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Don’t be lost in translation

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The recent Skype for Business announcement brought many features with it – one being the Skype Translator. CHANTAL DE MENEZES, Skype for Business Product Manager explains how this works and how it will benefit companies that need to break the language barrier.

Over the course of the last few years, various technology trends such as cloud computing, social networking, mobility, and analytics have disrupted established business models as well as industries and changed the way and speed at which people communicate and work together. Companies are working with partners and suppliers that are based overseas and competing for the wallet share of international customers.

Because of this, modern organisations are often confronted by a range of challenges that may include cultural differences. If you are not able to speak the preferred language of the person you’re doing business with, the language gap can become a serious obstacle to attaining a more fruitful relationship.

Success in business often relies on the strength of the personal relationships you have with affiliates, partners, suppliers and customers within a given country. Simply being able to greet them in their own language can be one of the easier methods of allowing for a deeper level of engagement.

Breaking down language barriers through Skype Translator

Microsoft recently announced the preview of the Skype Translator tool to assist people in communicating across language barriers. By using this tool on any Skype-enabled device, users can make free Skype Translator video or voice calls with someone who speaks another language. Translator is currently available in six languages including English, German and French.

The words that you speak into your microphone are analysed and turned into text, in a similar way to how this achieved when you ask Cortana a question within Windows 10 or Windows Phone 8.1. Next, the text is put through the Microsoft Translator engine to change it to your Skype partner’s language.

This powerful communications tool can come in handy within a range of scenarios. For instance, thanks to support being available for Mandarin, Skype Translator can be used by employees of African countries, who do a lot of business with Chinese firms.

Roadwarriors and jetsetters can use the app to translate key phrases during their overseas trips.

A PhD student can employ Skype Translator to augment his thesis research, with the assistance of experts who reside in neighbouring African countries that are Francophone (French speaking) like Côte d’Ivoire for instance.

Whatever the usage, Skype Translator will assist businesses and people communicate more effectively across language barriers.

* Chantal De Menezes, Skype for Business Product Marketing Manager

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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