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Trends

  • 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...

  • Firewalls are the iron barricades of business cybersecurity

    As more organisations prioritise digitalisation, the protection of internal and on-site data tends to slip down the priority list. But this is a mistake, one that could seriously cost a business in the event that they suffer a data breach. The hard reality, unfortunately, is that no company is safe from being attacked by cybercriminals today. Last year’s WannaCry ransomware incident was a rude awakening for many organisations, targeting devices running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting sensitive business data, and demanding huge ransom payments in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to return control to the systems’ rightful owners. In all, a massive...

  • Mobile crypto mining malware is a growing smartphone threat

    According to a report by Kaspersky, the number of internet users affected by cryptocurrency mining software has jumped by a considerable margin this year, when compared to last. The report published by the Russian security firm suggests that the prevalence of malicious software that uses consumers' computers and smartphones to mine cryptocurrency is "steadily growing". "The total number of users who encountered this form of mining rose from 1 899 236 in 2016-2017, to 2 735 611 in 2017-2018," the company elaborated. Both periods began in April and ended March in their respective years. Additionally, smartphones are becoming more pronounced targets of...

  • Akon’s building a Senegalese ‘Smart City’ with his cryptocurrency ‘Akoin’

    There's a new cryptocurrency soon to be launched, but it won't be taking its name from any memes or computer jargon. Instead, it'll be launched by Senegalese musician Akon. Not a stranger to investing in new ventures, Akon will name his cryptocurrency Akoin. (Get it?) However, it's not simply a marketing scheme. The rapper believes the technology has benefits for those on African soil, disadvantaged by political and social circumstances. "I think that blockchain and crypto could be the savior for Africa in many ways because it brings the power back to the people and brings the security back into the currency...

  • Superbalist and Spree announce merger

    Big news in South Africa's online retail space: two of South Africa's clothing and lifestyle juggernauts, Spree and Superbalist, are merging into a single entity. The news was announced late Monday, and will see the two companies -- both part of the Naspers group -- mesh operations and eventually brand identity. "There is currently no integration between Spree and Superbalist, both part of the Naspers group, with each business running its own sourcing and buying, technical, marketing, warehousing and logistics functions while primarily targeting a similar, if not the same customer segment and demographic in South Africa," the companies wrote in...

  • Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies shed even more value this weekend

    It must suck if you've bought Bitcoin any time this year. The cryptocurrency, along with a slew of its competitors and peers, crashed in value this past weekend. This comes after a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea dubbed Coinrail was hacked. The hack only saw US$40-million in cryptocurrency lost -- around 30% of the exchange's value -- but the implications were far reaching. According to Coinmarketcap, the price of Bitcoin was hovering at the US$7400 mark late Saturday. By Monday morning, the price dropped to US$6700. Its market cap now stands at US$116-billion, but that itself is down from US$130-billion two days...

  • Don’t be fooled: 2018 FIFA World Cup scams you should be weary of

    We're just a few weeks away from the global phenomenon of watching men kick an inflatable bladder around a patch of grass, and cyber criminals have never been more excited. The FIFA World Cup, taking place in Russia this year beginning on 14 June, is an event that brings together billions of humans online. And taking advantage of these humans through online scams is an attractive proposition for some. According to security firm ESET, a number of scams have already been spotted in the wild. A majority of these dupes have taken the form of emails with documents attached, while others are...

  • The case for security-as-a-service for budding SMEs

    It isn’t a case of if a small to medium enterprise, startup, entrepreneur and genius business idea will be hacked. No, today it is a case of when. Ransomware, fraud, hacks, breaches -- the list is fairly endless, especially as cybercrime continues to evolve at a rapid rate. Research undertaken by Barclays Bank in the UK has found that cyber fraud costs the SME around £1000 (R17 000) every, single time, and cost more than 50 000 jobs. he impact is vast and the reality, according to Experian, is that around 51% of small businesses don’t have a response plan in...