Egyptian operator deploys AI for unbanked subscribers

June 25, 2019 • Artificial Intelligence, East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

Egyptian operator deploys AI for unbanked subscribers.

Egyptian operator deploys AI for unbanked subscribers.

Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO of fonYou.

fonYou has announced that it reached an agreement with a mobile operator in Egypt to deploy its iCarrier Data platform for the distribution of hyper-personalized airtime, data bundles and other carrier products.

iCarrier Data is a platform that enables mobile carriers to predict and optimize their real-time responses to customer needs, even when they run out of credit.

fonYou’s premium technology intercepts low-balance events and applies deep customer analytics, advanced scoring and machine learning techniques – all in real-time. It allows the operator to determine the most appropriate product offers to keep customers connected, ranging from airtime credit, digital top-ups or bundle sales, and automate their digital distribution via the subscriber’s preferred channels.

The deployment of iCarrier Data is expected to give the Egyptian operator a 360-degree view of each subscriber, which in combination with fonYou’s AI module, allows them to activate the right product at the right time, according to the user’s ability to pay.

With a population of 100 million people, 84 per cent of Egyptians is unbanked.

“The operator will deploy our new-generation iCarrier Data platform to monetize low-balance data events and take its commercial operations to the next level,” said Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO of fonYou. “This commercial project will illustrate that the iCarrier platform is a win-win for both subscribers and the operator. Subscribers will receive hyper-personalized offers that keep them online at all times. The operator will be able to proactively offer new services, driving up quality of experience (QoE) and, in doing so, taking a significant step forward in the digital transformation of its business.”

fonYou’s iCarrier platform has been nominated and shortlisted for several fintech awards based on its ability to help carriers distribute short-term financing products in real time.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Prime Day 2019 starts on July 15th and lasts for 48 hours

Amazon’s Black Friday in July event is back for another year, and Prime Day 2019 will be bigger than ever. The retailer will offer Amazon Prime subscribers more than a million deals over two whole days, so you’ll have an extra 12 hours to shop compared to last year’s event, which also kicked off in mid-July.

Amazon revealed that Prime Day 2019 will begin at midnight PT on Monday, July 15th, and end two full days later.

Prime members in several markets will be able to shop Prime Day deals, including the United States, UK, Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia and United Arab Emirates, with that last country being a new addition to Prime Day sales.

You’ll have to grab yourself an Amazon Prime membership if you don’t have one in order to take advantage of the deals, so this is the perfect time to start a 30-day free trial.

Amazon says it’ll host featured Lightning Deals that will include “jaw-dropping prices on top-tier brands” during Prime Day, but these deals will be spread out over the 48 hours so you’ll have to keep checking the site. We’ll cover the best Prime Day 2019 deals over in our BGR Deals portal, so keep it bookmarked to quick access to the best sales.

The first Prime Day deal is already available right now, a 43-inch Toshiba Fire TV Edition Smart TV priced at $179.99 ($120.01 in savings) — a Prime Day sales preview is available at this link. Also starting today, you can rent Jordan Peele’s Us on Prime Video for $2.99.

Finally, Amazon announced that Prime subscribers will get Free One-Day Delivery in the US with no minimum purchase on more than 10 million products. Users also have the option of bundling up all their Prime Day purchases into a single shipment scheduled for an Amazon Day of their choice.

Image Source: OMER MESSINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Sipho Maseko sells Telkom shares worth R10.8-million

Sipho Maseko

Telkom Group CEO Sipho Maseko has sold more than 112 000 shares in the telecommunications operator, bagging R10.8-million in the process.

The share options, which vested on 3 June, were sold at an average price of R96.12.

The sale comes on the back of a strong performance in Telkom’s share price, which has handily beaten other listed telecoms stocks on the JSE in the past year.

Over the last 12 months, Telkom’s share price has rallied by 97.7% thanks in large part to a strong performance by the group’s mobile division, where subscriber growth has far outpaced rivals Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.

Over the same period, MTN Group has risen by just 2.7%, while Vodacom has inched higher by 0.4% and Blue Label Telecoms, the largest shareholder in Cell C, has plunged by 53%.  — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media

Amazon Prime Day 2019 Promises 48 Hours of Deals

Next month’s Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be a two-day parade of deals.

The annual sale kicks off at midnight PT on Monday, July 15, and—for the first time ever—runs for a full 48 hours.

Subscribers have two days to shop more than 1 million deals, including limited-time offers and exclusive launches. (I am most looking forward to stocking up on discounted Alexa-enabled devices.)

“Get ready, as we pull back the curtain to reveal exclusive products, special performances, and two full days of phenomenal deals this Prime Day,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of worldwide consumer at Amazon, said in a statement.

Mark-downs apply to Prime members the world over: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Arab Emirates (new this year), the UK, and the US.

To participate, sign up online to join Prime or start a 30-day free trial.

“Our vision is that Prime Day should be the absolute best time to be a member,” Wilke said. “When you can enjoy shopping, savings, entertainment, and some of the best deals Prime members have ever seen.”

Whether you brazenly browse on the office computer, hide your habits in a bathroom stall, or take a “sick day” to stay home and spend money, Amazon encourages buyers to remain alert.

You don’t have to wait three weeks for the deals roll in, though.

Starting today, Prime members can save $120 on a Toshiba HD 43-inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV—now only $179.99 (through June 30, or while supplies last).

Also available now: Alexa-compatible Jabra Elite85h wireless headphones with SmartSound and the iOttie Easy One Touch Connect smartphone car mount.

Plus, members can gear up for Prime Day in-home deliveries with 40 percent off the Key for Garage myQ Smart Garage Hub + Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) kit, on sale for the reasonable price of $99.98.

As part of the company’s 20th anniversary, Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015, hoping to entice buyers with discount prices on a scale you’d expect to see only on Black Friday.

The inaugural event—a mix of “Deals of the Day” and “Lightning Deals”—lasted 24 hours. Prime Day 2017 boasted 30 hours of deals for techies, beauty fans, gamers, kids, home chefs, bookworms, fitness buffs, DIYers, sports enthusiasts, and other stereotypes.

Last year, Prime members had a record 36 hours to shop.

At this rate, the 2024 affair will last all week.

“Stay tuned as we reveal exclusive savings at Whole Foods Market, thousands of new product launches, as well as world-class entertainment and more, leading up to Prime Day,” Wilke said.

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How to install iOS 13 public beta 1 on your iPhone and iPad right now

It’s not July yet, but it sure feels like it, as Apple released iOS 13 public beta 1, which is now available to download for supported iPhones, iPod touch, and iPads (as iPadOS). The public beta is the equivalent of the iOS 13 beta 2 that Apple released last week, which means you’re on the same footing as developers. Also, it means the beta should be even more stable than the first developers beta. So how do you install it? It’s quite simple, following the same recipe of previous iOS public betas.

Before you go ahead and try iOS 13 for the first time, you should make sure your device can handle the upgrade. For example, the iPhone 5s is left out of this release cycle. On the iPadOS side of things, you’ll need an iPad 5th generation or newer, iPad Air 2 or later, iPad mini 4 or later, or any iPad Pro to run the public beta. Finally, only the iPod touch 7th generation that Apple released earlier this year supports iOS 13.

The second thing you should do before upgrading to the new software is back up your data, either to iCloud, or locally with the help of a Windows or Mac. The latter is a better option, as you get to encrypt your backup, which will retain all the logins for the apps you have installed on your phone. It makes a huge difference when restoring from a backup — but then again, with password apps integration in iOS, authenticating shouldn’t be too much of a chore.

What you have to do next is go to the Apple Beta Software Program from iTunes on your iPhone and iPad, and sign in with your Apple ID to sign up for the beta.

Once you’ve enrolled your device, you’ll need to download the appropriate profile for iOS 13 public beta 1, so look for the download button.

The download only takes a second, at which point you’ll have to go to the Settings app and look for a notification that tells you that you have a new profile to be installed. Install the profile, and let the iPhone perform its restart.

If you’re already part of the iOS 12 beta, you should know the iOS 13 profile installs over the old one, so you don’t have to make any changes to your device.

Now that the profile setup is complete, just go to the Software Update section, and you’ll receive a prompt that the iOS 13 profile beta 1 update is ready to be installed. Yes, it looks exactly like a regular software update for iOS. From here on you can upgrade to every public beta that Apple releases without doing anything else. Updates will present themselves when they’re ready.

I will note that the download is quite hefty, at over 2GB, so you’ll need a good connection for it. Also, make sure you have enough battery charge left to perform the upgrade or plug the phone or

Trend Micro launches new channel programme in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 25, 2019 • Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Southern Africa

Trend Micro launches new channel programme in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Trend Micro launches new channel programme in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President of Trend Micro Sub-Saharan Africa.

On Monday, 24 June 2019, Trend Micro Incorporated unveiled its new channel partner programme for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. With this programme, reseller partners will be able to access a host of benefits to fast track channel enablement and provide the basis for improved customer service delivery.

“Our resellers in the region are maturing exponentially. Their knowledge of the cloud and customer demand for cloud solutions has accelerated, and as a result, so has their desire to better secure the cloud – from the data centre to the edge and everywhere in between,” states Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President of Trend Micro Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The launch of our new channel programme aims to incentivise partners with even greater rewards for their sales efforts, and gives them access to the technical expertise, certifications, and tools they need to boost their project delivery.”

According to Siriniwasa, the programme is designed to assist existing partners to grow their business and pave the way for new partners to get on board. Following a tiered approach, the programme is made up of bronze, silver, gold and platinum partners with varying benefits based on the sales and technical competencies of partners.

Partners can access their benefits and register new deals through the online partner portal. Financial benefits extend deal registration and renewal discounts as well as incentive programmes to name a few. With access to sales and marketing resources, resellers will benefit from dedicated sales resources, sales leads, marketing collateral and campaigns.

“As a channel first business, we are deeply committed to our partners throughout the Sub-Sahara African region and have seen a host of opportunities for growth in the market for our channel. We believe that with our re-energised channel programme we can fast track the development of our partners and ensure they meet the ever-changing security demands of an industry bombarded by disruptive technologies,” ended Siriniwasa.

Edited by Jenna Cook

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Proposed Law Would Force Big Tech to Reveal Value of Consumer Data

By John P. Mello Jr.
Jun 25, 2019 3:15 AM PT

A Democrat and a Republican on Monday filed a U.S. Senate bill to require companies to report to financial regulators and to the public what consumer data they collect and how they leverage it for profit.

“When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

Hawley and Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., introduced the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act.

“These ‘free’ products track everything we do so tech companies can sell our information to the highest bidder and use it to target us with creepy ads. Even worse, tech companies do their best to hide how much consumer data is worth and to whom it is sold,” Hawley said. “This bipartisan legislation gives consumers control of their data and will show them how much these ‘free’ services actually cost.”

Consumers are paying for free products with their data instead of with their wallets, Warner noted.

“The overall lack of transparency and disclosure in this market have made it impossible for users to know what they’re giving up, who else their

Walmart Mexico begins delivering grocery orders sent via WhatsApp

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You may not give WhatsApp a second glance in the App Store, but in other countries, it’s the messaging app of choice. It’s so big in Mexico, for instance, that Walmart Mexico is now accepting grocery delivery orders for its Superama supermarkets sent via the messaging service. According to Reuters, customers can send their orders through WhatsApp to a number owned by Walmart — they don’t even have to type their list out. The publication tested it by sending the number a photo of a handwritten list and got a response from a representative immediately.

Superama is charging $2.55 for delivery within 90 minutes or $2.03 for orders with longer turnaround times. It also accepts payment in cash or card on delivery. The Walmart-owned grocery chain, which makes up 92 of the retail giant’s 2,459 stores in Mexico, already takes orders through its website and app. Clearly, though, it’s hoping that WhatsApp’s ubiquitous presence in the country will encourage more

Raspberry Pi Used to Steal 500 MB of NASA Data

Turns out, a $35 off-the-shelf computer is all it takes to infiltrate the U.S. government.

In April 2018, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered a hacker gained access to one of its “major mission systems” using a Raspberry Pi dev board.

The low-cost, bare-bones, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand machine went undetected for 10 months, during which the culprit(s) stole 500 MB of data from 23 files, according to the NASA Office of Inspector General.

Two of those files contained information related to the Curiosity rover, currently exploring the Red Planet.

Founded in the 1930s, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is owned by NASA and managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

While its primary focus is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft (like Curiosity), the lab also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions.

Over the past decade, JPL has experienced several “notable” cybersecurity incidents, the Office of Inspector General pointed out—many of which have compromised major segments of its IT network.

In 2011, cyber intruders gained full access to 18 servers supporting key JPL missions, and stole 87 GB of data. Last year, another 500 MG was swiped.

“The April 2018 attack on JPL’s network illustrates how sophisticated attackers can exploit weaknesses within JPL’s system of security controls,” a June audit report said.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing; NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

JPL has already installed additional monitoring agents on its firewalls, and continues to work with the space agency to review network access agreements for external partners.

News of this hack comes on the heels of the new Raspberry Pi 4.

The Pi Foundation on Monday unveiled its latest dev board, complete with 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (for a 300 percent boost in performance), as well as gigabit Ethernet, dual-band 802.11 AC wireless, and Bluetooth 5.0.

Add to that four USB ports (two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0) and a pair of micro HDMI ports (each which can handle a 4K display) and you’ve got a powerful wee machine.

The best part: It’s still just $35 (with 1GB of RAM on board).

For an extra $10, you can add another gig of memory; $55 gets you the fully loaded model with 4GB.

More on Geek.com:

Broke Denel struggling to pay salaries

State-owned arms manufacturer Denel said it doesn’t have enough cash to pay its staff their full salaries this month, joining other government-owned companies clamouring for support in South Africa.

Employees will only receive 85% of their salaries due to a “liquidity crisis”, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The squeeze comes as R30-million of coupon payments become due by 28 June. Denel did not immediately respond to questions on whether it would be able to pay the interest.

Should Denel be unable to service the debt, which is guaranteed by the government, that would put further strain on the fiscus at a time when state-owned companies including Eskom are also in need of bailouts. South Africa’s potential liability for government-guaranteed debt of state-owned companies was R879.6-billion in March, according to the national treasury.

Government is cognisant of the fact that Denel is highly leveraged and in need of additional liquidity to rebuild the business

“The shareholder, the board and management are continuously working to find sustainable solutions to the liquidity crisis facing Denel,” the Pretoria-based company said in the statement. “Government is cognisant of the fact that Denel is highly leveraged and in need of additional liquidity to rebuild the business.”

Denel has more than R3-billion owing in principal and interest on its debt this year, with three bonds totalling R2.7-billion due in September. All its debt is guaranteed by the government. It is among several cash-strapped South African state-owned companies linked to corruption during the presidency of Jacob Zuma, including deals involving the Gupta family, who were friends with Zuma. All deny wrongdoing.

Debt of state-owned companies is a risk to South Africa’s last remaining investment-level credit rating, Moody’s Investors Service said in April. Yields on benchmark 3030 government bonds have climbed 13 basis points in the past three trading sessions to 8.91%, the highest after Turkey and Lebanon among 26 emerging-market peers.  — Reported by Renee Bonorchis and Colleen Goko, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

Hello Paisa makes it to Inclusive Fintech 50 club

June 25, 2019 • Finance

Hello Paisa makes it to Inclusive Fintech 50 club

Hello Paisa makes it to Inclusive Fintech 50 club

Hello Paisa, has been included in the inaugural Inclusive Fintech 50 club.

International money remittance and digital banking provider, Hello Paisa has been selected from over 400 hopeful applicants and placed among the globe’s top 50 fintechs. The judging panel consisted of industry experts across venture capital, banking, fintech and other sectors.

Each of the 50 winners named were selected based on their achievements and impact which demonstrates the power that financial inclusion has in the global effort to expand access, usage and quality of financial services, across both advanced and emerging markets.

Based on their local insights, Hello Paisa identified that the cost of remitting funds from South Africa was too expensive, takes too long and – in some cases – there were no legal means available. The company stepped up in finding a practical solution. Making use of industry-leading technology, as well as partnering with the globe’s most reputable partners, the company was successful in their lobbying efforts with regulators. The result was the company’s popular platform, geared towards driving down costs of international remittance and creating a means through which users can safely and legally send funds around the world.

In May 2019, Hello Paisa launched its digital banking offering in partnership with Sasfin Bank Limited to service yet another need of its loyal customers.

According to Ahmed Cassim, the Managing Director of Hello Paisa, “For the past four years, Hello Paisa has thrived on the principle of doing well, and doing good. Fundamentally, we are a community company focused on empowering people, and creating a culture of social enterprise utilising technology as a catalyst. We have changed lives, through offering our customers a SIM card to call their families, remittance solutions to send money home, and now we are embarking on the next chapter of offering a bank account to keep their money safe and a debit card to transact – anywhere and everywhere.”

The complete list of winners can be found at www.inclusivefintech50.com/winners.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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I am not interested in Bigg Boss: Sobhita

Sobhita Dhulipala, the Telugu-speaking Mumbai based actress, has clarified that she is not going to be part of Bigg Boss Telugu Season 3 which will be hosted by Nagarjuna Akkineni. Since Nagarjuna is hosting the show, her name has been dragged into it. Sobhita is a good friend of Nagarjuna’s niece Supriya.

“I have zero involvement with this Bigg Boss Telugu stuff. Please don’t use my name for your PR,” she tweeted putting an end to all the speculations about her involvement.

Sobhita Dhulipala appeared as female lead in Adivi Sesh starrer Goodachari last year.

Text: Telugucinema.com
Images: Sobhita on Instagram

Etion blames weak economy for slide to full-year loss

Teddy Daka

Technology group Etion has reported a 108% slide in full-year headline earnings per share to a loss of 0.56c and has blamed the weak South African economy for the poor performance.

Though revenue rose 4% to R596-million, and gross profit margin improved to 30.3%, the group reported a full-year loss to 31 March 2019 of R2.9-million (from a R33.4-million profit previously).

During the year, the group “executed on a number of strategic decisions” to expand its “offering and capabilities and better integrate all operating units”. While this has ensured that it’s “on track in terms of executing its strategy, we did not anticipate the severe downturn in economic activity”, said CEO Teddy Daka in a statement.

Accomplishing this transformation in tougher trading conditions has proved to be challenging

“We had anticipated that the strategy would sacrifice margins in the short term as we transform the business. However, accomplishing this transformation in tougher trading conditions has proved to be challenging.”

In response, Daka said, management has embarked on a “strategic review of operational costs to identify further optimisation opportunities across the group and has tightened working-capital management”.

“We are currently reviewing our decisions and have taken appropriate steps to better position Etion in 2020.”

He said the group has retained its design, engineering and manufacturing capability, which is a major contributor to fixed costs. “A deep reduction of capacity in this area of our business would cause difficulties in ramping up once there is an uptick in the business.”

High opex

This decision resulted in a negative year-on-year operational expenditure-to-revenue ratio, significantly impacting operating profit. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation — a measure of operating profitability — fell by half.

Group revenue grew due to the acquisition of LAWTrust (now Etion Secure) and an better sales performance at Etion Digitise. Negative revenue growth from Etion Create and Etion Connect was impacted by reduced project spend by clients.

Operating expenses increased from R38.1-million to R165.2-million, mainly due to the acquisition of Etion Secure (previously LAWtrust), opex of R 33.6-million, once-off costs of R14.6-million relating to the acquisition of LAWTrust, the rebranding of the group and the restructuring of Etion Connect.

Etion believes there is scope for growth in the Middle East, its second largest market outside South Africa

Cash generated from operations increased from R0.69-million to R33.7-million. However, the net working-capital movement for the year, at R7.3 million, was negatively impacted by the increased inventory holdings earmarked for a major customer in Etion Connect.

The group was also hit by an increase in taxes.

Etion believes there is scope for growth in the Middle East, its second largest market outside South Africa. It is also eyeing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa in safety, cybersecurity and frictionless operations, digitalisation of operations, and e-government.  — © 2019 NewsCentral Media

StubHub's ticket loyalty program offers VIP access

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REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Do you spend a fortune on StubHub tickets? To the point where you could buy a decent used car instead? StubHub is ready to spoil you. The ticket exchange has launched a Beyond loyalty program that gives its biggest customers some equally large perks. For one, you get VIP access to special events and early promotions, such as a private tour of Yankee Stadium on June 27th. You’ll also have access to a “premier” support tier with fast turnaround times and veteran agents. There’s even a once-per-year option for a no-questions-asked refund — if a flight delay prevents you from seeing a can’t-miss football game, you’ll get your money back no matter what.

You will have to be one of StubHub’s most lavish spenders to qualify, though. The initial form of Beyond auto-enrolls US customers who’ve spent at least $10,000 in tickets over the past 12 months — this is for the kind of person who insists on the best seats and

Yami's experience as model helped her in Bala

​Actress Yami Gautam says her personal experience as a model has come in handy to get the nuances right for her role in the upcoming film Bala.

Yami, who will be seen playing a model in the film, said in a statement: “I play a popular model from a local city in Lucknow. Unlike a lot of characters shown on screen so far, my character is a local model who’s famous in a local town.

“There have been many occasions in my heydays which I associate with my character on a personal level even though the character is far different and her experiences are different from what I have experienced.”

The only similarity, she said, is the fact that she is a model.

“There are basics I understand of the character. Of course this character is very different and something I haven’t done before. But my personal experience as a model has come in handy in certain nuances,” she added.

Bala marks Yami’s second association with the film’s producer Dinesh Vijan after Badlapur.

The film also stars Ayushmann Khurrana, with whom she shared screen space with in Vicky Donor.

It is about a man who balds prematurely and how he deals with it. Directed by Amar Kaushik, the film also features Bhumi Pednekar, Saurabh Shukla, Jaaved Jaffrey and Seema Pahwa in pivotal roles.

Text: IANS
Images: Yami on Instagram