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Windows 10 Fall Creators lands

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Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Mixed Reality headsets and experiences.

Microsoft says the Update offers breakthroughs in creativity, from bringing mixed reality and 3D to the masses, to faster broadcasting for gaming, to turning photos and videos into real memories. It can be experienced on a wide variety of Windows 10 PCs and on a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets available for the first time this week.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is packed with new innovations including new Inking experiences such as inking directly on PDFs, a new Find my Pen feature, Continue on your PC with Cortana* or on your phone’s browser including, Microsoft Edge for seamless Windows experiences across devices, enhanced security and privacy features, and improvements in accessibility, including Eye Control.

Mixed Reality for the Masses

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update introduces mixed reality to the masses. With mixed reality, Microsoft seeks to fundamentally improve the way people create, communicate and play. Customers can transcend time and space and immerse themselves in any environment, helping ideas break free from the boundaries of paper or screens.

Until now, any practical use of mixed reality required the use of a headset and for immersive virtual reality, people had to mount cameras in the corners of their home. And they couldn’t take their headset with them to a friend’s house or their workplace. That changes with the availability of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. For the most immersive mixed reality experience, our partners, Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are launching the very first Windows Mixed Reality headsets today, at Microsoft Store and Microsoft.com, beginning at $399 for headsets bundled with advanced motion controllers. Samsung’s innovative mixed reality headset, the Samsung HMD Odyssey, will become available on November 6th. Windows Mixed Reality headsets allow customers to take them on the go.

The Fall Creators Update also includes the Mixed Reality Viewer, which brings mixed reality to the PC. By simply using the camera on a PC, customers can see 3D objects mixed into their actual surroundings – people, places, things, or anything they can imagine.

From innovative and affordable new Windows Mixed Reality headset to technology to experience mixed reality on a PC, many components are coming together to introduce the world to mixed reality. Now customers can enjoy travel, sports, live concerts and gaming like never before in their own virtual home with content from over 20,000 apps in the Windows Store.

3D Offers Next Boost to Human Productivity

3D will offer the next major boost to human productivity, enabling a next generation of computing that moves far beyond the 2D world. This is powerful because 3D is truly representative of the world we live in – improving the way people comprehend, retain and learn.

With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft enables anyone to create in 3D. Over 100 million people use Microsoft Paint every single month and now with Paint 3D they can all become 3D creators – easily manipulating objects, creating and sharing in 3D. With the Fall Creators Update, customers can now bring 3D objects into Office files, including PowerPoint presentations and Word documents, to dramatically improve their storytelling and improve comprehension. Objects can rotate and animate within a presentation. And with the Mixed Reality Viewer, 3D creations can easily be dropped into the physical world. 3D is great for students, professionals or anyone who wants to create.

Gaming becomes even more Interactive

Gaming is the fastest growing form of entertainment because it is incredibly interactive. Gaming has also never been more popular on Windows, with over 200 million monthly active users gaming on Windows 10.

With the explosion of interest in eSports and interactive game streaming, more people watch gameplay than actually play games. Microsoft launched Mixer, the only near real-time, interactive game streaming service, to help everyone broadcast, watch or interact with other gamers.

With the Fall Creators Update, Mixer becomes even better – people can now launch and jump into a game stream faster than before. Game Mode also enables developers to access all the power of the PC and dedicate it to games, delivering a more performant gaming experience on Windows 10.

The next era of gaming is coming with the new improvements in the Fall Creators Update, immersive gaming experiences for Mixed Reality, and the upcoming launch on November 7 of Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console built for true 4K gaming.

Creating Memories with Photos & Videos

Photos and videos have never been more popular on Windows, with more than 250 million active users of Photos on Windows 10.

In Fall Creators Update the Photos app is totally reimagined, so people can easily convert photos into memories and stories with personalized 3D effects, Ink, transitions, and video – no editing experience required. Customers can take photos and simply and easily edit them into a collage of photos and videos with a soundtrack, theme, ink and cinematic transitions. For example, with 3D, objects can be made dynamic, like a soccer ball bursting into flames as it passes the goalie and soars into the net.

Microsoft believes the need to create has never been more important. The company is excited to work with device partners to deliver incredible modern devices this holiday. The Windows ecosystem fosters incredible innovation, and this holiday, there will be a range of beautifully designed, and feature-rich, modern devices. These include new Windows 2-in-1s, laptops, all-in-ones, gaming PCs that feature Intel’s new 8th Generation Intel Core processors, the latest NVIDIA GPUs enabling Windows Mixed Reality experiences, long battery life, and OLED and 4K screens for the most stunning visuals.

From new PCs from our partners, new Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers – to the world’s most powerful console in Xbox One X – Windows devices are available to empower the creator in all of us.

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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget visited the Netflix studios last week. In the first of a series, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read about Netflix’s international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Take these 5 steps to digital

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By MARK WALKER, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Digital transformation isn’t a buzz word because it sounds nice and looks good on the business CV. It is fundamental to long-term business success. IDC anticipates that 75% of enterprises will be on the path to digital transformation by 2027. 

However, digital transformation is not a process that ticks a box and moves to the next item on the agenda – it is defined by the organisation’s shift towards a digitally empowered infrastructure and employee. It is an evolution across system, infrastructure, process, individual and leadership and should follow clear pathways to ensure sustainable success.

The nature of the enterprise has changed completely with the influence of digital, cloud and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and success is reliant on strategic change.

There is a lot more ownership and transparency throughout the organisation and there is a responsibility that comes with that – employees want access to information, there has to be speed in knowledge, transactions and engagement,” he adds. “To ensure that the organisation evolves alongside digital and demand, it has to follow five very clear pathways to long-term, achievable success.

The first of these is to evaluate where the enterprise sits right now in terms of its digital journey. This will differ by organisation size and industry, as well as its reliance on technology. A smaller organisation that only needs a basic accounting function or the internet for email will have far different considerations to a small organisation that requires high-end technology to manage hedge funds or drive cloud solutions. The same comparisons apply to the enterprise-level organisation. The mining sector will have a completely different sub-set of technology requirements and infrastructure limitations to the retail or finance sectors.

Ultimately, every organisation, regardless of size or industry, is reliant on technology to grow or deliver customer service, but their digital transformation requirements are different. To ensure that investment into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, knowledge engines, automation and connectivity are accurately placed within the business and know exactly where the business is going.

The second step is to examine what the business wants to achieve. Again, the goals of the organisation over the long and short term will be entirely sector dependent, but it is essential that it examine what the competitive environment looks like and what influences customer expectations. This understanding will allow for the business to hone its digital requirements accordingly.

The third step is to match expectations to reality. You need to see how you can move your digital transformation strategy forward and what areas require prioritisation, what funding models will support your digital aspirations, and how this tie into what the market wants. Ultimately, every step of the process has to be prioritised to ensure it maps back to where you are and the strategic steps that will take you to where you want to go.

The fourth step is to look at the operational side of the process. This is as critical as any other aspect of the transformation strategy as it maps budget to skills to infrastructure in such a way as to ensure that any project delivers return on investment. Budget and funding are always top of mind when it comes to digital transformation – these are understandably key issues for the business. How will it benefit from the investment? How will it influence the customer experience? What impact will this have on the ongoing bottom line? These questions tie neatly into the fifth step in the process – the feedback loop.

This is often the forgotten step, but it is the most important. The feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the digital transformation process is achieving the right results, that the right metrics are in place, and that the needle is moving in the right direction. It is within this feedback loop that the organisation can consistently refine the process to ensure that it moves to each successive step with the right metrics in place.

There is also one final element that every organisation should have in place throughout its digital evolution. An element that many overlook – engagement. There must be a real desire to change, from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom, and an understanding of what it means to undertake this change and why it is essential. This is why this will be a key discussion at the 2019 IDC South Africa CIO Summit taking place in April this year. With this in place, the five steps to digital transformation will make sense and deliver the right results.

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