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Drones to patrol borders

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Autonomous drones are set to take over border patrols, crime hotspot monitoring and more, says South Africa’s Airborne Drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)s, commonly known as drones, will soon be a common sight over border zones, crime hotspots and city streets, as public safety and security officials and police departments discover the cost saving and efficiencies offered by drone patrol ‘armies’, says Airborne Drones, a South African-based international manufacturer of enterprise-grade drones.

“Drones provide the ideal solution to the problems and limitations faced by other surveillance methods such as GPS tracking, CCTV camera observation, biometric surveillance and ground patrols,” says Airborne Drones South Africa. “Aerial surveillance is increasingly being harnessed for security monitoring; but traditionally, this has been carried out using helicopters – which are costly to deploy – and with drones controlled by a user – which can be somewhat limited in terms of operating hours. However, drone surveillance does present an easier, faster, and cheaper method of data collection, as well as a number of other key advantages. Specialised security drones can enter narrow and confined spaces, produce minimal noise, and can be equipped with night vision cameras and thermal sensors, allowing them to provide imagery that the human eye is unable to detect. In addition, these UAVs can quickly cover large and difficult-to-reach areas, reducing staff numbers and costs, and do not require much space for their operators.”

Autonomous, long-range security drones are at the vanguard of new policing methods, says Airborne Drones South Africa. “Offering live video feeds to ground control stations, these drones can range autonomously over pre-programmed flight paths for extended periods of time, allowing for ongoing routine patrols across wide areas such as borders, maritime regions and high security installations. Should an incident be detected, ground crews can then follow objects or intruders from a safe distance, providing visual support to safety and security teams. UAVs can provide detailed visual documentation of sites, enabling effective analysis, risk management and security planning.”

Numerous countries are already rolling out security drones to support their public safety and defence initiatives, says Airborne Drones. UAVs are also instrumental in managing transport infrastructure safety and security and event security, from event security infrastructure through to spectator and crowd control and safety, to overall health and safety planning around the world.

Israel has long harnessed advanced drones for military surveillance, and recently sold a fleet of so-called ‘spy drones’ to the Irish army; the US FBI has also used drones for surveillance and tracking for several years. In Australia, a new $50 million Defence Cooperative Research Centre will develop long-range drones, automated vehicles and robots to help Australian soldiers fight the wars of the future.  India is currently looking to military-grade UAVs for maritime and other surveillance and intelligence gathering, Brazil’s São Paulo last month became the first Latin American city to use drones for public security surveillance, and the German city of Hamburg this week said it would deploy surveillance drones as part of its arsenal against an expected 100,000 demonstrators at the G20 summit this weekend.

In Australia’s New South Wales, the authorities are even using helicopter and drone surveillance along the coast, to protect holidaymakers from rip currents and sharks.

“Drones are ideally suited for reconnaissance or rapid situation awareness with application for ground force units to detect and monitor potential threats; and they also provide an additional oversight in instances where security guards are deployed to ensure their adherence to patrolling routines. Their speed, size, maneuverability and additional technologies make UAVs the perfect supplement to ground security teams seeking to perform monitoring tasks more quickly and efficiently. Drones have a competitive edge over stationary cameras, as intruders can’t easily step out of sight, and they can cover areas that are normally out of reach.  Security drones add a whole new dimension to surveillance, safety and security, and as such, we can expect them to be commonly in use in every country in the world within just a few years,” says Airborne Drones.

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How panic-buying disrupts traditional supply chains

Panic buying has become commonplace during the COVID-19 crisis. PAULO DE MATOS, chief product officer at SYSPRO, outlines how good technology and ingenuity is panic-proof.

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world cannot afford for manufacturing and distribution to grind to a halt. From food on our shelves, to medical necessities, these sectors are at the heart of our economy and must keep going at all costs. Although the global supply chain is usually a well-oiled machine consisting of a system of organizations, people, processes, information and resources, disruption of this well-oiled machine has become the new reality. According to a new survey released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), 75% of companies worldwide have reported supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19.  Added to that is the increasingly unpredictable demand caused by panic buying and consumer stockpiling.  

Reinventing the supply chain to face the challenges of today 

In response to the pandemic, manufacturers and distributors have had to pivot in a new direction, to turn the supply chain challenge into a competitive advantage through ingenuity.  

The US recently invoked the Defense Production Act to allow American manufacturers to suspend their normal production schedules and begin manufacturing materials such as ventilators, which are needed in this time of crisis. The Act, which was originally passed in 1950, was a war mobilization effort. It allowed the government to direct efforts of manufacturers to focus production on the much-needed necessities in times of need, from medical supplies through to necessary disinfection products.  

Australia has applied a similar approach through the implementation of ‘wartime’ manufacturing. Due to a shortage of necessities like ventilators and hand sanitizers, the Australian government is offering financial packages that incentivize factories to manufacture critical supplies. For example, one of Australia’s biggest packaging companies, Pact Group, is converting production lines at three of its Sydney plants as it starts making hand sanitizer for the first time, instead of industrial cleaners.  

Within Canada and South Africa, distilleries have also committed to supplying alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizer.  

Using technology to ensure long-term resilience 

Until recently, China has consistently supplied global manufacturers with the bulk of their required components, raw materials and or processed materials. Presently, 6 in 10 (62%) of the respondents of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey have reported that they have experienced increasing delays in receiving orders from China. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, with the pandemic now impacting almost every country in the world; delays are going to begin affecting deliveries from every country, and the lateness of the delivery is expected to increase.  With the increasing shortages of parts, global manufacturers are now scrambling to identify alternative suppliers and supply chains to make up for the missed deliveries. 

Technology systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, can certainly improve the situation by giving manufacturers improved visibility of the reliable local suppliers and their supply chains. Through ERP integration, representatives from different supplier companies can interact on a single platform, improving the flow and availability of information and improving the reliability of delivery. For example, the SYSPRO Supply Chain Portal was originally launched with a Request for Quote capability, which enabled the formal invitation of suppliers to tender for the supply of goods and services. Not only can manufacturers identify local suppliers who can meet their orders in a time of scarcity, but manufacturers themselves could easily find alternative suppliers.  

ERP also has the added advantage of reducing document handling and other manual activities and facilitates cross functional collaboration by enabling an online process for engaging with customers and suppliers. What’s more, planned receiving and manufacturing process steps can be amended temporarily in your ERP system to include additional Quality Assurance.  For example, the wiping down of surfaces and spraying of goods with appropriate chemical or detergent cleansers and adding waiting times before issue or delivery. 

In times of unforeseen scarcity, as the world is currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that the supply chain is kept open and full.  The challenge that the company faces is to identify the cheapest and easiest way to accomplish this, using their own unique combination of technology and ingenuity.  If there is surplus stock in the supply chain, the surplus could easily be sold onto neighbouring organizations – after all, the function of a manufacturing organization is to fulfil whatever is identified as a shortage in the economy. 

Managing disruption in the long-term 

The World Economic Forum has suggested that moving forward after this pandemic, there will be a “new normal”, a need to manage disruption by developing predictive models for proactive scheduling, and dynamic planning of supply with careful consideration of the uncertainties and risks. This change will most likely usher in the next level of digital transformation, based on the collection and analysis of data from various disparate applications.  

Ultimately, having the right combination of technology and dynamic ingenuity will allow manufacturers to weather the storm and navigate the unknown, bringing with it the success of discovering “the new world.” 

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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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