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The East African : March 10th 2014
The EastAfrican 32 OUTLOOK MARCH 8-14,2014 e -AF R ICAN Apple and Samsung renew rivalry Two phone make≥s focus on new secu≥ity featu≥es on sma≥tphones to woo buye≥s By ESMOND SHAHONYA Special Correspondent authentication technology. This was a cutting edge technology on smartphones, which its executives believed will be a game changer in the dynamic industry. The biometric or fingerprint au- L thentication feature was meant to increase security on mobile phones and supplement the use of passwords and usernames. Recently, Samsung unveiled its latest phone — Galaxy S5. The gadget has a fingerprint scanner leveraging on biometrics. Samsung’s inclusion of biometric technology in smartphone was not a surprise, given the rivalry between the two companies. During the release of iPhone 5s, the gadgets seemed a gamble because biometric technology was not popular in the industry. Motorola had tried it on the Motorola Atrix with its back-mounted sensor. Other firms like HTC have tried it on their devices. Apple released the iPhone 5s in September last year, just months after the firm had released the Galaxy S4. One outstanding feature on the iPhone 5s was the new user interface called TouchID sensor. This is the user interface behind biometric features of the iPhone. The TouchID user interface and associated biometrics on the iPhone reduced the Galaxy S4 to an ordinary smartphone. It jolted the competition and impacted on the growing sales of the galaxy. The expectations at the Korean company were to sell more of the Galaxy S4 and project the Galaxy LEGAL BATTLES Last year, a US jury awarded Apple about $290 million in a damages retrial against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, restoring a large chunk of a historic verdict the iPhone maker won previous year. Apple was awarded over $1 billion in 2012 after it convinced a jury that Samsung copied various iPhone features like using fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen, along with design touches like the phone’s flat, black glass screen. brand to greater demand. However, the sales of the device were disappointing compared with those of the Galaxy S3. The company has so far shipped 64 million devices ast year, Apple launched the iPhone 5s which had biometric users, Samsung has captured quite a number of selling features from other brands. The aspect of water resistance stems from Sony Xperia Z waterproof phones, the powerful camera is linked to Nokia’s Lumia phones, and the fingerprint from iPhone 5s. Although TouchID interface is designed to improve security and increase convenience for Apple users, Samsung’s fingerprint scanner is also riding on the same theme. The only difference is the way the interface has been designed and the associated functionality. Besides unlocking the device, the biometric technology on Galaxy S5 has been customised to strengthen security features and perform payments. The private mode of the fingerprint scanner allows users to store sensitive information that is only accessible to the owner of the phone. Samsung has partnered with PayPal to make users initiate transactions of the Galaxy S4 brand and 66 million units of Galaxy S3. In total, Samsung shipped 452 million devices in 2013 while Apple shipped 153 million, according to Strategy Analytics. And the ripple effect was evident in the company’s earnings. Samsung posted the slowest profit growth last month with a fourth quarter income of Ksh7.22 trillion ($6.7 billion). The unveiling of Galaxy S5 has intensified the rivalry between Apple and Samsung. Both firms are spotting gadgets that are rich in features and designed with cutting edge technology. To entice by the swipe of a finger on the new gadget. Unlike the iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5 allows you to use the fingerprint scanner to lock and unlock apps and files as well as unlocking the screen. Samsung will allow users to use the fingerprint scan to unlock the device or as verification for making online payments. Apple is yet to allow users initiate transactions with the new technology. About 200 million people are using galaxy devices according to the Samsung mobile division chief, J K Shin. Ugandan banks to adopt biomet≥ic identification By ISAAC KHISA The EastAfrican KENYA-BASED information technology firm Compulynx, is pitching its e-verification platform to Uganda’s banking industry to deal with the rising cases of fraud. According to Compulynx, the technology en- sures that account holders are accuratley identified by the institutions’ core banking software to eliminate fraud associated with false identification . During the launch of the new technology in Kampala last week, Sailesh Savani, the firm’s chief executive officer said: “The solution will not only catalyse the vision for the financial sector as they strive for financial inclusion, but also help in enhancing the experience that all the financial institutions are looking at to deliver.” Compulynx plans to charge financial institu- tions between $0.1 and $1 per customer based on customer numbers registered using the software. Currently, Finca Uganda and Equity Bank in Uganda have embraced biometric technology whereas Crane Bank plans to install it in its ATM system a sofware that eliminates use of passwords and secret codes. Mr Savani said Compulynx, which is also helping financial institutions to issue credit and debit cards instantly, plans to install biometric ATMs based on demand by commercial banks in the region. “We are also testing our technology on an- droid phones to enable money agents carry out business transactions on their devices using a biometric system,” Mr Savani said. A 2012 report by $48.3m Amount banks lost to fraudsters in 2011 audit firm Deloitte shows that East African banks lost an estimated $48.3 million to fraud- sters in 2011. In addition, fraudsters stole another $17.64 million from Kenyan banks between 2012 and 2013, in schemes hatched by technology-savvy bank employees. According to data from the Banking Fraud Investigations Department, financial institutions reported that $17.64 million was stolen from customers’ accounts between April 2012 and April 2013. Investigators recovered just $6.2 million and several cases are pending in court or are still under investigation. The data indicates that between November 2012 and April 2013 alone, a total of $11.2 million was stolen. Of this, only $4.05 million was recovered. A number of financial institutions in Africa have adopted biometric technology to curb fraud. For instance, the African Bank and Capitec Bank in South Africa adopted new technology last year whereas the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the country’s commercial banks unveiled a biometric technology last month, as part of its strategy to enable financial firms to fight fraud and money laundering. “For a long time, financial institutions have been relaying on signatures for customer verification. Now this new solution brings in an extra check which is unique to an individual in terms of your finger print that would help reduce cases fraud,” said Innocent Wemesa, the product manager, retail deposit at Standard Chartered Bank in Uganda. BRIEFS Uganda to host cyber security summit Uganda is among countries that have been selected to host this year’s Cyber Security Africa’s 2014 Banking and ICT summits, giving countries in the region an opportunity to interact with global experts. The Uganda summit will be held in April in Kampala while Zambia and Ethiopia will host similar summits in August and November respectively. The summit will bring together key players from banking, card processing, ATM vendors and telecoms as well as innovative new market players. IHS secures funds amid aggressive expansion IHS Holding Ltd, Africa’s largest independent telecommunications infrastructure company by number of towers it manages, has secured $490 million in equity and debt in its latest financing round. According to Biztech, the funding brings the total amount of capital raised by IHS to more than $1.5 billion over the past 12 months at a time when the company is aggressively taking over towers ownership across the continent. Airtel launches new product to woo farmers Downloading a picture on a mobile phone. Picture: File Kenyan farmers can use their mobile phones to decide which crops to invest in, thanks to a newly launched platform by Airtel. The company launched “Airtel Kilimo” to provide farmers with agriculture related information, advice and research. The initiative is meant to expand farmers’ knowledge and help them to make better decisions on where to invest in agriculture. “Airtel Kilimo” will focus on maize, banana, mango, rice and beans farmers. Liquid Telcom to set up data centre in Mombasa Liquid Telecom, the independent data, voice and IP provider in East, Southern and Central Africa has built a satellite hub in South Africa, enabling the continent’s data traffic to travel within Africa as opposed to backhauling it via Europe. The Teraco’s vendorneutral earth station is expected to reduce time and cost on data delivery within Africa. Liquid Telecom officials said the company has plans to set up a data centre in Mombasa to serve East Africa.
March 3rd 2014
March 17th 2014