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  • Durban Chamber mobile app launched at Annual Gala Dinner 2019

    Originally posted on iol Business Report. DURBAN – The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its 163rd Annual Gala Dinner on the 21st of August 2019 where the chamber inaugurated a new President. Present at the event were members of the KwaZulu-Natal business community, entrepreneurs, members of local government, the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube as well as former Presidents of the Durban Chamber. The theme for the night was “From Durban, with love” and showcased Durban’s energy and vibrancy as a significant economic hub on the rise in line with the City’s vision to be the most caring and liveable city in Africa. Nigel Ward, President of the Durban Chamber Commerce and Industry said that it is a big honour and he is humbled  by the opportunity to be inaugurated as the new President. He also thanked his predecessor for his contribution. “The economic and business context in eThekwini, the province and the country as a whole, is not an easy one currently. Indeed, this is a challenging and uneasy period, with a lot of domestic and international pressures. However, it is also a period full of promise. The eThekwini business sector needs strong representation,” said Ward. He added, “This is why Durban Chamber and the Chamber Movement need to step even further into the forefront, actively engaging with stakeholders in this role and presenting a clear and concise economic message – that eThekwini is primed for business”. Long-time member and technology partner, Vodacom, was a gold sponsor for the event. The additional digital innovations launched at this year’s event are: Durban Chamber Mobile App in partnership with Fabrik, a division of the immedia ecosystem, which permits members to have exclusive access to a secure real-time communication platform. BoardPAC Management Software in partnership with Vodacom Business to streamline our operational efficiency and improve our overall governance structures, especially at the executive level. Durban Chamber Website has been upgraded to an innovative platform that ensures that our site stays up to date with the latest technology, trends and user needs. Palesa Phili, Chief Executive of the Durban Chamber Commerce and Industry said, “As a future-focused organisation, the Durban Chamber wants to put a spotlight on technology and digital innovation.  We need to highlight how leveraging disruptive technologies and innovations can play a role in driving our inclusive and sustainable economic growth objectives.”

  • What's New for your Apps

    Your audience will benefit from a better podcasting and live-streaming experience! Some of the new features include: A podcast scrubber that allows your listener to play, pause and scrub through a podcast. Improvements to the handling of audio-related interruptions e.g. pausing the playback of a podcast when a voice note message is played. The introduction of pre-roll audio advertisements which play before livestream and podcast playback. We've also completed the rollout of chat groups to all radio clients which means that your listeners will be able to engage with each other and the studio in interest groups - amongst other great new features! How are you using the Fabrik mobile apps? What would you like to see in Fabrik apps? Let us know!

  • African broadcast innovation using apps and social media to engage audiences

    Originally posted on balancing act. Africa’s broadcasters are facing a legion of challenges and need to find new ways to connect with their audiences to build loyalty. In a world awash with mobile internet and social media they need to be able find new ways of working that will change things. Russell Southwood looks at two African innovations – Fabrik and Volume News – that might help breed a better-connected broadcast media. Africa’s TV channels do not have the reach of radio or mobile, although it is probably the latter that poses the greater threat. Africans can sit on buses in the traffic listening to FM radio or watching online content. They can check their phones during the day for breaking news and watch clips recommended by their friends on their lunch break. The speed of social media often means that news is often no longer on the hour but seems to happen in real time. Furthermore the discussion about news and issues of the day – particularly for the young – happens more often than not on social media. These discussions also start trending extremely quickly and often even those with live phone-ins seem to get left behind. In this issue I’m going to focus on two innovations: one is a media platform that helps create social engagement with your audiences and is not as its creator South African Anice Hassim, Immedia puts it:”Fabrik is not just about management and workflows.” For example, it enables a radio station to have a digital presence that can do four things: it has personality; it eliminates time-lag in getting information out; it enhances ways of telling the story; and provides a shared context. Talk radio audiences were social media before social media existed but they were not easily able to track what their most engaged users felt. So whereas analog audiences are “spray and pray”, the platform allows you (through analysing all your social media through an app) to spot sub-sets of people interested in particular issues or topics. Indeed through the app, viewers or listeners can choose to get alerts on particular topics. A regular caller to a talk show can become a contributor:”The audience’s voice begins to blend with the station’s voice.” Audiences can either engage directly through the station’s app or through social media that the app allows the station to see all in one place. Furthermore, the TV or radio station can use it to quantify their online reach:”There are revenue opportunities in the platform. Stations can put their online reach on the rate card and get a share of that revenue. The higher the engagement, the more they can monetise.” I shall return in a future issue to look in greater detail at the Fabrik platform. The second media innovation comes out of the JAMLAB is a programme of Wits Journalism and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering in partnership with Ryerson University, Toronto and Journalists for Human Rights. The project aims to support more and better innovation in journalism and media on the continent. It is based in one of Africa’s newest innovation hubs, Tshimologong in a downtown area of Johannesburg called Braamfontein. Volume News was one of six start-ups making its first pitch before an invited audience on Wednesday. Its stated goal is to create a new mobile-first news wire service that links community radio journalists with mainstream news outlets to breakthrough the existing metropolitan filter bubble of South African news coverage. It calculates that there are 9 million people who are not getting local news. It wants to do this by creating local stories in local languages. It wants to create local stories that will be broadcast through trusted local community news stations in South Africa. Currently only 14% of the news these stations broadcast despite their rationale being one of addressing local audiences. It wants to create a team of local journalists throughout the country that they will submit using an app and it will supply an app to radio stations (that will also use a simple Raspberry Pi device) that will allow them to easily use the stories generated in an MP3 format. These local journalists become known as the person to go to if you want to get something on air. It is currently generating stories that are reaching 200,000 people but its medium term ambition is to reach 1.5 million listeners through 85 stations. The service potentially has a direct impact on the financial fortunes of community radio stations. Volume News said that community radio stations get 25% of audiences but only 2% of advertising spend. This is partly because the brands and NGOs that might use them have no idea whether their information or ad is transmitted. The station tool it has built allows this to be tracked. Neither of these two ideas are the complete answer to all of the woes of Africa’s radio and TV stations but both contain ideas that might allow channel owners to compete more effectively and build audience loyalty using modern methods.

  • Durban Chamber Coffee Connect

    This morning our team had the honour of speaking at the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Coffee Connection, held at the Standard Bank offices in Kingsmead, Durban. The regular Coffee Connection, a vital initiative that empowers conversations around #DurbanMustRise sentiments, was made possible by sponsors Standard Bank Corporate & Investment Banking, CCI South Africa and Vodacom Business. Our Mindshift talk delivered that morning was well-received by a KwaZulu-Natal based audience ranging from corporate entities to emerging small-to-medium businesses, all leaders in their fields.

  • Broadcast publicly, engage privately

    Life in a converged world Technology disruption has created chaos with real-time flow of information into and out of organisations. Together with the old ways of engagement, new and ever evolving digital methods are overwhelming the ability of the organisation to bring structure and accountability to their engagement with customers. Disruption is one side of the coin but convergence is the other, and by adopting a fully convergent, conversational and community-driven cloud platform like Fabrik, organisations can leverage the benefits of real-time, structured engagement that offers intimacy, personality and data insights that deepen and grow over time. With convergence, you and the customer you serve are one community with shared value creation. With the intimacy and expression empowered by Fabrik, the organisation and the humans it serves are truly blended into one community – a community with shared value exchange and respect around the purpose that bonds it. Fabrik brings structure to your community and allows you to harness the power of this technical and human convergence, while leveraging the operational efficiencies, real-time insights and new opportunities digital can bring to your business. Now you can build trust by broadcasting publicly, but engaging privately with no leakage of data, no third party observing and harvesting your community’s information or patterns, and no lag in your engagement. Are you where your customers want you to be? Are you real-time enough? Are you intimate enough? Are you respectful enough? While making engagement easy, Fabrik is also writing a data track to the cloud so that you can leverage the power machine learning, AI and cognitive services for your own organisation – just like the global players can. While making engagement easy, Fabrik is also writing a data track to the cloud so that you can leverage the power machine learning, AI and cognitive services for your own organisation – just like the global players can. Fabrik deploys all of the basic elements to get you started: a cloud backend service to structure data, engagement and integrate with other sources; native app service points in all the major app ecosystems; our “Cloud Concierge” engagement platform; and dashboards and workflows to act quickly on issues as they arrive. You can have your own “data track” to your business that is as accessible or resonant as a sound track. Can you hear the music of your business?

  • Share updates to multiple social accounts from Smashboard

    Create a ‘Distribution Group’  to schedule and send updates across either multiple Twitter accounts or Facebook pages simultaneously. Tired of copy/pasting the same message to the many social media pages you administer? Smashboard has always been a great tool to view & respond to incoming messages from your app, Facebook page/s and Twitter mentions, and to post or schedule your social content. Super-users of Smashboard often manage multiple social media accounts simultaneously and have the need to post the same message on many Facebook pages, or send out the same tweet via many Twitter accounts. In this update, you now have the ability to create a ‘Distribution Group’  to schedule and send updates to all your Twitter or Facebook pages simultaneously, saving you precious copy/paste time. Here’s how it works: Step 1: Link your Twitter and/or Facebook Accounts First make sure all the social accounts you’d like to include in the Distribution Group are added as Providers within Smashboard. If you haven’t done so already, here’s how: a) Select ‘Provider Manager’ from the menu at the top-right. You should see the pop-up window that looks like this: b) Link each Facebook or Twitter account by entering the name of the account, and clicking the ‘+’ button. You will then be prompted to log in to that account to complete the process (make sure you have access or Admin privileges to the account first). Step 2: Create a Distribution Group Once you’ve added all the social accounts you’d like to include in the Distribution Group, you’re ready to create your first one! a) Switch to the ‘Distribution Group’ tab, as indicated below. b) Enter the name you’d like to use to identify the Distribution Group. c) Choose which provider you would like to use (either Facebook or Twitter), and then insert the names of each linked provider in the box that titled ‘Twitter Providers’ or ‘Facebook Providers’. d) Then click ‘Create Distribution Group’. Step 3: Schedule or post your Social Content Now that you’ve set up your Distribution Group, you’re ready to post or schedule an update, which will be shared across all the accounts you’ve added. a) Select ‘Compose Message’ from the menu at the top-right, and choose the social media type you’d like to use (Facebook or Twitter). Once you’ve done so, you should see the screen below: b) Choose your desired Distribution Group, type your message, upload attachments, and post or schedule!

  • Shifting Minds in 2020

    Mindshift has kicked off for 2020! With an average audience of about 8 to 10, the seminar saw all kinds of people from manufacturing, healthcare, and education sectors in attendance. Regular Mindshift events are designed around sharing insight around the constantly-connected consumer of today, contextualised within the technological shifts that have brought us here, and how to get started taking advantage of digital workflows that empower your business and customers. The audience was introduced to digital practices and tools that can be implemented by businesses and the individual consumer that will take them into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and directly impact their business strategy. In reaction to the seminar, attendee Vineshree Pillay, BDM of Software Solutions at Mustek, remarked, “Everything you do, you do to perfection! From the invite to registration process, to event and post-event – excellent… “Anice manages to capture his audience – I loved it, very inspiring!”

  • Your Messaging Workflows get even easier

    Here are some new features that make it easier for operators to receive, search for and respond to messages from your Smashboard engagement dashboard. Some of the new features we've added include: An option allowing you to search for messages using an exact search term. A consolidated, historical view and message count for all sent and received messages associated with a particular app member. Messages are now automatically scrolled into view once selected. We've also improved the look and feel of your dashboard in the following ways: We've reworked the look and feel of the elements that display on the Trending section. We've added seconds to the clock that displays at the top of your Smashboard screen. The blue text we were using for the titles of selected side-menu items has been removed. And we fixed a bug preventing the 'Reply Message' option from showing when all engagements were clicked. How are you using Smashboard? What would you like to see in Smashboard? Let us know!

  • Workshop: Building an ethical digital brand

    Kelly Pringle presents a workshop on online brand building to the cast of Imbewu: The Seed, a Durban production by Videovision Entertainment that premieres this month on eTV.

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