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Enterprise of Things gets BB mobile security

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BlackBerry has launched a platform designed for the Enterprise of Things. The platform is designed to be the foundation that drives a company’s move to the cloud, enabling it to address the entire enterprise from endpoint to endpoint.

Data breaches and cybersecurity threats are some of the biggest roadblocks to realizing the greatest potential of the Enterprise of Things, which BlackBerry defines as the network of intelligent connections and endpoints within the enterprise that enable products to move from sketch to scale. It is a collection of devices, computers, sensors, trackers, equipment and other “things” that communicate with each other to enable smart product development, distribution, marketing and sales.

“Businesses must be able to confidentially and reliably transmit sensitive data between endpoints to keep people, information and goods safe,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BlackBerry. “BlackBerry is uniquely qualified to address this emerging market now because of our deep experience, industry leadership and ongoing product innovation that addresses future business needs.”

The totality of the BlackBerry solution is called BlackBerry Secure and is grounded in the company’s mobile software security platform. It helps companies manage and secure their mobile devices and connected things and secures communications for all messaging and file types – ultimately opening up new markets for BlackBerry where multiple endpoint mobile security management and applications are critical. For example, BlackBerry’s platform helps to prevent hackers from penetrating devices and computers, provide intelligence for highly secure supply chain communications, ensure patient confidentiality in healthcare and safeguard assets in the financial industry.

Chen added, “Our customers’ investments are protected because this foundational platform is not only compatible with our current products and third-party software like Microsoft Office 365, but is also ‘future-proofed’ to address upcoming capabilities such as messaging and analytics. It allows customers to build their own apps, workflows and business processes, and will be compatible with future applications and cloud-based systems because we have plans to expand the platform’s features, market segments it supports, and our entire partner ecosystem.”

In addition to more than 80 security certifications, BlackBerry recently ranked the highest in all six use cases of Gartner’s “Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management” report. The company’s heritage in security has led to the following products that meet the highest security and regulatory requirements, accelerate key business processes and reduce total cost of ownership – ultimately giving organizations complete confidence in their endpoint management:

·         BlackBerry UEM (formerly BES12) – Provides the granular control and visibility that IT needs to secure all endpoints, along with the flexibility to support a wide array of productivity and other business use cases. BlackBerry UEM supports all major OS platforms (Android for Work, Samsung KNOX, iOS, Windows 10, OS X and BlackBerry 10) and device ownership models with a single console. It also supports native MDM controls for managing device policies and MAM capabilities for deploying approved business apps.

·         BlackBerry Dynamics (formerly Good Dynamics) – Delivers a foundation for secure enterprise mobility by offering an advanced, mature development platform and container for mobile apps. BlackBerry Dynamics is designed to eliminate the risk of data leakage by delivering proven security at the app level. It is also flexible enough to support a vast and ever-changing set of apps, workflows, and business processes.

·         BlackBerry Workspaces (formerly WatchDox) – Enables users to share, edit and control their files on every device with the highest level of security due to embedded digital rights management (DRM) protection in the files.

·         BlackBerry 2FA (formerly Strong Authentication) – Allows users to replace the cost and hassle of a physical token and typing in codes with the simplicity of acknowledging a prompt on their secured mobile device for two-factor authentication.

·         BlackBerry Enterprise Identity – Enables users to Single Sign-on (SSO) into a variety of third-party cloud services such as Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Workday and Salesforce. Even more compelling is Mobile Zero Sign-on (MZSO), where simply unlocking the phone grants transparent access to services without requiring a password.

·         BlackBerry SDK – Allows application developers to easily integrate any BlackBerry service (i.e., BlackBerry UEM, BlackBerry Workspaces and BlackBerry Dynamics) into their applications via a Platform-as-a-Service model.

As part of BlackBerry’s platform, the company is launching a new portfolio of business-class applications designed for the mobile-first work environment. Available in January, the apps outlined below are simple for IT to deploy and provide a seamless experience across smartphones, tablets and PCs:

·         BlackBerry Work (formerly Good Work) – Offers a secure, intuitive and integrated collaboration experience. It combines email, calendar, contacts, presence, document access, document editing and more, allowing organizations to mobilize their workforce effectively.

·         BlackBerry Access (formerly Good Access) – Gives your organization the ability to confidently enable mobile access to a broad range of web apps and intranet resources containing sensitive information. 

·         BlackBerry Connect (formerly Good Connect) – Accelerates decision-making by allowing employees to securely connect and collaborate in real time on their choice of mobile device. 

·         BlackBerry Share (formerly Good Share) – Allows employees to safely share documents and other content while on the go, on any device.

·         BlackBerry Tasks (formerly Good Tasks) Provides the ability to securely create, open and prioritize tasks synchronized with Microsoft Exchange.

·         BlackBerry Notes – Enables users to stay on top of business workflows by creating, editing and maintaining a tile-view list of notes.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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