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Shyft named App of the Year

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Shyft has been named overall winner of this year’s MTN Business App of the Year Awards.

Shyft was created for Standard Bank to allow customers to handle all their forex needs from their phone, with no need to visit the bank. Customers are able to purchase and store forex (USD, GBP, EUR, AUSD), transfer funds overseas, order multi-currency physical travel cards, and create virtual cards that can be used for international online shopping, all from a mobile device.

The MTN Business App of the Year Awards sees both small businesses and large corporates converging, and working together for the greater good of society.  It also sees revolutionary solutions being developed and presented by people from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds.  It’s all about connecting people who can provide real solutions to the real-life challenges cutting across society.

Category winners were:

  • Best Enterprise Solution: TransUnion 1Check

For years, TransUnion’s printed Autodealer Guide has been a trusted source of vehicle and driver information for vehicle dealers, equipping them with invaluable data for making vehicle trading and risk decisions. However, given the move towards mobile, escalating printing costs and the changing business environment, TransUnion identified a need in the market for a low cost, real-time, easy-to-use mobile management tool which not only reduced high printing costs, but closed the gap between fluctuating market values and monthly publishing lead time of their book. In addition, the software provides the financial industry and insurance providers with real time, up-to-date data for vehicle and insurance decisions via web services or via the app.

  • Best Consumer Solution: OrderIN

OrderIn is a food delivery app. Users are able to order meals via the app, and have their meals delivered in minutes. They can also order ahead and collect or pay in person.

  • Best Incubated Solution: EcoSlips

EcoSlips converts ordinary paper slips into digital advertisements that pop up on consumer cell phones. Retailers are able to link their point-of-sale systems to EcoSlips and send transaction slips digitally from any pay point to consumer cell phones. Paper slip waste is reduced and a new advertising platform provides opportunities to grow any business in the retail sector.

  • Most Innovative Solution: InterGreatMe

InterGreatMe is an identity management platform, providing users with control of their identities across financial services, telecomunications, insurance and credit providing companies. The platform also allows businesses to comply with FICA, RICA, NCA and POPI laws.

  • Best Breakthrough Developer: Zulzi

An on-demand delivery platform for anything around the consumer’s area. Zulzi is an online digital mall which links the consumer up with a personal shopper who will deliver to the customer within an hour. Lunch, dinner, groceries, pharmaceuticals or anything else can be ordered.

  • Best South African App: Hey Jude

Hey Jude is a real human assistant that lives on your smartphone. Whatever you need, Jude is there to assist you, be it booking restaurants, organising tradesmen or finding information – you name it, Hey Jude does it.

“As a leading telecommunications company, we are always mindful of how technology can foster entrepreneurship, drive economic growth and be leveraged as an enabler for myriad industries,” said Mandisa Ntloko, general manager of Enterprise Marketing at MTN Business SA.

“We are proud of the strides the initiative has made in profiling the winning apps and transforming them into thriving and sustainable businesses.”

This year, new categories were introduced in line with the evolving technology landscape. The inaugural winners and those recognised in these categories were:

‘Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)’ Solution

Two apps and the women responsible for developing them were recognised in this category.

The ORU Social solution is a multi-purpose social network platform tailored for SMEs with great professional appeal. It allows users to make new connections, share videos and updates, advertise on the platform, and includes a feature to create groups.  There is also and on-line conferencing facility, and it allows a group to access the same presentations and videos, and more.

TouchSA is all about connecting SMEs with opportunities locally and internationally. With Trade and Industry alliances in international countries, the app is a great platform for South Africa’s small unknown businesses.

  • Best Gaming Solution: Pick ‘n Pay’s Super Animals 2

This solution allows users to meet the all new South African Super Animals, brought to you by Pick n Pay! Gamers can keep track of their South African Super Animals cards, unlock new badges and earn new rewards as their collections grow. Users can also watch the animals come to life with movement and sound. Fun for animal-lovers of any age.

  • Best Agriculture Solution: The TreeApp South Africa

Trees are a central component of virtually every ecological niche in our country, as well as being a life force in our cities and in our own gardens. But sadly, trees are not as easy to get to know as other natural species like birds and mammals. Botany is complicated, but TheTreeApp has found ways of utilising simple English and straight forward visible attributes that anyone can use as search criteria.

  • Best Health Solution: WatIf Health Portal

This portal is a new and inventive way of delivering healthcare to the man on the street. A disease management solution designed for ordinary people, it requires input of basic clinical data from patients, and then processes it through an interactive medical knowledge system that is a part of WatIf artificial intelligence.

  • Best Education Solution: Awethu Project

The Awethu Project App is a mobile business tool aimed at educating one million people in developing economies on how to start and grow a business.  The primary objective is to stimulate job creation through entrepreneurship.

  • Best Financial Solution: Shyft for Standard Bank

Named as the overall winner of the MTN Business App of the Year Awards.

This year more than 48 000 votes were cast in the People’s Choice category.  South Africa’s favourite app was named as Zulzi.

Since its inception, the MTN Business App of the Year Awards has profiled a number of apps that are commonly used today. These include SnapScan, the payment app that emerged as the overall winner in 2013; WumDrop, an on-demand delivery start-up that scooped the Best Enterprise App and was the Best Overall App in 2015; LIVE Inspect, the app that allows the insurance industry to digitally scan a vehicle’s disc to trace its full history, accident history, and overall condition before it is on-boarded by an insurance company; and last year’s winner, Domestly, an app that makes it easier to browse, book and pay a cleaner, in addition to enabling the cleaner to manage bookings, money and directions to bookings. Domestly created 600 sustainable jobs in the first six months of going live.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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