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Avaya unifies comms with cloud

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Avaya Holdings has announced the addition of cloud-based team collaboration to the Avaya Equinox Experience, the company’s signature unified communications and collaboration user interface and cloud service.

It says the Avaya Equinox Experience delivers a deep level of integration between unified communications and the tools needed for seamless, simple, highly productive team collaboration.

Avaya provided the following information:

The Avaya Equinox Experience is a sleek, personal user interface for one-stop access to voice, video, chat communications channels, calendar, and meetings. Its “mobile-first” Top of Mind screen provides at-a-glance visibility to everything that a user needs in real time: schedule, contacts, messages, voice and video.

The new capabilities of Avaya Equinox Experience address the growing demand for easy-to-use, integrated, unified communication and team collaboration. According to Gartner, by year-end 2022, 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration as the primary means of communicating, coordinating and sharing information between team members, displacing email.

With the addition of team collaboration, Avaya Equinox users can create and enter team rooms organized by a variety of categories with members both inside and outside of the organization, essentially breaking down the boundaries of a company’s communications infrastructure. The enhanced Avaya Equinox Experience will provide and support persistent messaging, ad hoc and scheduled meetings, with audio and video conferencing, screen and file sharing and task assignment.

As an example, a sales team creating a proposal could use Avaya Equinox team collaboration and create rooms for customer presentation and demonstration planning, configuration and bill of materials, project pricing and discounts, contracts, installation planning and services. The sales team could invite both internal and external team members for an easy, persistent and trackable means of communicating, individual or group meetings, sharing presentations, spreadsheets, installation diagrams, and speeding decision-making.

An enterprise-grade solution, Avaya Equinox provides a higher level of security over consumer-grade messaging and applications. The cloud-based, team collaboration capabilities are available standalone and also easily integrate with on-premises deployments of Avaya Equinox supported by both Avaya Aura and Avaya IP Office, Avaya’s industry-leading communications platforms.

“The market is rife with applications claiming to enable employee productivity, but few deliver the level of integration that crosses communication channels and modes, context and contacts, workflow activities and infrastructure boundaries, says Laurent Philonenko, SVP and GM, Solutions and Technologies, Avaya. “That’s where the Avaya Equinox Experience stands out – and is why companies are coming back to Avaya for the communication and collaboration tools that get work done. Welcome to the Avaya Connected World – open, agile and secure.”

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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