Canal Walk’s Gaming Expo, backed by BT Games and Good Hope FM, is to return for the third year.
Taking place in Centre Court at Canal Walk Shopping Centre (CWSC) from 24 to Sunday 29 October, it offers gamers, eSports fans, and Cosplayers 12 hours per day to immerse themselves in the latest the industry has to offer.
The Football Tournament, a highlight for the past two years, will see PlayStation and BT Games present the winner with a R10 000 cash prize and a PlayStation 4 PRO console worth R8000. The runner-up will receive R5000, a copy of GT Sport and R3000. EEntrants must register online (at Friday and Saturday). The top players from each qualifier stage will return for the semi-final and grand finals on the Sunday.
October is a big month for the gaming industry, with a number of new releases from all the console houses. For Super Mario fans, Nintendo will be launching the latest in the series, Super Mario Odyssey (due out on 27 October), on its globally successful new console, the Nintendo Switch. Other new titles for the Switch include Pokken Tournament, Mario Kart and FIFA 18. Expect to try out other new releases across varying genre’s and for various consoles – from South Park to Assassin’s Creed Origins from Just Dance 2018 to Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
Virtual Reality followers will have their share of the latest offerings to experience. BT Games has confirmed that GT Sport will be playable for the first time in Cape Town using PSVR. Gaming merchandise like collectable figures will be available at the show.
Cosplay returns to the centre stage, with a competition on Saturday 28. Cosplay (a contraction of “costume” and “play”), is more than just dressing up. It is a creative form of self-expression and requires hours of designing, sewing and making of incredible outfits.
“The appetite for gaming and game-related products and materials is voracious,” said Vanessa Herbst, Marketing Manager, Canal Walk Shopping Centre. “We saw this last year with a packed-out centre, from the sports competitions to children dancing and even taking on their parents in the old arcade games such as Pacman, which will also make a welcome return in this year’s event.
“It’s very clear that we are living in a digital world, so we have made every effort to compile a broad array of exhibits to appeal to as many aspects of the digital gaming spectrum as possible in this year’s show.”
Says Karl Klöpfer, Head of Marketing at BT Games, “We are also conscious that it has been a tough economic year for many people, so once again we will offer big savings on consoles, games and related items during this Expo, in time for the upcoming festive season. There will be special offers for gamers who pre-order selected upcoming games, and free gifts with selected purchases. Expect killer deals, like Xbox One or PS4 consoles from R3999 and deals on hot new games too! Expect lots of fun competitions and many give-aways all week long.”
Confirmed exhibitors include Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Megarom Interactive, Electronic Arts and a number of others, with more announcements to follow that will showcase just how broad the industry of gaming has become and how it appeals to people from all walks of life.
Smart home arrives in SA
The smart home is no longer a distant vision confined to advanced economies, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
The smart home is a wonderful vision for controlling every aspect of one’s living environment via remote control, apps and sensors. But, because it is both complex and expensive, there has been little appetite for it in South Africa.
The two main routes for smart home installation are both fraught with peril – financial and technical.
The first is to call on a specialist installation company. Surprisingly, there are many in South Africa. Google “smart home” +”South Africa”, and thousands of results appear. The problem is that, because the industry is so new, few have built up solid track records and reputations. Costs vary wildly, few standards exist, and the cost of after-sales service will turn out to be more important than the upfront price.
The second route is to assemble the components of a smart home, and attempt self-installation. For the non-technical, this is often a non-starter. Not only does one need a fairly good knowledge of Wi-Fi configuration, but also a broad understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the ability for devices to sense their environment, connect to each other, and share information.
The good news, though, is that it is getting easier and more cost effective all the time.
My first efforts in this direction started a few years ago with finding smart plugs on Amazon.com. These are power adaptors that turn regular sockets into “smart sockets” by adding Wi-Fi and an on-off switch, among other. A smart lightbulb was sourced from Gearbest in China. At the time, these were the cheapest and most basic elements for a starter smart home environment.
Via a smartphone app, the light could be switched on from the other side of the world. It sounds trivial and silly, but on such basic functions the future is slowly built.
Fast forward a year or two, and these components are available from hundreds of outlets, they have plummeted in cost, and the range of options is bewildering. That, of course, makes the quest even more bewildering. Who can be trusted for quality, fulfilment and after-sales support? Which products will be obsolete in the next year or two as technology advances even more rapidly?
These are some of the challenges that a leading South African technology distributor, Syntech, decided to address in adding smart home products to its portfolio. It selected LifeSmart, a global brand with proven expertise in both IoT and smart home products.
Equally significantly, LifeSmart combines IoT with artificial intelligence and machine learning, meaning that the devices “learn” the best ways of connecting, sharing and integrating new elements. Because they all fall under the same brand, they are designed to integrate with the LifeSmart app, which is available for Android and iOS phones, as well as Android TV.
Click here to read about how LifeSmart makes installing smart home devices easier.
Matrics must prepare for AI
By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.
Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.
With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.
Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.
Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist.
So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?
For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.
In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.
This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.
In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.
As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.
This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.
The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.