In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Bloodhound Blast, CrashDetech, the latest GarageBand, Samsung’s free access to the Google Play Music store and Folx 5 download manager for Mac.
Want to know how fast the Bloodhound rocket car will go? How it works? Where it will be driven? Yes, in South Africa! But where, exactly? Sure, one can research all these details on the Internet, but there is also an app offering all this and more. The Bloodhound Blast app gets the user up-close with the car, the team and the technology behind the entire project. It includes great images with data on the cockpit, the propulsion system and the aerodynamics, as well as a quiz to see how much you know about Project Bloodhound.
Platform: iOS and Android
Expect to pay: A free download.
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.
CrashDetech is a smartphone application which, once set up, automatically detects a serious car crash, pinpoints the location and immediately dispatches the nearest ambulance and supplies paramedics with lifesaving information. The app will put you in touch with a trained paramedic to provide life-saving assistance like CPR until emergency services arrive on the scene. CrashDetech also enables users to manage their Road Accident Fund claim, should it apply.
Chivas Regal recently named Jaco Gerrits, founder and CEO of CrashDetech as the South African winner of their Social Entrepreneurship competition, The Venture. He is now one of 27 finalists competing for a share of US$1 000 000 in funding.
Platform: iOS and Android
Expect to pay: Various subscription options depending on services needed.
The latest version of GarageBand is dedicated to the rich history of Chinese music. It includes a range of Chinese music and instruments, like the pipa and erhu, along with 300 Apple-created Chinese musical loops. Users will also get two new Chinese templates for Live Loops, and new sharing options for popular Chinese social networks.
Platform: iOS or Mac OS 10 and above.
Expect to pay: A free update.
Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store for downloading information.
Free access to Google Play Music for Samsung S7 users
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users now have free six month access to the Google Play Music store – with unlimited downloads. Customers will have access to over 35-million ad-free songs and can also stream radio stations. They also have the option to add up to 50 000 songs to their own music collection, which can be streamed from almost anywhere in the world.
Platform: Only Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge devices
Expect to pay: Free for the first six months.
Stockists: Access the Google Play Music store from an S7 device.
Folx 5 download manager for Mac
Downloading apps, games, music and movies can sometimes take ages – especially if the server one is connected to becomes overcrowded. However, with Folx 5, one can easily manage downloads by tagging and prioritising them. To speed things up, the app is able to split into two threads and then put it back together once it is completed. The app offers the same classic look and feel of the Mac operating system so getting used to it should take no time at all.
Platform: Mac OS 10 and above.
Expect to pay: Two versions are available, a free one with very basic functionality and the pro version with costs R300
Stockists: Visit www.mac.eltima.com
IoT sensors are anything from doctor to canary in mines
Industrial IoT is changing the shape of the mining industry and the intelligence of the devices that drive it
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become many things in the mining industry. A canary that uses sensors to monitor underground air quality, a medic that monitors healthcare, a security guard that’s constantly on guard, and underground mobile vehicle control. It has evolved from the simple connectivity of essential sensors to devices into an ecosystem of indispensable tools and solutions that redefine how mining manages people, productivity and compliance. According to Karien Bornheim, CEO of Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), IoT offers an integrated business solution that can deliver long-term, strategic benefits to the mining industry.
“To fully harness the business potential of IoT, the mining sector has to understand precisely how it can add value,” she adds. “IoT needs to be implemented across the entire value chain in order to deliver fully optimised, relevant and turnkey operational solutions. It doesn’t matter how large the project is, or how complex, what matters is that it is done in line with business strategy and with a clear focus.”
Over the past few years, mining organisations have deployed emerging technologies to help bolster flagging profits, manage increasingly weighty compliance requirements, and reduce overheads. These technologies are finding a foothold in an industry that faces far more complexities around employee wellbeing and safety than many others, and that juggles numerous moving parts to achieve output and performance on a par with competitive standards. Already, these technologies have allowed mines to fundamentally change worker safety protocols and improve working conditions. They have also provided mining companies with the ability to embed solutions into legacy platforms, allowing for sensors and IoT to pull them into a connected net that delivers results.
“The key to achieving results with any IoT or technology project is to partner with service providers, not just shove solutions into identified gaps,” says Bornheim. “You need to start in the conceptual stage and move through the pre-feasibility and bankable feasibility stages before you start the implementation. Work with trained and qualified chemical, metallurgical, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and structural engineers that form a team led by a qualified engineering lead with experience in project management. This is the only way to ensure that every aspect of the project is aligned with the industry and its highly demanding specifications.”
Mining not only has complexities in compliance and health and safety, but the market has become saturated, difficult and mercurial. For organisations to thrive, they must find new revenue streams and innovate the ways in which they do business. This is where the data delivered by IoT sensors and devices can really transform the bottom line. If translated, analysed and used correctly, the data can provide insights that allow for the executive to make informed decisions about sites, investment and potential.
“The cross-pollination of different data sets from across different sites can help shift dynamics in plant operation and maintenance, in the execution of specific tasks, and so much more,” says Bornheim. “In addition, with sensors and connected devices and systems, mining operations can be managed intelligently to ensure the best results from equipment and people.”
The connection of the physical world to the digital is not new. Many of the applications currently being used or presented to the mining industry are not new either. What’s new is how these solutions are being implemented and the ways in which they are defined. It’s more than sticking on sensors. It’s using these sensors to streamline business across buildings, roads, vehicles, equipment, and sites. These sensors and the ways in which they are used or where they are installed can be customised to suit specific business requirements.
“With qualified electronic engineers and software experts, you can design a vast array of solutions to meet the real needs of your business,” says Bornheim. “Our engineers can programme, create, migrate and integrate embedded IoT solutions for microcontrollers, sensors, and processors. They can also develop intuitive dashboards and human-machine interfaces for IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to manage the input and output of a wide range of functionalities.”
The benefits of IoT lie in its ubiquity. It can be used in tandem with artificial intelligence or machine learning systems to enhance analytics, improve the automation of basic processes and monitor systems and equipment for faults. It can be used alongside M2M applications to enhance the results and the outcomes of the systems and their roles. And it can be used to improve collaboration and communication between man, machine and mine.
“You can use IoT platforms to visualise mission-critical data for device monitoring, remote control, alerts, security management, health and safety and healthcare,” concludes Bornheim. “The sky is genuinely the limit, especially now that the cost of sensors has come down and the intelligence of solutions and applications has gone up. From real-time insights to hands-on security and safety alerts to data that changes business direction and focus, IoT brings a myriad of benefits to the table.”
Oracle leads in clash of
Three e-commerce platforms have been awarded “gold medals” for leading the way in customer experience. SoftwareReviews, a division of Info-Tech Research Group, named Oracle Commerce Cloud the leader in its 2020 eCommerce Data Quadrant Awards, followed by Shopify Plus and IBM Digital Commerce. The awards are based on user reviews.
The three vendors received the following citations:
- Oracle Commerce Cloud ranked highest among software users, earning the number-one spot in many of the product feature section areas, shining brightest in reporting and analytics, predictive recommendations, order management, and integrated search.
- Shopify Plus performed consistently well according to users, taking the number-one spot for catalogue management, shopping cart management and ease of customisation.
- IBM Digital Commerce did exceptionally well in business value created, quality of features, and vendor support.
The SoftwareReviews Data Quadrant differentiates itself with insightful survey questions, backed by 22 years of research in IT. The study involves gathering intelligence on user satisfaction with both product features and experience with the vendor. When distilled, the customer’s experience is shaped by both the software interface and relationship with the vendor. Evaluating enterprise software along these two dimensions provides a comprehensive understanding of the product in its entirety and helps identify vendors that can deliver on both for the complete software experience.
“Our recent Data Quadrant in e-commerce solutions provides a compelling snapshot of the most popular enterprise-ready players, and can help you make an informed, data-driven selection of an e-commerce platform that will exceed your expectations,” says Ben Dickie, research director at Info-Tech Research Group.
“Having a dedicated e-commerce platform is where the rubber hits the road in transacting with your customers through digital channels. These platforms provide an indispensable array of features, from product catalog and cart management to payment processing to detailed transaction analytics.”