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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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Google announces its ‘Netflix for gaming’

The new gaming platform, Stadia, promises high-definition gaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Google has announced that it has moved into the gaming space, and it focuses on two big aspects of gaming: streaming of games for gamers, which will allow gamers to game anywhere with a fast, low-latency Internet connection; and audiences that watch gamers in-game.

This is a big move in making gaming accessible to more gamers, as it reduces hardware costs, by utilising the benefits of low-latency cloud computing. This will be achieved by using a globally connected network of Google data centres. Gamers who stream games are most likely already using a high-speed, low-latency Internet connection, so access to the Stadia platform will be an added expense.

Through the Stadia platform, gamers will be able to access a large library of games at all times, with no installation time, on virtually any screen. Scaling of hardware like CPU, GPU, memory, and storage is also possible, as one would for cloud server resources.

Google will be leveraging its other platforms, like YouTube, with Stadia streaming. It claims that 200-million people are watching game-related content daily on YouTube. This allows, for example, Stadia players to jump in with other Stadia players – no downloads, no updates, no patches, and no installs.

For console players, Google has designed a custom controller.

The controller was designed to establish a direct connection from the Stadia controller to Google’s data centre through Wi-Fi for the best possible gaming performance. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving, and sharing gameplay in 4K resolution. It sports a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as many Google products do, for voice control. 

The device is expected to be released later this year, pending FCC approval.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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