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Hisense expands Infinity range

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Hisense has added H11, F24 and E7 models to their Infinity line of affordable smartphones. The latest additions feature small bezels, with more than a 80% screen-to-body ratio, 2.5D glass displays and 5.99” screens with 18:9 aspect ratio.

Infinity H11’s design offers an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and accelerometer.  It allows for a ‘Double Tap Wake-up’, glove operation and wet-hand operation. The H11 has a 12MP Ultra pixel rear camera, and 16MP front camera – perfect for selfie taking. The fingerprint sensor helps with for quick unlock, call answering and one touch camera access. The large capacity 3400mAh battery allows for 315 hours of standby time or 10 hours of HD video. The device has 3GB RAM, 32GB ROM and allows for up to 128GB expandable memory.

Hisense Infinity F24 has a high proportion metal body that provides a comfortable grip experience formed by carefully selected micron-grade sand particles. It has a 5P lens, 13-megapixel rear camera and 8MP front camera. The F24’s 3400mAh battery charges based on intelligent dual-charge chip that spreads current and reduces heat to achieve 2A current while ensuring the safety. The enhanced fingerprint sensor supports all-dimensional identification and allows five group fingerprints inputting as well as fast unlocking the phone whether display is on or off. In terms of network and processing capabilities, the F24 has 4G LTE and a faster 1.5GHz Quad Core processor.

Both the F24 and H11 come with the Android Nougat (Android N) operating System. The Android N OS introduces the concept of “Doze” which improves battery life by 20% when on power-saving mode.  It also supports a bundled notifications application, as well as Unicode 9, which comes with over 70 emoji icons – making for a fun and easy user experience. Cameras for both come with multiple shooting modes including Baby, HDR and V-gesture. The F24 is also easily accessible through the use of the fingerprint sensor, which can be used as a camera key.

Hisense reveals the Infinity E7. The device is slightly smaller than the F24 and H11, at 5.5”, but has the same aspects and similar screen-to-body ratios. The display offers an immersive viewing experience that supports an HD resolution of 1440×640 pixels, presenting clear, crisp, and vivid images and is easy to read from all angles due to the adoption of IPS technology.

The Infinity E7 is trendy, stylish and practical. The E7 features a 16MP rear camera, perfectly adequate for any setting – night or day. It offers a speedy focus feature, as well as panorama, HDR and more modes. The 8MP front camera has built-in Face Beauty and Smile Cap functions, capturing natural colours and producing the best selfies. The Android smartphone comes with a MT6580, Quad-core 1.3GHz processor and offers a 1 Gb Ram and 16Gb expandable memory, as well as a 2450 mAh battery that lasts 245 hours when on stand-by.

“We’ve added these to our line-up to offer our consumers a variety of products to suit their needs, but more importantly to provide technology that not only makes their lives easier, but is also durable and available at an accessible price point,” says Ryan Curling, Hisense South Africa’s Marketing Deputy Executive.

He continues: “Our innovative range of mobile phones enables consumers to capture, share and celebrate meaningful life experiences, memories and moments, both big and small, all at the touch of a screen – allowing them to be the heroes of their own life story. For this reason, we have adopted the tagline ‘Do You. Do Life’, with ‘aim high’ being the underlying ethos. As a mobile brand designed to fit people’s lives, Hisense Mobile is utilising this strategy to encourage living life to the fullest, doing new things, stepping out of comfort zones and sharing experiences, because, at the end of the day, life is too short to do average.”

The Hisense Infinity series will be available from all mobile networks from March 2018. The recommended retail prices are: Infinity H11 – R4499, F24 at R3299 and Infinity E7 at R1799.

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Smart home arrives in SA

The smart home is no longer a distant vision confined to advanced economies, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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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.

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

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.

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