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Computing world is moving towards the edge

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By LARRY SOCHER, global managing director for infrastructure services at Accenture

2019: it’s not just about cloud

Despite what all the hype about cloud may lead you to believe, it’s about enabling business outcomes, not necessarily the concept of cloud computing. When we speak to clients, they only care about how cloud can enable their applications, which in turn, enable their business.

Put simply, if cloud-enabled apps make their business more agile, then they’re all for it. Similarly, they do not focus on infrastructure as an ends in itself, but how they can use agile and software defined to transform infrastructure from a “bottleneck” to “enabler” of the business, and that’s what they get excited about.

Application led journey to cloud

Most cloud and infrastructure conversations we have with CIOs start with ‘what is your application strategy, where are your apps, and how do they work’. As established businesses such as retailers or banks embark on digital transformations to better compete in today’s market, they need to tap into cloud and transform their infrastructure in order to support the application modernization required to enable the change.  As we like to say, their journey to cloud and new IT is “application led, cloud and infrastructure enabled, secure, powered by intelligent operations.”

Data is on the move

As our clients adopt cloud native development and modernize and integrate their applications through micro-services, one of the key questions they must ask themselves is where does data reside and what applications need to access it. Regulatory changes such as GDPR and the growth in public understanding of the power of data have businesses reconsidering where they generate that information, where they store it, and why those two are, currently, different. Do they need to be?

As customers talk about wanting to be more agile and dynamic, part of their transformation is going to be about where and how they analyse and draw insights from their data. Traditionally data has been aggregated into large, centralized data warehouses for analysis.  Over time these warehouses have been migrated into the cloud with innovations such as AWS RedShift.   However, being agile increasingly means being able to react quickly and effectively.  As we hit an inflection point with the Internet of Things (IoT) where we shift from proof of concepts to scaled deployments, we are about to see a shift away from data existing in centralized repositories (data gravity), to a world where the majority of data resides at the edge.  As network price performance does not keep pace with compute and Moore’s Law, it will not be feasible to move all of the exponentially growing edge data into centralized clouds to process.  Instead, we must start to process more data in motion at the edge of our environments, being analysed and actioned in branches, devices and other endpoints, closer to where it is created. We must also minimize the amount of data being moved to central repositories for batch analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning analysis.

The ability to drive analytics, AI, and ML and process data in motion at the edge of our networks to support IoT will require significantly more compute power at the connected mine, retail store, or digital bank.  As multiple IoT applications will need to coexist and share compute, storage, and network resources, for example predictive maintenance video analytics and autonomous vehicles for a connected mine, we anticipate the increased use of containers orchestrated by Kubernetes to support IoT applications. 

As distributed compute becomes more critical for operating in the digital business, not only must these distributed platforms be managed and maintained, but must be secured to protect the business.

2019: the year of secure business at the Edge

It’s a cliché to talk about constant change being the only guarantee, but we’re operating in a continuous transformation era – everything is changing. As need to generate, analyse and action data at the Edge increases, new solutions will be required for enterprises to process, secure, and transport their data.  Accenture is partnering with VMware to develop Managed Edge solutions providing integrated compute, storage, and networking up through the container to support multiple IoT middleware and applications that can process data at the edge.

While security has often been an afterthought, given the sensitivity of the data, we have been very focused securing the applications, data, compute, and networks from the ground up, providing end-to-end security from IoT devices through cloud with an integrated DevSecOps model.  Just like VMware, we believe security has to be embedded in from day one.  We are working closely with VMware leveraging innovative technologies like NSX with VeloCloud to automate and micro-segment device to cloud networking, providing integrated policies for security and QoS to support IoT applications.  This allows us to extend micro-segmentation to the Edge, so that the endpoints can be secured where they exist, whether they are a mobile device used by a retail assistant to check stock levels, an autonomous vehicle at a connected mine, or a wind turbine miles in the North Sea.

These integrated Managed Edge solutions allow our clients to analyse and action based on data, without losing time having to collate it all in a centralised point, while remaining completely secure. While this is a concept that has been discussed for some time – we are leveraging our partnership with VMware to make it a reality.

It’s less about where it gets done, just that it’s done

Ultimately, what matters is that the enterprise, whether a retailer, a bank, a hospital, or whoever it might be, can meet its business objectives. Today, that means having the cloud and infrastructure to enable the application to quickly and cost-effectively enable the digital agenda of the business. Tomorrow, that means securely extending compute, storage, and networking to the edge to support the new processing requirements of the Internet of Things.

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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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