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Samsung takes appliance approach to IFA

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Samsung Electronics used its IFA 2016 press conference in Berlin this week to showcase a range of home appliance, visual display and home entertainment devices.

It stayed away from smartphones and tablets, reserving those for its own Unpacked events that will probably commence with Mobile World Congrees in Barcelona in February.

It did make a foray into personal gadgetry, however, with the launch of the Gear S3 smartwatch, which brings GPS and music streaming to a more traditional round watch style.

“At IFA 2016, we want to show delegates how we are continually striving to revolutionise the Samsung experience for all our customers and partners – and across all our product lines, from television and home audio to home appliances,” said Matthew Thackrah, Deputy Managing Director at Samsung South Africa. “Everything Samsung creates is borne out of our determination to enrich peoples’ daily lives with innovative technology, based on a deep understanding of what consumers really want and need.”

During the press conference in the CityCube at Messe Berlin, Samsung reiterated its commitment to Europe, employing 14 000 people in 34 countries. European Q2 revenue is up five percent year on year, and seven out of 10 European households own a Samsung mobile phone, as well as one in three families using Samsung TVs.

Among other, Samsung announced a new partnership with MakerBot, the global leader in 3D printing, which will equip schools, colleges and museums in five European markets with 3D printers, as well as train teachers and students in the use of the technology. With more than 100 000 MakerBot printers around the world, it represents the world’s largest 3D printing community and an incredibly powerful tool inside the classroom. Samsung said that, as part of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, it is on track to deliver its pledge to support 400 000 young people by the end of 2016 – three years earlier than expected.

“Samsung’s investment to Europe is mirrored by its expanding footprint in Africa, with the company strongly focused on creating jobs and developing skills for the future,” said Thackrah. “This is being achieved through its Samsung Academies, Brand Stores, Service Centres and many other local partnerships.”

Samsung provided the following information:

The Future of Television: Redefined by Quantum Dot 

Samsung reinforced its focus on Quantum dot display technology at IFA 2016.

Samsung revealed its new Quantum dot TV, the 88-inch KS9800, offering the ultimate in picture quality, brilliance and, as with all of Samsung’s SUHD TVs, a display capable of producing up to one billion colours. Samsung now offers the largest range of SUHD TVs in Europe, with 19 available sizes from 43” up to 88”, capitalising on the limitless flexibility of Quantum dot in terms of screen size and definition. Samsung also announced the world’s first curved Quantum dot PC Monitors – the new CF791, with a 34” Ultra Wide QHD screen and the stunning new CFG70, the first curved monitor with a one millisecond moving picture response time and 144 hertz refresh rate for smooth, flawless gaming.

Samsung is the only company able to offer consumers cadmium-free Quantum Dot TVs – a point made by guest speaker, Jason Hartlove, President & CEO of Nanosys and one of the world’s top authorities on Quantum dot technology. Hartlove revealed Quantum dot is among the most stable and reliable display materials available anywhere on the planet, enabling superior performance and more environmentally-friendly displays with an extraordinary lifespan. Such is the company’s confidence in the reliability of Qantum dot, Samsung announced a new 10-year warranty for its SUHD TVs with Quantum dot display, protecting consumers against the effects of burn-in for an entire decade.

Samsung introduced its content platform, Smart Hub and announced the formation of a new premium HDR content partnership that will help realise the full potential of Quantum Dot SUHD TV. This included plans to expand Samsung’s TV Plus service – which has proven so popular in South Korea – to both the United States and Europe.

Ever mindful that great television is about amazing content as well as outstanding picture quality, Samsung said it was strengthening its collaborative relationships with global partners, such as Amazon and Netflix. Netflix in particular is expanding its range of HDR content for European customers, with film titles such as Marco Polo, The Do-Over and The Ridiculous Six. European partners including RTVE and Insight TV will also begin to offer HDR content in the second half of 2016.

Samsung also showcased the capabilities of the Samsung Smart Remote, which allows users to easily navigate all of their connected devices with one single remote control. The Smart remote is designed to auto-detect any and all external devices connected to the TV, making it simple for consumers to switch between and use them – without having to hunt around for multiple remotes.

Lastly, Samsung underlined its position as the leader in European home audio and the number one soundbar manufacturer in the region. On display were products including Samsung’s Wireless Audio 360 line-up and HW-K950 Soundbar featuring Dolby Atmos audio technology for cinematic, multi-dimensional sound. Combined with its SUHD TV, UHD Blu-ray Player and HDR content ecosystem, such a range makes Samsung the only company capable of providing the complete 4K home entertainment experience.

Redefining Home Appliances

Samsung’s drive to redefine the consumer experience goes well beyond the living room. Over the last three years, Samsung’s home appliance business has grown approximately five times faster than the rest of the industry in Europe. The success of new products such as AddWash, first revealed at IFA 2015, have made Samsung the number one premium washing machine brand in France, Poland, Italy and the UK. At IFA 2016, Samsung announced two new AddWash products – the AddWash Combo, which eliminates the need to purchase a separate dryer and the AddWash Slim, which can fit into a smaller kitchen space without compromising on load size.

Following extensive research into what European consumers really want from their kitchen, Samsung introduced three new built-in line-ups, the Contemporary Line with a new built-in refrigerator, the Black Line which uses a semi-matte black that delivers a modern, timeless look and the original Chef Collection. The new true built-in refrigerator unit from the Contemporary Line delivers a seamless fit and flawless, advanced performance thanks to innovative technologies such as No Frost, Twin Cooling PlusTM, Cool Select Zone Plus.

In addition, Samsung announced that its sensational Family Hub is coming to Europe. This top-of-the-line refrigerator features Twin Cooling Plus TM technology to maximise food freshness, as well as Precise Chef Cooling TM, which keeps temperature fluctuations within plus or minus 0.5 degrees. Family Hub also features a special ‘Chef Zone TM’, which is ideal for managing temperature-sensitive proteins. It also provides three interview cameras, which take photos that consumers can access via their mobile devices, enabling them to see what’s inside, wherever they may be.

Family Hub also features a 21.5-inch Full HD touchscreen, offering consumers a wide range of functionality. It can serve as the family’s interactive white board for notes, photos, shared calendars and artwork. Content can be uploaded directly via the touchscreen or remotely by mobile phone or tablet. Consumers can use the touch screen and online shopping app to order groceries straight from their kitchen for delivery right to their door. Samsung is partnering with a range of European online grocery shopping portals including premium Italian food provider, Eataly, to other European food delivery services such as Supermercato24 and Switzerland’s coop@home.

Family Hub will give European customers a chance to cook with the masters, via the Club des Chefs App. Straight from the Family Hub screen, Club des Chefs offers professional cooking tips through text and video advice. Being able to watch world-class culinary experts at work on the upper half of the screen while being talked through a recipe on the lower half is an excellent example of how Samsung is redefining the kitchen experience.

“IFA has always provided a wonderful opportunity for Samsung to showcase its latest technologies, with 2016 being no different,” said Thackrah. “The innovative new offerings on show at this event, both in the TV and large appliance space, indicate that Samsung takes both the present and future of technology extremely seriously. The appliances on display at IFA represent Samsung at its best and offer a window into the amazing technologies that South Africa can expect to experience in the near future.”

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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