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IFA: Huawei debuts smart speaker

At IFA 2018, Huawei unveiled the HUAWEI AI Cube, a two-in-one speaker and 4G router with Alexa built-in, marking its official entry into the smart speaker market

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“Huawei is committed to providing seamless connectivity and enabling the smart, connected experience. To those ends, Huawei has been actively strengthening the value proposition of its product portfolio, and augmenting an increasingly wide range of products with AI technology, with HUAWEI AI Cube being the latest in the line,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG. “HUAWEI AI Cube boasts a complete set of functionalities that showcase Huawei’s commitment to innovation and collaboration. By combining HUAWEI telecommunications technology with Amazon Alexa, the HUAWEI AI Cube is a compelling product that will surely strike a chord with consumers.”

With support for Wi-Fi on 4G LTE, HUAWEI AI Cube can fulfill the myriad connectivity demands arising from the smart home. Setup for the router is easy and intuitive—it only requires a 4G SIM card plugged in to establish a high speed internet connection at LTE Category 6 speeds (300Mbps downlink). HUAWEI AI Cube is also compatible with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, meaning the router is dual band, capable of working on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels and transmitting data over LAN at up to 1,200Mbps.

HUAWEI AI Cube also features Alexa built-in, enabling users to effortlessly play music, control smart home devices, and access more than 50,000 skills – hands-free. All you need to do is ask.

“The Huawei AI Cube combines several products into one while balancing smart functionality with high-quality sound,” said Pete Thompson, Vice President of the Alexa Voice Service. “We’re excited to see Huawei bring customers in Europe a natural way to play music, control smart home devices and access thousands of skills.”

In terms of speaker performance, HUAWEI AI Cube is built with a large, 400ml sound cavity and an aluminum diaphragm, enabling the AI speaker to produce high quality audio with crystal clear midrange and highs, as well as full, rounded bass. The audio is also enhanced with Huawei’s proprietary audio solution: HUAWEI Histen. Also featured on a range of Huawei devices, HUAWEI Histen enriches the AI speaker’s set of features by including virtual bass, linear phase equalizer, adaptive gain control, far-field voice recognition and more as part of its repertoire.

All the aforementioned technologies supported on the HUAWEI AI Cube are packed in small matte white body with a seamless 3D mesh base. Moreover, the AI speaker is designed in a way that the ports are hidden underneath the base, allowing it to blend in with any home decor easily.

According to market analyst firm Canalys, the global install base of smart speakers is set to more than double in size to reach 225 million units by 2020. This massive opportunity is underpinned by a strong market interest for this category of products, particularly in the China market. As a leading telecommunications equipment and smartphone manufacturer, Huawei is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this burgeoning trend in China and beyond.

Alongside the HUAWEI AI Cube, Huawei also launched HUAWEI Locator, a powerful small form factor location beacon supporting long operation and standby times as well as four major global navigation satellite system (GNSS) standards, namely GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou. Compatible with nano SIM and eSIM, the device supports global roaming with near-real-time location reporting and provides a host of services including SOS button, Geofence and BLE Found, a proximity-based service that triggers a buzzer alarm on HUAWEI Locator when a paired smartphone is within 10 meters from the device. Built as a rugged, multi-purpose device, HUAWEI Locator has an IP68 rating which makes it perfectly suited for any type of activity, indoors or outdoors.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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