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Enterprise gets Intelligence

A new range of services launched by SAP brings advanced technologies to the enterprise.

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At the Sapphire Now conference in Orlando last week, SAP announced new products and partnerships to enable enterprises to become more intelligent, with expanded capabilities from advanced technologies like conversational artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and analytics. SAP also announced that SAP Cloud Platform is now available on all major cloud infrastructure providers.

The Internet of Things platform launched a year ago, Has also extended its technical capabilities for customers to embed cutting-edge technologies into their processes to improve workflows and make enterprises more efficient.

The new products and services include the following. Information as upplied by SAP:

·         SAP Conversational AI enables companies to develop intelligent chatbots. The service includes a powerful end-to-end toolkit for training, building and monitoring chatbots. These chatbots can be integrated with SAP and non-SAP systems and are available as preconfigured industry-specific bots. So far, users have built 60,000 SAP Conversational AI chatbots. France’s railway company SNCF and telecommunications provider SFR already are using SAP Conversational AI to improve customer service and target younger audiences.

·         SAP Leonardo Machine Learning capabilities are now embedded in applications across the SAP portfolio, including SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP C/4HANA and SAP Ariba solutions.

·         SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation, which allows customers to develop individual applications, has five new services, including object detection, text recognition in images and text classification, which analyzes and automatically categorizes text documents. It now supports the software library scikit-learn, in addition to TensorFlow.

·         SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain is a new blockchain as a service enabling enterprises to easily build and extend business solutions with blockchain technologies, such as Hyperledger Fabric and MultiChain. About 65 companies participate in the SAP blockchain co-innovation initiative to help customers use manufacturing and supply-chain products augmented by blockchain to enhance transparency, safety and collaboration in industries such as transportation, food, and pharmaceuticals. To ensure quality, U.S. sausage maker Johnsonville LLC is using blockchain to trace the origin of products across the supply chain.

To expand and accelerate global adoption and best practices of blockchain in the transportation industry, SAP has started a global blockchain consortium with seven founding members, including Intel Corp., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) and A3 by Airbus SE.

To help customers easily embed advanced technologies into their solutions, SAP released SAP Leonardo-based innovation kits for specific industries, including retail, life sciences, manufacturing and automotive. SAP also launched the SAP Leonardo Partner Medallion Initiative, an SAP partner service that has more than doubled the number of SAP Leonardo embedded industry solutions.

SAP Cloud Platform Takes Multicloud to New Dimensions

SAP continues to expand and enhance its multicloud strategy with the general availability of SAP Cloud Platform on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. With these additions, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), SAP Cloud Platform is now available on all major hyperscale cloud infrastructure providers. Only SAP delivers this single enterprise platform as a service (PaaS) with such flexibility, openness and choice.

SAP also intends to release SAP Cloud Platform, private edition, on IBM Cloud as a private cloud deployment. The joint solution will allow clients in regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and transportation, as well as those managing sensitive data, to have the flexibility, speed and agility to innovate without jeopardizing security and control.

Delivering on its promise to offer customers choice in mobile app deployments, SAP is also releasing the SAP Cloud Platform software development kit (SDK) for Android. It allows customers to access sophisticated workflows through any Android or Chrome OS device, bringing a familiar, easy-to-use mobile experience across iOS and Android apps.

SAP Analytics Cloud Innovations Enable the Intelligent Enterprise

The expanded capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud are now directly embedded within SAP S/4HANA Cloud to ensure organizations can plan, execute and analyze in one system, breaking free from spreadsheet proliferation or stand-alone tools. Customers include leading recycled paper and packing company Pratt Industries, aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies and Daimler AG. Additionally, SAP Analytics Cloud now delivers contextual news feeds.

SAP Analytics Cloud extends access to over 150 cloud data sources, so customers can easily access, blend and gain insight from their data, no matter where it resides. The combination of machine learning and natural language query (NLQ) technology augments human intelligence, leading to faster, more accurate results and greater business agility. The new feature “search to insight” uses conversational AI to quickly provide insights into data by answering ad hoc questions in natural language on any device.

Other enhancements to SAP Analytics Cloud include prebuilt content and business logic for more than 20 SAP products, including SAP SuccessFactors®, SAP Ariba and SAP Hybris solutions and SAP S/4HANA, to embed analytics where users work. These capabilities in SAP Analytics Cloud can be embedded into SAP line-of-business applications to power the intelligent enterprise.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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