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IBM composes social Verse

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IBM has announced Verse, a social messaging solution that incorporates analytics to help users connect and communicate with the right people and information.

IBM has announced the availability of IBM Verse, a social messaging solution that incorporates built-in analytics to give people a new way to connect, communicate and find the right people and information fast.

A direct result of IBM’s $100 million investment in design innovation, IBM Verse integrates email, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social and more – all through a single collaborative, cloud-based environment.

 

“IBM Verse is a natural blending of IBM’s expertise in collaboration and analytics,” said Jens Rauschen, Managing Director of Retail, Hamm-RENO Group, GmbH, one of Europe’s largest footwear retailers which has been beta testing the solution. “It understands who and what is important to me and helps me get to the heart of the most important matters quickly, so I can get back to my business.”

For international marketing and communications firm, Havas Creative, design and speed are key aspects of the solution. “Right away, I was impressed with how intuitive, user-friendly, and modern Verse is,” said Jeff Marshall, CIO Havas Creative North America. Havas Creative manages an IBM Verse beta environment and plans to roll it out to more than 5,000 employees across North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific this year.

Of particular interest to Marshall is IBM Verse’s faceted search. With faceted search, users can pinpoint and retrieve specific information across all the various types of content within their email extremely quickly.

 

IBM provided the following information on key features of IBM Verse:

  • Team Analytics. With just one click, users can see an organizational graph of the people on their thread and gain insights before responding. No longer do you have to wonder who you are corresponding with.
  • Calendaring. As part of Verse’s innovative visual design the calendar is animated, visible and actionable across the bottom of the landing page, making missed meetings a thing of the past. Users can join meetings quickly by merely hovering over the calendar meeting and clicking “Join Meeting” directly from the calendar bar.
  • File Sharing: IBM Verse includes a social file sharing capability to make co-editing, review and commenting on a file easy. When sending an email, users can choose to easily upload a file from their desktop and share it with the mail recipients in a single action. This enables full life cycle management of the files. In addition, owners can track who has downloaded the file and recipients will always have access to the latest version instead of the version that was attached into the email. It is safe, secure and encrypted. These files can be synchronized to users’ desktops, and mobile devices, making sharing and action easy, tractable and also saving space.

Delivered on the SoftLayer Cloud with enterprise-grade security, IBM Verse offers organizations big or small a scalable, cloud-based social collaboration offering. In addition, IBM plans to introduce a new licensing model as part of its Bridge to Cloud program for IBM Connections Cloud that makes it easy for customers to deploy collaboration solutions to cloud, on premises or in a hybrid environment.

 

IBM plans to offer new native mobile apps for Verse that integrate with the IBM MobileFirst platform, including IBM MobileProtect, and starting with IBM iOS for iPhone later this month. IBM will follow that release with apps for Android and iPad in the second quarter.

IBM is also making available a free version, IBM Verse Basic, at www.ibm.com/verse.

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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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