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Star Wars goes to Infinity

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Disney Interactive recently announced that the Star Wars universe will join Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel in Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits.

Disney Infinity 3.0 promises to deliver kids and families with a wider breadth of content and variety of gameplay than ever offered from Disney Infinity, including:

·         Three Star Wars Play Sets, one set in the timeline of Episodes I-III, the second set during the original trilogy, Episodes IV-VI, and the third available this winter based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

·         Additional Play Sets offering distinct gameplay and environments, including a Disney•Pixar Play Set based on the upcoming film Inside Out, and a Marvel Play Set featuring Hulkbuster Iron Man, Ultron, and other Marvel characters

·         A fully enhanced Toy Box with two new multiplayer Toy Box Expansion Games, Toy Box Speedway (kart racing) and Toy Box Takeover (action-adventure)

·         More figures of fan-favourite characters from across The Walt Disney Company, like Mickey and Minnie, Sam Flynn and Quorra from Tron: Legacy, Mulan and Olaf, among many others

Disney Infinity is the only game where fans can play with Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters together in one experience,” said James Pitaro, President, Disney Interactive.  “We worked closely with Lucasfilm to deliver an authentic Star Wars game experience, featuring some of the most iconic stories and characters from the past, present and future.”

Each of the Star Wars Play Sets offers distinct experiences, with varied gameplay, environments and characters.  The Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic Play Set takes place in the height of the Jedi’s powers, where players will use the Force and Lightsabers in epic battles and master their combat skills alongside Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Maul.  The Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire Play Set will take players on galaxy-spanning missions with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca and Darth Vader, piloting X-wing fighters or the Millennium Falcon to fight stormtroopers, or exploring and partaking in land-based missions on planets like Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor.  Additionally, fans will have the unique opportunity to play with all of the Star Wars characters in all of the Star Wars Play Sets.

Star Wars is a cross-generational franchise, and Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits creates an incredible opportunity for families and fans to relive their favourite Star Wars moments,” said John Blackburn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Infinity.  “With the addition of Star Wars, Inside Out and new Disney and Marvel characters, Disney Infinity 3.0 will be the most ambitious and diverse offering yet.”

Disney Infinity 3.0  will also introduce an all-new, 3-D Toy Box Hub that will make it easier for players to choose from a wider selection of gameplay experiences – including platform, racing, and farming simulation games.  Two new multiplayer Toy Box Expansion Games will bring action-adventure gameplay in Toy Box Takeover and kart racing in Toy Box Speedway, where kids and families can play with popular Disney, Disney•Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters together in a structured setting.

Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits is being developed by Avalanche Software in partnership with Ninja Theory, Sumo Digital, Studio Gobo and United Front Games, and will be available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Wii U system from Nintendo, PC and iOS and Android devices.

The Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Starter Pack will include the Disney Infinity Base and Disney Infinity 3.0 video game software, the Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic Play Set, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker character figures, and a web code card that unlocks content for PC and mobile devices.  Other Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Sets, figures, and Toy Box Expansion Games will be sold separately.

All figures and Power Discs from the previous editions of Disney Infinity will be compatible with Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition in the enhanced Toy Box and, for the first time, Power Discs will be sold in labeled franchise-specific packs of four.  Additional Disney, Disney•Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars figures and Play Sets will be announced in the coming months.

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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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