Published May 2018
I always try to stay current with a broad variety of information so that when I work on projects I don’t operate in a vacuum from a singular point of view. In order to do this, I subject myself to lots of news, and when I feel brave, have debates with interesting people.
From this exercise, I create a summary of pertinent information and I thought I might start sharing some highlights with you in some of my articles.
As you know data costs and monopoly control are things cell phone companies want to maintain. Focus on social media services is going to get intense. MTN has launched a social media data package, giving South Africans a 2nd option to choose from if you don’t want to be with Cell C.
Main difference is MTN bundles have a variety of package windows in terms of day. I expect Vodacom and Telkom to arrive with competing packages within the next 30-90 days.
Staying with MTN, and in response to cell networks being subjected to an increase of malware attacks, mostly from questionable advertising networks, (although the debate of their practices being questionable or simply opportunity, or perhaps moral, is another debate which needs to happen soon) – the network is now enforcing a compulsory anti-fraud software solution, to help its clients suffer less from click-jacking, which drives up the revenue of advertising networks and its affiliates while using MTN’s client resources and even data and airtime.
I know even my own ex mother-in-law has been buying airtime because it is consumed by debit orders she has approved to subscriptions and has no idea how to stop them now.
Moving outside of South Africa, but sticking to the subject of money, or more specifically, it’s helpful to know which of the counties on our continent are doing well in terms of growth. The continent’s predicted economic growth is low, mostly because of poor investor confidence, at 3.5% expected in 2019. However, not all doom and gloom because in context, Africa has 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world! Ethiopia and Ghana are leading. I love that Rwanda is doing so well, for several reasons. I fell in love with Rwanda because of the movie called Hotel Rwanda. Tanzania is still rocking and has been for over a decade - so a sure bet there! Also doing well for over a decade is Ethiopia. Ghana is another safe bet. Please bear in mind when I say “safe bet” I mean a safe African bet. In general, Africa has tremendous growth opportunity… perhaps even the biggest in the world when it comes to mobile telecommunications.
Have you heard of Industry 4.0? It is all about the 4th industrial revolution; I.o.T, automation, crypto currencies, storage and data. All used to increase suppliers, share information, reduce costs and expand access to products and services. In order to benefit, or perhaps not be left behind, industries need to engage to reset their ways of doing business and look at new business models, which are not so liner, but rather circular, and focus on subscription or rental options for their services.
Moving forward, let’s have a look at the fastest growing social media news. Instagram wants to incorporate InstaRand. Okay, that’s a word I made up, but the news is that Instagram is going to launch a payment gateway from its own app, allowing users to pay for services/products linked to other users or businesses on their platform.
An online reservation app for restaurants is one of the trial services being worked on now. We are going to see SO many apps becoming gateways for payments, and this is going to create huge, perhaps impossible, competition waves, I don’t think banks can win.
On the subject of banks, more specifically South African banks, I had another fight with ABSA this week due to their errors in recording my personal information, which resulted in failure to receive funds. In order for our economy to grow, and grow fast, we need to be able to pay people, and get paid, with as little fuss and cost as possible. South Africa’s banking system, while one of the safest in the world, functions on foundations and systems implemented in the 1980s, and it is time it gets refreshed for the sake of us all. The banks know this. We know this. Then why is it not happening? Is it because it will affect revenue for banks? Are we hostages?
F8 is not only a button on your PC. It is also a conference, hosted by Facebook. Now, there are many digital events all over the world every year, but only the founder of Facebook has been asked to respond to questions at Congress. So this event was important because it highlighted that Digital Privacy is not at the control of any single government, it is in the hands of a few large corporates. At the conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced several changes to its business practice to appease the millions of people concerned, and reinstate its shared message made in response to Congress. It is good to see that a corporate can be asked to answer for its actions.
Onto something more light-hearted; have you heard of TIC-80? For coders / developers it is a virtual tiny computer used to make games and other small programs. So if you want to apply your mind to a new platform, for whatever reason, then this appears to be a popular new option. (https://tic.computer/)
E-Sports; have you heard of it? It already has 7 million active players in South Africa, so perhaps time to know what it is. It is competitive video gaming, which is apparently going to get so big its worth will be greater than all the major movie production companies.
Smart home devices, therefore, smart homes are here. I was on the floor a month ago, playing with a 1 year old girl, daughter of a very close friend. When ‘Dad’ stood in the kitchen, and asked Google to put on a cartoon on the TV in the lounge, Google did just that. It is remarkable! The Internet of Things is here and going to be such fun! For my generation it is magic, but for the new generation it will be the norm. I have an ever building anxiety to try and not be left behind. That is not the only negative feeling I have linked to I.o.T. It introduces a new type of crime, which our authorities cannot deal with. Did you know South Africa has a cybercrime unit within our police force? Probably not. A bigger problem is that they are very hard to access. There are independent organizations popping up all over, and one worth a look is called SaveTnet. A report I read says 80% of devices in Africa are infected with some type of virus that allows criminals to gather personal information. Whether you like it or not, you have a cyber-identity, and being ignorant will be your downfall. Take some time to research some cases. To combat the cybercrime epidemic requires corporates and individuals to change their mind-sets.
Sticking with the subject of crime, and ending this article, did you know that South Africa reports the most crime in the World! Does that mean we have the most crime or simple report and record the most? We are followed by Kenya, France and Russia. Fraud is South Africa’s biggest crime wave.
Published May 2018