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Execs must spend more time at work’s new coalface

By CHRIS BUCHANAN, Client Solutions Director at Dell South Africa

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The world loves delineation as much as buzzwords, so we often fall over ourselves to define generational differences with talk of ‘millennials’, ‘gen-z’, ‘gen-x’ and so on. Reality is never that cleanly cut, but I can definitely say this: there is something interesting about the new employees entering today’s workforce.

A recent conversation with a retail executive brought this home to me again. Having hired a gen-z employee, he ran into her on her first day. She said she was bored, so he decided to teach her a lesson. Go document the asset tracking and disposal process for the company and suggest improvements, he told her. The employee disappeared for 3 days, then emerged with the best presentation he’d seen in his career.

Today’s employees are driven and focused. This may be due to generational factors, but I can see the new views of employment across staff from their twenties to nearing retirement age. I suspect there is a lot of credit due to how we work with each other today, supported by new technologies and working methodologies. But are employers paying attention?

Problems occur when leaders assume they know what employees want. According to PWC, 90% of C-suite executives say their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology. Yet only 53% of employees agreed. In the same vein, 93% of the C-suite felt satisfied with the technology experiences they have, contrasted to only 68% of staff.

Why is there such a disconnect? One theory is that the C-suite delegates specific tasks. They don’t spend enough time at the coalface to really see if the technology does what it promised. Employees, on the other hand, are very attuned to this: 73% of employees surveyed by PWC said they know of technologies that would produce higher-quality work.

None of this should be sobering, because we already know it’s true. The greatest and grandest technology projects have failed because employees shunned it, returning to tried-and-tested methods rather than wrestle with systems not aligned to them. Change management projects fall short by an overwhelming number, usually because employees were treated as an afterthought.

You could skirt that problem in the past with ‘do as I say’ attitudes. But as my retail acquaintance’s experience shows, the rules of engagement are changing. Skilled and driven employees know their worth and they have expectations. Some things the executive heard during his interview of the candidate: she was deciding if she wanted to work for them (not the other way around), she placed a high premium on access to effective devices (not hand-me-downs), she wanted to travel and not be fixed to one location, and she expected flexible work hours.

That takes a lot of moxy, yet when the executive put her to the test, she came out shining. Not all employees will have the same desires, but they know their expectations matter. Modern workplace cultures are attuned to this, creating a virtuous cycle between ambitious employees and vibrant employment.

It may be about a grand technology service for your business or it can be as simple as putting the right devices and peripherals in the right hands. But are you asking what your employees want and are you listening? That may be the most important skill a business leader should have today…

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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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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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