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Cisco fast-tracks Intent

Cisco is fast-tracking its vision to make machine learning in the networking realm a reality sooner than we imagined possible.

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Cisco has announced that it has released new developer capabilities across its intent-based networking platform. These advancements underscore Cisco’s continued progress in delivering an open, programmable platform that spans the entire network, from campus to data center, branch to edge. By providing an open network, Cisco is empowering 500,000 developers, 60,000 partners and three million network engineers to innovate upon the platform.

Intent-based networking represents a fundamental shift in the way networks are built and managed. Moving away from the manual, time-intensive methods by which networks are traditionally managed, these modern networks capture business intent and translate it into network policies. These policies are then automatically activated across the entire infrastructure, with the assurance that the business intent was delivered as planned.

“Intent-based networking represents the next generation of open, IP-based systems that we’ve seen can change the actual fabric of society,” said David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business. “Cisco is building an open architecture that will power an ecosystem to accelerate intent-based networking innovation. Already, our customers and partners are creating value from their networks in ways they thought weren’t possible as recently as one year ago.”

Announcing the DNA Center platform

Cisco also released new developer tools and open APIs into Cisco DNA Center — the command and control center for campus, branch and edge intent-based networks. DNA Center turns the network from a combination of hardware devices into a single system. With the availability of network-wide APIs, Cisco now allows developers to easily program this system, tapping into all of the analytics and insight the network can provide.

With a rich API catalog, DNA Center allows customers to protect and inform their business like never before.

  • Elevating network intelligence into business operations: DNA Center helps enable developers to program the network as a single system through intent-based APIs. Now, developers can more easily create a new generation of network-aware applications, and partners can integrate the network into business processes.
  • Streamline IT processes across functions: DNA Center helps enable network IT administrators to exchange information to automate processes across IT systems through software adapters. Now, IT can move resources from operation to innovation.
  • Managing multi-vendor networks: DNA Center gives developers and partners the flexibility to support multi-vendor networks via a software developer kit (SDK). This allows customers to simplify the complexity of heterogeneous networks and manage them consistently, as a single system.

Already, 15 Cisco partners have built innovative solutions on the DNA Center platform and are demonstrating them at Cisco Live.

Announcing the largest developer community for intent-based networking

Cisco is also announcing that its developer community, DevNet, has surpassed 500,000 members. In building this large and active community, Cisco has introduced a new source of innovation as the network becomes increasingly programmable.

Today, Cisco is announcing three new developer initiatives to fuel its innovation ecosystem:

  • DevNet Ecosystem Exchange makes it easy to find and share an application or solution built for Cisco platforms. Business leaders and developers alike can use this online portal to discover partner solutions that span all Cisco platforms and products. It contains over 1,300 solutions.
  • DevNet Code Exchange gives developers a place to access and share software to quickly build next-generation applications and workflow integrations. A curated list of sample code, adaptors, tools, and SDKs is available on GitHub and written by Cisco and the DevNet community. Code Exchange spans Cisco’s entire portfolio and is organized according to Cisco platform and product areas.
  • DevNet DNA Developer Center is a one-stop-shop for developers to build applications and integrations on the DNA Center platform. It provides comprehensive resources, capabilities, use cases and learning materials for developers.

Availability, Services and Support

  • The new DNA Center capabilities are scheduled to be available during the summer of 2018. Customers can purchase these new capabilities from Cisco and its partners via existing subscription offers.
  • DevNet’s Ecosystem Exchange, Code Exchange, and DNA Developer Center are available now.
  • Cisco and its partners offer a full lifecycle of services to help customers streamline the journey to truly intent-based networks.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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