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High-tech satellite to beam broadband from space

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Intelsat, operator of the world’s first globalized network, recently announced that the Intelsat 33e, the second of the Intelsat Epic high throughput satellites (HTS), successfully completed all in-orbit testing and is in service.

Manufactured by Boeing and launched in August 2016, Intelsat 33e is equipped with the most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft. With this exceptionally flexible HTS payload design, Intelsat 33e, operating from 60° East, will extend Intelsat’s HTS services in C-, Ku- and Ka-band to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions. This will enable the delivery of enterprise-grade, broadband services to fixed and mobile network operators, aeronautical and maritime mobility service providers and government customers. Intelsat 33e’s powerful spot beams will also enable the distribution of regionalized content for media customers operating in the region.

The customers committed to Intelsat 33e and the applications supported reflect the vast geographic coverage of the satellite:

  • Maritime broadband leaders GEE, Speedcast and Marlink
  • In-flight entertainment and connectivity leaders Gogo and Panasonic Avionics
  • Pakistani Internet service provider SuperNet Limited
  • Telecommunications infrastructure customers Telkom South Africa, Orange Cameroon, IP Planet, Vodacom, Djibouti Telecom and Africell RDC SPRL
  • Russian network service providers Romantis and RuSat LLC support enterprise applications
  • Media companies TV & Radio Broadcasting (formerly Television and Radio Broadcasting of Armenia) and MultiChoice of South Africa

In addition to existing customers, Intelsat 33e is attracting new customers. For example, Africa Mobile Networks (AMN), which delivers commercial service to previously unconnected rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, will use Intelsat Epic to help mobile network operators expand in these areas in a cost-effective manner and deliver social, economic, educational and other benefits to the population.

“The experience of implementing Intelsat Epic and bringing it to our customers has affirmed our beliefs about the potential of HTS,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “We have a dynamic, open and evolving platform that will increase in capability over time, providing a technology hedge for our customers that need to make investments today on which they can build for a decade of growth. Intelsat is delivering on the promise of HTS, and our design and strategy will advance our vision of unlocking access to new, larger and faster growing sectors for Intelsat and our customers.”

“Many U.S. government customers are eager to begin using Intelsat 33e,” said Skot Butler, President, Intelsat General Corporation. “Testing previously conducted with Intelsat 29e using a small, flat-panel antenna designed for aeronautical applications confirmed that the Intelsat Epic platform delivers superior performance for unmanned aircraft systems. The coverage Intelsat 33e provides is ideal to support U.S. Department of Defense mobility applications and means deployed forces in these regions will benefit from the same game-changing performance and efficiency that Intelsat Epic already delivers in the Americas and the North Atlantic.”

Intelsat Epic services were launched in March 2016 with Intelsat 29e, which is located at 310° East and offers a footprint spanning the Americas, the Caribbean, Eastern United States and the burgeoning North Atlantic region. Three additional Intelsat Epic satellites – Intelsat 32e, Intelsat 35e and Intelsat 37e – are scheduled for launch in 2017. Intelsat Epic’s global footprint will be completed with Horizons 3e, which is to be stationed at 169° East with a launch planned in the second half of 2018.  Horizons 3e will extend Intelsat Epic’s coverage to the Pacific Ocean Region and further expand Intelsat Epic’s presence in Asia Pacific.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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