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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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Qualcomm builds chip for IoT

Qualcomm Technologies has announced its next-generation modem purpose-built for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as asset trackers, health monitors, security systems, smart city sensors and smart meters, as well as a range of wearable trackers. 

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The new Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem brings together key innovations required to build cellular-enabled IoT products and services in a single chipset, including global multimode LTE category M1 (eMTC) and NB2 (NB-IoT) as well as 2G/E-GPRS connectivity, application processing, geolocation, hardware-based security, support for cloud services and accompanying developer tools.

“The innovations included in the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem are critical to support many of the 6 billion IoT devices expected to use low-power, wide-area connectivity by 2026,” said Vieri Vanghi, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Europe, Inc. “LTE IoT technologies are the foundation of how 5G will help connect the massive IoT, and we are making these technologies available to customers worldwide to help them build innovative solutions that can help transform industries and improve people’s lives.”

Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem technology highlights

  • Global multimode LTE IoT modem and connectivity: Support for both 3GPP release 14 Category M1 and NB2 for operation with networks using any of these LTE IoT modes, as well as 2G/E-GPRS to allow for connectivity in areas where LTE IoT is not yet deployed. Category M1 mode also supports voice for applications such as monitored security panels, and mobility for applications such as asset trackers.
  • RF transceiver with fully integrated front-end: The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem features an RF transceiver with extended bandwidth support from 450 MHz to 2100 MHz. It also integrates a comprehensive RF front-end, a commercial first in the cellular IoT space, which is designed to greatly simplify the design and certification of products using the new modem, and therefore accelerate time to commercialization.
  • Advanced battery life management: To maximize battery life, the modem couples ultra-low system-level cut-off voltage with provisions for adapting power usage according to the state of charge of the battery.
  • Applications processor: Arm Cortex A7 up to 800MHz with support for ThreadX and AliOS Things real-time operating systems. The integrated applications processor avoids the need for an external microcontroller to improve cost-efficiency, and device security.
  • Geolocation: Integrated global positioning support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) including GPS, Beidou, Glonass, and Galileo. The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem enables design flexibility allowing for the use of either a shared GNSS/LTE antenna or a dedicated one.
  • Hardware-based security: Secure boot from hardware root-of-trust, Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment, hardware cryptography, storage, and debug security.
  • LTE IoT Software Development Kit (SDK): Designed to support developers in running custom software on the integrated applications processor, as well as to provide them access to additional capabilities of the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem, such as geolocation. The SDK offers pre-integrated support for many cloud platforms, including Alibaba Cloud Link One, China Mobile OneNET, DTSTON DTCloud, Ericsson IoT Accelerator, Gizwits and Verizon ThingSpace, and it also allows developers to extend this integration further and develop support for other major IoT cloud providers.

“The Qualcomm 9205 modem is expanding the IoT ecosystem by providing a solid foundation for future-proof, multimode LTE-M and NB-IoT Cinterion Modules designed to enable superior worldwide LPWAN connectivity as networks evolve,” said Andreas Haegele, SVP IoT products, Gemalto. “Our security enhancements provide a strong framework for unique Gemalto services such as Device Lifecycle Management that help drive down TCO for device makers and IoT service providers.”

“The new Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem is unique in integrating the critical technologies that our customers would need to create cellular-connected IoT solutions,” said Doron Zhang, senior vice president, Quectel. “All its features are put together in a tiny and very energy-efficient chipset that will help Quectel to offer LTE IoT modules that are powerful, economical and with support for superb battery life.”

“The multimode, highly integrated capabilities of the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem allow us to reduce power consumption and module footprint giving our customers the ability to design and deploy smaller, battery-powered devices that work worldwide on virtually any cellular IoT network,” said Manish Watwani, executive vice president, global product management, Telit. “As a global company, we build on Qualcomm Technologies’ innovations to deliver modules and IoT edge solutions used by companies around the world to improve productivity and deliver exciting new applications.”

The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem builds on the commercial success of its predecessor which counts more than 110 design-wins to date. Solutions based on the new modem, including modules from Gemalto, Quectel and Telit, are expected to be commercially available in 2019.

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SA’s best brands on Twitter

The social media platform has released its rankings of the most effective marketing presence by local brands in 2018.

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Which South African brands had the most effective Twitter presence in 2018? Twitter has announced the winning brands across themes like brand voice, use of 6-second video, brand purpose, and launch moments.

There are award-winning, perception-shifting, innovating campaigns happening on Twitter from leading brands every day. Twitter says it is celebrating the best marketing of the year on its platform with a curated list of South African Brands that won Twitter in 2018. These campaigns represent some of the best creative that taps into a receptive audience on Twitter.

“While lots of other apps and platforms are about: ‘Look at me’, Twitter is saying: ‘Look at this’,” says Barry Collins, senior director of Twitter Client Solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Twitter has the most valuable audiences, when they are most receptive, and is the best platform for launching new campaigns and cutting through to get attention.

“For advertisers in South Africa who want to associate their brands with premium video content, Twitter offers the distinct ability to tie that video conversation to the biggest live moments and live content in the world.”

Twitter provided the following selection of best brands on its platform:

BEST BRAND VOICE

The brand that has consistently and strategically been able to define and leverage their own Twitter voice –  authentic, fun and maybe even sassy in their Twitter conversation.

  • @FNBSA

    • Throughout this year FNB has made it their priority to be at the forefront of major Twitter conversations and events. This year they dominated major national events such as, Budget Speech (#FNBBudgetPlanning) and BlackFriday (#BlackFridayMe). FNB has communicated exceptionally well with its followers and has mastered tapping into key days and owning the conversation in a way that users want to take part in. By doing this FNB has shown it’s users that they are the brands no.1 priority.

  • @NandosSA

    • Nandos has stood out in the South African media scene for over a decade. They are a brand that is unafraid to be bold, sarcastic and quirky. And they perform as brilliantly on Twitter. The Brand is extremely engaging, relevant and is brave enough to address political matters and other social issues swiftly while pushing products. When it comes to great banter and hard hitting messages Nandos is the perfect example of how to maintain your voice on Twitter, and use the platform as not only an extension of your media plan but a stage to showcase your brands personality.

BEST DIGITAL TO PHYSICAL ACTIVATION

The brand that brought the magic of Twitter into real life by converging digital and experiential.

  • @CastleLiteSA

    • Castle Lite has spent the past few years associating themselves with the Hip Hop scene in South Africa. And so they have created an image and a culture of ‘Hip Hop’. Every year they host their Castle Lite Unlocks Concerts, along with a host of South African artists there is always an international act (2018 they had Chance The Rapper). They entice and get the conversation going on Twitter before the announcement of the International act; Using Video Website Cards and  a Chatbot they drove ticket sales. During the event, they have a live stream for all those that couldn’t make it. The event dominates the Twittersphere.

  • @FlyingFishSA

    • Flying Fish saw a gap in the market.  Most Saturdays in South Africa are spent wondering what they can do, and what activities are reliable and safe. Flying Fish came up with #SaveMySaturday, an activation that prompted users to reply with “#SaveMySaturday” within an hour of the initial Tweet being sent out.  Flying fish would then select 100 people who replied to them that would be sent a 6 pack of Flying Fish in an attempt to Save their Saturday.

BEST BANTER

Two are better than one, and these brands created buzz through Twitter exchanges that led to cheeky moments or product announcements.

  • @NandosSA

    • Nando’s has already been named as one of the top Brand Voices in South Africa and it is their banter that defines their voice. Nando’s has built such a remarkable reputation, it seems that they are untouchable. Their persona on Twitter is no different. While Nando’s does not banter back and forth with consumers – they rather choose to react and call out major events that take place in South Africa such as political, economic, and newsworthy events.

BEST CSI CAMPAIGN

The brand that took to Twitter to propel good, and create change using it’s voice and the power of Twitter.

  • @SBGroup (Standard Bank)

    • Standard Bank is aware that Social Media is a place where change can start; where connections are made and where conversations fuel movements. This is why Standard Bank decided to use Twitter to action change. This belief combined with the confidence that words hold value and meaning, Standard Bank created #GoodFollowsGood. #GoodFollowsGood is a virtual Tweet machine where every time someone Tweeted using the hashtag #GoodFollowsGood a 3D Printer would print stationary for underprivileged school children in South Africa.

BEST BRAND PROPELLING SOCIAL CHANGE

The brand that used the platform to address social matters and challenged the Status Quo

  • @BlackLabelSA

    • Carling Black Label is often associated with sport and traditional views of masculinity. However this year Carling Black Label tries to break this mould and take a stance against the negative stereotypes associated with traditional masculinity.  In 2018 the brand is all about addressing social matters e.g Women and Child Abuse. At the beginning of 2018 Carling Black label started their campaign with a flash mob during the half time of a popular soccer game in South Africa – bringing the message right to Black Label’s target market. The activation that took place in the FNB stadium in Johannesburg took the country by storm and #NoExcuse won multiple awards globally including a Grand Prix. #BoldBraveStrong is a continuation of #NoExcuse: to have a better country let’s grow Kings and focus on breaking the mold of toxic masculinity while they are still young.

Throughout this year Carling Black Label have brought this movement to Twitter and used these campaigns to fuel conversations that reach far beyond the conventions of a traditional beer campaign.

BEST VIDEO SERIES ON TWITTER

The brand that leveraged video and created a video series to spread the word on campaigns in a unique and interesting way.

  • @LionLager

    • Lion Lager knows it’s audience and knows they are active on Twitter. With this information Lion Lager created a campaign centered around a video series that spoke to its audience.  Lion Lager created a content series known as #iLobolaNgeBhubesi (Lion’s Lobola) that told a Lobola Story, which were usually told in Zulu with english subtitles to create a bond between them and their followers. Telling a Lobola story was education as not all South Africans know about Lobola Negotiations. The success was cemented in Lion Lager’s ability to educate, tell a story and push product at the same time.

  • @FordSouthAfrica

    • Ford used a Video Series on Twitter to push their new car’s features. The series followed a couple on a road trip  to a wedding, and aimed to showcase the car’s features e.g Hands-Free Calling, Voice Command etc.

BEST WAY TO FUEL FANS

The brand that was able to consistently reward their most devoted fans with exclusive content to drive conversation and excitement on Twitter.

  • @KFCSA

    • The World Cup is one of the biggest moments in the world, and on Twitter it is one of the biggest conversations. Every World Cup there are key moments that trend and start a conversation, KFC knew this was going to happen and all they had to do was wait for the opportune moment. And so by tapping into one of the biggest global conversations in the world KFC created #MakeAMealOfIt – To poke fun at soccer stars who overreact on the field and tie into what their fans and followers were saying during this time.

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