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SA Manufacturers fall behind in connectivity

Corporate digital divide holds back uptake, according to the latest report by World Wide Worx in partnership with Syspro.

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South African manufacturers have fallen behind the curve of rapid advances in connectivity that make advanced technologies possible, according to research findings revealed today by SYSPRO, in partnership with World Wide Worx.


This is a key finding of a new study entitled ‘The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2019’, which reveals that manufacturing enterprises typically use slower forms of connectivity than other enterprises in general – resulting in the need to use stopgaps to cross the corporate digital divide. 

The study, based on telephonic interviews with information technology (IT) decision makers at 400 large companies in South Africa, found that, while 63% of manufacturing enterprises regarded fibre-to-the-office as a key technology, this figure leaped to 74% for other industries. Furthermore, it showed rapid uptake of fibre connections by enterprises in general – but with the manufacturing sector lagging. 

“With one of our organisation’s key vertical focuses being that of manufacturing, it was surprising to see that manufacturers in the country prefer legacy forms of connectivity over the unprecedented opportunities that advanced forms of connectivity have proven to offer,” says Mark Wilson, Managing Director of SYSPRO Africa. “This has the potential to have a negative impact not only on productivity and overall output, but also on the abilities of these organisations to remain agile and competitive.”

The survey also revealed the continued importance of Wi-Fi – in particular with the emergence of mobile Wi-Fi devices. Almost half of all respondents, 47%, regard Wi-Fi in the office as important, with similar levels of use across industries. Mobile Wi-Fi is only regarded as important by 23% of respondents, but only 12% regard it as unimportant, indicating that it is beginning to fill the gap left by poor access to other forms of high-speed connectivity. 


Overall, voice communication remains the heart of the corporation, with landlines and basic cell phones being ranked the most important hardware devices by all respondents. However, this area also revealed a massive gap between manufacturers and the rest – with 73% of the former regarding each of these as important, versus 89% for other industries. 

“The research shows that connectivity has become important across all categories of activity, at the workstation, moving about the office environment, and beyond the office,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. 

“This is further emphasised by the fact that the laptop computer has become as important as the desktop machine in corporate South Africa – both are regarded as important by exactly two thirds of respondents. The importance level is the same across all industries, revealing the extent to which mobile productivity has become a pervasive need.” 

Further supporting this conclusion, 42% of respondents reported that employees were away from their desks, on average, around two to three times a day, probably taking their devices along with them to work on-the-go. 

“It’s no surprise that mobility continues to gain increasing prominence as a concept that the fourth industrial revolution has brought with it,” says Wilson. “This is further echoed by the fact that cloud collaboration was rated as important by 79% of companies, indicating the impact of ERP solutions in the cloud.”

Says Goldstuck: “As technology continues to evolve, we will almost certainly see a rise inadoption rate within crucial industries, as well as inthe opportunities that will present themselves fororganisations to transform.”

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The Outer Worlds creates a twist on lone hero RPGs

With The Outer Worlds being released just under a month ago, BRYAN TURNER played it extensively to shell out exactly what makes it so special.

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The Outer Worlds makes it difficult to turn the console off. It took a while to pinpoint exactly what makes it so more-ish. Eventually, it became clear that it’s not one aspect, but rather several facets that make this game great. We’ve separated this game into its parts.

It comes as no surprise that Obsidian Entertainment, the makers of Fallout New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Fallen Empire, was behind The Outer Worlds. It blends two distinct flavours of gaming – the chaos of Fallout with the intergalactic travel from Star Wars. This makes The Outer Worlds feel familiar but fresh at the same time.

At first, the game felt similar to the Fallout RPG series, particularly Fallout New Vegas, where the player is conveniently more powerful than the other players that exist in the world into which they venture. In Fallout, worlds are generally lawless, and players must navigate their character towards the alignment or “good or bad status” they want the player to be. The plot has scenarios that only a certain type of alignment can be, whether the character is the Restorer of Faith or the Architect of Doom.

The Outer Worlds follows a similar kind of style, but replaces the wasteland with a picture of the far future. Players start off as a passenger who gets unfrozen on a ship that holds a few of Earth’s brightest minds. The main campaign goal is to help unfreeze the other passengers. Instead, players are found in a hyper-capitalist world where workers are extremely disposable. Enormous companies go by names like “Auntie Cleos” but set extremely oppressive policies to keep their workers in line. From this, one can tell that dark humour is rife throughout this game.

These kinds of immersive RPGs, naturally, pack so many side quests into their world that it’s easy to forget the player’s main objective. These side quests are very reminiscent of the Fallout series, because they feature many ways of getting the job done, whether it be fighting, convincing or sneaking. One can even have companions, which present players with even more quest lines.

Not everything is a remix of other games. Companions have a direct effect on a character’s skill set, because the main characters are not always skilled in what players need. For example, we brought along Parvati in a quest where we needed more support with engineering skills, which is a skill we neglected to level up in the main character.

There’s also the ability to have a special combat skill, which becomes very handy in situations where there are many enemies around. Of course, it not only buys players time, but delivers more damage to opponents. Some special combat skills even stun non-targeted opponents, which really helps.

Gear and perks have also been designed from scratch, and it shows. It’s far more intuitive than we’ve seen in other RPGs so far and it makes for a much better experience that saves time on upgrading gear and perks so players can actually play the game.

I’m a huge fan of the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS, as Fallout players know it. The system allows players to target various limbs or parts of the opponent with precision aim, ensuring a better shot. While The Outer Worlds doesn’t use this, it features a slow-motion aiming system which can be considered an equivalent.

The travel system allows for travel from planet to planet, and they’re all distinctly mapped. While many are filled with enemies and marauders in empty wastelands, there are also major cities. The art style and careful attention to detail with the colour make this contrast distinguishable.

One of our biggest compliments is the completeness of this game. Many games have recently shipped glorified beta versions of their games because they’re pressed for time. The Outer Worlds, however, didn’t present a single bug within 20 hours of gameplay.

Overall, it’s a very enjoyable game, and fans of the Fallout, Star Wars RPGs, and Mass Effect series’ should definitely take a look at what The Outer Worlds has to offer.

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FNB takes shot at Bank Zero

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With expectation building for the launch of Bank Zero by legendary banker Michael Jordaan, his previous employer seems to have taken a strategic shot with the launch of its latest service. 

FNB has launched Easy Zero, a fully-fledged digital bank account with a card to allow customers to transact easily without paying a monthly fee. The mobile account was formerly known as eWallet eXtra.

The revamped digital account will now have a branded FNB bank card, providing customers with free card swipes, cost-effective transactional and ATM cash withdrawal fees. The card now gives customers more options to access their money. In addition, customers will also get free prepaid purchases and free cash deposits of up to R1,500 per month.

FNB Easy CEO Philani Potwana said: “We are aware of the day-to-day financial pressure that our consumers face, and Easy Zero is a direct response to their needs. The account is in line with our strategy to broaden financial inclusion to the unbanked and underbanked. We believe that the ability to operate the account digitally will allow customers to operate it at virtually no cost or minimal cost depending on transactional behaviour.

“We see Easy Zero being a digital bank account of choice for customers who do not have regular income or have limited banking needs. This is partly the reason debit orders are not allowed on the digital account as customers in this segment have limited debit orders. However, for those customers that have a need for debit orders they can still use our competitively priced Easy PAYU and Easy Smart Bundle accounts.”

Through Easy Zero, customers will be able to send money to anyone with a valid SA cellphone number, and skip the queues to pay people and accounts. Easy Zero account holders can also view their bank account balance and transaction history on their mobile phone at any time, from anywhere.

“The success of our digital account, with over 140,000 active customers, shows that anyone who owns a mobile phone can be banked in minutes using a mobile device,” says Potwana. “This showcases our ability to adapt to the ever-changing consumer landscape to cater for the needs of customers through platform innovation. ”

FNB is also offering Easy Zero digital account holders a toll-free number (0800 079 599) where easy customers can call for help on any of their banking needs. To open an Easy Zero account, dial *120*277# on a mobile phone and follow the prompts.

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