Bits + Bytes : A Miscellany of Technology

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NEWS

Digital solution for SME lenders

Mambu, a software-as-a-service cloud banking platform, has launched a digital solution for small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders that cuts costs and speeds up time to market.

The platform not only provides banks and financial technology (fintech) players with a robust and scalable loan management technology, but also easy access to an ecosystem of partners such as web-based identity authentication, credit checks and loan origination. These partners are vital to lenders wanting to offer quick loan approvals.

According to the International Finance Corporation, it is estimated that there is an unmet financing need of US$5.2 trillion every year across 65 million firms, or 40% of formal micro, small and medium enterprises globally, with Asia-Pacific accounting for the largest share (46%).

Mambu’s SME lending solution is designed for fast product launches and offers flexibility in terms of quickly adapting to changes. The solution offers a variety of options to adjust loan conditions in order to support borrowers that are facing financial difficulties. This flexibility allows clients to better serve SMEs, particularly during the pandemic.

Xero replaces marketplace with app store

Xero, a cloud-based accounting software platform for SMEs, has launched a new Xero App Store — replacing the company’s existing app marketplace. 

The new app store is designed to make it easier for Xero’s customers — such as small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers — to discover and purchase apps to help run their business, while helping Xero’s app partners grow on the platform. 

Currently, Xero’s app partners in Australia, New Zealand and the UK will have access to a suite of new subscription and billing capabilities (Xero App Store Subscriptions), which will allow Xero customers to pay for and manage their apps in one place. This will be available in the US and Canada in the next 12 months, followed by Asia and South Africa.

Among others, the Xero App Store comes with improved search capabilities and personalised recommendations powered by machine learning, which makes it easier for businesses to find the right apps for their needs, based on their industry and unique profile. The recommendations engine also provides app partners with more qualified leads.

Australian consumer brands now directly available to Malaysians

Malaysians can now buy Australian products online and have them delivered to their doorstep.

Ten premium skincare, nutraceuticals (including supplements), milk and food brands from Victoria will be promoted and sold directly on Lazada and Shopee, thanks to a collaboration between Global Victoria, the state government of Victoria’s trade facilitation agency, and regional e-commerce agency Momentum Commerce. Until recently, Australian products in Malaysia have been primarily available at retail outlets in major cities.

The brands include Mo Milk, Sukin, QV, Milk Lab’s dairy and non-dairy products, Swisse supplements, Bubs babycare, Red Tractor superfoods, Ausbarrel Sticky Balsamic Vinegar and ViPlus nutritional milk products.

The launch of the official e-commerce stores guarantees the sale of authentic Australian products and enables shoppers to engage directly with the brand owners. Promotions and discounts are currently ongoing on both marketplaces.

Informatica to help Celcom tackle data governance

Celcom Axiata Bhd has selected Informatica — an enterprise cloud data management company — to enhance the former’s data governance programme. 

Informatica’s enterprise data governance solution enables Celcom to automate the governance of millions of subscribers and service data that the organisation has to deal with on a daily basis. This allows Celcom to provide more accurate and trusted data across the business, and IT users to foster greater collaboration and perform analytics and business-critical decision-making.

Celcom will also meet the compliance requirements set by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, with regulatory reporting expected to be significantly reduced from 150 man hours to about five with the use of the automation and governance tool.

New Apple update to scour iCloud for images of child sexual abuse, triggering privacy fears

Apple announced that iPhones and iPads will soon start detecting images containing child sexual abuse — using a tool called NeuralHash — and reporting them as they are uploaded to the iCloud, even if the images are never sent to another user or shared.

This announcement, however, has revived the debate on encryption and privacy, raising fears that the technology could be used for government surveillance. WhatsApp head Will Cathcart, for example, says the updates have the potential to undermine user privacy, and adds that WhatsApp will not use such a system.

The software update to Apple’s operating system will monitor pictures, allowing the device maker to report findings to the US’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The new technology will allow the device’s operating system to match the photos on a user’s device against a database of child sexual abuse material provided by child safety organisations, and then flag the images as they are uploaded to the iCloud.

Additionally, Apple’s iPhone messaging app will use machine learning to recognise and warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos. Personal assistant Siri will also be taught to “intervene” when users try to search topics related to child sex abuse, according to the company, AFP reported.

Cathcart suggests that Apple would do better by giving its users the option to report abusive content instead, which is one of the methods used by WhatsApp and has resulted in more than 40,000 cases to the NCMEC without having to breach encryption.

MyCC monitoring food delivery platforms

The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is monitoring food delivery platforms to assess whether their conduct contravenes the Competition Act 2010, following recent complaints of exorbitant commissions and food and beverage (F&B) prices on these platforms.

In a July 26 statement, MyCC said it had been actively engaging with the relevant stakeholders to obtain further information on the matter. MyCC CEO Iskandar Ismail said the regulator is looking into every angle from the perspective of the Competition Act 2010, particularly the conduct of the food delivery platforms towards F&B industry players, riders and consumers, and whether it raises any competition concern.

Sections 4 and 10 of the Competition Act 2010 prohibits enterprises from entering into any anti-competitive agreement and abusing their dominant position in the market respectively. Action can be taken against a group of major players that abuse their dominant positions collectively.

The campaign on TikTok that led to a RM5 mil countersuit

Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, known for her #MakeSchoolASaferPlace campaign, is currently caught in a legal battle. What started as several TikTok videos recounting her experience in class, her campaign has sparked discourse nationwide on rape culture in schools.

The 17-year-old was recently slapped with a RM1 million defamation lawsuit and a police report lodged against her by the physical education teacher who allegedly made rape jokes. The teenager’s lawyer, Datuk Sankara Nair, says the family will countersue the teacher — who was transferred out of the school — for RM5 million for emotional distress.

A fresh police report will also be made, says Sankara, adding that the teacher had insulted Ain’s modesty. The earlier police report that she had filed against the teacher for his remarks was classified as NFA, or no further action.

Ain’s viral TikTok video, which has been viewed more than 1.9 million times, showed her expressing shock at her teacher for jokingly telling students to target people aged above 18 if they wanted to rape someone.

Ain currently does not have any official petitions and urges her followers to not donate money to any unofficial petitions.

 

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

Many athletes have been using TikTok to share their experience at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. These short clips offer a candid, behind-the-scenes view of the historic Games, the first held without spectators. Keep in mind that these clips are not footage of the competition, which belongs to broadcasters. Instead, TikTok…

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