop Figurines, click here.

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