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Where digital and creativity meet

WAYNE HULL, Managing Director for Accenture Digital South Africa, emphasises that businesses have a new opportunity to capitalise on the rise of digital capabilities, with it set to act as a growth catalyst across a broad range of industries, both B2B and B2C.

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On one hand, changes to the market have been consumer-driven. Consider everything from online shopping to banking apps to IoT-enabled wearables – in the new experience-driven landscape, users demand both personalisation and the most sophisticated, intuitive digital interfaces. Liquid expectations mean, moreover, that the benchmarks continue to rise – the best-in-class, hyperpersonalised experiences offered by the digital giants lead consumers to expect equally seamless offerings everywhere else.

Moreover, there are deep drives around integration. Promotion, service, purchasing and advertising were once siloed concepts – no longer. Today, end-to-end consistency is what drives consumers’ immersion in products and services.

On the other hand, increasing volumes of data, decreasing costs of storage, virtually unlimited cloud computing power, open source platforms, machine learning and more have also caused far-reaching ripple effects. These capabilities have not only led to the digitisation of more and more business areas, but the creation of entirely new business models – consumption is becoming dematerialised; ownership decoupled from both service provision and production.

According to Accenture research, the result is that many executives face a dilemma: investment in digital has become a clear business priority, yet a large number in the C-suite unsure of where, specifically, to invest to promote growth. This is despite the fact that 54% of executives cite digital technologies as the direction they would most likely reinvest cost savings. (Digital is followed by launching new products and services, at 46% and expanding into new product or service lines or customer segments, at 45%.) Yet, new routes to realising today’s digital imperatives are opening up. For consumer-facing industries, for example, tapping the capabilities of experience architecture is coming to redefine not only customer interaction, but the entire purchasing process.

One part creative agency, one part business consultancy and one part tech powerhouse, experience architects focus on integrating specialist skills across once-isolated domains spanning user interface, design, data and machine learning. The result is the ability to provide creative, engaging content of an agency standard backed by the data and artificial intelligence capabilities that only specialists embedded in digital are able to provide.

Recent Accenture research underscores the need for a rethink – particularly when it comes to marketing. The numbers reveal that a mere 18% of the consumers CMOs reach through digital and traditional channels are actually in-market. As such, less than a fifth of people reached by a marketing message are in fact the right people for the product or service on offer – four-fifths of marketing budgets are wasted spend.

Consumer-facing industries are not the only ones being remade. Other industry-specific solutions are also developing in both sophistication and ubiquity. Consider financial services institutions, for example, many of which now make use of a host of anti-money laundering, finance and risk tools. The communications, media and technology (CMT) space has seen growth through the rise of omnichannel customer service optimisation at the levels of both B2C and B2B. Within the resources space, intelligent retail solutions, upstream corrosion management, fuel retaining and predictive asset maintenance are seeing increasing uptake, as are niche solutions in health and the public sector. Meanwhile, in manufacturing, growth is being driven by Industry X.0.

Essentially, Industry X.0 refers to the application of new technologies including blockchain, machine learning, autonomous vehicles and ‘digital twins’ within a manufacturing or industrial environment. Under this new paradigm, everything from high-tech wearables to consumer staples to the manufacturing process itself becomes dynamic, reactive and responsive.

This approach to production allows real-time data from consumers, the supply chain and more to create not only ‘smart’ products, but an entire intelligent industrial ecosystem, capable of predicting and reacting to changing consumer tastes and trends and optimising operations on the plant floor. Although many executives face certain barriers to sustainable execution of growth-oriented programs, many remain certain that reinvesting savings in digital is the right strategic move, viewing digital as an enabler for both growth and advanced operating models.

With c-suite alignment and a willingness to operate at the digital-creative edge, forward-thinking companies may stand poised not only to access the growth they seek, but to drive industry-wide innovation.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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