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Cisco joins forces with IBM

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IBM and Cisco have announced they will partner to form a suite of cloud-based workplace tools and applications infused with IBM Watson.

As part of the transformation, the highly secure Cisco Spark and WebEx collaborative workspace platforms will be integrated with IBM’s leading cloud collaboration solutions, including Verse and Connections, and underpinned by IBM’s cognitive computing capabilities.

The companies aim to make collaboration simpler by combining IBM’s advanced analytics, Watson, and email and social offerings with Cisco’s collaboration solutions, including business messaging, meeting and calling offerings.  The two companies will design joint solutions that take advantage of all types of data to help people get more done, in less time. This will be achieved by providing the right insights in the right context – served up through the tools, apps, documents, or actions needed at any given moment based on an individual employee’s role, historical work patterns, and current work assignments.

With Watson powering a joint IBM-Cisco solution, backed by a robust partner ecosystem, new classes of solutions will emerge. For example, a financial advisor could meet with a high value investor over Cisco video with a Watson service offering real-time advice and handling tasks, while files would be securely stored and available in IBM Connections, shared through WebEx for a seamless transaction.

IBM and Cisco are working to address today’s fast-paced work environment. Currently, the average employee is distracted once every 11 minutes and needs an average of 25 minutes to refocus on tasks.1 People compensate by working faster (but not necessarily more effectively), and experience more stress, higher levels of frustration, and greater time pressures.2 By bringing the best of collaboration and cognitive tools together, IBM and Cisco plan to create a more inspiring, productive and data-driven workplace.

“The irony of many workforce tools available today is that with because there are so many to choose from, they can reduce employee effectiveness,” said Inhi Cho, General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions. “With our combined technology strengths and understanding of how teams get work done, IBM and Cisco can deliver the next generation of collaboration tools needed to cultivate innovation and drive productivity. By incorporating analytics and cognitive technologies into these solutions, we expect them to be able to learn what is important, in context, and take the right actions on behalf of the user.”

The goal is for the combined IBM and Cisco offerings to be integrated to connect seamlessly on behalf of users to complete mundane tasks such as scheduling and note-taking, and proactively bring people and content together in the context of specific tasks.

“At Cisco, we are constantly innovating to improve the collaboration experience and there has never been a better time to take our offerings to the next level,” said Jens Meggers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Cloud Collaboration Technology. “That’s our goal here—to think exponentially and together with IBM create the next generation of collaboration. Now we can deliver amazing, next-generation “Intelligent Collaboration” that allows enterprises to compete in this fast moving digital world.”

The new solutions will incorporate structured and unstructured data in any form, whether from on-premises, the desktop, or the cloud. With applications to handle hundreds of work-related tasks, they are built to seek, consume and analyze all types of data, uncover meaningful workflow patterns, and provide actionable insights through the course of daily activities and interactions.

The joint solutions will utilize IBM Watson and Connections APIs as well as Cisco Spark and WebEx APIs. This allows solutions to take action on routine tasks like prioritizing complex and chaotic collaboration and communication environments and connecting users to powerful cognitive sources of expertise in the moment they need them.

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack would have worked.

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