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Samsung Pay goes official in SA

Samsung has launched its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, in South Africa. It is now available in 24 markets worldwide, making the mobile wallet app the most widely accepted mobile payment platform.

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It enables users to make mobile payments using both MST (mag-stripe technology) and NFC (near-field communications). The first of its kind in Africa, it features the benefits of both a physical and mobile wallet to make in-store purchases safer and simpler.

Samsung Pay gives users full control of their digital payment journey by ensuring all transactions are secure and authenticated by the user,” the company stated. “Featuring Samsung’s defence-grade Samsung Knox security platform and biometric authentication through iris or fingerprint scanning, users can have peace of mind that their personal payment information is safe. Additionally, tokenization ensures that a user’s actual card information is never exposed during a transaction, making every payment more secure.”

Samsung Pay is currently available for Absa and Standard Bank customers with supported Mastercard and Visa payment cards. Avios credit cards, British Airways credit cards and Virgin Money cards are also supported. Samsung Pay also supports the ability to load loyalty cards.

“Samsung Pay works almost anywhere you can swipe, insert or tap a card, so as the first country in Africa to implement this, we are hugely excited about how it’s going to transform our customers’ lives”, says Craige Fleischer, Vice President of Integrated Mobility for Samsung South Africa. “Samsung Pay is committed to driving the mobile wallet movement in Africa, and this launch furthers Samsung’s dedication to delivering innovative services to consumers everywhere.”.

While cash might not be dead, and cards still dominate the payments landscape, the world of contactless payments is evolving faster than ever before. The way consumers make payments is changing faster than any area of financial services, impacted by rapid changes in digital technology, competitive forces and consumer demands.

Tshipi Alexander, Head of Consumer Issuing at Absa Retail and Business Banking, says, “Making a payment has become so much more than just making a transaction and is now also about the experience. Therefore, many of the developments in financial technology we have introduced over the past few years have been about making the buying process quicker and more convenient. The arrival of Samsung Pay now gives Absa customers even more choice on how they can make payments. It will allow them to make simple, quick and highly secure payments with their Samsung phone when purchasing goods at most retailers on both contactless and non-contactless terminals where they currently use their Absa cards – without ever having to get their card from their wallet,”

Says Ethel Nyembe, Standard Bank SA Head of Card Issuing, “We want to make sure that Standard Bank’s payment solutions become the preferred choice for digital experiences – whether it be traditional cards, virtual cards, tap to pay, or Samsung Pay. Customers retain their plastic cards, but we are making sure that people who want to go beyond traditional payment methods can now participate in an exciting mobile payments world, which is getting bigger every day.”

To start using Samsung Pay, Samsung users must upgrade to the latest software version for eligible Samsung Galaxy smartphones, download the Samsung Pay app from the Google Play store, register or log in to their Samsung account, select a preferred method of verification by fingerprint, iris scan or PIN, scan a debit, credit or cheque card with the camera, and verify the card details.

To make payments, users launch the Samsung Pay app by swiping up from the home screen or lock screen, authenticate with their iris, fingerprint or PIN, then tap or hold their Samsung device close to the payment terminal. Because Samsung Pay works on both MST and NFC point of sales terminals, vendors do not need to change their current point of sale machines to accommodate this technology.

Mark Elliott, Division President at Mastercard, Southern Africa, says, “We have been a pioneer of mobile commerce innovation for years and are excited to work with Samsung to deliver new frictionless payment options to consumers, in turn helping to accelerate the adoption of digital payments in South Africa. Every Samsung Pay transaction made with Mastercard is highly secure. A critical part of this is our ability to tokenise cardholder details, where a ‘token’ and not a real card number is provided to the shop, offering both consumers and retailers all the safety benefits and guarantees of a transaction made with a physical card.”

Geraldine Mitchley, Head of Digital Solutions for Visa in Sub Saharan Africa, commented: “We are thrilled to expand mobile payment options for Visa cardholders in South Africa. Today’s launch of Samsung Pay gives Visa cardholders a mobile payment solution that is further strengthened by the security of Visa Token Service technology and which enables safe and easy contactless in-store payments with their Samsung mobile. Considering the number of smart phone users in South Africa is expected to reach over 25 million by 2022, we are seeing that the phone is the one item people always have with them and Visa supports payment solutions that fit people’s changing lifestyles.”

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Here is 2019’s tech

From AI to flexible displays, this is the tech that will shape 2019, writes CY KIM, MD of LG SA

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2018 was incredibly exciting for the technology sector which has seen myriad advancements. These include the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) being established, robots helping around the house and consumer electronic innovations such as TVs that are so thin, they might be mistaken for windows, or paintings.

2019 promises to be another significant year as people’s attitudes are changing and technology becomes embedded in our lives. Smart electronics manufacturers will ensure their plans for the future match evolving consumer needs with suitable technology.

We take a look at the biggest innovations for 2019 from AI to lightning-fast internet speeds and flexible viewing surfaces, and we shed some light on how these evolving technologies will impact on how we live and work.

AI will come of age

AI has experienced a marked increase in investments and according to Forbes, 80% of enterprises are investing in AI while 30% are planning to expand their AI investments in the next three years. It’s estimated that during 2017, venture, corporate and seed investors put about $3.6-billion into AI and machine learning companies.

This investment trend has given rise to innovation in deep learning products that have the potential to change the world for the better.

Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its consumer benefits weren’t visible until recently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to really take off and become a necessity, not just in the home, but in every facet of our lives.

The potential of AI is endless as this technology goes into everything from small watches to cars and even gigantic, connected smart cities. AI is also starting to find its way into TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, mobile phones and even air cons as products adapt to human behaviour.

Lightning-fast internet speeds

Faster internet speeds enable quicker response times for business tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will increase the efficiency of workers and will provide reliable communication tools for companies that rely on remote workers.

Given that the so-called gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, the expectation is that the evolving workforce will contain a higher percentage of employees, or contractors who do not work in a central office.

5G has the potential to change the world the way the internet did a few decades ago. The fifth generation of wireless technology will take internet connectivity to a new level as the internet of things (IoT), will bring about the potential for everything to be connected to everything.

However, 5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It will create new possibilities in numerous sectors, including medicine, transportation and manufacturing.

A smarter world through IoT and AI isn’t possible without 5G’s speed and capacity as the system is able to carry large numbers of connections simultaneously, and is therefore crucial to the development of smart cities, autonomous cars and smart homes.

Life-enriching smart technology

Much like technological innovations, consumer habits and preferences are changing drastically when it comes to home appliances and particularly, home entertainment.

Most consumers believe that advancements in home entertainment tech is life-enriching and that their life is better with the latest tech at their fingertips as it allows them to stay indoors and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

The value of home entertainment tech lies in how it allows loved ones to share experiences, thereby bringing them closer together, particularly during big events such as major sporting events and holiday celebrations.

The potential of flexible viewing surfaces will not only change home entertainment, but also marketing techniques in shopping malls, city centres and shop fronts. With the ability to curve around any environment, this technology creates the perfect platform for signage and consumer engagement that stands out from the crowd.

LG Electronics is an established market leader in innovation and has already started to incorporate these futuristic technologies into its products, which are designed to make consumers lives more convenient. We will continue to release amazing products that utilise smart tech to connect with consumers while staying ahead of the evolutionary curve.

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AI will power IoT

A simple gesture. A world built from accessible assets that drive human convenience and interaction. This is the future that’s powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), two of the planet’s hottest topic trends right now for a very good reason. They work, says PHATHIZWE MALINGA, managing director of SqwidNet.

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They are also the fuel driving digital transformation in 2019. These are the technologies revolutionising performance, process and productivity. They are also transforming industry challenges across agriculture, retail, health and the public sector and are set to continue on this path well into 2019.

IoT has become the central nervous system of technology, allowing users to make intelligent decisions without feeling overwhelmed by choice or technology. Its ability to make life easier on every level – business, consumer, public sector – is the next step of the IoT evolution as it improves quality of life using AI and machine learning to analyse past behaviour and the insights it gleans to change the future.

This is the vision of the perfect IoT and AI future. The two technologies so intertwined and connected that they are influencing one another’s growth, development and adoption. IoT provides the ability to generate data from the changing circumstances of an asset and the infrastructure required to transport that data to where it can be accessed and analysed. Considering the sheer volume of data generated, it is impossible for a human being to analyse it at the speed required for real-time decision making. And this is why AI has become so important.

Today, it is possible to write code that can read the data generated by IoT and identify meaningful patterns at the right speed. This code can also be written in such a way that it can learn from the results it found the last time it ran. It is code that can learn, an algorithm that can self-educate. In this way, AI requires the power of IoT to generate the data it needs to learn and IoT needs AI to ensure that this data can be made meaningful, in time.

Over the next six to 12 months, it is very likely that the potential of IoT will see numerous small players emerge across all industries. They will be focused on servicing those who have yet to experience the full benefits of IoT and they will use technology to deliver solutions that are just ‘good enough’. This could potentially see the more established players being disrupted but most will likely be using the same technology to innovate and to create solutions that don’t just meet customer expectations but transcend them.  Of course, there will be some companies that will remain complacent and they will be the ones battling for customer attention out on the IoT playing field with the small, fresh players.

While on the topic of the customer, the next year is likely to introduce a lot more variety and scalability. The consistent drop in the cost of technology will allow for more choice in solution and capability and this will have a knock-on effect with regards to quality of life and the choices customers make when it comes to solution and service provider.

On the business frontier, the growth of IoT and AI offer an interesting bouquet of choices and opportunities. They allow for investment into solutions that generate better insights that, in turn, generate better products and services. Organisations that ignore this potential or think they can sidle on past what IoT and AI bring to the business are likely to be the ones that are left behind. It’s a cliché for a reason. A single look back at the companies that have emerged as big players in industries previously perceived as impenetrable proves the point. Innovation isn’t optional, it’s an essential part of business DNA and both IoT and AI are critical parts of the ability to innovate at speed, with relevance, and on time.

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