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South Africans reveal strong faith in tech

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Nearly 80% of South African Internet users with bank accounts think digital innovations have a positive impact on society – while only 5% think digital innovations are having a negative impact.

This is according to the findings from the Mastercard Impact of Innovation study, released on the sidelines of the Mastercard Innovation Forum 2016, which opened today in Budapest, Hungary with the participation of more than 500 attendees from Middle East and Africa, Central East Europe, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. 

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study surveyed 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East about their attitudes to digital technology. In South Africa, the study gathered data from over 1,000 internet users with bank accounts between the ages of 20 and 50.

Four out of five South African consumers also believe that digital services will be used by more people across more areas of life, with only 14% saying that digital services will remain the privilege of a minority in the future. They report that public education, public transport and public healthcare are the areas that should be prioritised for further digital innovation. On the other hand, digital solutions for networking or meeting people are considered to be overemphasized by more than a third.

The survey results also indicate that consumers who live in technologically less developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital innovation than in markets where it is readily available.

Western Europe has the largest ratio of those resistant to digital change (17%), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace new technology. More than a quarter in South Africa, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine call themselves ‘eager promoters’ of new technology.

While enthusiastic about innovation, South African consumers want security, especially when it comes to making payments. They unanimously agreed that bank account security is their absolute priority when it comes to digital payments, followed by the security of their personal data.

More than half of South African respondents (51%) said they would prefer to authenticate themselves with a fingerprint rather than a PIN when paying with a bank card. Although a low ratio claimed to use biometric authentication, more than two thirds consider these methods to be a safe way to make purchases.

“Consumers across South Africa seek faster, more secure and smarter methods of payment for an increasing array of transactions,” said Mark Elliott, Division President, Mastercard, South Africa. “As mobile technology and payments evolve, people expect technology to simplify the way they pay for goods and services. Putting identity verification at their fingertips makes it easier for consumers to complete secure transactions.”

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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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