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Calling SA innovators

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A recent Philips study has revealed that most South Africans think that they are sitting on the “next big thing”

Philips South Africa has announced the South African results of an Innovation research study (conducted in 5 African countries), which aimed to understand what South African citizens think of innovation, perceived barriers to innovation and areas where successful innovation could improve lives. Following the results, Philips has committed to providing an opportunity for South Africans to highlight their meaningful innovations in the field of healthcare with the launch of the South African Innovation Fellows Competition.

“Africa is filled with opportunities and we have long seen this potential. Upon entering South Africa over 100 years ago, we have been committed to delivering meaningful innovations,” said JJ Van Dongen, senior vice president and CEO of Philips Africa. “Following our research, we now want to show our support in offering South Africans the opportunity to showcase their own tangible innovations that can fundamentally change and improve the lives of others. We are committed to delivering on our promise of ‘innovation and you’ and will support the entrants as they realise their success.”

Survey Findings

With 60% of South Africans considering themselves to be innovators (59% female vs 62% male), 20% of respondents said that they are not reliant on others to create solutions. Innovation is also deeply rooted in people who are educated, independent in their businesses or hold senior positions in companies.

High confidence levels where noted amongst young black and Indian people living in more developed areas, whose innovations were often conceptualised. Finding daily innovative solutions to everyday problems was higher among young people (74%) in comparison to older respondents (26%).

57% of correspondents indicated a lack of money as a key barrier, 29% highlighted poor infrastructure, 23% mentioned an unsupportive corporate culture and 22% government regulations as barriers to innovation. More expectation was placed on big companies to offer the right support (42%) with expectations on government opportunities much lower (31%).

Most respondents found it easier to come up with innovations to social problems that impact their immediate communities with the likelihood of turning ideas into something tangible quite high. However, functionalities like money and motivation proved to be barriers.

A majority of participants identified Education (65.7%) and Healthcare (64.2%) fields as areas of opportunity in innovation and where the most beneficial results would be seen.

54.2% of respondents believed innovation should improve one’s life and the lives of others with 36.4% believing it should make daily life easier and more efficient.

In comparison to other markets on the continent (Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt), Nigeria showed the highest overall score (69%) in believing they are innovators, followed by South Africa (60%), Kenya (54%), Egypt (28%) and finally Morocco (27%).

All countries identified the same two sectors of Health and Education as areas that would have the highest impact on their lives (Healthcare 69.6% and Education 58%).

Four in ten people interviewed across the five markets are optimistic about their ideas being the ‘the next big thing’ with more than half of Kenyans (58%) and Nigerians (57%) being more positive followed by South Africans (46%).

Innovation Fellows Competition

Philips Africa in collaboration with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria is launching its first South African Innovation Fellows competition to unlock the talent and address locally relevant challenges in Healthcare.

If you believe that you have the next big meaningful innovation, Philips wants to know about it. Philips will be providing R200 000 as a research & development budget to the #nextbigidea in improving access to primary healthcare.

“We believe that everyone has the potential to change the way we live for the better. Submit your next big idea and we will help you make a real difference to the current challenges identified in our African Innovation Research report”, says Van Dongen.

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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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