A friend of mine is a keen cyclist. He had a trusty bicycle that carried him around, especially when taking the kids out over weekends. And that was all fine: why replace what works well?
Eventually, though, he had to retire his trusty steel steed and buy something new. Only at that point did he realise the difference. His older bicycle was by all means functional, but a far cry from the advances made since he bought it. The new bicycle is lighter, more responsive and better balanced. He used to spend a lot of his energy fighting the old bike and yet not realise it. Now, suddenly, he’s got all that spare capacity. He’s since started hitting the trails much more often – a little to the chagrin of his family, who like to sleep in!
Comfort exists because we know something works well and we’d like to keep it. But at some point we get stuck and risk not acknowledging when it starts losing its edge. Business applications often fall into this trap. Today, even with highly affordable and very reliable web applications for email, many of us still hang onto our desktop clients for dear life. Then we complain when we can’t find a mail or lose our archive in a system crash.
GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) software falls acutely into this category. Risk is not seen as a line-of-business function, so once we have something that does that job, we’d prefer to keep it like that. Yet like my friend’s bicycle, risk has evolved tremendously. This is due to data: it’s much easier and better today to integrate data sources across a company, creating single versions of the truth.
For every risk manager who has had to spend late nights making sense of different risk reports, it’s a life changer. The right risk aggregation platform, such as what we promote here at thryve, takes hold of company data and forges it into objective sense that can be used without fear or doubt.
But you can’t just drop the solution into place. For it to be effective, you must take the opportunity to address the root causes that often scuttle the ship. Governance is one of the key problem areas: companies without good governance tend to get bad GRC implementations. This leads to expensive remedies and eventually silos as different parts of the company try to avoid the dysfunction. That would place you right back at square one: disparate reports and no sense of the business truth.
The business’ data is also a crucial factor. What can be kept and what should be archived? How should it be structured? GRC systems often age quickly after mergers, which create a mess of business information. Replacing GRC software is the perfect opportunity to get on top of that. This not only helps risk, but contributes to overall attempts at establishing solid data practices across the business.
It thus makes sense that administrative structures must also be in place, else the GRC platform will run – and falter – in isolation to the business’ processes. Finally, you can’t forget about the people: there must be clear reporting structures to help inform on the adoption and make sure that your workforce is seeing the benefits they expect (and affect change when they don’t).
You will not be able to entirely replicate the functionality of the departing GRC software. Things have evolved, so don’t look at it as a replacement. It’s an evolution and one that can be painful if everyone had grown comfortable with the status quo. So there will be resistance and legacy that can threaten to cripple the process.
But making the shift brings incredible advantages. Avoiding it is ultimately business suicide. At some point you have to let that old bike go and experience the advances in newer models. Your company will thank you, but first they will resist you. Start with what they rely on – the company’s structure, rules and culture. If those are aligned and ready for change, everything else will be as well.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.