There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked digitalisation over the past 18 months. 

The development of solutions that enable people to live a more connected existence, far from slowing down, has accelerated beyond our wildest expectations. 

Despite enormous changes and disruptions to life and work as we know it, the level of innovation and commitment from app developers and tech innovators has continued and thrived.

This was all too apparent at the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards, which took place virtually tonight for the second year running. 

These awards, now in their tenth year and with the biggest prize money offered to date, celebrate the very best of South Africa’s app development talent.

The winner of one of the most competitive categories, the Most Innovative Solution, sponsored by IDEMIA, went to HelloPay’s SoftPOS, a contactless payment acceptance solution that enables merchants to accept electronic payments easily by turning an NFC enabled Android phone into a card acceptance device. 

Registration is done online.

This category is once again this year supported by IDEMIA, the global leader in Augmented Identity. 

“Congratulations to the winner, SoftPOS, on their truly innovative solution,” said Alexander Georgiev, Senior Vice President Middle East and Africa for Mobile Operators at IDEMIA. 

“As a long-time technology partner of MTN, IDEMIA South Africa is honored to have contributed to the growth of South Africa’s mobile sector. 

“Tonight, we are proud to partner with MTN to support the strong expansion of homegrown technological talent that will contribute to a digital future here in South Africa.”

This entry, submitted by Zunaid Miya, Managing Director of Financial Services at The Hello Group surpassed all other submissions, with a first-to-market and ground-breaking solution, with the judging panel finding SoftPOS a truly one-of-a-kind disruptive solution.

“We are really thrilled to have won this category. This goes a long way in demonstrating our commitment to enabling small businesses to become digitised and financially included,” Miya says. 

“The Hello Pay Team are focused on solving problems and creating innovative solutions using technology at the core. This app was developed to create convenience for small merchants. 

“This technology is a game changer for the payments industry. No longer do merchants need to purchase an additional device to accept payments. By using their existing NFC enabled Android device, they can simply download the app, go through the registration process online and start accepting payments,” he says.

“With contactless payments growing in adoption by consumers, technology accelerates this form of card payment Our objective is to now enhance the app so as to accept payments with Pin on Glass (POG). 

“Currently the app only allows for transactions below R500 which is the CVM limit for contactless transactions”, he explains.

This year saw an unparalleled 1 274 entries into these awards, with the category of Most Innovative Solution once again attracting the most entries.

Another highlight tonight was the awarding of the overall MTN Business App of the Year to Ambani Africa, with developers Mukundi Lambani walking away with R 1 million in prize money.

Whether it’s helping governments around the world to securely boost cross border traveller traffic, or facilitating rapidly evolving payment methods, IDEMIA remains very much at the forefront of innovation specifically when it comes to security, biometrics and digital solutions.

Alexander Georgiev added “IDEMIA continues to support local developers who dare to innovate. 

“We look forward to seeing what the future holds for SoftPOS, as they continue to enhance this solution and create added convenience for businesses in South Africa.” 

For a full list of all category winners from tonight’s MTN Business App of the Year Awards, please go to www.appoftheyear.co.za.