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Prepaid data meets IoT

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Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid SIMs should be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age, not just an end-user solution, writes HEIN KOEN, co-founder of Flickswitch.

Data traffic is expected to see an almost ten-fold increase by 2019, due to the growing range of new services and applications. However, while the GSMA Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2015 report projects that machine-to-machine connections (M2M) in the region will reach 30 million by 2020, difficult economic conditions mean that enterprises using this technology remain under pressure to reduce their mobile data expenditure.

With the need to tighten budgets and a push to be more efficient, enterprises are re-examining their mobile data expenditure, prepaid offers a perfect alternative.

The age of enterprise prepaid is here

Gone are the days when traditional corporate accounts are the go-to product. With the continuous expansion of data requirements in a digital world, decision-makers are considering all avenues. Prepaid SIMs should form an integral part of this discussion.

Prepaid is often viewed as something only consumers in developing markets use, and while this might have been true a few years ago, the reality is quite different. It presents businesses of all sizes across industry sectors with a feasible data management solution.

We have been doubling the number of prepaid SIMs we manage in the market year on year, across sectors including retail, asset tracking, agriculture, insurance, and media. Prepaid solutions cut out potential bill-shock as users (and devices) can only use the amount of data that gets loaded. With lower risk and ultimate budget control, prepaid solutions have in many cases become the platform of choice.

Furthermore, it is more than just an end-user solution. Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid provides even further impetus for change.

The 2015 Vodafone M2M Barometer Report reveals that 35 percent of South African companies surveyed have implemented M2M projects, with 26 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months. 

Additionally, those companies who have adopted M2M technologies have already experienced a significant return on investment.

Those businesses who have embraced M2M are also seeing the benefits that prepaid provides them in the space. While it helps alleviate the burden of deploying SIMs to field workers and M2M-enabled devices, it needs to be managed effectively and there are management tools available that enable companies to better manage the prepaid SIMs they have in circulation.

Controlling everything from per-SIM data limits, to easily allowing those SIMs in use to be topped up if need be, the age of enterprise prepaid is here. By working with tools and partners who can help them manage their SIMs, enterprises are now in a position to be able to adjust to organisational requirements quicker than in the past.

Prepaid SIMs should therefore be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age. Its low risk and cost effectiveness, linked to the ability to manage, make it a great business differentiator.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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