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  • Here’s how Africa’s mobile money players fit into the global landscape

    Think Africa and technology and chances are one of the first things that come to mind is mobile money. In conference talk after conference talk, you’ll hear Africa referred to as “the mobile continent”. There’s a good reason for that too. This year for instance, the use of mobile financial services in sub-Saharan Africa to perform tasks like pay utility bills and send money to relatives could produce an estimated US$1.5-billion in fees for mobile-money providers by 2019. Even Bill Gates reckons that “digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives...

  • Weekly Round Up #20: Facebook Messenger, Opel hipster cars, Huawei mystery, and Samsung S6 price

    Welcome to Weekly Roundup, our podcast discussing the tech trends, innovation and news from the last few days. This week on BurnCast, Stuart Thomas, Jacques Coetzee, Lethabo Mokgatle and Andy Walker speak about Facebook Messenger’s arrival the web, Huawei’s hint that it will launch a device that captures the wonder of the sun, Jottr’s promise to tailor content according to one’s reading patterns, Opel launching cars for hipsters, and the fact that the Samsung S6 and S6 edge will cost you an arm and a leg. Facebook has been making changes to Messenger, making it in the process one platform...

  • Standard Bank debuts South Africa’s first Biometric Banking App feature

    Standard bank has launched South Africa’s first Biometric mobile banking solution for clients. The new feature enables you to sign into the bank’s app via iPhone or iPad, using Apple’s TouchID technology. Now that there is an upgrade to the app, customers with Touch ID enabled on their smartphones and tablets have an option of using Apple’s fingerprint identity sensor in order to sign in their accounts. According to Standard Bank, the feature is designed to make banking easier and safer for customers. “Our customers’ security is of the utmost importance to us,” says Standard Bank mobile banking head...

  • 5 lessons African startups can learn from Nigeria’s president-elect

    It’s no longer news that Nigeria has a new President-elect, what is however new is the fact that he is actually the first person in the history of the country’s democracy — and since independence — to defeat an incumbent president. Even though he is more than 70 years old, his emergence as Nigeria’s new president from 29 May is filled with numerous lessons for startups in Nigeria, other parts of Africa and perhaps globally. Read more on Ventureburn.

  • 5 things you need to know about the Tesla S 70D

    Tesla yesterday announced the launch of the Model S 70D, the entry level model in its all wheel drive D range. Admittedly it’s not the most exciting launch to happen this year. New variants, especially at the bottom of a range, seldom get motoring journalists tapping away eagerly at their keyboards. The S 70D is important though, not least because it makes owning a Tesla an ever-so-slightly more realistic possibility. So what makes it different from the rest of the range, and what are you sacrificing if you choose to buy one? Read more on Motorburn.

  • Wake up call: why mobile money should matter to the South African government

    Speaking at The Economist Conference in Johannesburg, late 2014, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said, “There is a perception that financial inclusion efforts will necessarily lead to increased financial risk and hence have a negative effect on financial stability. However, if financial inclusion is approached from a systemic perspective and pursued responsibly, the opposite is true”. This tells, without a doubt, that government is eager for a nation where no one is financially excluded; where the poor, the marginalised and those who live in far-flung areas have no access to banks and other financial services. Mobile money is an efficient...

  • In the battle between social media and email, there’s only one clear winner

    The word “distraction” comes up all too often within the context of social media, and Bryan Adams said it himself -”Social Media is a giant distraction to the ultimate aim, which is honing your craft.” Whilst most companies today have invested large sums into social media efforts, many other businesses have watched the social media revolution like a bushman watches civilisation…with one eyebrow raised and a sense of bemused scepticism. A reality that we need to accept is that the social media era is huge, and various big players have a vested interest to ensure its continued expansion. But for how...

  • Deep analytics could help resolve SA’s power crisis: here’s how

    Now is the ideal time for Eskom to use advanced analytics to improve decision-making and better handle South Africa’s power crisis. Eskom has always used a degree of analytics to manage power supply. However, the big data it gathers from power plants, transformers, generators and other machinery only reflects events that have already happened, making decisions based on this historical data ineffective. Looking back vs looking ahead The biggest problem is that decision-making is reactive rather than proactive. Take infrastructure maintenance as an example. Many of South Africa’s power plants are operating well beyond their 30- to 35-year lifespans. An increase in demand...

  • Facebook’s Messenger comes to the web

    Facebook is developing ways to endear Messenger to its users. Its entry was somewhat forceful, and it received, deservedly so, cold shoulders from most users but over time Messenger has begun to grow inside us all. And now, it is accessible on the web browser too. Today Facebook launched Messenger as a dedicated web interface. The Messenger site can be accessed by logging in with Facebook details. The site has a white interface with a list of chat contacts on the left, and a clean white chat window in the middle and on the right, details of the person...

  • 11 massive predictions about the future of mobile and mobile data

    At this stage, telling anyone that we live in a mobile world seems more or less pointless. Our phones are hardwired into our daily lives and, for many of us, can seem more like artificial limbs than everyday devices. They’ve changed the world too. Web designers now think about how you’ll experience a site on a phone or tablet before they think about how you’ll see it on a desktop. Apps meanwhile have gone from single function curiosities to powerful tools that allow us to do everything from hailing private cars to making investments on the fly. Given...

  • SA set for 4G explosion and 14 other mindblowing mobile stats

    Between the country’s largest network announcing plans to hike voice and data rates and finding out that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be bafflingly expensive, there hasn’t been much for South African mobile users to celebrate of late. They may however take a little solace in the prediction that they’re a lot more likely to have 4G coverage in the next five years. According to Cisco, the ongoing adoption of more powerful devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections may see 3G surpassing 2G as the top cellular technology, based on connection share, by 2016. 4G will meanwhile account for 56.1%...

  • Brace yourself: the Opel Adam proves big car tech is coming to your small car… and soon

    We recently spent a week whizzing around in the new Opel Adam. It’s a posh little three-door hatchback that employs a decidedly refined and trendily downsized turbo triple. Little, of course, is the operative word here. The Adam – which rides on a shortened Corsa platform – measures just a smidgen over 3.7 metres in length, which puts it neatly between the absolutely tiny Fiat 500 and the rather compact Audi A1 (incidentally, two of its main rivals). Its boot can handle a mere 170 litres and space on the rear bench is cramped at best. Read more on Motorburn.

  • Bitcoin Africa conference confirms Erik Wilgenhof Plante as guest speaker

    Internationally recognised speaker Erik Wilgenhof Plante has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers at the Bitcoin Africa Conference to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 16 to 17 April. Michael Bouchier, who’s the master of ceremonies, said in a press release: “I am extremely satisfied with the quality and selection of speakers. Mr Wilgenhof Plante will cover a very important topic, namely, Earning trust; how rules and regulation can help development of virtual currencies. We feel that with so many big corporates, banks and government departments attending that this is an important topic to cover at...

  • NASA to host global hackathon aimed at fixing life on Earth and in space

    NASA and IBM’s Bluemix cloud services are sponsoring a worldwide hackathon, The Space App Challenge. The hackathon aims to challenge participants to produce relevant open source solutions for both life on Earth and in space. Despite being called The Space App Challenge, NASA insists the competition is not only about apps but also about challenges that involve robotics, data visualisation, hardware, design, and many other elements. The event will take place on 11 and 12 April 2015 and will be preceded by a bootcamp event on 10 April 2015 to be live-streamed globally. The themes for the challenge include: Earth,...

  • Twitter stock rises amid Google takeover rumours

    Where there is smoke, there is fire, the saying goes. And it holds any truth, fresh rumours of a Twitter acquisition may have more truth to them than you think. According to Mashable, Twitter’s shares rose ‘amid gossip in the investment community that the company had hired advisors to deal with takeover bids.’ At this rumour, Twitter’s shares rose up to 4.8% as rumours of Google and Yahoo planning a possible buyout surfaced. On Tuesday, rumours were doing the rounds that Twitter had hired advisers including Goldman Sachs to fend off companies that are interested in buying the social media...