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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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Samsung unveils the quad-cam smartphone

Samsung recently unveiled its Galaxy A9, the world’s first smartphone with a rear quad camera.

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“As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development we’re introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation. We’re excited to deliver on this promise and debut world leading smartphone camera technology with the Galaxy A9.”

Samsung provided the following information (including the adjectives):

The Galaxy A9 allows you to capture dynamic and beautiful photos effortlessly. With four lenses, experience even more ways to unleash your creativity and capture, create and share stunning images.

·         Get close without compromise with 2x Optical Zoom for incredible and detailed close-up shots even from far away.

·         Capture the world in its fullest and without limit, with the Ultra Wide Lens, and shoot like a pro with the Scene Optimizer. Thanks to AI Scene Recognition, your camera is now smarter, and able to identify the subject and adjust settings accordingly for the best photo, in an instant.

·         Express your creativity with the Depth Lens, giving you the freedom to manually manage the photos’ depth of field and focus on the subject for stunning, professional looking images.

·         Capture clear and bright images in both bright and low light conditions with Galaxy A9’s 24MP Main Lens, for gorgeous photos at any time of the day.

The reliable 3,800mAh battery life on the Galaxy A9 lets you live without limits and enjoy outstanding long-lasting performance. You can now capture everything, without restriction, store more and delete less with the Galaxy A9’s 128GB storage and up to 512GB of expandable memory.

Designed to make life more convenient, the Galaxy A9 features Bixby, Samsung Pay and Samsung Health and you can take advantage of the many multi-tasking benefits the Galaxy A9 offers, including App Pair.

First Class Design

Building on Samsung’s heritage in first-class design, the Galaxy A9 is styled in three unique colors; Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink with a sleek and ergonomic design, that fits in one hand with a 3D Glass curved back for a high-quality comfortable feel. The Galaxy A9 will be available in South Africa from December.

Check out the specs on the next page.

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Nokia 5.1 now in SA

HMD Global has announced that the Nokia 5.1 is now available in South Africa from leading retailers for R3 600.

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The signature aluminium unibody design has been refined to achieve ultimate quality, style and feel in the hand, while still retaining the rigidity and reliability you expect from a Nokia smartphone. With its higher-resolution display, 40% faster processor and improved cameras, Nokia 5.1 gives fans a smoother and more premium experience than its predecessor.

Premium craftsmanship

Continuing with the compact design of the previous generation, the Nokia 5.1 is understated and effortlessly stylish. It gets its structural integrity from a single block of 6000 series aluminium, refined through a rigorous 33 stage process of machining, anodising and polishing to give an exquisite satin finish and feel in the hand.

The new Nokia 5.1 design has precise attention to the finest details like harmonising the rounded edges on the screen bezel with the corners of the phone to offer a compact, pocketable experience. Nokia 5.1 comes with a higher resolution 5.5-inch Full HD+ display in 18:9 aspect ratio, making watching your favourite content – be it browsing the web, watching your favourite shows, sharing funny memes or gaming – a delightful experience.

Even better performance

Powered by a 2.0 GHz MediaTek Helio P18 octa-core processor, Nokia 5.1 delivers a smoother all-round performance that is 40% faster and more powerful than the previous generation so you can create, edit and multitask effortlessly.

You can capture more detail of what matters in your life with its upgraded 16MP rear camera with phase detection auto-focus and wide-angle front camera. Nokia 5.1’s fingerprint sensor has been relocated to the back of the phone so you can unlock it with your index finger

Patrick Henchie, Head of Product and Operations, Sub Sahara Africa, HMD Global, said:

“For many people their smartphone is the first thing they look at in the morning and the last thing they put down in the evening. No matter how much you want to spend on your smartphone, we believe that you deserve to have a reliable device that looks amazing and performs smoothly. The Nokia 5 has been one of our most popular phones at this price point in South Africa and we believe the refinements we’ve made to this winning formula will be welcomed by our fans.”

Pure, secure and up-to-date Android One

Nokia 5.1 is entering the Android One family where it joins the comprehensive range of Nokia smartphones already delivering an experience designed by Google that is smart, secure and simply amazing. Nokia smartphones with Android One offer more storage and battery life out of the box, as well as the latest AI-powered innovations from Google to help you stay ahead of the game every day. Nokia 5.1 will receive three years of monthly security patches and two years of OS updates, as guaranteed in the Android One programme. This puts the new Nokia 5.1 among the most secure phones out there, always up to date with the latest Google services like the Google Assistant and Google Photos with free unlimited high-quality photo storage.

By shipping with Android Oreo out of the box, you’ll be able to enjoy the latest features, including Google Assistant, Google Lens, Picture-in-Picture for multitasking, Android Instant Apps to discover and run apps with minimal friction, 60 fantastic new emojis and battery-maximising features like limiting background app use.

Coming in Black; with storage/RAM of 2GB/16GB, the Nokia 5.1 is now available for R3,599.00 from Vodacom and selected retailers.

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