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Collaboration will drive the digital future

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By JIM HOLLAND, country head of Lenovo DCG South Africa

Hyper-connectivity, information overload, electric cars and technology reshaping healthcare may sound like topics you’d read about over your tea and toast tomorrow morning. But they were, in fact, the most pertinent points of an article predicting life in 2020 published 11 years ago by British newspaper The Independent.

And the paper wasn’t alone in such Nostradamus-esque predictions. Back in 1994, BT’s futurology unit’s predictions of life in 2020 included the rise of cybercrime, digital money,  and 1TB memory chips – which Samsung just launched for mobile phones.

As 2020 looms, we’re now accustomed to these exciting technologies in our daily lives, but in truth, they’re emerging at such a pace that we struggle to maximise their potential. For example, data is exploding to exponential levels largely caused by the rise of the Internet of Things. This offers great potential yet technology and information remain siloed, preventing businesses from using their ever-increasing mass of data to its fullest effect. This digital gap, between the technology we have and our ability to use it to its fullest, restricts our ability to connect the unconnected.

For instance, the increasingly valuable industry of health trackers and wearables is doing wonders for our personal health monitoring. But the wealth of data it creates could be put to use for the greater good if technology vendors and regulators collaborated to create open standards that enable information to be shared with doctors and medical researchers.

Therefore, while adopting new technology remains vital to staying ahead of the competition, businesses must also ensure they gain maximum value from the tools they have at their fingertips. To do that, they need to embrace intelligent transformation, which will fundamentally change the nature of business and customer relationships and reinvent business processes. Every revolution has its leaders, visionaries and innovators, and intelligent transformation is no different.

This digital revolution will be reliant on establishing an open ecosystem that enables us to bridge digital gaps and empower local communities. This is an industry-wide concern that can only be solved by vendors and partners collaborating to provide a series of open standards. By building alliances, partnering with other providers and working together they can ensure end users are able to start using technology to its fullest.

Partnering for success

The benefits of open source partnerships have been proven by the Apache Hadoop ecosystem, which has fundamentally changed the way that enterprises store, process and analyse data. Applying a similar theory of open standards to the latest emerging technologies will help people and businesses alike get the most out of their devices, systems and networks.

This vision is part of the inspiration behind Lenovo’s launch of Lenovo TruScale, a new consumption-based, subscription model for IT hardware. The solution will help organisations change the way they do business and how they think about IT, and foster stronger relationships between partners and customers. This is the first step to moving businesses away from how they’ve traditional worked towards a more open ‘as a service’ approach to technology.

Technology partnerships will be crucial to solving issues that threaten business performance. Our partnership with Scale Computing has seen us launch an edge computing solution that simplifies enterprises’ management of their IT infrastructure. This has, for example, solved Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize’s concerns over its future IT demands by replacing its complex traditional infrastructure with a ‘datacenter in a box’ solution. This reduced the time it spends deploying and managing its infrastructure, eliminated downtime, and enhanced the performance of its traditional and IoT applications.

Similarly, we’re working with Pivot 3 to enable the next generation of edge computing and, in particular, enable mission-critical smart city security. Smart city market growth is reliant on solutions that use an array of sensors and databases combined with facial and license plate recognition, behavioural analysis and more. Our partnership helps cities optimise these solutions through machine learning and advanced edge device management – which ensures they better protect their citizens.

Alliances between vendors can also result in solutions that tackle humanity’s greatest challenges. For example, our work with hyperconverged leader Nutanix has helped Tengzhou Maternal and Child Health Hospital implement an IT infrastructure that significantly improved the performance, availability and reliability of its most critical existing applications. It also provided staff with around-the-clock access to data, which means they can deliver the best possible care services 24/7.

These examples show how technology partnerships can be crucial in helping businesses gain the full potential, value and performance from their existing systems and workloads. The onus is now on vendors and their partners to create an open ecosystem that will help us solve issues such as the need for connectivity, understanding and solving data overload, powering the next generation of transport, and advanced healthcare technology that improves our understanding of diseases.

They say many hands make light work. Let’s work together to make light work of utilising our technology to its fullest.

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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