Trump Administration Threatens Net Neutrality

Tom Wheeler, the previous chairman of the FCC, utilized his last public speaking engagement before leaving office to caution organizations and buyers that their choice of cloud services and business applications could be extremely constrained if the approaching organization strikes down the 2015 open internet arrangement that he and his team set up. This request situated the FCC’s unhindered internet control that keeps Internet Service Providers from abating or blocking activity on their systems. This gives all activity level with circumstance and speed and counteracts arrange bias.

Wheeler additionally demonstrated sympathy toward the Internet of Things, a territory of financial development that is rapidly getting to be distinctly top of brain to numerous organizations and strategy creators in Washington.

“[T]he development of the web of things is another territory that relies on upon the open network of those things,” Wheeler said. “On the off chance that ISPs can choose subjectively which IoT gadget can be associated, or support their own IoT action over their rivals, the splendid eventual fate of IoT diminishes.” Wheeler proceeded, “As everything goes into the cloud, the capacity to get to the cloud free of guardians is basic. In the event that ISPs get the chance to pick which applications and mists work superior to anything others as far as get to, speed and dormancy, they will control the cloud future,”.
Wheeler’s position may not be an unexpected now but rather given his past as a lobbyist for the link and remote area his support of internet fairness may come as a stun.

Bill Wilson, an expert for BBL, Broadband Landing, stated, “Wheeler might underplay the earnestness of the circumstance. Internet fairness is the greatest arrangement that nobody truly gets it. On the off chance that customers and private companies really acknowledged what the web would look like after it was purchased and sold by substantial partnerships that was be stressed. This would be every one of that was being discussed.”

Wheeler has a similar question numerous organizations do, specifically will Trump disassemble an arrangement that is unmistakably working? With republicans straightforwardly contradicted to internet fairness things do appear to be desperate for the approach.

Wheeler’s discourse not just goes about as a notice to the approaching organization additionally unmistakably endeavors to extend the extent of the internet fairness wrangle all in all. Shopper effect of the open web request is quite often the lead in any talk of internet fairness yet here Wheeler’s concentration was on the threat to organizations and their expanding utilization of distributed computing. Interference or the moderating of these administrations is more damaging than a video playing moderate. Organizations may be required to totally change back office administration frameworks. An organization like could have their client base separated between clients that have an ISP that permits their activity and ISP’s that won’t. Circumstances of this sort could be rehashed crosswise over numerous business administrations. On the off chance that AT&T purchases a firm that gives CMS to deals and advertising bunches, it is not unfathomable that they would demonstrate inclination to this firm over others.

Wheeler particularly gets out Verizon and AT&T for the “zero rating” programs that give a few organizations free access by not charging clients for the information they utilize. While this isn’t the dreaded “Fast track” unhindered internet has been attempting to stay away from, it might really be more regrettable.

Wheeler completed his discourse with, “It now tumbles to another arrangement of controllers, to another FCC and to the individuals who advocate before it and the Congress to decide the street that they need to take from here,” Wheeler said. “We are at a fork in that street. One way leads forward and alternate leads back to relitigating arrangements that are certifiably working.”

While the byway similarity fits, it’s really more extraordinary than Wheeler makes it appear. One street leads forward and alternate leads back 10 years and afterward off a precipice into a gap loaded with crocs.

Micro-tech Hearing Aids: Your Interests At Heart

Micro-Tech began in 1986 as a subsidiary of the international hearing devices leader, Starkey Laboratories. Located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Micro-Tech was established with the intent of supplying the hearing-impaired with compact, fashionable Micro-tech hearing aids which in spite of their dimensions could achieve superior sound clarity.

In the interests of implementing that standard, the components used in Micro-tech hearing aids are of exceptional quality, and include gold battery contacts hybrid microchips. Every Micro-tech hearing aid is subject to rigid quality control testing as well.

Micro-Tech even funds the annual trip which some of its audiologists take to Mexico, where they fit indigent hearing-impaired individuals with Micro-Tech hearing aids.

Audiologists are also important contributors to the development of innovative technologies for the users of for Micro-Tech hearing aids, and Micro-Tech is involved in providing educational programs for hearing professionals through several institutions including the American Academy of Audiology.

Micro-Tech Innovations

Some of the Micro-Tech hearing aid innovations have included the remarkable proprietary DiRx directional technology which allows Micro-Tech hearing aids users to adjust their microphones in the directions of a speaker, both providing extra clarity to his or her words and shutting out noises coming from other directions. The Caballo, Denali, and Dx3 Micro-Tech hearing aids can all be constructed with DiRx capability.

Micro-Tech was also responsible for introducing one of the earliest completely-in-canal, or CIC, hearing devices. The first of the CIC Micro-Tech hearing aids appeared in 1993, and has been followed by nearly fifteen years of advancements in compact but technologically sophisticated hearing devices. CIC Micro-Tech hearing aids can be built at their cutting edge laboratory to include any of Micro-Tech digital circuitry.

Micro-Tech has even designed its own line of batteries to use with Micro-Tech hearing aids, with gold-plated contacts to guarantee maximum conductivity.

Micro-Tech and Kids

Micro-Tech, in an attempt to ease the discomfort of children who have been diagnosed with hearing impairment, will provide a “custom care package” for delivery with the child’s behind the ear Micro-Tech hearing aid. The packages can include everything from stickers and removable tattoos to coloring books and plush animals–and they are all free!

To help children learn responsibility for taking care of their Micro-Tech hearing aids, Micro-Tech offers Mr. BTE, a plush frog-like doll with secret pockets, one of which contains a dehumidifier for the hearing aid. Mr. BTE costs $15.00.

Micro-Tech’s concern for the impoverished hearing impaired n Mexico and its “custom care packages” are only two signs that it is a company with a heart, to which customer service will always be the top priority.

Could Satyam’s Fiasco Be Over After Tech Mahindra Takeover?

The year 2009 for Satyam Computer Technologies Ltd had been full of troubles and up downs. Satyam was plunged into a crisis in January after its founder, B. Ramalinga Raju, said that the company’s profits had been overstated for several years. Finance professionals, however, say that the scam could not have happened without the complicity of company auditors.

After the scam in Maytas acquisition deal, Upaid Systems case, World Bank had banned Satyam from doing business with it for 8 years due to inappropriate payments to the World Bank’s staff and the free fall of its share prices, the company could not stand on its own and hence SEBI permits for soliciting bids from potential buyers.

Good Old Time
The word satyam means “truth” in Sanskrit.
Satyam’s network covers 67 countries across six continents, employs more than 40,000 IT professionals across development to serves over 654 global companies, 185 of which are Fortune 500 corporations.

In 2008, the company get Asian MAKE (Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise) Award from Teleos, in association with KNOW Network, UK Trade & Investment India (UKTI) Business Award for corporate social responsibility from UKTI beside many other awards since its formation. Ramalinga Raju, the chairman named as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year.

But after four months of this pull-push, on April 13, 2009, Kiran Karnik, the MD at Satyam announced that IT services provider Tech Mahindra had offered the highest bid at Rs 58 per share and become the new owner of the company.

Tech Mahindra: Overview
With more than 25000 employees, Tech Mahindra Ltd formerly known as Mahindra British Telecom (MBT) is an Indian Information Technology service provider headquarters at Pune, India. It is the 6th largest software exporter in India (Nasscom, 2007) and 2nd largest Telecom Software Provider in India (Voice & Data, 2007) and JV between Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (M&M) and British Telecommunications plc (BT).

Satyam-Tech Mahindra deal
Tech Mahindra’s acquisition of Satyam has come as a relief to both the market as well as most Satyam employees. Though worst may be over for Satyam, the deal is not going to be an easy ride for the Mahindra group company.

Challenges for Tech Mahindra
1. The biggest challenges for the new management will be to regain customer confidence so that they do not pull back the existing contracts.
2. Tech Mahindra has not much experience in most of Satyam’s business verticals and may face problems while dealing issues relating to its own core business.
3. The new company has to pursue all the legal liabilities of the Satyam group.
4. Forming a new leadership team and the role of existing top management in the team will be a key challenge as they have to shortlist the existing key leaders.
5. The business profiles of both the companies are totally different and therefore Tech Mahindra has to face challenge of marrying the work cultures, winning the trust of the employees of two organisations and other human resource-related issues.
6. The Tech Mahindra management would have to clean the balance sheet of the scam-tainted company and show the real profits/loses by the company.
7. As Satyam already facing financial problems so Tech Mahindra has to deal with the Liquidity issue for its operations. It is assumed that the company may have to immediately invest Rs 1,000 crore in Satyam for operating expenses.
8. Last but not the least, in the tough time of recession every step from the new owner matter the most. The internal problems in its own company, like the company could not clinch a single deal in March and shed about 250 employees in the past three months citing reasons of non-performance, forces to take every step only after many evaluations.

The Satyam deal would bring Tech Mahindra into new industries, from manufacturing to financial services, and make the company India’s fourth-largest outsourcing firm, by employee count, behind Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Infosys Technologies. Hence the deal may help the employees, shareholders and their clients to rejuvenate the lost glory of Satyam Computers

Cambridge Power Group Puts Tech Cluster On World Map

A groundbreaking web resource has been created to promote the Cambridge UK technology cluster to a world of new business.
The Cambridge Cluster Map – which will undergo a beta launch in the city on July 30 – charts a path to fresh trade & investment opportunities from international organisations.

Project mastermind Sherry Coutu, the Cambridge2Silicon Valley entrepreneur, says the free resource will enable users worldwide to research and transact business with companies in the Cambridge Cluster more easily than ever before.

The not-for-profit initiative is spearheaded by The University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise, SVC2C, Trampoline Systems, Cambridge Angels, Cambridge Network, Duedil, Startup Intelligence, One Nucleus, Venture-Valuation and Linkedin Corporation. Business Weekly is the media partner for the project.

Coutu says: “While many attempts have been made to articulate the Cambridge Cluster, no initiative previously has managed to provide an at-a-glance overview of the entire community that enables newcomers to identify and contact businesses and entrepreneurs of potential interest.”

Developed by Trampoline Systems – the Cambridge Computer Lab spin-out which built the Tech City map so admired by PM David Cameron – the new resource will incorporate a bird’s eye view of the Cluster showing where businesses are located and provide the facility to drill down for detailed analysis on each company.

Charles Armstrong, co-founder of Trampoline Systems, said the underlying data had been sourced from a number of dynamic partners so would be regularly refreshed.

Cambridge has been renowned for more than half a century for its entrepreneurialism – evidenced by the progress to international status of its leading ICT and BioMedTech companies and the creation of world-class networks such as One Nucleus, Cambridge Wireless and Cambridge Network to catalyse international collaboration.

The recently formed Cambridge Cleantech members’ organisation has created a new wave of innovation, coralling renewable energy solutions along with smart grid & metering technology.

Cambridge University and its colleges have been central to the formation and development of the cluster. Trinity College facilitated the Cambridge Phenomenon by creating the world-famous Science Park in 1970. St John’s College built on this success by establishing its thriving Innovation Centre in 1987.

The University has continued to provide a flow of ideas, staff and graduates that have driven the continued growth of the Cluster economy – which is the third biggest contributor to the UK Treasury.

The Cluster’s economy currently comprises 1,400 hi-tech companies employing 40,000 people and university vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, says he views co-operation with local companies and entrepreneurs – and commercialisation of university IP – as essential to help the UK steer clear of recession.

NESTA research suggests that Cluster businesses will have created more than 50 per cent of all new jobs generated in the region over the past decade. The community includes companies of global significance such as ARM, Autonomy and CSR, more than 100 spin-outs from the University and a vibrant nucleus of SMEs and startups.

Users of the Cambridge Cluster Map will be able to pinpoint businesses of interest through a variety of metrics showing sector, turnover and growth, directors and other indicators.

To support the map’s analyses a vast range of information and data-feeds have been assembled and cross-referenced. Sources range from Companies House filings providing revenue, employee and directorship data to social network feeds offering insight into how businesses connect and communicate as well as prime areas of focus.

In parallel, startups and early stage businesses will be encouraged to submit their details on the website for inclusion.

The website will be fully accessible from all mainstream desktop browsers and tablets and users can share information with contacts on Facebook or LinkedIn.

To help support the ongoing evolution of the venture, Cambridge Cluster Map is offering a number of partnership opportunities that will put participants on the inside track of an initiative with clear scaleability and which carry significant other benefits.

Know About The Latest Tech Developments By Following Tech Blogs

Innovations in technology are taking place at a much faster pace these days then they used to earlier. New models of gadgets with interesting features are being launched on a daily basis in the market. But identifying a model with the latest features within your budget is next to impossible if you do not follow tech news on a regular basis. Once you start following technical blog sites, it will be much easier for you to select the best model available in the market. The factors which make technical blogs the best source of information on all technological developments taking place around the world are mentioned below:-

Technical blogs can be accessed for free

Tech blogs can be subscribed without having to pay any money as subscription fees. You can follow as well as take part in these blog sites by commenting on any topic related to technology. People from different walks of life share their views and ideas on how the features and quality of gadgets can be improved. So products of better quality are launched.

Simple language which is easy to understand

These blogs are written in a simple language which is easy to understand for people who do not have a sound idea of technology. Bloggers do not usually use any technical or scientific terms in their blogs as they are well aware that readers may get confused if they come across too much of technical jargon.

Blog sites are updated regularly

Technology related blogs have one thing in common with SEO blogs. They are updated on a daily basis with fresh, informative content and as a result readers as well as search engines make regular visits to them to find out the latest updates on new gadget models which have been launched in the market.

Tech blogs can be navigated easily

Technical blogs have a better navigation as compared to company websites. So you can get all the information you require without having to read the content of too many web pages.

Models with the best features can be identified

These blogs can be used to compare the prices and features of products. You can easily identify the gadget with the best features within an affordable range once you go through these blogs. Often the authors mention the names of retail outlets or websites where gadgets of the best model are available. This in turn helps you to save a substantial sum of your time and money.

Blogs can help you repair gadgets on your own

These blogs can be used to repair and maintain gadgets without anyone’s help as they provide useful tech tips. So you don’t have to depend on anyone for repairing. Neither will you have to buy a new one. You can resolve the issues on your own and increase your gadget’s durability.

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The 5 Tech Developments That Your Business Should Be Taking Advantage Of

1. WordPress website

a. Self managed (no more webmasters!)

b. Simple to add content

c. Low cost hosting

d. Site can host your blog

e. Can also add news feeds or other useful data

f. Can add pay-per-click advertising

2. Blogging

a. All businesses have simple tips, perspectives or helpful business related information they can and should be blogging about. (NO sales pitches, useful info on your field)

b. Builds customer loyalty because you GIVE more. Look at the Mortuary ads in the paper with the stories on how to handle grief, or the Chiropractor ads that tell how acupuncture can be used to reduce pain. You sell what the customer will get from patronizing your business, without appearing to sell.

c. They can be short or lengthy. 100-800 words are best. 300-500 ideal.

3. Social Media

a. Facebook (Free advertisement, create coupons, promote new offerings & be social)

b. Twitter (Same as for fb but shorter. Link back to blogs)

c. LinkedIn (For business contacts, create a complete profile with a professional photo)

d. You tube (create short video tips or tutorials and post, link to fb and twitter)

e. Link all together

f. Know the do’s and don’ts for business purposes

4. Auto Responder for list building

a. Develop a free take away for sign ups. Tip sheet, e-book, report, newsletter or etc.

b. Add to website and social media

c. Create a useful & fun newsletter. Send to all who sign up (keep it mixed content)

d. Builds customer loyalty and keeps your information in front of them

5. Business Branding (Your Media and Electronic Signature)

a. Need to have a memorable logo/slogan (create a visible brand for your business)

b. All media needs to be branded with your logo/slogan

c. Builds recognition and continuity

d. Create a badge that features your logo/slogan and highlights your business features

e. Create a welcome or landing page using your branding

f. Create a memorable email signature with branding and link backs to your all media

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InnovationMonth: Challenging the brand innovation norm

The Bamboo Network is a challenger agency functioning as an ecosystem in the brand innovation space. It started operating in 2012 from the couch of chief executive Neo Matsau’s apartment, based on an unrelenting desire to the leave the world better than the way they found it. Here’s how they’re fulfilling this mandate.
The Bamboo Network office itself is full of laughs, debates, the occasional all-nighter and foot tennis (yes, that’s a thing).

That fun environment, where mistakes are not feared, but rather tolerated as part of innovation is largely due to Matsau, a digital native, performer and music producer who forms the ‘Thesis’ half of the electro-bassy Twelv & Thesis music duo. He describes himself as “a polymer who believes in the power of innovation for growth.” This speaks to his fascination with technology, which led him to create his first computer game at the age of ten, and a career down the broadly divergent paths of branding, engineering and anthropology.

A true font of innovative thinking, Matsau gets things done and is big on developing the lives of others. As a result, he was key in developing a four-day youth diversity-training programme for The Diversity Institute, spoke at the third commission for investment, trade and enterprise on entrepreneurship amongst young South Africans, has contributed to a UN report on ICT as a private-sector enabler in developing countries and has been a team leader in various projects from app builds, to TTL advertising campaigns.

Here, Matsau shares more about the black-owned, owner-managed Bamboo Network and how it drives innovation in a 3.0 World.

Challengers, keep challenging

Organisations can only really change the world for better if they share knowledge collaboratively, lead with integrity and become profitable in more ways than monetary value. Bamboo Network is testament to this, in driving business growth through brand-centred innovation.

But it’s also a challenger that bravely punches above its weight, and the biggest challenge faced by challenger agencies like Bamboo is confidence. Matsau says ‘Challenger’ is an awesome word that implies that the job of such agencies is to push the status-quo and outperform incumbents to win mandates. “If that’s the case, I hope that we never stop being challengers,” says Matsau.

The Bamboo team at work
The Bamboo team at work

Bamboo Network constantly experiments with creative solutions and engages things only to make them better, whether that’s businesses, brands, people or ideas. That’s because bamboo itself is symbolic of growth, which is core to their ethos.

Matsau explains: “The bamboo plant grows in a network structure, with one plant being able to stretch for many kilometres, which speaks to our collaborative nature, but most importantly, it’s a very strong and flexible plant. This makes it useful in many applications and speaks to the core attribute we look for in our people – resilience.”

The power of imagination, inspiration and integrity

Bamboo Network’s executive creative director, Louise Sawyer, adds that their mission is to ultimately build a harmonious ecosystem of business units focused on using intelligence, imagination, empathy and knowledge to grow brands and drive business performance.

They’re doing so successfully, with Matsau listing his overall agency highlight as “the first email we received from a happy client” as they’d achieved their desired results despite a tough relationship. This meant their strategy and methods were showing themselves to be correct, which was exciting, even though two months later they would have to break and change again…

They deliver results based on an equally weighted focus on a) Culture, b) Strategy, c) Client Service, and d) Growth.

As a learning organisation, they adapt to changes in their clients’ circumstances and the general environment. Matsau says, “For example, knowing the economic climate, or changes in consumer behaviour, or rapid tech development will change our approach to each problem fundamentally.”

That said, the closest thing they have to a process is as follows:

#InnovationMonth: Challenging the brand innovation norm

Tapping into that step of ‘innovation’ in particular, Matsau feels creativity and innovation are often confused, in that innovation requires creativity.

He believes creativity is required anywhere we strive for ‘beyond benchmark’ results, and feels the industry taking the crown for innovation has to be the tech industry as most of the new and improved ways we understand consumers, businesses, products, distribution and collaboration have been in these areas.

He also feels this is primarily down to the amount of young people in more senior positions, which is a sure fire way to destabilise the norm, bring about change faster and push forward.

Looking to the future then, Matsau says the most important thing to be thinking about in the coming years is the change of purchase power to the millennial consumer. “They are becoming parents, managers and leaders, which means the world will begin to shift radically,” he says, with a reminder that both Zuckerberg and Malema are millennials – and millennials are the future of innovative business.

Facebook CEO in Nigeria to witness Africa’s tech revolution

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa, using his time in the country to visit the Yaba technology hub in Lagos, meet with developers and partners, and explore Nollywood.
Mark Zuckerberg meets Nigerian digital entrepreneurs
Mark Zuckerberg meets Nigerian digital entrepreneurs
Zuckerberg is in Nigeria to listen and learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook can better support tech development and entrepreneurship across Africa. One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria.

CcHub opened in 2011 and at the time didn’t even have an office. Five years later they fill three floors and the roof of a building. At CcHub people can learn how to code, developers can get help launching their first products, and find mentors and funding.

At CcHub, Zuckerberg met with developers like Temi Giwa, who runs a platform called Life Bank that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Life Bank saves lives by mobilising blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.

After visiting CcHub, Zuckerberg, said: “This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can.

“The first place I got to visit was the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria.”

Meeting developers at Andela

Zuckerberg then went to Andela, an engineering organisation that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa.

Andela is a business that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership program. In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants.

Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.

Earlier this year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested in Andela after being impressed by the company’s innovative model of learning and its drive to connect the global technology ecosystem with the most talented developers in Africa.

Seni Sulyman, Director, Andela Lagos, said: “We are excited and honoured to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos. His visit reinforces not only his support of Andela’s mission, but his belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa.

“Andela has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high. Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level.”

At the end of the day, Zuckerberg stopped by an Express WiFi stand in Lagos owned by Rosemary Njoku. Facebook’s Express WiFi lets entrepreneurs like Njoku, set up a hot spot to help their community access apps and services built by local developers.

Tech shifts the car insurance industry into top gear

Complex and inconvenient processes built around inflexible and opaque products describe the experiences of many policyholders when dealing with insurers. Poor customer experience and a wider lack of trust in financial service organisations have resulted in many carriers struggling to be seen as the obvious first choice for insurance products.
Simon Carpenter
Simon Carpenter
Today, tech savvy car insurance is about developing consumer-centric solutions for the connected mobility era. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Africa’s insurance organisations, and they need to wake up and play their part in the global transformation process. Transformation in the industry is fast-paced with major shifts in demographics, economic power, regulation and, more importantly, technology, bringing about a fundamental restructuring of the global insurance industry.

Research on the Internet of Things (IoT) forecasts that by 2020, more than 2.5 billion people will be connected on social networks, there will be 75 billion connected devices and a value of $65 trillion in global business trade. This will ultimately connect people, transform business and reimagine results through new business models and simplified enterprises.

Move from disruptor to enabler

The IoT brings with it a new insurance ecosystem. The future of motor insurance will remain usage-based insurance (UBI), a type of vehicle insurance whereby the costs are dependent upon type of vehicle used, measured against time, distance, behaviour and place. Through advanced offerings, such as SAP’s connected car, insurance brands will be able to adapt and transform quickly and effortlessly with the aid of:

• Telematics, which gathers data that enables auto insurers to receive driving information in real time such as mileage, speed, acceleration, technical vehicle data, location, kilometres driven, time of day, road information, etc. from sensor devices in the vehicle.
• Usage-based insurance, made possible by the telematics information and enabling insurers to offer pay-as-you-drive/pay-how-you drive premiums.
• New business models that allow the insurer to offer additional value added services such as roadside assistance, emergency calls, location-based offers and more to the policy holder to increase customer loyalty and retention by offering rewards.

The need to transform the core operations environment to offer more customised solutions to customers is the critical objective for many – if they are to compete in changing markets and be in a position to counter the threat posed by disruptive new entrants. To date, many insurers have taken steps to become ‘digital insurers’ and although these initiatives are beneficial, they remain isolated from operations and still require significant development and intervention.

Tech shifts the car insurance industry into top gear Tech shifts the car insurance industry into top gear

The power of telematics

The millennial generation, an increasingly important market segment, demand convenience, transparency, flexibility and control when interacting with a brand, especially a brand like an insurer. Yet the industry has traditionally been slow to respond. The connected car is a simple solution that helps to address these business challenges and market requirements.

For example, telematics, one of the latest catchwords in the industry, can be described as the process of long-distance transmission of computer-based information, and has proven to be a powerful and valuable tool to improve efficiency within businesses. When it comes to insurance, it’s apparent that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work in terms of pricing. Instead, paying based only on how much the consumer drives is an innovative way to make insurance more affordable.

Embrace connectivity and improve competitiveness

The usage-based connected car utilises IoT technology to allow insurers to offer accurate premiums and value-added services to individual drivers. The benefits and advantages are vast, and include:

• Assisting insurers to identify, measure and better calculate drivers’ risks
• Helping attract low-risk drivers and reduce claims costs
• Offering individual premiums to customers and give them greater control over their premiums
• Increasing the number of potential customer touch-points per year
• Improving customer loyalty and satisfaction

Get into the fast lane

The risk of disruption is real and the pace of change is ever increasing. Insurers need to accelerate their transformation efforts if they are to reduce the risk of being left without a competitive advantage. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) based core operations platforms running on a cloud infrastructure provide a means to move quickly to an integrated channel platform. Insurers have been strong adopters of SaaS and cloud technology – now, the usage-based connected car marks the next evolution.

Motor insurance is changing. Connectivity and auto tech developments are moving the goal posts and insurers need to be more radical in challenging business models. However, challenges do exist; including mounting commoditisation and the need to have lower-cost digital distribution and advanced digital profiling to respond more effectively to customer demands. In order to be successful, insurance companies need to move quickly in developing the necessary competitive capabilities and core business operations. If they’re successful in these efforts, they’ll be able to sustain growth and keep pace with our ever-changing and demanding market expectations.

DesignMonth: A virtual solution for financial inclusion

The mobile payment space is an exciting one right now; and with on-demand services like UBER and Netflix gaining constant popularity the demand for online payment services is set to soar. The overriding concern however is security.

#DesignMonth: A virtual solution for financial inclusion
Enter VCpay – a mobile application seeking to provide a secure online payment solution for consumers. Using MVC (Mobile Virtual Card) technology, VCpay enables mobile devices to generate virtual cards offline and without access to a mobile phone network. However, observing that the growth in financial inclusion was not and is not moving at the same speed VCpay claimed a new position outside of just security, by providing an accessible and safe option for those looking to pay online, without a credit card or even a bank account.

We caught up with José Soares, their global head of marketing with a deep-rooted involvement in the VCpay app’s development, to talk fintech app design and strategy.

BizcommunityFintech development is booming. How important is a service like VCpay in a country like South Africa?

José Soares: Not important, but rather essential when you consider the following:

With the tremendous growth in mobile telephony and more importantly smartphone penetration steadily increasing (currently at around 31%), most people have access to the internet, to e-commerce, and m-commerce. The growth of services like this means that these individuals need a safe, smart way to pay, and VCpay is just that. It connects anybody with a simple solution to make (card not present) online payments. And in an emerging market like South Africa’s where financial inclusion is still a challenge, VCpay presents a solution for those who don’t even have a bank account.

However, the boom in electronic payments comes with a flip side too – security! The more we need or want to pay online, the more times we will compromise our credit or debit cards by putting the card information and our bank balance at risk.

VCpay provides an ‘in-control’ solution to credit card payments – you manage the amount, the risk and the usage. One solution that lets you create cards for services like UBER, Netflix, ShowMax, PSN, Xbox, and, and, and.

BizcommunityWhat is your favourite VCpay app feature?

Soares: For me, it is the ability to create cards, label them and use them to for all my subscription services. It gives me a sense of control and relief, because I don’t have to share my credit card details to every Tom, Dick and Harry. I make a specific card for a specific need, with a specific amount. And when I’m done or no longer want or need the service I can terminate the card with a click of a button.

The VCpay team
The VCpay team

BizcommunityWhat is your design and development strategy?

Soares: We have an agile approach to both our design and development. We constantly communicate and unravel the patterns of usage within the platform and its customers. This gives us insight in to how people want to use the app and what they need to use in the app. We are not looking to provide people with just a tool, we want to provide them with a service that enhances and embraces the payment process, as a part of what they need to get done in their daily tasks.

This sees us go through rapid design and development cycles, to test and deploy new features and enhancements. We believe in the power and importance of our users, so listening to them and exploring the impact of the changes we make on our audience is quintessential to success.

BizcommunityIn your opinion, what are the fundamentals of great app design?

Soares: Simplicity! Take me straight to the primary function or need that attracted me to download the app in the first place. Walk me through the process and let me have the least amount of action to perform the core app/service function. How do you achieve this? By listening to those who use the service, and delivering on changes that enhance the elements that work, discarding those that complicate and aggravate.

BizcommunityWhat has feedback been like thus far?

Soares: The feedback has been nothing short of awesome. When aligned to services like UBER or the app stores, we see a sharp rise in adoption and usage, and the service quickly becomes a daily tool. From a business perspective, the interest and operations are equally as extensive. Our service is an enabler and an aggregator for merchants looking for a way to get their customers to spend in an easy and quick manner, without having to adopt or integrate new payment tools.