Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tech News Around South Africa

2014: the year of the data economy

By Jacques van Niekerk, CEO of Acceleration

Data is the fuel that drives the digital economy. During 2014, we can expect to see more focus than ever on how brands can drive value from data for their own businesses, but in a way that also delivers massive value to their customers.

What we are seeing is a broad transformation from the wasteful, interruptive advertising models of the past to an approach to marketing that is as engaging and empowering for the consumer as it is effective and efficient for the brand. I believe that three interlinked trends in the market are moving us in this direction.

New ways of thinking about privacy
Privacy has always been an emotive issue in the world of digital marketing and advertising. Privacy advocates and many consumers have had understandable concerns about just how aggregators, brands and Internet companies use personal information gathered online for marketing purposes.
But we are seeing a subtle shift now as consumers accept that providing personal information to the likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft is the cost of the many  free applications and value added services they use in their day to day lives, such as Web mail and social networking. There is an implicit trade of value here – as a consumer I pay a price in data for using a service provider’s free offerings.

That service provider, in turn, will leverage my attention and information for commercial benefit.  As consumers are increasingly  familiar with that value exchange principle, their attention is shifting towards getting the best deal possible for the information they are willing to share with the operators of large Web-based communities.

What I expect to see unfold within the next year is a move by consumers to take more control over their own data and manage it as carefully as they would a currency. They will want transparency from brands and Web communities and services about how their data is used, stored and managed, and they’ll want to be more proactive about  leveraging their data for incentives, discounts and other rewards.

For that reason, look out for a new class of aggregator to rise in the future in the form of intermediaries that help consumers to manage their data and their relationships with the providers of the digital apps and services they rely on.

Everywhere you go, you take your data with you
With mobile technologies such as location-based services, geo-tracking and near-field communications maturing rapidly, they are starting to find a strong role in marketing and advertising. Now, in addition to being able to ask for and infer demographic, behavioural and psychographic data about consumers, companies can also gather real-time information about where consumers are and what they are doing.

In addition to location data from smartphones and tablets, users are also capturing data through wearable computing devices such as the Nike Fuel Band activity and other exercise trackers. Mobile devices and wearable sensors mean that in addition to location data, users can share information about their current activities,  fitness states (heart rate, for example), and more with trusted parties, i.e. Health Insurer.
Of course, this raises some serious privacy questions, in addition to the many benefits it can offer for applications in healthcare, emergency response, and commerce. But if the privacy concerns are managed sensitively and intelligently, such data can be used to  improve the consumer experience while creating efficiencies for companies.

For example, imagine the potential of find-me-deliveries where a Fedex courier can come to your present location to deliver your package from Amazon to you, even if you’re not home or in your office. Or imagine receiving a targeted offer via an SMS or mobile app for a television you’ve expressed interest in when you step into a shopping mall.

Asking permission rather than forgiveness
With new sources of data – mobile technologies, social networking services, ever-more sophisticated tools for gathering and analysing behavioural and demographic data – marketers are suddenly able to engage more with their customers in a personalized manner. But as data about end-users becomes more detailed, organisations need to become ever more responsible and sensitive about how they use and manage customer information.

That means permission-based marketing is more important than ever before. Brands, aggregators and online services must outline in detail to customers which information they would like to track, how they plan to use it, and what the benefits to the consumer are. They should secure permission from customers to use their data for marketing and then show that they treat customer data with respect.

Companies that are able to demonstrate that they use consumer data in a way that benefits their customers will be more trusted and competitive than those that are careless or insensitive in the way they leverage customer information. Their customers will be more engaged, more satisfied and more loyal.

Their relationships with their customers will be ones of dialogue and mutual respect, built on an exchange of value that is beneficial for brand and consumer alike. Advertising will be more precise and less wasteful – and customers will welcome it because it is relevant to their needs.

Learn more at 


South African musician, Spoek Mathambo, has been chosen as one of the three people who will launch Vodafone’s global Firstsprogramme. The Vodafone brand is recognised worldwide, with more than 400 million people using Vodafone services in nearly 30 countries. Mathambo will feature in the Firsts brand initiative as it is rolled out in the countries in which Vodafone operates.

Firsts is about inspiring people - no matter their age or where they come from – to do something amazing for the first time using mobile technology.

In the case of Mathambo, Vodafone is helping the South African musician achieve his dream of creating his first recording using collected audio samples from different cultural groups across South Africa. Mathambo embarked on a journey around the country, meeting and playing music with three distinctly different communities to produce one unified piece of music.

Mathambo uploaded his musical collaborations on to the Vodafone Cloud. He then used the Vodacom network to connect to the cloud service and to contact his colleagues who were mixing the track back in his studio in Cape Town.

Speaking about his First, Mathambo said:  “It has been a long-term ambition of mine to work with talented and inspiring musicians to unite South African cultures through music. Vodafone technology and the Vodacom network enabled me to upload and share audio samples so we could work quickly and stay connected with my team in the studio and musicians in the communities for true collaboration.”

In addition to Mathambo, Vodafone is partnering with Olympic boxing medallist Mary Kom and British surfer Tom Lowe.

When Vodafone asked champion boxer Mary Kom what she wanted to do for the first time, she said she wanted to help women across India learn to defend themselves. Using mobile technology and connecting Kom with the right people, Vodafone is helping to make the 30-year-old Olympian’s ambition a reality. Vodafone is working with Kom to teach young women the mental and physical skills needed to improve their self-confidence and to defend themselves.

Vodafone worked with Kom to build and run a women-only boxing and self-defence camp in her native Manipur. A film of Kom’s inspirational journey was created, which can be viewed at and will be part of a self-defence smartphone app currently under development. For women in India without smartphones, Vodafone is helping Kom create a free SMS service, which will provide women across India with access to security and self-defence tips, a nationwide forum and women’s helpline numbers.

Within days, record-breaking British surfer Tom Lowe will use mobile technology to track down one of the world’s most dangerous waves, the Todos Santos wave at the northern tip of Baja California, Mexico, and also to help him to stay in touch with his family back home in Cornwall in the UK. Vodafone will help the 30-year-old use a global ocean forecasting system on his smartphone to help him locate the wave before jumping on to his surfboard and attempting to become the first European to ride it.  Lowe will travel by plane, car, boat, foot and surfboard to reach Todos Santos.

These are just a few of the Vodafone Firsts that will be made a reality for people around the world as part of the global programme, which follows on from the world’s first multi-sensory fireworks display in London on New Year’s Eve. *

The journey of each Vodafone First can be viewed at Stories coming soon include the world’s first crowd-sourced theatre production, colour-conducted choir and singing forest. At a local level, Vodacom will be working to source and create South African Firsts that will form part of the global programme.

Barbara Haase, Vodafone Group Brand Director, said: “Vodafone Firsts is about personal innovation and inspiring people to think in a new way. Mobile technology has changed so much about our lives in a relatively short time frame, from being able to plan a journey in seconds to helping people achieve their ambitions.”

(Source - Vodacom) 

Ster-Kinekor IMAX is believing

Since its grand opening in November last year, The IMAX Experience® at Gateway has become the cinema of choice for audiences looking for the ultimate movie-viewing option. The IMAX Experience® is the world’s most immersive cinematic experience - allowing audiences to enjoy some of the biggest blockbusters in a format like never before.

IMAX®’s cutting-edge projection system, which delivers crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX®'s customised theatre design and powerful digital sound system, create a unique environment that make audiences feel as if they are in the movie – and not just watching it.

IMAX® is believing!

(Source - Ster-Kinekor) 

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