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

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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3D printed room-service? Visit the hotel of tomorrow

To mark its 100th birthday, Hilton predicts the trends that will change travel and hospitality in the next 100 years.

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, 2-3 hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges. These are some of the predictions for the next 100 years that the Hilton hotel group has put together in celebration of its 100th anniversary.

In a report supported by expert insight from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations and nutrition, findings reveal the impact of the growing sophistication of technology and climate change on the hotel industry in the future.

Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:

Personalisation is King

  • Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs – the Lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome
  • From temperature and lighting, to entertainment and beyond, microchips under the skin will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it

The Human Touch

  • In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever
  • Technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments

‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility

  • Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century
  • Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic
  • Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens

Menu Surprises and Personalisation

  • Our diets will include more plant-based recipes and some surprising sources of protein – Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake will be menu staples!
  • Decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivalled plate personalisation
  • Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, automatically creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements

Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes

  • Outswim a virtual sea turtle in the pool, or challenge yourself to climb the digital face of Mount Everest, your exercise routine will be as unique as you are. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets
  • Pick up where you left off with trackable workouts and holographic personal trainers
  • Offline will be the new luxury as we seek to find moments of tech-free time

“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry, introducing first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” said Simon Vincent, EVP & President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”

Futurologist Gerd Leonhard said: “In 2119 we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalised than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.”

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Gadget ed to chair Digital Council

Specialist financial services provider Sasfin Bank has established a Digital Advisory Council to provide the market with industry-leading expertise and insights on trends shaping the use of technology in financial services.

Digitalisation is one of the most powerful forces for change shaping Finance today. This has turned Fintech into one of the most vibrant sectors in both information technology and among start-ups, generating billions of dollars in investment and development globally. The South African fintech space is dynamic, and Sasfin is playing a leading role in the transformation of local financial services and the resulting enhancement of customer experiences.

“We have been investing in fintech development in-house and acquiring or integrating fintech start-ups,” says Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon. “Over the last year we have built further digital offerings, integrated via APIs into leading businesses and invested in fintechs. We built and launched B\\YOND, an innovative digital business banking platform and SWIP, a digital wealth and investing platform. We have invested in Payabill, an online SME lender and DMA, a digital trading platform. We recently announced our alliance banking relationship, leveraging open banking, with Hello Paisa to offer seamless banking to the unbanked. We feel that there is a huge opportunity to improve the experience of South African businesses and savers through using technology. We have therefore created an independent forum to assess how to even better improve financial services for South Africans by leveraging the digital economy.”

Arthur Goldstuck, founder of high-tech research consultancy World Wide Worx, editor-in-chief of Gadget, and a globally respected technology analyst has accepted Sasfin’s invitation to head up the Sasfin Digital Advisory Council, an independent think tank that will help Sasfin and its clients decipher the fintech present and future.

“The Sasfin Digital Advisory Council is broader than providing only the bank with a source of insight on how digital services are evolving and lessons from across the world,” said CEO Michael Sassoon. “Sasfin has been involved in fintech investing for many years and we are leveraging this experience as well as the experience of independent experts such as Arthur to provide insights and guidance to interested stakeholders in this space.”

The team appointed to the Digital Advisory Council is being selected for the breadth and range of knowledge they would bring to the table, with further appointments to the Council being announced soon.  There will also be room for the Council to co-opt specialist expertise as it is required.

Goldstuck, who has been covering the fintech sector as an analyst, commentator and columnist for many years, says he sees the role as a welcome challenge.

“There has been a long-standing need for a clear understanding of the impact being made by fintech today, and the exponential change it will cause tomorrow,” said Goldstuck. “My role will be, partly, to curate the wide spectrum of fintech and digitalisation knowledge and insights that the members will bring to the Digital Advisory Council, and help create scenarios that businesses and policymakers may use to navigate the future – both inside and outside Sasfin.”

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