Friday, 28 June 2013

Startimes in con racket

Even before the dust settles on recent wrangles with Communication Commission of Kenya surrounding Star Times charging its subscribers for free-to-air channels in Kenya, the Pay TV company now finds itself embroiled in a dispute with Ugandan consumers for selling them outdated decoders.
Star Times’ Chinese national Kevin Chen, who’s Company, has been in the business of conning Ugandans by selling them obsolete decoders that are to be switched off before the end of this month to pave for the internationally acceptable Digital TV Broadcasting, is scheduled to face Ugandan courts.
Two Ugandan citizens Mulwani Taminwa and Muzamiru Kasamba were on 18th June cleared by the Commercial section of the High Court to file a case on behalf of more than 130,000 complainants whom, the Chinese duped into paying for the outlandish appliances.
They will be joined by the Uganda Consumers Protection Awareness Association (UCPAA) to push for a refund from the Chinese. The victims will also seek a swap for the compliant decoders from the accused.
Ugandan lawyer Richard Omongole filed the public interest lawsuit, with a preliminary application by Mulwani, Kasamba and UCPAA, to bring a representative suit on behalf of the victims of the con racket.
The Court’s deputy registrar Thaddeus Opesen allowed the application, which is to be served to Star Times management through an advertisement in the media.
The decoders in question go by the name DVB-T Set Top Box, which the plaintiff claim are products of outdated technology as declared by the 2006 International Telecommunications Union Conference that sat in Geneva.
Ever since the Uganda Communication Commission announced the analogue-to-digital TV migration deadline, the plaintiffs allege, the Chinese lowered the prices of their obsolete gadgets, luring scores of Ugandans who are prefer cheap commodities.
UCC has since drafted a policy and attendant public notice announcing Uganda was to adopt Digital Television Broadcasting Technology thereby abolishing the use of the outdated Star Times decoders.
UCC instructed the parties involved to stop the sale of DVB-T Technology,
but Star Times, continued to do so,” asserts Mulwani in affidavit he swore before Commissioner of Oaths Deo Bitaguma. Mulwani attached a list of the recent purchases by Ugandans, of the outdated and banned gadgets.
Even when the consumers body (UCCPAA) issued a September 18th 2012 statement demanding that Star Times stopped breaching the UCC ban, Star Times management did not adhere to the directive.
Though the consumers’ body copied the letter to Parliament, ICT and Trade Ministry and the Chinese Embassy, they ignored the breach, giving Star Times a free hand to exploit Ugandan consumers.
The Government failed to intervene as required by the Geneva Conference resolution to phase out obsolete TV gadgets. This is because it could not afford to annoy the loaded Chinese investors as well as their government which is bankrolling many projects such as the President’s Office, among
others. In a twist of events, the Uganda Responsible Investment (URI) body instead named the company as the Best Digital TV Providers of the year.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Greenovation the LG way

Two trends are going to play a significant role in determining which companies thrive in a global market characterised by rising energy prices and dwindling resources. Companies that improve their internal energy efficiency and offer products or services that help consumers improve their own energy efficiency are going to be the big winners.

Mr Josep Kim, the LG East Africa Managing Director says LG is increasingly focusing its innovation around constantly improving energy efficiency in its products to deliver value for money and remain eco-friendly in its operations. “LG's green vision is to provide values that enhance the quality of life for its consumers and create a healthier and cleaner environment,” say Josep Kim, the LG East Africa Managing Director.   
Josep Kim, LG Managing Director for East and Central Africa, breakdowns the features the World’s first 84inch Ultra HD TV during a recent media breakfast. The TV is wider than a car and costs almost as much.  
He however explains that improving facility efficiency is only one small step in making the company as environmentally friendly as possible. Before any manufacturing materials arrive at LG’s facilities for processing, LG undertakes an evaluation process to ensure that the company’s suppliers are equally committed to eco-friendly practices.

LG’s supply chain management system ensures that all of LG’s partners take the necessary steps to ensure that the components they are supplying to LG are free of hazardous materials and are obtained in an environmentally responsible manner.

“LG will not do business with suppliers involved in conflict minerals or the extraction of resources from environmentally endangered areas,” says Mr Kim. Away from the company’s operations, Mr Kim says LG has been expanding its range of green products.

Consumers are often surprised when they learn that LG’s top-end high performance home entertainment products are also industry leaders in eco-friendly features. Take the 55-inch OLED TV as an example.

Focus is usually placed – perhaps rightfully so – on the scintillating visual capabilities of the screen. Yet the same technology that produces vivid, breathtaking picture quality also delivers real eco-friendly benefits.

The OLED structure eliminates the need for backlighting of any kind. This means that the TV consumes far less energy than rival systems. In addition, the structure is extremely thin, thus reducing weight and cutting down on the energy required for shipping and distribution. And bigger doesn’t necessarily mean higher energy consumption when it comes to LG TVs.

LG’s 84-inch flagship TV features a maximum energy saving mode that cuts energy consumption by 70 percent over conventional TVs.

Most recently, the company’s latest variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system, the Multi V IV, put an emphatic exclamation mark on LG’s technological achievements by posting a stunning 4.78 coefficient of performance (COP) rating.

The Multi V IV’s predecessor, the Multi V III, had already helped LG win a host of awards, including the ‘Best Project Award’ from Climate Control Middle East. LG’s VRF systems enable impressive reductions in energy costs because they are able to rapidly adapt to changing loads.

The improved inverter technology minimizes energy consumption, and the modular design of the units allows building managers to use the system only in zones that require climate control while leaving other zones inactive.

“When it comes to environmental concerns, we’re top of the list of air conditioning manufacturer that are committed to the cause,” says Kranthi Mahakala, an engineer at AC Academy & Marketing. For instance, LG Multi V III, LG has set a world record level of Coefficient of Performance (COP), the clearest measure of energy efficiency in air conditioning.

In installing this advanced air conditioning system, says Mr Mahakala, building owners aren’t just embracing a technology with a far lower impact on the environment; they’re looking at greatly reduced energy bills, too. The Multi V III’s record-breaking energy efficiency is made possible by a technology called HiPORTM (High Pressure Oil Return). HiPORTM enables the compressor to return the oil directly to a high level of pressure, instead of the low levels on conventional AC units.

By minimizing unnecessary re-compressing at lower levels of pressure, HiPORTM reduces energy losses and increases COP levels. Presently, much of the world faces dreadful air pollution along with the attendant threat to public health. Against this backdrop, there is need to re-examine how they use the air, not least the makers of air conditioning appliances.

“The type of AC appliances we install are dependent on whether the building is a residential flat, auditorium or manufacturing plant. We have software and engineers we send on site that measure the cooling load and advice on the AC systems to put in place,” says Mr. Jinan Choi, the LG East Africa Head of Air Conditioning.

LG’s range of home and kitchen appliances enables customers to take advantage of some smile-inducing eco-friendly benefits. For instance, the company’s washing machines and dishwashers are designed to use less water and electricity, its refrigerators create new energy efficient storage options and its ovens cook food faster, thus reducing energy consumption.

LG’s Inverter Linear Compressor is a prime example of how technological innovations can have a major impact on energy efficiency. By reducing friction points from four to just one, LG’s compressor is quieter, more reliable and far more efficient. This is good news for consumers who are looking for both industry leading performance and cutting-edge energy efficiency.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

LG introduces premium door to door services

LG has today unveiled a customer service programme that will take after sales services to the doorsteps of users of LG electronic appliances.

LG customers in Kenya no longer have to ferry electronic appliances to an LG service centre for servicing or parts replacement in case of damage. LG is one of the world’s leading producers of flat panel TVs, mobile devices, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators.   

Mr. Moses Marji, LG East Africa Marketing Manager (left); Mr. Youngmin Son, the LG Service Centre Manager, East and Central Africa (centre) and Mr. Sunggeun Kang, LG Service Centre Managing Director showcase a washing machine technology dubbed Direct Drive  at the LG Service Centre.
The initiative dubbed LG Service will see LG deploy technicians to customers’ residences in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret and Nakuru to service LG appliances in case of damage or malfunction.

“All one will need to do is dial 0800 545454, a toll free number, and give a location of where you live so that we can schedule your request,” says Mr. Sunggeun Kang, the LG Service Centre Managing Director, East and Central Africa.

The maximum response time is 24 hours and everything including transport, diagnosis and spare parts is free for electronics that are still within the warranty period. “We equally give a warranty of three months after we repair any item,” says Mr kang.   

The LG Service programme is a premium service and customers will therefore pay for a fee for in-home service, labour and parts in case of any replacement. “Customers within 5 km will be charged Ksh600 while those further than 5 km will pay Ksh1200,” explains Mr Kang.

He observed that ferrying faulty homes appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, over long distance often aggravates the damage, or causes more wear and tear during transportation. “We are not only giving the customer a piece of mind and convenience; we want to ensure longevity of the products you buy from LG.” 

The programme follows another innovative service that LG pioneered in Kenya in 2011 dubbed Care and Delight Bus free service which tours various parts of the country offering service clinics to LG customers with no labour charges. “Globally, this idea was first introduced in Kenya but we now have similar buses in Sudan, Zambia and Ethiopia.” 

According to Mr Kang, the buses have helped deliver quality services to far-flung areas where users of LG electronics have limited or no access to the company’s authorized service centres.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

LG and Hotpoint Appliances to give amputees artificial limbs

Patients with various physical deformities will now benefit from artificial limbs thanks to a Ksh2.5 million sponsorship, from LG Electronics and Hotpoint Appliances.

There has been a steady rise in the number of patients in need of limb operation and artificial prosthetics owing to diseases such as diabetes and cancer; and road accidents which often lead to loss of limbs. The artificial limbs used in the treatment are imported from Geneva, Switzerland.

PCEA Kikuyu Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre (KORC) attends to about 300 patients annually, with most unable to finance the cost of treatment which ranges from KSh15,000 up to about KSh1 million. 
Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr James Kigera receives a cheque worth Ksh2.5million on behalf of the PCEA Kikuyu Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre from the Managing Director of LG East Africa Mr Josep Kim (centre) and Hotpoint Appliances Managing Director Mr Sailesh Kanani (left).

“About 40 percent of our patients are children suffering from congenital diseases, motorcycle accidents have also become a common cause,” says Dr Choi Seodong.

The PCEA Kikuyu Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre (KORC) is one of the few facilities in Kenya that provide orthopaedic, reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation for patients with physical deformities. 

Annually about 5000 patients are seen and over 800 surgical procedures performed at the hospital.  The facility also specializes in fabricating artificial limbs for amputees, treating and fixing fractured bones and total hip and knee joint replacements.

The beneficiaries will be treated through a partnership between the two companies and the PCEA Kikuyu Hospital’s Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre.

The partnership which has been ongoing since 2005 has benefitted about 1000 patients most of whom come from poor backgrounds and cannot afford the treatment costs. 

Speaking during the partnership signing event, LG Electronics Managing Director for East and Central Africa region MrJosep Kim said the partnership and its achievements were a good case of how the business community can improve the lives of the disadvantaged

“LG Electronics believes in giving back to the communities in which we do business through causes that empower them to achieve their full potential. We have done this over the years with the support of our business partner in Hotpoint Appliances Limited,” said Mr Kim.

Under the partnership, PCEA Kikuyu and the two partners will share the cost of labor and personnel for the entire process of the operation which will cover the full cost of pre-screening of the patients and any other logistics for the project.

Mr. Shailesh Kanani, the Hotpoint Appliances Managing Director said through the partnership, beneficiaries had regained hope and were now empowered to continue with their livelihoods.

“This programme has restored hope to hundreds of beneficiaries and improved their quality of life.  We will continue supporting this cause and we are always searching for any initiatives that can help improve the lives of those within our communities” said Mr. Kanani.

The hospital’s Managing Director Mr Patrick Kimpiatu said through the partnership, the facility had increased its reach to deserving cases in the community.

“We have managed to increase the number of patients who require artificial limbs as a result of this support and I would really like to thank our partners Hotpoint Appliances and LG Electronics” he said.