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Cape Town gets faster push to digital city

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Alcatel-Lucent in partnership with Bytes System Integration will speed up Cape Town’s digital transformation with delivery of advanced IP routing technology.

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its IP core routing network technology in Cape Town as it transforms itself into a fully digital city.

As the economic hub of the Western Cape, a major tourist destination and one of the most populous cities in South Africa, Cape Town is home to many technology start-ups and a base for many global software companies, retail chains and financial companies. To drive growth and encourage new businesses to the area, the City of Cape Town wants to reduce the cost of broadband in order to expand access.

The new IP-based ultra-broadband infrastructure will help to lower the cost of broadband connectivity, connect underserved communities and stimulate new digital business development, while facilitating high-speed local government services.

With just 34 percent of South Africa’s population connected to the Internet in 2013, the national government wants to see that number increased to 50 percent, connected at 5 Mbps, by 2016 and 90% by 2020 under the national broadband plan.

Working with its former subsidiary, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (divested to China Huaxin in 2014) and Bytes Systems Integration, Alcatel-Lucent is providing its IP routing portfolio – including the powerful 7950 Extensible Routing System – for the development of a high-performance IP network infrastructure.

This will initially enable high-speed government administration and management services including access for emergency services. In addition the City of Cape Town wants to encourage infrastructure sharing to allow third party communications providers to connect underserved communities, facilitate the delivery of e-services and drive socio-economic growth.

Key Facts:

* The City of Cape Town has signed a three-year agreement with Bytes Systems Integration to expand its broadband and IP routing architecture including the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 extensible routing system, 7750 Service Router Portfolio, the 7210 Service Access Switch and the 5620 Service Aware Manager for a broadband IP infrastructure project.

* Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise will provide OmniSwitch® Ethernet LAN switching portfolio to extend the services envisaged by the City of Cape Town to offices and remote locations as the network edge switches in connecting via Metro Ethernet.

* Bytes Systems Integration is seamlessly integrating the 7950 extensible routing system 

* Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the key priority areas in the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Technology Plan. The communication network will reduce costs, and make high-speed data, voice and video services available to municipal facilities, and provide government e-services. It will also enable the City of Cape Town to become a ‘carrier of carriers’ providing infrastructure for MVNO’s to deliver last mile broadband connectivity to homes and businesses.

* Alcatel-Lucent’s 7950 XRS offers class-leading switching capacity, port density and power efficiency (only 1 Watt per Gigabit traffic) on a single platform, allowing providers to grow capacity in minimal space and power footprint – power efficiency is a critical requirement in South Africa.

Quotes:

Leon Van Wyk – Telecommunications Manager, City of Cape Town said: “The development of this high-speed communications infrastructure will further reduce the cost of broadband services through enabling open access to the City’s broadband infrastructure for commercial service providers. This is facilitating easy access and driving competition hence reducing broadband services cost to the citizens. As a result of this, commercial ISPs are also using the City’s broadband infrastructure to provide internet access to the public via Wi-Fi® Zones.”

Rob Griggs, Managing Director, Bytes Systems Integration said: “As Bytes SI, we are entrusted with global technology collaborations by some of the world’s leading organisations to manage and support these world class product solution sets on behalf of our clients. We have the credentials and track record that will ensure that the City of Cape Town has the support needed for the network design and support services required in delivering a secure and reliable network that offers broadband for all.”

Daniel Jaeger, Vice President Alcatel-Lucent Africa, said: “This project highlights how our powerful 7950 XRS core router can serve the needs of governments and other organizations in addition to telecommunications service providers. This agreement builds on our growing momentum with governments in EMEA and around the world to develop more competitive nations and smarter cities, leveraging our expertise in IP networking, ultra-broadband and cloud technologies.”

Ravin Naidu, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Emerging Africa, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, said: “Our aim is to deliver world-class technologies to our customers. Our products and expertise in LAN networking offer a compliment to the capabilities Alcatel-Lucent and Bytes Systems Integration deliver on this important network and adds to the growing momentum of work we’re doing with governments around the world as they use technology to enable more competitive nations and smarter cities. ”

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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