technology Tag

The year 2019 will be  a busy and exciting year, as key new technologies begin finding their way into real, useful applications. The smartphone will still be our central tech device by the end of next year, but as augmented reality and wearables progress, we’ll sense more and more that a new paradigm in personal computing is around the corner. That will be helped along by enabling technologies such as 5G networks, which will be stretching far and wide by the end of 2020. And, artificial intelligence will become infused in all kinds of products, allowing gadgets and services to subtly begin to anticipate our wants. The smartphone will still be our central tech device by the end of next year, but as augmented reality and wearables progress, we’ll sense more and more that a new paradigm in personal computing is around the corner. Technologies like self-driving vehicles and robot assistants are under development. Soon, these and the other exciting technologies described below will go mainstream, changing the world in the process: 1) Voice Assistants: Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistants will grow increasingly helpful. Voice assistants are making a significant impact in markets across the globe, and some observers expect that in the future we will communicate with technology through voice rather than text. 2) Augmented and Virtual reality: Advances in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), all of which can be summarized in R+, will continue to be at the forefront of attention during 2019 with some fascinating new practical applications for industries 3) Blockchain Technology:  In 2019, to the delight of organizations, Blockchain is going to bring the first enterprise...

As customers’ financial behaviors evolve to include digital banking and financial technologies—like peer-to-peer payment, virtual currency, mobile payments and mobile wallets—tokenization is one of the most important new technologies merchants can leverage to stand in the way of cybercriminal access to customer payment information. What is Tokenization? It is recommended that consumers use a paper shredder to destroy bank account statements, checkbook registers, tax forms, payment receipts and similar documents that include sensitive data because any account number reflected on the document that wasn’t destroyed beyond recognition could be used fraudulently. Similarly, when a shopper buys something online, they are required to divulge confidential and sensitive information, such as their address and ATM card info. Giving out this information online is risky since it may be stolen and used fraudulently. Much like a paper shredder renders account information meaningless so that it’s made nearly impossible to re-assemble, repurpose or identify, the same theory applies to tokenization—through technology. Basically, tokenization is the process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that capture all the vital information about the data without compromising its security. The algorithmically generated number used to replace the sensitive data is called a token. How It Works Typical consumer credit/debit (ATM) cards come with names, 16-digit personal account numbers (PANs), expiration dates and security codes — any of which can be "tokenized." When a merchant swipes a customer's credit card, the PAN is automatically replaced with a randomly generated alphanumeric ID (“token”). The original PAN never enters the merchant's payment system; only the token ID does. The merchant can use this special token ID to keep records of the customer....

By 2030 one in five people will be African. Africa will account for more than half (54%) of the 2.4 billion global population growth in coming decades. The United Nations predicts that between 2015 and 2050, Africa will add 1.3 billion people, more than doubling its current population of 1.2 billion. Combine the continent’s soaring population with technology, improvements in infrastructure, health and education, and Africa could be the next century’s economic growth powerhouse. Africa has had a sporadic growth in Technology through the development from spears and arrows from trees, to the discovery of machines and software to making life better. Even in this evolution of Africa in Science and Technology, research still shows that Africa portrays a gap in Technology compared to the rest of the technology inclined world, due to the myopia on the part of its Government to recognize the value and need for science and technology in its country’s development. As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, technology is playing an increasingly significant role. According to the IMF’s 2014 World Economic Outlook report, of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, six will be from Africa. Past Technological Achievements Despite suffering through the era of horrific system of slavery, countless contributions to the fields of science and technology was made by early Africans. The first evidence of tools used by African ancestors is interred in valleys across Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt that tech and innovation can play a big role in making some countries richer than others. About half the differences in GDP per person between countries are due...

Although the term “blockchain” has really grown in popular imagination in the last few years, the technology itself is just 10 years old, given that it was first conceptualized in 2008. Blockchain is the basis of the Bitcoin protocol. (see here for our post on the ABC of blockchain). Interestingly, although blockchain is one of the most discussed topics in recent times, a vast amount of people within the industries that stand to benefit most from blockchain are also completely uninformed about it. This is amazing since blockchain technology has the potential to completely revolutionize industries like healthcare and insurance. Another industry that blockchain stands to benefit enormously is finance. This incredible new technology stands to benefit the industry by saving them enormous amounts of money by streamlining their processes. Why Blockchain in Financial Services? Many of the industry’s processes are overdue for an upgrade or in some cases complete replacement to withstand new volumes, hacks and security threats. Blockchain is far more impregnable and recoverable as no centralised version of this information exists.   Transfers facilitated by central authorities such as banks have not changed in the last 150 years! An international transfer can still take as long as five days to settle, entailing risks like credit risk, exchange rate risk etc., and the industry needs to reduce heavy transaction fees and transaction times. Blockchain can make these transfers visible securely immediately, which other technology cannot.   In the future, people are going to make a lot of smaller payments. That’s going to increase economic activity. That, in principle, makes a larger pie with lower fees, higher volumes and a demand for...

Necessity is the mother of invention, and in Africa it has been the mother of innovation. While the continent is vastly different, the level of innovation has been interesting to watch, largely fuelled by the equalizing nature of technology and mobile telephony. Most discussions of the origins of Africa’s tech movement circle back to Kenya in 2007, when Kenyan telecom Safaricom launched the M-PESA mobile money product. M-PESA allows people to store money on mobile accounts and make simple transfers via SMS messaging — you don't even need a smartphone to use it. MPESA (known popularly as mobile money) is an innovative technology which allows people to send money and conduct other financial transactions using their mobile phones. M-PESA has grown from Kenya and is now being replicated in many countries such as India, Afghanistan,Egypt, Ghana, and even countries in Eastern Europe, among others. Groups that typically have limited access to formal financial services have benefited from the financial products offered through M-Pesa. Africans are more Mobile, and Mobile is the Future The proliferation of mobile phone networks has transformed communications in sub-Saharan Africa. It has also allowed Africans to skip the landline stage of development and jump right to the digital age." Essentially, Africa leaped over the PC era and landed directly in the mobile revolution. Which is why we are better at mobile money that others. The rise of M-PESA is largely due the dominance of mobile on the continent. Because of M-PESA, Kenya is the leading e-commerce capital of the world. This one app moves an entire third of the Kenyan GDP among its 15 million, mostly rural,...

Last week, we learnt about the interconnectedness of devices, humans and the cloud and how that has impacted the world today. We will go on to talk about the applications of IoT; this will give us a glimpse of how IoT will transform our lives soon. Smart Homes Smart home products promise to save time, energy and money. Wouldn’t you love to be able to switch on your air conditioner before getting home, so the house can be cool before you arrive? Or switch off your lights even after leaving the house? Or grant your friends access to your house when you are not home? IoT has made it possible for companies to build products that make life convenient and simpler. It is predicted that smart homes will become as common as mobile phones. Connected Cars A connected car is a vehicle which can optimize its own operation, maintenance as well as comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and internet connectivity. The automotive digital technology has focused on optimizing vehicles internal functions. But now, this attention is growing towards enhancing the in-car experience. Major brands like Tesla, BMW, Apple, Google are working on bringing the next revolution in automobiles. IoT in Agriculture Smart farming is often overlooked when it comes to the business cases for IoT solutions. However, there are many innovative products on the market geared toward forward-thinking farmers. Some of them use a distributed network of smart sensors to monitor various natural conditions, such as humidity, air temperature, and soil quality. Others are used to automate irrigation systems. With the continuous increase in world’s population, demand for food supply is...

The Internet has subtly broken geographical barriers. It has connected people all around the globe that has made communication more dynamic. Today we live in a world where some of our devices are connected to each other and to us, for example wearable fitness devices that connect to our scales or smartphones that connect to our lights. Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smartphone penetration is sky-rocketing. All these have led to the emergence of Internet of Things. The Internet of Things, commonly abbreviated as IoT, refers to the connection of devices (other than typical fare such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. It is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things grows in the next few years, more devices will join that list. Simply put, the concept of IoT is basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. It is estimated that 20.4B smart devices will be connected to the IoT by year 2020. By enabling devices to communicate with each other independently of...

Blockchain technology is one of the most talked about yet misunderstood topics in recent times, commonly associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is commonly used interchangeably with bitcoin, even though they refer to two very different things. Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency, more commonly known as cryptocurrency, which is decentralized and allows users to exchange money without the need for a third-party. All bitcoin transactions are logged and made available in a public ledger, helping ensure their authenticity and preventing fraud. The underlying technology that facilitates these transactions and eliminates the need for an intermediary is the blockchain. What is blockchain? Blockchain is a public electronic ledger that can be openly shared among different users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block (hence the name), and it allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. Each “block” represents a number of transactional records, and the “chain” component links them all together with a hash function. As records are created, they are confirmed by a distributed network of computers and paired up with the previous entry in the chain, thereby creating a chain of blocks, or a blockchain. Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased. The blockchain contains a true and verifiable record of each transaction ever made in the system. It is a database that is validated by a wider community, rather than...