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Standard Bank digital cash flow hits R85bn

Standard Bank says its customers have embraced its enhanced digital capability and platforms.

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Standard Bank has announced that its customers recorded more than 130 million digital transactions between January and September 2018 on the bank’s electronic platforms.  

The transactions represent an average monthly rand value of R85 billion being processed through the bank’s digital channels,  which includes online Bankingmobile app and USSD transacting platforms. This represents a 7.9% year-on-year increase in the rand value being processed on these channels.

The bank says the growth in transaction volumes and rand value processed can be attributed to:

  • “simplified access to our platforms,
  • “increased efficiency and usability through system optimisation,
  • enhanced security protocol,
  • “digital activity incentives and continuous enhancement of our Digital Channel feature set through customer driven design practice;
  • “Convenience and 24/7 access.”

Standard Bank’s digital wallet, Instant Money, is now responsible for processing about seven million of the transactions, amounting to R5.5 billion annually.  Instant Money allows clients to send cash quickly and safely to anyone in SA with a cellphone number, for PIN-controlled cardless collection at ATMs or participating retail partners.

“We have invested significant effort in technology over the last few years upgrading the entire core banking system. This has allowed for improved real time processing of transactions as well as faster service levels,” says Head: Digital Banking, eCommerce and Moonshots at Standard Bank, Theo Skosana.

For 2018, the bank has seen a monthly average of 40 000 new digital registrations. This equates to over 1250 new daily registrations on the Internet Banking and Mobile app. This adoption rate is an encouraging sign of the transition from traditional to Digital transactional banking.

“In a country where the vast majority of people have banked in-branch for decades we are empowering people with digital banking,” says Skosana.

“While cost of digital access is still high, smartphones and their proliferation in the market has made access easier with customers demanding more from their devices.  We have had to react with an improved offering like banking without data and banking on the go.”

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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