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IBM, Cisco, team up with Watson

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Cisco and IBM have announced a global collaboration to provide instant Internet of Things (IoT) insight at the edge of the network.

Now, businesses and organizations in remote and autonomous locations will be able to tap the combined power of IBM’s Watson IoT and business analytics technologies and Cisco’s edge analytics capabilities to more deeply understand and act on critical data on the network edge.

Today, billions of interconnected devices and sensors are gathering vast amounts of real-time data about the physical world. In recent years cloud computing has offered companies a powerful way of storing that data and turning it into valuable insight. But for businesses without easy access to high bandwidth connectivity, these capabilities are sometimes out of reach or take too long. To address the problem, IBM and Cisco have joined forces to offer a new way to produce immediate, actionable insight at the point of data collection. The new approach is designed to target companies operating on the edge of computer networks such as oil rigs, factories, shipping companies and mines, where time is of the essence but bandwidth is often lacking.

“The way we experience and interact with the physical world is being transformed by the power of cloud computing and the Internet of Things,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Commerce & Education. “For an oil rig in a remote location or a factory where critical decisions have to be taken immediately, uploading all data to the cloud is not always the best option. By coming together, IBM and Cisco are taking these powerful IoT technologies the last mile, extending Watson IoT from the cloud to the edge of computer networks, helping to make these strong analytics capabilities available virtually everywhere, always.”

“Together, Cisco and IBM are positioned to help organizations make real-time informed decisions based on business-critical data that was often previously undetected and overlooked,” said Mala Anand, senior vice president of the Cisco Data & Analytics Platforms Group. “With the vast amount of data being created at the edge of the network, using existing Cisco® infrastructure to perform streaming analytics is the perfect way to cost-effectively obtain real-time insights. Our powerful technology provides customers with the flexibility to combine this edge processing with the cognitive computing power of the IBM Watson IoT Platform.”

For example, workers in remote environments will now be able to better monitor the health and behavior of critical machinery and more accurately plan for needed maintenance and equipment upgrades. By tapping into the power of the IBM Watson IoT platform and Cisco edge analytics, these companies can adopt the latest approaches to condition based maintenance through which equipment is monitored in real-time, potentially helping reduce maintenance costs by up to 50 percent and increase productivity by 25 percent (1). 

Bell Canada is delivering intelligent data analytics solutions to Canadian businesses from coast to coast:

Cisco and IBM are working with Bell Canada, the largest communications company in Canada, to deliver IBM Watson IoT and Cisco Edge over Canada’s largest and fastest 4G LTE network. Bell’s network coverage and LTE-Advanced speeds will enable customers to collect data in real-time.

“This powerful IoT technology from Cisco and IBM, combined with Bell’s world leading network technology, enables customers to tap into innovative real-time analytics options to maximize performance across their operations, no matter where they are,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology Officer. “Many of our largest customers operate remote systems, requiring continuous availability and access to data to monitor critical performance factors and avoid downtime. Deploying the unmatched analytics capabilities of IBM Watson Internet of Things and Cisco networking intelligence with streaming edge analytics will help to further accelerate Bell’s leadership in Canadian IoT.”

Businesses including Port of Cartagena and SilverHook Powerboats are turning to Cisco and IBM to help address their most complex IT and IoT challenges: 

Port of Cartagena, a modern and highly efficient port in Colombia, is tapping into analytics on the edge to improve the port’s efficiency of assets including rubber tire gantries, cranes, and trucks. Several years ago, the Port started monitoring equipment conditions such as engine temperature, engine speed and run hours to improve efficiency and maintenance costs. Now the Port is beginning to use the IBM Watson IoT Platform with Cisco streaming edge analytics to monitor an expanded set of conditions in the cloud. This capability, including predictive analytics, is expected to help the Port to get ahead of equipment degradation and needed maintenance to keep machines running efficiently and avoid costly equipment failures.

Port of Cartagena has been nominated as the best container terminal in the Caribbean six times. It was also once named the most reliable port by the Caribbean Shipping Association, handling 2.5 million TEUs (twenty equivalent container units) per year (2).

“The city of Cartagena is considered a gateway to Colombia and home to the country’s major industrial expansion and development. As a container terminal transshipment hub, our port ships goods to almost 600 ports in 136 countries around the world,” said Eduardo Bustamante, Director of Operations, Port of Cartagena. “The opening of the new Panama Canal has created new challenges for all ports in the region and has made service reliability a key factor of success. With these new capabilities from IBM and Cisco, we gain immediate insight into the health and operations of our more than 47 rubber tire gantries and 180 trucks. As a result, we expect to be more productive in our maintenance processes to help ensure our fleet runs even more efficiently and vessels and cargo are moving smoothly in and out of our port.”

SilverHook Powerboats, a company that designs high speed racing watercraft reaching speeds of up to 200 mph, with each boat containing two engines worth approximately $1.5M USD, is tapping into Cisco edge analytics and IBM Watson IoT analytics to help race pilots react immediately to environment and engine multi variate conditions in real-time, indicating the need to throttle back in a split second, for example, to help prevent the boat’s systems from failure and to perform optimally. Previously, without this instant insight into the critical data, the outcomes could spell disaster.

Building on IBM and Cisco’s long-standing relationship, the solution will be marketed and sold together and will include Watson IoT Platform cognitive and real time insights from IBM with Cisco streaming edge analytics. This will enable real-time analytics to be performed at the edge and collection of data for longer-term analysis in the cloud.

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack would have worked.

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