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Lenovo unveils new X1 family

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Lenovo has unveiled its new X1 portfolio. According to the company, the series includes new additions like the adaptable ThinkPad X1 Tablet with its modular design; the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with an OLED display; and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Lenovo provided the following information:

The modular design of the ThinkPad X1 Tablet offers something no other tablet can – adding functionality through simple clip-on optional modules:

·        Need more battery? The Productivity Module increases use up to 15 hours total

·        Ready to present? The Presenter Module includes a pico projector and HDMI port

·        Creating in 3D? Add the 3D Imaging Module with its rear-facing Intel RealSense camera

The full size ThinkPad keyboard with the iconic TrackPoint has three adjustable typing angles and recreates the classic ThinkPad keystroke feel. Keyboard and tablet together weigh just 1 kilo for an ultra-light laptop experience. What’s more, it is the first Windows tablet with LTE Advanced support for fast connectivity from virtually anywhere. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet also features a removable rear panel for serviceability and upgrades. ThinkPad X1 Tablet will be available at a starting price of ZAR 26,500.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga is incredibly thin at just 0.66 inches and light at only 1.3 kilos. It is also the world’s first convertible featuring an optional Samsung OLED display that reproduces beautifully rich colors and deeper blacks. With a patented Lift and Lock keyboard that retracts keys in tablet mode, X1 Yoga also features an active pen that is perfect for highlighting and writing notes directly on webpages using the Microsoft Edge browser. The pen is also housed & charged inside the system so it won’t get lost. ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be available at a starting price of ZAR 29,000.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon continues to stand out as the world’s lightest 14-inch business ultrabook. One of the most refined and elegant notebooks available today, the X1 Carbon is thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever. Focused on customer-centric design improvements, we listened to customer feedback and made a number of improvements, including more display options, increased memory and storage capacity, improved connectivity and made the X1 Carbon lighter at just 1.2 kilos. ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be available at a starting price of ZAR 26,500.

Customers expect Lenovo to keep pushing the boundaries and the ThinkPad X1 series doesn’t disappoint. With a unique combination of performance, connectivity and security focused features available in all three products, the new ThinkPad X1 family is designed and engineered for forward thinkers:

·        Up to 1TB high-density, low-power Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD storage offers speeds up to five times that of standard SATA SSD

·        Ultra-fast enterprise class connectivity with the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X7 LTE modem with 4G LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation support for up to 300 Mbps download speeds

·        Fast and secure WiGig wireless docking for a cable-free desk environment

·        Touch Fingerprint reader and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip for peace of mind

·        Built tough to withstand the rigors of mobile working by passing more than two hundred Lenovo stress tests

The ThinkCentre X1 AIO offers a superlative design within an ultra-thin 11mm frame giving one of the world’s thinnest desktops. The premium anti-glare display offers a bright picture from any angle on its 23.8-inch screen and despite the incredibly thin chassis, the ThinkCentre X1 is built tough. Designed to withstand dust build up, a common cause of hardware failure with desktop PCs, the all-in-one has been tested for eight hours in a dust chamber, replicating ten years in an office environment.

The 7.5mm ultra-slim ThinkVision X1, is the world’s first monitor to receive the TUV Eye-Comfort certification. Featuring a 27-inch UltraHD edge-to-edge anti-glare display, the ThinkVision X1 includes rich connectivity options such as a USB type C port, providing the perfect complement to the ThinkPad X1 Tablet. ThinkCentre X1 AIO will be available at a starting price of ZAR 20,000.

Graham Braum, General Manager for Lenovo Africa commented, “Today’s progressive customers are open-minded, energetic and enthusiastic tech influencers who seek technology that will help push the boundaries. Our expanded X1 family stays true to the ThinkPad’s heritage that has been designed and engineered for these forward thinkers. Brilliantly adaptable with super-thin and ultra-light premium designs, these new products will help professionals embrace cloud computing, mobility and security to build companies of tomorrow.’’

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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget visited the Netflix studios last week. In the first of a series, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read about Netflix’s international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Take these 5 steps to digital

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By MARK WALKER, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Digital transformation isn’t a buzz word because it sounds nice and looks good on the business CV. It is fundamental to long-term business success. IDC anticipates that 75% of enterprises will be on the path to digital transformation by 2027. 

However, digital transformation is not a process that ticks a box and moves to the next item on the agenda – it is defined by the organisation’s shift towards a digitally empowered infrastructure and employee. It is an evolution across system, infrastructure, process, individual and leadership and should follow clear pathways to ensure sustainable success.

The nature of the enterprise has changed completely with the influence of digital, cloud and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and success is reliant on strategic change.

There is a lot more ownership and transparency throughout the organisation and there is a responsibility that comes with that – employees want access to information, there has to be speed in knowledge, transactions and engagement,” he adds. “To ensure that the organisation evolves alongside digital and demand, it has to follow five very clear pathways to long-term, achievable success.

The first of these is to evaluate where the enterprise sits right now in terms of its digital journey. This will differ by organisation size and industry, as well as its reliance on technology. A smaller organisation that only needs a basic accounting function or the internet for email will have far different considerations to a small organisation that requires high-end technology to manage hedge funds or drive cloud solutions. The same comparisons apply to the enterprise-level organisation. The mining sector will have a completely different sub-set of technology requirements and infrastructure limitations to the retail or finance sectors.

Ultimately, every organisation, regardless of size or industry, is reliant on technology to grow or deliver customer service, but their digital transformation requirements are different. To ensure that investment into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, knowledge engines, automation and connectivity are accurately placed within the business and know exactly where the business is going.

The second step is to examine what the business wants to achieve. Again, the goals of the organisation over the long and short term will be entirely sector dependent, but it is essential that it examine what the competitive environment looks like and what influences customer expectations. This understanding will allow for the business to hone its digital requirements accordingly.

The third step is to match expectations to reality. You need to see how you can move your digital transformation strategy forward and what areas require prioritisation, what funding models will support your digital aspirations, and how this tie into what the market wants. Ultimately, every step of the process has to be prioritised to ensure it maps back to where you are and the strategic steps that will take you to where you want to go.

The fourth step is to look at the operational side of the process. This is as critical as any other aspect of the transformation strategy as it maps budget to skills to infrastructure in such a way as to ensure that any project delivers return on investment. Budget and funding are always top of mind when it comes to digital transformation – these are understandably key issues for the business. How will it benefit from the investment? How will it influence the customer experience? What impact will this have on the ongoing bottom line? These questions tie neatly into the fifth step in the process – the feedback loop.

This is often the forgotten step, but it is the most important. The feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the digital transformation process is achieving the right results, that the right metrics are in place, and that the needle is moving in the right direction. It is within this feedback loop that the organisation can consistently refine the process to ensure that it moves to each successive step with the right metrics in place.

There is also one final element that every organisation should have in place throughout its digital evolution. An element that many overlook – engagement. There must be a real desire to change, from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom, and an understanding of what it means to undertake this change and why it is essential. This is why this will be a key discussion at the 2019 IDC South Africa CIO Summit taking place in April this year. With this in place, the five steps to digital transformation will make sense and deliver the right results.

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