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Cisco, Google, cloud together

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Cisco and Google are collaborating to create a new hybrid cloud architecture and solution. It’s designed to optimize the placement and management of new and existing applications and services within data centers and clouds

Cisco and Google Cloud have announced a partnership to deliver a hybrid cloud solution that helps customers maximize their investments across cloud and on-premises environments. The companies will provide a unique and open hybrid cloud offering that enables applications and services to be deployed, managed and secured across on-premises environments and Google Cloud Platform. The solution delivers cloud speed and scale, with enterprise-class security. 

The offering provides enterprises with a way to run, secure and monitor workloads, thus enabling them to optimize their existing investments, plan their cloud migration at their own pace and avoid vendor lock in. Companies can now develop new applications in the cloud or on premises, consistently using the same developer tools, run time, and production environment.

“Our partnership with Google gives our customers the very best cloud has to offer— agility and scale, coupled with enterprise-class security and support,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer, Cisco. “We share a common vision of a hybrid cloud world that delivers the speed of innovation in an open and secure environment to bring the right solutions to our customers.”

“This joint solution from Google and Cisco facilitates an easy and incremental approach to tapping the benefits of the Cloud. This is what we hear customers asking for,” said Diane Greene, CEO, Google Cloud.

The joint Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid solution helps developers leverage managed Kubernetes, GCP Service Catalog, Cisco networking and security, and Istio authentication and service mesh monitoring. Enterprise app developers can securely access cloud APIs, and cloud developers can securely access enterprise APIs and on-premises resources.

Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid solution highlights:

  • Orchestration and Management – Policy-based Kubernetes orchestration and lifecycle management of resources, applications and services across hybrid environments
  • Networking – Extend network policy and configurations to multiple on-premises and cloud environments
  • Security – Extend Security policy and monitor applications behavior
  • Visibility and Control – Real-time network and application performance monitoring and automation
  • Cloud-ready Infrastructure – Hyperconverged platform supporting existing application and cloud-native Kubernetes environments
  • Service Management with Istio – Open-source solution provides a uniform way to connect, secure, manage and monitor microservices
  • API Management – Google’s Apigee enterprise-class API management enables legacy workloads running on premises to connect to the cloud through APIs
  • Developer Ready – Cisco’s DevNet Developer Center provides tools and resources for cloud and enterprise developers to code in hybrid environments
  • Support – Joint coordinated technical support for the solution

The solution will be available to a limited number of customers during the first part of 2018, with planned general availability later in the year.

In support of this partnership, DevNet – Cisco’s Developer Network – offers a set of tools for enterprise and IoT developers to explore open source technologies, build hybrid cloud solutions, and further develop IoT opportunities. The Cisco DevNet Sandbox provides instant access to hardware and software developer environments at no cost to help developers quickly explore and create solutions. Developers can get started with Kubernetes and container networking using Contrive in the Sandbox, or take a DevNet learning track on cloud-native development or edge computing to get started today. In addition, developers using Google Cloud have access to a wealth of information, tools, and documentation from the innovator in container management and Kubernetes.

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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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