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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: Crisp sound from a beautiful docking station

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In this week’s edition of Something on the Side, SEAN BACHER introduces the Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock, a clock that is actually a safe, the Limited Edition Nike+ SportWatch GPS, the Gammatek BoostCase Hybrid and the FLD, a tablet carry bag that really does protect your tablet.

Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock

The Marantz Consolette Premium Speaker Dock offers various networking options that allow for wireless streaming from just about any tablet, smartphone or computer. It also has a built-in iPod dock and USB and auxiliary line-in. The speaker offers 150 watts of sound, which is delivered through individual woofers, tweeters and mid-tone speakers. Six Internet radio presets allow you to listen to music even when you don’t have a music device present.

Expect to pay: R16 000 Stockists: Contact HFX Systems on 011 907 9092, who will put you in contact with your nearest dealer.

Clock Safe

Got something to hide? Consider this nifty location for your secret stash. The normal working clock face of this inconspicuous hideout conceals a generous hollow space in which to keep private or valuable belongings. Powered by 1 AA battery, the lightweight unit features 3 compartments in the camouflaged chamber and 3 peg holes at the rear for secure wall hanging.

Expect to pay: R360

Stockists: Order online from www.mantality.co.za

Limited Edition Nike+ SportWatch GPS

The Limited Edition Nike+ SportsWatch GPS uses a standard LCD display and TomTom GPS functionality to monitor your pace, time and location. It also tracks and records your heart rate and calories burned. These details can then be synchronised with an iPhone or iPad, where a detailed history is given and daily goals can be set. Logging onto the Nike+ website allows you to compare your statistics with friends and, if you really have to (but then you¡¯re a social spammer), you can post your daily data to Twitter or Facebook.

Expect to pay: R1 899, but can be bought with eBucks.

Stockists: Visit www.ebucks.co.za to place your order.

FLD 10¡± tablet carry bag

Using a sleeve for your tablet offers some protection against scratches and minor bumps. But what happens when the bundle slips out of your hand and crashes onto concrete? Chances are you will end up with a cracked screen. Bring on the FLD 10¡± tablet carry bag. The bag is made from water-resistant nylon, which is reinforced with a PVC backing, making it durable and able to protect your tablet when it hits the ground. The bag is also easy to carry as it has a handle and a detachable shoulder strap. Cables and chargers can also be stowed in the two separate compartments.

Expect to pay: R499 for the 10¡± tablet bag. Larger sizes are available for Ultrabooks and very small notebooks.

Stockists: Visit www.fldproducts.co.za to find a retailer closest to you.

Gammatek BoostCase Hybrid

Although the iPhone 4 is easy to use and looks great, it does have a flaw ¨C its battery life. Or should we say, lack thereof. Numerous third-party accessories are available to extend the iPhone¡¯s battery and, although they do a good job, they ruin the sexy iPhone looks. The BoostCase Hybrid from Gammatek increases battery life, protects the phone from everyday bumps and scratches, all the while still keeping the iPhone looking like an iPhone.

It is available in a range of colours and includes an extended 1 900mAh battery that charges the iPhone¡¯s battery when it starts running low. Admittedly, the iPhone will be slightly bulkier ¨C but it is a small price to pay for an iPhone with a battery that will last twice as long.

Expect to pay: R799. Different coloured cases retail for R149.

Availability: Visit www.gammatek.co.za for a stockist in your area

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AppDate: Short-term insurance on the go

In this week’s app round up, SEAN BACHER highlights Liberty’s short-term insurance app, FNB’s flight booking service, MTN’s child literacy app, Namola Plus and FutureTV’s What’s New Channel.

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Liberty Short-term Insurance

The latest Liberty Short-term Insurance app allows its clients to engage with the group on their own terms, thanks to a newly developed chatbot which they can use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Customers can obtain quotes for the short-term insurance offerings, conclude the policy initiation process, and access emergency assistance through the app. An SOS button can also arrange an Uber drive home in the event of an accident, or dispatch emergency support if needed.

Young drivers will be glad to hear that Liberty has used technology to change the status quo when analysing their driving. Traditionally, younger people who are looking for short-term insurance have been penalised as a result of preconceptions about their behaviour patterns on the road. However, the app is able to monitor diving habits and quote accordingly.

The rewards for good driving include premiums discounted by as much as 30%, and Uber vouchers worth up to R400 a year. The assessment can be conducted annually in order to qualify for further discounts.

Platform: Android, iOS or desktop

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists. Visit the Liberty website here for downloading instructions.

FNB with flight booking service

FNB app users can now book domestic and international flights using their eBucks that they have accumulated by swiping their credit card when making purchases.

According to the bank, this is far more secure than using older methods, where people would have to divulge their credit card details to third parties or websites, leaving them open to fraud and scams.

The travel feature expands the suite of services under the eBucks tab, which includes Shop on App, latest offers, complimentary lounge visits, registering for the Entertainer App discounts and a guide on how customers can earn more eBucks.

FNB & RMB Private Bank customers can expect discounts of up to 40% off on domestic and international flights. They will also have the ability to manage bookings, view their discounts and maintain family profiles on the app.

To access and start using Flights on app, customers must have an existing eBucks account and have the latest version of the FNB or RMB Private Bank app.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit FNB here for downloading instructions.

MTN’s Feed the Monster literacy app

With calls growing louder for government, corporates and all citizens to step up to help solve the growing literacy crisis, the MTN SA Foundation has partnered with Bellavista S.H.A.R.E. to pilot a child literacy app designed to enhance reading fluency and comprehension.

The Feed the Monster app helps make learning the fundamentals of reading more meaningful and fun, while reaching out to a wide community. In recognition of the importance of using the mother tongue to foster literacy at foundation level, MTN has localised the solution into all 11 official languages in South Africa.

The app addresses all aspects of reading, and bridges the gap between literacy skills and fluent reading.

It is targeted at readers between the ages of six and eight and works by matching letters with sounds, giving kids the ability to learn that sounds combined together make words, and words together make sentences that carry meaning.

Platform: Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here.

Namola Plus

Namola has extended its personal safety app with the launch of Namola Plus.

Namola Plus comes from people asking: “What if I can’t get to my phone in an emergency?” Or “What if I don’t have time to press the panic button in the Namola app?”

With Namola Plus, users get the same Namola experience, but with the following added benefits:

· Armed Response

· Private Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

This is available by subscribing to Namola Plus and continuing to use the Namola app on a phone.

In addition, users can opt for the Namola Panic Tracker with built-in GPS and SIM — no phone needed. The Namola Panic Tracker comes with all of the benefits of Plus, in a physical button you can keep in your pocket, wear around your neck, or put on your keychain. When you press the panic button, the company will attempt to call back on the device itself.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: Namola Plus costs R49 per month, with the Namola Panic Tracker costing R1 399 once-off and a R79 per month subscription

Stockists: Download the app here and then open Namola and tap on the Shop at the bottom. Pick one of the two options (app-only or standalone device). And complete check-out.

What’s New channel

Future TV has released the What’s New channel, which is said to be the world’s first on demand television streaming guide, offering viewers a guide to the top-rated series, movies and music available for streaming on television.

The What’s New Channel came about due to the frustration of having limited time yet so much to watch and not being able to recall which show is where. This problem just escalates over time as more streaming channels become available.

The app solves the problem by showcasing all new top-rated content that is launched daily, with a description of the programme; only content that has received a high rating score is included. Viewers can also preview the content by playing the trailer through the app and can play the show directly if they have a subscription to the streaming service.

What’s New Channel is currently available on Roku and Roku TV, with Apple and Smart TV versions being developed. The guide also showcases free-to-stream movies and series from services like Pluto TV and Sony Crackle.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Download What’s new Channel by clicking here.

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AppDate: Whistleblowing with confidence

In his latest app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights ExposeIT, OceansCam, Standard Bank’s My360, Samsung Pay on Galaxy A70 and A9 and WorldRemit.

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ExposeIT

EOH has announced the internal launch of the ExposeIT app, a whistleblowing tool that provides a secure, completely anonymous and confidential platform to employees who may be victims of, or bear witness to wrongdoings of any kind within their organisation.

The development of the app came about after Pretoria-based fraud-prevention experts XTND came across an app called Bravely, which was designed to combat bullying at schools by allowing children to anonymously report bullying incidents to authorities. XTND saw the potential and signed an agreement with Bravely’s developers, ZappApp, to adapt the app for use in an organisational context as a tool to enable robust cases to be constructed on whistleblower evidence, without the anonymity of the whistleblower becoming compromised.

Identification information isn’t stored anywhere on the system, meaning that even if the app is somehow hacked, whistleblower identities will not be compromised. It is not only difficult to establish the identity of a whistleblower using the app; it’s impossible. The ExposeIT App also allows users to upload and securely send video files, photos, documents or any other form of evidence available to the whistleblower. This allows a case to be built that stands a high chance of leading to convictions or disciplinary action.

All information collected via the ExposeIT App is reviewed by an independent law firm, categorised, recorded and stored for further analysis. Evidence and investigative actions are automatically time and date stamped for compliance and reference purposes, ensuring that no complaint is neglected or ignored.

Platform: Accessible through devices with an up-to-date Internet browser

Expect to pay: Details were not available at the time of publishing.

Stockists: ExposeIT is still only available to EOH employees but is set to be made available to the public in the coming months.

OceansCam

The JET8 Foundation has partnered with The Lewis Pugh Foundation to develop the first social commerce mobile application focused on saving the oceans.  

The OceansCam app incorporates JET8’s FinTech technology to reward users for in-app engagement through JETPoints – a social currency with which users can make contributions to the The Lewis Pugh Foundation.

OceansCam lets one share photos to encourage friends to support ocean protection. It’s message: “So next time you pick up a piece of plastic on a beach, find an alternative for single use plastic, or have a memorable ocean encounter, share it on OceansCam and spread the love!”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download the app here.

Click here to read about Standard Bank’s insurance app, Samsung Pay on the Galaxy A series, and a money transfer app for international business payments.

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