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Biometrics power Volvo Ocean Race team

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Team AkzoNobel has partnered with SAP aimed at helping the sailors to optimize their performance using IoT provided by the SAP Leonardo IoT Edge technology to track their fitness levels and degree of exhaustion during racing.

How do you gain a competitive advantage in one of the world’s toughest ocean races when every team uses the same race yacht? While information relating to weather and other conditions is useful, for most teams the advantage stems from improving team performance.

Team AkzoNobel has partnered with SAP as part of an innovation project aimed at helping the sailors to optimize their performance. Using the edge computing for the Internet of Things (IoT) provided by the SAP Leonardo IoT Edge technology, the research project enables team AkzoNobel to track the sailors’ fitness levels and degree of exhaustion during racing. Fully approved by the race organizers and available to all competing teams, the innovative system is being used for the first time in professional sailing.

“So far, aspects like the weather and the ideal route used to be the main focus areas. The technology provided by SAP gives us a tool that helps us to get the best performance from the crew,” said Simeon Tienpont, team AkzoNobel’s skipper. “These technological innovations will help push the boundaries of our sport and can finally make the difference.”

As physical and mental exhaustion pose the biggest threats to crews during the eight-month race, SAP has equipped all nine crew members of team AkzoNobel with sensors to capture biometric data. Worn at all times during the race, the data collected by the sensors provides valuable insights into aspects like fatigue, exhaustion, reaction to weather conditions, and stress levels. In addition, the biometric edge solution – which has access to the same information that the navigator has on board the Volvo Ocean 65 race boat – helps to interpret the biometric measurement data.

Biometric data can be collected and analysed by the crew on board during the entire race to give team AkzoNobel unprecedented insight into the crew’s fitness and recovery data. The output is presented in a specifically designed user interface for the skipper.

A part of the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system, SAP Leonardo IoT Edge is being used to capture the biometric data of the crew at sea. IoT-edge computing describes the capability of processing, storing and analysing sensor data without an Internet or other data connection. Once the boats arrive at each of the 12 stopovers, predictive and machine learning analytics are run on SAP Cloud Platform using SAP Leonardo IoT Foundation. Based on the data collected at sea, the predictive analytics results provided to the crew supports team AkzoNobel’s skipper’s preparation for the next leg of the race.

According to Adriana Marais, Head of Innovation at SAP Africa, exponential technologies such as IoT and predictive analytics can add value to nearly every industry when integrated with the cloud-based digital innovation system SAP Leonardo. “Biometric data is transforming the way we do things, from the world of international yacht racing, to the remote delivery of healthcare services in rural areas, to monitoring the health of astronauts in the International Space Station. This project shows how data acquired by connected sensors, coupled with machine learning and predictive analytics, can enable even the largely analogue world of international yacht racing to run digital. At SAP we are passionate about making people’s lives better, and our technology enables improved insights from the acquisition and analytics of data that can enhance performance, or even boost longevity.”

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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