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  • Durban International Film Festival

    Phil Molefe addresses attendees of the Durban International Film Festival on embracing modern technology to stay relevant and produce better content.

  • Hearing the voice of your listener

    Originally posted on © Find out more about our Radio Days Africa 2019 experience. Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland Johannesburg, South Africa, is a place like no other to hold a radio conference, and I was privileged to be at Radiodays Africa recently on their tenth anniversary. Radio is an important part of life in Africa generally. Radio reaches people who cannot read or write; and plays the part of an educator in many parts of the continent. Here’s the excellent Steve Martin from the BBC talking about radio in Africa from 2013. It’s a good overview in how progressive African radio stations are, as well as how they think about radio in a different way to many of us. But radio in Africa is also, partially, stations like 94.7 in Johannesburg (tagline: “You love Johannesburg – we love you”), who sound as polished as the big top 40 stations you’d hear elsewhere. However, it was Bérard Duprès from the Seychelles Broadcasting Company that got me thinking a little. He began by explaining where the Seychelles were – they’re here in case you didn’t know – and spoke about the stations that the SBC run. One of the things Bérard showed was the radio station’s app. Obviously you can listen to the radio station on it, but you can also send a voice message to the station in high quality audio. The station uses a product called Fabrik, made in South Africa, which acts as a kind of private WhatsApp for the station, who are then able to edit and broadcast the messages. It’s a simple and straightforward way to get more voices on the air. They’re not alone. Radio X in the UK is using a rather less private WhatsApp – well, they’re using WhatApp itself – to get messages into the studio for Chris Moyles. And they seem to be having great fun with it, even if most of the callers want just to say the word willy and bum. For radio stations everywhere, though, services like this makes it really easy to remain real and relevant to your audience. For SBC, who run radio stations that broadcast to over a hundred different islands off the coast of East Africa, it’s a great way to hear directly from your audience. For Radio X, it’s a very good way to hear them swear at you. Getting proper, decent audience audio on the air has never been easier. If you don’t have this function in your radio app – what’s stopping you? About The Author James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at Contact James at or @jamescridland Photograph of Bérard Duprès: @RadioDaysAfrica

  • Smashboard updates

    It's now easier for you to send, filter and receive messages from your Smashboard engagement dashboard. Some of the new features include: An option enabling you to search for messages from a specific app member. An additional view of unsuccessfully sent messages. A URL preview when you're including links in your composed messages. The ability to see phone numbers of members when you download your chat message history to a CSV file. A weather widget appearing underneath the clock on your dashboard. And, as always, various other performance improvements and bug fixes that should make it possible for you to use Smashboard with more ease. How are you using Smashboard? What would you like to see in Smashboard? Let us know!

  • 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?

  • Doing something wonderful

    immedia is proud to have been selected as one of the handful of investment targets for the DTI/Microsoft EEP Programme, an initiative that aligns strongly with our own ambitions as a company. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) previously commented that the initiative had the potential to boost transformation within the South African ICT sector – and that it was on track to drive the shared vision of creating a strong home-grown South African software industry. Programmes like the EEP provide real benefit for entrepreneurs like ourselves allowing us to dream beyond our circumstances. We want to foster a new generation of South Africans, animated by the impact we can make on our communities when we are focused on the boundless potential of what we can do together, not alone. After all, this is a new world of everything being a ‘thing’ on the internet transmitting their ‘thoughts’ in real time for other ‘things’ to do something with. At immedia, we are committed to thinking and improving, and becoming better technologists and converged innovators in service to a better future for ourselves, better opportunities for ourselves, and better satisfaction for ourselves in the impact that we have in the world around us. We believe that by changing our community, we change our city, and so our country and so our continent… and if we do that, would we not have changed the world? From a genesis of two people, today immedia Studio employs 20 people in high value jobs and have inspired dozens of ex-immedians who are making an impact on our communities and industry. A small band of people drawn from many of the communities that Durban and South Africa have to offer have pioneered an industry that offers us 21st century jobs and, as entrepreneurs, 21st century opportunities. We believe we can compete with the world. That inspiration is a real, tangible thing here at immedia. We have been told that you feel it when you walk in. We see it when a teenager attending one of our Open Nights thinks, “This could be me.” and “I can do this here!”. And we see it in the space that has been carved on a Silicon Beach in Durban by teams like ourselves, by being relevant in this new age and by creating the careers we want – wherever home happens to be. The DTI/Microsoft EEP programme makes it possible for us to accelerate that process; to shore up the things we aren’t good at, and to pour energy into the things we are great at. As a child of apartheid I could have laid blame for the many challenges that lie at the feet of any entrepreneur there, but true entrepreneurship is about being inspired by the “why not?” At the things that can be done better, not the things that have been done badly. There is a sign in the Intel Museum in Silicon Valley – a quote from Robert Noyce, one of the Valley pioneers: “Don’t be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful.” It’s so important we take teams there every year to see it and see around them, what gets created with that belief, so that they can come back and create something wonderful. What we’ve learnt is that Silicon Valley is not a geography, it’s a state of mind. It’s a state of mind that allows us to believe that, from the green cane fields and blue ocean we gaze on out every day, we can create a future for ourselves that allows us to be a part of the world, to be an actor in our country, to have our labours be of value to our communities. Technology is changing the world. We were fortunate enough to play with a new Microsoft innovation called the HoloLens, a holographic computer that immerses you in virtually created worlds. Microsoft have been polishing it in collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory who manage the Mars Rover programme. When JPL team members first tried HoloLens on and ‘walked on Mars’, they often became so emotional they were reduced to tears. In a sense, the first ‘manned’ mission to Mars took place with HoloLens. The promise of technologies like this for science, medicine and education is something we want to bring to life for our people. That’s the future we can see and it’s a future we want to play our part in. We begin this journey with the best generation of talent immedia has ever had and, if we do our jobs right, our greatest generation is yet to come. We are incredibly grateful to DTI and Microsoft for this opportunity and to our families, clients and colleagues in giving us the support and understanding to try to access that future. – anice

  • 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!

  • Advertising Campaign Improvements

    Some new features to the Campaigns functionality in Smashboard. New Features Added option to export messages to CSV Improvements Replaced action buttons with popup menu Winner Selection Reworked winners selection to pull message from elasticsearch Hidden previous winners title when there is no previous winner Bug Fixes Fixed the broken css for winner's selection modal Positioned the title of the previous winner below the unconfirmed winner Fixed the incorrect engagements count for each campaign

  • Durban Chamber’s new mobile app to connect businesses to networking opportunities

    Originally posted on iol Business Report. DURBAN – The new President of the The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be inaugurated at their 163rd Annual Gala Dinner. The new Board and Council of the Durban Chamber will also be announced at the event too. Other highlights of the evening include the launch of special members-only benefits designed to turbo-charge Durban business, as well as the Durban Chamber’s new mobile app that will connect Durban businesses to all the top business and networking opportunities. The mobile app has been developed in partnership with Fabrik, a division of the immedia ecosystem. The Durban Chamber Mobile App will be used as an exclusive communication tool that will notify members of important business-related opportunities, notices, information, documents and communications for ease of access and reference. “The Durban Chamber Mobile App is basically a communication tool that will be of great benefit to members by allowing for greater collaboration between the Durban Chamber and its members,” said Palesa Phili, Chief Executive Officer of the Durban Chamber.

  • Milestone update for Smashboard

    This month, a big version update to Smashboard was rolled out, incorporating the following performance improvements and bug fixes: Improvements Message Scrolling: To avoid confusion, we’ve removed the vertical scroll intercept which translated vertical into horizontal scrolling – so you can now only scroll sideways, either with a trackpad, the left/right keys, the navigation arrows, or via the scroll bar. Provider Toggling: All message providers are selected by default and can now be individually deselected to remove related content from being displayed. If all providers are individually deselected, they will all be automatically reset to enabled. Compose a Tweet: We have added the ability to compose and send a tweet from an already-added ‘Provider’. This can be done from the ‘Profile dropdown’ menu in the top-right of the Smashboard interface. Search: The search functionality has been simplified and you will no longer need to toggle the search with a button as it is now a persistent search bar (minimum 3 characters). Trending filters: Trending terms can now be toggled to filter related messages Displaying Member's Phone Number: The member's phone number is now displayed in the detail screen of the message. Message ‘Velocity’ stats bar: The total message count for the past 3 hours (per provider) has been added to the stats bar in the top-left section of the display. Campaigns: The selected campaign is now displayed in the campaign drop down and styling has been improved. If there are no active campaigns, the dropdown is not displayed. Light Box: The size of the Light Box media viewer has been increased and is now a constant size, irrespective of the displayed content. Any message text is associated with the media is now also displayed here. Date search: The search label is now displayed from ‘start date’ to ‘end date’. The label also correctly reflects when a ‘Lifetime’ search is active. Bug-fixes A bug causing the ‘Lifetime’ button on the date filter dropdown to occasionally need to be clicked twice. A bug causing the Member Profile background to occasionally be displayed incorrectly when viewing ‘All Engagements’.

  • Modern radio could be so much more

    Of all of the media types that have been disrupted by technology over the past decade or two, radio is unique in its ability to claim a relevance and even lead the way to the future. If only we would stop thinking of radio as frequency. Spectrum yes, but frequency no. What used to be an audio-only medium created a laser focus on radio’s secret weapon — personality. And even when personality became commoditised and proxied through automation and corporatisation of music choice and opinion, it still drew its power through human expression and passion. But if radio trusted its heart and allowed itself to blossom in the full spectrum of digital, then it may offer a very powerful and compelling alternative to television and the kind of pricing power that television attracts. It can do this, because it alone of all mediums, other than news channels, is completely realtime where the lag between what is being broadcast and its reception is near instantaneous. This gives radio a powerful role as facilitator and curator of the common voice of a community. With technology, it can now expand that signal away from just audio and enrich it with video, image, text, conversation and context. Being, in the main, highly regional or highly focused around a specific content community, radio is a high trust medium and, certainly in our audience behaviour, we are conditioned to consume it that way. As radio consumers, we trust its weather reports, the traffic updates and the sly dig at City Hall to reveal a context about navigating our reality that we thread dependence upon in our daily lives. Radio is currently a fabric that binds the lives of well over 30 million South Africans on a daily basis. As data access and accessibility broaden rapidly in the decade ahead, those South Africans will switch their consumption of radio from analogue FM to mobile. This transition is not really in doubt anymore, but it has been interesting to see the relative paralysis in embracing it. The role of radio as curator is important since one of the consequences of the digital disruption has been the difficulty for brands to transition to a position of trust in digital. Radio’s role as an influencer and endorser will be amplified by its trust quotient with the audience – that will set it apart from more sterile and remote media types. Few radio stations have fully, natively and completely embraced the full spectrum of digital. Primarily, trad media treated digital with suspicion and as a threat so that any engagement with it was shallow, grudging and inarticulate. This wasn’t helped by the fact that digital exacerbated a generational divide in media businesses where the overriding imperative became a drive to “juniorise” teams, not to allow a blending of opinions and tactics, but as a cost-cutting drive. In short, they threw out the experienced craftsmen and women and brought in workflow operators who were expected to do the OLD things only cheaper. Convergence increases nuance, it doesn’t reduce it. As digital drove convergence we needed more diverse, multidisciplinary teams to be able to shape and craft the new products. But now ubiquitous digital consumption devices provide a clear platform for a new richer, realtime, converged and curated media voice to emerge. And I believe it could be led by radio. Radio has personality, radio has a human voice at its core, the human voice being still the undisputed king of trust building. The current obsession with seeing radio only through the prism of an audio-first medium has to change. Because of this tunnel vision radio may miss the moment of opportunity digital offers it — to take its current massive scale and to make it even more realtime and smart, fully duplex, and to utilise data to engage and add value to audiences in an authentic, trusted yet profitable manner. This will make radio something of a media chameleon — having the ability to mimic the qualities of competing media types in the realtime as context allows. To the segment of the audience stuck in traffic, it may be the audio-only element broadcast into their car speakers. To the listener in the coffee shop, it may be a richer stream of text, opinion, conversation and polling. To the mom on the couch it may bloom full spectrum with video, social, analysis and meta-data all streaming, realtime and sharable. And radio can retain its personality and human essence throughout. Radio in effect, will be able to surf the continuum of engagement from very shallow to deeply immersed without losing the audience to competing media along the way. Folded into a network, future radio can be a powerful contributor to media content and the communal conversation going forward. But to achieve all this, radio is going to have to start converging their efforts — commercial, technical, creative and communal into a single coherent engagement model. immedia is experimenting with interesting results in this space and it has been rewarding to see the re-animation of old and young radio dogs when presented with tools that begin to offer glimmers of what this future might be.

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