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Now for connected lighting

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Each day, companies find intuitive ways to connect people and devices, and lighting is no exception. REGGIE NXUMALO, GM at Philips Lighting explains how simple devices like lights can be connected to a network – making them smart and allowing businesses to save money.

Over the course of the last few years, an avalanche of transformational change has swept through all industries and society at large, forever changing the manner in which we communicate, collaborate, learn, play as well as engage with friends, family and colleagues.

Employees can now collaborate in teams composed of members from different nations as effectively as though they were in the same room, while billions of consumers generate an innumerable amount of data daily for marketers, advertisers, researchers and the like to analyse.

Lighting can also become part of a network, in which luminaires are uniquely identified and seamlessly integrated into the IT network within a building or even on a larger scale like a city, enabling these to share information about their status and operations.

Embedded sensors allows each luminaire within the connected lighting system to act as a point of intelligence that can share information on changes in temperature or humidity, as well as activity patterns.

More uses, less power usage

Connected lighting systems allow for many exciting consumer usage cases such as tying in Philips Hue to your music in order for the bulbs to change colours to the tune of the beat, or more practical uses such as setting up Hue-connected lights to flash when the phone rings, enabling a deaf person to more easily know when someone is phoning them.

From a business perspective, companies can integrate wireless communications into the lighting system, allowing them to deliver location-based services and in-context information by way of mobile apps to people in illuminated spaces.

Moreover, organisations can boost staff retention by making office spaces more comfortable for their employees. Office workers can personalise and adjust LED lighting to their preferences and tasks for instance via the connected lighting system, making harsh office lighting a problem of the past. For mobile access, office workers can even use a smartphone app to access other building services through a communications network.

Future developments in the connected lighting pipeline include Ethernet-powered connected lighting that can transmit data to mobile devices. This is done through light, by way of embedded code. This means that building owners and facility managers can monitor and manage a building’s occupancy patterns, its lighting systems, as well as other important services simply by opting for intelligent lighting systems.

By gathering information on how spaces are being used, managers can simplify business processes, optimise energy efficiency, and gain deep insight into customers’ preferences and their tenants’ needs.

When individual users are connected through technology their ability to do more by utilising less resources is multiplied. When every light point is connected to an intelligent system that delivers high-quality, reliable illumination and acts like a pathway for information and services, the working space and connected lighting system within it is able to allow for even greater levels of performance by employees and teams.

Connected lighting systems allow for the delivery of extraordinary value beyond illumination for companies, employees as well as managers of spaces.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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