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IFA ushers in future

Virtual media worlds, living in smart cities, the future of mobility, robots in the household, voice commands, digital translators, the next generation of ultra-fast mobile networks and digital innovations for a healthier lifestyle – these are all topics that the IFA NEXT Innovation Engine will be featuring.

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At this year’s IFA NEXT the exhibition area has doubled in size. Parallel with an increase in exhibitors to around 200, the program of IFA NEXT Innovation Engine is also expanding. For the first time it will occupy two stages, with Innovation Engine Red featured in Hall 26a and Innovation Engine Blue in Hall 26c.

Program highlights will include a presentation of Future Living Berlin, a project in the Adlershof district of southeast Berlin where an entire urban quarter is being set up as a live experiment and an installation that sets standards for interconnected living. Energy management, communications, transport, intelligent mobility – all the topics focusing on innovation from the industries that are exhibiting at IFA are concentrated here. The organizers and their project partners, including Panasonic, Digitalstrom and Schindler, an elevator specialist, will present the project. Monday, 3 Sept., 11.00 a.m., at Innovation Engine Red.

FoldiMate, a startup from California, is showing how in the future robots will be able to undertake complex tasks. Folding laundry will no longer be a manual chore people would rather avoid, because FoldiMate can do the job with digital precision. Monday, 3 Sept., 11.20 a.m. at Innovation Engine Blue

A number of organizations and platforms have made interoperability between digital devices made by different manufacturers on the internet of things their key topic. Fascinating lectures on this subject are scheduled: Mozaiq Operations on Friday, 31 Aug., 11 a.m. at Innovation Engine Blue, followed by Conrad Connect at 11.20 a.m. On Sunday, 2 Sept. at 11.30 a.m. at Innovation Engine Red the EEBUS initiative will give a presentation on this subject.

On Saturday, the focus will be on innovative products and solutions which promote a healthier lifestyle. Eight contributions will examine this topic. A presentation on Digital Security in Wi-Fi Networks will also be given by VDE. Saturday, 1 Sept. at 11.40 a.m. on both Innovation Engine stages.

Artificial intelligence has long ceased to be just a catchy phrase. Self-teaching devices are now entering people’s everyday lives. On Sunday, 2 Sept. at 12.40 p.m., a lecture by the smart home specialist Netatmo will highlight examples and the future prospects.

Voice-controlled systems are not only taking over the entire household. Using voice commands to easily trigger functions or solve issues has made its way onto vehicles as well. It even works with older cars. German Auto Labs, a startup from Berlin, is a one-stop company that supplies the necessary software, hardware and service. To find out more visit the presentations at Innovation Engine Blue on Monday, 3 Sept at 11.40 a.m. and 12:40 p.m.

5G, the next generation of ultra-fast mobile networks, will also change the media landscape, possibly in dramatic ways. An Opportunity or simply Hype? On Tuesday, 4 Sept. at 3 p.m. at Innovation Engine Red, a panel discussion with 5G experts from Deutsche TV-Plattform will debate this topic. 

The mobile infrastructure is only part of the 5G revolution, the front end, so to speak. A dense fiber optic network is also needed to ensure fast data communications. On Tuesday, 4 Sept. at 1.20 p.m. at Innovation Engine Red, Dr. HwanSeok Chung from the Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will deliver an expert lecture on the subject.

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Funko Fortnite hits SA

Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars.

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Fortnite phenomenon in the world of gaming and the Battle Royale game mode has drawn over 125 million players worldwide in less than a year.

In the game, players can gather materials to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure unsuspecting enemies to. 

In Battle Royale mode, players can quickly traverse the map; protect themselves from enemy fire, or just delay an advancing foe by means of building obstacles and structures from gathered materials. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications.  Although Fortnite is a shooter game, it highly promotes creativity and the most creative and clever methods tend to be that of the winner.  Any gamer in the country knows of, or has played Fortnite and Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars.

The following Funko POP characters have been released to SA, just in time for Christmas:

Drift: Journey into the unknown, and find your way to victory.

Ragnarok:  The cold harbinger of fate.

Dark Vangaurd:  Exploring the outer limits.

Valor:  A beacon for hope.

Havoc:  Striking fear into the opposition.

Tricera-Ops:  Sink your teeth into victory.

Sparkle specialist:  It’s time to shine!

Zoey:  Candy-coated chaos.

Burnout:  All roads lead to victory.

Raven:  Brooding master of dark skies

If you want to have your character with you at all times, there are Funko Keychains that can accompany you anywhere, of all the same characters.

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Here is 2019’s tech

From AI to flexible displays, this is the tech that will shape 2019, writes CY KIM, MD of LG SA

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2018 was incredibly exciting for the technology sector which has seen myriad advancements. These include the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) being established, robots helping around the house and consumer electronic innovations such as TVs that are so thin, they might be mistaken for windows, or paintings.

2019 promises to be another significant year as people’s attitudes are changing and technology becomes embedded in our lives. Smart electronics manufacturers will ensure their plans for the future match evolving consumer needs with suitable technology.

We take a look at the biggest innovations for 2019 from AI to lightning-fast internet speeds and flexible viewing surfaces, and we shed some light on how these evolving technologies will impact on how we live and work.

AI will come of age

AI has experienced a marked increase in investments and according to Forbes, 80% of enterprises are investing in AI while 30% are planning to expand their AI investments in the next three years. It’s estimated that during 2017, venture, corporate and seed investors put about $3.6-billion into AI and machine learning companies.

This investment trend has given rise to innovation in deep learning products that have the potential to change the world for the better.

Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its consumer benefits weren’t visible until recently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to really take off and become a necessity, not just in the home, but in every facet of our lives.

The potential of AI is endless as this technology goes into everything from small watches to cars and even gigantic, connected smart cities. AI is also starting to find its way into TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, mobile phones and even air cons as products adapt to human behaviour.

Lightning-fast internet speeds

Faster internet speeds enable quicker response times for business tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will increase the efficiency of workers and will provide reliable communication tools for companies that rely on remote workers.

Given that the so-called gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, the expectation is that the evolving workforce will contain a higher percentage of employees, or contractors who do not work in a central office.

5G has the potential to change the world the way the internet did a few decades ago. The fifth generation of wireless technology will take internet connectivity to a new level as the internet of things (IoT), will bring about the potential for everything to be connected to everything.

However, 5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It will create new possibilities in numerous sectors, including medicine, transportation and manufacturing.

A smarter world through IoT and AI isn’t possible without 5G’s speed and capacity as the system is able to carry large numbers of connections simultaneously, and is therefore crucial to the development of smart cities, autonomous cars and smart homes.

Life-enriching smart technology

Much like technological innovations, consumer habits and preferences are changing drastically when it comes to home appliances and particularly, home entertainment.

Most consumers believe that advancements in home entertainment tech is life-enriching and that their life is better with the latest tech at their fingertips as it allows them to stay indoors and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

The value of home entertainment tech lies in how it allows loved ones to share experiences, thereby bringing them closer together, particularly during big events such as major sporting events and holiday celebrations.

The potential of flexible viewing surfaces will not only change home entertainment, but also marketing techniques in shopping malls, city centres and shop fronts. With the ability to curve around any environment, this technology creates the perfect platform for signage and consumer engagement that stands out from the crowd.

LG Electronics is an established market leader in innovation and has already started to incorporate these futuristic technologies into its products, which are designed to make consumers lives more convenient. We will continue to release amazing products that utilise smart tech to connect with consumers while staying ahead of the evolutionary curve.

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