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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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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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