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