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Week Ending: 19th June - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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WEEK ENDING: 19TH JUNE – A ROUNDUP IN I.T. & TECH NEWS

From the launch of WhatsApp Pay and Amazon’s Echo Auto, to BT group providing 10,000 families in England with free internet access, it’s been another busy week in the world of I.T. and tech. If you missed all that don’t worry, our trusty roundup will bring you right up to date in no time.

Facebook launches WhatsApp digital payment service

On Monday, popular messaging app WhatsApp launched its digital payment service to 120m users in Brazil.

Brazil is the first nationwide rollout of WhatsApp Pay. But, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, announced earlier this year that Mexico, Indonesia, and India are next in-line to have payments on WhatsApp introduced to them, as a result of the WhatsApp market being huge in these countries.

WhatsApp Pay allows users to send money peer-to-peer for free, or complete purchases from small businesses, without even leaving the chat platform.

The move comes as parent company, Facebook, pushes ahead with its plans to bring more e-commerce to its platforms. Facebook is set to compete with e-commerce giant Amazon, by pushing the social media channel as a shopping platform, whilst gathering data around users’ spending patterns.

WhatsApp said:

“Making payments simple can help bring more businesses into the digital economy, opening up new opportunities for growth.
We’re making sending money to loved ones as easy as sending a message, which could not be more important as people are physically distant from one another.”

We think the launch of WhatsApp Pay would certainly make payments a lot easier and much quicker for users, we hope it gets rolled out in the U.K. soon!

Discover more here.

BT Group provides free internet access to 10,000 families

Telecommunications company, BT Group, has set up a scheme which will provide 10,000 families in England with vouchers to enable them free access to the internet for six months. The vouchers will be distributed by the Department for Education and they will help disadvantaged youngsters to study online.

In the country’s current climate, because of Covid-19, most primary and secondary pupils are still out of school, meaning they are having to learn online. It has become apparent, with increasing concerns, that a ‘digital divide’ is occurring, with poorer pupils missing out on important learnings as they do not have access to computer equipment or adequate internet access. As a result, a social divide within education is being made wider.

No child should fall behind in school as a result of Coronavirus, therefore the scheme between BT and the Department for Education is a move to help pupils study by giving them vouchers to access the internet for free, with access to up to five million Wi-Fi hotspots.

Marc Allera of BT said:

“The free Wi-Fi scheme would allow thousands of children to keep up with their important digital learning and online schoolwork for the rest of term and over the summer holidays as well as into the autumn".

Find out more about the scheme here.

Amazon brings Alexa to cars with Echo Auto

This week, Amazon has launched Echo Auto in the U.K. and Ireland which brings the giant’s smart voice assistant, Alexa, into cars.

The Echo Auto will connect to a car’s audio system via a 3.5mm audio jack, or a car’s Bluetooth input. The device also needs to be powered, so car owners will have to connect the Echo Auto to their car's 12v power outlet or USB port.

The Echo Auto gives drivers hands-free access to Alexa’s 70,000+ skills, meaning users can make calls, stream their favourite music services, listen to audiobooks, and check their reminders and schedules all whilst in the car, without taking their eyes off the wheel.

Echo Auto uses the driver’s smartphone which will have to be connected through the Alexa app to access the internet. Plus, the new device boasts eight microphones, all designed to recognise voice commands despite road noise, the sound of air-conditioning and fans.

The clever new device will allow customers to take Alexa with them everywhere they go and with the device going on sale from just £49.00, there’s no doubt it’s going to perform well in the marketplace.

Amazon’s EU vice president, Eric Saarnio, said:

“We're delighted to offer customers an easy way to add Alexa to the car they already own. With Echo Auto, customers can now enjoy the convenience of Alexa on the road, giving them the ability to play music, make calls, continue their audiobook, play games, manage their reminders and more - all just by using their voice."

Discover more about Amazon’s Echo Auto here.


Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.