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Judgement reserved in Solidarity vs Telkom job cuts legal brawl

By Staff Writer

Judgement in the challenge by Solidarity Union to obtain an interdict against Telkom’s planned job cuts has been reserved by the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

Judge David Gush reserved judgement today in Solidarity’s urgent application against Telkom’s restructuring process.

Judgement will be served in the Labour Court tomorrow at 11:00.

The application, which was heard in the Labour Court in Johannesburg, was lodged after Telkom disregarded the agreement with trade unions with regard to restructuring processes.

Marius Croucamp, spokesman at Solidarity, said the union is hopeful that the court will intervene for the sake of the workers.

“Telkom simply cannot be allowed to force the restructuring process on employees. It is not only unfair to the employees who are once again subject to a comprehensive retrenchment process, but it will also lead to a massive break in trust between employees and management,” says Croucamp.

This latest restructuring process at Telkom may lead to the retrenchment of up to 4 400 employees while a further 3 400 may be transferred to other companies.

Bidvest snaps-up Retroviral

By Staff Writer

Bidvest Media, a division of  JSE-listed group Bidvest has acquired a majority stake in Retroviral Digital Communications (Retroviral).

The acquisition results in Retroviral becoming a subsidiary of Bidvest Media, launching the company’s foray into the digital marketing sector. Bidvest Media currently has a 100% stake in MSCSPORTS, an integrated sports marketing and sponsorship agency, Create, and an airport’s media company, with Retroviral its second media and marketing acquisition.

Retroviral co-founder Mike Sharman retains an interest in the company, and is committed to remain at its helm. His entire team moves under the Bidvest Media umbrella with him, ensuring strategic and servicing continuity for clients and job security for employees. Retroviral’s other co-founder, Murray Legg, has exited his stake and operational role in the business.

Retroviral co-founder Mike Sharman
Retroviral co-founder Mike Sharman

“Retroviral is a proudly South African company. The acquisition opportunity from Bidvest Media offered us the best of both worlds as we remain a world-class, African entity, with added capacity to expand internationally where the Bidvest Group has a presence,” says Sharman.

Bidvest Media is determined to take advantage of the global trend towards the seamless integration of the physical world and digital worlds, via organic expansion and strategic acquisitions.

“The Bidvest Media division is a rapidly expanding entity within the Bidvest Group, and we’re targeting further growth in the coming months and years. The acquisition of the majority stake in Retroviral is a strategic investment as Retroviral has the capabilities to offer digital marketing services to the entire Bidvest Group,” says Neil Jankelowitz, CEO, Bidvest Media.

“Bidvest is an entrepreneur-centric organisation, and we strive to invest in diverse companies that offer unique value propositions,” he says. “Retroviral will continue to provide its creative digital marketing services to brands across the local market, as well as to other brands within the international Bidvest group of companies.”

 

Insurers need to start using predictive analytics or lose out!

By Dr Corine Van Erkom Schurink,

While predictive analytics is a hot topic, many local businesses are hesitant to embrace it. However, given the significance of providing valuable insight on the current and future performance of a company, implementation has to happen sooner rather than later.

Some decision-makers are concerned about the complexity of integrating with business functions that are seemingly quite disparate – think marketing and IT for example. However, once the value of predictive analytics is understood, as well as the associated processes and data requirements, then the choice becomes clear.

Dr Corine Van Erkom Schurink, Advanced Analytics Team Leader at PBT Group
Dr Corine Van Erkom Schurink, Advanced Analytics Team Leader at PBT Group

While it makes sense to utilise predictive analytics in sectors like financial services and insurance, it really is something that can benefit any organisation in this age of connectedness and Big Data.

While predictive analytics requires deep data, insurers today, who often work with silos of information, need to recognise the fact that a good analytics dataset can typically consist of a mix of integrated data (and not separate information) – being customer data, historical policies or product data, and intermediary/agent performance records. Through recognising this, they will be able to reap the benefits predictive analytics can bring to an insurance business.

For insurers, predictive analytics can aid in ‘flagging’ customers who are most likely to commit fraud at an early stage of their life cycle, for example. It can also help predict the performance of a company representative or selling agent and their likelihood to ‘drop out’. Just think about the cost-savings that could be achieved.

Similarly, in the case of predictive fraud, actuaries and underwriters can now quickly reduce the risk exposure of the company by adjusting the rules supporting decisions and the algorithms that determine new policy premiums or claim settlements – which will reduce expenses even further at individual customer levels.

So why are South African companies so slow in embracing this technology?

For one, local universities have been slow to adopt a curriculum that places data scientists in the market. Another reason is that companies fail to understand what is needed to effectively implement predictive analytics. Far too often it becomes one of the ‘functions’ of the IT department, which has no real sense of the business directives of the company and of the strategic business implementation of the advanced analytics outputs. There has to be inter-functional consultation, shared resources, and shared budgets.

pbtana700x350Cynics might argue that if all insurers implement predictive analytics there will be no real differentiation. However, the ones that are able to go back to their ‘roots’ and use traditional marketing tools such as pricing, quality of service, innovative products, and effective service, will be the companies that are able to supercharge their offerings. The level of effectiveness in how predictive analytics is leveraged and actioned across the organisation will also contribute to the gain of competitive advantage.

Insurers adopting predictive analytics will not only reduce their risks and related costs, creating larger profits for reinvestment, but also free a large amount of resources that can be redirected to new projects. Those who adopt predictive analytics will become slicker and less ‘cash strapped’ than the insurance companies who will have missed the boat.

So, for those who are still undecided about the merits of embracing predictive analytics, think about the lost revenue opportunities and whether that can be written off in such a competitive economy.

MTN SA CEO Ahmad Farroukh resigns

By Staff Writer

MTN Group today announced the resignation of Ahmad Farroukh, CEO of MTN South Africa, which is effective 31 July 2015.

“This was a difficult decision to take for Ahmad, but unavoidable due to personal and family reasons,” says MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa.

Mr. Farroukh joined MTN in 2006, with the acquisition of Investcom. He has fulfilled several roles during his tenure with the Group. Farroukh is a former CEO of MTN Nigeria, and served in a similar role at MTN Ghana. Before assuming the role of Group Chief Operating Executive, he was Vice-President of the West and Central Africa (WECA) region.

A successor to Farroukh will be announced as soon as the new appointment is finalised.

“On behalf of the MTN leadership, we thank Ahmad for his contribution and wish him success with his future endeavours,” concludes Dabengwa.

 

AG Mobile introduces the Ghost device

By Staff Writer

Local mobile technology brand AG Mobile has launched the Ghost – the first Android smart phone with a lifetime warranty.

The company which was the first in the country to launch its own brand of phone in 2007 – and has launched over 50 other devices since – guarantees it will replace any faulty device for the lifetime of the phone, and three years after the phone has been discontinued.

The warranty includes the replacement of two cracked screens – at no charge – as well as a 24-hour replacement with a new phone areas across the country, Monday to Friday.

AG Mobile CEO Anthony Goodman says that its new flagship device aligns with the brand’s goals of producing quality, affordable devices and offering an excellent user experience.

“We understand the frustration associated with a malfunctioning device, as well as the negative impact it has on productivity, communication and the pocket. So we came up with a solution to ensure our customers have access to telecommunications via a quality product and extended power supply, and if there’s any issue, that there’s minimal downtime.”

With its success based on its innovation and reliability – AG Mobile boasts a less than two percent return rate on previous devices – Goodman is confident about the Ghost’s quality and the fact that it meets the needs of the market.

He says, “AG Mobile devices are also associated with added value benefits and free high-end accessories. Every Ghost customer will receive items valued at R1 500 – limited edition in-ear-pieces, a car charger, a 7 500mAh power bank that can

The Ghost accessories
The Ghost accessories

last for up to three days and a protective cover – for free with the device.”

“Furthermore, as part of our commitment to our customers’ experience and the Ghost’s lifetime warranty, we’ve established a seven-day-a-week dedicated Ghost call centre. In the rare instance that a customer will need to make the call to 010 1400 590 they’ll be advised on how to transfer their data, after which a courier will be dispatched to collect the device and replace it with a new one.”

The Ghost’s operating system, Android 4.4.2 KitKat, enables fast multi-tasking with memory optimisation, touchscreen accuracy and response enhancements. Features include:

  • 5.5″ HD Gorilla Glass touchscreen
  • 13MP with auto-focus and flash (IMX 214)
  • 5MP front camera
  • 1.3GHz Quad core processor
  • 16GB ROM
  • 2GB RAM
  • External memory (expandable to 128GB)
  • Dual SIM
  • Multimedia player
  • GPS
  • Gravity sensor
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2 700mAh Lion battery

Available in a stylish rose-gold casing, the Ghost is currently available exclusively through Cell C retail outlets and call centres on contract. The device is also pre-loaded with several social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, WeChat and YouTube.

Email TechFinancials.co.za at: editor@techfinancials.co.za

How to help victims of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying, bullying that takes place using digital technology, has become a serious issue. The consequences can be serious: children become withdrawn and secretive, their schoolwork suffers and they may become aggressive, depressed or even prone to self-harm. By Staff Writer

But even if your children face something like this, there is still a lot that parents can do by offering support at the right times and initiating a discussion about the problem. We want more parents to be aware of what cyberbullying is, how to recognise its first signs and how to tackle the issue.

Although the Internet is a virtual network, not all of its threats can be handled using computer technology alone. Some things cannot simply be stopped or prohibited, and cyberbullying is one of those things.

But just because we can’t always shield children from this threat does not mean we cannot help them.

Kaspersky Lab has worked together with child psychologists from across the globe to put together recommendations about how to support a victim of online bullying.

Lisa Wright, co-founder of anti-cyberbullying educational initiative Webiket.com, comments on how to deal with cyberbullying: “Remember that establishing trust and engaging in a heart-to-heart conversation early on is the first step towards dealing with a cyberbullying situation. An ongoing approach of assessing the situation and devising strategies to deal with both the cyberbullying problem and your child’s emotional state, must follow.”

 The recommendations include:

  1. Be there right by their side, with no preconceptions, no judgements, just loving acceptance. At this stage, they need to hear that no matter what happens or what they have done, you will be there to support them.
  2. Do not play down the incident. At this moment, it is the most important thing in your child’s life. In their emotionally vulnerable state they will not be capable of rational thought, so let them know that you understand the seriousness of the situation and that their pain is justified.
  3. It is not yet time for rational discussion. Do not suggest that the child may have provoked the situation, even if it is true. It may create a barrier and lead your child to believe that you don’t understand.
  4. Genuine empathy is needed. It is important that your child understands that you feel what they feel. Explain that you have faced similar challenges – maybe not on the Internet, but face-to-face – and that it was hard. Don’t suggest that you suffered more or that you found the strength to cope on your own. Say that what you really wanted at that moment was to have someone to listen, to understand, to be with you.
  5. Only when you have gained your child’s confidence – and this can take time and should not be rushed – can you start to talk about the incident. Do not second-guess what your child is going to say.  Let them take the lead and tell you about it in their own words. It is important that they offload this burden themselves.

Summarising the guidelines, Caron Mullen, MSc, Cyber Psychologist stated:

“Cyberbullying is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. A strategy to support the child’s emotional state is very important. In the short-term, there are practical tips to help a child through the worst moments in a positive way without resorting to actions that may exacerbate the problem. The long-term objective is to help build the child’s resilience, enabling them to cope with problematic social experiences without psychological harm. But the first and most important step is for the parent to gain the child’s trust so the burden can be shared, and together, they can work on developing a plan of action to deal with the situation.”

While discussing the problem, Alexander Erofeev, Chief Marketing Officer at Kaspersky Lab said, “Words – sincere words of love and support – can help. This is the main point that we want to make in our fight against cyberbullying. And this is not just our opinion: it is shared by many psychologists worldwide who are involved in our campaign. Cyberbullying exists wherever there is Internet access – and this means no less than the entire globe. So, we want parents across the world to know how to properly handle this problem.”

As part of the campaign against cyberbullying, Kaspersky Lab has launched a new interactive portal Words Can Save that contains information about the issue and guides parents through indirect signs of cyberbullying in their children. The wordscansave.me helps parents understand how important it is to be close to children and support them with the right words.

IBM looks to help other multinationals in BEE compliance

By Ujuh

ICT giant, IBM, seems to be positioning itself to leverage its first mover advantage in rolling out the equity equivalence requirement in South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programme.

IBM executives expressed an ambition to help other multinationals to meet the special BEE dispensation, equity equivalence.

The equity equivalence principle is a special BEE dispensation designed for multinationals which have a global policy that precludes them from selling equity for BEE purposes. Such firms are allowed to come up with alternative socio-economic development investments that will add up to an equivalent of 25% equity.

IBM’s ambition to help other multinationals comply with the equity equivalence requirement was expressed during a workshop (BEE and Multinationals) organised by IBM and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Speaking at the BEE workshop last week, IBM SA director Gavin Pieterse said the equity equivalence space represent an enormous development opportunity for all concerned including the implementing firms.

He said the equity equivalence path could unlock about R48bn for the South African economy if concerned multinationals hopped onto the wave.

IBM has become one of the pioneers with a R700m equity equivalence programme approved by the DTI. The IBM programme is focused on three areas, academic financial support, enterprise development and a research programme. All have emphasis towards IBM market focus.

The DTI has reported that the equity equivalence chapter of BEE has so far realised R1bn in investment by seven companies. These companies include well known multinationals like, Microsoft, Dell and HP. The latter number suggests that a large bulk of multinationals have not yet embraced the equity equivalence alternative.

Pieterse explained that the equity equivalence path was not easy and required serious commitment and resources to pull through. He went on to suggest that multinational corporations which are thinking of equity equivalence need not reinvent the wheel and can use already established infrastructure.

If the IBM proceeds into establishing an outward focused equity equivalence service platform, it will be furthering a known trend in the BEE space. There is a couple of cases where firms who from internal BEE initiatives have established best practice and proceeded into outward focused service provision. These will include the Cargo Carriers owners-driver empowerment model and Growthpoint Properties’ small business incubation programme called Property Point.

IBM launches a Portal for Aspirant Entrepreneurs

By Ujuh

The South African office of ICT giant, IBM, has established an online ideas incubation platform that will collect, harness and harvest innovative ideas from young South Africans as part of a broad Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) initiative. The initiative is tagged as a Portal for Aspirant Entrepreneurs.

Unveiling the online platform last week, IBMSA COO Ziaad Suleman spoke of a far reaching platform than what is common. The group is looking beyond the start-up stage and aims to tap into ideas that exist outside formal arrangements.

He said innovative ideas that can develop into the next big thing do not necessarily reside inside formal organisations.

He said many young people with ideas do not own businesses nor do they belong to any formal organisation. IBM is looking to capture those ideas in its portal for aspirant entrepreneurs.

Ideas which prove to be good enough will be put through a 12 months incubation process to develop them into proof of concept stage. They will be made ready for perusal by potential financiers.

This initiative is part of a broader BEE programme run by IBM. As part of a R700m equity equivalence programme IBM has established a broad movement with three legs, academic financial support, research and enterprise developments.

Viewed as a whole; the programme wants to establish a world class ecosystem for innovation around BEE.

Jasco revives talks to sell its stake in M-Tec

By Gugu Lourie

Jasco, a JSE-listed electronics group, announced on Thursday that it has revived talks to sell its shareholding in Malesela Taihan Electric Cable (M-Tec). The process to sell the stake in underperforming M-Tec hit a snag in December 2014 due to an unexpected executive management changes at Taihan.

Korean Taihan is another shareholder in M-Tec. At the time Jasco was in talks with Taihan to offload the shareholding to them.

On Thursday Jasco said “Shareholders are hereby advised that the company is currently in the advanced stages of negotiations with a related party regarding the disinvestment by Jasco of its interest in Malesela Taihan Electric Cable. If these negotiations are successfully concluded, it may have a material effect on the price of the Company’s securities”.

 

Taihan is a shareholder in M-TEC, a manufacturer of non-ferrous products in South Africa such as fiber optic, copper, power cables, aluminium and general purpose wire.

In 2013, Jasco said the disposal of M-TEC’s shareholding wass par of its three-year repositioning programme.

Jasco was restructured into the three verticals of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Solutions, Industry Solutions and Energy Solutions in 2011.

ICT Solutions contains the telecommunications and information technology businesses of Jasco, Spescom, ARC Telecoms, as well as the telecommunications arm of associate, M-TEC. Industry Solutions contains the Security business and FerroTech, with Energy Solutions containing Electrical Manufacturers and Lighting Structures, as well as the energy arm of M-TEC.

“In terms of our investment in M-TEC, we indicated to the market that we will take decisive action. We strongly believe that a non-controlling stake in any business is not ideal,” Jasco’s CEO Pete da Silva, stated in the group’s annual report in 2012.

 

 

Gold embellished Apple smart watch retailing for half a million

By Staff Writer

The luxury 18K solid gold Apple watch diamond ecstasy exotic comes in a solid precious metal and diamond encrusted face, buckle, crown and button with a range of exotic animal skin straps.

The new Apple Watch in either 18K solid gold, rose gold or platinum watch face and bracelet and encrusted with diamonds and comes with a range of luxurious exotic animal skin straps retails at $45,064.44 (R555, 904.88).

luxury 18K solid gold Apple watch diamond ecstasy exoti
luxury 18K solid gold Apple watch diamond ecstasy exoti

Goldgenie says The Apple Watch is unlike no other.

It can it tell the time and a lot more.

By syncing with your calendar, your notes, and your schedule, it understands your personal use of time and allows for seamless management of your life.

Goldgenie has previously made bespoke phones for Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Kate Moss.

The Apple Watch also includes health benefits. With its Activity App, you can measure your movements, your exercise and even the way you stand and set goals to reach fitness targets and maintain a perfect posture throughout the day.

Contents

  • Apple Watch
  • 18K solid gold, rose gold or platinum with Diamonds
  • Sapphire Crystal Retina Display
  • Ceramic Back

    Luxury 24K Gold Apple Watch Elite
    Luxury 24K Gold Apple Watch Elite
  • Retina display with Force Touch
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Water resistant

Luxury 24K Gold Apple Watch Elite

Plated stainless steel face and buckle with a range of exotic animal skin straps

The NEW Apple Watch embellished in 24k Gold on the watch face and buckle and a range of luxurious exotic animal skin straps.

Goldgenie sells this watch for $2,368.44 (R29,222.04).

The Apple Watch is unlike no other.

It can it tell the time and a lot more. By syncing with your calendar, your notes, and your schedule, it understands your personal use of time and allows for seamless management of your life.

The Apple Watch also includes health benefits. With its Activity App, you can measure your movements, your exercise and even the way you stand and set goals to reach fitness targets and maintain a perfect posture throughout the day.applewatchplatinum700x350

Contents

  • Apple Watch
  • 316L Stainless Steel plated in 24K gold
  • Sapphire Crystal Retina Display
  • Ceramic Back
  • Retina display with Force Touch
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Water resistant