Tag: app

By Darren Parker for Engineering News

Retail chain Pick n Pay and online store Takealot have signed a commercial services agreement which will enable customers across South Africa to buy Pick n Pay food, groceries and liquor on a new platform on the food delivery services application (app) Mr D.

In a statement issued on 17 May, the companies said the new service would bring together their respective strengths.

Pick n Pay would bring its expertise in running fresh food and grocery retail outlets, as well as its nationwide store network, as well as its Smart Shopper loyalty programme.

Meanwhile, Takealot will bring online retail and technical expertise, as well as its established delivery network.

Under the agreement, when customers open the Mr D app, they will be offered the choice to either buy groceries or order meals from restaurants. By clicking on the option to buy groceries, customers will enter a dedicated Pick n Pay food and grocery digital store in the Mr D app.

Customers will be able to browse and select the items they want to buy and then create their baskets. Once the order is submitted and paid, Pick n Pay will pick and pack the order from the nearest Pick n Pay store, which will then be collected by a member of the Takealot delivery fleet and delivered to the customer.

Pick n Pay’s Smart Shopper loyalty programme will be embedded into the Mr D app so that customers will still be able to earn points when buying Pick n Pay groceries through the app.

“By working with Takealot, customers will … benefit from a bigger, better, faster and more exciting offer … This is a new era for Pick n Pay and for its customers. There is huge potential for omnichannel retail in this country.

“Through this agreement with Takealot, we intend to regain market leadership in online grocery, and to do so in a sustainable and profitable way,” Pick n Pay CEO Pieter Boone said.

He added that the company planned to increase its online revenue eight-fold by the 2026 financial year.

Takealot executive chairperson Kim Reid believed Mr D’s 2.5-million customers would be “delighted” to see a Pick n Pay grocery offer appear on the platform.

“The combination of Pick n Pay’s reach, quality and pricing, together with Takealot’s … technology and scalable delivery network is a recipe for success. Scalability will be a huge advantage. Takealot … currently delivers over five-million packages per month, with the ability and ambition to serve many more customers as demand for this offer grows,” Reid said.

Pick n Pay and Takealot intend to launch the service on a trial basis in Cape Town in August, with plans to roll it out nationwide by the end of the 2023 financial year.

 

Uber looks to create travel ‘superapp’

By Sam Shead for CNBC

The San Francisco-headquartered firm has announced that it is adding trains, buses, planes and car rentals to its U.K. app this year. The move is part of a pilot that could be expanded to other countries at a later date if it goes well.

While Uber won’t provide these travel services itself, it will allow users to book them through its app following software integrations with platforms that sell tickets.

The tech giant, which may take a cut on each booking, said it plans to announce various partners in the coming months.

Uber said the integrations will help to boost app usage among its users in the U.K, who also have the choice of using apps like Bolt and Free Now. The U.K. is one of Uber’s largest markets outside the U.S.

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s boss in the U.K., said in a statement that Uber hopes to become “a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs.”

“You have been able to book rides, bikes, boat services and scooters on the Uber app for a number of years, so adding trains and coaches is a natural progression,” he said.

He added: “Later this year we plan to incorporate flights, and in the future hotels, by integrating leading partners into the Uber app to create a seamless door-to-door travel experience.”

Uber also plans to let people buy Eurostar train tickets through the app. Eurostar allows travelers to commute from London to Paris and other cities via the Channel Tunnel.

The announcement comes after a recent win for Uber.

On March 26, Uber secured a 30-month license to continue operating in London, ending a protracted battle with city regulators over whether the ride-hailing app was “fit and proper.”

But the company is behind schedule on its “superapp” plans.

In 2018, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he wanted to add more transport options to the app.

“It’s fair to say that Covid made it a little bit hard for us to progress as quickly as we would like,” Heywood reportedly told The Financial Times.

Absa launches facial recognition

By Masabata Mkwananzi for IOL

Absa has officially launched its facial recognition technology in its Android and iOS apps. Now, customers can easily link their unique facial features with their mobile devices to create even greater security.

According to Absa, the ID Facial Biometrics uses facial mapping technology to verify and identify customers when linking a device to their Banking App, and this will provide an additional layer of security.

“Technology is leaping ahead faster than ever, and it’s up to us to ensure that you stay right at the cutting edge. We are, therefore, proud to introduce the Absa ID Facial Biometrics to our Absa Banking App,” the statement reads.

The bank adds that the ID Facial Biometrics will link your unique facial features to your mobile device to create a security barrier that only you can unlock.

The new feature is said to improve the customer’s overall banking experience by reducing trips to the bank to link their devices to their banking app. Now, Absa can safely and seamlessly identify and verify you using your unique face.

“The technology will recognise your face and automatically link your relevant accounts and products, and make immediate payments more securely and conveniently,” the statement said.

Absa says its biometric facial recognition technology is a first for its digital banking security, backed up with highly acclaimed honours. It previously won the Best Digital Innovation Initiative in the Transaction Banking category at the Digital Banker Middle East & Africa Innovation Awards this year.

Here’s what a user will need to set up Absa’s ID Facial Biometrics feature:

  • The latest version of the Absa Banking App
  • A valid cellphone number registered with Absa
  • A valid identification photograph with the Department of Home Affairs

 

EskomSePush removed from the Google Play Store

Source: JacarandaFM

Planning your day around loadshedding got a little more difficult after Google suspended the EskomSePush app from the Play Store.

On Sunday, co-founder of the popular load shedding app, Herman Maritz, tweeted a screenshot of a message from Google. The message stated that the notification app EskomSePush (ESP) has been pulled from the Google Play Store.

The suspension happened a month after the app had garnered more than 2.2-million users.

When asked about the reason for the suspension by a Twitter user, Maritz mentioned that Google’s initial suspension email was quite vague.

“We have been getting a few rejections about User Generated Content. But we have everything in place according to policies: banned words, community reporting, moderators. Today they claim “Misleading Claims” no information given,” he explains.

MyBroadband reported that, according to Google, while the app does have the ability to flag inappropriate users in the app, there was no way to report objectionable content and take action against this when needed. In addition, Google also indicated that EskomSePush had supposedly not met its COVID-19 app policies.

By midday, on Monday, the updated ESP app was reinstated on the Google Play Store. Android users can download the app from this link.

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.

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