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Emerging tech will fill the connectivity gap

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By Jim Holland, country manager for data centre group, Lenovo Southern Africa

December 2018 marked a major milestone: for the first time, more than half of the world’s population was connected to the Internet, according to data from the International Telecommunication Union.

But while we’re getting there with connecting the world, a gap between the technology we have and our ability to use it to its fullest means we’re still struggling to realise our true digital potential.

Adopting the latest trends, innovations and software releases is all well and good, but doing so without getting the most out of what we already have can hold businesses back. It’s therefore essential that we gain the maximum benefit of the technology we currently have at our fingertips.

An increasingly important focus on data

An IDC report recently revealed that the amount of data in existence will grow to 175 zettabytes in 2025, a 430% increase on the 33 zettabytes in existence in 2018. And 90% of that data is expected to be created by the IoT alone. While data is increasing exponentially, businesses remain unable to capture data effectively and put it to use in a way that delivers value.

This is indicative of the digital gaps that are permeating the business world. To illustrate, public services like tax payments, utility bills and health information could be made more accessible and user-friendly if government data was made more publicly accessible; and small businesses could gain a huge competitive advantage on their larger, less agile competitors if they were to fully capitalise on the opportunities of cloud computing.

Achieving our digital potential

Closing these digital gaps won’t suddenly be achieved through a ‘big bang’ moment. Rather, it will be a gradual process of intelligent transformation, which will see businesses digitising their assets driven by big data and the cloud, as well as emerging technologies like blockchain, edge computing, 5G and Artificial Intelligence.

These technologies are increasingly shaking up businesses, changing the way they operate, reshaping their processes and rewriting business models as we know them. For example, the combination of 5G and edge computing will eliminate the need for businesses to have a server on-premise, enhancing their data processing capabilities and guaranteeing low latency and high bandwidth. To put it into context how businesses will change the management of their data, around one-tenth of enterprise-generated data is currently created and processed outside of a traditional data centre – but by 2022, Gartner predicts that will rise to 75%.

We’re seeing businesses all over the world begin to get the most out of their existing tools and systems by embracing emerging technologies.

Lenovo’s technology solutions can be the catalyst required to begin closing the digital gap for people and businesses, helping to ensure we cultivate a better-connected world along with a more collaborative technology ecosystem. As a software agnostic business, we’re perfectly positioned to work with partners to help people and organisations access the information and services they need to use their technology to its fullest, whenever and wherever they need them.

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Projection tech transforms retail

By TIMOTHY WILSON, visual imaging business account manager at Epson South Africa

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Display designs, such as those found in retail stores, are no longer confined to static visuals on pull-up banners, 2D print and posters. The increasingly popular use of projection technology has ushered in new and exciting ways to create immersive displays using rich media and high-quality visual content to go beyond the four walls of traditional marketing.

In the past, projectors were lamp-based and prone to failure when used in a harsh environment, such as a retail store. Today, newly introduced laser projection technology has unlocked a range of capabilities.

Transforming the way brands engage with audiences

Creative techniques such as projection mapping, which can be described as the projection of video, animation and other colourful displays onto 3D surfaces, have completely transformed the way brands engage with audiences and can live in retail spaces, concert halls and even sports stadiums.

Projection mapping offers venues wide-spread creativity in using lighting in small or large environments, as was the case with Epson’s showstopping kinetic portal, which implemented projection mapping on a 360 degree vortex at the largest AV and systems integration show in the world – Integrated Systems Europe 2019. Driven by a new, affordable generation of projectors, mapping not only covers flat walls and traditional projections screens but also irregular shapes, objects, and even entire building façades.

When projecting on a larger scale, such as at events and music concerts, the process of visually combining several projectors to display one single seamless image might sound simple enough in principle but can prove to be a challenging task in reality. To overcome this challenge, experiential marketers are adopting the use of image edge blending, which refers to the process of stacking multiple projectors to create a single overlapped projection that appears continuous and clear.

It’s due to these advancements that displays in retail and events no longer pivot just on aesthetic appeal but can now deliver immersive consumer experiences that drive engagement and increase foot traffic. This is starting to drastically change the way that retailers, events and even restaurants host, engage, entertain and communicate with their audiences.

Projection is driving growth in experiential marketing

Consumer interest in the transition towards projection has seen this technology take centre stage at leading retailers such as Mall of Africa, events by brands such as ABSA and restaurants like Saint, transforming their environments into immersive spaces through projection that displays captivating imagery and video.

Saint restaurant in Sandton has pushed the boundaries of branding and displays, transforming all surfaces into a visual delight. Patrons entering the restaurant are greeted by a visual experience within a dome, featuring a series of moving, constantly changing artworks – such as a starry night sky or a replica of the Sistine Chapel – projected onto walls and the ceiling.

In fact, EventTrack research, which showcases the current state of marketing around the globe, highlights the continuous growth of event and experiential marketing. It notes that high-quality projection technology, more specifically its ability to emit stunning visual experiences, has grown in popularity to become the go-to tool for event organisers and retailers looking to captivate and engage with consumers.

The future of projection technology

Projection technology has proven to be an outstanding, much more cost-effective and reliable form of marketing collateral – setting an entirely new standard for high-resolution projection.

Sandton City recently embraced this market-leading technology with the installation of a virtual aquarium in its Centre Court. This installation centred on creating a 3D mapping concept that enabled shoppers to select an undersea creature from a touchpad to swim across digitised hoarding.

With capabilities to meet the demands of large-scale projection and the ability to effectively transform the way brands remain visible at shopping malls, restaurants and retail spaces – the unprecedented imaging power of projection technology has set a considerably high bar when it comes to retail and event displays. 

Epson, which is not only pioneering imaging technology and innovative projection solutions, is also the market leader when it comes to high lumen laser projection, having recently announced its 30,000 lumens laser projector (EB-L30000U) which will officially launch in 2020. This high-end installation laser projector, complete with 4K enhancement, is aimed at rental and staging companies, hospitality markets and visitor attractions, which is yet another progressive step towards transforming the way marketers engage with their consumers in the 21st century. 

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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