Non-profits need to become tech smart

Non-profits need to become tech smart

Non-profits need to become tech smart. (image source: Travel IQ)ch smart, it news, tech news, technology news, news,

From savvy millennials to retirees who have time and a wealth of knowledge under their belt, the way we give is increasingly becoming digital. Data released by www.forgood.co.za, a digital platform that connects people and corporates to reputable causes, shows that 26%, or one in four requests and volunteer interventions, are tech related. More than 13 000 social impact connections have been facilitated by the platform to date.

“Technology has opened up new revenue and engagement opportunities for pretty much everyone,” says CEO of forgood, Andy Hadfield. “This is no more apparent than in the non-profit sector – if you’re not leveraging technology, if you’re not open to technology as an acquisition, engagement and operational channel, then you’ll be left behind.”

As we move towards the age of the “social enterprise”, non-profits need to lower their reliance on donor funding by creating more sustainable business models. Charity, as we know it, needs to be reinvented. But how? Lack of tech knowledge, shoestring budgets and not knowing where to start, are the main contributing factors behind slow digital uptake in the non-profit sector.

“Google really is your friend,” says Hadfield. “Besides being able to diagnose your latest medical condition, the Google Ad Grants programme offers over R100 000 a month in free advertising to non-profits – yes FREE. Use it to attract donors, tell your story and raise awareness. It’s almost criminal if you’re an active non-profit and you aren’t leveraging this.”

Google Apps for Business (email, calendar and online storage, all on your own domain name) are also offered at no cost to non-profits through the Google Grants programme; “Forget fancy internal servers and complicated software providers, store and access your data on the Internet through Cloud based services instead,” says Hadfield. “With Cloud you can access your information from anywhere and, you don’t have to worry about those old faulty donated hard drives losing all your data.”

Some of the biggest issues facing non-profit organisations are getting the word out about their cause and raising money. “A presence on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram is a good start. But to ensure optimal engagement, don’t forget you need to pay-to-play. A small ad investment to a targeted audience could yield some serious donor cash and audience engagement,” says Hadfield. “Many organisations don’t know that the organic reach of social media is still around 2%. That’s the percentage of your audience you can reach without paying. Social media needs to be in your budget to really make it work for you.”

For additional revenue streams, instant payment portals such as SnapScan are becoming increasingly popular, as are simple e-commerce shops run through the likes of Shopify. Any non-profit (or small business for that matter), can have a fully functional online shop, beautifully designed with point-and-click pay / delivery features, for less than R1 000 per month.

“Think about the exponential impact your organisation could achieve if you started thinking with a digital mindset. Technology is not going away. It’s changed how we do business and how we interact with each other. It’s going to change how we give,” says Hadfield.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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Netflix and OSN partner in North African deal

Netflix and OSN partner in North African deal

Netflix and OSN partner in North African deal.

Netflix, the SVOD giant, and Dubai-based pay-TV, OSN, announced on Tuesday 20 February 2018 that the companies will enter a partnership which will focus on both the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) markets. The deal is a first of its kind for the U.S. streaming giant’s in the MENA region.

The agreement between the two companies will see OSN subscribers gain access to Netflix’s content across the Middle East and North Africa. A new OSN set-top-box service will be launched before the third quarter through which, Netflix will be accessible.

OSN customers will be given the option to pay for their Netflix subscription on one consolidated OSN bill, an agreement that should help Netflix gain more customers in a region where it has been struggling to gain traction.

“The future of the entertainment industry in the MENA region will be shaped by providers who offer value and choice at every turn,” commented OSN CEO Martin Stewart in a statement. “Through this groundbreaking partnership with Netflix, we are demonstrating our customer-centric focus on delivering convenience and flexibility for all.”

Maria Ferreras, VP Business Development for EMEA at Netflix noted that through the partnership “OSN’s customers will be able to seamlessly access and enjoy all the best entertainment in one place.”

Edited by Dean Workman
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FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin among 2017’s main spam and phishing topics

FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin among 2017’s main spam and phishing topics

FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin among 2017’s main spam and phishing topics.

On Tuesday 20 February 2018, a cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab released its “Spam and phishing in 2017” report. The report revealed that cybercriminals have been following a global agenda and have been using hot topics such as FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin to fool users and steal their money or personal information in the last 12 months.

Spammers have shown themselves to be thoughtful actors, instantly monitoring global issues and major events around the globe with one main purpose – to capture and capitalise on their victim’s attention. Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing research on spam and phishing activities confirms the methods used by spammers are effective, due to users’ decreasing attention and increasing unconditional trust. These factors, combined, mean that people are more likely to follow false instructions.

While in 2017 the world had been intensively preparing for FIFA 2018, spammers had been actively spreading related emails. Thus, they’ve been sending victims fraudulent messages with official logos of the event, including organisers and sponsor brand information, and notifying users about lottery wins and even promising them free tickets.

Another hot spam and phishing topic in 2017 was cryptocurrency – as Bitcoin’s price has drastically increased. Kaspersky Lab researchers have previously recorded a growth in blockchain-themed tricks in the third quarter of 2017. By the end of the year, an extensive arsenal of spammer tools were noted.

According to Kaspersky Lab’s discoveries, criminals have been using tricks such as websites disguised as cryptocurrency exchanges, fake services offering cloud mining, i.e. the use of specialised data centers for rent. But in all cases users became the victims – losing money instead of earning any. In more traditional fraud schemes, such as fake lottery winnings, criminals have also started to use Bitcoin as bait, and in addition to targeted address databases advertised through spam, databases with emails for cryptocurrency users have been also offered for purchase, promising great opportunities.

Moreover, criminals have distributed different types of malware in spam emails, under the guise of utilities for earning Bitcoins, or instructions for cryptocurrency trading. However, importantly, Cryptolockers, whose creators demanded a Bitcoin ransom, have been detected in spam letters less than in the previous year.

Overall, the average amount of spam in 2017 decreased to 56.63%, which is 1.68 percentage points less than in 2016. At the same time, the number of the phishing attacks has increased.

“Though In 2017 we saw a slight decrease in spam activities, throughout the year spammers haven’t missed any reason to steal users’ personal information, keeping their eyes on what’s happening in the world. As sports events such as upcoming FIFA World Cup or others take place, their activity will only increase,” said Darya Gudkova, Spam Analyst Expert at Kaspersky Lab.

“Moreover, in 2018 we expect further development and growth of cryptocurrency-related spam and phishing – with more cryptocurrency diversity besides Bitcoin, which was widely used in the previous year, and with ‘pump and dump’ schemes,” he added.

Other important trends and statistics in 2017, highlighted by Kaspersky Lab researchers, include the following:

  • The most popular source of spam was the USA (13.21%), followed by China (11.25%) and Vietnam (9.85%). Others in the top 10 include India, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France, and Italy.
  • The country most targeted by malicious mailshots was Germany (16.25%), showing a slight increase of 2.12 percentage points compared to 2016. Others in the top 10 include China, Russia, Japan, UK, Italy, Brazil, Vietnam, France, and UAE.
  • The largest percentage of users affected by phishing was in Brazil (29.02%). Overall, 15.9% unique users of Kaspersky Lab products worldwide were attacked by phishing.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Sony jumps into Japan taxi market with AI app plans

Sony jumps into Japan taxi market with AI app plans

A logo of Japan’s Sony Corporation is displayed at its headquarters in Tokyo on May 14, 2014. Sony on May 14 booked a 1.26 billion USD annual loss and warned of another shortfall this year, blaming costs tied to its exit from the personal computer business as it undergoes a painful restructuring. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Electronics giant Sony announced a plan Tuesday to provide an AI-based ride-hailing system to Japanese cab companies, while another taxi firm said they were in talks with Uber on a tie-up.

Sony said it was planning a joint venture to offer artificial intelligence technology to six taxi operators, which currently own a total of 10,000 vehicles in Tokyo.

The technology would use AI to predict demand for taxis and allow companies to more efficiently mobilise their resources.

The companies will form a joint venture this spring to develop a taxi-hailing app, though Sony said further discussions would be held before any legally-binding agreement is inked.

Also Tuesday, Daiichi Kotsu Sangyo, a taxi company based in southern Fukuoka prefecture, announced they are in talks to join hands with US ride-sharing titan Uber.

Taxi-hailing apps have found it challenging to crack the Japanese market, where risk-averse passengers prefer to stick to their high-quality traditional taxi service.

Hailing a taxi rarely takes more than a few seconds in major Japanese cities and there has been a relatively sluggish uptake of services like Uber, where consumers order an unlicensed car via a smartphone app.

The vast majority of taxis are hailed or hired from a cab rank, and a relatively small percentage of taxis are connected to a smartphone, posing another barrier to the success of apps like Uber.

But the number of taxi passengers has been on the decline, dropping by a third between 2005 and 2015, according to the transport ministry.

Taxi companies hope apps could be a way to win back customers.

Sony’s plans come after Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing announced earlier this month a deal with Japanese telecom firm SoftBank to develop a taxi app in Japan.

SoftBank is heavily present in the taxi market and recently took a 15-percent stake in Uber.

Carmaker Toyota also announced an investment of 7.5 billion yen ($70 million) in the JapanTaxi app this month, which says it is the biggest taxi-hailing app in Japan.

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Rwanda: Student discovers prototype that enables Whatsapp calls without internet

Rwanda: Student discovers prototype that enables Whatsapp calls without internet

Rwanda: Student discovers prototype that enables Whatsapp calls without internet.

A third-year Rwandan student has discovered a network prototype that will enable WhatsApp users to make internal and international calls without the internet. Deodate Mugenzi, a 26-year-old is pursuing Information and Communication Technology at the Polytechnic Regional Centre in Kigali Rwanda.

According to a report by The New Times, Mugenzi says that the prototype development was perpetuated by the need of Africans to converse with friends and family members globally. The idea generation began in 2017 but the future is promising to have a life-changing impact on the lives of people worldwide. Furthermore, the innovation started from playing with laptop to a vigorous library research using physics and computer as key arsenals.

The student conducted intensive research based on IT skills gained in class and from Physics books. The whole system operates using optic physics, mobile gadget communication techniques, and networking principles. The computer system allows users of popular internet application, WhatsApp to directly call mobile phone numbers.

In order to use the platform, users have to be registered. The platform has attracted several telecommunication firms who expressed their interest in buying the idea for further development. Mugenzi also partners with American embassy to offer innovative training to several young people in Rwanda.

“The problem is that many people here in Rwanda and other parts of Africa cannot afford to own smartphones that enable them to use all these internet enabled services. To address this, people ought to use services that allow them communicate using any platform that is available to them,” said Mugenzi.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Vodacom changes customer care numbers due to ICASA regulation

Vodacom changes customer care numbers due to ICASA regulation

Vodacom changes customer care numbers due to ICASA regulation
(Image Source: Darryl Linington)

On Tuesday 20 February 2018, Vodacom announced that it will be changing its customer care contact numbers to comply with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Number Plan Regulations, 24 March 2016, Government Gazette Number 39861. The numbering plan regulations and standardisation of certain short codes is applicable to all licensees that have an independent electronic service licence (I-ECS) and applies to both mobile and fixed networks and not only “cellular networks”.

Whilst the regulations are due to take effect on the 24th March 2018, Vodacom will maintain a “dual run” system whereby customers will be able to use both the old and new numbers until such time that customers have familiarised themselves with the new numbers. Thereafter, the old numbers will be decommissioned. To ensure a seamless transition, Vodacom has said that it has put in place measures and processes to mitigate service disruptions.

To access customer care services including viewing your balances, buying bundles and accessing other services and promotions:

  Old number New number
Customer Care 111 or *111# 135 or *135#


For prepaid recharge and airtime balance: 
 

  Old number New number
Prepaid Recharge 100 136
Airtime Balance *100# *136#


For voicemail retrieval and deposit:

Old number New number
Voicemail Retrieval 121 132
Voicemail Deposit 08214 plus last nine digits of cell phone number 134 plus last nine digits of cell phone number. The old number will remain functional for roaming purposes

 

Alternatively customers can use the My Vodacom App to access customer care services, recharge and check airtime balances; data, voice and SMS.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Using technology to transform information into intelligence that improves cancer care

Using technology to transform information into intelligence that improves cancer care

Using technology to transform information into intelligence that improves cancer care.

In the digital age, data are all around us. How these data are captured, formatted and analysed determine if they are pieces of information or kernels of intelligence that give us the power to take meaningful action. The explosion of data in healthcare is creating the opportunity to gain important insights that can improve patients’ experiences and outcomes and make the delivery of healthcare more efficient and cost effective.

The incidence of cancer continues to rise, and strategic leveraging of technology and big data will be essential to addressing this global healthcare challenge. The incidence of cancer in the United States is expected to increase 35% over the next fourteen years, resulting in 2.3 million new diagnoses by 2030, and the incidence of cancer worldwide is expected to increase 54% by 2030, resulting in 22 million new diagnoses annually. The dynamic and evolving landscape of cancer care provides a model environment in which effective harnessing of big data can drive substantive improvements for patients, clinicians, care centres and payers.

Current Challenges in Cancer Care

Doing more with less is today’s top mandate for the modern cancer centre. Under constant pressure to cut costs and improve quality of care, many oncology centres face difficult decisions around treatment paradigms and resource utilization while lacking a comprehensive picture of the data that drives these decisions.

With increased specialisation of care, patients undergoing treatment for cancer see multiple providers, frequently in multiple facilities. This can complicate treatment and lead to missed appointments and tests, which may require cancelling or delaying subsequent care if test results aren’t available in a timely manner or the patient’s status has changed or declined. Additionally, many clinicians face increased caseloads and may struggle to coordinate care with other providers, all while trying to ensure that their patients receive optimum and timely treatment.

The convergence of genomics, precision medicine techniques and easier access to large electronic health record (EHR) datasets is also driving rapid change in the oncology arena. Clinicians have limited time to consume and analyse all the data that could help to inform treatment decisions for individual patients and, concurrently, the increasing use of multi-modality treatments is leading to an explosion of potential therapeutic options. Today’s oncologists are challenged to consistently follow treatment recommendations that are dictated by the most current clinical practice guidelines while cancer care centres are challenged to ensure standardised care across multiple facilities while improving outcomes and decreasing costs.

Care centres also face a growing need to improve the quality of care they deliver, which requires understanding whether deviations from these guidelines are due to guideline improvements or medical errors. As a result, there is an increasing demand for enhanced decision support capabilities that can transform millions of data points into patient-specific, evidence-based cancer care.

Additionally, basic access to quality oncology care can be a major challenge for patients in many emerging economies. Resource constraints resulting from a shortage of qualified clinicians, the cost of cutting-edge technologies, and the need to travel to reach care centres makes it challenging to provide all patients with optimal care. Increasing patient throughput without compromising the quality of care requires a versatile solution that can improve the workflow, safety and clinical decision making that patients and physicians in these emerging markets deserve.

Big data doesn’t have to give you a big headache

Centralizing data sets from multiple sources and functional groups is essential to creating a data ecosystem that can be analysed comprehensively and inform clinical and operational decision-making. Robust algorithms can transform patient, financial and operational data into actionable intelligence that helps care centres provide the best care most efficiently. However, the value of any big data technology is tied to how it can be customized to meet the needs of individual end users with respect to both data collection and data outputs. The integration of MOSAIQ and Watson for Oncology is an example of how big data can be used to transform care for individual patients. Data sets are getting larger, and it’s up to technology innovators, such as Elekta and our partners, to cut them down to size and put them in the palm of the provider’s hand.

By Yunus Munga, Business Unit Manager for Africa at Elekta

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Facebook partners the Nelson Mandela Foundation in its centenary year

Facebook partners the Nelson Mandela Foundation in its centenary year

Facebook partners the Nelson Mandela Foundation in its centenary year.

Facebook has announced a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in celebrating Nelson Mandela’s centenary and legacy under the theme: “Be the Legacy”. The company has a three-year partnership to support The Nelson Mandela archive.

Aiming to bring together the geographically dispersed archives of the life and times of Nelson Mandela into a single online collection, Facebook will work with the foundation in its aim to document, preserve and ensure these are made accessible to all. The partnership will also help to build on, protect and maintain the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

As part of this project, Facebook will also support the foundation on its social media channels, including Facebook Live streams of key global events throughout the centenary year.

Commenting on Facebook’s partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director of Facebook, Africa said: “We are proud to be associated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the great work they do in not only preserving the legacy of Madiba, but helping to facilitate dialogue around key issues. Our contribution will ensure that this work can continue, whilst making his life’s works and learnings accessible to all.”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation will be rolling out multiple projects throughout 2018 which will both cement Madiba’s legacy in the public domain, as well as allow the global community to celebrate his life-long commitment to making a positive impact in society.

“The partnership with, and the support from Facebook will allow the Foundation to achieve its objective of reaching different parts of the world, with the aim of building value-based societies.” Said the Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Sello Hatang. “We hope that in the end we can look back and say we were able to use Madiba’s centenary to build a world of his dreams” Hatang added.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Artificial Intelligence: Your bot will see you now

Artificial Intelligence: Your bot will see you now

Artificial Intelligence: Your bot will see you now.

Next time you contact your insurer there is a good chance that you will be dealing with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Insurers are starting to use intelligent computers to give advice and speed up the process of buying insurance and paying claims. Virtual underwriters and risk advisors are no longer confined to insurers’ research and development departments. But with the benefits also come new risks.

AI is expected to enable a better understanding of risk and transform the insurer-customer experience

The age of machine learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI), also referred to as machine learning, is essentially software that is able to think and learn like a human. Today, basic forms of the technology are able to perform specific tasks – like checking an insurance claim for fraud – but future generations of AI will be capable of solving complex problems and making decisions, in much the way humans do today.

AI promises to improve productivity through automation of simple tasks and by giving new insights from analyzing data. As such, AI is expected to boost national economies worldwide by more than 30% by 2035, according to Accenture.

Already, AI is beginning to find uses in almost every industry, from chat bots that offer round-the-clock financial advice to helping doctors diagnose cancer. The technology is being used to power driverless cars, eradicate certain diseases, and better predict the weather and effects of climate change.

Insurance is an industry particularly suited to AI, as it involves lots of data and repetitive processes. In fact, the insurance industry has been an early adopter of machine learning, partnering with technology firms and investing in start-ups on a range of applications. Tata Consultancy Services’ Global Trend Study found that of 13 industries surveyed, insurers invested $124m in AI, almost double the $70m cross-sector average.

Transforming the corporate insurance sector
According to Michael Bruch, Head of Emerging Trends at AGCS, AI is likely to transform the insurance industry, to the benefit of customers and insurers alike. There is lots of potential for AI to improve the insurance value chain by making it more effective in addressing customer needs, delivering value on time and at lower cost.

AI is likely to make a big difference in three key areas. Initially, it will help automate insurance processes, such as claims and underwriting. But over time it will give insurers and their clients a better understanding of risks, and it will change the way insurers interact with customers.

To date, insurers have mainly focused on developing AI applications for personal lines, but increasingly they are turning their attention to commercial insurance, including the large corporate market.

AI has the potential to bring about significant cost savings for commercial insurance, as well as speeding up the insurance transaction process and enhancing service in areas such as analysing submissions, checking or verifying policy documents, developing new insurance solutions and services or flagging up potentially fraudulent claims.

According to Michele Lagioia, an affiliate of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence, the claims process, in particular, would benefit further from increased automation.

“AI and automation would make for a much faster and more efficient settlement for lower value claims. Even with more complex commercial claims, AI could support claims decisions, speed up some processes and make for a more customized claims service,” says Lagioia.

Insurers in the life and health market are already using AI to review and analyze policy wordings and validate claims. Last year, start-up insurer Lemonade set a new world record when it used an AI claims system to accept and pay a claim for a lost item of clothing within three seconds, and without any paperwork. And many commercial lines of business, such as motor and workers’ compensation lend themselves to automation.

By automating repetitive tasks, people would be free to focus on value-added work, like client relationships, risk assessment or providing technical support.

The 24/7 insurer
AI also creates opportunities for commercial insurers to interact with their clients more frequently and more conveniently, as well as offer a more personalized or tailored offering. For example, in the personal lines arena, Allianz has developed Allie, an online assistant available 24/7 to answer customers’ questions.

“AI could be used to increase the points of contact with customers, ensuring an insurer is available at any time, and able to reach out and offer tailored products and services,” says Lagioia.

“For large commercial and corporate clients, insurance needs to be bespoke,” says Bruch. And while machine learning will support automated services it will also change the way insurers interact with clients and will allow for a platform approach to service. AI can help create an environment for insurers and third parties, offering a more targeted spread of risk management and insurance services.”

In addition to improving the insurance process and service delivery, AI could also boost data and analytics, the backbone of the insurance proposition, Bruch predicts.

“AI will be the key to unlocking data, especially as more data is made available by the Internet of Things (IoT). It could enable insurers to better understand customers’ risks and help clients reduce their risk, as well as find potential solutions for risks that may not be currently insurable.”

Allianz is already using machine learning to carry out risk assessments and to support automated underwriting in the small- to medium-enterprise (SME) space, a trend that will extend to the large commercial market. AGCS has developed a tool that uses machine learning to identify accumulations of business interruption risk in supply chains. The tool analyzes big data to identify and map networks of critical suppliers across industries.

AI will support underwriters with the analysis of data and assessment of risk, helping to identify accumulations and price risk more reliably, while the insights gained should enable insurers to enter a more meaningful risk dialogue with clients,” says Bruch.

In cyber, for example, AI could play an important role in risk mitigation and risk assessment, benefiting both insured and insurer.

AI-powered analytics could help companies better understand their cyber risks, improve cyber security and even defend against cyber-attacks. At the same time, the technology could assist insurers in assessing cyber risk and spotting accumulations of cyber exposure.

“AI can improve commercial clients’ risk visibility. There are many areas – like reputation, cyber, supply chain and economic and climate risk scenarios – where machine learning could help companies better understand their risks,” says Bruch.

AI will be the key to unlocking the data resulting from the Internet of Things (IoT)

Intelligent agents
As the technology becomes more sophisticated, AI applications for analyzing risk will evolve, predicts Bruch.

“AI could act as an ‘intelligent agent’ able to create different scenarios and outcomes, and potentially take decisions. The next generation of machine learning will move from increasing risk awareness to decision-making.”AI will also work alongside other technologies, most notably the IoT and blockchain, to increase our understanding of risk and enable insurers to offer new, faster and more customized services. For example, sensors on shipping containers are already providing data on the location and condition of cargo, which, once analyzed, can trigger insurance cover or mitigation measures if the goods are damaged.

“Insights gained from data and AI-powered analytics could expand the boundaries of insurability, extending existing products, as well as giving rise to new risk transfer solutions in areas like non-damage business interruption and reputational damage,” says Bruch.

AI brings new risks as well as benefits
In addition to improving the products and services insurers offer clients, AI will also impact insurers in another way – by introducing new risks to society. AI technology is in its early stages, but it is expected to find a multitude of applications over coming years. AI is already making driverless cars a reality, but it is also leading to improvements in speech and image recognition.

However, like any disruptive technology, AI comes with risks and will have far-reaching implications for the economy, politics, mobility, healthcare, security and the environment.

AI could, for example, disrupt the labor market, changing the nature of some roles while eliminating others. Technology advances are also likely to increase the frequency and relevance of regulatory updates as governments and society struggle to keep pace.

AI will also need to be adequately tested to ensure it is safe before being introduced to the real world. For example, an AI agent for portfolio management could work according to specifications when tested in a development environment but then behave unexpectedly in the real world, making illegal investments. While AI could boost cyber security, conversely, misuse may also increase the risk of cyber-attacks if malicious hackers can train AI to attack.

For business, AI will bring reputational risks. Unintentional errors or unexpected consequences of AI applications could negatively impact consumer trust and cause reputational harm.

Liability and regulation is an area of particular relevance to AI risk. While AI agents are taking over decisions from humans, they are not yet legally responsible for damages caused by their actions. Ethical concerns are also likely to arise as AI pervades society, as will concerns for the accountability of AI and its ability to make transparent and auditable decisions.

Appropriate risk management strategies are needed to prevent, mitigate and transfer these risks and maximize the net benefits of AI in society. By addressing areas such as accessibility, safety, accountability, liability and ethics, responsible development and introduction of AI becomes less hazardous and the role of insurers will be key in ensuring risks are properly mitigated. New types of insurance coverage will help transfer and manage emerging risks.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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How SMEs can use mobile marketing to reach the planet’s population

How SMEs can use mobile marketing to reach the planet’s population

How SMEs can use mobile marketing to reach the planet’s population.

In 2018, an estimated 65.9 percent of the world’s population will own a mobile phone. This prediction by the international GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Association has implications for the way under-pressure SMEs reach their customers.

According to the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide employment to about 60% of the SA labour force and their total economic output accounts for roughly 34% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Sadly, 70% to 80% of small businesses fail within five years with runaway expenses and lack of access to technology being two of the primary reasons the big dreams of small business owners evaporate faster than a 5 litre mineral water container in Cape Town.

“Fortunately, mobile marketing is data-driven and this means small business owners always know what mobile is costing versus what it’s delivering,” says Mike Laws, founding Managing Director of Imaginatrix, a mobile marketing consultancy specialising in developing world markets and based in Johannesburg.

Most mobile marketing consultancies will provide SME clients with an online dashboard to evaluate campaign effectiveness in realtime at no extra cost. “The tech-driven and virtually automated nature of mobile marketing means awesome reporting comes standard,” adds Mr Laws.

He further explains that there are two categories of mobile marketing tactics that SMEs should focus on. “There are easily doable, affordable mobile marketing tactics that should be implemented immediately and there are more expensive, state-of-the-art mobile tactics that can be implemented later on when the business moves to the next growth phase.”

He further explains that there are two categories of mobile marketing tactics that SMEs should focus on. “There are easily doable, affordable mobile marketing tactics that should be implemented immediately and there are more expensive, state-of-the-art mobile tactics that can be implemented later on when the business moves to the next growth phase.”

Easy wins in line with the former include a scaled-down mobile friendly version of the SME’s website, a dashboard-driven bulk SMS campaign, mobile discount coupons delivered via text message or over-the-top social messaging platform, QR (Quick Response) codes and reaching out to current customers to build a mobile database. Next-level mobile tech tactics in line with the latter include the real mobile bells and whistles including augmented (AR) reality and virtual reality (VR) to enhance the customer experience, location-based marketing and mobile-enabled payment options for client convenience.

“For SME’s, mobile technology is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped, and it needn’t cost the earth,” concludes Mr Laws.

By Mike Laws, founding Managing Director of Imaginatrix

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