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 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tech News Around South Africa

Vodacom makes first ever Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call in South Africa

Vodacom recently made the country’s first ever Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call over its 4G/LTE network. Typically reserved for data, the move to use 4G/LTE technology to carry voice traffic will in the future mean better call quality for consumers and a more efficient use of network resources. 
Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer said:  “VoLTE is a win-win technology - it’s good for the consumer and for Vodacom. The implementation of the VoLTE infrastructure is the first step towards commercial implementation that will ultimately result in faster call set up times, better voice quality and an overall improved quality of service. The migration of voice traffic to the 4G/LTE network will also have the benefit of freeing up capacity currently used to carry voice services." 
Vodacom is working with the handset manufacturers to ensure the technology is embedded in local handsets.
This latest development is part of the Vodacom's on-going R9 billion network investment programme. On top of recently implementing enhanced voice services (HD Voice plus) and making the first VoLTE call, Vodacom has also been adding base stations, and expanding fibre optic infrastructure to improve both the reach and quality of coverage. Vodacom also recently was the first operator to achieve true 4G (LTE-Advanced) on a live mobile network in South Africa. The first commercial test of the 4G network resulted in download speeds exceeding 300 Mbps.
“Technology is constantly evolving and making sure we’re at the forefront of these developments is crucial to our success. Vodacom prides itself on having a world-class network and I’m proud to be part of a team that not only successfully implements new technologies but so often manages to do it first,” said Delport.

FNB Banking App scoops App of the year award

FNB won the award at the 2014 App of the year award at the MyBroadband 2014 awards ceremony.
"We are honored that our App has been acknowledged by MyBroadband and more importantly its readers and our customers as it demonstrates the ongoing growth and popularity of the FNB app," says Sahil Mungar, FNB Digital Banking.

 "Having been the first bank to launch a banking app for smartphones as well as a bespoke tablet banking app in South Africa, we are encouraged to see up to 100 000 people a month, who don't bank with us, using our app to access their eWallets, check forex rates, and use Geo Payments, indicating a positive user experience," continues Mungar.

Joburg audiences are SA's biggest music streamers (SkyRoom Live) 

According to stats from SA’s  biggest live music streaming portal SkyRoomLive the majority of SA’s music streamers are based in JHB followed by Cape Town and Polokwane, with the device of choice being a Blackberry Curve 9320, Apple iPhone and iPad to stream, in total, approximately 34.6 Terabytes of data monthly via SRL.

“Virgin Mobile is a proud supporter of SkyRoomLive, as this partnership brings to life our commitment to supporting local musicians as well as fostering young talent.  This innovative platform, created by Eban and his homegrown team, is pushing the boundaries and making a noise at both a local and global level,” says Vanda Harries, Virgin Mobile South Africa Head of Brand and Communications.

Interestingly, additional SRL usage stats show that South Africans are using Chrome, Opera Mini and Safari as their preferred browsers when live streaming these events, with the most popular device being the Blackberry Curve 9320, Apple iPhone and iPad.

“In terms of actual music content, Urban and Hip Hop are by far the most streamed music events for South Africa. This is mainly due to international influences as well as natural demographics and local interests,” continues Eban.

According to’s 2014 world rankings for Online Content Providers, SRL is currently ranked number 12 in the world under the likes of American Express Unstaged, Red Bull Studios, Livestream and Boiler Room.

SRL has grown exponentially since its first live stream broadcast in 2012 and caters for a diverse demographic of music lovers – from urban and hip-hop to indie rock and Afrikaans. SRL has already achieved over 2-million live and archived views over one year alone, with an average of 600,000 Facebook impressions per week.

Be sure to catch the next volume of SkyRoomLive and Virgin Mobile Urban Sessions. Visit or for more information.

LG rolls out the G3 Beat Mobile Phone For South Africa 

Highlights of the LG G3 Beat include:
·         Laser Auto Focus enables the G3 Beat to focus on precious moments faster than ever before by measuring the distance between the subject and the camera using a laser beam.
·         Touch & Shoot lets users simply touch anywhere on the display to focus and shoot, reducing a two-step process to just one.
·         Gesture Shot allows you to simply clench your hand in front of the screen to automatically begin a three-second countdown before the picture is snapped.
·         Smart Keyboard learns how you type for faster input with fewer mistakes, reducing errors by up to 75 percent.
·         QuickMemo+ lets you jot, sketch, take notes and be as creative and inspired as you want to be.

Key Specifications:
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 400 processor 1.2 GHz Quad-Core
Display: 5.0-inch HD IPS (1280 x 720, 294ppi)
Memory: 8GB and includes 16GB Micro SD Card
Camera: Rear 8MP with Laser Auto Focus / Front 1.3MP
Battery: 2,540mAh (removable)
Operating System: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
Size: 137.7 x 69.6 x 10.3mm
Weight: 134 g
Network: 4G LTE / HSPA+ 21Mbps (3G)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0,  A-GPS/Glonass, NFC, USB 2.0
Colors: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold
Other: Touch & Shoot, Smart Keyboard, QuickMemo+, Gesture Shot

Local consumers can get their hands on the LG G3 Beat in October 

This edition by +Fred Felton