Competing with the best (continued)

In a Telkom presentation at Rhodes University on August 22, the Telkom media spokespeople spoke about “investing in change”. This presentation continues the idea of competition leading to innovation. There are two lessons to be learned from this Telkom illustration.

Firstly, Telkom, which funded the Rhodes University and Journalism Careers Indaba, elaborates on my previous post, “Competing with the Best”, that competition gives rise to innovation, in the many ways.

In the 1960s, South Africa was connected to 72 nations through Telkom. In the 1990s, South Africa launched its mobile operations, underwritten by Telkom in partnership with Vodafone. This subsidary grew to be Vodacom, which Telkom sold in late 2008 in preference for its own 3G network.

Telkom, which was previously a parastatal company,  had the monopoly in telecommunications in South Africa. Neotel has since come into the mix and has become a major competitor for Telkom.

Naas Fourie, the chief of strategy at Telkom, says “Defending one’s market share in today’s competitive market environment is no longer enough.”

This is one of the aspects that drives Telkom to do better, and develop ICTs (Information Communication Technology). Telkom is therefore promising to adopt new strategies in an attempt to keep their customers. They want to connect Africa to the rest of the world and are in the process of providing more options for their customers in an attempt to keep them from switching to Neotel.

Telkom is also trying to improve their brand and there name and are sponsoring connections to the 2010 World Cup.

Here are some of the promises Telkom has made:

According to Telkom, they have 29 points of presence, 46 mobile broadband transceiver, 31 fixed broadband  wireless access transceiver stations, 17 network centres as well as improving call centres.

  • Telkom is also offering training and bursaries to computer and other electronic engineers to further enhance the skills in South Africa. ICT skills like infrastructure are scarce in South Africa.

The second important aspect of this illustration is going viral and is the ICT adaptation and transformation and what this means for businesses.

Even though there is a digital divide, mobile or wireless access and cheaper ICTs mean that more people can access this facility in an attempt to connect more people.

These changes can only mean great things for digital businesses and the information sector.

If these sectors create a creative strategy and solid business model, this better digitalised economy will be very beneficial and create many other opportunities.

Would Telkom have done changed and innovated if Neotel, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, had not existed in South Africa? Would they have lost their customers in the rural areas because there is no infrastructure in the rural areas and mobile phones would be a more viable option?

For more information about Telkom and their challenges, ups and downs look at “A moment of silence” and “Odds and Ends” from Cath’s The Next Generation TV show.

TIP: Innovate don’t stagnate.

Like Naas Fourie says, It is not enough just to compete with the competition, but to far exceed them. So look at where your competition is ahead and innovate in order to exceed them.

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Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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Safety First

POCit-ing your money safely from your mobile.

POCit-ing your money safely from your mobile.

Knowing your market and the audience are just the first steps in making your online or digital business successful. The other important step is keeping your audience and one of the factors that influences audience “stickiness” is safety.  

I will be using the mobile banking POCit as an example of using safety as a means to keeping your audience.

I love payday, but hate queues so of course I would prefer internet or cellphone banking. I became suspicious of internet banking after watching a television programme where the IT (Information and Technology) MR Fix it guy gets hold of the banking details of this small business and takes their money.

Another blogger mentioned that her cellphone has been stolen on countless occasions and she was a bit hesitant to use cellphone banking afterwards because of the safety issue.

So I was pleased to hear that numerous companies were trying to appeal to an audience and guaranteeing safety. There have been various new online and mobile banking solutions that have arisen, such as WiWallet, Wizzit, Fundamo, Swap Wallet and POCit, that assure their users or customers of safety.

I decided to look into POCit in order to see how they are safer than banking online with my bank.

Firstly, POCit allows credit or cheque card holders to make and receive payments securely using your cellphone. Payments are made using only the other person’s cell number so you no longer need to expose your banking details.

Each payment cost 30c (South African) each. POCit is independent of any bank and cellular network which allows people, particularly those who use various banks, to alternate between the banks and payment options they use.

Accoring to POCit MD, David Reynders POCit aims to make mobile banking convenience, secure and simply as all accounts will be on one device such as your cellphone.

For me, the safety aspect was important.

In terms of safety they certify that:

  • No credit card information is stored by POCit on your phone
  • No personal information other than your name and cell phone number is stored by POCit on your phone
  • Your POCit account gets locked if your PIN is entered incorrectly three times
  • Credit card and personal information are transmitted from your phone to our systems in an encrypted format
  • Your credit card number is stored in an encrypted format on our systems
  • Once you have registered with your credit card details on Pocit, no one else can register your credit card to another Pocit account using our registration facility

This was great, but what assured me was that they stated that if a “cellphone is stolen, the payment remains locked in cyberspace until the person gets a new phone; they unlock the money with their pin. POCit also allows people to store money in their cellphones using POCit Money so that when they go out they never need carry a handbag, wallet or credit card and if the phone gets stolen, the money doesn’t, it’s secure in cyberspace.”

Vodacom reported that not a single cellphone payment system has been hacked into globally, bearing in mind that POCit is a relatively new banking system.

So far my mind is at ease with these statements, but I cannot prove or disapprove that they are correct and that they are or are not failsafe. What I am pointing out after my rant, is that they are able to put there customers mind at ease. I would not use a service if I did not the terms of service, conditions and security aspects.

Tip: If safety is important to your customers, make your product safe and continually assure them that it is safe.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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