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AppDate: From Sports to Spotify, apps get serious

Roundup of new apps by SEAN BACHER include SAP Sports One, Spotify for the Apple Watch, FNB nav» Home, Opera with cookie dialog popup blocker and Nando’s ordering app.

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SAP Sports One

SAP Sports One, a sports-specific cloud solution powered by SAP’s HANA platform, provides teams and administrators with a single platform for the management of teams and players by delivering analytical insights for performance optimisation. The solution was born out of a partnership between SAP and the German football team. Following the team’s victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, SAP was heralded as the team’s “12th Man” by the Wall Street Journal and credited with a significant contribution to the famous win.

Deployed in the cloud, SAP Sports One helps clubs and organisations digitalise sports performance management by coordinating all administrative, training and team management, scouting and medical processes. In short, it’s an app for serious sports professionals.

Platform: Most devices with an Internet connection and up-to-date Internet browser
Expect to pay: Price is available on application
Stockists: SAP Sports One is not available for download from any app store as it is a specialised application.
Those interested can get more information here: https://www.sap.com/africa/products/sports-one.html

 

Spotify for the Apple Watch

Spotify has recently brought its mobile streaming music app to the Apple Watch, allowing users to listen to music on the move without having to access their smartphone. With this new app, users can enjoy a better music experience with better control. The added ability to connect the watch to external speakers or devices using the Spotify Connect feature essentially turns the watch into a mobile DJ platform. There is also the option to listen to music and podcasts offline for when connectivity is limited or non-existent.

The app makes full use of the watch’s screen, with a clean and clutter free layout. The volume, skip, rewind and pause controls are prominently displayed, making it easy to take control of the music without getting too distracted.

Platform: An Apple iPhone connected to an Apple Watch
Expect to pay: A free download, but Spotify subscriptions need to be paid to stream and download music.
Stockists: Visit the Apple App Store.

 

FNB nav» Home
FNB’s nav» Home functionality enables FNB customers to list and sell their homes privately and securely to buyers who qualify for a home loan, while saving costs associated with the process.

The solution allows sellers and buyers to engage, arrange to view a listed property and negotiate the price via secure chat on the FNB Banking App. Sellers and buyers can also  disclose personal contact information only when they are comfortable to do so.

To date, nav» Home has over 1 million visitors and has paid out R4.7 billion worth of home loans.

Platform: Android and iOS
Expect to pay: A free service, but users must bank with FNB
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Opera for Android with cookie dialog popup blocker
Opera for Android, with a cookie dialog blocker built in, means that one’s mobile browsing experience will become cleaner and neater, allowing one to focus on content while still being confident of online safety and privacy.

The cookie dialog blocker can be switched on in the browser settings. To configure the feature, go to Settings, tap on “Ad blocking”, and you find the switch to toggle it on or off.

When enabled by the user, the cookie alert blocker will hide dialogues but will not block websites from setting any cookies. To control cookie behaviour, the Opera browser has a dedicated setting that allows users to choose between accepting all or no cookies,  or blocking any third party cookies.

Opera for Android now also has home screen short cuts. Users with an Android 7.1 operating system or later can do a long tap on the “O” logo on the phone’s home screen and navigate through the new home screen shortcuts. These shortcuts allow a user to start a new search, scan a QR code or open a new private tab. In addition, one can now long tap on the “+” new tab button, and open a shortcut to a website on the device’s home screen.

Platform: Android 7.1 or higher
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the Google Play Store

 

Nando’s ordering app
The Nando’s ordering app allows users to place orders via voice or text. Its simple design means that users can order something like a hot chicken with fries and a coke without having to scroll through endless individual menu items and tick what they want.

All they have to do is place their order in simple English. An artificial intelligence engine running in the back-end makes sense of this, adds all the items to the basket and sends them directly to the checkout section, where payment is made. The AI engine also remembers a user’s previous ordering preferences and so brings those up as soon as the app is opened.

In addition, users can place their order for a specific time in the future, meaning they don’t have to scramble around placing an order when their stomachs start grumbling. Deliveries can be tracked in real time.

Platform: Android, iOS or directly through the Nando’s website
Expect to pay: A free download
Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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