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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: Automated GPS logbook

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In the first edition of Something on the Side for 2013, SEAN BACHER looks at the LG Magic Remote, Beats by Dr Dre. Headphones, a SARS-compliant GPS Log Book and the newly released Appening app. He also plays around with the Griffin Helo RC Helicopter.

GPS Log Book

The GPS Log Book is a small, wireless device that plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car and records the details of every trip, using GPS technology, intelligent logging software and a substantial logging memory. After a few trips, just plug it into your computer and the trips can be viewed using Google Maps, categorised and annotated with comments, resulting in a quick, detailed and SARS-compliant tax logbook that is available online at any time.

Expect to pay: R850

Stockists: Visit www.gpslogbook.co.za to order one.

LG Magic Remote

The Magic Remote lets you control your Smart TV using voice commands, hand gestures or by simply pointing it at the TV. The Magic Remote can also be set up to control other devices such as DVD players, set-top boxes and surround sound systems. The point feature will set it operate certain games consoles.

Expect to pay: R1 400

Stockists: Visit www.lg.co.za for your closest dealer.

Beats by Dr Dre. Executive headphones

Beats Executive headphones are targeted at the businessperson on the move. The battery-powered noise cancellation is powerful enough to reduce a jet engine to a whisper and deliver music without outside interruption. The automatic on/off feature powers the headphones down when you take them off. Put them back on, and the music starts up again. The speakers pivot up to 90 degrees for a comfortable fit without wear-fatigue. But luxury does come at a price.

Expect to pay: R4 000

Stockists: Visit www.phoenixsoftware.co.za for a stockist in your area.

Appening mobile app The Appening app is a South African location-enabled mobile app that lets you search for entertainment and other events like markets and marathons in your area based on genre, proximity, event name or performers. Users can search for events happening right now or at a scheduled time and date, and add them to a calendar. They can then share events or their calendar with friends and colleagues also using the Appening app.

Expect to pay: Appening is a free download. Stockists: Available from the Apple iStore, Google Play and the BlackBerry App World. Visit www.appening.com for more information.

Griffin Helo RC Helicopter

Controlling the Griffin RC Helicopter is like playing a game on your iPhone or iPod. The difference is that, instead of controlling a virtual helicopter on the screen, you are controlling a real miniature chopper. It reacts to wind resistance, objects and gravity much like a real one would. Download the app from the iStore, charge up the chopper via a USB cable, and you are ready to go.

Stockists: Most reputable electronic retail outlets across South Africa.

Expect to pay: R699

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Appdate: Volvo on call, Samsung on Pay

In this week’s app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights Volvo on Call, Money Transfer with Samsung Pay, CharOn, Vodacom Emergency Service App and Malaicha.

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Volvo on Call

Volvo On Call (VOC), an app-based service that helps motorists to communicate with their cars, has arrived in South Africa.

It facilitates a multitude of tasks: with Volvo On Call, motorists can remotely lock or unlock the doors to their car, check the fuel level from their office desk, and cool or heat their car before they get it – all via smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or desktop.

With Volvo On Call a car becomes more than just a means of travel. It becomes a personal assistant. It can tell you about the best coffee spots in town and send the destination to your car’s navigation system. It knows when you have appointments, where they are, and how to get you there.

South African motorists will particularly appreciate the associated safety and security benefits. Motorists who forget to lock their car will get a notification message. Volvo On Call automatically contacts the emergency services if you are involved in an accident and tells them where you are.

Other capabilities of Volvo On Call include the ability to provide an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, which can be accessed by everyone in the car. 

The app can also show the location of the car on a high-definition map with directions, should you forget where you parked it in a car park.

Volvo On Call is a standard feature in South Africa with effect from model year 2020 Volvo derivatives. It is free of charge for five years. Thereafter, it can be extended for a small fee. 

Drivers of vehicles other than Volvos can download the app for free and run it in demo mode.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free service for five years there after it needs to be paid for.

Stockists: Download the iOS version here and the Android version here.

Money Transfer with Samsung Pay

Finablr, a global platform for payments, and Samsung Electronics America, have introduced a Money Transfer feature in Samsung Pay. This new in-app international money transfer service, a first of its kind in the US, offers users seamless and secure cross-border payments to 47 countries through a variety of payout methods, within Samsung’s native mobile wallet. The service combines Samsung Pay’s convenience, scale and security with Finablr’s international reach, and 40 years of cross-border payment expertise to put mobile payments into the hands of millions of consumers.

Money Transfer promises the following benefits:

  • Convenience – The service gives users the ability to send money seamlessly to their recipients through a variety of digital and physical payout methods in 47 countries, with just a few taps on their phone. Consumers simply open the Samsung Pay app and the tools are right at their fingertips.
  • Transparency – With this service, all fees and exchange rates are included upfront so users know how much they will pay before securely transferring funds.
  • Security – Finablr’s network of trusted brands, including Travelex, with its 40 years of experience in cross-border payments, and licensed by over 100 regulators globally, bring security, reliability and peace of mind to the Samsung Pay users of this feature, which uses tokenized credentials and is backed by Samsung Knox security.

Money Transfer in Samsung Pay is available now in the U.S. The service will be expanded to other markets in 2020.

Find out more about Money Transfer here: www.travelex.com/moneytransfer

CharOn app takes TADHack lead

duo #1632 have emerged as the winners of the 2019 edition of the TADHackJHB held at MTN’s head office in Fairland, Johannesburg, earlier this month. 

Their solution called CharOn, is a cell tower protection app, was their claim to the title.

The theme for the 2019 global TADHack was: “Localised and Contextualised – Battle of the Bots”. Participants in the TADhackJHB were required to develop technology solutions to address challenges facing communities in South African townships. #1632 pocketed the prize of $1000 (approximately R15,000) for their winning solution, CharOn, which allows individuals to report suspicious activity within the vicinity of the cell towers. If the app collects enough data of the same case being reported, authorities will be notified. 

More information about TADHackJHB as well as information about the CharOn app can be found here.  

Vodacom Emergency Service App 

 Vodacom has extended a helping hand through the launch of the Vodacom 112 Emergency Service App that enables persons with communication barriers like deafness, speech impairments and blindness to contact emergency services when they need help. 

The Emergency Service App enables deaf users to contact the ER24 emergency contact centre 24 hours, 365 days a year. Users can request emergency services  such as fire, police, sea rescue, traffic and ambulance services which could assist to save their own lives, the lives of loved ones and other people in need.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: In order to get the service, deaf users must download the Vodacom 112 Emergency Service App from the Google Playstore or Apple iStore and register their mobile number. Click here for more information.

Malaicha

A new app created by Hello Paisa makes it possible for Zimbabweans in South Africa to send essential goods and groceries back home.

For Zimbabweans who are far from home, ensuring that their family is fed and looked-after is one of their most fundamental goals. This is often easier said than done when faced with costly solutions, the potential for damaged goods and uncertainty of whether or not their groceries may even reach their final destination. Malaicha.com has changed the way for Zimbabweans to send groceries to their families.

Malaicha allow workers to provide the essentials for their families back home, and is designed to do so in a simple manner. Only three steps are required: a quick KYC onboarding, adding the recipient; shopping for goods and groceries, and finally making payment.

At the moment, Malaicha.com is available for same-day collection and free delivery in the following areas: Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the Malaicha.com website here for downloading instructions

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AppDate: Liberty brings learning channel to app

In this week’s app roundup, SEAN BACHER takes a look at TenFold, Uber ICEplus, KLM’s Travel Guide, MTN’s Supersonic, and Samsung Pay with Discovery Tab.

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TenFold

Liberty has partnered with the Mindset Network to deliver Maths and Physical Science education to learners across South Africa using a mobile app called TenFold Education. It offers educational content and extra learning material for learners in grades 10 to 12.

In the 1990s, millions of school children tuned into the Liberty Learning Channel to watch William Smith and other educators teach Maths and Physical Science in a studio, using a projector. While this format was relevant back then, the learning landscape today has completely evolved.

In addition to TenFold, a 60-minute interactive television show airs on DSTV Channel Mindset TV. It offers a full learning experience aligned to the CAPS curriculum, and is broadcast every day during school terms. The content on the TenFold App provides interactive nuggets of the same information, and houses hundreds of hours of instructional video resources, and exam style assessments.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download TenFold for Android hereand for iOS here.

Uber ICEplus

Using Uber safely starts with riders checking their ride details. But what happens when an accident or an incident happens on a trip? With safety being a number one priority for Uber, it has provided features to keep riders safe from before your trip starts to after it ends, ensuring transparency and traceability. One such feature is the in-app emergency button which is available to riders during trips in any safety-related incidents.

This feature, which is provided by ICEplus, a mobile panic button solution, can be found in Uber’s safety toolkit, making it easily accessible for riders on their home screen.

Where safety is compromised, riders can call for assistance directly from the Uber app by tapping the shield icon on the map. Once the in-app button has been activated, riders will be connected to ICEplus Incident Management Centre, where a consultant will assess the nature of the safety incident and either dispatch a third-party private security company or medical response team to the rider’s location. The ICEplus agent will stay on the line with riders until they are safe.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Accessible through through the Uber app which can be downloaded here

KLM’s Travel Guide

Alexa users can go in search of the KLM destination best suited to them using KLM’s Travel Guide. The app offers inspiration as well as personal advice in terms of flight duration, budget, travel dates and specifications, such as a “city trip” or “beach holiday”. 

Based on this information, KLM suggests the destination that best fulfils the passenger’s wishes, along with the ticket price and a short description. This KLM service is available on all speakers running the Alexa operating system, with or without a screen.

Platform: Available on any device using the Alexa OS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit KLM here for more information. 

Click here to read about MTN’s Supersonic fibre and Samsung Pay with Discover Tab

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