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Vodacom wants Loftus to be ‘Smart’

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Vodacom has implemented a full-stadium WiFi solution at Loftus Versfeld that will allow users to easily connect to the Internet – despite the large crowds.

Large crowds at sports matches can mean frustratingly slow uploads of status updates and selfies, and make it all-but-impossible to view the video instant replays that you get when watching the big game at home. Vodacom’s latest full-stadium Wi-Fi solution is an African first and heralds the introduction of the smart stadium where connectivity issues will be a thing of the past and fans get the best of both worlds.

Rugby fans visiting Loftus Versfeld will be able to connect to Vodacom’s new high-density Wi-Fi network, with faster data connectivity than ever before. The solution is the first step in making Loftus Versfeld Africa’s first truly ‘smart’ stadium.

“As the home of the Vodacom Blue Bulls and one of the most visited stadiums in South Africa, Loftus Versfeld was the obvious stadium for us to launch this project.  Our engineers have been hard at work, installing more than 40 km of fibre and more than 400 Wi-Fi access points. We tested the service for the first time at the Bulls-Lions match on 2 May and were incredibly pleased with the result,” said Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer.

The key to the success of Vodacom’s Wi-Fi at Loftus Versfeld is the commercial implementation of EAP-SIM technology. This is the first time this technology, which stands for Extensible Authentication Protocol, will be employed in South Africa. It enables a seamless switch between radio bearers (4G, 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi), meaning that a cellphone or tablet will connect to whichever bearer has the best connection, ensuring the fastest possible data access. EAP-SIM also means that during a Wi-Fi data session it will still be possible to receive voice calls.

“An EAP-SIM network offers real benefits to our customers. On top of better speeds there’s no need to buy additional Wi-Fi bundles to connect to the network. Instead, data will be drawn directly from a customer’s existing data allocation, making the connection and usage process simple. Non-Vodacom customers will also be able to buy Wi-Fi bundles to gain access,” said Delport.

The network, which was built by Cisco Systems, is made up of hundreds of Cisco Wi-Fi access points. By increasing the number of access points and using Wi-Fi spectrum, the data carrying capacity within the stadium has been dramatically increased. This ultimately means faster downloads and uploads, and less congestion. The solution is flexible and Vodacom has plans to increase the number of access points to 700 in the future.

Michael Kämper, Director Mobility at Cisco Services EMEAR, had this to say about the project:

“Cisco Systems is proud to be associated with Vodacom in the first Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi deployment in Africa. The combination of Vodacom’s market leadership in SA and Cisco’s global leadership for high-density Wi-Fi deployments is a winning combination.”

As the home of one of the most passionate rugby franchises in South Africa, the Blue Bulls are always exploring innovative ways to bring the ultimate gaming experience to their fans. More than just a solution to congestion, Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company sees the solution as the first step to creating a next generation smart stadium that can enrich fan experience:

“At the moment, speeds in the majority of stadiums are not fast enough to stream video when a match is on and the network is congested. This can make watching content extremely frustrating. In some cases people would rather stay at home to watch the game on TV where they can easily view replays, see different camera angles or even catch games being played at other stadiums. Our new Wi-Fi network will change that. The ability to watch video content on their smartphones will give fans the opportunity to enjoy the vibe of being at a big game while at the same time enjoying the benefits that come from watching at home.

“One of the ways we plan to further add value to the stadium experience is via the Vodacom Rugby App. On top of being able to access exclusive content, location-based services will mean that in the future users will be able to access stadium specific promotions, have food and drinks delivered directly to their seats and even find out which bathrooms have less of a queue.”

Vodacom is currently in talks with other stadiums and public spaces, like shopping malls, to roll out the solution.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Happy Emoji Day! Here’s 10 reasons to be cheerful

First created by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999, the emoji has become a huge part of everyday communication. Whether you love them or hate them, flying dollar bills, applauding hands and rolling eyes are here to stay.

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Scientist suggest that the use of emojis will help us gain the same satisfaction from digital interactions as we enjoy from personal contact.

Almost two decades later, and we have over 2600 unique emojis to perfectly express what we feel, thank you Mr Kurita! Join HMD, the home of Nokia phones as we celebrate World Emoji Day on the 17th of July with these interesting emoji facts:

The most popular emoji used is “Person Shrugging”

1.       The Nokia 3310 was chosen as one of the first 3 “National” emojis for Finland… it represents unbreakable!

2.       South Africa’s favourite emoji is the “Kiss and wink”… how sweet SA!

3.       French is the only language where a ‘smiley’ does not top the list for its use

4.       On average, over 60 billion emojis are sent on Facebook every day

5.       For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was a pictograph! The “Face with Tears of Joy” was crowned word of the year in 2015

6.       According to Emojipedia, some of the most requested emoji’s include afro, a bagel and hands making a heart

7.       To include all races, a diversity pack was released in 2017

8.       It has become so trendy that the Museum of Modern Art displays the original emoji collection on canvas

9.       In 2009, Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick was completely translated into emoji’s

 

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How emojis stormed Twitter

Around 250 million emojis are sent out every month on Twitter. That’s an incredible 3.2 billion emojis per year according to Brandwatch’s latest Emoji Report. For #WorldEmojiDay Twitter has announced the most Tweeted emojis in the past year:

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For #WorldEmojiDay Twitter has announced the most Tweeted emojis in the past year:

The most Tweeted food related emojis over the past year are:

Emojis give Twitter users the opportunity to express joy😂, sorrow😟, anger😠, sadness😢, love💞 or many other feelings and actions. 😈🤡🤓😤😱🤔

 

Big in Japan

The use of emojis on Twitter still corresponds to the basic idea of the Japanese inventor Shigetaka Kurita, who developed the first 176 emojis. He came up with these in 1998 to express feelings and emotions in a character – saving way due to the limits of SMS (similar to Twitter’s original 140 character limit!). Nowadays there are incredible 2,789 Emojis available (via Unicode).🙀

Hashtags and emojis belong together

But even on Twitter there are some very special emojis👽that only appear when entering certain hashtags 🏳️‍🌈. These are usually limited to a certain time or location. Among the numerous hashtag emojis there are also some very special ones, which are not known in some countries but are still available. We have done some digging and found some of the funniest and most unique hashtag emojis here.

 

Here are 10 very special hashtag emojis on Twitter

1.

The Japanese Bachelor (#バチェラー)

2.

Fans of Sex and the City will love it (#carriebradshaw)

3.

.
 
 
 

Winnie the Pooh and his gang (#ItsPooh; #ItsPiglet; #ItsTigger; #ItsEeyore)

4.

The Hot Dog Superhero (#superhotdogger)

5.

Like Bigfoot, but smaller (#smallfoot)

6.

Scary! (#thenun)

7.

For all Indie fans (#panicatthedisco)

8.

Jurassic-Amazon … or something like that (#amazonfindsaway)

9.

Huh! (#vikingclap)

10.

Avada Kedavra! – Protego Maxima! ( #crimesofgrindelwald)

Emoji meets Hashtag – drawing attention to important topics

For over a decade now, almost everything that happens in this world has had a hashtag. Behind hashtags there are interesting discussions and exciting stories from all areas of life. And for some years now, hashtag actions have also included a special emoji to draw further attention to these important issues, with these exciting visuals driving interest in sharing hashtags amongst lots of diverse communities on Twitter.    

Here are some special hashtag emojis activated recently around the world:

#MeToo – the most famous hashtag emoji

Under the hashtag #MeToo, people from all over the world draw attention to everyday sexism and report on their experiences with sexual violence with a symbol of hands raised in the air in unity. This hashtag campaign has spread like wildfire on Twitter. To make the discussion on Twitter even more visible and to encourage people to participate and join the conversation, Twitter has created this very special emoji.

#MarchForOurLives – a powerful movement

People standing close together and facing a threat together. What began with a demonstration and climaxed in an emotional speech by Emma Gonzalez quickly grew into an impressive movement. Thousands of people campaigned on the streets to oppose the threat of weapons and especially the arms lobby. The activists are not alone on Twitter either. Symbolically, Twitter has added the power of the masses to the hashtag #MarchForOurLives   

#Pride – to love and life!

With a colorful rainbow heart, Twitter and its users celebrate life and love regardless of gender and orientation. Twitter is the place where inclusion lives, empowering diverse voices and communities across the globe to express themselves and connect. #Pride

#EndAlzheimers – the disease of forgetfulness

Twitter has put a very special emoji alongside the #endalzheimers campaign, which supports Alzheimer’s research. Together against oblivion!

#GlobalCitizen – to face the greatest challenges of our time

#GlobalCitizen is an organization committed to women’s rights, health, education and development aid worldwide. Together, people from all over the world face the greatest challenges of our time and try to make a difference together. Twitter now adds a unique emoji to this very special hashtag.

 

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