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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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Appdate: No wallet? No problem?

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights VodaPay Masterpass, Charge Running, South African App Integrator Directory, uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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VodaPay Masterpass

Digital mobility is now a way of life and most are using smartphones to pay bills. 

To meet this need Vodacom and Mastercard have launched VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet, downloaded as an app on their smartphone. Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering card details each time they make a purchase.

Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime and SMS, or voice bundles, directly through the app. They can also select the Pay Bills menu option to settle their DStv accounts, pay a utility bill or take care of a traffic fine.

With the app’s Scan to Pay functionality, users can scan a QR code to pay for goods and services wherever Masterpass is accepted, including all SnapScan and Zapper merchants. Once a QR code is scanned, users select the card they wish to use, and enter their bank PIN number on their own device to complete the transaction.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download and users will not be charged for any transaction fees.

Stockists:  Download VodaPay Masterpass for iOS here and for Android here.

Charge Running

Most running apps track data like pace and distance and, in some cases play audio designed to motivate you, but don’t give you the push you get when you run with a friend. Charge Running is an app that lets you run alongside other runners, virtually, as well as giving live coaching to help you go the distance.

The app includes features such as:

·       Unlimited access to live running classes and virtual races  

·       The ability to compete with runners anywhere in the world in real-time

·       A live leaderboard that shows where you are in the pack to keep you pushing

·       Live, personalised feedback from professional trainers 

·       Group chats with coaches and fellow runners throughout the run

·       On-demand runs for times when you can’t join the live groups 

·       A choice of difficulty levels and race types 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free seven-day trial; thereafter R150 per month

Stockists: Visit the Charge Running site here for downloading instructions.

South African App Integrator Directory

The South African App Integrator Directory from Xero is designed to solve the complexity of choosing apps for small business owners.

The directory is now available in South Africa with six partners, including Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. According to Xero, these are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. There are also currently over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace worldwide, 21 of which are South African born.

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they need to know exactly which apps to install on their devices and how the apps will help them. They also need to be able to install these apps from a trusted integrator so they know for what they are paying. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A one month trial version is offered, after which the App Integrator ranges from R125 to R245 per month, depending on the company’s needs.

Stockists: Visit Xero here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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Prize offered for drone films

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DJI and SkyPixel, the world’s most popular aerial photography community, have announced the first short film contest inviting users to submit cinematic stories shot with camera and gimbal products. The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest will accept entries until 14 October 2019. It welcomes submissions from all creators, ranging from hobbyists to social media users and professional videographers. around the globe.

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The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest consists of three storytelling categories—‘Big Moments Start Small,’ ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Adventure Starts With You.’ There is no restriction on the type or brand of equipment participants use, and they can submit as many videos as they wish.

A total of 100 winners can win a range of prizes totaling $48,600 USD in categories including Recommended Films, Best Editing, Best Story, Nominated Entries, People’s Choice Prize as well as This Week’s Most Popular, sponsored by the partner SanDisk and WD brand from Western Digital Corp. This year’s Best Short Video winners will each receive the new Ronin-SC Pro Combo, Osmo Action as well as WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD.

Winning entries will also be showcased on the SkyPixel website as well as to DJI’s millions of fans and followers across its social media platforms.

“DJI has redefined how people capture stable video for all of life’s moments. The compact size, portability and powerful imaging system of our Osmo and Ronin series have also made it possible for anyone to take their creativity and inspirations to the next level,” said Basile David, Director of Brand and Content Partnerships at DJI. “With this contest, we hope to encourage more people to embrace and share their own creative way of storytelling.”

Since 2014, the SkyPixel online community has attracted 16 million professional aerial photographers and content creators from more than 140 countries, growing into the largest aerial photography community today. Over the past five years, SkyPixel has received over 150,000 submissions, becoming a go-to platform for original aerial masterpieces and extraordinary footage powered by other gimbal products focusing on various themes.

Details of the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest

The short film contest consists of three categories:

Big Moments Start Small: Create a video showcasing the small, lightweight design of your camera device and your best cinematic scenes. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Pocket or other devices.

Make Your Move: Create a video showcasing the stabilized footage from your device. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Series or other devices.

Adventure Starts With You: Create a short, cinematic narrative film to showcase your creative skills and visual effects. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Ronin Series or other devices.

*Video submissions should not be longer than three minutes in length.

Submission Details

Submission Start Date: August 15, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Submission End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Award Announcement: October 31, 2019

Interested participants can visit the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest website for more information on contest rules and guidelines. For more information, contact: Skypixel.campaign@dji.com

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