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Wi-Fi will transform transport

Faster, more dependable Wi-Fi connectivity that works even in a crowded train or bus station or terminal is critical to meeting passenger and operational needs, says MICHAEL FLETCHER of Ruckus Wireless.

Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa says; “Each day, thousands of people pass through transportation hubs such as airports, train and bus stations, and with business and leisure travelers carrying smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the demand for high capacity high performance Wi-Fi connectivity has not just become a ‘nice to have’ amenity, but rather an expected service, like electricity and running water. The City of Tshwane’s Bus Rapid Transit system, A Re Yeng, is a perfect example of this.”

Tshwane’s bus system began operations in December 2014 and with it came a world-first in mobile connectivity, with the rollout of uninterrupted free WiFi along the trunk route for commuters on board as an expansion of the City of Tshwane’s free WiFi network. Since inception, a total of 163,126 unique users have used the Tshwane Free WiFi service, with a total of 6,461,327 sessions being accumulated, with a total usage of 21242.3GB being uploaded and downloaded.

Says Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe, which has been integral to Tshwane’s free public WiFi efforts; “The A Re Yeng busses come equipped with a connection to Tshwane’s WiFi service, offering 250MB of free WiFi access per device per day, giving travelers the ability to do things like look for jobs, access learning materials online, and keep in touch with their friends while on the move around the city. Looking at the statistics and growth of the system, it is evident that the demand is growing in South Africa.”

Passengers need real-time access to schedules, gate and ticket information, maps and/or other guidance as they pass through the bus terminal. WiFi not only provides an ideal method for these activities, it also provides a platform for new revenue generating services such as additional WiFi access or 3G/4G offload, as well as support for bus terminal operational needs such as point-of-sale, digital signage and video security.

Continues Fletcher; “From a commercial perspective, there is also a global trend for transportation cargo and fleet services to become more involved in value added activities such as cargo processing and logistics, which will require new processes, practices and technological advances around stock control and integration, as well as better wireless connectivity.”

Steven Sutherland, Sales Director for MiX Telematics, agrees that WiFi plays a crucial role here. “WiFi is critical, especially when it comes to companies that are using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to run and/or keep an operational eye on their businesses. In the fleet sector specifically – across Africa – WiFi enables constant, reliable connectivity for managers that are on-the-go – offering them the opportunity to remain connected when they might not be otherwise. This enables real-time access to their fleet and their business data at any given time.”

As drivers and remote workers become more and more included in day-to-day processes through the application of smartphone and tablet based applications, so too does the reliance on WiFi networks and coverage.

“Essentially, it’s about smart transportation management, which facilitates the management of fleets in real-time, remote access to in-cab video, efficient user connections, real-time alerts and geo-location of all vehicles,” adds Sutherland.

Transportation hubs – both from a consumer and commercial perspective – are often very large facilities that require wireless connectivity everywhere, both inside and out. Getting reliable and complete WiFi coverage across a facility can be expensive and time-consuming. Because density of client devices over the course of the day can dramatically impact demand – it can result in poor connections, low user satisfaction, and unacceptable network quality.

“This isn’t acceptable anymore, and as infrastructure and transportation hubs develop across the regions and cities move towards becoming smarter not only in terms of operational processes and service delivery, but also connecting citizens – we are likely to see high-density WiFi take it’s rightful place more and more as a critical enabler,” says Fletcher.

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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