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Trends

  • SASSA warns South Africans of new grocery voucher scam

    A new scam parading as an official voucher programme from SASSA is making the rounds, according to the agency. "SASSA would like to warn its beneficiary about the recent scam circulating. The below information is untrue and misleading," the South Africa Social Security Agency tweeted from its official account on Monday. SASSA would like to warn its beneficiary about the recent scam circulating. The below information is untrue and misleading pic.twitter.com/0c8nvlh8Pk — SASSA (@OfficialSASSA) 29 October 2018 According to the attached pamphlet which is adorned with UNICEF, Shoprite and Pick n Pay logos, the scam asks would-be victims to send identification documents, proof...

  • Huawei Pay’s South African launch date remains a 2019 mystery

    The question of "when is Huawei Pay coming to South Africa" has become something of a meme for local journalists. We were last told late 2018, but this date has seemingly been pushed back. The Chinese firm's contactless payments system, which is operational in some European markets and China, is set to compete against the likes of Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay in South Africa. But it can't, because it's not yet available here. Last night, at the firm's launch of its Mate 20 Pro in Kyalami, the question was asked yet again. Akhram Mohamed, Huawei South Africa's CTO, answered the...

  • Google launches new voice control app for Android

    Google has launched a new accessibility app for Android devices called Voice Access. The app “provides a hands-free experience for Android, letting people navigate through apps, compose and edit text, and talk to the Google Assistant,” Google said in the announcement. This means that you will now be able to use your voice to control and command your Android device. This accessibility does not only provide ease-of-access for all, but also helps those with physical disabilities have more autonomy when using their tech devices. In fact, Google’s Accessibility team includes impaired individuals who help test and develop products such as Voice Access. The company...

  • South Africans prefer buying products in store, even after seeing them online

    How often have you seen an item online only to purchase it in a physical store? If seems that this phenomenon, called "webrooming", is pretty popular in South Africa. According to research firm GfK South Africa's latest study, a majority -- 58% -- of South Africans use their smartphones for research, but venture into physical stores to complete purchases. 47% of consumers do the opposite -- purchase a product online after seeing it in a physical store. This is in stark contracts to the other BRICS nations, which tend to purchase items online after seeing it in a brick and mortar store....

  • Chatbots are the future, but safety and security has to be a priority

    Customer communication is evolving faster than ever. Where paper-based communications sent through the mail were once the norm, almost everything is now done electronically across a range of channels. Two technologies that are set to have a particularly big impact going forward are chatbots and machine learning. That makes a great deal of sense. Both of these technologies allow for communications that are far more immediate and personalised, at a much lower cost than many of the current alternatives. As with all forms of customer communication, however, it’s vital that both the organisation and customers can use these technologies safely. Evolving chatbots Chatbots are,...

  • The biggest ecommerce trends to watch in the near future

    A 2018 report from Statista estimates that global ecommerce sales are set to rise 246.15% by 2021, from 1.3-trillion in 2014 to 4.5-trillion in 2021. As more brick and mortar shops close their doors and the rise of online shopping continues to change the way that customers and stores interact, there is no doubt that the global ecommerce industry is not going to be slowing down anytime soon. Each year, technology continues to evolve in leaps and bounds, creating more of an experience for shoppers and more opportunity for etailers. This year alone has given rise to a number of...

  • Airbnb in South Africa: the numbers

    Airbnb has hosted two-million guests in South Africa since 2008, the company today announced. This, and slew of other numbers, were presented by the company from a report done in collaboration with Genesis Analytics at its Africa Travel Summit in Langa, Cape Town on Wednesday "Since Airbnb’s founding, hosts across South Africa have earned over US$260-million and, in the past year, the ripple effect of the activity of the Airbnb community resulted in an economic impact of US$678 million, supporting over 22 000 jobs," the company said. South Africa itself is home to more than 35 000 guests, a figure that's 65%...

  • The ‘end’ of the shopkeeper (and other retail trends coming soon)

    Self-service retail is swooping across the globe; from online shopping to self-checkout, there’s a growing trend in retail environments that focuses on driving efficient and seamless processes to enhance service and CX. It’s a fascinating period of transformation that encourages brands to experiment. However, companies must, as always, bear in mind that customer responses and preferences are the dominant focus, even in times of change. 'Smart' vs 'simple' assistants The past few years have seen many international brands improving the way they approach customer interactions, but this hasn’t always translated to brand success. For instance, smart, AI-powered and natural language processing (NLP) reliant...

  • This is why it’s important to get personal with your data

    With more than 230 000 new instances of malicious software produced daily, companies are under pressure to ensure the security of their data. Adding to the complexity of the challenge is the evolving legislative environment with the likes of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the local Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) putting the focus on maintaining the integrity of personal customer data. Research has found that the global average cost of a data breach is more than R56-million and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is more than R2000. The...

  • What exactly is Samsung Pay? A brief FAQ for South Africans

    Samsung's calling it a game changer. Banks are seeing it as a fresh avenue for payments. And users? Well, that remains to be seen. What exactly is Samsung Pay? For one, it this week launched in South Africa after years of waiting and testing. It's now available to users of a select number of Samsung devices, allowing said users to pay for products wirelessly and without swiping any plastic. But, there are a lot of questions we've been asked about the service. Here are a few answers to the most commonly queried FAQs. How many cards can I enroll? Seemingly as many as you...

  • Samsung Pay is now available in South Africa

    Samsung Pay is now officially available and live in South Africa. The contactless payment service, which has been available in other territories since 2015, can now be downloaded from Samsung's Galaxy App store. The app itself is around 105MB. There's a catch however. Credit and debit cards linked to ABSA and Standard Bank can only be used. FNB, Nedbank and Capitec cards are not yet accepted. For those who use supported cards, more than one can be added and used on the service to pay for content using contactless payment terminals across South Africa. Samsung Pay also supports cards from other providers, including...

  • FNB lets South Africans pay for groceries with their watch

    Fitbit Pay is now available in South Africa. The wireless payments service which works through Fitbit's range of wearable devices is now compatible with FNB and RMB VISA bank cards. "Customers will now be able to make secure payments on the go, directly from their wrist wherever contactless payments are accepted — adding convenience and freedom to leave their smartphone and wallet at home," writes Fitbit in a statement. Fitbit Pay is only available on two of the company's watches, namely the Versa and the Ionic. To use the service, consumers are required to connect their cards to the Fitbit app on their...

  • Value your online privacy? Don’t leave it to laws and regulations

    Over the past few months, a spate of high-profile security breaches and scandals (most notably Facebook-Cambridge Analytica) have made the average person far more aware of how their data is used online. With the EU’s data protection regulations (GDPR) coming into effect in the midst of all this, many would’ve been hopeful that their data might be used more responsibly. The regulations, which came into effect on 25 May, compel organisations to amend their practices, be more transparent around what data they process and do better at protecting personal information. They should not, however, be seen as a silver bullet when it...

  • ‘Fifty Shades of Blockchain’ is the smut the internet really needs

    You know what adult romantic thriller Fifty Shades of Grey lacked? Blockchain jargon. At least that's what this particular Twitter account is trying to prove (and is pretty successful at that too). Although it's a fairly young account, @blockshade -- better known as Fifty Shades of Blockchain -- already has some 2700 followers, enthralled by 22 tweets of blockchain-fueled smut. According to the bio, it's a Markov chain bot run by Jackson Palmer, the founder of Dogecoin. There's a sentence you may want to read again. Whoever Satoshi is/was - I hope you’re happy with what you spawned. https://t.co/VHF5fIEg5q — Jackson Palmer (@ummjackson)...

  • Security breaches: stop thinking about if and start thinking about when

    There’s hardly a week that goes by without news that a major organisation has been hit by a significant online security breach, with thousands of customer records compromised in the process. Many of these organisations are major players in their fields and have large budgets assigned to keeping customer data safe. These breaches highlight the need for organisations to put as much effort into preparing a response for when a breach happens as they do trying to prevent them happening in the first place. Think about it as the virtual equivalent of a fire drill. You might do everything in your...