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There’s been a public outcry over the high costs of data, with mobile networks coming under severe criticism on social media following the #DataMustFall campaign.

The movement, spearheaded by radio presenter Tbo Touch, real name Thabo Molefe, announced on Thursday that he has been invited by Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications to address them next week on broadband costs.

Part of the #DataMustFall campaign focuses on how much data costs in other countries as against data costs in South Africa.

Data prices in the country are much higher than those in other countries on the continent and in the world. While 1GB (gigabyte) of data costs R11 in India, R22 in Nigeria and R32 in Namibia, South Africans are paying a whopping R150 per GB.

Yesterday, the telecommunications and postal services chairwoman urged operators to reduce their mobile data prices.

“If they do not get back to us by November with restructured data plans, the committee will compile a report and send it to the National Assembly,” said Kubayi.

On Friday, South Africa’s three major mobile networks, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, couldn’t confirm whether they would be reducing their data prices before the November deadline.

However, Vodacom has said it is committed to price transformation. “We are working with all stakeholders to accelerate progress on top of the significant progress we have made in our pricing transformation strategy so far,” it said.

“It is important to note that, in 2015 alone, the average price our customers paid for data fell by 13.6 percent.”

According to a recent study, South Africans spend almost 25 percent of their salary on internet usage, well above the international telecommunication union’s guideline of 5 percent.

The parliamentary committee conducted a two-day hearing this week on the country’s mobile data costs.

Submissions were heard from the Department of Communications, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), civil society organisations, telecoms operators and the public on the cost to communicate using mobile data. The hearing was marked by probing questions and rebuttals from mobile networks.

During the hearing, MTN told Parliament that it had decreased voice and data tariffs by 58 percent and 73 percent respectively over the past five years, despite an increase in costs due to a struggling economy.

But Kubayi said MTN failed to answer when asked why their data prices in South Africa were so high, while their Ghana mobile data prices were very low.

“They couldn’t tell us. They said they would go and check their numbers and revert back,” said Kubayi.

Vodacom was also called for an explanation on why their data “disappears”.

Vodacom's executive head of innovation, Jannie van Zyl, told Parliament that faster networks, better phones and consumers’ own habits have all led to the perception that data is “disappearing”. “Data cannot disappear. It is consumed by your handset,” Van Zyl told the committee.

The Financial Advantages of Fitting Your Fleet with Telematics

 

 

The world of trucking fleets is changing as transport owners turn to telematics to reduce costs in an industry where overheads are rising and profit margins are being squeezed. Telematics is the technology of sending, receiving and storing information to keep track of your vehicles remotely through telecommunication devices.

The benefits are being felt in the optimisation of fleets and rebates in services such as insurance, says Toni Fritz, Executive Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance, Business at Standard Bank.

In addition, such mechanisms provide a sense of comfort to banks when advancing loans for trucks as these measures indicate good management of assets which ultimately lead to better residual values for future trade-ins or sales.

“With telematics covering virtually every aspect of a vehicle’s operations and security, trucks are becoming safer, driver behaviour is improving and accidents are being brought under control – all to the benefit of owners who are seeing advantages when dealing with insurance and financial services providers,” according to Ms Fritz.

Concurring with Ms Fritz, MD of Ctrack Fleet Management Solutions, Hein Jordt says telematics has changed dramatically since the days when control of vehicles was limited to the use of paper-based tachographs that had to be analysed by owners –a process that was not only tedious and absorbed administration time, but was also unable to immediately address concerns regarding misuse of vehicles by drivers.

“Increasingly, the insurance industry is turning to telematics to assess the use of vehicles and the behaviour of drivers through devices that can record and report on up to 32 inputs simultaneously. The advantage is that these inputs can be managed and inspected from a central point by fleet managers. In addition, instructions can be sent from a remote site to a vehicle anywhere in the country by a supervisor who can then control certain responses of the vehicle,” says Mr Jordt.

Advances in communication and information technology has seen telematics being transformed from a ‘grudge’ insurance product to a service that has become an ally for fleet operators wishing to maximise their operations and keep a tight rein on costs. In times when cost, particularly fuel costs, are rising and margins come under pressure, some fleet owners try to cut corners where vehicle maintenance is concerned.

“Operators using telematics are seeing the benefits. Their trucks are constantly monitored and assessed, so these precautions are being rewarded with reductions in their insurance costs. In addition, as these systems help schedule and monitor routes, telematics users have been able to reduce the number of vehicles in their fleets without compromising service,” Jordt adds.

Top of the range telematics systems installed in heavy commercial and mining vehicles now enable devices such as driver-behaviour indicators to show in real time how a driver is behaving in the cab of a truck. Linked to voice, this means that a driver can be cautioned immediately if he is speeding, braking too harsh, taking corners too fast or leaving the vehicle to idle for long periods.”

Linking the results delivered by these services has also enabled owners to take corrective action through the use of driver training academies. Drivers with bad habits are now often referred to academies for refresher courses where they can improve their vehicle handling skills. This ensures that drivers remain aware, the quality of driving is enhanced and road safety is improved for all road users.

Whilst the driver is being monitored, systems can also control routing and scheduling options that can integrate with warehousing facilities and weighbridges. The progress of a vehicle along a pre-ordained route, its distance from a warehouse and estimated time of arrival allow for better logistic and turn-around benefits.

Live activity-dashboards enable owners to log in at any time and obtain information on where exactly vehicles are, how many are on the road and how many are parked. The emphasis is on supplying information that allows clients to have the hindsight, insight and foresight to plan for fleet optimisation.

Typically, says Jordt, services can begin monitoring a vehicle even before it has left its allotted parking bay at a depot. Driver identification tools enable a fleet manager to see exactly which driver is at the wheel of each vehicle in the fleet. A driver unauthorised to use a vehicle will be stopped from doing so as the vehicle system will not recognise his driver ‘terminal pin.’ Seatbelt and open-door sensors make sure that basic safety functions are adhered to before a vehicle gets underway.

Other features available include:

· Route optimisation to help drivers identify and follow the quickest and most efficient route.

· Geo-zone management that provides waypoints for drivers so that that routes are adhered to. Entering a ‘no-go’ zone means that the fleet manager is immediately notified of a transgression.

· Incident alerts and alarms detect accidents or rollovers. System tampering, loss of power and vehicle movements taking place while a vehicle is turned off are all detected. Alerts can also be activated to warn a fleet owner that their vehicle is approaching a border post.

· Drivers can raise an alarm through a remote or wired panic button, or by pressing an e-panic button on a mobile phone.

· Cameras, cargo scanners, temperature probes, on-board weighing systems and fare collection systems that integrate with third party systems give ongoing information about a fleet and its cargo.

· Fuel consumption, odometer reading, throttle position, engine load, fuel levels and engine temperature can constantly be monitored to provide savings on fuel and maintenance.

· Warning a driver that a defined time on the road is about to expire and that he must pull over at a suitable spot for a mandatory rest.

· Monitoring in cab and other activities through a system of cameras.

Truck hijacking remains a problem especially on isolated roads. Devices like panic buttons can relay a vehicle’s exact position to response teams. A control room operator can then remotely slow down the vehicle, activate hooters and set lights flashing, to draw attention to the truck. These actions have proven to be massive deterrents to potential hijackers.

“Trucks today represent a massive investment with operators often spending more than R 1 000 000 on a single horse and trailer unit. It therefore makes sense to take the necessary steps to safeguard vehicles, make the driver’s task an easy one and also ensure the safety of others on our highways and byways,” Jordt concludes.

Ms Fritz adds: “Fleet managers often experience operational redundancies, a spiralling workload and high costs, but telematics can help you to increase your efficiency and bring down costs. When your fleet is fitted with telematics systems, you can save on your fleet insurance costs. Investing in telematics can also be useful in the case of an accident, as data collected during accidents can help with the process of increasing the speed and accuracy with which insurance claims are managed.”

Ends.

Mercedes-Benz Actros with Highway Pilot – world premiere on public roads

Mercedes-Benz Actros mit Highway Pilot auf der Autobahn (Highway Pilot ON)

Mercedes-Benz Actros mit Highway Pilot auf der Autobahn (Highway Pilot ON)

Stuttgart

,
Oct 02, 2015

 

  • Mercedes-Benz Actros with Highway Pilot is the first series-production truck to drive on a partially automated basis on the motorway
  • Highway Pilot: more alert and attentive than any driver
  • Shaping Future Transportation: Daimler Trucks focuses its attention on transport of the future
  • Automated driving functions promote safety and efficiency in road traffic
Stuttgart – On the A8 between Denkendorf and Stuttgart airport Daimler Trucks is today having the world’s first series-production truck to operate on an automated basis drive on the motorway. Together with the state of Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann, Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses, is undertaking the maiden journey in the Mercedes-Benz Actros with Highway Pilot system.
With this permit the truck is allowed to drive on motorways on an automated basis. The truck used for the premiere is a standard Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system for this test of autonomous driving on public roads. The truck is approved as a test vehicle in accordance with §19/6 StVZO (German road traffic type approval law). The Rhineland German Technical Inspection Authority had inspected the vehicle and issued an expert opinion. On this basis the Baden-Württemberg regional council granted an exemption in accordance with §70 StVZO.
„Today’s premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks – and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future“, said Daimler Board Member Dr Bernhard.
Sven Ennerst, Head of Development Daimler Trucks, commented: „We are delighted that Baden-Württemberg has approved these tests for us. In so doing the state is demonstrating true pioneering spirit. And we are of course also delighted that the German Technical Inspection Authority has so clearly confirmed the safety of our system.“
The multi-sensor fusion, i.e. the combination of proven new-generation assistance and safety systems and sensors, enables the truck with the Highway Pilot system to continually observe the entire area in front of the vehicle and to take control itself in certain situations. This gives Dr Wolfgang Bernhard the opportunity to take his hands off the wheel without incurring any risks.
Dr Wolfgang Bernhard drives the Mercedes-Benz Actros from the service station onto the motorway towards Karlsruhe. As soon as the truck has entered the flowing traffic in the right-hand lane, it’s „Highway Pilot On“ and the system now offers to take over vehicle operation. The driver can confirm at the press of a button. The Actros meticulously keeps to its lane and maintains the optimum distance to the vehicle in front of it. Should the distance become too small or if a vehicle cuts in front of it, the truck brakes. Both vehicle occupants are sitting comfortably in the functional and modern cab and are chatting in a relaxed fashion.
At the airport/trade fair exit the system again asks Wolfgang Bernhard to take control and the truck reverts from automated driving mode to manual control – „Highway Pilot Off“. He steers the Actros off the motorway and then drives directly back onto the A8 again, this time in the opposite direction. The scenario is exactly the same: the Actros steers and brakes independently in the flowing motorway traffic.
If it approaches an obstacle, such as roadworks here on the A8, the system asks the driver to take over the vehicle. If the roadworks are behind the truck, the Highway Pilot can once again take over control of the vehicle. The system safely assists both occupants up to the Wendlingen exit. Here Wolfgang Bernhard again takes over the driving and steers the truck off the motorway.
The machine is a safer driver than any human being
The Mercedes-Benz Actros is fitted with the 12.8 l engine, OM 471 and all the proven assistance and safety systems, such as Mercedes PowerShift 3, Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC), Active Brake Assist 3, proximity control, drowsiness detection and a Fleetboard vehicle computer. These systems are linked with the sensors of the Highway Pilot – radar and stereo camera. So all the technology of the Actros with Highway Pilot is in the vehicle, and the truck does not need the internet for its automated driving function. The system is ideal for the motorway: it maintains the correct distance to the vehicle in front and brakes in good time if another vehicle cuts out onto the road in front of it. The Highway Pilot does not replace the driver, but supports and relieves the strain on them by dealing with monotonous stretches for them and taking care of annoying stop-and-go driving in a traffic jam. In automated mode the driver has control over the truck at all times and in tricky situations can take over driving of the vehicle again. The redundancy in the sensor system and fail-safer components such as the steering and brakes ensure an extremely high safety standard. If the minimum prerequisites for the system are not present due to bad weather or missing road markings, the Highway Pilot issues acoustic and visual impulses to ask the driver to take over. The driver has sufficient time to take over the task of driving. If there is no reaction from the driver, the truck brings itself to a standstill independently and safely.
Around two thirds of all accidents in road traffic are rear-end collisions and accidents resulting from unintentionally leaving the lane. Often the causes are drowsiness, distraction and driving errors. This is where the Highway Pilot is superior to any human being. It is alert, concentrated and relaxed. Without exception, round the clock, seven days a week.
Today Daimler Trucks is already developing solutions for the transport of tomorrow
The growing transport volume has an enormous influence on changes in the world of traffic. As a pioneer in the automotive industry Daimler is taking responsibility and is constantly working on ways of meeting the complex challenges of traffic density, bottlenecks and cost pressures in the transport sector.
Long-distance transport trucks in particular are predestined for autonomous driving. It enables a considerable increase in the efficiency of the transport sector, especially through the reduction in TCO. Increasing road safety and cutting fuel consumption are hugely important aspects in particular in long-distance transport.
A long-distance transport truck drives an average of 130,000 km per annum. The autonomously driving truck supports the driver by taking care of monotonous stretches of road and tiring stop-and-go traffic in a tailback for them. Tests carried out by Daimler Research on the driver’s condition during automated driving have proven that the driver takes longer to become tired as a result of this relief. Their attention rate is around 25 percent higher than when driving in the conventional Actros if they have the opportunity to attend to other tasks.
Connectivity increasing in importance in the traffic of the future
The use of digital networks in traffic is on the threshold of a major development. Connectivity means not only the combination of all assistance, safety and telematics systems with the new sensor systems; it also encompasses intelligent networking between vehicles themselves and with the transport infrastructure. If a truck is informed at an early stage about traffic incidents occurring far in front of or behind it, appropriate action can be taken. This means that in autonomous driving mode the handling adapts to the characteristics of the route ahead. Through the more homogeneous flow of traffic, fuel consumption and emissions fall. At the same time the transport times will become more calculable and the major assemblies of the trucks concerned will also be subjected to less wear thanks to a consistent driving style. This also reduces the truck’s downtimes due to maintenance and repairs. Relieving the transport infrastructure and optimising the flow of goods are important prerequisites for our customers, to ensure success when on the roads in the future, too.
Step by step to autonomous driving
In July 2014 Mercedes-Benz had its Future Truck 2025 driven on a test track near Magdeburg and in May this year the world premiere of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck caused a sensation. Daimler was presenting the first truck with a permit for operation on public roads to drive in a highly automated fashion. Both the Future Truck 2025 and the Inspiration Truck are concept vehicles which are equipped with further functions. The mirror cam, swivelling seat and integral tablet are elements which are not present in the Actros with Highway Pilot. The reason for this is that the vehicle is approved according to automation level 2 (partially automated driving). This means that the Highway Pilot can assist the driver in certain situations both for longitudinal and lateral guidance. However the driver must constantly monitor the vehicle and the road and traffic conditions and at all times be in a position to take control of the truck again. For this reason, activities such as the use of a tablet during the automated journey are not currently allowed. On the test track in Magdeburg the Future Truck 2015 already demonstrated automation stage 3 (highly automated driving): this means that the system independently detects the system limits and accordingly asks the driver to take over the task of driving. And at this automation level the driver no longer has to monitor the system on a permanent basis and could also carry on with other activities during the journey.
Daimler Trucks is focusing on constantly developing mobility solutions for the future and readily assumes the leadership role for automated driving in the truck, Dr Bernhard emphasises: „Our claim is ‘Shaping Future Transportation’. And with today’s premiere we are once again impressively backing up this claim. We are shaping the future of transportation with the first autonomously driving production truck.
World premiere on the A8: Daimler Trucks testing the first seriesproduction autonomous truck on public roads
Stuttgart
,
Oct 02, 2015
  • Maiden journey with Baden-Württemberg’s Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann and Daimler Executive Board member Dr Wolfgang Bernhard
  • Series-production Mercedes-Benz Actros truck equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system
  • Minister-President Kretschmann: “A new age of mobility is dawning.”
  • Dr Bernhard: “Today’s premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks – and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future.”
Stuttgart – Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses, and Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of the state of Baden-Württemberg, made a historic journey today. As driver and co-driver, they piloted the world’s first series-production autonomous truck along Autobahn 8 between Denkendorf and Stuttgart. The truck used for the premiere is a standard Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot system for this test of autonomous driving on public roads. The truck is registered as a test vehicle according to Sec. 19/6 of the German Road Traffic Licencing Regulations (StVZO). The test organisation TÜV Rhineland previously inspected the vehicle and issued an expert report. On this basis the Baden-Württemberg state government granted exceptional permission according to Sec. 70 StVZO.
“For today’s ‘maiden journey’ there could be no place better than this stretch of the motorway. Not only because Baden-Württemberg was the birthplace of the automobile, but also because Daimler is developing and producing cars that set standards worldwide just a stone’s throw from here. Partially autonomous and autonomous driving indicates that a new age of mobility is dawning. It marks an important step towards more intelligent and above all more efficient use of the available infrastructure. Autonomously driving and networked vehicles improve the flow of traffic and can play a decisive role in helping to avoid traffic jams and relieving the strain on drivers. They also boost traffic safety,” observes Minister-President Kretschmann. “In view of this, the state government is currently planning to set up a test field for autonomous and partially autonomous driving which will be open to any potentially effective technologies. This project enables the technology and infrastructure required in this connection to be tested and examined on motorways, rural and urban roads. It is also intended to promote the development of the legal framework for autonomous driving.”
“Today’s premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks – and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future. During the world premiere of our Freightliner Inspiration truck in the USA in May, we announced that the Highway Pilot would soon also be tested on German roads – and just five months later we have achieved this interim goal. I am most grateful to the state government of Baden-Württemberg, which has given us so much active support in this undertaking. Safe testing in real traffic is absolutely decisive for the development of this technology to market maturity. We are now able to proceed with this,” says Daimler Executive Board member Dr. Bernhard.
Highway Pilot allows semi-autonomous driving – driver retains full control
The version of the Highway Pilot installed in today’s world-premiere Actros allows semi-autonomous driving. This means that while the Highway Pilot is able to steer the truck by itself on motorways, the driver retains full responsibility, needs to monitor the traffic at all times and must be able to intervene at any time. The Highway Pilot can therefore be compared to the autopilot commonly used in aviation.
The system includes front-mounted radar and a stereo camera, as well as well-proven assistance systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control +. The technology was adapted for use on public roads. Smooth interaction between the components was extensively tested. To this end the Highway Pilot has already absolved around 20,000 kilometres on test routes in Germany and the USA.
Redundancy in the sensor systems makes test operations particularly safe. The Highway Pilot is also able to respond appropriately to unforeseen circumstances. Should the weather or the road markings deteriorate excessively, the system prompts the driver to take over the steering again. The driver has sufficient time to do this. Should the driver still fail to react to the audible and visual signals of the Highway Pilot, the truck is automatically brought to a safe stop.
Shaping Future Transportation – Daimler Trucks at the forefront
Daimler Trucks leads the field as a pioneer in autonomous driving. In July 2014 the world’s largest truck manufacturer presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 in Magdeburg. This concept for the truck of the future demonstrated that Daimler Trucks possesses all the technologies required for autonomous driving. Only just under one year later, in May this year, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck celebrated its world premiere. In Nevada, USA it received the world’s first road approval for an autonomous truck.
Both the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 and the Freightliner Inspiration truck are concept vehicles – but with today’s Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the Highway Pilot, Daimler Trucks has now sent a series-production autonomous truck onto public roads for the first time.
“We are in a unique position among manufacturers in that we are able to implement leading technologies across all business units and brands. This means that we can drive innovation forward all around the globe,” says Dr Bernhard. “Our claim is ‘Shaping Future Transportation’. And with today’s premiere we are once again impressively backing up this claim.”
Autonomously driving trucks offer considerable advantages
Autonomous driving has considerable advantages, especially in the road freight transport sector. Firstly, it improves safety: the Highway Pilot system never suffers fatigue or becomes distracted – it is always 100 percent active. A study by Daimler Trucks has also shown that driver fatigue decreases by 25 percent if they are relieved of monotonous lane-keeping and can focus on other tasks. This will become possible in further development stages of autonomous driving.
Secondly, autonomous trucks improve efficiency: thanks to optimum gearshifting, acceleration and braking, they consume less fuel – which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. Daimler Trucks expects savings of up to five percent from this. The international consultancy Frost & Sullivan even estimates a reduction of around seven percent.
Thirdly, autonomously driving trucks are more attractive workplaces: the driver’s ability to leave a great deal of the route to the Highway Pilot greatly reduces stress in the cockpit. Future technology developments will also make it possible for drivers to turn their attention to interesting side activities – e.g. completing documentation on a tablet PC.
These advantages really make themselves felt, as trucks cover very high mileages: in Germany, long-distance trucks cover an average of 130,000 kilometres per year – while passenger cars reach an average of 14,000 kilometres.
Politicians and government bodies must now create the necessary regulatory framework for autonomous driving 
Taking the Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot onto the road required special permission from the state government of Baden-Württemberg. With this permission, the truck is now able to drive semi-autonomously on motorways at speeds of up to 80 km/h nationwide.
“We will be making extensive use of this opportunity to test our Highway Pilot in real traffic conditions,” Dr Bernhard announced.
He reiterated the need for politicians and government bodies to create the necessary regulatory framework, so that in the future autonomous trucks will also be able to drive in Germany without special permission. To enable the Highway Pilot technology to be brought to market in the next few years, it is first necessary to incorporate the revised Vienna Convention into German law, according to Dr Bernhard. This is a precondition for the driver being able to leave the steering to the truck’s assistance systems. This is where the Federal Ministry of Transport needs to become active.
Secondly, it is now necessary for the Federal Ministry of Transport and the German Automobile Licensing Authority to initiate the certification process for approval of series-production autonomous trucks.
Thirdly, Brussels needs to adapt Directive ECE R79, which currently only allows autonomous driving at speeds up to 10 km/h.
Dr Bernhard expressly welcomed the federal government’s strategy “Automated and networked driving” presented in mid-September and the test field for autonomous driving which is being planned by the state government of Baden-Württemberg. The aim must be for Germany, where trucks first took to the roads, also to be where the trucks of the next generation first take to the roads.

4 tips for keeping data secure while travelling

4 tips for keeping data secure while travelling
According toLeClair good security standards follow the “90/10 rule” where 10% of security safeguards are technical and the other 90% of security safeguards rely on the digitaldevise user to follow good computing practices.Here are LeClair’s top tips for keeping data secure when travelling:
1. Internet Cafes LeClair notes that internet cafes are cybercrime hotspots – typically not managed well as browser cache and temporary files leave a trace of your activity – she advises travelers not to use them at all. Leclair says to limit your use of internet cafes to functions like weather reports or bus schedules.2. Non-secure Wi-Fi Zones

Wi-Fi zones are also generally not secured, so, cellphone security settings do need to be set up with long and strong passwords. LeClair says not to conduct financial transactions or other sensitive work transactions in public Wi-Fi zones but rather to make use of a virtual credit card number when purchasing online. When making use of one of these zones, she also advises travellers to disable file sharing and check for a secure login page before they sign in. Also, even though one often pays for hotel Wi-Fi, this does not mean it’s secure.

3. ATM skimmers

Beware of ATM skimmers, says LeClair. These are card readers placed inside the ATM’s card slot which scans and stores information on a magnetic strip. Hidden cameras are then placed near the ATM to capture pin numbers.

4. Airport theft

Airports also top the list of cyber-theft hotspots. Travellers should not let devices out of their site and instead of travelling with a laptop, rather carry a cheap tablet or an iPad in your carry-on luggage.

LeClair concludes that an ongoing data protection programme to secure all types of the traveller’s confidential information is essential to keeping companies from becoming a breach statistic.

– See more at: http://www.tam.co.za/Home/Detail?articleId=51574#sthash.B9r5w2zM.dpuf

How criminals use your Facebook information to steal your money

Criminals are using the information you share on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in spear phishing attacks to get access to your online banking details.

By mybroadband July 6, 2015 22 Comments 

Scammer

The R110 computer that could change the world

What can you buy for R110 these days? Lunch for two, a cheap T-shirt? How about a fully functional computer?

By July 4, 2015 24 Comments 

PCB

If that sounds like a joke, you haven’t seen C.H.I.P. in action.

C.H.I.P. isn’t much to look at. It’s tiny – as wide as of box of matches and a quarter as deep – but it packs a surprising amount of power.

With 4GB of storage, 512MB and a 1GHz processor, this little guy is about as powerful as most desktop computers were at the turn of the century, but at less than 1% of their cost.

How can C.H.I.P. be both so tiny and so cheap? We have smartphone makers to thank for that. In order to keep size, weight and power consumption down to a minimum, companies like Apple and Samsung have spent a decade relentlessly shrinking their components down.

This design paradigm, called “system on a chip” (SoC), squeezes all the computing power required by a device into a single chip.

This not only makes computers smaller, it also makes them cheaper. And because hundreds of millions of smartphones are sold each year, the cost per SoC is relatively low.

But if SoC’s are so cheap, why are smartphones so expensive? Simple: components like the screen, camera and memory add considerably to the cost, as does manufacturing, shipping and marketing.

And of course profits: Apple and Samsung both make 50% to 60% (gross) profit margins on their devices.

And that’s exactly why C.H.I.P. is such a brilliant idea. It takes a powerful computer that has been turned into a commodity, strips it down to the essentials, and makes it available to a world crying out for cheap computing.

And C.H.I.P. is more than just raw hardware – it comes with a free operating system and a suite of open source applications. You can create and edit documents, surf the web, check email and even edit sound and photos – right out of the (match)box.

Granted C.H.I.P. is essentially useless without at least a keyboard and a screen, but you can buy second hand monitors for less than R500 and keyboards for less than R100.

An enterprising charity could pick up thousands of free monitors from the many corporations who constantly scrap old computers.

For anyone used to their snazzy work laptop, C.H.I.P. is going to seem slow and limited. But for an underprivileged child, C.H.I.P. could be their first real taste of computing.

In a world in which computer literacy is as important as reading or writing, affordable computing must form an integral part of upliftment.

Next Thing, the startup company behind C.H.I.P., is probably unaware of the impact its product could have on the developing world.

The merry band of hackers and makers who started the company are focussed on serving other companies – people who want to make their own devices cheaper.

In doing so they may unintentionally help millions of poor people enter the 21st century.

Companies like Next Thing are popping up around the globe, focussing on DIY electronics and open source hardware.

Along with 3D printing they are part of the so called “maker movement” which is reviving the spirit of independent exploration in a sector that has been dominated by giant corporations since the late 1970s.

There’s a buzz around the possibilities of C.H.I.P. – talk of using them to power satellites and drones, excitement about an ecosystem of makers and hackers than could grow up around the little devices.

Two similar devices have already enjoyed global success – the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino – and C.H.I.P. looks set to join their ranks.

But whether or not any particular device is a long term hit, the long term trend is clear: computers will be everywhere and in everything. Let’s make sure our children are ready.

Republished with permission from the Mail & Guardian

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Mobile phone reception comes to underground Gautrain stations

Gautrain

With some Gautrain stations being up to 50 meters underground, chatting on a mobile phone becomes incredibly difficult, if not virtually impossible.

But from today, Vodacom and MTN are enabling its customers to make and receive calls while underground with a setup of distributed antenna systems located throughout the three stations.

The stations covered are Sandton, Rosebank and Park Station.

“Making these facilities available represents the first phase of a much broader engineering project which will see the installation of additional technical infrastructure that will extend across the entire Gautrain route,” MEC for Roads and Transport, Dr. Dr Ismail Vadi said in a media statement.

Although mobile coverage has been extended  to the underground stations, Vadi said that the next step would be to give extra coverage to the train tunnels.

“The next step will be to allow for the improvement of voice and data coverage in the Gautrain tunnels and along the entire route. Discussions are currently underway with the Mobile Network Operators in this regard and we cannot put exact timelines on the roll-out thereof,” Vadi said.

Vodacom explained that its systems are connected to a fibre-optic cable to network equipment located in Rosebank, and provides 2G, 3G, and LTE (4G) connections.

“This is the first phase of the process. Our next task is to work on ensuring that we have a seamless service throughout the Gautrain route. That means not dropping a call when you go into a tunnel. We’re currently in talks with our partners to roll this out,” said Vodacom

There is however, still no word on when WiFi will be made available.

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  • Best ADSL prices in South Africa – A myBroadband survey

     2 July 2015

    Telkom recently announced price reductions on its ADSL and VDSL products – here’s how the new pricing stacks up against other ISPs’ offerings.

    By July 1, 2015 43 Comments 

    South Africa ISPs

    On 1 July 2015 Telkom announced price adjustments to a range of its data products, including its Do bundles on DSL.

    The new Do Bundle prices start at R399 a month – reduced from R408 – for the Do Basic Bundle, which includes up to 2Mbps and a 10GB soft cap.

    On the high-end, Telkom offers a Do Elite Plus Bundle – which includes up to 40Mbps and a 100GB soft cap – for R999 a month.

    Telkom said new and existing Do Bundle customers will benefit from its ADSL and VDSL price reductions.

    Telkom’s Do DSL bundles also include analogue line rental, which means that the price you see is the full monthly price you will pay.

    This raises the question: How does Telkom’s new DSL bundle pricing compare to competing service providers’ products? The table below answers that question.

    Capped DSL – Total Monthly Cost
    ISP DSL line speed Data Line rental Total monthly price
    Axxess 2Mbps 10GB R189 R378
    Telkom do Basic 2Mbps 10GB Included R399
    Telkom do Advanced 4Mbps 20GB Included R549
    MWEB 4Mbps 20GB R189 R578
    Telkom do Premium 10Mbps 50GB Included R699
    Axxess 10Mbps 50GB R189 R734
    MWEB 10Mbps 50GB R189 R788
    Axxess 20Mbps 50GB R189 R788
    Telkom do Elite 20Mbps 50GB Included R799
    Telkom do Elite Plus 40Mbps 100GB Included R999
    Axxess 40Mbps 100GB R189 R1,088
    Cybersmart 40Mbps 100GB R189 R1,137
    Uncapped DSL – Total Monthly Cost
    ISP DSL line speed Data Line rental Total monthly price
    MWEB Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R528
    Crystalweb Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R533
    Cybersmart Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R538
    Web Africa Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R538
    do Uncapped Basic Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R583
    Axxess Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R585
    Afrihost Up to 2Mbps Uncapped R189 R586
    MWEB Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R638
    Axxess Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R688
    Crystalweb Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R733
    Web Africa Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R738
    Cybersmart Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R768
    do Uncapped Advanced Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R774
    Afrihost Up to 4Mbps Uncapped R189 R786
    Cybersmart Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R968
    Axxess Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R988
    Crystalweb Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,059
    Afrihost Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,086
    Web Africa Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,088
    MWEB Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,088
    do Uncapped Premium Plus Up to 10Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,188
    Cybersmart Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,347
    Afrihost Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,486
    Axxess Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,488
    Crystalweb Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,563
    MWEB Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,687
    do Uncapped Elite Up to 20Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,787
    Cybersmart Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,752
    Axxess Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,918
    Afrihost Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R1,936
    Crystalweb Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R2,083
    MWEB Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R2,587
    do Uncapped Elite Plus Up to 40Mbps Uncapped R189 R2,587

    More on ADSL

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    June 26 2015

    New Telkom voice bundles pricing

    Telkom has launched its new range of mobile voice bundles, “aimed at offering customers greater flexibility in managing their fluctuating business and personal voice usage demands”.

    By June 26, 2015 4 Comments 
     Telkom Postpaid, Saver/Top-Up, and Prepaid subscribers are eligible to purchase the voice minutes bundles.

    “These enhancements are a result of our renewed focus to drive innovation that delivers a sustainable balance of choice, flexibility, and affordability to our customers,” said Telkom’s Managing Director: Consumer and Mobile Services, Mr Attila Vitai.

    The bundles are available in three variants:

    • All-network minutes: calls to any local national mobile network within South Africa.
    • Telkom mobile minutes: calls to any Telkom mobile number or numbers ported to Telkom mobile network.
    • Telkom fixed-line minutes: calls to any Telkom fixed-line geographic numbers.

    The bundle pricing is detailed in the table below.

    Voice Minutes Bundles
    All-network minutes Price
    25 R25
    50 R50
    100 R90
    200 R180
    300 R240
    500 R400
    1000 R800
    Telkom mobile minutes Price
    25 R10
    50 R20
    100 R30
    200 R60
    300 R80
    500 R100
    1000 R120
    Telkom fixed-line minutes Price
    25 R12
    50 R24
    100 R45
    200 R90
    300 R120
    500 R200
    1000 R320

    Voice bundle details

    Telkom provided an FAQ breakdown for the new bundles, which is reproduced below.

    How I do purchase these voice minutes bundles?

    Subscribers have an option to add the bundles are once-off or recurring bundles:

    1. Once-off bundles – subscribers can purchase the bundles via USSD by dialing *180# and dial button from the handset and follow the menu prompts.
    2. Recurring voice minutes bundles shall be purchased via the Store or by phoning the Call Centre.

    When will the voice minutes bundles expire?

    1. Once-off voice minutes bundles shall expire at the end of the next calendar month from the date of activation.
    2. Recurring voice bundles shall be permitted to carry over to accumulate a maximum of 6 months’ worth of unused voice bundle allocations(s) before the first-in-first-out rule is applied towards forfeiting the unused voice bundle allocation(s).

    How will the voice minutes bundles be billed?

    Voice minutes bundles shall be billed on per second billing methodology.

    Do I still need to purchase airtime and convert it to a Voice minutes bundle on Prepaid and Saver/Top-Up?

    Yes, Prepaid and Saver/Top-Up subscribers will need to purchase airtime and convert to voice minutes bundles via USSD by dialling *180# then dial button from the handset and follow the menu prompts.

    Will I be able to call a Telkom mobile number if my Telkom Mobile minutes are depleted?

    The voice minutes allocation(s) shall first deplete from the same calling/bundle type e.g. All-net calls will consume from All-net minutes.

    Once Telkom mobile or Telkom fixed-line minutes are depleted, only then shall the call consume from All-net minutes. All-net calls will only deplete from All-net minutes.

    How do I check my voice minutes balance?

    Dial *188# and dial button from the USSD menu, an SMS will be sent with all remaining balances.

    Will I get notification when my minutes are depleted? 

    Yes, an SMS will be sent when 10 minutes are remaining and again when minutes are depleted.

    Will I be able to transfer my voice minutes bundles?

    No, voice minutes bundles cannot be transferred to another user or subscriber.

    Will I be able to make international calls with my voice minutes bundles?

    No, international calling is excluded from the voice minutes bundles and will be charged at applicable international call rates.

    Is there limit of the number of voice bundles and denomination I can add or purchase?

    Any combination and number of recurring voice minutes bundles may be added onto a subscriber’s account, excluding multiple of the same denomination bundles type.

    Will I lose the carry-over voice minutes bundles when I cancel the recurring bundles?

    Once a recurring voice bundle is cancelled, the carry-over minutes will not expire in the bill cycle within which it is cancelled, but the first-in-first-out rule is applied towards forfeiting the unused voice bundles allocation(s).

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    Daimler invests in Zonar’s leading connectivity technology

    freightliner-inspiration230

     

    Daimler's new Mercedes-Benz heavy-duty truck "Arocs" is pictured during its world premiere in Munich January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

    Daimler’s new Mercedes-Benz heavy-duty truck “Arocs” is pictured during its world premiere in Munich January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Reuters – Daimler (DAIGn.DE), the world’s largest truck maker, has bought a minority stake in Seattle-based telematics provider Zonar Systems Inc on Thursday, the latest step by established vehicle manufacturers to gain know-how in the area of connectivity.

    Daimler has been collaborating with Zonar for five years in developing Daimler’s “virtual technician”, a satellite-based diagnostic system to help U.S.-truck customers assess the need for a service or repair.

    “We remain on the lookout for partnerships in the area of data analysis,” Daimler’s board member in charge of trucks, Wolfgang Bernhard, told Reuters. He said that this could take the form of cooperations or partnerships.

    The world’s established car and truck manufacturers are using internet and satellite connectivity to transmit data which help make their vehicles more intelligent in saving fuel, minimizing repairs and navigating traffic more efficiently.

    Daimler declined to reveal how much it spent to buy the Zonar stake, saying only that it owned less than 25 percent of the company. The move forms part of a broader push to expand its digital business services.

    “Daimler is currently working on developing a telematics solution with Nokia’s HERE, in Europe,” Bernhard said. “This process is underway but I do not want to comment on it further.”

    Rival carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) last month said it had teamed up with traffic software analysis company Inrix to give its cars real-time data to help find on-street parking. BMW’s cars will use data collected by Inrix to show which streets have available parking.

    (Reporting by Edward Taylor and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

    PRESS RELEASE June 25, 2015 Stuttgart / Portland (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), USA
    • Share in American telematics services provider Zonar Systems Inc.
    • Consequent implementation of the corporate strategy with regards to connectivity
    • Long-term partnership for rapid and comprehensive expansion of data services for North American customers
    • Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard: “Our investment in Zonar will help usto put connected services on the road with even greater speed and variety. We are partnering with a pioneer in this field.”
    Daimler Trucks is stepping up its activities in the area of connectivity services and acquires a share in Zonar Systems Inc. in North America, a leading developer and supplier of logistics, telematics and connectivity solutions. The investment is another milestone in the development of fully connected vehicles and value-adding data services for operators and drivers of trucks by the world market leader.

    The minority interest is realized via Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in North America that owns the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands. Together, DTNA and Zonar will bring customized applications for North American customers on the market.

    With this long-term partnership, DTNA and Zonar are pursuing a shared vision: optimal transport logistics through intelligent connectivity. Zonarwill continue to operate independently. Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, will get a seat on the supervisory board of the company in order to keep a close dialogue between the manufacturer DTNA and the technology partner Zonar.
    “Telematics and connectivity are revolutionizing commercial vehicle operation with enormous opportunities for OEMs – especially for us as the leader of this business. That is exactly why we made connectivitya dedicated part of our strategy,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.
    “We consistently implement this strategy – and today we have reached an important milestone. Our investment in Zonar will help us to put connected services on the road with even greater speed and variety. We are partnering with a pioneer in this field,” Dr. Bernhard proceeded.
    Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, added: “DTNA will benefit in this strategic partnership from Zonar’s experience and short time-to-market cycles. This combination of the technological leadership of DTNA and the innovative systems of Zonar will pay dividends for our customers in all markets.”
    Daum noted further: “In future, we will advance the products of DTNA and Zonar jointly. Our immediate focus is on the customer benefit and on further improving economic efficiency and safety – to the benefit of all road users.”
    “This is a relationship in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” emphasized Brett Brinton, CEO of Zonar. “The drivers and fleet managers will all benefit from combining the big data analytics and rapid technology development Zonar offers with the depth of knowledge, precision and expertise in vehicle engineering DTNA brings. It is an honor to be selected as a technology partner to the world’s best vehicle manufacturer,” Brinton added.
    The Next Step in the Cooperation of Daimler Trucks and Zonar Systems
    The two companies have maintained a partnership for the last five years that began with the market launch of the “Virtual Technician” remote diagnostics system and continued with the development of the all-round solution “Detroit Connect”.
    The “Virtual Technician” as part of “Detroit Connect” sends a technical snapshot of the engine’s status to the Detroit Customer Service Center when warning lights come on in order to analyze the data, to identify the problem and sends out an e-mail with advice on what actions should be taken. With the “Virtual Technician”, downtime due to servicing can be reduced and thus maintenance costs can be lowered. Repair costs decline by as much as 20% and vehicle-operating time increases by 6%.
    In coordination with the “Virtual Technician”, “Detroit Connect” enables a “Visibility Fleet Software” using a GPS satellite network to determine the exact location, the speed, and the fuel consumption of a truck or an entire fleet from any internet-enabled device, for example an on-board tablet.
    “Detroit Connect” is the first telematics solution in the U.S. and Canada which can determine the reason for error messages during the drive. Installed in more than 150,000 vehicles, “Detroit Connect” has already traveled millions of kilometers.
    The use of telematics services offers many advantages for fleets: lower fuel consumption, higher vehicle availability and improvement in the adherence to legal regulations. Both companies strive for a common vision of building vehicles which are exactly customized to drivers, route and payload. Zonar will continue to work closely with DTNA in order to build upon the success of the “Virtual Technician” and “Detroit Connect”, and to develop other integrated technologies.
    About Zonar
    Zonar Systems Inc. was founded in 2001 with headquarters in Seattle (Washington) and today employs around 250 staff members. The company provides electronic fleet inspection, tracking and operations solutions for public and private fleets. Zonar built the first Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR) system, revolutionizing how pre-trip and post-trip inspections, mandated by U.S. state and federal law, are conducted by commercial and private fleets. It is based on a simple principle – inspect regularly, follow-up immediately and always be in the know. Today, it has grown into a comprehensive telematics platform providing a comprehensive set of solutions that are nonetheless simple to use. Zonar has installed more than 400,000 telematics devices in commercial vehicles. Zonar Systems is a growing company that generated 80 million U.S. dollar of revenues in the year 2014.
    About Daimler Trucks North America
    Daimler Trucks North America LLC based in Portland, Oregon is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks in North America. DTNA manufactures and markets commercial vehicles under the brand names Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses. The DTNA production network extends to nine locations. In addition to headquarters and assembly operation in Portland (Oregon), there are four production locations in North Carolina (Cleveland, Gastonia, High Point and Mount Holly) plus production plants in Redford (Michigan) and in Gaffney (South Carolina). DTNA has two more production locations in Mexico (Saltillo and Santiago Tianguistenco).

    WATCH: How criminals jam your remote and break into you car

    Here is how criminals “block” your car remote signal and stop you from locking your car and activating your alarm.

     

    Car remote

    By MyBroadband June 24, 2015 57 Comments 

    Police in Centurion recently reported a spike in petty theft of goods out of vehicles in parking lots, and car remote jamming is suspected in many of these cases.

    Large shopping centres like the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria are also warning customers to be vigilant and to ensure their cars are locked before they leave the parking lot.

    Car remote jamming in South Africa stretches back many years. In October 2013 the Eastern Cape police warned that criminals were targeting motorists by overriding vehicle remote locking systems.

    The recent rise in crime where car remote jamming is suspected means that an overview of how this crime works, and what can be done about it, is valuable.

    The video below provides a real-life example of how criminals use car remote jamming to steal possessions.

    How car remote jamming works

    Fouche Burgers from Business Against Crime SA explained that criminals can block, or jam, the locking signals of remote locking devices on vehicles.

    Most modern remote controls use rolling-code technology, which means that the code command cannot be copied or cloned.

    However, because most modern remote controls work with radio waves that use an allocated radio frequency, they are vulnerable.

    The use of this specific radio frequency is prescribed by Icasa.

    Most remote controls, including those for motor vehicles, gate, and garage automation operate on a frequency of 433MHz. Understandably, this frequency has become very busy.

    When a remote control button is pressed, it sends a message (command) on the allocated frequency to a receiver (in the vehicle) to perform an action: lock or unlock the vehicle.

    At the other end, the receiver is “listening” for a specific message that it can interpret to perform a required action.

    When a button of another remote is pressed in close proximity, the receiver receives (hears) two messages simultaneously.

    The two messages are consequently scrambled, the receiver cannot interpret the message, and no action is initiated (the vehicle’s doors are not locked).

    Remote controls operating on the same frequency can influence each other’s messages if they are operated in close proximity.

    According to Outsurance, thieves often use a standard 400MHz gate or garage remote control to jam the signal sent by a car remote control.

    To make matters worse, there are “professional” jamming devices available that function on a range of frequencies and that have much higher signal power.

    These devices can influence a vehicle’s remote control from a much greater distance and can even interfere with remote controls that use different frequencies and technologies.

    It should be noted that these remote control and jamming devices cannot unlock your vehicle. They can only stop your remote control from working properly.

    [Also see: The science of car jamming]

    Car remote jamming

    What you can do about car remote jamming

    Burgers and Kingdom Electronics suggest the following steps to prevent the jamming of remote controls.

    • The most important rule: Make sure your car is locked before you walk away. Manually check or test the doors and the boot.
    • Never push the remote locking while walking away from the vehicle.
    • Always be aware of your surroundings and keep a sharp lookout for suspicious-looking people and activities.
    • Report suspicious-looking people to security or move your car to a safer place.
    • Never leave valuables in your car.

    Some companies are also selling early warning car alarm jammer systems to alert motorists if there are jammers active in the area.

    More on car security

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    The crime-fighting police car of the future

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