Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tech News and Jobs Around South Africa

New App Alert 

A new App is out just in time for the summer festivities, offering a real-time guide to popular gigs. Trender will be launched so that partygoers can see what places are Trending right now and also where their friends are going.

Trender is a photo location-based social App that ranks popular venues as a ‘Trend’. It allows both locals and out-of-towners to view the most popular venues displayed in an interactive list. Partygoers can now browse Trends by category including nightlife, bars, and restaurants or just check where friends are meeting.

Trender joint-CEO Calvin Terblanche says Trender will be available on iPhone and Android. "Ever wondered where people hang out or which places are popular ? Trender offers a real-time guide on what’s happening where, based on its real-time atmosphere."

"All that’s left to do is to decide where to spend the next few hours with friends. Trender lets you see what your friends and other partygoers are doing in your city in real-time and allows you to discover what the atmosphere is like, with current photos uploaded by people already there,” he explains.

With Trender, people can be in the right place at the right time. Users can browse a list of venues ranked in order of popularity, based on real-time check-ins. Trender ranks trends based on people checked in and also ranks users based on photos taken and activity on the App.

Content is constantly being refreshed with real-time information, its elegant interface is text input free and easy-to-use and also free from the annoyances of advertising.

“Users can also create their own Trend anywhere with their own name featured on it,” says Trender joint-CEO Deane Hitge. “They can invite friends to Trends, take and share photos of Trends in real-time, see which friends are going to which Trends and how many people are there right now. One can also view the top Trends for the past week and more importantly, see the gender ratio at a particular Trend.”

Once registered, the App allows users to share where they are going with their friends and checks them in automatically when they arrive. This is done by means of intelligent geo-fencing technology that tracks one's movement.

"It posts that you are going to a destination and then acknowledges you as arrived when you do. The built-in directions feature also ensures you get to your destination,” he adds.

“You could think of Trender as an instant gratification App to see what there is to do right now. It takes the conversation off the ‘Friday night plans WhatsApp group’ and puts it in one place in the context of what is happening around you," Terblanche concludes.

Trender is available for free worldwide and will be available in English on the Apple store and Android market. For more info visit or follow Trender on Twitter @gettrender.

Vodacom launches campaign to curb texting while driving

Texting and driving can keep your eyes off the road for as much as five seconds at a time. At 120 kph, a car would travel a distance equivalent to more than one and a half football pitches during that five seconds of inattention, making texting and driving extremely dangerous.  In fact, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that you’re 23 times more likely to crash if texting while driving. Vodacom is taking a stand against texting and driving, and has today launched W8_2send (pronounced wait-to-send), a campaign that encourages South Africa to pledge to never text whilst driving.  

W8_2send aims to create as much awareness around the dangers of texting whilst driving as possible. The campaign, which has been specifically designed with the youth in mind, uses social media to spread the W8_2send message.

“We wanted to find a way to engage as well as educate South Africans around the dangers of texting and driving. Which is why we came up with the W8_2send online game that simulates what can happen when drivers are distracted by their cellphones on the road,” said Vodacom’s Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs, Maya Makanjee. 

The game, which can be played at, challenges players to manoeuvre an animated car by tilting their smartphones or using the arrow keys on their keyboard. At the same time they will have to type the answers to various questions. Once played, the game then prompts players to take the pledge to W8_2send by sharing the following message with their friends and family via Facebook or Twitter:

I've just promised to wait to send. Using your phone whilst driving is dangerous. Take the pledge #w8_2send

FNB has festive deals just for you

Festive season deals include an array of XBOX One and XBOX 360 deals from as little as R99 p.m over 24 months as well as the exclusive Samsung 40” Smart LED TV + Xbox One offer which includes the Fifa 15 game at R619 p.m over a 24 month period.
For more information on smart device gifting options for the festive season, visit:
*Qualifying criteria and terms and conditions apply

Jobs In Social Media

Absa is looking for Community Managers

This edition by Fred Felton
twitter @fredfelton 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tech News Around South Africa

BlackBerry devices are now available for purchase at BlackBerry Store in Vodacom World

BlackBerry customers in South Africa can purchase their devices and accessories directly from the BlackBerry Store at Vodacom World in Midrand.

Customers are now able to experiment the BlackBerry devices before deciding which one will best help them communicate, collaborate and get things done.
The selection includes a wide range of BlackBerry devices including the BlackBerry Passport, which redefines Productivity for mobile professionals with boundary-breaking design and features. The Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone from BlackBerry that combines the unique stylish design of the iconic and timeless Porsche Design brand with the fluid and effortless productivity experience of BlackBerry® 10 technology which will also be available soon.

BlackBerry 10 devices maximize users’ communications, collaboration and productivity thanks to their iconic keyboard experience, battery life, integrated hub and ease of sharing information and photos across social networks – and they are now available for purchase directly at the BlackBerry store,” said Martin Fick, Senior Country Product Manager at BlackBerry South Africa.
In the BlackBerry Store, customers will also benefit from technical advice, support for device set ups, software upgrades and much more.

The BlackBerry Store is open 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm Saturday and 9:00am to 2:00pm on Sundays and public holidays. Be sure to pop in from 5 to 7 December and 12 to 15 December for great special offers and fun in-store activities to celebrate the new look shop.

Vodacom superfast 4G is a first for SA

Vodacom recently unveiled the next development in 4G technology, capable of downloading an entire 1Gb movie in less than a minute. This is the first time that this has been achieved on a live mobile network in South Africa using a smartphone, and shows the potential of mobile technology to supply the country’s broadband needs into the future.

During the test, which was conducted directly on a mobile handset and used carrier aggregation technology, download speeds of 270 Mbit/s were achieved. At this speed an entire music album could be downloaded in 10 seconds. This is approximately four times faster than the fastest speed achieved with LTE technology on Vodacom’s network.

Speaking about this test, Vodacom Group’s Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said:

“Vodacom prides itself on innovation and being the first to bring new developments to South Africa, and this next step in 4G technology gives an idea of just how far mobile technology has evolved.”

These trials follow the recent completion of a multi-billion rand six year-long radio network renewal programme which has seen every single Vodacom base station in South Africa replaced with new equipment.

Delport said:

“We’ve just completed the longest and probably the most complex engineering project in Vodacom’s history which involved switching out the equipment at every single site across the country. This new equipment means that all of our base stations are 4G ready, meaning that Vodacom is ideally positioned to support Government’s broadband objectives. We’re looking forward to rolling this higher speed technology out as soon as additional spectrum becomes available.

“In addition to this, the new equipment is more easily configured to handle future upgrades and is better for the environment, with reduced energy consumption and a smaller footprint compared to the old technology. Thanks to this project, Vodacom’s South African network is amongst the most advanced in the world.”

The upgrade programme, which began in Mpumalanga in June 2008, was completed on 15 September 2014 in the Free State and consisted of swapping out the equipment in over 10 000 base stations. The net effect of this investment project is that Vodacom customers will have an improved network experience with faster data speeds, more stability and fewer dropped calls.

Delport concluded:

“The radio network swap project is about much more than superfast speeds. We’ve also been investing heavily to make sure that we have the capacity to handle the massive growth in call and particularly data volumes in South Africa. Broadband access is one of the keys to economic development and thanks to this project we’re ready and able to play our part.”

For more on Vodacom’s network renewal programme watch the interview between Aki Anastasiou and Andries Delport -

Presenting The Load Shedding App

Eskom has just released The Load Shedding App.
It is available on the Apple Store and on Google Play. 
There is also a version for mobile browsers.
You can get it here:

This edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A look at the LG G3

This week we take a look at the LG G3

Texting with the LG G3 is faster, easier and more accurate with the Smart Keyboard.

Smart Keyboard is yet another way LG Electronics (LGESA) makes technology simpler and smarter. Its size is adjustable so that it is easy for anyone to use, no matter finger size. By swiping your fingers across the keyboard it will complete your words and sentences with ease. Smart Keyboard’s Quick Move function also allows the user to correct words with one simple gesture.

Smart Keyboard saves the user time and reduces spelling mistakes.

Make your way to your nearest MTN, Vodacom, CellC or Virgin Mobile store to get yours today.

It also features a Knock Code for security.
Knock Code™ wakes up and unlocks your phone in one step. It is clearly a time-saver but it also offers greater security over conventional password and pattern-based security options. The smartphone display is divided into four invisible quadrants with Knock Code™. The user taps or ‘knocks’ anywhere from two to eight times in the quadrant in specific sequence. There is more than 80 000 possible combinations and no fingerprint streaks. Knock Code™ can be implemented anywhere on the screen in any size without having to view the screen, this means that there’s no chance of password theft. In addition to being safer and more convenient, Knock Code™ is also more responsive compared to bio-recognition systems, which are much more susceptible to variations in the environment.

Find out more at 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

5 Questions With Trend Analyst Dion Chang

Today I sat down with trend analyst Dion Chang from Flux Trends.

Dion Chang

I asked him 5 questions.

How far away are we from Free WiFi across Africa?

It's become such a commodity.  Profit is quite narrow in this medium.  When we see the benefit of it in countries GDP then maybe we can see it happening.

What social media trends do you see for 2015 and into the future?

Social Media Commerce.  We are at a tipping point.  It's the next step of shopping.  It's going to integrate into our lifestyles.

How do you see wearables and Google Glass?

I am disappointed in Google Glass.

Wearables are in a fitness phase at the moment.  I think wearables are going to disrupt the healthcare industry.

What does Flux Trends do?

We are a trends analysis company.   We look at the consumer mindset and we look at trends as a business strategy.  We are very much interested in disruptive technology.

Which South African Brands are doing well on Social Media?

Mr Price does it really well.  They speak to their target market well.
Spree is killing it.  They are also doing very well.

You can find Dion Chang on Twitter @dionchang

Interview by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton

Fred Felton was a guest of MWEB WiFi at their #TheFutureOfWiFi Luncheon.
Find out about their WiFi here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heard of the WiFi dress?

Technology meets fashion with this little number.

The WiFi Dress
The MWEB WiFi Chameleon Dress was worn at the SA Style Awards by host Lalla Hirayama.
The dress is WiFi and GPS enabled and automatically changes colours and patterns depending on the geographical location.

The making of the dress journey can be viewed here

In addition the MWEB WiFi Futuristic Fitting Room is also currently on display. The fitting room functions through the use of Microsoft Kinect and a ‘magic mirror’ which tracks a user’s size and movements. Users can then try on clothing, without having to undress, based on samples stored in the cloud, access to which is made possible by MWEB’s WiFi Zone solution.  

Look out for these Futuristic Fitting Rooms at your mall soon. 

For more details on where the MWEB WiFi Chameleon dress as well as the MWEB WiFi futuristic fitting room will next be featured, visit MWEB WiFi on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

For more information about MWEB WiFi visit


Article by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton
Image - Supplied 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Now you can pay staff via mobile phone with Vodacom m-pesa

Pay staff via mobile phone with Vodacom’s m-pesa
The latest generation of the Vodacom m-pesa electronic platform provides an ideal mechanism for employers to pay staff salaries and ad-hoc expenses via mobile phone.
With m-pesa, companies have a low-cost and easy solution for making payments to all staff, even those who don’t have a bank account. Employees can use their m-pesa account as a wallet to hold their salary, and with the m-pesa Visa card they can then withdraw cash from any ATM as well as pay for goods and services using any point of sale machine.
Tracy Lipworth, general manager of Future Force Fields Solutions which is part of the TCC Group, has seen significant benefits from introducing the m-pesa platform to pay salaries and expenses to around 800 staff members around the country.
“Previously, we had a lot of problems transferring to bank accounts and also took a bit of a risk when making cash payments. By moving to Vodacom m-pesa, our staff get paid via their mobile phones. They also have debit cards so they can access their funds at various retail outlets and automatic teller machines throughout South Africa,” she said.
“Not everyone has a bank account, and this certainly isn’t a unique challenge facing Future Force Fields Solutions. We’ve found that m-pesa is a simple and extremely user friendly way for us to pay all staff regardless of their circumstances, and I’ve got to believe that it would work well for other companies facing similar issues.”
According to Lipworth, her company loads m-pesa as a payment beneficiary and makes a large electronic funds transfer upload and then an easy bulk payment to its staff via their mobile phone numbers. Staff can transfer money via their phones to family and friends wherever they are in South Africa. 
“Not only is this easy for us, it means that our staff are paid quickly and have very low transaction costs. The security aspects are also very solid as FICA identification legislation is applied. If someone loses their phone, they simply replace the SIM card as their electronic wallet is still intact. Debit cards can provide an important back-up facility,” she added.
m-pesa was started in Kenya and has also built up a strong user base in countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique. Lipworth is hoping that Vodacom m-pesa will soon be able to be used for cross border transactions as her company is keen to expand its operations into some neighbouring countries.
The m-pesa platform provides a seamless, low cost and real time disbursement system for salaries, loans and grants that is low risk and easy to audit. It’s as close to cash that you can get, without being exposed to the risks associated with its handling in South Africa,” said Herman Singh, Managing Executive for m-commerce at Vodacom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vodacom Introduces Voice Passwords

At Vodacom your voice is your password - a South African security first

Voice biometrics, the practice of using a person's unique voiceprint to provide security access, is gaining traction worldwide and Vodacom has now implemented this technology in South Africa.
In a first for the country, Vodacom customers can register for Voice Password via the My Vodacom app or through the customer care call centre on 111 / 082 111. Once successfully registered and the sample voiceprint has been recorded, Voice Password is ready for use. In future interactions, all that is needed is to repeat a pass-phrase for the system to verify against the recorded voice print. Access will then either be granted, or in the instance that the voice print is not recognised, the user will be informed that they have provided invalid credentials.

The non-intrusive nature of this technology, supported by deployment at some of the world’s largest enterprises, is pushing the adoption of voice biometrics into the mainstream. Research has shown that 80% of consumers view voice biometrics positively due to the secure and convenient authentication experience.

With the increasing focus on combatting identity theft and fraud, voice biometrics provide a timely solution that uses a person’s natural voice pattern to log in to their profile. It is extremely difficult to forge someone’s voice. Dialect, speaking styles, and pitch differ from person to person, making attempts to impersonate a voice or provide recordings to gain fraudulent authentication impossible due to the distinctive details of the voice print recorded at set up.

Logging in can be a tedious experience – it’s always been a necessary but somewhat inconvenient process. Voice Password changes this and gives Vodacom customers a simpler, worry-free customer experience. It’s a great example of using technology in a win-win, increasing convenience and at the same time improving security” says Dee Nel, Managing Executive, Vodacom Customer Care.
How do I use it?

My Vodacom app - The feature is currently available to all Android users using the My Vodacom app. Customers can download the MyVodacom app from Google Play or from the Vodacom app store. An iPhone version is due to be launched soon.

Vodacom Customer Care - Vodacom Customer Care currently offers the service to customers who have chosen English as a preferred language, with a rollout programme to all customers coming in the near future.

For more info visit: or call Vodacom Customer Care on 082 111.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Entries for 2014 International App Star Challenge Now Open

Vodacom puts SA app developers on to the international stage

Entries for the 2014 international App Star Challenge competition are now open. This is a chance for South Africa’s upcoming and established app developers to showcase their talents locally, with the winners going forward to compete on the international stage against app developers from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and India.

The two categories in the South African leg of the competition are ‘upcoming’ and ‘established’. An ‘established’ developer or company is one that meets the following criteria: more than 10 employees, established before 15 Jan 2013 and has 50,000+ combined downloads of all their apps in popular app stores. An ‘upcoming’ developer or company is one that doesn’t meet the criteria for the ‘established’ developer.

The applicable platforms for this competition are Android, J2ME, Windows Phone 8, iOS and BlackBerry. The first prize at this stage of the competition is R20 000 for the winners in each category and a trip to India to participate in the International leg of the competition. Further prizes can then be won at the international competition, including a trip to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

App developers should submit their entries for the local contest via All entries must be submitted by 15 November 2014.

Ashraff Paruk, Managing Executive of Digital Services at Vodacom said:

“The Vodacom App Star Challenge was first launched in 2012. We’ve seen some incredibly high quality, innovative apps taking top honours in the past years and we’re looking forward to another round. It’s time for local developers to step up and demonstrate their skills – I want to be able to showcase South Africa’s ingenuity and make sure that our country comes out on top at the international final.”

Speaking about the ethos behind the competition, Paruk said:

“The mobile industry is changing and operators like Vodacom need to embrace the app economy and over the top players. It’s a genuine honour to be able to play a part in incubating new businesses and developing budding entrepreneurs. By working with these developers we’re helping to support the economy, to stimulate new services for our customers, and ultimately to position our business for the future. It’s most definitely a win-win situation.”

The International leg of the competition takes place in Bangalore, India on 15 January 2015. The first prize winners in each category of the international round will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. The second prize winners in both the established and upcoming category will each receive devices and Amazon gift vouchers worth US$ 5000.

For more information visit

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet the police car of the future - Free calls on Virgin Mobile - Jobs in Digital

The police car of the future, powered by Vodacom Business

Vodacom, in partnership with Samsung, has created the police car of the future. This next-generation police car, which uses fixed and mobile network infrastructure in conjunction with the latest hardware, is designed to showcase how innovation and technology can support the South African Police Service to provide the best possible service to the South African community.
The vehicle is on display during the 9th annual GovTech conference that runs from 2 - 5 November 2014 at the International Convention Centre in Durban.
Vuyani Jarana, chief officer at Vodacom Business said:
“Our key aim is to use mobile technology to address both the social and business challenges facing our customers. The next generation police car is a great example of exactly this – using technology for social good.
The information that we’ll be able to put at the disposal of the police, combined with coordination from a centralised control centre, will mean a step change in capabilities. In short, the police will be able to do more, in less time and at a lower cost than ever before.”
Each vehicle includes cameras that are capable of number plate recognition. Connectivity is provided by LTE and 3G technology underpinned by Vodacom’s high speed fibre and microwave network. Information gathered by the cameras and shared via the mobile connection can be cross-referenced with databases such as those administered by the Department of Transport and the Department of Home Affairs. This would dramatically increase the ability of the police to detect criminals and react instantly. The equipment can also be fitted to existing vehicles.
The technology in each car will also make it possible for police officers to check ID numbers, drivers licences, outstanding fines and other information in a few seconds. Mobile printers will allow officers to issue infringement notices with information automatically populated from wirelessly linked databases. This should improve efficiency and reduce the chance of accidental errors.
The next generation police cars will be fitted with cameras, capable of sending video footage, voice communication, instant messages and other data to the command centre in real time. “This technology will empower the central command centre to make decisions based on relevant information in real time,” says Jarana.
Data captured by the hardware will be time-stamped and geo-tagged, helping to increase accountability and making monitoring easier for officers and management alike. All data sent between the vehicles and the control centre will also be encrypted, ensuring security. Furthermore, the central control facility will be able to monitor, activate and deactivate devices remotely.
The solution will be commercially available early next year. The hardware is modular, making it possible for parts of the solution to be rolled out to security companies, emergency medical services, cash in transit companies and other businesses that may need some – but not necessarily all – of the features.
Consumer electronics giant Samsung supplies the mobile devices for this solution. The range of compatible handsets and tablets is comprised of various products from the Galaxy range, including the Tab S, S5, Alpha and Samsung’s ruggedized device the Tab Active. Samsung is not only providing devices but will also deliver an end to end solution. Samsung’s Director of Enterprise Mobility, Paulo Ferreira says, “We are excited to partner with Vodacom on this initiative. We believe that by combining our technology offerings we are able to provide a solution to help our police force to provide the best service to the South African community.”
Jarana says similar solutions have already been successfully deployed in New Zealand and Italy with great success. He adds that Vodacom opted to partner with Samsung because they have demonstrated the capability to deliver industry solutions that match customer requirements. Samsung was therefore considered a perfect fit for this project.

Free on V2V: Virgin Mobile highlights the beauty of voice with free on-net calls

Virgin Mobile South Africa’s (VMSA) highly anticipated new product proposition offers free on-net calls to all its contract and prepaid customers.

After months of media speculation about the pioneering mobile virtual network operator’s (MVNO) next move, CEO Anton Landman revealed a new tiered offering, which will go live from 1 November 2014.

The offer
The proposition covers prepaid, post-paid and top-up contracts.

Post-paid and top-up deals include free Virgin to Virgin (V2V) minutes that are valid for calls made to other Virgin Mobile SA numbers. The monthly quantity equates to the subscription value of the contract, up to R499. On contract values over R499, subscribers get a flat 1000 free V2V minutes.

Virgin Mobile’s prepaid offering, V2V Booster, offers up to 100% back on the face value on recharge vouchers of R35 and more. So, for instance, vouchers of R35 to R49 include 35 free V2V minutes, and ones of R120 to R179 include 120 free V2V minutes.

Mobile as it should be
Landman explains the thinking behind the new offering. “We have set ourselves the target of one million subscribers in the next three years, and this is just one of the ways we intend achieving this,” he says.

“In a cluttered market where mobile operators fight for every inch of competitive advantage and the market is flooded with a myriad of complex offerings, there is little room for more of the same,” he says. “So we’re creating our own space in the industry with simple, high-value offerings that cannot be easily replicated.”

For more info visit or follow on Twitter and Facebook

Jobs In Digital 

Nicki Dadic is looking for a junior digital coordinator.  Would suit someone who has just done
internship work.  Send your CV to 

This edition by Fred Felton
twitter @fredfelton 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vodacom supports e-Learning in KZN - AccTech team wins Tuks IT competition - FNB and Visa credit card fraud stats

Vodacom supports e-Learning in KZN

Vodacom, in partnership with the KwaZulu Natal Department of Basic Education, unveiled the Vodacom e-Learning schools connectivity solution in UmlaziThe project will help enhance teaching and learning outcomes in the province through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

The goal is to contribute to the transformation of teaching and learning through the use of technology in the classroom. The schools have been equipped with laptops, an interactive whiteboard, a data projector, a printer, educational aids and Internet connectivity. The community will also have access to the centre and will be able to use the Internet and make use of the e-learning content.

Vodacom Business, Chief Officer, Vuyani Jarana says: “Our teachers achieve so much in what are often difficult circumstances, so one can just imagine what is possible if they are supported with the latest equipment and training. It’s a privilege to be part of the e-learning initiative and to make use of Vodacom’s innovative technology to help unlock the true potential of learners in KZN.” 

Kwa Zulu Natal has more than 6000 schools in its provincial responsibility. The majority of these schools, especially those in the rural areas, do not have access to ICT, creating a knowledge gap that prejudices the learners and teachers in the province.

Kwa Zulu Natal MEC, NP Nkonyeni says: “As technology advances, it is important for the Department to take advantage of such developments and improve the quality of teaching and learning in the province. We also need to make it easy for both parents and learners to access educational content anytime, anywhere and through any device.”

For the last 20 years Vodacom has been working to address some of the country’s most pressing humanitarian challenges by using mobile technology as a basis for innovative solutions. 

AccTech team wins Tuks IT final year competition

Local business solutions provider, AccTech Systems, has sponsored a group of students from the University of Pretoria's School of Information Technology to develop a software solution as part of their final year course.

The team won the first place overall as well as the Investec Innovation Award out of 18 teams competing in this year's competition. 

AccTech Systems CEO Tertius Zitzke says the students approached AccTech Systems to assist them with a project that they had to develop as part of their final year program. “Considering that it had to work in a business environment, management suggested that they develop a new resource scheduler for AccTech Systems, to make the management and allocation of resources easier and more effective.”

The new system had to keep track of employees, leave, skills, projects, resources, consultant’s availability and meetings. Previously, AccTech Systems used a manual system to keep track of employees and consultants. The problem was that each system had a different purpose and they didn’t integrate with one another.

Appropriately named AccTion, the time scheduler and resource management solution had to cater for leave, meetings, training and projects. It also had to show resource availability and update dynamically as changes were made to the consultant's schedules.

The final year team says previously, a project meeting was held once every fortnight in which resource issues were discussed. "This wasted a huge amount of valuable time. Consultants’ time was totally mismanaged, some had too much work and others didn’t have any."

"The project and business unit manager also had to keep track of appropriate skills allocation to project and scheduled leave on a separate sheet, which resulted in a lot of unnecessary paperwork. The need therefore existed for a single system that incorporated the data from the different systems into one application," she explained.

Zitzke says the aim of the new system was to streamline the current workflow within the company. "The project managers will use the system to manage the consultants in such a way that their availability is visible at all times. In so doing, the workload will be more evenly distributed amongst consultants and productivity will increase."

Employee skills are now also updated and staff is assigned to projects according to their specific skills. Furthermore, the hours of consultants are now tracked by using timesheets.

As a project is confirmed and gets the go-ahead, it is added to the system. Resources are then assigned to the project and relevant staff is able to edit project phases as well as view past projects. The full system will be developed in ASP.NET and the scheduling part of the system will be duplicated in a mobile application.

AccTion shows the availability of consultants and also allows project managers to assign available resources to projects, which in turn creates an opportunity to handle a much larger workload and increase productivity. AccTion also allows support staff to schedule available consultants to support tickets, improving the response time to client issues and subsequently improving customer satisfaction.

Zitzke congratulated the Coalition team on a well-executed project and wished them well for the future. “These students are the future of IT and AccTech Systems is proud to be involved in skills development and also part of their success. AccTech Systems is a forward looking company, we want to be part of new technological advancements because this is what we pride ourselves in providing our clients.”

FNB and Visa once again joined forces to launch their 10th Annual Card Security Week (CSW) and announced a 15% reduction in credit card fraud.

Columinate, an independent research company, was commissioned to research fraud awareness and card fraud trends in South Africa.

“We found that while the overall awareness of card fraud is very high, 42% of South Africans still admit that their PINs are not kept secret and that they share their PINs (mostly with their spouses, 85%). These numbers are higher than in 2013 when 38% shared their PINs,” says Athaly Khan, Head of Fraud at FNB Credit Card.

Compared to 2013, significantly more consumers are using their hands as a shield while keying in their PINs at an ATM (67%, up from 59%), yet 20% admit that they use the same PIN for numerous cards. From FNB’s perspective, PIN security, online scams and cloning of cards are the biggest threats to card security in 2014.    

“In terms of card security awareness, 93% of individuals surveyed pay careful attention to their SMS notifications when making transactions, which points to the importance of such notifications,” noted Bryce Thorrold, Head of Risk Services for Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The three forms of credit card fraud which have reduced the most in the last 12 months are: international counterfeit fraud, stolen credit card fraud and international card not present fraud.  While local card not present fraud, counterfeit fraud and false application fraud have increased.

The 3 most common forms of credit card fraud are:
1.                 Card number being used fraudulently
2.                 Counterfeit card fraud
3.                 Stolen card fraud

“Higher income earning consumers, earning over R350 000 p.a., show the most careless card behaviour. Our past communication drives have shown improved consumer vigilance amongst middle and lower income customers,” adds Ms Khan.

“With a substantial increase in online purchases, we are also raising the profile of card security online. Some 25% of the people surveyed transact online more than once a month. By following a few simple steps customers can protect themselves from cyber fraud.  When customers enter their card details on a website, it is important that they check the site for HTTPS in the web address and to be registered for online security programmes such as “Verified by Visa”. These services require an additional PIN that is sent to the customer’s mobile phone or email address before the transaction is processed,” advises Ms Khan.

Point of Sale (POS) fraud has been declining steadily over the past year but customers should remain extra vigilant when handing their card to someone else when paying in a store or at a fuel station where it may be skimmed and cloned.

FNB recorded very low fraud losses in relation to transaction volumes (less than 0.05%) at merchants during the period July 2013 to June 2014. The bank continues to encourage the adoption of various fraud preventative measures with all our merchants. The introduction of Chip and PIN cards five years ago has also lead to the reduction of fraud particularly in retail environments such as restaurants and at service stations.

“As both cardholders and merchants demand quicker methods of payments, new channels are opening up, such as contactless payments at POS. Ensuring payment security is one of Visa’s highest priorities and with any new payment technology we ensure that these products are as secure as traditional cards and meet all the same standards for security,” notes Thorrold.

“FNB is promoting greater card usage and cashless banking with its no-charge per transaction pricing, as cards are a safe and convenient alternative to cash. At the same time, we are actively taking steps to inform our customers about simple security precautions to prevent card fraud,” says Ms Khan.

FNB has a dedicated fraud department. The FNB Fraud Prevention Hotline is contactable on 0800 110 132. In addition, Visa customers can obtain 24-hour assistance at its Global Customer Care Assistance line at 0800 990 475.

This edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton