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Huawei opens mobile AI door

Huawei this week introduced new smartphones with the world’s first Kirin AI processor, which it says will deliver a faster, more customised mobile experience.

At an event in Munich yesterday, Huawei unveiled the new Mate 10 Series, which it says will open the door to new AI mobile applications.

The Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, and Porsche Design Mate 10 are described as breakthrough AI devices that combine innovative hardware, the Kirin 970 chipset and EMUI 8.0.

The launch is a sequel to the announcement at IFA Berlin by Huawei Consumer Business Group of its first AI mobile chipset, the Kirin 970.

“As we enter the age of intelligence, AI is no longer a virtual concept but something that intertwines with our daily life,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “AI can enhance user experience, provide valuable services and improve product performance The Huawei Mate 10 Series introduces the first mobile AI-specific Neural Network Processing Unit, launching a new era of intelligent smartphones.”

South Africa will be among the first to have the Mate Series smartphone in country.

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“We are delighted to bring the Mate 10 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 10 to South Africa as we believe these smartphones will cater for the South African consumer needs as we enter the age of AI,” said Likun Zhao, GM, Huawei Consumer Business Group SA.

“Consumers will be able to pre-order their devices online after our local launch on 6 November 2017.”

This is the first time a Mate Series phone has been released in South Africa within a month of its global launch.

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Huawei provided the following information:

Key features include:

  • Kirin 970, the world’s first AI processor for smartphones with a dedicated Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU);
  • A 3D Glass Body featuring a barely-there-bezel, Huawei FullView Display and HDR10 supported technology for intensely vivid and brighter colors;
  • TÜV Fast-Charge Safety Certified Huawei SuperCharge and 4000 mAh battery with AI-powered Battery Management;
  • New Leica Dual Camera with SUMMILUX-H lenses, with both featuring  an aperture of f/1.6, and intelligent photography including AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition and AI-powered Bokeh Effect;
  • An all-new, simplified EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.0.

The Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro are the first devices powered by the new Kirin 970 processor and deliver AI enhancements for a faster, more customized mobile experience. The Kirin 970 is built using an advanced TSMC 10nm semiconductor manufacturing process, and features an octa-core ARM Cortex CPU, a first-to-market Mali G72 12-core GPU and the first NPU designed specifically for a mobile device. The Kirin 970 also has a new dual ISP for AI-powered intelligent photography.

The specialized NPU, combined with Huawei’s innovative HiAI mobile computing platform, means the Kirin 970 delivers 25x better performance and 50x greater energy efficiency for AI-related tasks, compared to four Cortex-A73 cores. The Huawei Mate 10 Series is also the world’s fastest smartphone supporting super-fast LTE connectivity and download speeds. The device comes with the world’s first dual 4G SIM support and dual VoLTE connections.

By combining individual and collective intelligence for on-device AI, the new Huawei Mate Series delivers real-time responses to users, including AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition and an AI Accelerated Translator. Kirin 970 is an open, mobile AI computing platform for third parties to create new and imaginative AI applications and which extends Huawei’s processing capabilities to the entire value chain.

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Design Qualities for New Levels of Sophistication and Comfort

With an all-new Huawei FullView Display, the Huawei Mate 10 features a stunning 5.9-inch screen with a 16:9 display, barely-there-bezel and HDR10 to support vivid colors. The 6-inch Huawei Mate 10 Pro features an 18:9 OLED display, high screen-to-body ratio and HDR10 for dynamic video viewing.

The iconic devices feature a 3D Glass Body, beautifully and symmetrically curved on all four sides for an ergonomic hold. The back of the devices feature a reflective band design to highlight the New Leica Dual Camera.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is also IP67 Water and Dust Resistant.

New Leica Dual Camera

Huawei has again partnered with Leica to co-engineer the dual lens camera for the Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. They combine 12-megapixel RGB + 20-megapixel monochrome sensors, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), dual lenses with the world’s largest aperture of f/1.6, AI-powered Bokeh Effect and AI-powered Digital Zoom. New AI-powered Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition, which automatically chooses camera settings based on the object and scene, supports an advanced AI-powered Digital Zoom function with AI Motion Detection for clearer and sharper pictures.

The Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro pack a 4000 mAh high-density battery featuring a smart battery management system that understands user behaviour and intelligently allocates resources to maximize battery life. It supports 4.5V / 5A low-voltage fast charging, powering the device from 1 percent to 20 percent in 10 minutes, and 1 percent to 58 percent in 30 minutes. Additionally, Huawei SuperCharge is the world’s first fast charging technology to receive TÜV Fast-Charge Safety Certification, ensuring safe end-to-end charging.

The Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro will launch with Huawei’s all-new EMUI 8.0 powered by Android 8.0. Features include an AI Engine to fully leverage the capabilities of the Kirin 970; an AI Accelerated translator to deliver faster and more accurate interactive translation for a smoother communication experience; an easy projection feature to connect the new Huawei Mate Series to a larger screen; support for a full desktop experience – either mirroring or extending the smartphone display like a PC.

New Accessories

Huawei also launched three Huawei Mate 10 accessories: the EnVizion 360 Camera, SuperCharge Power Bank, and Smart Scale.

  • The EnVizion 360 Camera can shoot 5K photos and 360-degree 2K videos with multiple viewing modes for users to share across their social media channels.
  • Huawei’s SuperCharge™ Power Bank supports a 4.5V / 5A low-voltage fast charge.
  • The Smart Scale can monitor and analyze health information such as body fat percentage and Body Mass Index through a mobile app.

* For more information, please visit: http://consumer.Huawei.com/en/  

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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