Uncovering South Africa’s latest fossil find

first_img8 November 2013Excavations will soon begin on a new site at the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa’s Gauteng province to investigate a find of “significant” fossils suspected to be those of our very early human ancestors.Professor Lee Berger, a research professor in Human Evolution from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand and a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, will direct the expedition at the site, dubbed “Rising Star Cave”.Berger is best known for the discovery of Australopithecus sediba at the Malapa site at the Cradle – one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent times.The Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage site situated about 40 kilometres north-west of Johannesburg.Berger said at the launch of the new expedition this week that “significant” fossils had been found in a chamber deep underground.“We do not know as yet what species of hominin we have found, and we will not speculate,” Berger said. “Our aim is to get the fossils out carefully, study them, compare them to other fossil material from around the world and then proceed to analyse and describe them.“This is part of the scientific process, and we are hoping to publish our findings – if all goes well – late in 2014.”The key challenge is the size and location of the cave: about 30 metres underground, it has a very small opening through which only slightly built people can fit.Berger used social media platforms to call for “tiny and small, specialised cavers and spelunkers with excellent archaeological, palaeontological and excavation skills”.From a list of 57 qualified applicants, Berger selected six scientists. “These are highly trained scientists with caving experience from the US, Canada and Australia who are currently in South Africa preparing for the excavation,” he said.The excavation and scientific analysis that follows will be featured in a National Geographic/NOVA television special.Members of the Speleological Exploration of South Africa will assist the expedition.Follow National Geographic’s Rising Star blog for updates on excavations.Wits University and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

It’s time to pay your Tekkie Tax

first_imgSlide on your favourite pair of tekkies, pay your Tekkie Tax and support a good cause; it’s never been easier to do the right thing (Image: Tekkie Tax)It will soon be time to don your tekkies for a good cause; the annual Tekkie Tax fundraising campaign falls on 30 May for 2014 and promises to be as popular as it was in 2013, its inaugural year.For the Average Joe, Tekkie Tax is a simple way to support a good cause; buy a Tekkie Tax sticker for just R10, stick it on your lapel and sport your tekkies on the day to show you care about making South Africa a better place. This year, Tekkie Tax participants can also grab a pair of Tekkie tags, specially designed shoelaces, for R30, and receive a smaller sticker for a cellphone or wallet with the larger sticker.Each sticker is designed to represent a charity sector; animals, basic family care, children, disability, and education, and donations go to a charity in the sector you would prefer to support.HOW DOES TEKKIE TAX BENEFIT CHARITIES?Running a fundraising campaign is expensive; organisations need to pay staff, hire venues and cover administration costs. Joining the Tekkie Tax campaign cuts down on labour and administrative costs, and channels monies received to where they are needed the most; the charities’ beneficiaries. Tekkie Tax is also managed so that no single organisation involved has access to the funds collected; instead the Legacy Through Charity Trust manages the campaign, ensuring it is audited and that all monies are distributed equitably.Currently Tekkie Tax represents some 15 national welfare organisations and a further 1 000 non-governmental organisations across the country. Last year the campaign raised R2.4-million for the 183 participating organisations, and sold more than 700 000 stickers.GET INVOLVEDTo buy your Tekkie Tax stickers and shoelaces, make a donation, or learn more about the campaign, visit www.tekkietax.co.za, email tekkietax@mweb.co.za, call the office on +27 (0) 12 663 8181 or send a fax to +27 (0)12 663 8188.last_img read more

Cross Platform Mobile App Creator OpenPlug Drops All Fees

first_imgmarshall kirkpatrick OpenPlug, a development toolkit for creating native apps for phones, tablets and other connected devices using JavaScript, ActionScript and XML, today became available free of charge or advertising – after more than 8 years of doing paid and ad-supported business. The company also announced a Certified OpenPlug Solutions Provider Program. OpenPlug was acquired by international communications network technology platform (and sponsor of this blog) Alcatel-Lucent in the Fall of 2010. Over on the main channel of ReadWriteWeb we analyzed the role of the technology in the larger ecosystem of network-level applications and APIs in depth when the acquisition was announced. I said over there that it was a very big deal; now what could be better than a very big deal turned free? For further perspective, see this 2008 discussion of open (including OpenPlug) vs. closed mobile application development platforms written by John Puterbaugh, founder of 10-year old mobile marketing technology company Nelly Moser. See also related companies Titanium and PhoneGap. Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#mobile#news center_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

B2B Customer Experience, 13 Actions Bringing Better Results

first_imgTechnology is always making headway in the business world, entrepreneurs and many business veterans have been incorporating the innovational ways to transcend their rivals.            They say if Content is the king, Customer experience is the queen.  Customer experience purely depends on how you make your customers feel during the interactions. The way you sort your priorities and your business representation needs to excel.Compared to B2C, B2B is more demanding in terms of productivity and thus needs special attention for the providers. And why not, a B2B buyer offers you orders in big volumes. Remember the efforts you put on for insisting a B2C customer to purchase one item. This time, the desired effort magnitude is a thousand times higher.This article illustrates everything you need to know about how you can improve the B2B customer experience with your e-commerce endeavours. But before delving deep, let’s have: A sneak-peak at why customer experience matters in B2BThe B2B decision-makers every time have a vendor selected in mind even before a purchasing group is formed. As a result, the stakeholders offer a fat chance to let a new party in. And, that is the only space you are provided in the process.B2B offers very little room to allow aberrations. You can’t just play around when your prospects are that reserved with their choices. It turns really important to strike the right note in the limited time frame. Above all, their existing vendors have set a threshold with the services and retention offers. Your strategies need to whipsaw the existing filters to initiate the possibilities.Now, here is a pie-chart that explains the ill-effect of serving bad. According to Groove, 82% of customers let go of a company due to bad customer experience in the past.From the sales point of view, the ratio is alarmingly high and needs to be addressed right.The same source also claims that the customers are willing to pay extra, in exchange for a better CX. The clients are ready to spend around 140% more than usual, based upon their past user experience with the company. That being said, a B2B owner can expect their clients to come round again with more revenue. The only condition is if they develop a more Customer-centric approach.Proven Steps To Improve B2B customer experienceB2B business owners can dramatically enhance customer experience and achieve the bottom line gains by utilizing buyers’ familiarity with some common B2C site functions. Above all, they need to make sure that they are saving the clients’ precious time and pitching their best in the nutshell.Being said that, we have jotted down the most tried-and-tested ways that can level up the way customers perceive your business.An interactive ChatBot optimizes the chances of conversionA famous quote says “The first impression is the last impression.” That’s why Chatbots find themselves useful on most websites these days. Keeping the prospects engaged is one way of making the interaction more riveting. Attending the customer can actually take them down the lead funnel quicker. Compared to Email Marketing and cold call attempts, Chatbots are rather dynamic and can fetch their details with much ease.Modern-age Chatbots can make the rate negotiations on your behalf, even when you are off the system. Concise Content that defines your purposeThe businesses are well aware of the market and prefer to research before entering into any deal. While they are in touch with you, they are alongside considering other vendors to get the best product at the best price, they have already explored your websites deep and the surveys that relate to you.You can take this as an advantage; strengthen your contents, let them speak of your motto well aloud, let them define your endeavours and objectives with clarity. All this be done in a well-directed manner.User case studies bridge the gap effectivelyCase studies have played a crucial role in bridging the gap between a customer and the business. It needs a good grip on the buyer’s persona and a clear understanding of your product. The B2B owner can take help of their existing clients, who play the lead character in the plot. Case study portrays main character’s problem and the solution offered by the product.In most cases, the customers find themselves on the character’s shoes thus offering the much-needed connection.With Product Personalisation, customers can have a better choiceWhat if the customer liked the design of your product, but not the colour? What if he denied just because he disfavored the text? There are tools that can save you from losing the ground.Product Personalization allows your customers to have products of their choice. They can select the design and variant on their own. It is now a part of the major State of the art eCommerce websites. With several variants of the same product, the customer has better chances of getting converted.B2B owners can find such applications across all the major e-commerce platforms. Image SourceWith personalized recommendations, make them feel more valuedKeeping in mind that the other side of the B2B model is a procurer, the content needs to be highly personalized for specific customers. Features like product recommendations and customised best-seller lists can give B2B companies the chance to grow personal relations with the buyers.The Sellers can pitch Upselling and Cross-selling strategies to enhance the possibility of closing the deal.Influencing the C-Level decision makerA chain of multiple decision-making layers is one of the major factors that differentiate B2C from B2B. At an average, 6.8 people are involved while making a B2B purchase. The Champion stakeholder among the decision makers plays the lead role. Friendly referrals or impressing the champion can effectively break the obstacles.C-Level decision makers seek concise and focussed interactions. Time is a big constraint at these sessions. The best part- they favour a lasting relationship.Adding a lead score on customer’s growing interestAttaining a lead is not the end of the journey. A lead, if nurtured well can get you bulk orders. Adding lead score for every advancement by the customer can help you classify their status and the chances of them being converted. Most B2B owners pitch further knowledge of services with the rising lead score. Image SourceThe picture above is an example that represents the way, the lead score is offered at every step.Managing Abandoned Cart to remind them of the purchaseB2B prioritises a lot of segments, thus wrapping up for the deal can often take time. On average, more than 60% of the purchases are cancelled during the checkout. It is thus necessary to manage the cart abandonment with utmost priority.Most B2B owners pitch discounts within 15-30 minutes of cart abandonment. As per Salecycle, 28% of the carts are rescued in the process.Data Analytics attracts BuyersThe B2B customer is a marketer, and data is their native language. How easy would it be for the buyer if you lt them keep a track of their orders on the website?With Data Analytics being integrated into the b2b website, the Buyer can view order histories and other related information. These user-specific graphs are highly personalized and offer a special treatment to your buyers. Here is an example of the same: Handshake for B2B.Detailed Data Sheets with important points making the top of the listData Sheet is a must in the store. You need to describe your product for sure. More than that, are you prioritizing the descriptives?For instance, if your business is selling PCs in bulks to organizations, you are expected to put up the screen size and CPU specifications more than the mouse and keyboard.You must understand, figure out and present the data that is crucial to your sellers, which can be represented in datasheetsMoreover, you need to keep the description brief, yet detailed. An article here will help you with the same.Standard Certification and Easy Return policy for the productsB2B relies on trustworthiness. With standard certifications by your name, you can easily replace the existing vendors in the list.With your landing page showcasing the awards and the certificates, your branding is already a few levels up.Easy Return plays a key role in offering high-end customer experience. The option to return, reassures them for the quality of service offered and thus steering them to the next stage of the lead funnel. Here is one example of the same where the business owner is a SaaS provider and offers B2B services:The B2B owner presents the certifications they received on the landing page while they take charge of the product quality as wellA precise search engine saves time and trustA customer at B2C often scrolls for random products and is quite unpredictable with the choices. However, a customer at B2B is more focussed and understands his niche products better. Your Internal search engine should offer the customer highly refined searches with lesser possible inputs. The best-known eCommerce sites keep a track of the searches and repeat purchases in the past to make things more precise for specific buyers.B2B Progressive Web Apps to empower your mobile presenceMobile phones have certainly helped to boost B2B and B2C models at large. The involvement of a regular mobile phone in the business endeavour is credited to Progressive Web apps or PWA.The new-age application model combines the features offered by modern browsers along with the benefits of mobile experience. The parties can thus engage in a continuous loop on and off the systems.Final Thoughts On B2B Customer ExperienceIn a survey of about 10,000 US-based consumers, Tempkin Group once found that around 86 per cent of the users who received a great customer experience were more likely to resume. There are several more stats that advocate the importance of Customer Experience in recent times, across all the known business models. B2B is a highly focussed arena where the customer is specific to its needs. The Seller thus needs to come up with better efforts to channelise a highly delivering business. Above all, it is the way you approach and retain your customers, that matters the most. The demand for B2B services and competition are at an all-time high; differentiate yourself from the crowd and earn the right to ask for the place. Tags:#B2B#customer experience#Ecommerce business ideas Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry With This One Question, You’ll Never Need an Ic… Kunal Khullar Related Posts Kunal has 10+ years of experience in software services, development, and team management with diverse offshore software consulting firms in India and abroad. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not…last_img read more

Flights diverted to Agartala

first_imgSeveral passenger aircraft landed at the Agartala airport on Monday as flights for Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport were diverted to different destinations due to bad weather. Eight flights made a halt at the airport which could not even operate routine flights for Kolkata.“There was an emergency situation due to incessant rains and heavy winds in Kolkata. Nearly 30 midair flights were diverted to different sectors as a safety measure,” an official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) told The Hindu.He said flights were told to land in the Agartala, Bhubaneswar, Bagdogra and Ranchi airports. The diversion started in the morning, he added. The situation also disrupted normal flight operations from Agartala.last_img read more