After many years sharing technology leadership in the TV category at CES in Las Vegas, Panasonic seems to have left the bragging rights to perennial competitors Samsung and LG. While it did launch a cutting edge unit at CES this week, its emphasis was on its innovation and integration across numerous categories of consumer technology.
Its new Panasonic HZ2000 OLED TV is expertly built by collaboration between Hollywood professionals and Panasonic and Technics engineers to appeal to cinephiles. It is claimed to be the first OLED TV to support Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker Mode, using Panasonic’s Master HDR OLED Professional Edition panel to deliver more peak brightness.
Translated, however, it means that it is bringing similar technology to bear on improving the viewing experience as other leading TV makers. It is across other categories of gadgets that Panasonic stands apart.
It unveiled three of the industry’s smallest and lightest 4K 60p camcorders, the HC-X1500, HC-X2000 and AC-CX10, which offer a high standard of on-site mobility and portability, as well as high-quality 4K 60p recording capability. A wide-angle 25mm Lens and 32x i.zoom (4K recording) achieve high-spec optical performance thanks to high-precision AF, which also provides high-speed, accurate focusing for both 4K and Full-HD shooting.
The new models have a variety of professional functions, such as Two Manual Rings, an ND Filter, a Built-in LED Video Light, and 24-bit High Resolution Linear PCM Audio Recording. Users can further customise the recording formats according to the shooting environment or preference.
Panasonic also announced that it has developed the world’s first High Dynamic Range (HDR) capable ultra-high definition (UHD) virtual reality (VR) eyeglasses, with a comfortable fit that feels like regular glasses.
They are designed in anticipation of commercial 5G connectivity, enabling s a number of new services like VR sports viewing and engaging virtual travel experiences. While conventional VR glasses with high-quality images and high sound quality provide users with highly immersive simulated experiences, these glasses tend to be big in size and require users to strap them to their head with a headband, which could cause wearer discomfort.
For the new VR glasses, Panasonic has developed a high performance display device in cooperation with Kopin Corporation, a leading manufacturer of display devices for VR glasses. Panasonic’s audio and visual technologies have been incorporated into this new device, including signal processing technologies cultivated through the development of video equipment such as TVs and Blu-ray Disc players, acoustic technologies of Technics audio products, and optical technologies used in LUMIX digital cameras. These technologies enabled Panasonic to achieve compact and lightweight VR glasses offering high-quality images and optimal sound that deliver realistic sensations drawing the user into the images projected before their eyes, while in the comfort of wearing eyeglasses.
Visit the next page to read about Panasonic’s smart home technology, connected vehicle technology, and cybersecurity products.
TikTok takes on COVID-19
The fastest growing social media platform in the world has also become an epicenter of public education about the coronavirus, attracting more than 30-billion views, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
The young have been getting a bad rap for wanting to party on while COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown. But a different movie is playing itself out on the social platform that is growing fastest among teenagers: TikTok.
Awareness campaigns by TikTok itself, collaboration with the International Red Cross, and spontaneous videos made by TikTok creators have combined into a barrage of information, education, awareness and social consciousness around the coronavirus.
Both globally and in South Africa, TikTok’s COVID-19 campaigns have gone viral.
The local #HayiCorona challenge, designed to remind people not to touch their face and wash hands regularly, has passed 1.5-million views. The TikTok collaboration with the International Red Cross, the #WashingHands challenge, has passed 12.6-million views.
One of the best-known participants in these challenges is the past year’s icon of South African talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir, took up the global challenge with a 20-second hand-washing video. It put together a performance that brings tremendous energy to what can be a clichéd message, and ends with a punt for the Department of Health’s WhatsApp information service. The video can be viewed below.
“On a global scale, TikTok also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that, while creators are still having fun and expressing themselves on the platform, they stay informed with COVID-19 information coming from a reliable source,” a TikTok spokesperson told us. “Through the partnership, the WHO has created an informational page on TikTok that offers information to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as dispelling myths.”
The page can be viewed at https://vm.tiktok.com/GHTEGf
TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, attracting users from more than 70 countries, tuning in for live question and answer sessions. It has also introduced labels on coronavirus-related videos, to point users to trusted information. Resources are also offered directly in the app and in a dedicated COVID-19 section of TikTok’s Safety Center, at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/covid-19.
If users simply want to explore videos on the topic, they can search via the #coronavirus hashtag, or click on https://vm.tiktok.com/swKbn4. The hashtag has had an astonishing 33.8-billion views, indicating the scale of activity and interest around the topic on the platform.
Read more on the next page about how South Africans have embraced the campaign.
On World Backup Day: backup, backup, backup
It was World Backup Day yesterday, 31 March, at a time when business continuity is threatened as never before. That makes calls for protecting email and defending against ransomware all the more urgent.
The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief many organisations’ lack of business continuity plans and policies. With more than two billion people around the globe in forced lockdown in wide-ranging government efforts to stem the tide of infections, an unprecedented number of employees are working remotely.
This interruption to the normal way of work is precisely what an effective and resilient business continuity strategy should plan for, says Heino Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast.
“Companies need uninterrupted access to critical business applications during times of disruption, including safe and secure web and email access for workers that are now operating outside the normal perimeters of the organisation,” he says. “In addition, comprehensive backup and archiving solutions should be ready to restore access to critical business applications should there be any unplanned downtime to ensure continuity until the crisis passes.”
According to Gevers, the current global crisis is likely to push business continuity up the list of priorities for many organisations that have been disrupted by the effects of the coronavirus.
“Organisations are facing new challenges to their productivity; for example in terms of technical support. If a remote user is infected with malware or ransomware, how does the IT team restore that device or do any remediation without being able to physically access it?”
Gevers advises that organisations implement tools that enhances the data protection capabilities of commonly-used tools such as Office365 and can leverage archived data to provide quick recovery of email data in the event of accidental loss, malicious attacks or technical failure.
“As adoption of cloud-based business applications grow in the wake of forced lockdowns around the globe, companies need to ensure they have the tools to recover in any situation,” he says. “This includes a data management strategy that combines archiving, backup and data protection capabilities to allow for quick restoration of critical systems and applications in the event of disruption.”
Jasmit Sagoo, head of technology at Veritas for the United Kingdom and Ireland, warns that this is a golden age for cybercriminals looking for ransomware opportunities.
“As the global cost of ransomware continues to grow, this World Backup Day,
Veritas is saying: ‘don’t pay up, back up!’,” he says. “Ransomware is
said to generate an estimated annual revenue of $1 billion a year, and
companies who are not consistent in backing up their data are allowing
criminals to line their pockets.
“Ransomware attacks exist only because some businesses can’t survive unless the hackers give them back their data. So, the key to survival is removing that reliance and being able to regain access to data, without engaging with the cybercriminals. The best way to do that is with a sound backup strategy.
“Sagoo advises organisations to create isolated, offline backup copies of their data to keep it out of reach of any attackers. They then need to proactively monitor and restrict backup credentials, while running backups frequently to shrink the risk of potential data loss. Businesses should also test and retest their ransomware defences regularly.
“Ransomware strikes without warning and it doesn’t discriminate between its targets – it can happen to any organisation, large or small. Despite their best efforts, most companies will fall to at least one attack. What distinguishes one victim from another is the ability to bounce back, which ultimately depends on its backup strategy.
“When ransomware hits, organisations that aren’t prepared often feel helpless to do anything other than to submit to their attacker’s demands. That’s why we’re urging all businesses to use World Backup Day as a catalyst to get ahead of the situation and get their data protected.”