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Realise your digital future

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The future holds many uncertainties when it comes to business. But companies need to embrace these uncertainties, using technology to help them along the way, writes DOUG WOOLLEY, GM, Dell EMC South Africa. 

In the future, when historians look back at our age, I believe they will characterise it for its mix of progress and uncertainty. We are currently undergoing some of the greatest shifts in humanity’s story. From individual rights to new political ideas and ideals, it’s remarkable how every day our world seems less and less like the one we’ve experienced before.

Technology has always been a part of the conversation, but in the past few decades it’s accelerated our world in unbelievable ways. This has added to that uncertainty, but also to the potential and progress, creating a delicate balancing act for IT leaders inside their organisations.

The demands on IT

Technology is supposed to represent stability. Businesses do not like uncertainty, which they typically define as problems. Technology is often the way that problems can be solved or at least eased. Technology is meant to do things better and faster. But when they also introduce change, things can get tense.

You know that these uncertainties hold great potential if you can harness them. You are not alone: the world’s top companies all wrestle with this transition, some more successful than others. It’s a matter of pride that I can say many of the success stories are relying on Dell EMC. But this isn’t a surprise, because the Dell Technologies family is built on the principle that these changes are happening and those who don’t embrace them will be the losers.

Our Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell, draws this insight right back to his childhood, when his father brought home a pocket calculator. The young Michael could scarcely believe what he saw: a small machine that took complex numbers and comfortably delivered simple answers. He thought it was magic and represented an overwhelming opportunity to amplify his skills and creativity.

Today that opportunity is now available to everyone, in particular companies. Business opinions reflect this: CEOs want their companies to be a technology company and business units want to be platforms. Agility is the focus, but the burden falls on technology leaders to find that balance.

Yet what to the business is magic comes down to very real technology. With that comes the need for IoT, cloud, workforce and security strategies. You have to focus on data and its tangible uses for the business. You have to realise your company’s digital future, and it is not a simple task. If it were, we’d not even need to have these conversations.

Striking a balance

Digital Transformation needs IT Transformation. You have a datacentre full of applications and infrastructure, carefully planned and deployed over the past few decades. Updating these into a cloud-native, platform-anchored and data-driven world is not easy. But with the right partners and strategies, your IT transformation can fund your company’s digital transformation.

Dell EMC has been walking this journey for a while and today many companies trust us with their transformation. Ninety percent of the top 20 IaaS providers, seventy percent of the top 100 cloud companies, all of the top 20 automotive retail and insurance companies, and the vast majority of the 100 fastest growing companies in the world use our services, insights and innovations to advance their futures.

Join us at the upcoming Dell EMC Forum event at Sandton Convention Centre on the 27th March 2018 (Register Here) where we will be looking at the challenges and opportunities for IT leaders to get transformation going. Uncertainty is a fact of our age, but uncertainty also translates into potential. Like two people arguing over a glass being half full or empty, we believe the right conversations with the right people can shift a business to see the promise in uncertainty, made possible through technology.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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