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Sci-finance comes to credit card

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Diners Club has brought the world of science fiction and finance together through the launch of the Diners Club Virtual Card.

The technologically-advanced and easy to use payment solution targeting travel buyers, travel management companies (TMCs) and suppliers makes card payments possible without needing a physical card.

Research conducted by the African Business Travel Association in 2014 revealed that the issues that keep travel buyers awake at night include governance and travel policy, technology advancements, information management, automation, and payments.

Diners Club Virtual Card offers benefits like data collection and reporting, reduced reliance on bill backs, and most importantly enhanced security for all players in the corporate travel industry.

Enforcing governance and travel policy is easily attainable by using Diners Club Virtual Card rather than an account or invoice system. Organisations that don’t issue corporate cards, such as public sector entities due to National Treasury regulations, often require travellers to pay for hotels and car hire using their personal cards, and then refund after a long and arduous expense management and reconciliation process.

For many years the corporate travel industry has been trying to design practical working solution to eliminate the financial challenges associated with the billing and reconciling of land arrangements.

The hotel, guesthouse and car rental invoices commonly referred to in the industry as “bill backs” have long presented a host of costly administration and reconciliation issues to suppliers, travel management companies and corporates.

By introducing a Virtual Card into the booking, authorization and settlement process for land arrangements, the Virtual Card is able to solve the persistent “bill back” problem using travel management and card solutions.

With Diners Club Virtual Card, the company policy can still be implemented and the traveller does not have to pay out of their own funds.  Travel buyers, in conjunction with their TMC, can ensure that travel spend will be capped and they will only incur pre-approved costs, in line with travel policy. This greatly reduces the chance of overspending and effects cost control through the elimination of the need for credit facilities.

Virtual Card Solutions also offer enriched data from the point of sale by providing third-level data, which is crucial in the reconciliation process. This impacts positively on the efficiency of reconciliation, matching of transactions, consolidating spend on the lodge card or corporate card, and of course, general reporting.

From a security perspective the dynamic nature of the Virtual Card’s account numbers greatly reduces the fraud risk posed by external activities.

Says Ebrahim Matthews, MD of Diners Club South Africa: “Much like we pioneered the virtual lodge card, Diners Club continues to provide new and innovative solutions in the corporate travel industry. The Virtual Card allows all players in the industry to better control their travel and entertainment spend and is a complete travel supplier payment solution that facilitates immediate supplier settlement, enabling cost-savings and improving cash flow.”

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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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