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IFA: Best of show

The IHS Markit Innovation Awards, presented at the ShowStoppers IFA 2018 press event in Berlin last week, have highlighted the most innovative technology products on show.

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“This was our second straight year hosting and judging the Innovation Awards at ShowStoppers @ IFA, and we extend our warmest congratulations to all the technology groundbreakers who participated in the event,” said Tom Morrod, research director at IHS Markit. “Once again we saw some extraordinary entries on display here in Berlin. While it’s difficult to choose only one victor in each category, the winners demonstrated extraordinary vision and creativity.”

The winners, by category, of the 2018 IHS Markit Innovation Awards at IFA are:

AR, VR and gaming: MERGE Cube from MERGE, a holographic object that can be held in the palm of the hand.

Fitness, wearables and health devices: ReSound LiNX Quattro™ from GN Hearing, a high-dynamic-range hearing aid.

Mobile accessories: Spire Studio from iZotope, a one-touch professional recording studio.

Mobile computing: Pocketalk from Sourcenext, an AI-powered, instant voice translation device.

Personal entertainment: Jabra Elite Active 65t from Jabra, wireless earbuds for sports, music and calls.

Smart home and appliances: Airthings Wave Plus from Airthings AS, a wirelessly connected, battery-operated indoor air-quality monitor with radon detection.

Video displays and devices: Dell 27 USB-C Ultrathin (S2719DC) from Dell, an ultra-thin USB-C monitor with glass light-guide plate (LGP) technology.

The following products earned honorable mentions: Bitdefender BOX by Bitdefender; Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1 by Dell; Mophie Charge Stream Vent Mount by ZAGG; Polaroid Mint by Polaroid; and Quiet Mark by Quiet Mark Approvals Ltd.

Judges

The following technology industry research analysts at IHS Markit, and internationally recognized journalists, judged the awards at IFA 2018:

IHS Markit judges: Paul Gray, Jusy Hong, Daniel Knapp, Tom Morrod, Ken Park, Roeen Roashan, Gerrit Schneemann and Bing Zhang.

Journalist judges: Vladimir Brandalik, Tech Lifestyle; Andrew Grush, Android Authority; and Luboš Horčic, Stereo & Video.

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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense for app

DStv Now app expands, FNB gets Snapchat lens, Spotify offers data saver mode, in SEAN BACHER’s apps roundup

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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 worked

To win a set of three Fortnite Funko Pop Figurines, click here.

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