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MWC: Sony XZ premium brings slow-mo to mobile

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Sony Mobile has announced the Xperia XZ Premium, promising “a camera so advanced it captures motion that the human eye can’t see”. 

The Xperia XZ Premium incorporates imaging know-how embedded on Sony ‘α’ and Cyber-shot cameras to create the new Motion Eye camera system.   The first smartphone to feature a memory stacked Exmor RS sensor usually only found on premium compact cameras, it provides 5 x faster image scanning and data transfer. This means users can produce creative videos from everyday moments by recording in 960 frames per second, providing Super slow motion video playback that is four times slower than other smartphones. Predictive Capture automatically starts buffering images when it detects motion even before you press the button, so the user  can find a moment the eye may just have missed from a selection of four shots taken a second before the click. A new 19MP high resolution sensor has 19% larger pixels to capture more light and provides exceptional detail and sharp images even in low-light and backlit conditions. Additional improvements have been made inside Motion Eye to the Bionz for mobile processing engine meaning sharper motion images without noise.

Sony Mobile provided the following information:

For the first time ever in a smartphone, Xperia XZ Premium features a 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range, 2160 x 3840) 5.5” display. A truly unique Sony experience, it uses Sony’s BRAVIA TV technology to give you an immersive 4K HDR viewing experience in the palm of your hand, removing the constraints of your sofa. Astonishing brightness, colour, clarity and contrast are realised to create levels of realism you almost feel part of the scene. The sharp, vivid quality of the display is enriched by Sony’s native technologies TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, X-Reality for mobile and Dynamic Contrast Enhancer.

Xperia XZ Premium is powered by the cutting edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform, making it one of the very first smartphones capable of Gigabit Class LTE (up to 1Gbps). This is possible because of the integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which has the potential to transform how customers use their mobile devices by delivering fibre optic speeds on the go. The Snapdragon 835 platform also supports stunning graphics, superior performance and enhanced battery efficiency. File transfers are also super-charged thanks to the USB 3.1 connection which is 10 times quicker than USB 2.0 with a transfer speed of up to 5Gbps. And with the USB Type-C socket, plugging in is easy because the connector is always the right way up.

With so many advanced technologies working in harmony, it is only fitting that the Xperia XZ Premium has a harmonious design to match, making it beautiful on the inside and out. The exterior has an exquisite glass loop surface which when turned over reveals a luxurious mirrored effect on the back. Every aspect of the XZ Premium is unified, from its seamless flowing lines and intuitive finger-print sensor power button to the new live wallpaper which moves the elegant lops as you swipe, to the colours you see on screen which are matched to the beautiful colours of the exterior.

Rain is one less thing to think about when you’re out and about with the Xperia XZ Premium. It’s water resistant, dust-proof and reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back of the handset, taking beauty and durability to new heights.

Taking intelligence to the next level Xperia XZ learns how you use your phone and adapts and makes recommendations to give you our most smartest and personal experience yet. The battery is maximised with Smart Stamina which uses the Xperia learning engine to accurately estimate how long your current battery will last based on your normal usage. It even warns you if it detects you’re going to run out of power later that day and prompts you to activate Stamina mode. Battery Care and Qnovo Adaptive Charging are also included to protect your battery and keep it healthy up to twice as long.

Xperia Tips and new Xperia Actions offer you handy advice about the features you’re using and even suggests map downloads based on your location, all aimed at making life that little bit easier.

The Sony experience is continued through to the audio and gaming capabilities. High Resolution Audio playback allows you to hear every nuance and detail in a track as if you’re right there with the artist. Sony’s native DSEE HX™ technology even up-scales streamed tracks or MP3s to near High-res quality and if you connect with wireless speakers or headphones, LDAC ensures you don’t lose a drop of sound quality by transferring three times more audio data than normal Bluetooth. Working with your PlayStation 4 console, you can play the latest cutting-edge games on your Xperia XZ Premium. Its advanced processing and fast memory access means gameplay is always smooth and responsive, plus the 4K screen and powerful stereo speakers make it feel like you’re actually in the game.

Availability, RRP and colours for the Xperia XZ Premium in South Africa is yet to be confirmed.

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Queues and cash-only frustrate SA’s commuters

A new study by Visa reveals the success factors for improving travel and creating smarter cities

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The use of cash-only payments was a frustration for 38% of Johannesburg commuters and 37% of Cape Town-based commuters, according to a new global study by Visa. Another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters.

Visa, in collaboration with Stanford University, came up with these findings in one of the largest global studies examining the growing demand for public and private transportation, and the important role digital commerce plays in driving sustainable growth.

According to the UN[i], by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban centres – and the number of “megacities” with populations greater than 10 million people will rise from 43 today to 51 within that same period. South Africa is no different, with the majority of the country relying heavily on the public transport system. In fact, according to the General Household Survey (GHS) for 2018, a total of 54 209 000 minibus/taxi trips take place in South African per month. 

Building on Visa’s experience working with transit operators, automotive companies and technology start-ups, Visa commissioned a global study, “The Future of Transportation: Mobility in the Age of the Megacity” to better understand the challenges commuters face today and in the future. The key findings were combined with a view of existing and near horizon innovations provided by experts at Stanford University, to better understand the technology gaps in addressing their pain points.

The South African Perspective

Payments lie at the heart of every form of travel, and will continue to become more integral as more cities move to contactless public transportation, digital payments for parking and rental services such as bikes or scooters.  Malijeng Ngqaleni, Deputy Director-General of the South African Inter-governmental Relations, states that a high as 60% of South African households spend on average of 20% of their monthly income on transport, while in rural areas this number can be as high as 31%.

Aside from cash-only payments, another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters. Over the last few years, a number of mobile-driven taxi-hailing apps have been launched in the South African market to counteract these concerns and commuters are open to the possibilities presented by mobile apps. The Visa study echoed this by showing that 77% of Johannesburg commuters and 76% of Cape Town commuters would be willing to try a consolidated app to make payments for public transport.

 Mike Lemberger, SVP, Product Solutions Europe, Visa says: “The future success of our cities is intertwined with – and reliant on – the future of transportation and mobility. Visa and our partners have an important role to play, both in streamlining the payment experience for millions of commuters around the globe, and supporting public transportation authorities in their quest to build sustainable and convenient transportation solutions that improve the lives of the people who use it.”

Herman Donner, PhD and Postdoctoral Researcher from Stanford University co-authored the report and summarised: “When looking across the technology landscape, there already exist many products that could easily address people’s daily frustrations with travel.  However, none of these solutions should be developed in isolation. A major challenge therefore lies in first identifying relevant technologies that provide suitable products for the market then managing implementation in conjunction with  a broad set of stakeholder including  mobility providers, technology companies, infrastructure owners and public transport agencies.  From our research, we think that many of these small, incremental changes have the potential to make a significant difference in people’s daily travel,  whether it’s to help find parking, get the best price to refuel their car or plan their journey on public transportation.”

Click here for the detailed global findings.

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Women take to tech, but more needed

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By HAIDI NOSSAIR, Marketing Director META, Dell Technologies

$12 trillion – that is the value in additional global GDP that remains locked behind the gender gap. This is according to the latest Women Matter report from McKinsey, which also reveals startling disparities in the workplace. Even though women make up more than half of the human population, only 37% contribute to GDP on average – and in some countries that proportion is significantly lower.

The reasons for this can be put in three areas. Fewer women – 650 million fewer than men – participate in the global labour force. Women are also more likely to be in part-time employment and thus work fewer hours. Finally, female employees are more common in lower-productivity sectors than in higher-productivity areas.  Are women not being offered the opportunity or are they holding themselves back?

Among STEM careers this ratio is particularly dismal: only 24% of engineering professionals are women, and as few as 19% of careers in ICT are filled by women.

What is the cause of this? Studies have found that women pursuing STEM careers are higher in countries with more oppressive policies towards women, because those careers hold the promise for financial freedom and more social autonomy. In contrast, countries with progressive attitudes towards women tend to produce fewer female STEM graduates. Then how can we encourage women from early ages to take the path of STEM education?  And how can organizations ensure women have equal opportunity at the hiring stages.

Certainly addressing gender inequality is crucial and must not stop.. Where women are increasingly more part of the workforce, there are often still barriers preventing them from assuming higher management roles. Female entrepreneurs often struggle more to gain investment capital. Corporate cultures are rarely aligned with the pressures of balancing work and family obligations. Decision makers may simply lack exposure to the potential of female candidates. Female pioneers have also argued that women are too risk-averse when compared to men. 

Whether these assertions are true is a matter for debate – and that’s exactly why every professional man and woman should be talking about them and identify action to change the status-quo. This is not just about female rights, but about social upliftment: companies with a mixture of male and female leaders perform better across the board and companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.

The digital economy we live in today represent a golden opportunity for increased women contribution to the workforce as technology breaks the boundaries of location and time for the workplace and where labor intensive jobs may today be performed by data scientists. 

For two days in March, top professionals will gather to talk and exchange ideas around creating more roles for women, larger appreciation for female professionals, as well as counter the attitudes among women holding them back from greater career success and autonomy.

If you want to be part of this conversation, join the Women in Tech Africa summit today at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town – learn more at https://www.women-in-tech-africa-summit.com/ and use the code DELL20 for a 20% discount.

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