Tag: app

The Covid app is safer than most, says experts

The South African government has launched a new contact tracing app called Covid Alert SA.

South African citizens are suspicious of the app’s (and the government’s) intentions, but experts have said that the app in perfectly safe when it comes to privacy concerns. It asks for less information than most popular apps, such as Facebook, Uber and Gmail.

Professor Preiser, head of Medical Virology at Stellenbosch University, says “Within the limitations that these things may have, if a sufficient number of people use it, it will help.”

Emma Sadleir, founder and CEO of The Digital Law Company and a local privacy expert, says:
“The manual methods – although helpful – are quickly overwhelmed. Let’s use this amazing tech that’s available to us. There is no reason to be suspicious. Come and contact me if you find out that your information has been misused, I’ll take the hit.I really do think that people should download this Covid Alert SA app. I think it’s a good step because we all want to get back to normal life and this is a step towards that.”

How does it work?

The app will ask for a few permissions upon installation. These include Bluetooth access as well as mobile data access. It does not ask for GPS permissions, which means that it won’t collect geolocation data at all.

It uses something called low-frequency Bluetooth protocol, which means that it won’t drain your battery and works on the lower end of the Bluetooth spectrum. This Bluetooth access is used to ping nearby devices (that also have the app installed) in public places. It then collects anonymised IDs from each nearby device through Bluetooth and stores them directly on your device.

If you contract Covid-19 and you record a positive case in the app, it will only now connect via a mobile network (it has been zero-rated by networks, so you won’t pay for this data/airtime) and send all of the user IDs picked up at the store a few days earlier than they may have come into contact with a positive case.

What type of information does it collect?

  • The app does not require a user sign-up
  • There is no Google login, Apple ID, ReCaptcha or password
  • The app was built on Google and Apple’s exposure notification API, which is the same as used in the rest of the world
  • Anonymised IDs are generated when you’re in close proximity of other smartphones
  • It doesn’t collect phone numbers, ID numbers, names, addresses or even Google account information
  • Developers have had to adhere to both Google’s and Apple’s security protocols for it to be made available to the general public while using the tech firm’s technology

Citizens are encouraged to download the app and help to track the spread of Covid-19. To do so, click here.

Image credit: The South African

Source: IOL

With the pandemic putting a halt on travel and making travellers uneasy to explore the world once more, experts believe that a new health passport app may be the solution to win them over.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, global tourism shrank by 97 percent in April. This could be due to closed borders or travellers being uneasy to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new CovidPass app, dubbed as a health passport, hopes to restore travellers confidence to want to travel in a Covid-19 world and hopefully eliminate the need for quarantine at destinations for healthy travellers.

According to the World Economic Forum, CovidPass is the brainchild of one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Mustapha Mokass. It also involves other YGLs across 5 continents, including Muna AbuSulayman and Peggy Liu.

So, how does that app work?

Well, CovidPass uses blockchain technology to store encrypted data from travellers’ blood tests, which they can use to show whether they are Covid-19 positive or negative.

The app is set to launch in September.

Mokass wants the app to become a standardised solution for airlines, airports and border agencies. Should CovidPass be successful, it could eliminate the need to quarantine healthy travellers. Many destinations have imposed mandatory quarantine for travellers in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

CovidPass also commits to mandatory carbon offsetting for each flight passenger in hopes of preserving the environmental benefits of reduced air travel during the crisis. CovidPass could also assist hotels, cinemas, theatres, conference and exhibition industry and sporting and concert venues to reopen safely.

 

FNB suffers massive technical glitch

FNB announced on Monday via its Twitter page that some of the functionality on its digital platforms was unavailable.

“We are aware that some of our functionality is temporarily unavailable. Our IT teams are working to restore the affected functionality,” said the bank in its tweet.

According to users, when they tried to the access the app they would receive a message that said that the system was unavailable and the users should try again later.

The bank apologised to its customers for the inconvenience.

By Tuesday, it had fixed its Foreign Exchange services, and on Wednesday announced that lotto and electricity services were back online.
As of Wednesday, airtime and data services were still not working.

Source: MyBroadband

Nedbank has launched a new “super app”, called Avo, which will give the bank’s customers to access online shopping, essential services and financial products on a single platform.

The group said the term “super app” refers to the fact that Avo is actually a multitude of apps aggregated into one.

Some of the key features of the app include:

  • Online groceries and food – Nedbank has partnered with OneCart to allow customers to buy groceries from leading retailers in one delivery or browse the Avo Shop for essential items at the best prices.
  • Essential professional home services – The app currently has 170 registered home repair and services merchants, with more being added
  • Digital home entertainment – Users can access a number of home entertainment options including Showmax, Tidal and Deezer
  • Airtime, data and electricity – Users can easily top-up and purchase airtime, data and electricity bundles
  • Avo points – The app has a built-in rewards system and users can earn 1% in Avo Points on every transaction made on the platform.
  • Business listing – Nedbank said it will allow businesses to list for free on the app. This will allow them to reach more potential customers, communicate easily, send quotations and receive payments in-app.

Because the app launched in the middle of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, Nedbank said the services available through the app are level-5 compliant.

It added that the beta version of Avo has already been delivering essential goods, providing home entertainment and connecting home service providers across provinces.

While the app was originally trialled by staff, Nedbank said it has now released a beta version to its Nedbank Money App users.

“This will see the phased release of Avo to Nedbank clients, to allow for further enhancements before full public launch.”

“The beta will allow Nedbank Money App users to use a two-click process to sign up seamlessly onto Avo.”

By Aaron Holmes for Business Insider US 

As coronavirus spreads, companies are increasingly being forced to work from home – and some are using online conference tools to try to prevent a dip in productivity.

Some are turning to tools like Sneek, a group video conference software that’s always on by default.

Sneek features a “wall of faces” of employees at a company, automatically taking a photo of employees through their webcam every one to five minutes.

“Sneek was never designed to spy on anyone,” cofounder Del Currie told Business Insider. “We’d be the worst spy company ever considering we named our app ‘Sneek.'”

Working from home can make it feel like managers have less direct supervision over workers. But an always-on video-conference tool changes that by automatically snapping webcam pictures of employees every few minutes.

Companies across the world have been forced to abandon offices in favor of working from home in recent weeks to try to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has sickened more than 39,000 people in the US alone.

In order to keep productivity high while working remotely, some companies are turning to tools like Sneek. The software features a “wall of faces” for each office, which stays on throughout the workday and features constantly-updating photos of workers taken through their laptop camera every one to five minutes.

Sneek’s user base has rapidly expanded in recent weeks as companies transition en masse to work-from home – signups have increased tenfold in in the past few weeks, cofounder Del Currie told Business Insider. It has over 10,000 users and boasts clients including American Express, Lego, Fred Perry, and GoFish digital.

The software’s interface lets people set their webcam to automatically photograph them every one or five minutes, depending on how frequently they want their image to update (or how frequently their boss requires it).

If a coworker clicks on their face, Sneek’s default settings will instantly connect the two workers in a live video call, even if the recipient hasn’t clicked “accept.” However, people can also configure their settings to only accept calls manually – and only take webcam photos manually – if their employer allows it.

Currie told Business Insider that, while some may be put off by the software’s interface, it’s meant to build a connected office dynamic.

“Sneek was never designed to spy on anyone, we’d be the worst spy company ever considering we named our app ‘Sneek,'” Currie said. “We know lots of people will find it an invasion of privacy, we 100% get that, and it’s not the solution for those folks, but there’s also lots of teams out there who are good friends and want to stay connected when they’re working together.”

After Sneek’s interface was reported by The Information’s Priya Anand last week, some were turned off by the workplace surveillance tool. David Heinemeier Hansson, CTO and cofounder of the development firm Basecamp, tweeted that the idea “makes my skin crawl.”

Currie acknowledged that the company “did indeed get some Twitter fame last week” after The Information story was published. Sneek was inspired in part by a book on remote work that Hansson co-authored, Currie said, but now the company has received messages from Hansson’s followers “abusing our staff and calling us pieces of s-.”

The purpose of Sneek isn’t surveillance, Currie said, but office culture.

“We’ve worked from home for 10+ years and one of the biggest things that starts to creep in is that sense of isolation, it does really affect people’s mental health,” he said. “Just having that ability to look up and see your teammates there can make all the difference.”

Checkers trails one-hour grocery delivery service

By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL

Checkers has launched its exclusive on-demand one-hour grocery delivery service named Sixty60.

It is South Africa’s first 60-minute grocery delivery service from a supermarket chain.

With Sixty60 consumers can shop for their food and grocery needs from the comfort of their home or office, saving them time by having it delivered to their preferred address.

The mobile app delivers groceries and drinks at the touch of a button and offers the same value for money for which Checkers is renowned. Users can track the status of their order and delivery in real time.

“Sixty60 will offer unrivalled convenience because it does all the hard work for you,” said Neil Schreuder, Chief of Innovation and Strategy at Shoprite Checkers.

“In our time-pressed society, providing consumers with a swift, on-demand grocery delivery service is like giving them back time: today’s most precious commodity,” added Schreuder.

Following months of testing the Sixty60 app with its own employees, it is now being piloted to the public in select locations in Cape Town and Sandton.

Schreuder said, “The name Sixty60 captures the service’s main ambition: for customers to order groceries in sixty seconds and have them delivered in as little as sixty minutes”.

Products on the Sixty60 app retail at the same low prices found in Checkers stores. Delivery is absolutely free for the time being during the pilot period.

Sixty60 is currently available to the public in Checkers supermarkets in the Western Cape (including Durbanville, Willowbridge, Okavango Crossing, Rondebosch, Kloof Street, Sea Point) and Gauteng (Melrose and Bryanston). According to the retailer, there are plans to roll out the delivery service nationally from early next year.

Sixty60’s beta app is now available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store.

ACSA to spend R1.2bn digitising SA airports

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has set aside R1.2 billion to digitise the country’s airports, according to a recent article in ITWeb.

The announcement was made as the company released its financial results to 31 March.

Highlights include:

  • Profit fell by 58%, largely due to a 50% increase in security costs
  • R287-million was spent on data centre and network upgrades in 2018/19
  • The organisation says it has embarked on a five-year IT upgrade programme
  • The board has set aside R1.2-billion in capital expenditure to spend on IT infrastructure
  • Upgrades will focus on digitising local airports
  • R301-million will be spent on IT network optimisation
  • R142-million will go towards IT backup and storage solutions
  • R240-million will be spent on improving and upgrading the company’s physical IT infrastructure
  • Legacy equipment will be replaced
  • Paperless travel will require it to tightly integrate its passenger processing systems with databases residing with the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Transport, as well as with other airlines
  • Faster passenger processing will allow the retail component of the airport to generate more non-aeronautical revenue
  • A new mobile application will allow customers and passengers to interact with airports remotely

Image credit: ACSA

SAPS launches free app to fight crime

Published by Kirsten Jacobs for Cape Town Etc

An app for citizens to use in the fight against crime has been launched by the South African Police Service (SAPS). Called My SAPS, the app was developed by Vodacom and will be available on both Apple and Android devices.

The app is described on the App Store as a way of “enabling everyone to contribute towards building a more crime free society”.

“My SAPS is a free application available for iPhones and other smartphones, provided by the South African Police Services,” it says on the App Store. “My SAPS will allow you to submit crime tip-offs (anonymously) to the Crime Stop Centre and send updates.”

The app allows users to submit anonymous tip-offs and call crime stop.

“It also allows you easy access to all SAPS Stations information using the SAPS Station finder, as well as all SAPS Social Media platforms.”

Users can find their closest police station using the app.

Download it for Android: https://tinyurl.com/y5s8z3u9

Download it for iOS: https://tinyurl.com/y5orqtou

SARS (South African Revenue Service) has encouraged taxpayers to submit income tax returns via the SARS eFiling or the SARS MobiApp when the tax season commences on 1 July 2019.

Taxpayers who do not use SARS eFiling or the SARS MobiApp and require assistance from SARS branch staff to file their income tax returns will only be able to do so from 1 August 2019 to 31 October 2019.

What is the SARS MobiApp?

The SARS MobiApp is a mobile channel from which you can complete and submit your Income Tax Return (ITR12).

You can easily install the SARS MobiApp from the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play Store (for Android devices). On the SARS MobiApp you can register, complete, save and submit your 2019 return, as well as returns from previous years.

You may also use the app for the following:

  • Register for eFiling
  • Reset your username and password
  • File your return
  • Upload and submit supporting documents
  • Make a payment to SARS
  • Set up a Call Back from the SARS Contact Centre
  • View a Notice of Assessment
  • Request and view the Income Tax Statement of Account
  • View the status of the return
  • Use the tax calculator
  • Which devices are compatible with the SARS MobiApp?
  • iOS version 10 to latest
  • Android version 5.0 to latest

More than R1-billion was lost to the South African agricultural economy in 2018 thanks to livestock theft. According to a study released by UNISA, there were more than 29, 000 cases reported over the last financial year, with thousands of animals stolen. These thefts weigh heavily on the pockets of farmers and put them under immense pressure to find sustainable solutions that don’t bypass the law but do protect their property and their livelihoods. Into this complex quagmire of loss, livelihood and legal ramification steps agri-tech, the trending term for technology designed specifically for the agricultural sector and its unique challenges. Agri-tech has the potential to mitigate the loss of livestock, to reduce financial pressure on the agricultural industry and to minimise the burdens of distance and real-time responses to livestock threats.

FarmRanger, a clever blend of technology and agricultural devices, delivers an elegantly layered platform for livestock management and security. FarmRanger uses a combination of animal collar and app. The collars are fitted to a select number of animals in the herd – for sheep it is approximately one animal per 300 – and constantly monitor the movement of the sheep and, by extension, the herd. When any abnormal movement is detected, the system alerts the relevant person, for example the foreman, the farmer or the neighbourhood watch, by sending them a ‘missed call’ from the collar as well as an app notification. They then use the app to track the animal in real-time, following the detailed information on the app to find the animal’s location and effectively prevent it from being killed or stolen.

“The rising trend of stock theft makes it essential for farmers to use technology so they can stay one step ahead,” says Marius van der Merwe, Product Manager of FarmRanger. “However, the solutions need to be simple and reliable, providing farmers with valuable insight when it is needed the most. FarmRanger is designed to be functional and effective, delivering the right information to farmers so they can mitigate the impact of stock theft on their businesses.”

In addition to providing the farmer with relevant alarms and information, the app shows daily location updates, historical animal positions, and collar data, such as battery level. Working alongside the collar, the app is a simple and effective solution designed to fit into the farmer’s life, not make it more complicated. FarmRanger uses high-end technology – smartphones, GPS, electronic collars, real-time data and application delivery – to provide farmers with a hands-on and reliable tool that anyone can pick up and use without a hefty learning curve. Farmers generally embrace technology when it adds value to their operation; ultimately, they want to focus on the business of farming, so the supporting technology needs to be effective and easy to integrate.

Agri-tech solutions offer farmers an extra layer of insurance; however, they also need to add value. This is what FarmRanger does. The platform minimises the impact of stock theft while also providing customer service, a track record that spans more than 20 years, and technology that works within existing infrastructure limitations. The collars work on the mobile phone network and don’t require that the farms then install radio networks and battery life is up to six months on a rechargeable battery.

The solution comes from the ETSE Electronics stable which forms part of the Alphawave group. It has successfully introduced more than 4500 active units to 2000 farms across South Africa and Namibia and is tailored to suit the needs of the medium and large farming enterprises. It gives them the security and peace of mind they need to lock in their livestock, ensure their livelihoods and track their herds. Implementation of the solution is growing steadily, cementing FarmRanger’s reputation and reliability.

“It is a trusted 24/7 shepherd that now forms an integral part of the agri-sector repertoire and, as such, is continuously undergoing innovation and development to ensure it remains relevant and on the edge of what agri-tech can offer,” concludes Marnus van Wyk, Director of the Alphawave Group responsible for growing the agri-tech product portfolio.

For further information visit www.alphawave.co.za

Ends

ADAM HUNTER

HEAD HONCHO

+27 71 178 7035

+27 21 974 6283

hello@hooklinesinker.biz

www.hooklinesinker.biz

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