FNB customers can now pay at SPAR using eWallet

FNB customers can now pay at SPAR using eWallet

FNB customers can now pay at SPAR using eWallet.

FNB has announced that consumers can now use eWallet to purchase goods and withdraw cash at participating owner-managed SPAR stores in South Africa. eWallet@till, the cardless functionality uses a cellphone to enable eWallet recipients to make over the counter purchases and withdrawals at over 1300 participating SPAR outlets.

Sandi Madikiza, FNB Head of Mass Market Segment: Consumer Core Banking: says, “The partnership complements our long-term digital strategy to expand access to financial services. Our customers are increasingly making cardless withdrawals at our ATMs and we see this becoming a common trend where mobile technology is preferred instead of the physical cards.”

“The use of technology helps to reduce the cost of withdrawals while enabling customers to get access to their money whenever they need it. Over the past few months, we’ve been introducing the eWallet@till functionality through a phased approach and we have already seen increased usage among customers,” he says.

FNB’s user data of eWallet@till shows a sharp spike in usage across select provinces in December 2017, with 53% transactions taking place in Limpopo, followed by Gauteng at 32% and KwaZulu-Natal with 10% as well as the Eastern Cape with about 5% of transactions.

According to the findings of the FinScope South Africa survey, mobile money solutions continue to play a vital role in broadening financial inclusion. The survey shows that in 2017, 71% of senders are sending money once a month to people outside of the household. Furthermore, the study showed that consumers have a propensity to use both mobile and retailer to send and receive money.

Madikiza says in the long run, the use of mobile technology will most likely become the primary channel through which consumers manage their money.

“The persistent adoption of smart technology will remain the single biggest contributor to the adoption of solutions such as eWallet, among other financial services products. Already, we are seeing a growing number of customers who are using the FNB banking app to access eWallet, and we expect this trend to improve significantly overtime,” he concludes.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Don’t be left a fool this World Backup Day

Don’t be left a fool this World Backup Day

Don’t be left a fool this World Backup Day. (image: perspec_photo88)

On Saturday, March 31st, 2018 is World Backup Day – a celebration and awareness day for one of the most critical IT strategies that modern organisations must implement. With growing data sets, complex environments, data protection laws that can be difficult to understand and a host of cyber-threats, backing up data is more important than ever. Timing is everything and there’s no time like the present to ensure your backup regime is the ideal fit for your data protection regime. Don’t be left an April fool unable to restore critical data in the event of a disaster or loss.

Data backup is the process of taking a copy of data at a fixed point in time and storing it for a set time frame (retention) in an alternate location to its original source.

Historically implementing a new backup regime involved complicated setups, hardware installations and days, if not weeks, of training. The rise of cloud has led to innovations in backup technology, allowing organisations to launch easily accessible cloud platforms. Cloud backups are not only quicker to implement but can be costed on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model, meaning organisations only pay for what they use while retaining the ability to easily scale data volumes up or down over time.

Only fools don’t backup

Data protection is at the forefront of the minds of many IT staff thanks to the impending arrival of the GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation is an update on current data protection laws that aims to strengthen the protection of data across most of Europe; the regulation will require IT teams to be able to demonstrate data protection processes and while backup is not implicitly mentioned in the regulation, it is strongly alluded to.

Data loss and breach have been a constant for journalists over the last few years, with global powerhouses making headlines for all of the wrong reasons after losing customer and employee’s personal data. These negative headlines have caused reputational damage and the breaches have resulted in fines for non-compliance with data protection laws being issued.

The recent Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica wiped around $60 billion from their stock value.

Cyber-threats such as Ransomware are still on the rise and with ransoms of up to $1,000,000 being demanded, organisations need to ensure they can recover data rather than paying cyber-criminals. By implementing a secure, off-site backup an organisation can simply recover data to any infected systems.

Time to celebrate your backups

Are you confident about the security, reliability and flexibility of your current backup solution? For nearly 20 years, Redstor has been the Data Management & Security Company of choice for businesses and organisations looking for a trusted advisor to manage and secure their data. This experience, shaped by our community creates the world-class software underpinning Redstor’s Cloud Data Management and Security Platform.

Redstor Pro’s Data Management Platform features an integrated archiving solution which delivers simple to manage, highly scalable archiving that ensures data remains extremely easy to access whilst freeing up expensive primary storage. Users of the service avoid the need to archive data to unreliable tape or add more expensive tier one storage due to data growth.

Staff Writer

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FinTech in South Africa: Accelerating the digital transformation of financial sector

FinTech in South Africa: Accelerating the digital transformation of financial sector

FinTech in South Africa: Accelerating the digital transformation of financial sector.

The impact of Blockchain, AI, Mobile Money, Digital Wallets and Payment innovations are radically transforming the financial services landscape as FinTech disruptors intensify the challenge to Incumbent Banks in Africa and kickstart new growth opportunities

Africa’s financial services landscape continues its dynamic evolution as the rapid growth of FinTech on the continent drives both the disruption and leapfrogging of legacy systems and further accelerates the digital transformation of financial services. In South Africa, the major banks are rapidly ramping-up their own innovation strategies and collaborating with new game-changing start-ups to drive efficiencies, make digital profitable and capture new markets.

South Africa’s FinTech adoption rate is expected to experience a major leap over the next few years. EY’s annual FinTech Adoption Index Report 2017 forecasted 71% growth, with the country ranking third in future growth behind only China and India. There is a greater number of technology hubs in South Africa than any other country on the continent and the country enjoys a more significant amount of national and international investment in the sector. South Africa’s Reserve Bank has created a team dedicated to monitor the latest FinTech developments in the key areas of payments, lending, deposit-taking, investments and insurance, which will report directly to the Deputy Governor. South Africa is clearly in the midst of one of the most exciting phases of innovation and disruption in the financial sector.

The hugely successful events in our Finnovation Africa Series in Uganda and Ethiopia in 2017 saw more than 500 thought leaders, FinTech pioneers, bankers, investors and government policymakers representing the foremost financial institutions from across the continent gather to address how FinTech can contribute to the positive and profitable transformation of financial services in Africa. Against this dynamic backdrop, Ethico Live! is now excited to announce the expansion of the series with the launch of Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018, which will be held on the 6th of June 2018 at the Radisson Blu Gautrain, Johannesburg. The event will seek to harness the FinTech revolution to boost strategic economic priorities such as financial inclusion and deepening – and how FinTech can make a positive and profitable difference in Africa.

With a focus on the most significant technologies driving the financial services paradigm shift, including Blockchain, Banking & AI, Payments innovation, and Mobile Money & Digital Wallets, Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018 also features a number of innovative sessions such as The Wolves’ Den, Founder’s PainPoints, Collaborate2Accelerate, Inside the Investor’s Mind, and live-on-stage interviews with international Finnovators and African FinTech pioneers.

Speaking at the announcement of the launch of Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018, David McLean, President of Ethico Live, said that: “FinTech holds a particularly powerful promise for Africa especially as an enabler of key strategic priorities and the impact of new disruptive financial technologies is well placed to be genuinely socially useful, meaningfully improving how ordinary people engage with financial services and therefore deliver broader-based positive economic outcomes across the continent. FinTech also sets the bar higher for incumbent banks in terms of their own innovation agendas as the leading banks internationally and in Africa seek to make digital pay and explore collaboration opportunities with FinTech trail-blazers. We are very excited to be bringing Finnovation to the high-growth South African market and look forward to progressing discussions on the digital transformation of financial services in Africa.”

Chris Principe, international FinTech thought leader, shared some persuasive insights while speaking on the sidelines of the Finnovation Africa Series: “A very positive story, if one that is not yet well understood, is unfolding in Africa. New technology, new ideas and new business models are producing new opportunities. The distinctions between telecom services providers, payments services providers and financial institutions are breaking down. In virtually all African countries, there are sufficient numbers of mobile phones ‐ which are not necessarily smartphones ‐ for previously unbanked people to have access to high-quality financial services at low cost.

Innovative companies are using Blockchain technology and crypto‐currencies to resolve fundamental problems such as lack of access to electricity and lack of access to global financial markets. Finnovation Africa highlights how FinTech is transforming Africa for the better, facilitating payments, boosting financial inclusion and developing new enterprises. However, the Finnovation conference does much more than that, as it engages key stakeholders to reveal how the entire world is changing. In many ways, Africa is a FinTech leader, rather than a follower.”

Combining a highly innovative and interactive event format with world‐class speakers and more than 300 carefully selected participants, Finnovation Africa: South Africa 2018 will take place at the Radisson Blu Gautrain, Johannesburg on the 6th of June 2018 and will tackle the most pressing questions for the progress of FinTech in Africa, providing a platform for all stakeholders to engage in creating the future of financial services on the continent – from established banking powerhouses to FinTech start‐ups.

Staff Writer

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GameMine partners African mobile game development company

GameMine partners African mobile game development company

GameMine partners African mobile game development company.

GameMine, a US-based mobile game publisher, has announced it is partnering with African mobile game development company, ChopUp, to distribute the company’s African-themed mobile games worldwide.

“As GameMine continues to expand and refine our mobile game catalog, we are excited to be able to offer localized content to our subscribers,” says Daniel Starr, the CEO of GameMine. “We have a very strong presence in Africa and I’m confident ChopUp’s games will really resonate with our African subscribers.”

The partnership adds ChopUp’s selection of culturally-focused mobile games to GameMine’s already diverse library of titles, making them available to all of GameMine’s millions of subscribers around the world. Additionally, this partnership signifies GameMine’s continued growth as a leading global mobile game publisher and also highlights the diversification of its business initiatives in Africa.

ChopUp’s mobile games are firmly rooted in African culture and carefully crafted with the intention to provide something unique, fresh, and most importantly, entertaining. The company develops world-class, locally relevant games that tell the African narrative, and has an existing user base of more than 700,000 mobile gamers; a number that will increase into the multi-millions through the distribution agreement with GameMine.

“The GameMine partnership puts our company on the international stage and distributes our games to millions of people around the world,” says Zubair Abubakar, a Co-founder of ChopUp. “This huge boost in exposure is fantastic for our company, and we’re impressed that GameMine has shown so much interest in working with local businesses like ours. GameMine is taking concrete, proactive steps to create legitimate economic opportunities in geographic regions that need them, and we are very thankful for this.”

GameMine has been working to establish itself throughout Africa this past year, entering into multiple partnerships with large companies including international mobile carrier, Vodacom, and Orange. Now immersed in Africa’s mobile gaming industry, GameMine is fostering the local game development community and creating economic opportunities for companies not generally accustomed to the international reach and exposure GameMine is able to provide.

GameMine is humbled and excited to be in the position to give back to the local communities that have accelerated the company’s growth and will continue to provide these tangible business opportunities to boost local economies in Africa and around the world.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Review

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Review

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra Review.

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is a sleek masterpiece with a great display. It boasts a familiar Sony design which attempts to keep the look up to date with the current trend for bezel-free smartphones. Sony launched the phone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2018.

This well-rounded, mid-range phone is perfect for watching videos and taking selfies. Images are sharp, colours are punchy and a contrast ratio of 1,607:1 is fantastic.

It is 163mm tall and 9.5mm thick. Although it is a little bulky, watching videos on the phone is amazing. The display is crisp which makes it great for taking pictures and catching up on the latest shows. It offers a clear display, providing a good canvas for video content.

A mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor powers things, with 4GB of RAM and the choice between a 32GB and 64GB model, both of which are expandable via microSD card. The phone also has a sizeable 3,850mAh battery and runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

This is a relatively big phone with an enormous 6-inch screen on the front, which makes it a perfect device if you stream lots video or play games on your commute.

While the bezels to the left and right of the display are suitably thin, its top and bottom bezels are considerably chunky by modern standards.

Although the phone seems huge, you can still hold it comfortably with one hand. It looks and feels solid. The rounded sides, make it easier to grip, and chamfered edges at the top and bottom, which although a little sharp, look great.

The Xperia XA2 Ultra has Gorilla Glass 4, which protects the front and the back and is coated in a matte plastic. This makes it easier to keep clean as it doesn’t pick up fingerprints.

On the bottom of the handset, there’s a USB Type-C port with Quick Charge 3.0 support and on the right side, there is a volume rocker, the circular power button and a dedicated camera shutter button. The left side of the phone has the microSD and nano-SIM slots beneath a removable flap.

The headphone jack is placed at the top and there is a circular fingerprint reader placed just below the camera on the rear of the phone. The Xperia XA2 does not offer any kind of dust or water resistance.

Shifting the focus to the cameras, The device comes with two front-facing cameras – one with a resolution of 16 megapixels and an aperture of f/2.0 and the other an 8-megapixel snapper with a f/2.4 aperture. They’re both also supported by a single LED flash, which helps to brighten your shots in low light. The dual front camera setup lets you capture both regular and wide-angle selfies. The Xperia XA2 Ultra packs an impressive 23-megapixel rear camera and a dual front-facing camera (which features a 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensor). In good light, the rear camera is great.

When it comes to battery performance, the XA2 Ultra has a decent battery life – its 3,850mAh battery enables it to comfortably last almost a day and a half with moderate use, The XA2 Ultra does support fast charging

The phone is available in silver, gold, blue and black, and looks nice in all especially the gold. The gold is sleek and classy and the phone retails for just a little over R7,000 or R9,000 depending on the storage size in South Africa.

Conclusion
If you go ahead and buy one today and have a tight budget, it’s unlikely you’ll regret it, at least because you’ll save a fair bit of money. There is not much one can fault with the XA2 Ultra. It is appealing to the eye and the camera produces good-quality pictures and video. The battery life is decent and the Smart Stamina mode, which predicts how long your power will last, is a bonus. If you’re due for an upgrade, the XA2 should be the next one you get. It ticks all the right boxes at an affordable price.

By Fundisiwe Maseko
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Should backup be a cyber insurance prerequisite?

Should backup be a cyber insurance prerequisite?

Iniel Dreyer, Managing Director at Gabsten Technologies.

Last year saw a surge in cybercrime which surpassed previous years, highlighting the importance of having proper, continually updated security measures in place. Data’s increasing value and the advent of regulatory measures around data protection have pushed the protection of company and personal information, in the face of rising cybercrime, to the fore for South African businesses.

As a result, many organisations are exploring the benefits of taking out cyber risk insurance, or Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage (CLIC), to protect against the financial damage of data loss. However, cyber insurance may help you to recover from the financial impact of data loss, but, cannot assist with recovering lost data, or reputation damage. Once lost, data simply cannot be restored. Unless you have backup in place.

Risk and responsibility

Businesses are responsible for the loss of any data that they possess. For their own data, the risk lies in the dissemination and use of potentially confidential proprietary information. For loss of customer data, the risk to the business is that much greater. Customer personal information loss due to theft, breach or accidental can lead to a reputation for carelessness and poor security, loss of existing and new revenue, and potential lawsuits for negligence or privacy infringement.

Regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have created legislation around how businesses protect, use and store their customer’s, supplier’s and employee’s personal information. The impact of non-compliance is high, with fines of up to R10 million and imprisonment for PoPI infractions, and a fine of up to 4% of the business’s annual global turnover for GDPR infractions – this excludes personal lawsuits filed by individuals who are impacted.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber risk insurance covers businesses for any financial losses incurred due to a cybercrime or data breach. This extends to payouts for covering operational interruptions, public liability lawsuits, and even reputation reparation. Insurance does not cover recovery of data that is irretrievably lost.

Collaboration opportunity

For insurance companies, there exists the opportunity to collaborate with data management or IT companies to provide ancillary services such as data backup that support cyber insurance policies. In fact, having adequate back up in place should be a prerequisite for any cyber insurance policy as it reduces the risk for both insurer and the insured.

Most cyber insurance policies require that organisations have proper security measures in place to prevent the loss of their data. From firewalls to comprehensive cybersecurity policies, the ability to demonstrate how well your data is protected helps to reduce the risk for insurers to cover you against loss of data. Still, data once lost is lost, and there is little that an insurer can do beyond covering costs incurred in the face of lost data.

Nevertheless, if the insurer were able to offer backup as a value-added service or insisted on proof of backup as a prerequisite for cover, not only would the risk of financial impact be lower, but the organisation would still be able to continue as it did before the data breach. There would still be costs, in the recovery of data, legal fees and reputation recovery, however, the business would still have its data and could effectively continue to use the data as before.

Insurance companies can extend this value-add by offering regular testing of backup facilities though partners and ensuring that businesses remain low risk.

This type of collaboration requires a shift in mindset, and for insurance organisations to bridge the gap between insurance and IT, closing in on an area where all parties stand to benefit. Organisations can be protected against data loss, both in the financial and real sense, and insurers can bolster their service offering to customers and create new streams of revenue. It’s a win-win, really.

By Iniel Dreyer, Managing Director at Gabsten Technologies

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Advances in IoT driving adoption of smart cities

Advances in IoT driving adoption of smart cities

Kameshwar Rao Sorda, Solutions Director, Huawei Enterprise Southern Africa.

Communities around the world are turning to innovative information communication technologies (ICT) to re-imagine the way in which residents live, work and play, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a growing role in turning safer, smarter cities from vision into reality.

When combined with other components, such as communication, security and network infrastructure, IoT takes the concept of cities being aware of their environment to the next level, with a multitude of sensors making it easier to collect large volumes of data from both homogenous and heterogenous systems.

Armed with real-time monitoring and analytics, city administrators can make data-driven decisions to improve efficiency and delivery of civic services, increase engagement with communities, cut down on costs and/or gain new revenue, and even promote environmental sustainability.

IoT: what has changed?

In an IoT solution, devices and sensors are connected to a network so that they can communicate with each other, or send data to a cloud-based platform where it is combined with data from other peripherals to be processed, with the value coming from the resulting analytics.

Rapid changes across these three elements are helping accelerate the adoption of IoT, starting off with devices. Not only are vendors now releasing devices with multiple interfaces and lightweight embedded operating systems to meet current industry and bulk device deployment demand, but the cost of sensors continues to decline. Research shows sensor prices dropping from over $20 to less than 30 cents per sensor over a ten-year period between 2010 and 2020, meaning that cities can and will be able to monitor more variables at a lower cost.

Similarly, telecom operators are playing a vital role by ensuring that their networks are capable of securely handling the growing volumes of data being communicated between these devices. The development of new protocols, as well as technologies such as narrow band (NB-IoT), LoRaWAN/Sigfox and eLTE-M have been introduced to support increased IoT deployment.

All this data is meaningless without being able to make sense of it, and city administrators looking for advanced analytical capabilities are turning to cloud-based data centres, which offer enhanced product efficiency, scalability, affordability as well as improved management of deployed devices.

What can cities do with IoT?

Cities around the world are using innovative IoT solutions to decrease costs across services provided: in electricity by using smart grids and meters, and water by using sensors to reduce wastage, and in refuse collection to enhance delivery and fleet utilisation. Connected street lamps can help municipalities save up to 80% in lighting energy costs and 90% in maintenance costs.

Rather than work in isolation, cities are increasingly realising the need for a wide-reaching IoT ecosystem that requires them to partner with business (equipment vendors, system integrators, service providers, etc) and communities (including together with local small business), and drive revenue by providing access to new services, including in education, healthcare, and transportation. One example is the rise of connected car solutions which can enable unified platforms that support multiple applications. Digital transformation for transit management systems such as elevators is another example, where IoT can help in selecting elevators remotely so that they are ready for the passengers instead of having to wait for them to arrive. and more.

The adoption of industry standards further bodes will for IoT, as it ensures that deployed systems meet the requirements for interconnectivity and interoperability, allowing for future growth – or even giving governments the ability to connect several smart cities together as part of a broader Smart Nation initiative.

By Kameshwar Rao Sorda, Solutions Director, Huawei Enterprise Southern Africa

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Meet the Hackers: A series on mobile malware

Meet the Hackers: A series on mobile malware

Meet the Hackers: A series on mobile malware

Over the past year, every company in the world has experienced a mobile malware attack. Mobile malware has become a major concern for both consumers and organisations worldwide. Although much has been written about which mobile malwares are prevalent and how the different variants operate, it’s critical to understand why attackers choose to target mobile devices in the first place.

To answer this question, we must begin with reviewing the different actors who create and operate mobile malware.

Meet the Hackers

In general, there are four types of mobile malware creators.

The first, and most sophisticated, are the state-level developers who create malware with the purpose of reconnaissance, such as the CIA tools found in the Vault 7 leak.

Similar to the state-level developers, the second group is more focused on espionage, with developers who create malware with espionage capabilities for governments and organisations around the globe. The NSO Group – the cyberarms organization behind the Pegasus malware – is a prime example, with the Mexican government as an alleged client.

The third group focuses on personal spyware that masquerades as ‘parental control’ tools, usually private users seeking to monitor other personal devices.

And finally, but definitely not least, we have the “normal” cyber-criminals that develop “ordinary malware”, seeking to make a dishonest dollar.

The different groups aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, and many connections can be drawn between similarities in their tactics, technologies, and even entire pieces of code.

The major distinctions between these groups lies in their motives, and we can infer that when we analyze their attacks. While state-level malware and other spyware are developed for reconnaissance and therefore must operate discretely in order to evade detection, revenue-generating malware (such as ransomware) often announce their presence.

So Why Go Mobile?

The mobile platform offers a particularly ripe opportunity for malware developers seeking espionage and/or profits.
The simplest reason that draws threat actors to mobile devices is ease. Most mobile users do not protect their mobile device or upgrade their operating system to apply security patches. Most people lock their doors at night and buy anti-virus for their computers, but it’s not as common to apply those same habits to their smartphones. With such a simple target for the attacker, they often don’t need much more than primitive techniques in order to gain access to the device.

With 2.1 billion mobile device users, a quarter of which owning more than one device, the second advantage for targeting mobile devices is the wide attack surface. Whether it’s to generate fraudulent ad revenue or for a DDoS attack, mobile malware relies on large numbers of infected devices executing some form of mechanism. The sheer economy of scale offered by mobile devices is incredibly appealing to cybercriminals.

In addition, a phone number isn’t considered heavily confidential information, allowing espionage groups to easily track down a potential victim’s phone number. With this information, they can pinpoint the device in order conduct phishing scams against the user, allowing for incredibly efficient intelligence-gathering operations.

And finally, an infected mobile device has the potential to cause much more damage than an infected PC. For example, mobile banking malware can use their access to incoming calls and SMS messages to circumvent Two-Factor-Authentication security solutions. Another example: infected mobile devices are ultimate spying weapon, as users carry their cell phones – with an exploitable microphone and camera – everywhere they go, allowing threat actors to constantly record the victim without their knowledge.

Main Takeaways and Next Steps:

The mobile arena holds grave potential for professional hackers and criminals alike. They are easy to exploit, unprotected, provide the perfect surface for both surgical and mass attacks, and grant threat actors with capabilities they could only previously dream of. As a result, these characteristics make mobile malware not only very much a current problem but also threatens to become an even larger one in the future.

By Check Point Software Technologies

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Dell EMC Forum: Helping South Africa realise its digital future

Dell EMC Forum: Helping South Africa realise its digital future

Dell EMC Forum: Helping South Africa realise its digital future.

It’s time for South African businesses and institutions to realise their digital future. They know this and are eager to do so, which is why they converged on the Sandton Convention Centre for the 2018 Dell EMC Africa Forum. The event attracted companies both large and small, packing the centre with delegates looking at how they can lead their businesses into the future.

“Everyone has got an opportunity to grab onto the digital future,” said Doug Woolley, GM of Dell EMC South Africa. “How do we showcase to customers how to revolutionise their businesses? That’s what this event is about.”

He was unequivocal that the digital future is now. During an onstage conversation with renowned public speaker Michael Jackson, Woolley said the country was ready:

“From a South African perspective, we’ve got the skills, the tech and know-how. There’s no reason why we can’t start that journey. This is not an American or European concept. This is something we can deliver today in SA.”

He urged companies not to delay their digital transformation plans: “My view is you should have started this yesterday. There is no end date – you will constantly evolve, especially at the applications level.”

Attendees clearly realised this and enjoyed the numerous opportunities to learn how to bring technology and strategy together, get closer to their customers and expand their profits. The Forum presented several opportunities to do so, from meeting with Dell EMC companies and partners on the exhibition floor to attending the many different tracks of specialised presentations, through to the captivating opening ceremony and keynote.

Embrace geometric thinking
Nigel Moulton, ‎EMEA CTO for Dell EMC’s Converged Platforms & Solutions, took to the stage to talk about the way companies have to think differently:

“We see IT as a fundamental piece of investment, because it drives the way organisations behave. In the past we focused on systems of record. Systems of engagement were reasonably hard to do because it involves people talking to people. But as you digitise, you allow people to interact through a piece of software, internal or external. So the way you offer systems of engagement changes when you do software.”

A critical aspect to understand about digital transformation is that it completely changes the rules, he continued. Humans think in a linear fashion, but technology is geometric. It expands exponentially, which is why polling a handful of people at a certain social network ended up with millions of people’s details. The power and scale of digital goes well beyond traditional business thinking, so companies must digitise if they want to stay with the pack:

“If you think about embedding these systems in a linear way, you’re doing it wrong. That’s not how we get insight. There will be billions of things, using microservices to gather, measure, monitor and report. It’s not monolithic, it’s distributed. Digest massive amounts of data and apply mathematical functions to it to learn and drive a result.”

The Dell EMC Africa Forum offered many opportunities for companies to engage these themes according to their own needs. As part of a group that offers end-to-end choice and insight across its portfolio of companies, products and partners, Dell EMC touches everything from the user to the edge to the cloud and to the core.

From cutting edge IoT devices to the latest laptops, the Dell EMC Africa Forum showcased the best digital has to offer – and showed that South Africa is keen to take the reigns and realise its digital future.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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University of Cape Town now offers FinTech short course for business

University of Cape Town now offers FinTech short course for business

University of Cape Town now offers FinTech short course for business.

According to the recent Finnovating for Africa report released by media and research company Disrupt Africa, Africa is already home to more than 300 Fintech startups, having raised almost $100 million over the last 2.5 years. But the industry is crying out for skilled professionals who understand the technology and are able to capitalise on its potential.

So says Dr Co-Pierre Georg, Associate Professor at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) at UCT and convener of a brand new course on Facing the Fintech Challenge at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB).

“The fast-moving financial services industry is facing major digital disruption. Emerging platforms and decentralised technologies are providing new ways to transfer value and analyse information, leading to increased competition from agile and innovative start-ups. This creates entirely new jobs, many challenges but also opportunities in the industry,” says Georg.

“To manage in this brave new world, financial services professionals need fresh insight, knowledge and practical skills.”

According to a new report from Aon, a whopping 83% of financial institutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) fear their business is at risk of being lost to standalone FinTech companies and 49% believe they are unprepared to adapt to innovation, with nearly a quarter saying they have suffered a monetary loss over the last 12 months as a result.

A different survey from Fintech Circle uncovered that 94% of financial services professionals suspect their colleagues of using buzzwords such as “Blockchain” and “Artificial Intelligence” without understanding their meaning. Over half (60%) claim that such bluffing is a common occurrence.

“Organisations need to move fast to upskill their people and individuals who want to thrive in this industry also need to take ownership of their careers and ensure that they are able to keep abreast of developments,” says Georg.

Georg, who is also credited with launching the first FinTech degree in Africa through the UCT African Institute for Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) and the co-hosting with Linum Labs of the continent’s largest Blockchain hackathon, which took place in January, says that there is still a drastic shortage of courses and forums that are helping to plug this skills gap on the continent and more broadly. “This is, in fact, a problem that extends globally,” he says.

“We are in constant contact with industry leaders and are already seeing a change in demand for the type of employees the financial industry is hiring. In the past, if you had an Honours or Masters degree in finance you could be fairly sure of a safe job for life. But this is changing – companies require people with more conceptual skills, specifically ones that combine finance knowledge with the right technical and data analytic skills,” says Georg. In addition, he says the need for an entrepreneurial mindset is key.

He says the three-day “Facing the Fintech Disruption Challenge: Fintech for Financial Services Professionals” course is designed for a wide array of people with no tertiary level maths training.

“The course will help people working in financial planning, auditing, governance, risk and compliance positions to prepare for the changes resulting from the new technologies. They will be able to understand and identify potential shortcomings in their own skills and training, so they have a clear path for future-proofing their careers and staying relevant.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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