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Adobe rises to Document Cloud

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Adobe has announced Adobe Document Cloud, a new way to manage critical documents at home, in the office and across multiple devices.

At the heart of Document Cloud is the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC, which will take e-signatures mainstream by delivering free e-signing as part of the integrated solution.

Adobe Document Cloud consists of a set of integrated services that use a consistent online profile and personal document hub.  People will be able to create, review, approve, sign and track documents whether on a desktop or mobile device. Acrobat DC, with a touch-enabled user interface, will be available both via subscription and one-time purchase.

“People and businesses are stuck in document-based processes that are slow, wasteful, and fragmented. While most forms of content have successfully made the move to digital (books, movies, music), documents and the process of working with them have not, and that needs to change,” said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of technology and corporate development at Adobe. “Adobe Document Cloud will revolutionize and simplify how people get work done with critical documents.”

A study by Adobe titled Paper Jam: Why Documents are Dragging Us Down, has exposed how antiquated business processes and outdated ways of working with documents are having a dramatic impact on productivity, efficiency and worker satisfaction. The findings show that 83% of workers feel their success and ability to be productive at work are slowed down by outdated ways of working with documents, and 61% said they would change jobs if the only benefit was dramatically less document and administrative work. It’s a problem that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.

Adobe Document Cloud will include:

·         All-new Acrobat DC
With Acrobat DC, Adobe is taking the world’s best PDF solution to an entirely new level. With an intuitive, touch-enabled interface, Acrobat DC delivers powerful new functionality to get work done anywhere. The new Tool Center offers simplified and quick access to the tools you use most.  And, Acrobat DC uses Photoshop imaging magic to convert any paper document into a digital, editable file that can be sent for signature. Read to discover more about Acrobat DC

·         E-signing Anywhere, for Everyone

eSign Services (formerly Adobe EchoSign) will be included with every subscription of Acrobat DC, which is part of both Document Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud.  Now you can electronically send and sign any document from any device.  New Fill & Sign makes signing anything fast and easy, including smart autofill across devices.

·         Introducing Mobile Link and New Mobile Apps
Access your work as you move between desktop and devices, and pick up that form or document where you left off with new Mobile Link – your files, settings and signatures stay with you. With two new mobile apps, Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign, people can create, edit, comment and sign documents directly on their mobile phones and tablets. Plus, use the camera on your device as a portable scanner to easily convert any paper documents to digital, editable files that can be sent for signature.

·         Document Management & Control
Services such as Send & Track let you manage, track and control your documents.  With intelligent tracking, you gain visibility into where critical documents are along their process, including who has opened them and when.  Control features also help to protect sensitive information, both inside and outside the firewall, for business or personal use.

Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud

Acrobat has been central to Adobe Creative Cloud and its massive success – enabling creative mock-ups, markup and response, pre-press support, and more. Adobe Document Cloud will extend that use, allowing creatives to work with PDFs anywhere, and adding e-signing capabilities and the ability to synch with Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud customers will have access to Document Cloud through Acrobat DC, which will be included with a membership to Creative Cloud.

Today, Adobe Document Cloud e-Sign services integrates with Adobe Experience Manager Forms to provide seamless experiences to customers across web and mobile sites.  In the future, Adobe will integrate key components of Adobe Marketing Cloud to help businesses test, measure and manage documents, providing the same visibility into usage and interactions with documents that marketers already have with digital marketing assets today.

Document Cloud for the Enterprise
According to a recent survey by IDC*, disconnected document processes are pervasive and negatively impact all areas of business. More than 80% of document work is still not digital, with documents often making one or more transitions into and out of paper, especially when signatures are involved. Each time that happens, valuable time is lost.  In addition, workers are spending more than one-third of their time on administrative process instead of core work.

“Our study shows that organizations of all kinds are suffering from what we call the ‘document disconnect’,” said Melissa Webster, Program Vice President, Content and Digital Media Technologies, IDC.  “It afflicts organizations of all sizes in all industries around the world.  It results in significant delays and errors across critical business functions such as sales contracting and quoting, procurement, talent acquisition, and onboarding.  And it is a serious impediment to business that — according to our respondents — negatively affects revenue, compliance, cost, productivity, and customer experience.”

Document Cloud for the enterprise addresses this disconnect by providing departments and entire organizations with services, including enterprise-class e-sign services, that bring speed and efficiency to business document workflows, both inside and outside the organization. Document Cloud for the enterprise offers solutions for industries including healthcare and insurance, financial services, media and entertainment, government, and schools and universities. In addition, enterprises can centrally manage Document Cloud and Creative Cloud user accounts and licenses with single sign-on (SSO) in the Adobe Enterprise Dashboard.

According to the IDC survey, business leaders have estimated that the potential benefits of addressing the ‘document disconnect’ would increase revenue by 36%, reduce costs by 30% while reducing compliance risks by 23%. It’s an upside that any business should embrace.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Samsung in lock-step with its rivals?

Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.

Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.

Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.

Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.

Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.

Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?

It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.

However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.

The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.

One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.

It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.

The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.

They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.

The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.

Not enough firsts? There are a few more.

Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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IoT set to improve authentication

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By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto

As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.

And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.

Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.

According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.

Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.

Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.

And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.

Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.

And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.

So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.

This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.

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