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Lessons from Outsurance and the Katlego Maboe debacle - Bizcommunity.com
Social media; a frenemy to your personal and corporate brand...
Katlego is a celebrated South African TV presenter, singer-songwriter and accountant, who has been awarded for his talent as the Best TV Presenter by the South African Film and Television Awards in 2015 and 2016. He is also one of the friendly personalities that South Africans look forward to waking up to every morning on the Expresso Talk Show, which has been fighting on SABC 3 since 2010. On 23 October 2020, South Africans woke up to an unfortunate viral video of Katlego and his partner tussling with matters relating to infidelity and disease that occurred as a result of his infidelity. Other allegations surfaced from Katlego’s partner’s family that compromised the personality’s personal reputation and impacted the brands that he is associated with, especially Outsurance, which has been reported to have pulled the adverts that featured the personality. It’s all about trust Over the years we have seen brands abandon partnerships with influencers, due to negative circumstances surrounding the influencer’s personal life. This is because the number one reason brands invest in influencer marketing, is to build trust, when that trust is broken brands have no choice but to protect their reputation, assess the damage that the risk has caused and go back to the drawing board to strategise around how to restore the damaged and lost trust.Your private life on social media impacts your professional REAL life Everyone’s social media activity, that which they control and that which they do not control, i.e. generated by other users, has brought about a change in how brands and companies partner with influencers and even how they acquire or fire their employees, service providers and suppliers. An example of how an individual’s personal behaviour on social media can impact their career is evidenced by Miss South Africa hopeful, Bianca Schoombee, who withdrew from participating in Miss SA 2020 due to her tweets from 2014. How brands can mitigate risk Considerations for brands and their influencer marketing strategies This begs the question, what risks are brands exposing themselves to, by investing in influencer strategies? Consideration #1: Influencers are people and people make mistakesBrands should take a page from good stock market investors and spread the risk. They should not have all their eggs in one basket or allow a campaign for an entire product portfolio to hinge on one influencer. Before an influencer campaign can go live to the market, the brand should have a full understanding of the risk, is it conservative, moderate or high risk? Within each of these scenarios, what is the anticipated return on investment?Consideration #2: Conduct a strategic scenario plan for your influencer campaignsStrategic scenario planning is required, brands should ask themselves what is the number of plausible futures and analyse how the brand would perform under each of them, good and bad. Consideration #3: How to mitigate riskThe brand should always be the hero, the influencer’s brand should contribute to the brand’s equity and not erode it, especially when unforeseen circumstances strike. When brands invest in strategic scenario planning, late-night, last-minute meetings when crisis strikes will be minimised because they would have considered their risk before the campaign goes live and planned for the worst. Just like the concept of investing in insurance.
Study: Dried blood spot sampling provides greater access to antibody testing - Bizcommunity.com
Dried blood spot samples (DBS) is an accurate alternative to venous blood in detecting SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests, a new study by immunology experts at the University of Birmingham has found.
Currently antibody testing for Covid-19 uses serum or plasma, which requires a full intravenous blood sample, collected by a trained phlebotomist. For population-wider high volume testing, the use of such sampling is limited by logistic challenges, resources, and costs, as well as the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure from direct patient contact. In contrast, DBS sampling is simple, inexpensive and can be self-collected by the patient at home, using a simple finger prick. The sample can then be collected on a forensic grade card before being posted back to labs for processing. This offers exciting possibilities to widen access to antibody testing particularly in more resource limited countries.Researchers analysed serum and DBS samples from volunteers at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation NHS Trust, some of whom had previously tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by molecular tests, while the status of other volunteers was either negative or unknown. The anonymised matched serum and DBS samples were then processed using a highly sensitive Elisa test, developed by the University’s Clinical Immunology Service in partnership with The Binding Site, which specifically detects antibodies (IgG, IgA and IgM) to the SARS-CoV-2 trimeric spike protein. Results showed a significant correlation between matched DBS and serum samples and minimal differences in results observed by sample type, with negligible discordance. Relative to serum samples, DBS samples achieved 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity for detecting anti-SARS-CoV-2 S glycoprotein antibodies. 100% of the PCR-positive samples were also antibody-positive in DBS.“Our results have demonstrated that dry blood spot sampling not only offers a viable alternative for antibodies testing, but one that overcomes the limitations that current methods can present by eliminating the need for skilled phlebotomists.“DBS offers the opportunity for wider population-level testing and improved surveillance in vulnerable groups such as patients with chronic conditions, the immunocompromised and the elderly by removing the need to come into contact with a healthcare professional during sample collection," Senior author, Dr Matthew O’Shea from the university’s Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy says. “As well as offering the opportunity for improved population-wide antibody testing in the UK, the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the dry blood spot method could improve the effectiveness of sampling in low and middle-income countries, among groups where venepuncture is culturally unacceptable or in geographically dispersed populations," co-author Professor Adam Cunningham says.
South Africa's Covid-19 tracing app - would you download it? - Bizcommunity.com
Jarred Mailer-Lyons, head of digital at The MediaShop shares his views on SA's new Covid-19 tracing app...
Despite the influx of Covid-19 related apps recently, there seems to be a general census globally that there is a lack of transparency with certain apps when it comes to the collection of personal data. Of course, multibillion-dollar organisations like Google and Apple have very strict guidelines about compliancy regarding the protection of personal information and I am quite sure that if you do a Google search on data protection laws that govern any of these multinational tech giants you’ll be able to find a long list of reading material which may provide some reassurance to some. The Health Department has launched a new mobile application - Covid Alert SA - to strengthen South Africa's digital contact tracing efforts... 2 Sep 2020 Data protection But what’s interesting and I speak from personal experience, is that these tech giants have created a sense of trust with their consumers when it comes to their data protection policies – of course, there are those instances when it comes to a breach in their data protection and privacy which make some a little more weary than others but the question is, has it ever prompted you to take any action by closing your account or unlinking a profile?Probably not - and the fact is that sometimes as consumers and even more so South Africans we’re a little more trusting than others and that’s because we have some sort of expectation that reputable organisations like these tech giants, banking institutions and even online stores will respect our right to privacy and they very much do, for the most part, that is of course under their control. We do however live in a world where, when it comes to technology there is, unfortunately, no guarantee that any personal information that is stored on some cloud is actually 100% safeguarded, and in South Africa, it really is no different. Just a few days back, news broke that Experian, a consumer, business and credit information service agency suffered the largest and most significant data breach South Africa had ever experienced - exposing personal information of approximately 24 million South Africans and nearly 800,000 business entities to a suspected fraudster. Bluetooth-based system So what does this all mean for the average citizen who is potentially going to be required by law later down the line to download the South African Covid-19 tracing app and use their Bluetooth to track who they have been in contact with… well thankfully the technology is backed by the cutting edge exposure notification system that has been created by Apple and Google. The technology uses Bluetooth to notify users if they have been in contact with someone who may have tested positive for Covid-19. When it comes to tech, there are always going to be advantages and disadvantages with varying technologies but the advantage of a Bluetooth-based system, in terms of privacy, is that it doesn’t depend on collecting location data, and so the individual identities of people are not supposedly tied to contact events. Rather the tracing apps that come into contact with each other through this technology would upload random tracing numbers which could be matched back at a later stage once someone tests positive for Covid-19. Not a surprising approach by the SA Government after the passing of the PoPI Act in July 2020. Currently, the app uses Bluetooth and geolocation to collect a user’s personal information and that is then stored within their mobile devices in a model that is known as self-sovereignty identity. The technology is essentially used to manage digital identities which means that the individual users have control over the manner and method in which their personal information is kept and used because the personal data is stored on their mobile device, without the need to rely on a central repository – putting the user in control of their data. Similarly, in the case of the Covid-19 tracing app, the personal information is saved on the user’s personal device and not on a centralised private or government-owned database – meaning that the personal information never physically leaves the device and, in a way, protecting the privacy of individuals in line with the PoPI Act. Spread of the virus captured through data What’s particularly interesting is that the Covid-19 app is a voluntary based one and only for download on smartphones. You’re probably thinking well not everyone has access to a smartphone in SA but we’ve definitely come a long way over the past couple of years with the past two years being at an all-time high for smartphone penetration. We saw an increase of almost 10% between 2018 and 2019 reaching 91.2% of the SA population, according to the Icasa report 2020. Sure, it’s not the entire population that has access to smartphones but it’s a very significant portion which makes sense as to why this route was chosen and we know how often people are browsing on their mobile devices. If we just take a look at the latest Global Web Index report in 2020, the average time spent on a mobile device in SA is sitting an all-time high of 4:06 on average. Of course, data has always been a contentious issue due to the rising costs which have somewhat excluded a large portion of the population from having access but the fact that telco networks have zero-rated the download and usage of the app also make it more widely available to the SA population. We know that the roll-out of a Covid-19 app is not the end solution, it’s not the cure or even the vaccination that will keep this pandemic at bay but for me, it’s an opportunity to understand how this pandemic can affect you and those you come into contact with. For many, it’s always difficult putting into perspective the effect it will have on you, your family, friends, community and country until it hits home. So regardless of whether the app ends up containing the spread of the virus, for me, it’s about actually seeing the spread of the virus captured through data as opposed to coming into contact with someone who is infected and being completely blind to it. The app will give a realistic view of the spread in real-time.
Cash Crusaders launches click and collect service - Bizcommunity.com
Cash Crusaders has introduced an online click and collect service, marking the first step in the roll-out of its e-commerce platform in South Africa...
The new online shopping portal caters for both private label new goods and second-hand goods, and works off a live real-time system. As soon as a second-hand item is sold either in-store or online, that item is no longer available for sale, therefore eliminating disappointment from customers who see an item online and want to purchase.“Although we’ve been planning the launch of e-commerce for our business for a while, Covid-19 rapidly increased the rate in which we rolled the service out,” says Sean Stegmann, CEO of Cash Crusaders Franchising. “As discussed in our recent 702 Franchising for Future Success webinar, with shopper behaviours changing somewhat, the timing was perfect for us to aggressively embrace our digitisation strategy. We started with our WhatsApp Video service back in June and have gone live with our Click & Collect service.” Despite the devastating economic impacts of Covid-19, the franchising sector could remain a viable business investment for aspiring entrepreneurs... ByLauren Hartzenberg 2 Sep 2020 Stegmann adds that the company has been cognisant of how an online shopping channel could present some complexities considering the nature of the Cash Crusaders business, and have therefore identified online personal shoppers in all its stores to ensure an efficient online shopping experience.Customers who shop online will be prompted at checkout to select the store from which they’d prefer to collect their goods, and will have immediate access to that store’s WhatsApp number to be able to converse with the online personal shopper located in that store. You can also choose to browse items by store, allowing you to view your local store’s stock remotely. “A real highlight of our e-commerce evolution is that customers are also now able to renew their secure loans online too. We have integrated our entire bespoke point of sale system to be able to fulfil our customer’s e-commerce requirements at the click of a button,” concludes Stegmann.
NEWSWATCH: Google, Gmail, Google Drive causing havoc - Bizcommunity.com
Having trouble accessing your Gmail, Google Drive, or Google Meet? You're not alone...
Thousands of people across the world are reporting that they are unable to perform several functions via Google Search, Gmail, and even Google Drive.According to reports, Gmail issues include the inability to log in, send attachments, or receive messages. As for Google Search, many users are unable to perform searches via the web browser and are also unable to log in. What's up with the GSuite? — Mike Sharman (@mikesharman) August 20, 2020 Google has acknowledged the existence of the outage, saying it is investigating the issue.
- TechCrunch reports Gmail, Google Drive hit by outage
- According to www.engadget.com, Google’s status page states that they are continuing to investigate the issue. It has also been updated to indicate reports of problems with Google Meet, Google Voice and Google Docs, while anecdotal reports show people are having issues uploading to YouTube as well.
- Twitter has been flooded with queries as users are unable to work on Gmail. According to zeenews.india.com, this is the second time in two months that Gmail has suffered such a massive outage.
Covid-19 vaccine: the challenges of running a trial in the middle of a pandemic - Bizcommunity.com
South Africa recently announced the start of the country's first Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial. The vaccine is also being tested in the UK and Brazil...
|A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker during the countrys first human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against Covid-19 in Soweto, South Africa. Felix Dlangamandla/Beeld/Gallo Images via Getty Images|
Worrying trend as check ups drop off during pandemic - Bizcommunity.com
The poll conducted among 40 general practitioners comparing the number of consultations in May to previous years shows a worrying trend that could be putting thousands of lives at risk...
While many with minor ailments may be staying away as a result of the lockdown, the poll shows that even those with life-threatening illnesses are forgoing regular check-ups. Apart from a general waning in patient consultations, cardiology consultations too have plummeted by 90%, said Dr Anna-Marie Grebe, medical consultant to Pharma Dynamics, which conducted the survey.She said the Covid-19 pandemic must not be taken lightly, but the 1,13-billion people with hypertension worldwide and the 10-million people who die every year from hypertension-related conditions such as stroke, heart failure and renal failure should not be overlooked. “Covid-19 cases and deaths are still growing, and we certainly encourage patients to follow the proper safety protocol related to the pandemic, but patients must not neglect monitoring and treatment of hypertension and its complications. “If we assume that the prevalence for heart attacks and strokes have remained unchanged, the rapid decline in consultations indicate that many may simply be too scared to go for their regular check-ups out of fear of contracting Covid-19 at a hospital or clinic.” Some GPs have reported patients suffering fatal heart attacks as a result of opting to remain at home rather than to seek medical attention early on. Doctors fear that should the troubling trend go unchecked, many more could suffer the same fate. Chronic conditions Grebe urged patients with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes to seek immediate care if they experience any symptoms, even if they believe these may be unrelated to their underlying condition.“The trouble with patients who have high blood pressure, is that they often have no symptoms, which is why it is referred to as the ‘silent killer’. Therefore, it is essential that patients go to see their doctor for regular blood pressure and physical check-ups. Those who have access to digital technology, such as ABPM monitors or wearable patches that can accurately monitor blood pressure at home, should share this info with doctors on a regular basis to help physicians control their condition and to take early action, when necessary.” Diabetes too is a serious and complex condition and an emergency can arise for a variety of reasons. Global trend Reports from around the globe suggest that Covid-19 has instilled a similar fear of face-to-face medical care. Doctors from Hong Kong reported an increase in patients coming to the hospital late after suffering a heart attack; researchers in Spain noted a 40% reduction in emergency procedures for heart attacks during the pandemic compared to a few weeks earlier. In an informal Twitter poll among an online community of cardiologists in New York, almost half of the respondents reported that they too have seen a 40 to 60% drop in admissions for heart attacks.“We understand that people fear getting infected with Covid-19, but if they’re living with a serious health condition, the best way to manage it is with the help of their healthcare practitioner. Based on poll, 92% of doctors still prefer face-to-face consultations, but 74% said they are open to virtual consultations to help patients manage their health. “Healthcare staff across the country have implemented stringent infection control measures at doctors’ rooms and clinics to protect patients. Hospitals have also separated Covid-19 patients from others seeking care. Medical personnel have had to change the rhythm of their daily lives – some are sleeping away from their families and performing meticulous cleansing rituals – making the health and safety of patients their number one priority. “Patients can rest assured that hospitals and clinics are equipped not only to care for those with Covid-19, but also those who have other life-threatening illnesses,” said Grebe.
Employees diagnosed with Covid-19 to return to work under strict conditions - Bizcommunity.com
The Department of Employment and Labour has refuted media claims that Covid-19 patients no longer need to test negative to resume work...
|Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels|
Can SA handle the increased internet traffic? - Bizcommunity.com
Internet activity has spiked across the country during the lockdown and we should be careful in the type of content we consume...
Internet connections are really important to endure lockdown since they help us to shorten distances and allow us to work and study from home. But, if we are all connected at the same time, will the internet collapse?The increase in data traffic in South Africa is estimated to be 15% and it is expected to continue on the increase, according to Seacom. Although this is a significant increase, the network was prepared to handle it, said experts. The decision to work and study remotely made by many companies and schools means a great increase in online video streaming and other collaboration services. The rise in the use of streaming video platforms, such as Netflix, was 20% in South Africa since the start of lockdown. In China, the country where coronavirus spread began, due to the closure of schools and some companies buildings, the use of platforms and apps that are most used both for working and taking classes remotely increased significantly. According to SensorTower, the teleworking apps that registered the highest download number are Alibaba, DingTalk and Tencent Meeting. In terms of broadband speed, South Africa is among the top 100 countries, ranking 76, according to Internet World Stats, the percentage of internet usage in South Africa is 55%. So, are our networks prepared to handle it if we are all connected at the same time? The answer is yes. According to Christian Rennella, CEO of QuotesAdvisor.com, “every internet infrastructure is capable of supporting a slight increase in traffic. But some backend functions, online tools or regular websites, may experience problems if they haven´t anticipated the increase in traffic at the right time.” Something that happened in 2019 to the online platform HBO, when the last season of Game of Thrones was released, was that many fans could not watch the series at the same time of the premiere since there were so many users connected to the platform that the website collapsed and did not allow the series to be streamed. Another recent and similar event was the launch of the new version of the video game Call of Duty: Warzone, a series of first-person shooting video games. The website collapsed due to the high demand for the game, causing download delays. In South Africa, mobile internet speed was affected by demand and traffic since the beginning of lockdown. According to the website Speedtest, the highest speed peak so far in 2020 was on 2 March 2020, followed by a downward trajectory in the following weeks. Regarding the average download speed for broadband, it seemed to have reached an upward trend in January and February, but it was followed by a decrease during the following weeks up to the present. The South African Government sent directives to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) to issue a new spectrum to telecommunication operators in order to temporarily expand the network for the sake of alleviating traffic and avoid network congestion during the lockdown period. We know, then, that internet is not going to collapse. However, the internet is not infinite, thus we must use it responsibly. We are warned not only that some platforms may have problems if they do not have the necessary resources required for an increase in user traffic but also that many people connected to the same home network can slow down traffic and ruin our online tasks. To avoid this type of inconveniences, the Ofcom recommends making responsible use of the internet during the lockdown. It proposes the following recommendations:
- Use landline or Wi-Fi calls if possible
- Disconnect devices from the Wi-Fi network that are not being used
- For a better and faster connection, use an ethernet cable instead of wireless connection if possible
- Test your internet speed from your computer. It is advisable to do it at different times during the day so you can know when the connection is better
- Regarding multimedia content, if it is HD or 4K, it is important to lower the quality and to do it in the early morning when traffic decreases.