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Vive, WeChat take gadget honours

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Stuff magazine recently hosted its annual Gadget and App Awards for 2016 where the HTV Vive and WeChat app were among the top winners.

The HTC Vive and WeChat app were among the top winners at Stuff magazine’s annual Gadget and App Awards for 2016, named last week.

The Vive won The Gadget of the Year award, and WeChat Wallet was named Financial App of the Year. WeChat also took home the award for overall App of the Year.

Readers of the South African edition of Stuff were asked to vote for their favourite gadgets and apps of the year via the Stuff website, and there, too, WeChat took top honours in the financial services category. Meanwhile, the Readers’ Choice Award for Gadget of the Year went to GoPro’s Hero Session action camera.

TV of the Year went to LG’s outstanding OLED65E6V display, while TV Gadget of the Year went to the DStv Explora. Watch of the Year was won by the Apple Watch Series 2, and Computer of the Year — always a hotly contested category — went to the Dell XPS 13, unseating Apple, which has dominated the category in recent years with its MacBook Pro and Air devices.

Other Gadget Award winners include the iPhone 7 Plus, which took home the Smartphone of the Year Award; Fujifilm, which secured both System Camera of the Year and Compact System of the Year honours for the X-T2 and X70 respectively; and Garmin’s Vivoactive HR, which won the award for Health & Fitness Gadget of the Year.

On the local app front, category winners included video-streaming service Showmax, which took home Entertainment App of the Year; Forgood, the winner of the Social Responsibility App of the Year award, which connects organisations and causes in need with people looking to help; and food-delivery service UberEats, which won Service App of the Year despite having only launched in the second half of 2016.

“Apps have become an integral part of consumer tech experience, so it’s only fitting we include them when recognising the best tech of the year,” says Stuff editor, Craig Wilson. “With so many developers doing such excellent work in the app space in South Africa, we expect to see twice as many categories — and nominees — this year.”

The full list of winners follows below:

Gadget Awards

Smartphone of the Year — iPhone 7 Plus
International App of the Year — Prisma
Audio Gadget of the Year — Ultimate Ears Boom 2
Action Cam of the Year — DJI Phantom 4
Headphones of the Year — AKG N60NC
Home Gadget of the Year — Samsung PT SmartCam
Health & Fitness Gadget of the Year — Garmin Vivoactive HR
Watch of the Year — Apple Watch Series 2
TV Show of the Year — Game of Thrones
TV Gadget of the Year — DStv Explora
TV of the Year — LG OLED65E6V
Streaming Service of the Year — Netflix
Computer of the Year — Dell XPS 13
Car of the Year — Tesla Model X
Design of the Year — Impossible Project I-1
Game of the Year — Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Games Console of the Year — Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
Indie Game of the Year — Inside
Mobile Game of the Year — Pokémon Go
System Camera of the Year — Fujifilm X-T2
Compact Camera of the Year — Fujifilm X70
Readers’ Gadget of the Year — GoPro Hero Session
Gadget of the Year — HTC Vive

SA App Awards

Financial App of the Year — WeChat Wallet
Entertainment App of the Year — Showmax
Social Responsibility App of the Year — Forgood
Service App of the Year — UberEats

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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