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4IR: Lets cue and toast to The Gazette’s Achievement in going fully online!

Kitso ke maatla! This beautiful slogan gives so much power to the readers through information. The whole idea of a publication is to share as much information as possible in a timely fashion. Convenience of access to available information tops the desire to read. Compilers of information always try their level best to ensure information arrives to their readers in the most convenient way.

Imagine what we would do if change were not constant. Our chat on 4IR demonstrates that the technology is ever evolving. In this column, we encourage businesses to think in the direction of utilizing the available technology. It is noticeably clear that The Botswana Gazette has embraced 4IR wholeheartedly. COVID-19 saw a revolution in the publications area, going from hard copy to soft copy or online. Many of our friends flooded our WhatsApp inbox with pdf versions of the publications. Last week The Gazette came and committed to the public that they are going online 100 percent, which means you will no longer see a copy on the shelves. They officially introduced their App (The Botswana Gazette) to users. In this column, as students of 4IR we are overly excited. In this wave of excitement, I wish to take you through what an App is.

Many people know what an App is but cannot describe it to save their lives. An App plays a key role in 4IR. In January 2011, in its 21st annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted “App” as the word of the year for 2010. The word “App” had been around earlier, but its prominence is attached to the rise of social media applications. Word of the Year is something that must be notable or heavily used in the year in question but not necessarily new. Word of the Year is said to be done in the manner similar to, say, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

At the time, “App” went to the finals with other words such as “WikiLeaks,” “nom,” “junk” and “trend.” The word “App” is a noun and it is a short version of “application.” Application is a short cut of software application. Therefore, an app is a software programme. But this is not your conventional software programme because it is a special type and is commonly used in smart devices. Your smart TV has apps, as does your mobile phone. Some apps come pre-installed in devices. You can go to Settings on your smart device and study your apps on “Apps and notifications.” This can vary, but your settings should give you sufficient information on the apps that the device has.

The URL for The Botswana Gazette is https://www.thegazette.news/. A URL (Unique Resource Locator) is a nickname of the Internet Protocol (IP) and comprises a domain name and other information. Internet Protocol is simply a language that computers use to communicate to one another. Each computer that connects to a network has an IP address. For you to access The Botswana Gazette online, you need to visit the aforesaid URL. You can do so on your mobile device. However, the browsing experience is normally better on the App. You can read and access the pages faster and conveniently on the App when using a mobile phone as opposed to using the aforesaid URL on a web browser. You need only 4MB to download The Gazette app.

Apps are sold or downloaded for free from app marketplace or app stores. There are over 300 app stores. Statista.com reports that as at Q1:2020, there were four large app stores which included Google Play (2.56million apps), Apple Play (1.85million apps), Windows Store (669k apps) and Amazon Appstore (489k apps). Over 205 billion apps were downloaded in 2018 and experts project close to 260 billion downloads in 2022. About 96% of the apps available on Google Play Store are free. In the event you want to have an app for your business, ensure that your developer has an idea of submitting your app to the market. Submissions have guidelines and minimum standards, and all these are to ensure that your app can compete with many similar apps. There are two main operating mobile systems in the world, and these are Apple’s iOS and Android. When developing an app, the two must be considered as this will help your customers to have convenient access whether they are using Apple or Android.

As we encourage you on this platform to take advantage of 4IR, the App is a very key component. However, because there are millions of apps and millions of downloads, it is quite easy for your app to drown in the vast app marketplace. You need to have a strong content for your app. Your app must be engaging, and the strategy must be embedded on the trends and tastes of your customers. Ensure to engage your customers from time to time. As indicated in the past, online marketers use algorithms to study the patterns of how your customers interact with your app.