Published October 2018
Last week I did an entire article on technology concepts that can help businesses save money.
This article has, by accident, carried on with the theme of money and technology, which really is an appropriate theme right now, especially for South Africans who are suffering the worst economy in my working career memory. For me, 2018 will forever be remembered as the year of the great fuel hike.
We have had to absorb nearly a 25% increase in fuel costs in a period of just over twelve months.
In order to explain the ripple effects of this increase on trade and the economy in general would require several articles. In short, I advise there will be a sharp rise in unemployment, and the monthly shopping trip will cost around 30% more.
There will be slighter bonus pay-outs end of this year, if any at all. We will be lucky if there is any noticeable salary increases for anyone.
We are spending around 11% less. Because we’ve had about 1% economic growth and around 7 % inflation our economy is coming to a halt.
Thousands of students will be leaving school soon and needing work, while at the same time businesses are busy retrenching. The formal sector has lost nearly 70 000 jobs between March and June 2018.
Company owners are petrified to employ people, and those who do not want to get a job yet and are thinking of studies instead are hesitant because it does not guarantee employment, unless you are looking at government jobs, which I need to warn will dry up soon.
Fitch’s most recent feedback was that our DP growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019 has worsened and even the NPC is saying South Africa’s future is really not looking good and reported a decline on investments and lower tax revenue.
Not only is our money low, we are losing professionals to better paid jobs overseas. Henley & Partners reported that there was nearly a 230 % increase in the number of applications during 2018 compared to 2017 for people wanting to find homes in Cyprus and Moldova alone! That’s scary! But if you think you are safe overseas, and that we have it really bad here, find some relief in the fact that you are not Elon Musk, who has been fined 20 million USD and has to step down as chairman of Tesla's board to settle security fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I wish I could say technology can solve our challenges, but unfortunately, unless we vote in a robot to make logical decisions, this is not going to happen.
We need to relax labour law, increase internships, provide support for entrepreneurs, more support for local suppliers and less international competition, reduce fuel prices and service costs, provide clarification around the land expropriation plan and people need to stop fighting about race and just get on with life and work.
Also better policing, schooling, medical and access to home financing.
Constructive communication platforms are needed.
These are only a few of my points.
For now, do what I’m doing and allow staff to work from home and avoid traffic and fuel, or if you can afford it buy a Jaguar I-PACE. I recently read an article about this car managing to do a trip between Johannesburg and Durban using no fuel at all. This is made possible because of a Powerway charging network along the route and the car’s Battery, which lasts 3 hours. It can do over 450km per battery charge if you drive well, and by well, I mean slow.
Some markets are doing better. The franchise market is growing and we now have around 45 000 outlets. I attribute the boom to us having to work longer hours and not having time to cook. Even digital franchises are doing well. For example, Uber eats in South Africa has been running for two years and reported growth. I wish people wouldn’t eat in Uber rides; I am so tired of sitting on peoples left overs!
Let’s carry on with positive news!
Afri Union Coin, also known as AUC, is something new for us!
This African cryptocurrency was developed by Africa Master Blockchain and expected to be trading by the end of this year. This is positive news because I believe not every glove fits every hand and we need our own systems in place. Government agrees, which is a great sign.
The currency will be tradeable between many African countries and I think this could help some of our trade challenges. I might write more on this subject once I know how SARS is going to get involved and take their share of this new pie.
The challenge with cryptocurrency is that it lacks main stream usage. No one is accepting the currency in exchange for goods and services. I also assume big banks are trying to hold off on this until they work out how they fit in.
Regardless, cryptocurrency and related techs like Blockchain are here to stay and custom block chains for different industries are a good thing.
Something from Bloemfontein:
This town now has ATM pharmacies. I’m serious. These ATMs have skype-like audio-visual user interfaces, which connects patients to a tele-pharmacy contact centre somewhere in Johannesburg. We have a bunch of pharmacists, and I assume doctors, involved with this Central Medicine Dispensing and Distribution programme, which is all about extending related services and products to patients around our country in remote areas, and that also helps reduce stress at our hospitals with their long queues! How does this ATM machine work? Apparently in 5 simple steps:
How we prevent people from steeling these ATMs I don’t know. How insurance companies are going to deal with these medical claims, I am also not sure yet. As I learn more, Ill share.
Technology in the medical fraternity is growing so fast. We will soon have Smart Hospitals! I would settle for a clean hospital and a medical aid that covers all costs. But we can soon enjoy hospitals that have walls that clean themselves and disinfect people as they enter them.
Hospital life spans will last longer, but the building’s smaller.
AI is playing a role in drug development and one important trend is around personalized medicine. There is something called the QPOP that can design custom drug combinations for us for optimal results.
Technology is going to shift hospitals from treatment providers, to preventative service providers very soon.
Smart hospitals and smart devises are, of course, all part of the Internet of Things, and we have some hurdles to overcome before this becomes main stream.
One challenge is data transfer. This has just become a little easier with the invention of thin antennas, made from a type of two-dimensional metallic material called MXene. This material is basically a spray on antenna! The less space technology uses, the smaller a device can be and the less power it uses. Just don’t use this spray under your arms.
Amazon will become an international force to be reckoned with and is doing some work with Snapchat. Yes, Snapchat is still around and with its new partnership may be around for some time. Their roll is, of course, in the image department, and I have not decided if their appeal is novelty only, but worth keeping an eye on.
Amazon is not only becoming more photogenic, it is also now offering machine learning (ML) services to the general public. This is wonderful for us tech people wanting access to new stuff, and they are focusing on programs around speech and text a lot. There is an abbreviation called NLP which covers four pertinent points around this subject: Translate, Comprehend, Transcribe and Poly. In short, these are all about PCs needing to understand voice and images. Solutions around this are very important and we can see it from many companies, such as Sales Force, which has recently partnered with Apple for this purpose.
Amazon has also now become the 3rd-biggest digital ad seller in the US. This makes sense. The industry around marketing is about to evolve again.
What else has been happening around the world regarding tech and marketing?
Fa**bo*k is in the news again, and around 90 million people will have to log, or have had to, depending on the date you read this article, back into their accounts after the company found a security vulnerability and taken action. Basically, someone could use this vulnerability to log us out, and then log in as us on another devise, seeing our chat, or whatever we were hiding on this public platform. When you swim, you will get wet … no point in complaining about hacking, or privacy, the only private place left in the world is our own minds.
Think I’m waffling? I’m not, privacy is so important now, it’s become a product! `
IPhone is capitalising privacy, punting it almost as a product. Is privacy something you are prepared to pay extra for? Apple is leading this trend, and you can see examples of this all over. For example, the Safari browser was the first browser to stop 3rd party cookies by default.
In Africa, Nigeria, with Airtel has launched 4G! …. They are 1 G behind the rest of the world, but excellent. Africa is catching up!
Did you know that on the 25th of September 2018, free Twitter from MTN ended? I am not on MTN, so I didn’t know. Nor do I use twitter. It’s a silly name don’t you think? When using twitter, what is the verb when using twitter? Are you twittering? Does not sound very intelligent.
Please let me know if you have any questions, I love receiving emails.
Also please follow me on Fa**bo*k to see more posts and my other articles are on link: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Pierre-Murray-Kline-1811395325773068/ and my other articles are on: http://www.jeanpierremurraykline.co.za/media_jeanpierremurraykline.html
Published October 2018Read more articles