World’s dairy producers gather in South Africa

first_imgDairy producers and policy makers from around the world are gathered in Cape Town to discuss innovation, development and best practice in dairy. South Africa’s dairy industry is world class and has notched up several firsts in recent months.(Images: For more free images, visit the image library)MEDIA CONTACTS • Palesa MokomeleSpokesperson for the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries+27 12 319 7876 or +27 82 904 1908RELATED ARTICLES• SA dairy body takes top accolade• Milk brand cares for cows• SA’s greenest dairy• Cadbury Fairtrade choc now in SA• SA quartet plays for peace reporterSouth Africa is hosting the annual World Dairy Summit for the first time. This year’s event takes place during the first week of November under the theme A World in One Country, an indication of South Africa’s diversity.The summit is held under the auspices of the non-profit International Dairy Federation (IDF), a 109-year-old Brussels-based organisation whose membership accounts for about 86% of all milk produced worldwide.More than 1 000 delegates from 56 IDF member countries are expected to pass through the doors of the Cape Town International Convention Centre between 4 and 8 November.The IDF’s mission, according to the organisation, is to assist the dairy sector worldwide by providing scientific knowledge and expertise to support ever-better milk and dairy products.The annual summit is one of its tools, affording delegates an opportunity to network and learn about the latest technological and scientific developments in the industry. It also contributes to the benchmarking of countries in terms of their dairy policies and international trade issues.The South African dairy industry is a full member through the local national IDF committee.Talking all things dairyWith 11 discussions held over the four days, topics on the agenda include animal health and welfare; the socio-economic benefits of a strong dairy sector for emerging economies; sustainability; marketing; and issues around food safety and security.Delegates will be able to share the views of top executives from major dairy companies around the world at the World Dairy Leaders Forum.“This 2012 World Dairy Summit brings together producers, processors, technical experts and various other stakeholders to deliberate the challenges of the sector, and also to share experiences and best practices,” said agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, opening the proceedings.She added that the event’s theme was even more relevant for South Africa because the country supports various types of milk farming systems, from intensive total mixed ration to grass-fed and dairy ranching.Joemat-Pettersson said that her department helps emerging farmers – including women – to gain access to finance and markets, and encourages them through initiatives such as the annual Female Entrepreneur Award, which rewards women farmers for their progress in the sector.“The issue of emerging famers is a topic close to my heart, as we continue with our efforts to reverse our country’s unpleasant history of discrimination and disempowerment,” she said. “Furthermore, the gender question will continue to assume greater prominence during this century, also in the sphere of agriculture.”Delegates won’t spend all their time in the conference hall – a number of technical tours are arranged, where visitors can see the dairy industry in motion, from production to retail. On offer are trips to the Fair Cape farm and factory; the distribution centre of retailer Woolworths; spaza shops in the area; the Mooivallei grazing farm and cheese factory, Parmalat’s factory in Parow, the fourth-generation Klipheuwel farm; Stellenbosch University’s Welgevallen Experimental Farm; and cheese farms in the Bonnievale valley.Partners in the local summit include the South African-based Dairy Mail Africa, Landbou magazine, the South African Food Review, the Dairy Industry Association of Australia, and Dairy News Russia. Milk South Africa has also played a role in organising the event.Contributing to national growthAccording to Melt Loubser, chairman of the organising committee and president of the local chapter of the IDF, South Africa’s dairy industry is well developed and world class, and as well as meeting local demand, it exports dairy products to a number of African countries.The South African dairy industry is the third largest livestock sector in the country and has an estimated annual turnover of R10-billion (US$1.1-million). With a total of 2 347 milk producers in the country supplying more than 2.6-billion litres of milk to the nation, over 30 000 people have found employment in the industry.The dairy industry is not afraid to use technology to improve its products and also the way in which it operates. At the IDF’s 2011 Innovation Awards held in Parma, Italy, South African dairy companies were finalists as well as winners.Milk South Africa’s Consumer Education Project walked off with two first prizes for its innovative advertising and marketing campaign, while Fair Cape was named a finalist in the Best New Dairy Drink and Best New Functional Dairy Product categories, both for its innovative rooibos-dairy combinations.Also in 2011 the Eastern Cape’s Coega Dairy announced that it had the smallest carbon footprint of any southern hemisphere dairy, thanks to a R50-million (US$5.7-million) investment in technology that allows it to produce long life milk more efficiently.In 2012 Fair Cape again took the lead by publishing its carbon footprint on its Eco-Fresh milk bottles, thereby assuring consumers that it cares not only for them, but also for its cows and the environment.last_img read more

Toronto’s SideFX designing VR smart city projects for Singapore

first_imgRelated Posts How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces SideFX is expanding its visual effects capabilities into a series of innovative virtual reality (VR) projects for Singapore as part of the Asian city-state’s sweeping smart city masterplan.The Toronto-based company is well known in the global entertainment industry for its 3D and visual effects expertise on many blockbuster movies and video games.But now SideFX is partnering on a series of VR projects with Singapore under the aegis of the country’s Smart Nation 2025 strategy. The VR initiatives are also supported by Singapore’s recently launched Info-communications Media Development Authority.One key project being pursued in conjunction with Singapore’s Civil Defence Force is the development of VR and augmented reality (AR) simulations of emergency and disaster scenarios.SideFX says its expertise in simulating explosions and natural disasters for the entertainment industry will allow realistic training scenarios, but the VR allows it at a fraction of the cost.“In a hospital you normally wouldn’t have the ability to stage an explosion or a terrorist attack, with the doctors and ambulances rushing in,” says T.K. Ng, President of SideFX Asia Pacific. “In the movie world we could do that by building a set but you’re talking about a lot of money.”“In having the virtual world it becomes reusable, so the cost savings there is tremendous because the set doesn’t have to be rebuilt each time, you don’t have to blow things up and destroy things,” says Ng.Not to mention that blowing up hospitals for training sessions might unnerve nearby civilians slightly.The re-usability of virtual scenarios is also key to allowing modifications and adjustments to ensure simulations incorporate new knowledge and stay fresh for trainees.“The stories and learning of first responders and emergency teams can also be incorporated into the system so it can be replayed for the training teams,” he says.SideFX looking at Singapore’s health systemAnother SideFX initiative is to develop VR training systems for Singapore’s health system.Ng describes how virtual surgery can provide simulations for medical trainees that combines with haptic feedback to make the look and feel ultra-realistic without the expense of having to procure and store human cadavers.But he says one of the most powerful motivations driving Singapore’s interest in these VR and AR projects is to capture institutional knowledge, especially from the more experienced clinicians, doctors and nurses.“As we get older we gain experience, but the challenge is always how we share that vast experience,” says Ng. “We always talk about the masters and how we wish we could have learned from them.”“With VR we can capture these experiences and have these experts become immortalized as reference models so future doctors can learn from a very skilled surgeon or a very skilled emergency responder,” he says. Donal Powercenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Follow the Puck Tags:#Augmented Reality#IoT#SideFX#Singapore#Smart Cities#virtual reality last_img read more

If You Aren’t Using SMS in Your Business, Now’s The Time to Start

first_imgFrank Landman Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… When it comes to marketing and customer communication, most business owners know about email and social media. But if you aren’t using SMS, you’re missing out on an opportunity to increase your reach.Why SMS?Text messaging – or SMS as it’s formally known – is ubiquitous in today’s society, but are you leveraging it in your own business? If you’re slow to adopt, just consider the following:98 percent of American adults between the ages of 18-29 own a mobile device that’s capable of receiving a text message. In other words, virtually your entire audience – regardless of the demographic – is using SMS.More than half of all consumers would prefer to receive a text for customer support (rather than a phone call), while 90 percent of business leads say the same. SMS is seen as less intrusive than voice and is, therefore, more likely to produce the results you’re seeking.Though 64 percent of consumers are likely to view a company in a positive light after receiving a text message, just 30 percent say they actually receive texts from companies they buy from. This means the demand for SMS is there. Customers are simply waiting for brands to catch up and use this powerful medium.SMS is immediate. There’s virtually no time between when a message is sent and when it’s received. This makes it ideal for sending time-sensitive messages that won’t work with direct mail and other mediums.Communicating with customers can get expensive. With a piece of direct mail, for example, you have to pay for the design, paper, and postage. SMS, on the other hand, is very affordable – costing just pennies per message. When you’re sending a message out to thousands of customers, this can save you a considerable amount of money.There are few better ways to increase customer engagement than to use SMS to stay on top of your customers’ minds.4 Ways You Can Use SMS in BusinessNot sure where to begin with SMS? Here are some ways you can seamlessly integrate it into your business moving forward:1. Testing Customer EngagementBusinesses are always looking for ways to determine which customers are fully engaged and which ones are absent. There are a variety of ways to answer this question, but SMS is one of the more effective solutions.You can easily use SMS to test engagement by sending out a short, simple message like this: “Receive 40 percent off your next order by showing us this message at purchase.”With a generous offer like this, you’ll see who is interested and who has moved on. It’s not a foolproof method, but it’s a pretty good indicator. If nothing else, it shows you which customers are persuaded by deals and how effective coupons and promotions can be in future situations.2. Providing News and UpdatesMost businesses send out news and updates via email, but did you know that less than one out of every four emails are actually read? By contrast, SMS has a 98 percent open rate. This makes it the perfect medium for disseminating important, timely content. You just need to make sure you use a link shortener. Otherwise, your message could intimidate the recipient.“A link shortener is simply turning a long, extensive URL into a shorter one,” TextMarks explains. “Using a shorter link can make your message appear more user-friendly and increase its readability. It can also save valuable character space and maintain the concise message you want. Also, link shorteners have no negative impact on SEO, so long as the link works and the conversion is a 301 redirect.”3. Generating LeadsDid you know that 77 percent of U.S. internet consumption comes from mobile devices? If you want to take full advantage of this, you need to adopt SMS as a tool for generating additional leads. Something like a “Click-to-Text” button on your website may be enough to create a little traction.4. Providing Customer ServiceMost people are within arm’s reach of their phone at any given moment. Whether it’s in a pocket, purse, or desk drawer, it’s never too far away. This makes SMS the ideal medium for delivering timely customer service.SMS can be used to send out a tracking number for a package that will be delivered. It’s also ideal for notifying customers of store closures, delays, backorders, and other similar issues. From the consumer side of things, it can allow customers to check their order status or make a change to an order after placement.5. Offering CouponsWhen it comes to SMS, millennials are the sweet spot. And if there’s one thing we know about millennial consumers, it’s that they love finding discounts and deals on the products and services they purchase.SMS is the ideal medium for sending coupons and deals to customers. With the right platform, you can even send out personalized coupons that target customers based on past purchase behaviors, current location, and demographic information.6. Launching Text-to-Win ContestsIn order to be highly successful with text messaging, you need a big list of engaged SMS subscribers. There are lots of ways to build your list, but one of the quickest and most effective is to launch a text-to-win contest.A text-to-win contest is extremely simple. You launch a contest in which people must send a text message to a specific number and opt-in to your subscriber list. A handful of people are then chosen at random to be winners. Prizes may include cash, free products, coupons, or brand swag.When launching a text-to-win campaign, the key is to advertise and promote it in as many places as possible. You can do this on your website, via social media, or even through physical channels like print advertisements or in-store displays.7. Real-Time RemindersIt’s becoming increasingly common for restaurants to use SMS as a channel for handling reservations and letting guests know that their table is ready. It’s much simpler and more cost-effective than using the traditional hardware and software that restaurants have relied on in the past.From the restaurant’s perspective, this also serves as a convenient method for building an SMS subscriber list. Once a customer opts in, the restaurant can use the subscriber’s information to send out offers, coupons, and news updates in the future.8. Customer Surveys and PollsMany businesses rely on customer feedback in the form of surveys and polls in order to stay abreast of what’s happening in the marketplace. Unfortunately, traditional methods of polling – whether face-to-face or online – are costly and time-consuming. You either have to hire a team of people to go out and ask questions, or you have to pay for expensive placement and promotion online. With SMS, you can avoid both of these options.SMS is quick and responsive. The average mobile user picks up their phone hundreds of times per day and is quick to respond. SMS is also renowned for its accurate responses. Because of the anonymity and privacy, SMS survey respondents are less likely to have their responses be influenced by the individual asking the questions.Another advantage of using SMS is that it’s digestible. You can send one question at a time, which eliminates the risk of a recipient becoming overwhelmed. And if an individual chooses not to complete the survey, you can still use the feedback that was provided.9. Additional SecurityYou can never be too safe in today’s marketplace. Cybersecurity threats are all around us, and you don’t want your business – or your customers – to become compromised. One of the best ways to keep your customer accounts safe is to require (or at least offer the option) of two-factor authentication.With two-factor authentication, a user needs to know something and have something in order to successfully log in. The know refers to a standard password. But once the user puts the password in, they’ll then have a one-time pin code sent to a pre-approved mobile device via SMS. The user takes this pin code and then uses it to complete the log-in process. By requiring the user to have a specific device, it’s much less likely that a hacker will gain illegal access to the account.Most SMS solutions have some sort of verification system built in – or at least have the ability to integrate an API for this purpose. If you’re running an online business or other account-based enterprise, this is certainly something to consider.Start Using SMS TodayIf you’re looking for a powerful way to engage your customers, don’t overlook SMS. It’s a versatile touchpoint that businesses of all sizes and industries can utilize with overwhelmingly positive results. Spend some time crafting a strategy and give it a try. You’ll learn what works through trial and error. Related Posts center_img Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more