WiPlatform Mobile Transacting Hits the Sweet Spot

Mobile transaction enabler WiGroup has facilitated in-store phone transactions worth over R1bn in 2013 – a 500% increase over 2012 - as major retailers, including Shoprite Checkers and Pick n Pay have come online with applications like EeziCoupon and MTN Mobile Money.

“This shows quite clearly that mobile phones are now firmly part of the transaction landscape,” says wiGroup CEO Bevan Ducasse. “Over 30 000 point of sale lanes in South Africa are now able to accept mobile payments and process phone-based vouchers and coupons using our WiPlatform mobile transacting solution.”

WiPlatform Mobile Transacting (image: www.wigroup.co.za)Ducasse adds that consumers are increasingly comfortable with the idea that discount coupons, vouchers or loyalty points, to take just two examples, can be sent direct to their phones rather than being printed on paper. “Mobile voucher and coupon campaigns are seeing redemption rates of around 50% or more, compared to less than 10% for paper coupons,” he says. “And it doesn’t need a smartphone – some of the most successful campaigns run through WiPlatform have been targeted to lower LSMs where people often have only the most basic phones.”

Ducasse says WiGroup’s core product, WiPlatform mobile transacting, provides an interface between retailers and mobile transaction service providers and applications.

“The link at the point of sale was always the missing part of the puzzle,” he says. “Changing anything at the point of sale is cumbersome and expensive – there is no way retailers can do it every time they want to introduce a new mobile wallet, banking service, loyalty or coupon system. But with a platform in place that allows their point of sale systems to talk to any existing or future mobile application, retailers are free to try out new things, and that is the key value proposition we offer to retailers through WiPlatform mobile transacting – integrate once and accept any mobile transaction service provider or application you choose to turn on at your point of sale.”

WiPlatform mobile transacting is now in place at points of sale throughout the Shoprite Checkers and Pick n Pay groups, including in subsidiary brands like Boxer and Hungry Lion. It’s also enabling mobile transactions in most of South Africa’s major fast food and restaurant franchises, from KFC and Spur to Kauai and Vida e Caffe.

“WiGroup’s aim has always been to simplify and add value to people’s lives through mobile transacting, and we’re now seeing that value in very real numbers,” says Ducasse. “Now that the basic requirements are so widely in place, we look forward to seeing what innovative ideas, that make use of WiPlatform mobile transacting, retailers and developers come up with next. We have built WiPlatform to be open, interoperable and inclusive; key requirements when enabling a new ecosystem.”

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ONEWEBDAY 2012: Participation & reaction on Twitter

On September 22, Intel celebrated OneWebDay 2012 along with thousands of other active Internet users from around the world. Intel awarded the most active Internet users from Spain, Russia, South Africa and Germany with Intel Ultrabooks.

The aim of this OneWebDay Ultrabook giveaway was to surprise highly active Internet users in each country by rewarding them with newly developed technology to ensure they get the most of their beloved World Wide Web.

The new Intel Ultrabooks were given to the following internet users:

  • @davegreenway - South Africa
  • @david_arraez – Spain
  • @casi – Germany
  • @ekozlov- Russia

Congrats to these lucky Internet users!

The campaign also triggered a lot of buzz amongst Twitter users in different countries and was supported by Intel’s local Twitter pages. Technology fans might be interested to know that Intel has its own local Twitter pages in many countries and interacts with its followers several times a day (including weekends).

Intel Africa

Intel Africa supports OneWebDay 2012

To find out more about Intel’s social media activities in South Africa as well as how participation and Twitter reactions regarding OneWebDay 2012 went, be sure to check out the following: Intel Africa: @Intel_Africa

Let us know if you participated in OneWebDay 2012 and what you think if this global campaign that supports fair and open use of the Internet.

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INTEL GIVEAWAY: For the love of the web and technology

OneWebDay is the day to celebrate a wonderful thing we all love and cherish. Something most of us would be lost without – the Internet. OneWebDay is a global event held every September 22 (since 2006) to celebrate the Internet and also to raise awareness of the importance of open networking principles that have made it the success that it is.

Intel are celebrating OneWebDay by giving away Intel Ultrabooks in Spain, Russia, South Africa and Germany. How did they get selected? For their love of the Internet! They’ve been highly engaged and active online and Intel wanted to reward them by giving them an Ultrabook to ensure they get the most of the online world with a proper Ultrabook.

The suggested theme for this year’s events is to emphasize local content as a way of making the Internet available and useful for our communities. Earlier in the year a joint report of the Internet Society, UNESCO, and the OECD – The Relationship Between Local Content, Internet Development, and Access Prices – revealed just how important local content is to building a connected society.

Mr Markus Kummer from the Internet Society stated:

“This study confirms the strong relationship between local content and Internet infrastructure. Keeping the traffic local and building up local content is key for improving access to the Internet. As the volume of local content increases around the world, the Internet becomes more relevant and has a greater impact on improving the lives of local communities.”

The coming rollout of many more Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in many non-western scripts can only serve to accelerate this process.

So how can you participate in OneWebDay?

  • On September 22, celebrate OneWebDay on Twitter by singing praise to the benefits of an Open Internet by using the hashtag #OneWebDay
  • Add the OneWebDay badge to your website/blog. Organize and participate in local events. Check what groups are in your area and collaborate!
  • At local events, and in social media, feature local content makers, bloggers, wikipedians, webcasters, websites, etc.
  • Contribute a story to the OneWebDay stories blog. Tell us what your favorite local content sites are and why, and comment on other people’s stories. There are some great stories and videos on here already from previous years. Be sure to check them out.

Susan Crawford, the founder of OneWebDay, offers some more background as well as other ways we can get involved with OneWebDay in this video interview with Rocketboom.

Susan Crawford of OneWebDay

I was interested to learn how OneWebDay was inspired by Earth Day. A view of our fragile Earth from the perspective of space makes us understand that we have something important to protect. Like the web, and issues of censorship, lack of access and not enough personal input, we need to work together to protect it and steer it in the right direction for the future. Let's get involved!

Useful Links:

  • The Internet Society – started in 1992 by the founders of the Internet as an organizational home to the Internet Engineering Task Force. The Internet Society now has more than 100 organisational and more than 28 000 individual members in over 80 chapters around the world - all working to ensure best practices, policies and development of the web.
  • At-Large – the community of individual Internet users who participate in the policy development work of ICANN. Currently, more than 100 groups represent the views of individual Internet users throughout the world, participating in building the future of the worldwide Domain Name System (DNS).

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APPLE TECH: The Leap Motion Sensor coming soon...

There's something very satisfying about touchscreen technology. I suppose it's that you are the input as oppose to a keyboard or keypad. Using natural hand movements and gestures in just intuitive. If you are used to using a phone with a touchscreen, try playing on one that is not 'touch' and see how frustrating it is.

Desktop PCs are starting to take the leap forward toward becoming fully touchable too. Techsperts at Apple have developed the Leap Motion Sensor, which takes things even further than touch. Rather, the Leap makes your Apple fully responsive to nature hand motions and gestures without the need the leave grubby fingerprints on your screen.

Introducing the Leap Motion Sensor

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6KuiuteIA[/youtube]

Here's the Leap Motion Sensor splurb off YouTube:

"Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It's more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen. For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements."

The Leap Motion Sensor is scheduled to be released next year for just $70 and can be pre-ordered at Leap Motion.

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HEAT PUMPS: Hair today, gone tomorrow

Since I was a child I’ve had this fantasy of dressing up in a medieval suit of armour and having an all-out sword fight with someone also clad in medieval metal. The only problem is that people were a lot shorter 1 000 years ago.

The human race has evolved to be a lot taller than our flail-wielding ancestors. Squeezing oneself into a genuine suit of knight’s armour would be near impossible now — especially if you’re a beer drinker. This may make one wonder if we are still evolving today.

Most evolutionary biologists would argue that if we haven’t stopped evolving, our evolution has at least slowed down to a glacial pace. The main argument is that we have created and adapted our urban environments to best suit our current shape and form.

We have taken to sitting down a lot — whether behind a desk, on a sofa or in a car seat. When it’s too cold we take comfort behind our walls and cover ourselves with blankets. And now that things are heating up, we may blast air conditioners to keep comfortable. Human evolution doesn’t stand a chance.

Fortunately, evolution is technology’s best trait. Air conditioners have become more efficient and eco-friendly and can now be used to heat and cool a building thanks to a variety called a heat pump. Heat pumps are typically used to pull heat from the air or ground into a building to raise the temperature, but can also be put into reverse to cool a building.

How heat pumps work

Liquid refrigerant is pumped through the outside coils of air-source heat pumps. A fan pulls outside air over the coils, which absorbs the heat in the air and expands it into hot vapour. The vapour enters a compressor, which increases the temperature and pressure of the gas. The vapour then flows to indoor coils. The refrigerant condenses the vapour back into a liquid as it cools and flows outside to gather more heat. Meanwhile, the heat is pumped through the air ducts of your home and distributed throughout. This process can be reversed to cool the air inside your home. (Diagram: howstuffworks.com)

Liquid refrigerant is pumped through the outside coils of an air-source heat pump. A fan pulls outside air over the coils, which absorbs the heat in the air and expands it into hot vapour. The vapour enters a compressor, which increases the temperature and pressure of the gas. The vapour then flows to indoor coils. The refrigerant condenses the vapour back into a liquid as it cools and flows outside to gather more heat. Meanwhile, the heat is pumped through the air ducts of your home and distributed throughout. This process can be reversed to cool the air inside your home. (Diagram: howstuffworks.com)

Heat pumps operate in a very similar manner to standard heating and air-conditioning units but without the need to install separate systems. They are also far more efficient than their ancestors as they do not burn fuel to condition the air but rather transfer it from one place to another. Heat pumps can also be used to heat swimming pools and can even fire up a hot tub.

I’m proud to inform that heat pumps are widely available in South Africa. A couple of good places to start perusing these are www.itssolar.co.za and www.heatpumpssouthafrica.co.za By providing your name, contact details­ and nearest city, a heat pump specialist will contact you within 24 hours. Prices for domestic heat pumps range from R10 000 to R15 000.

Heat pumps should of course be used in conjunction with other energy-saving techniques. Using fluorescent light bulbs and turning appliances off when not in use are the obvious ones, but it is also a great time to utilise the spring sunshine. Phantom loads are the less obvious energy drainers. When something like a cellphone charger is plugged into a live socket, but not into a cellphone, this actually drains more energy than would be used if a phone was charging.

So let’s all do our bit this sunny season to help the planet fend off global warming by being energy savvy and by using green devices such as heat pumps. I really don’t want to have hairy grandchildren.

** More Green Tech Articles **

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