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The ABC of GDPR for SA

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SA companies doing business with EU customers need to consider making changes to their data privacy and oversight processes to conform to new regulations being implemented next year.

South African companies doing business with European Union (EU) customers need to consider making changes to their data privacy, technology and oversight processes in the wake of new privacy rules. On 25 May 2018 new privacy rules formed by the EU will be implemented. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.

The new rules will apply to the ‘processing’ of ‘personal data’ by “controllers” and “processors” based in the EU, as well as those located outside of the EU if they provide services and goods to EU customers. The GDPR will also apply to all organisations processing and holding personal data of subjects residing within the EU.

“The GDPR will impact many South African and other organisations across the African continent,” Busisiwe Mathe, Risk Assurance Cyber and Privacy leader, PwC Southern Africa says. “Businesses that do not comply with the GDPR face a potential of up to 4% fine of global revenues, increasing the need for organisations to plan for and implement necessary changes to demonstrate good in the eyes of individuals and regulators.”

South African organisations are awaiting the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). The POPIA is likely to be fully enacted in South Africa in early 2019 and comments on POPIA draft regulations closed on 7 November 2017.

Once POPIA is fully enacted, responsible parties and operators in South Africa, processing personal information will have to comply with POPIA as well as potentially having to comply with the GDPR. The GDPR was introduced by the EU more than a year ago and organisations have been given less than two years to comply with them.

POPIA is South Africa’s first piece of comprehensive data protection legislation. It aims to give effect to the constitutional right to privacy by introducing measures whereby personal information processed by organisations is fair, responsible and conducted in a secure manner.

Mathe adds: “Compliance with POPIA will be a challenge for many organisations. The POPIA compliance journey will require organisations to consider many features within their organisation and strategic vision.” The GDPR and POPIA have many commonalities but also a number of differences, one of the most significant being that POPIA includes “juristic” (business) entities in the definition of personal information – this will significantly increase the scope of personal information and provide additional challenges to comply with POPIA.

“After May next year, EU companies that deal with SA can only do so if POPIA is in place or if the SA companies can satisfy their EU partner that they have adequate rules and policies in place regarding data protection.”

Rav Hayer, Financial Services GDPR Lead, PwC UK adds: “Organisations will have to provide clarity on how customer data is collected and stored. Any breaches of data must be communicated within 72 hours to the responsible regulator, wherever the breech occurred and the subjects reside. ”

The GDPR penalties can be up to 4% of an organisation’s global annual turnover whereas POPIA has a maximum R10 million fine or time behind bars.  GDPR penalties are much higher than POPIA. The GDPR penalties stand to hurt companies more financially than POPIA if they ignore them. The reputational damage and loss of customer trust are however important business imperatives to comply with POPIA regardless of the significantly lower fines.

In a recent survey conducted by PwC, nearly all of the respondents (92%) considered compliance with the GDPR a top priority on their data-privacy and security agenda in 2017 – with over half of respondents saying it is “the” top priority and 38% saying it is “among” top priorities. The GDPR Preparedness Pulse Survey examines preparedness and why companies are willing to spend $1 million or more on GDPR readiness plans.

PwC surveyed 300 Chief Privacy Officer, Chief Information Officers, General Counsels, Chief Compliance Officers, and CEOs in US, UK, and Japanese companies about their GDPR programmes.

Only 8% of UK companies have finished all their preparations compared to 22% of US companies. “This is likely to be because the US‘s data privacy regulation is currently a lot more stringent than the UK. In the past the ICO hasn’t been as firm as US regulators as our data privacy law isn’t currently enforceable,” Hayer adds.

While many organisations have already begun this process with a range of compliance efforts, many are still in the assessment phase. But despite their status in preparing to comply with the new regulations, most US Companies are already planning to invest in GDPR. According to survey respondents, over three in four (77%) companies plan to allocate $1 million or more on GDPR readiness and compliance efforts – with 68% saying they will invest between $1 million and $10 million and 9% expecting to spend over $10 million to address GDPR obligations.

Survey results also found that information security enhancement is a top GDPR initiative. While much of the discussion has focused on the law’s privacy-centric requirements, information-security obligations figure prominently in GDPR plans of US companies. Among the 71% who have begun GDPR preparation, the most-cited initiatives in flight are information security, privacy policies, GDPR gap assessment and data discovery.

What should you focus on if you haven’t started your GDPR programme?

PwC found that 5% of UK companies have not started preparing for the GDPR. With less than seven (7) months until the compliance deadline, these organisations risk regulator fines, litigation costs, and lost contract opportunities.

The biggest risk for organisations is likely to be third parties, so it is essential that organisations check that their third party contracts are GDPR compliant, Hayer comments.

How much can organisations expect to spend on their GDPR programme?

Of those companies that have completed their GDPR programme, 40% of US, UK and Japan reported spending more than $10 million. The pattern of increased spending was consistent regardless of company size.

Driving competitor advantage – The GDPR and investor relations

The survey found that some companies see their GDPR programs as a potential differentiator in the market. Among companies who believe they have finished their GDPR programmes, 38% have engaged their investor relations departments, an indicator that they hope to highlight early compliance to help drive competitive advantage.  These companies should also look to extend this confidence out to their customers to strengthen customer trust in their business and also test their position in advance of the GDPR going live.

“The ‘compliance journey’ involves innumerable challenges and the task is complicated. Entities may find that they have difficult choices to make about their priorities moving forward. Making changes to ensure compliance with the GDPR will require considerable resource investments and lots of planning,” concludes Hayer.

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Nokia 7.2: The sweet-spot for mid-range smartphones

Nokia has hit one of the best quality-to-price ratios with the Nokia 7.2. BRYAN TURNER tested the device.

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Cameras are often the main factor in selecting a smartphone today. Nokia is no stranger to the high-end camera smartphone market, and its legacy shows with the latest Nokia 7.2.

In many aspects, the device looks and feels like an expensive flagship, yet it carries a mid-range R6000 price tag. From its vivid PureDisplay technology to an ultra-wide camera lens, it’s quite something to experience this device – especially knowing the price.

Before powering it on, one notices the sleek design. The front features a large, 6.3” screen, with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Like many phones nowadays, it features a notch, but it is smaller than the usual earpiece-and-camera notch. Instead, it features a small notch for the front camera only. It hides the front earpiece away in a slim cutout, just under the outer frame. While it’s not the highest screen-to-body (STB) ratio, it has a pretty slim bezel with an 83.34% STB ratio. It loses some of this to an elegant chin on the bottom that shows the Nokia logo. This is all protected by a Gorilla glass certification, which makes it a little more difficult to shatter on an impact.

It’s encased by a Polycarbonate composite outer frame, which seems metal-like but will withstand more knocks than an aluminium frame. On the right side, it features a volume rocker and a power button and, on the left side, a Google Assistant button, which starts listening for commands when pressed. Above the button is the SIM and SD card tray. On the top, it houses a very welcome 3.5mm headphone jack. On the bottom, it has a speaker grille and a USB Type-C port. Overall, the positioning of the buttons takes some getting used to because the Assistant button and power button are similarly sized, and many smartphones place the lock button on the opposite side of the volume rocker.

The back features a frosted Gorilla glass panel, like the front. The frosted design is quite understated and yet another elegant design feature of the device. A fingerprint sensor sits in the middle and, towards the top, the device has a circular camera bump, not too different from the Huawei Mate 30 series. The bump features two lenses, a depth sensor, and a flash. The camera system has been made in partnership with Zeiss optics to produce high-quality photography.

The back of the Nokia 7.2, showing off the 3 camera array

When powering on the device, one is greeted with the Android One logo, which is Nokia’s promise that its users will always be among the first to get the latest Android security and feature updates. This is one of the defining purchase points for users looking to get this device, as it features the purest, unedited version of Android available.

This, in turn, allows the device to run the latest software by Google that enables the device to get better over time. This is done by using Google’s Artificial Intelligence engine, which learns how one uses the device and optimises apps and services accordingly. That translates to the phone’s battery life actually extending over time, instead of deteriorating like other smartphones that are weighed down by battery hungry apps. The concept was pioneered by Huawei in the Mate 9.

The rear camera is excellent for snapping pictures and features a 48MP Sony sensor for accurate colour reproduction. This puts the device in the league of the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone devices, which also use Sony sensors. By default, the device is set to take pictures at 12MP, which is what makes the photos look great, as it blends 4 pixels into one for a high level of sharpness and colour accuracy, but users can bump up the resolution to the full 48MP if they want to zoom in a bit more.

The 8MP wide-angle lens spans 118-degrees, and proves extremely useful for getting everyone in the shot. It also features some great colour accuracy. The 5MP depth-sensing lens is purely for the portrait mode, which adds a blur effect to the background of the photo. It features a 20MP selfie camera, which also provides excellent sharpness and a portrait mode.

Picture taken with the Nokia 7.2 in Pro mode

The most impressive part of this system is the Pro camera setting, which can help take photos from excellent to extraordinary. We managed to get some excellent low light photography by adjusting the shutter speed, ISO, and exposure. The setting is pretty easy to use and it’s worth it for users to learn how it works.

The PureDisplay also helps make photos and video look great. The 7.2’s PureDisplay has a 2160 x 1080 resolution, at 401 pixels per inch (ppi). It also makes use of HDR10 and covers 96% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, which makes the colours very vibrant. Some of these display features are not even found in some high-end phones on the market, so it’s very surprising that this tech is in a mid-range device.

At this price, there is one drawback: the processor. It houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, which is neither bad nor good. It performs well in many situations, but begins to stutter on heavier graphical applications like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile. That said, all other applications of the device work perfectly, and multi-tasking is very fluid between regular apps.

At a recommended selling price of R6,000, the Nokia 7.2 is one of the most feature rich and aesthetically pleasing devices available in this price range.

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Voice interface moves digital wars to ‘first mile’

By RICHARD MULLINS, Managing Director for EMEA at Acceleration

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Anyone who often travels on the London tube will notice people around them – usually students and young professionals – speaking into their smartphones even in sections of the underground without Wi-Fi or cellular coverage. They’re not sweet-talking their mobile devices, but cueing up a series of WhatsApp voice messages to be sent to their friends and colleagues as soon as they walk back into an area with an Internet connection.

This shift away from text-based and visual communication to multi-sensory (voice and visual) is one of the most significant trends to emerge from the next wave of artificial intelligence technologies. Many members of Generations X and Y abandoned voice calls for instant messaging once they got smartphones; now, the next generation are becoming more vocal in how they interact with – and through – machines.

We’re already seeing rising adoption of conversational voice interfaces, as young and imperfect as the technology still is. Research from comScore predicts that half of all searches will be performed via voice by 2020, while a study by Voicebot.ai indicates that nearly one in five US adults own a smart speaker or have access to one in their homes.

This trend is one reason that we are seeing the battle for the digital customer move away from the ‘last mile’ to the ‘first mile’ at a rapid speed. Now that the giants of ecommerce have largely solved the ‘last mile’ challenge of reliable logistics and rapid delivery, they are looking at ways they can tighten their grip on the first digital mile, where customers engage with and discover content, product and services.

Raising the stakes

This race to own the customer interface is not new, but the stakes are rising. We already live in a world with two major smartphone platforms (Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android), and now a handful of companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon) are seeking to own the voice interface with smart devices like speakers, kitchen appliances and home security systems.

Most consumers are today using voice conversation interfaces for simple content requests – Alexa, give me the news headlines; Siri, play my party mix – and the experience can be somewhat clunky. However, technology is improving exponentially, as we saw earlier this year when Google demoed its assistant phoning a hairdresser to make an appointment on behalf of a user.

Such interfaces are likely to become the place where a high proportion of customers are converted and complete transactions in the next few years. In other words, the likes of Apple and Google will have even more power over what consumers see, hear and interact with than they do today. Brands should be thinking about how they will prepare themselves for this future.

One of the first considerations is how they can use voice to engage with customers in an increasingly natural and simple nature. Today, it is usually easy to tell when you are speaking to a virtual assistant or chatbot, but in future, these interfaces will become harder to tell humans and machines apart, unless you are told.

This is an opportunity to offer personalised service in an automated manner—the human touch at machine scale. Brands that offer the best experiences through their conversational interfaces will have a competitive advantage. This will not just be about the AI driving the interaction, but also about how brands use data to personalise interactions and make them more relevant to customers.

How will you reach your customers?

Brands also need to decide how they will reach their customers in the first place – will they create services for platforms like Alexa and focus on mobile apps? Or will they try to take control of more of the digital first mile themselves? This will be a daunting challenge, but the rewards may be significant since the companies in the digital first mile will control the data and own the customer.

For this reason, we can expect to see those companies with the resources to do so focus on owning more of the customer interface and becoming the gateways to service and commerce for their client base. They will partner with other big brands to create platforms, experiences and digital destinations where customers can purchase a variety of goods and services.

Consider examples such as how Discovery’s Vitality weaves together healthcare, lifestyle brands and financial services, then think about how they might evolve in a digital world. Brands have long cooperated through strategies such as white label products, sponsorship agreements and distribution deals, but the next wave of digital change will take it to a new level.

As this shakes out in the years to come, brands will need to focus on building a technical architecture that enables them to rapidly partner with other brands to roll out innovative solutions and services. They will also need to consider how and where they will capture customer data and which touchpoints they can use to own the customer relationship.

The challenges will not be purely technical in nature. There is the human element of blending AI and people into ‘teams’ that deliver the best possible customer experience. Companies will also need to think about their business models and where they fit into the value chain. Those that align AI and data behind a coherent business strategy will be the ones who will win the first digital mile.

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