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Aruba brings asset tracking into the wireless network

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Aruba has unveiled an asset tracking solution that is fully integrated into a wireless infrastructure, meaning that a complex process becomes simplified, and allows full integration at dramatically reduced costs.

Organisations worldwide lose millions of dollars every year on high-value items and inventory that are misplaced, lost or stolen. Furthermore, employees and customers suffer from lost productivity and poor experiences. These challenges are particularly prevalent in industries like healthcare, where items such as IV pumps and heart defibrillators are easily misplaced, resulting in 25 percent of hospital staff’s time wasted looking for these assets1 and negatively impacting quality of care. In retail and warehousing, items that can’t be located quickly mean wasted time for employees, delayed order fulfillment for customers and often, a loss of revenue for the retailer.

Aruba asset tracking addresses these challenges with a solution that is integrated into the Aruba Wi-Fi infrastructure, eliminating the need for a separate network. Organisations also gain the benefits of accurate tracking of important items using either an intuitive, map-based mobile app or by integrating with organisations’ existing tracking solutions.

The solution includes the following components:

·         Advancements to ArubaOS and Aruba APs: This new software allows Aruba BLE-enabled Access Points and Sensors to act as asset tag “observers,” creating a sensory network that provides added value to organizations with existing Aruba wireless infrastructure. In essence, it allows their Wi-Fi infrastructure to double as an asset tracking network.

·         New Aruba Tags: Cost-effective Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) – enabled tags are slightly larger than a quarter, making them ideal for items that range in size from IV pumps in a healthcare setting to pallets of goods in a warehouse. The tags are designed to meet stringent environmental requirements and come with multiple attachment options.

·         Asset Tag Configuration App: Aruba’s configuration app makes set-up and ongoing management of the tags simple. Assets can be designated with names, photos and optional IDs so that like assets can be searched for easily. Changes can be performed quickly, near the assets, and all data is automatically saved in a central cloud database.

·         New features for the Aruba Meridian AppMaker: Organisations can now create their own asset tracking app for iOS or Android with the Meridian AppMaker. The AppMaker provides a new SDK and APIs for seamless third-party integration and custom use cases.

Partner Ecosystem Enables Broad Adoption Across Industries

Key to the success of Aruba’s existing location-based services and Mobile Engagement portfolio has been the Meridian Engage Partner Program. Customers have leveraged app developers to integrate and build value-added mobile apps for iOS and Android that are used with the Meridian Mobile App Platform and Aruba Mobile Engagement portfolio. Aruba is extending the Engage program beyond Meridian app developers to now include Meridian asset tracking partners including Emerge, Raizlabs, STANLEY Healthcare, and VenueNext.

“We are pleased to deepen our existing relationship with Aruba for location solutions in healthcare,” said Raz Evenor, Director of Product Management, STANLEY Healthcare. “Our MobileView platform combines the widest range of real-time visibility solutions with advanced analytics for hospitals to increase safety and security for patients and staff, drive operational efficiency, and ultimately deliver a better patient experience. As technology and network infrastructure evolve, we are always looking for new ways to expand choices for our customers. This partnership with Aruba for BLE-powered asset tracking gives our healthcare customers an additional cost-effective option for management of mobile medical assets.”

HPE Pointnext

Aruba Meridian Services from HPE Pointnext provide customers and partners worldwide with the expertise needed to take advantage of location-based services to engage with mobile users in any organisation or public-facing venue. These services can help augment customer IT and Aruba partner teams to provide the capabilities needed for the design and development of mobile applications with the Meridian platform.

Aruba asset tracking is one of the intelligent edge innovations that Aruba unveiled this week at HPE Discover. Aruba also introduced its 8400 Core Switch Series, a new core aggregation switch that delivers the performance, power, automation, and troubleshooting capabilities necessary to address the challenges of mobility, cloud, and IoT inherent in networks today.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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