New “Ug Power” app naturalizes online electricity payments

The app allows users to save other users’ Yaka meter numbers just like they would in a phone book

The smartphone, mobile money and the internet have changed the way we pay for products and services. Replacing the long lines at the bank with a simple tap on a phone or PC surely sounds convenient. At least that’s what the adverts tell us.

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The "Ug Power" app interface

But if you critically examine the e-pay process (in Uganda) especially for electricity, a series of questions go answered. Like the long account numbers, the absence of a transactions history, the transaction charges and most important of all, flexibility towards various mobile money networks and payment options.
Well, a new mobile app answers all the above. Developed by Ugmart Ltd, the “Ug Power” application erases mobile network boarders, allowing users to buy Yaka tokens using various e-pay options. “You can top up your Yaka using any payment provider available. So far we only have Airtel Money and MTN mobile money. We are still working to add Smart Pesa, Africell Money and VISA. It’ll be possible for a person abroad to buy a Yaka token for their Mum in Uganda”, Says Bernard Tebandeke, one of the app developers. 
The application provides a transactions history with the ability to simply refresh (in case of failure of a transaction) as opposed to the customary method of starting afresh, and also provides the specifics about the unit cost, charges, token numbers and others as seen in the screenshot below.

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Screenshot of the transactions history interface

The app allows users to save other users’ Yaka meter numbers just like they would in a phone book. So if one wants to pay for ‘Mum’, ‘Bro’, ‘Bae’ or ‘Shibubu’, all they have to do is select a name and leave the rest to the app. According to Bernard, the application provides cheaper transaction rates compared to what the telecom companies have to offer.
The “Ug Power” app is now available on Google Play and can be downloaded via this link:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ugmart.power

More screenshots of the app
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Is social media turning our daily lives into a ‘Tell all’?

The real issue lies in whether what started as a trend has turned into a way of life in the electronic world.

“I woke up like this”, “My new look”, “Going shopping”, “Going to bed” are some of the posts a number of social media users put up about their day to day activities, some true others not. But the real issue lies in whether what started as a trend has turned into a way of life in the electronic world.

To delve deep into the matter, I spoke to a number of social media users in regard to what they believe should or shouldn’t be posted online. In other words, when and when not to ‘kiss and tell’.

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Muliika Indy (left), a Ugandan working in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) believes it’s not necessary for one to post everything that happens in their life especially bedroom and relationship matters. Although he makes few such posts himself, seeing more of them on other users’ timelines is a preference. “I can’t stop them because most of their posts kill my boredom sometimes. It’s their lives, their phones, their accounts and mainly their opinions”, says Indy.

img-20170119-wa0090But that isn’t the case with Salama Laila (left), a nursing student from Kamuli, Uganda. She says, “People who post nude pics and bedroom matters are peer pressurized”, and she (Laila) continues to be skeptical about the so called “trend” of posting about one’s day to day activities and coital matters.

When asked if she would post about her day to day activities, Nakaima Bahia’s answer is a hefty “never”. The accounts student from Mbarara attributes her decision to the bevy of online trolls to whom the misfortunes of others call for a “LOL” or “LMAO”.

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Bahia

“Some people online are crazy, you might post wanting some help and people will end up abusing you…So if something happens in my day to day life, I’d rather behave like it never happened…because no one online really cares.”, says Bahia.

For those who post a great deal about their day to day activities online, some feel they have an obligation to do so, like celebrities to their fans. I mean after all the paparazzi already chases after them. But what about the average Joe or Jane, what reasons do they give for posting their day to day activities online?

Mai Abdallah, a Kampala resident posts a great deal about her day to day activities. Scrolling through her Facebook profile is akin to going through the pages of a lifestyle magazine. Posts about when she wakes up, goes to the salon, goes to a party, a new tattoo or in a bikini fill her album.

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Mai

When asked about her reasons for doing so, Mai believes that posting about her day to day activities helps falsify rumors posted about her online. “Those things you are pushed to post not that you want people to know about your day to day life but to prove…..what has been published about your private life by bloggers and newspapers is false. So I end up posting almost everything about me”, says Mai.

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Wadria

Wadria Derrick, a Nkumba University student argues that posting about one’s day to day activities is symmetrical to the invention of social media. To “socialize”. “It’s very fine with me if I posted something about my life on social media because that’s what it means by socializing. Letting people know you and you knowing them back”, says Derrick.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

There are a series of academic, psychological and sociological theories that explain why people choose to behave the way they do in real life and online. One of them is the Self-verification theory. Wikipedia defines it as;

…a social psychological theory that asserts people want to be known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves, that is self-views”. Which self-views can be positive or negative.

For example, if a girl believes she has a great body (which is a positive self-view), posting a bikini selfie and attracting likes and good comments will help her “verify” that self-view. And using the same example but on a girl with a negative self-view about her body (being overweight), getting few likes and negative comments will have the same effect, and that is “self-verification”.

Identity Negotiation Theory.

Amana Kaskazi, from the University of Michigan and author of; “Social Network Identity: Facebook, Twitter and Identity Negotiation Theory” describes in detail the ‘Identity Negotiation Theory’:

 “Identity negotiation theory is a sociological process in which people assign roles during the formation of a relationship. It is broken into two components. In the first phase people look for others who see them as they see themselves and approach interactions that are likely to uphold their self-view and self-esteem. This is known as self-verification. In the second phase people make predictions about how the other person will behave, and then act in ways that are likely to make the prediction true. This is called behavioral confirmation (Swann & Ely, 1984).

In his publication, Amana argues that Social Network Sites (SNS) like Facebook and Twitter “enable users to negotiate an identity online”. By creating a profile with aspects like age, gender, employment and others in relation to one’s self-view.

That’s why on social media, “Nakigudde” can turn into “Naks”, a Ugandan resident can “live in New York and work in Pyongyang”, a “single” person can become “engaged” and so on and so forth. Amana further argues that; “In order to protect their identity and preserve their self-view, users are less likely to add someone who might threaten their identity”.

Perhaps that’s why some people won’t add their parents, lecturers, priests, neighbors and other close individuals on social media. Thanks a lot for reading. And please share and keep following Adam’s Blog.

References

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-verification_theory

‘Social Network Identity: Facebook, Twitter and Identity Negotiation Theory’: Amana Kaskazi, University of Michigan.

Is Africa behind Huawei’s surging revenue?

In 2015, the company shipped over 108 million smartphones to Africa.

The pronunciation of the name Huawei may play tricks on many Africans, but never its products and services. Earlier this week, Huawei announced a 40% increase in revenues for the first half of this year which translates to 245.5 billion Yuan ($37 billion) compared to last year’s 175.6 billion Yuan.
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And with these latest revelations, we ask ourselves whether Huawei and China’s decision to invest in Africa is starting to pay off.

Huawei, a communications and technology company from China employs over 10,000 Africans and has invested millions in terms of dollars and technological infrastructure to the continent. In 2015, the company shipped over 108 million smartphones to Africa, not to mention the hundreds of meters of fiber optic cables that were laid among other internet supporting technology.
Credited for building 70% of Africa’s commercial 4G networks, today it is hard to encounter an ICT (Information and Communications Technology) supported organization or household in Africa that doesn’t use (directly or indirectly) Huawei technology. It could be a modem, a phone, a router and if not, one’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) maybe using Huawei technology.

Throughout the years, Huawei has been able to tap Africa’s virgin market in as far as ICT is concerned. Many Africans are now using social media, and are incorporating ICT into their lives and work setup. That is why I didn’t have to travel miles just to get this article to an editor nor did I use a typewriter.
African schools are not only conducting lessons on computers and other gadgets but have introduced the study of ICT as a subject or course unit. And amidst all these developments, Huawei managed to jump at the opportunity.

The company has provided a cheaper option to Africans in comparison to Apple and Samsung products, especially in the field of smartphones. The continent now boasts the fastest growing rate of mobile subscriptions in the world, with annual smartphone sales expected to reach 120 million by 2020.

The increased sale of smartphones to Africa has contributed to cementing Huawei’s position as the third biggest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung and Apple, a gap it continues to close as represented by the company’s surging revenues.