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Selfie opens way to new apps

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Smartphone cameras could be poised to transform a number of industries, as ‘selfies’ transition from a frivolous fad to a technological phenomenon, according to a new report from Sony Mobile.|Smartphone cameras could be poised to transform a number of industries, as ‘selfies’ transition from a frivolous fad to a technological phenomenon, according to a new report from Sony Mobile.

Smartphone cameras could be poised to transform a number of industries, as ‘selfies’ transition from frivolous fad to technological phenomenon, according to a new report from Sony Mobile. The report and accompanying research, released in conjunction with Futurizon and based on a survey of 6,500 European consumers in the UK, France, Germany and Spain, found that consumers are open to the ‘vast number of potential applications’ for camera photography.

Working with futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, Sony Mobile explored a number of sectors likely to incorporate smartphone photography and selfies as a technological function in the future. The potential applications were wide-ranging, from theme parks building ‘selfie-coasters’ that let adrenaline-junkies capture their experience on the latest rides, to shoppers using it as a ‘virtual personal assistant’ to try on multiple outfits at the touch of a button. Once these applications were identified, more than 6,500 consumers provided their thoughts on the evolution of selfies as a social trend, and the appetite for these more functional uses of smartphone photography.

“The project has given us a real sense of how selfies and video calls have evolved, and why they could be set to transform so many different sectors”, said Jason Smith at Sony Mobile.

“At Sony Mobile we face the dual task of designing smartphones that make consumers’ lives easier today, while keeping an eye on what the future holds and being part of driving innovation and change. We have always seen photography as being a key function at the heart of the smartphone and have already advanced front camera technology in our Xperia™ XZ for superior quality photos, so it’s incredibly exciting to find that consumers are ready to embrace selfies for such a wide range of future uses that enhance our everyday lives.”

The report identified the top 10 ways consumers believe selfies could evolve in the next five years:

1.     Dating: Taking a selfie with your date to find out what they really think

2.     Medical: Over a quarter of people would prefer to see their GP via a selfie or video call, in the first instance

3.     Banking for the selfie generation: Nearly half of 25-34 year olds would feel more secure if accessing their bank through a ‘selfie password’

4.     In leisure: Around half of thrill-seekers would like to try a ‘selfiecoaster’ – a rollercoaster that puts you in control of capturing your experience on the ride

5.     In a gym / fitness: selfies that work with AI (Artificial Intelligence) to capture body monitoring e.g. testing heart rates and even suggesting how to improve on technique and how accurately a move is being performed

6.     Made to measure clothes: taking a 3D body image for made-to-measure clothes

7.     In retail: using your smartphone camera to try on different outfits suited to your body shape, at the touch of a button

8.     Social currency: paying for entry to the cinema or a tourist attraction through a selfie

9.     Robots: Using your smartphone to control drones or robots to take selfies from other or extreme locations

10.   Home: Using selfies to secure and access our homes and cars

Dr Ian Pearson, Futurologist and creator of the Future of Selfies report, added: “Through this report, it has been fascinating to chart the evolution of selfies and smartphone photography with the team at Sony Mobile. But even more encouraging has been the response from consumers, who have shown they are open to the range of future uses for selfies and video calls.”

“The results clearly show that selfies are well on their way to transitioning from frivolous fad to technological phenomenon, and provide food for thought to a number of industries. The potential is huge, and it will be exciting to watch this unfold over the coming years.”

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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