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Why wearables make sense in any business

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Research shows that businesses spend 86% of their time on data input with employees waiting hours to be have access to that info. SANDRA CROUS, VP for Midmarket Africa & Middle East at Sage, believes that wearable or connected devices will have a dramatic decrease on the time taken for this data to be actionable.

Business owners and managers are sceptical about the hype around wearable computing, and rightly so. After all, the first incarnation of the Google Glass eyewear was an experiment that mostly failed, and while the Apple Watch has its fans, it’s safe to say that it has yet to set the world on fire.

Most businesspeople and employees will welcome slick, simple and connected wearable apps and devices that make their lives easier. Our global research shows that the average business spends 86% of its time on data entry and low-value tasks. Teams are forced to wait for between three and 24 hours for access to information about the business. And while this average business uses 13 different apps, only five are connected.

The growing maturity of wearable technologies offers solutions to these challenges. Google has now  reconceptualised Google Glass as a solution for industrial companies, with the new Glass Enterprise Edition headset, which will augment users’ vision by overlaying information onto what they see in the real world as they work.

Genuinely useful software emerges

In addition to the innovations we are seeing in wearable platforms, software developers are now putting more thought into how they can support wearable computers with genuinely useful applications. Next-generation cloud business solutions, like Sage Live, are optimised to work with wearable platforms like Apple Watch, giving you a convenient way to access or record information while you’re on the move.

While mobile phones and laptops gave us mobility, wearables now mean you can react instantaneously to business updates – and this can have a significant impact on your bottom line. For example, we envisage people enjoying features like these in the near future:

  • A procurement officer sees your purchase order alert on her smartwatch, and can discretely approve it while she’s sitting in a meeting.
  • Your sales manager gets an alert when a popular item is out of stock, so that he doesn’t sell something you don’t have in your inventory at his customer meeting; meanwhile, the merchandising team can be alerted to order more stock of the hot product.
  • Your technical team gets notified the moment a big order comes in so that they can allocate an engineer to do the installation.
  • The customer service head receives a message when an important customer has escalated a complaint.

Everywhere you go, take your business with you

Wearables free you from having to carry around a laptop, tablet, or even smartphone, while ensuring you can still access e-mail, make phone calls, or check your schedule. They also allow you to approve information straightaway – so you don’t need to take out your laptop to approve a receipt while you’re with a client.

Most new technologies go through a cycle of hype and disappointment before they become truly useful and mainstream—and wearables are not an exception to this rule. But we are starting to see them become as cool and useful as the fitness wearable you use to track your calorie intake and your cycling performance during your leisure time. Wearables will play as major a role in the future of accountancy, just as tablets and smartphones before them.

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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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