December is the time where a large percentage of South Africans either head to the coast for their annual holiday, or to their hometowns and homelands to reconnect with their families. Lightstone analysed the data provided by leading vehicle tracking company, Tracker to see which towns experienced the highest increase in activity over the festive period.
The data covers a large portion of Tracker-fitted vehicles from across the country (on an aggregated and anonymised level) to determine which areas show the highest increase in volume of traffic. Lightstone found that areas in the Limpopo region made up 9 of the top 10 towns that experienced the largest inflow of ‘going home’ traffic with Polokwane taking the top spot followed by Collins Chabane, then Makhado.
“We looked at the coastal holiday traffic from two perspectives: 1- which towns gained the most visitors, and 2- how much this was percentage wise compared to the November activity. Both perspectives tell part of a bigger story,” says Linda Reid, Head of Commercial Property at Lightstone. “For example, a large town could have an influx of many people but relative to its out-of-season size, that growth may not be as radical as that of a smaller town populated by fewer people that doubles in size.”
From the graph below, we can see that the towns with the highest increase in activity compared to their November averages are Struisbaai at a 358% increase, then Stilbaai at a 331% increase followed by Southbroom on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal at a 310%. When looking at the highest inflow of visitors, Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay take the number 1 and 2 spots respectively with activity in these areas doubling when compared to their November positions.
“Although the smaller towns show a smaller inflow, the volume of activity compared to their November averages are trebled,” says Michael du Preez, Tracker’s Product and Marketing Executive. “It’s quite clear that areas in the Western Cape seem to be a holiday destination favourite,” he concludes.
Using analytical insights into the mass movement of South Africa’s population over the festive period means towns across the country as well as the businesses and retailers that are operational there, can forecast and better prepare for their December seasons.
Alexa can now read all messages
For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving
For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.
Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too.
“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.”
ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.
“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO.
Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging.
“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.”
Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.
All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.
*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com
Coronavirus to hit 5G
Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.
Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”
Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”
Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1
|Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)||2019||2020|
|Rest of Market||1394||1165|
|Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)||2019||2020|
|Rest of Market||99%||85%|
Source: Strategy Analytics
The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.