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The history of doing more, in less time

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People have been using tools to do more with less for millions of years. Whether it was the invention of the wheel, fire, the PC, or the Internet, human beings have always utilised innovation to become more productive in their professional and personal lives, writes COLIN ERASMUS, Device Sales Lead at Microsoft SA.

In 1990, the pace and scope of the evolution of productivity hit top gear with the release of Office 1.0, as it brought productivity software together in a way that empowered workers across all departments of an organisation in a way that was unprecedented.

Since then, there have been many versions of Microsoft Office, with each iteration building on the feature set of the last as part of an evolution that has shaped the way people work across the globe.

Today, digital transformation is changing every aspect of business: shaping growth, disrupting industry landscapes, and providing the catalyst for new business models, products, services and experiences. It is enabling businesses to reimagine their structures and become digital businesses.

Doing more in less time, fewer steps

As a non-renewable resource, employees need to devote their time to the most important tasks with the highest returns on investment for the business. New features in Office enable them to save a great deal of time and hassles including features such as Smart Lookup and Researcher.

The former is available from within Word and uses Bing to enable users to look up information right from within Word, while the latter enables users to pull in relevant content right into their document.

Additional time and effort can be saved by using Designer within PowerPoint, which automatically provides designs for your slides based on any image you insert. With a single click, you can pick from a ton of designs that complement your content and give your slides a professional, polished feel.

Additionally, Morph lets you focus on writing great content while PowerPoint creates eye-catching transitions between slides that make your presentation look like it’s been professionally animated.

New capabilities keeping your devices secure

Buyers can opt for a range of new Windows 10-powered devices that come in various form-factors from traditional notebooks through to tablets, All-in-Ones and convertible (two-in-one) laptops. These devices boasts many new capabilities that will boost your productivity while keeping your data secure.

For instance, Windows Hello logs you into your Windows devices in less than two seconds, three times faster than a password. This feature is available on notebooks and two-in-one devices that sports an Intel RealSense 3D camera or built-in fingerprint reader for enterprise-grade security.

When you are logged in, you can use natural input to input data the way you want, using touch gestures on touch-enabled notebooks and tablets, or digital ink via a Windows Ink capable device by using a stylus to jot notes, use annotations and draw.

Windows 10 Pro -powered devices allow you to use BitLocker Drive Encryption on your computer’s hard-drive as well as for removable drives on which data is stored, to prevent sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

In the digital era, managers need to re-envision entire business models and embrace a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes to create more value and better experiences for their customers. Office and Windows has been designed to help meet your organisation’s needs for robust security, enhanced productivity, and taking the hassles out of standard, everyday business tasks.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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