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CES: Sony supersizes new 8K TV range at 98″

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Sony provided the following information:

A9G Premium OLED TV

The A9G is Sony’s new flagship 4K OLED TV available in 77″, 65″ and 55″ classes 76.7″, 64.5″, and 54.6″ diagonal), all in a very slim form factor. Images come to life with the super-wide viewing angle, precise contrast and absolute blacks of OLED technology. Over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by Sony’s Picture Processor X1 Ultimate. In addition to the processor, the A9G has Pixel Contrast Booster for more colour and contrast in bright areas. As a result, the A9G provides premium picture quality approaching that of a professional-grade monitor, showing images and colours as they truly are, and as the creator intended. The processor improves SD and HD content to near-4K HDR quality and shows 4K content with stunning clarity.

Acoustic Surface Audio+ provides a totally immersive sound experience with the sound coming from the entire screen, enveloping viewers in exciting new entertainment experiences and providing pictures and sound in perfect harmony. In addition, a TV Center Speaker Mode provides choice to use the TV as the centre speaker.

The A9G is very slim in depth; when wall hung using the SU-WL855 wall mount system, it will fit close to the wall at around half the distance of Sony’s previous model2. This OLED TV is more than just beautiful. It is designed so that it appears to be floating on the wall, leaving only the brilliance of its picture. Furthermore, to provide the best viewing position and flexible usage, SU-WL855 has a swivel functionality as preferred.

For the ultimate in picture quality, the A9G pairs the brilliance of 4K clarity with the brightness, colour and detail of High Dynamic Range (HDR). Previously hidden areas of dark shadow and sunlight are now full of clarity and detail. As with the Z9G, the A9G HDR TVs feature Netflix Calibrated Mode, IMAX Enhanced and Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos to deliver the viewing experience just as the creator intended. On select Sony BRAVIA TVs, viewers can choose one IMAX Enhanced movie from a blockbuster selection, which includes Sony Pictures Entertainment’s hit movie “Venom,” using the IMAX Enhanced service ‘Privilege 4K’ available this spring.

User Experience

Both the Z9G LCD and the A9G OLED feature Sony’s Android TV, which supports a huge range of apps from Google Play™, including YouTube™, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and more for deep smart home integration (availability varies by region). Both TVs also feature built-in Google Assistant to make your TV and home even smarter, and built-in microphones that will free users’ hands. Viewers can simply talk to the TV using the Google Assistant to quickly find what they want, or to play TV shows, movies and more (Google Assistant availability depends on region). The TVs also work with popular smart speakers such as Sony’s own LF-S50G and SRS-XB501G, or those from Google Home or Amazon Echo. With smart speakers, users can control their TV and stream content on their TV just by asking smart speakers – with more features to come later this year.

Sony Z9G Series, A9G Series and X950G Series TVs will be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit3. AirPlay 2 lets you effortlessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and Mac right to your Sony TV. Watch movies and TV shows from iTunes and your other video apps, and view photos directly on your Sony TV. Listen to Apple Music, your iTunes music library, podcasts and your other music services on your television and AirPlay 2 speakers throughout the home — all in sync. HomeKit lets you easily and securely control smart home products using the Home app or by asking Siri on your Apple devices. These TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories. For example, users can create a “Movie Night” scene in the Home app to easily turn on their TV and dim the lights, and simply ask Siri to launch the scene. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support will launch in Z9G Series, A9G Series and X950G Series later this year.

Further enhancing the user experience, a new easy-to-control smart remote enables viewers to control their connected devices, such as cable/satellite boxes, Blu-ray disc player and game consoles (supported devices vary by region) without switching remote controllers. Also added to the smart remote is an RF so users can control the TV without pointing the remote, and a newly developed user interface brings seamless and quick access to apps and settings.

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Queues and cash-only frustrate SA’s commuters

A new study by Visa reveals the success factors for improving travel and creating smarter cities

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The use of cash-only payments was a frustration for 38% of Johannesburg commuters and 37% of Cape Town-based commuters, according to a new global study by Visa. Another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters.

Visa, in collaboration with Stanford University, came up with these findings in one of the largest global studies examining the growing demand for public and private transportation, and the important role digital commerce plays in driving sustainable growth.

According to the UN[i], by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban centres – and the number of “megacities” with populations greater than 10 million people will rise from 43 today to 51 within that same period. South Africa is no different, with the majority of the country relying heavily on the public transport system. In fact, according to the General Household Survey (GHS) for 2018, a total of 54 209 000 minibus/taxi trips take place in South African per month. 

Building on Visa’s experience working with transit operators, automotive companies and technology start-ups, Visa commissioned a global study, “The Future of Transportation: Mobility in the Age of the Megacity” to better understand the challenges commuters face today and in the future. The key findings were combined with a view of existing and near horizon innovations provided by experts at Stanford University, to better understand the technology gaps in addressing their pain points.

The South African Perspective

Payments lie at the heart of every form of travel, and will continue to become more integral as more cities move to contactless public transportation, digital payments for parking and rental services such as bikes or scooters.  Malijeng Ngqaleni, Deputy Director-General of the South African Inter-governmental Relations, states that a high as 60% of South African households spend on average of 20% of their monthly income on transport, while in rural areas this number can be as high as 31%.

Aside from cash-only payments, another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters. Over the last few years, a number of mobile-driven taxi-hailing apps have been launched in the South African market to counteract these concerns and commuters are open to the possibilities presented by mobile apps. The Visa study echoed this by showing that 77% of Johannesburg commuters and 76% of Cape Town commuters would be willing to try a consolidated app to make payments for public transport.

 Mike Lemberger, SVP, Product Solutions Europe, Visa says: “The future success of our cities is intertwined with – and reliant on – the future of transportation and mobility. Visa and our partners have an important role to play, both in streamlining the payment experience for millions of commuters around the globe, and supporting public transportation authorities in their quest to build sustainable and convenient transportation solutions that improve the lives of the people who use it.”

Herman Donner, PhD and Postdoctoral Researcher from Stanford University co-authored the report and summarised: “When looking across the technology landscape, there already exist many products that could easily address people’s daily frustrations with travel.  However, none of these solutions should be developed in isolation. A major challenge therefore lies in first identifying relevant technologies that provide suitable products for the market then managing implementation in conjunction with  a broad set of stakeholder including  mobility providers, technology companies, infrastructure owners and public transport agencies.  From our research, we think that many of these small, incremental changes have the potential to make a significant difference in people’s daily travel,  whether it’s to help find parking, get the best price to refuel their car or plan their journey on public transportation.”

Click here for the detailed global findings.

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Women take to tech, but more needed

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By HAIDI NOSSAIR, Marketing Director META, Dell Technologies

$12 trillion – that is the value in additional global GDP that remains locked behind the gender gap. This is according to the latest Women Matter report from McKinsey, which also reveals startling disparities in the workplace. Even though women make up more than half of the human population, only 37% contribute to GDP on average – and in some countries that proportion is significantly lower.

The reasons for this can be put in three areas. Fewer women – 650 million fewer than men – participate in the global labour force. Women are also more likely to be in part-time employment and thus work fewer hours. Finally, female employees are more common in lower-productivity sectors than in higher-productivity areas.  Are women not being offered the opportunity or are they holding themselves back?

Among STEM careers this ratio is particularly dismal: only 24% of engineering professionals are women, and as few as 19% of careers in ICT are filled by women.

What is the cause of this? Studies have found that women pursuing STEM careers are higher in countries with more oppressive policies towards women, because those careers hold the promise for financial freedom and more social autonomy. In contrast, countries with progressive attitudes towards women tend to produce fewer female STEM graduates. Then how can we encourage women from early ages to take the path of STEM education?  And how can organizations ensure women have equal opportunity at the hiring stages.

Certainly addressing gender inequality is crucial and must not stop.. Where women are increasingly more part of the workforce, there are often still barriers preventing them from assuming higher management roles. Female entrepreneurs often struggle more to gain investment capital. Corporate cultures are rarely aligned with the pressures of balancing work and family obligations. Decision makers may simply lack exposure to the potential of female candidates. Female pioneers have also argued that women are too risk-averse when compared to men. 

Whether these assertions are true is a matter for debate – and that’s exactly why every professional man and woman should be talking about them and identify action to change the status-quo. This is not just about female rights, but about social upliftment: companies with a mixture of male and female leaders perform better across the board and companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.

The digital economy we live in today represent a golden opportunity for increased women contribution to the workforce as technology breaks the boundaries of location and time for the workplace and where labor intensive jobs may today be performed by data scientists. 

For two days in March, top professionals will gather to talk and exchange ideas around creating more roles for women, larger appreciation for female professionals, as well as counter the attitudes among women holding them back from greater career success and autonomy.

If you want to be part of this conversation, join the Women in Tech Africa summit today at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town – learn more at https://www.women-in-tech-africa-summit.com/ and use the code DELL20 for a 20% discount.

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