Emerge Mobile Launches MPOS Solution
Emerge Mobile, a South African based technology company in the mobile payments space, has announced the commercial launch of its Edge MPOS payment card acceptance solution.
iKhokha, a South African, Cape Town based financial services brand created by Emerge Mobile, is the inaugural go-to-market vehicle for The Edge, which is a secure and compact Chip & PIN card reader that plugs into iOS or Android smartphones, and is coupled with the free iKhokha mobile application.
Following a successful closed pilot with selected merchants, the iKhokha offering is now commercially available throughout South Africa at www.ikhokha.com
In conjunction with the mobile application, The Edge transforms a smartphone into a secure mobile point of sale (MPOS) terminal, enabling merchants to process Chip & PIN and magstripe, debit and credit card payments as well as selected mobile wallet transactions.
The launch follows Emerge Mobile achieving Payments Council International Payment Terminal Security (PCI-PTS), and Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) Level 1 and 2 certifications for the solution earlier this year - an African first.
The Edge is registered with the MasterCard Mobile MPOS Program and the Visa Ready Program, showcasing it to international acquiring banks and creating the potential for it to be embraced by strategic distribution partners and acquiring clients worldwide.
Matt Putman, Managing Director of Emerge Mobile, said that the launch of iKhokha will give potential acquirers from across Africa and other international markets the opportunity to see the solution active in a real life situation, demonstrating that the company understands the marketing, distribution, merchant support and legislative requirements needed to gain traction in the MPOS sector.
He said: “This commercial launch is a realisation of Emerge Mobile’s vision to create an MPOS solution that will improve the lives of countless SMEs in South Africa.
“It also demonstrates that we can provide both the technical expertise as well as the in-house design and marketing skills needed to differentiate the offering in the mobile financial services space.”
South African merchants can purchase The Edge online via www.ikhokha.com, where registration is fully automated and available to all businesses irrespective of whom they bank with.
Once an application is approved, the device is dispatched via courier, reaching the merchant within five working days. ABSA Bank is the acquiring license provider working with Emerge Mobile in the South Africa market.
The solution costs less than R1,000 (Approximately US$96) to purchase including free delivery, and gives mobile workers such as taxi drivers, electricians, plumbers and market stall holders the ability to accept cashless payments for the first time, protecting them from the dangers of carrying cash, all at a competitive flat rate of 2.75% per transaction and no monthly fees. Merchants can as an alternative rent the Edge Adapter over a 24 month period.
It also offers business analytics through the phone application, and allows users to send receipts to their card and cash-paying customers, via SMS or email. In addition, The Edge makes it possible for device holders to earn extra income by selling value-added services such as airtime for local mobile network operators.
Emerge Mobile is now aiming to expand into both emerging and developed markets.
“The solution can be white-labelled for an acquiring client’s brand or we can launch a similar brand to iKhokha in other international markets,” says Putman. “We are excited to take on the challenge of local and international growth and are working hard to identify suitable international strategic partners to assist us in rapidly positioning the business as a global force.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”