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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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New iPhone pricing for SA

The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.

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iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,

Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
*FNB Credit Card Payment Plan, price per month over 37 months, a 40% trade-in value after 24 months

How to pre-order – Pre-ordering online for either cash or the FNB payment plan gives customers the benefit of reserving their purchase without having to queue and the added convenience of having purchases delivered directly to their door. Pre-orders of iPhone Xs and Xs Max are completed online by visiting www.myistore.co.za.
FREE iCare Plus – Exclusive to iStore, all customers can get its 2-year extended warranty, which includes one Apple Certified screen repair, that normally sells for R1 999, for FREE. To qualify, customers should secure a voucher online now at www.myistore.co.za , and subsequently redeem it when they upgrade their contract or purchase any new iPhone at iStore (iPhone 8 and newer) between now and 31 December 2018. Offer is limited, secure your voucher now.

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Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg

Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.

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The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.

The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.

Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”

Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.

Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands. Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.

“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”

“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”

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