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BlackBerry expands crisis comms

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BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Secure service has recently been upgraded to help organisations protect personnel during a crisis without language becoming a barrier when response time is critical.

BlackBerry has announced that BlackBerry Secure, the company’s approach to security addressing the entire enterprise from end point to end point, is now able to help organisations protect personnel during a crisis without language becoming a barrier when response time is critical.  In addition to providing its solution in eight additional languages, BlackBerry AtHoc’s latest updates to its crisis communication platform includes enhanced mobile alerting functionality, upgraded map-based experiences for emergency operators, and significant performance improvements.

“A wide range of companies, from manufacturers to large transportation hubs, are in need of platforms that will increase communication and efficiencies throughout global teams,” said Ly Tran, Senior Vice President of BlackBerry AtHoc Sales. “In addition to finding platforms that enable this level of productivity, customers are also demanding the most secure solutions on the market.”

BlackBerry AtHoc’s key product updates include:

·         Eight New Languages: Native language support through multiple worldwide datacenters for international customers leads to faster response and improved safety during a crisis. Native languages that are added among others are French (France and Canada), English (UK), Spanish (Mexico and Spain), Italian, German, and Dutch.
·         Enhanced Geographical Targeting: New custom map layering makes targeting users faster and easier for complex global organizations.
·         Flexible Mobile Operations: Simplifications to the mobile experience, including customized user groups for operators and streamlined alerting for end users, optimize the ability to send and receive critical information during a crisis via the AtHoc mobile app.
·         Augmented Performance: AtHoc continues to improve performance. With this latest update, it delivers up to 50 percent faster page loads in the product areas used most often, meaning it takes less time to start communicating during a crisis, keeping people and organizations safe.
·         Enhanced Security and Privacy: AtHoc continues to invest in making its platform the most secure as well as adhering to global privacy standards.

“Communicating during and after a crisis is a universal challenge,” said Oded Shekel Vice President of Product Management at BlackBerry AtHoc. “We make it easier for customers in Europe and Latin America to protect people by sending messages and monitoring activity in local languages. By automating this process and reducing the burden of translations, we are helping organizations reach personnel quickly during a crisis, without language becoming a barrier when response time is critical.”

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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