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IFA 2019: Japanese innovations grab show attention

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A Lunar rover, a wearable device that predicts when you need to go to the bathroom, and robots, are some of the products for work, home and play that eight startups and industry innovators from Japanintroduced and demonstrated to more than 800 attending journalists from 57 countries at ShowStoppers @ IFA, the official press event at IFA, the tradeshow in Berlin where consumer tech and home appliances meet innovation.

The twelfth annual edition of ShowStoppers @ IFA tookplace Thursday, 5 Sept. 2019, 6 to 9 p.m. (1800-2100), inHall 1, Messe Berlin, on the tradeshow fairgrounds, Berlin, Germany.

ShowStoppers features product introductions and previews, hands-on demos, and executive interviews for attending journalists.

Sponsored by METI, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, organized by JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization, the Japanese companies exhibiting at ShowStoppers included:

  • Empath – developer of an artificial intelligence tool that identifies emotion from the voice, adopted by 1,800 customers in over 50 countries for use in call centers, robotics, mobility, and Internet of Things devices.
  • Idein – developer of Actcast, an IoT platform service that links events and data in the physical world to the Web.
  • Ispace – a private lunar exploration company developing micro robots to map lunar resources and collect data from the Moon’s surface.
  • Mui Lab – a smart art system that turns memories into works of art, and “calm” technologies that transform wood surfaces into a touch-sensitive smart screen.
  • Pixie Dust Technologies – producer of Holographic Whisper technology, a speaker that delivers sound by controlling ultrasonic waves.
  • Triple W – maker of DFree, which uses an ultrasound sensor to monitor changes in the size of the bladder, helping to manage incontinence and difficulty urinating.
  • Unipos – an application that strengthens team building and leadership with tokens of appreciation.
  • Yukai Engineering – developer of “lifestyle robots” that bring joy to life, introducing Qoobo, a therapy robot, and BOCCO emo, a communications robot.

Representing the first Global Innovation partner country of IFA NEXT, the companies exhibited at ShowStoppers as part of the Japan Pavilion, showcasing new human-machine interfaces where cyberspace and physical space are highly integrated.

IFA drives innovation in the consumer electronics and home appliances industries with startups, research laboratories, universities, the world’s leading digital brands for work, home and play. Participating companies design, manufacture and sell the building-block components for future products – from the kitchen to the office, in healthcare, the Internet of Things, automotive and mobile devices and connected services; the smart home, drones, virtual and augmented reality – just in time for retailers and distributors to introduce consumer and business buyers to new products and services for fourth-quarter and holiday sales.

Now in its 25th year, ShowStoppers is the global leader in producing press and business events spanning the US, Europe and Asia. Each event organizes product introductions, sneak previews and demonstrations for selected journalists, bloggers, industry and financial analysts, venture capitalists and business executives. Industry leaders, innovators and startups exhibit to generate news coverage and product reviews, make new connections, promote their brand, and open new markets. ShowStoppers produces events at CES, Mobile World Congress and Mobile World Congress Americas, among others; and official press events at CES, CE Week, IFA and NAB.

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Showmax launches half-price mobile streaming service

A new streaming product designed specifically for Africa, featuring TV series as well as African content and live sport, is aimed at filling the gap in subscription video on demand services

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The subscription video on demand (SVoD) model, which originated in the USA, spread rapidly in countries where uncapped broadband is affordable and widely available. However, because the model also relies on consumers being comfortable with transacting online and having ready access to credit cards, it has barely scratched the surface across Africa.

On top of that, smartphones are often the only only form of Internet access across Africa, and none of the popular SVoD services have been designed for the format.

Showmax says it plans to change this with the launch of a new mobile plan that costs 50% of the standard Showmax package but still features 100% of the same video content. Showmax is set apart by a combination of four pillars: hit African content, exclusive international series, topkids’ shows, and live sport, including weekly matches from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga.

Showmax says the new plan is aimed at consumers who only use smartphones and tablets to watch video content. Video resolution peaks at standard definition to help reduce data consumption. As it is a product aimed at individuals, only one concurrent stream is included in the plan. As with the regular service, it is also available for a 14-day free trial.

“This is all about an African service developing a solution that meets the needs of African consumers,” saus Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. “Customer feedback consistently points to local content and sport as some of the things that people value most from Showmax. That’s of course on top of the international series, movies, and kids’ shows that are our bread and butter. With all of that content now available in a product designed specifically for mobile usage, we’re doing something no other service can offer.

“On top of that, with groundbreaking deals like our new offer with Vodacom in South Africa, we solve the credit card issue through add-to-bill payment and the data issue by including data directly in the package. We’re looking to launch similar offers in Kenya and Nigeria soon.”

Both the standard and mobile plans include live sport, sport magazine shows and sport documentaries. The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final was streamed live on Showmax earlier this month, and the following is a selection of some of the football due to be live-streamed in November:

22 November: Levante vs Mallorca (La Liga)

23 November: Arsenal vs Southampton (Premier League)

24 November: Bologna vs Parma (Serie A)

25 November: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Premier League)

29 November: Celta Vigo vs Valladolid (La Liga)

30 November: Fiorentina vs Lecce (Serie A)

30 November: Chelsea vs West Ham United (Premier League)

Showmax’s mobile plan is currently available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Comparison of Showmax plans:

Mobile Standard
Price per monthR49 / N1450 / KSh 375R99 / N2900 / KSh 750
Watch on smartphone or tabletYesYes
Watch on smart TV and computerNoYes
HD streamingNoYes
TV series, movies, kids’ showsYesYes
SportYesYes
Concurrent streams12
Cancel anytimeYesYes
14-day free trialYesYes
Chromecast and AirPlayNoYes
Number of devicesOne registered device5 devices can be registered, with 2 able to stream at the same time

For a 14-day free trial, visit www.showmax.com

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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.

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At the 18th edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodacom World earlier tonight, News24’s Tammy Petersen took top honours and the R100,000 grand prize as national winner for her body of work on a gang war series entitled When you live in Hanover Park, you know death. Petersen’s submission was one of over 1,000 entries received from around the country across 12 categories – Investigative, Opinion, Lifestyle, Photography, Sport, Economics, Politics, CSI, Live reporting/ breaking news, Data Journalism, Multi-platform and the Young Journalist of the Year Award. This year’s theme – Connect the Dots – pays tribute to the best-of-the-best of those entries.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group says: “This year has seen extraordinary entries to the 18th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. Not all the stories that are national winners were about huge events but also showed the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people. In line with our theme, the dots were indeed connected, and we congratulate all the winners.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The quality of entries has convinced the judges once again that our industry is in good hands, as far as journalism is concerned, despite the many problems that have beset the industry in recent times. Judging from the entries, South African journalists are determined to fly the flag high for a free, independent, and vigorous media, which augurs well for our democracy. As judges, we can only salute all the entrants for the great work that they submitted. In the end, our industry is probably the biggest winner.”

Judges for this year’s awards are: Ryland Fisher (convenor), Jermaine Craig, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Franz Kruger, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Mary Papayya, and Obed Zilwa.

Visit the next page for the full list of winners and their citations.

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