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IFA: Windows 10 Creators Update lands in October

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Last week in Berlin at IFA, Microsoft announced that the next update of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, will be available worldwide next month.

Microsoft says its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and this next step in the Windows journey empowers the creator in all of us with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Microsoft provided the following information:

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is introducing fun, new ways to get creative. The update will deliver an evolution to the photos experience allowing customers to tell their story using photos, videos and 3D effects; enhancements in gaming, security, accessibility and immersive new experiences made possible by Windows Mixed Reality. All of this innovation will be brought to life by a range of beautifully designed, and feature rich modern devices available from our hardware partners this holiday.

Windows Inking
Windows Inking keeps getting better by letting users ink directly onto PDF documents, making it easier and faster to comment and share with others, improving on what can be done with pen and paper alone. Smart Ink applies artificial intelligence to inking automatically making the squares drawn more perfect, or turning boxes into a table with no extra work. With Windows Find my Pen customers will be able to locate their pen to start inking.

Photos and Videos

With the Fall Creators Update, the Windows Photos Application has been reimagined to deliver remixed experiences to let customers tell their stories with photos, videos, 3D and even inking.

OneDrive Files On-Demand
Customers can save their creations in OneDrive Files On-Demand, accessing their cloud files like any other file on their PC without using up their local storage.

Gaming 

The fuel that often inspires creativity is play. The Fall Creators Update brings new enhancements to Game Mode, which allows games to use the full processing power of a device as if it was an Xbox game console, right from a new button on the Game bar. To take advantage of this power, Microsoft has a fantastic lineup of Xbox Play Anywhere games including: Cuphead, Forza Motorsport 7, Super Lucky’s Tale, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Additionally, the most powerful console on the planet, Xbox One X, will be available on November 7.

Security

The Fall Creators Update also brings security improvements to Windows 10. Windows Defender is smarter and defends better than before with behind the scenes cloud intelligence that enables new defenses against ransomware and exploits. Furthermore, Windows 10 S, introduced last May, is specifically designed for simplicity and security, with significant breakthroughs in battery life and performance.

This is the core of Fall Creators Update, it’s all about unleashing customers’ creativity and having some fun while at the same time keeping them safe and secure.

Accessibility

With Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is making Windows more accessible for those with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that impacts the brain’s ability to control the body’s muscles. A new feature called Eye Control, implements eye tracking technology that lets users type, and operate a mouse using their eyes. This is life-changing technology for those with this disease, and a real advancement in accessibility.

Windows Mixed Reality
One more aspect of the Fall Creators Update is all about immersing customers in a new reality, the world of Windows Mixed Reality. By combining physical and digital worlds, Microsoft believes mixed reality is the next step in the evolution of human computing. In Windows Mixed Reality, users are fully immersed in the experience and are not limited to a mobile device screen size. The setup is simple, and does not require users to mount cameras around the room – just put the headset on, plug it into a PC and get started. It’s available from a range of device partners around the world, like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo with prices starting as low as $299.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets start to become available on October 17 when the Fall Creators Update ships.

Even for customers without headsets, Microsoft will deliver mixed reality experiences through the PC. With Mixed Reality Viewer, users can see 3D objects – either from the Remix3D.com community or their own creations from Paint 3D – mixed into their actual surroundings through the PC’s camera – and snapped and shared – for powerful ways to tell their story.

Modern devices bring the magic of the Fall Creators Update to life 

Earlier this week at IFA, Microsoft partners also announced a range of beautifully designed, and feature rich modern devices. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo introduced new Windows 2-in-1s, laptops, all-in-ones, and gaming PCs that feature Intel’s latest 8th generation processors, include the latest NVIDIA graphics cards that enable Windows Mixed Reality experiences, deliver all-day battery life, and offer OLED and 4K screens for the most stunning visuals.

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Now for hardware-as-a-service

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Integrated ICT and Infrastructure provider Vox has entered into an exclusive partnership with Go Rentals to introduce a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) offering, which is aimed at providing local small and medium businesses (SMEs) with quick, affordable, and scalable access to a wide variety of IT infrastructure – as well as the management thereof.

“Despite an increasingly competitive business environment where every rand counts, many business owners are still buying technology-based equipment outright rather than renting it,” says Barry Kemp, Head of Managed IT at Vox. “The problem with this is that the modern device arena has grown in variety and complexity, making it more difficult to manage, and to reduce the overheads of controlling these devices.”

According to Kemp, there is a global trend being observed in businesses moving away from owning and managing IT infrastructure. This started with the move away from servers and toward cloud-based subscription services, and now organisations are looking to do the same with the remaining on-premise hardware – employees’ desktop systems.

The availability of HaaS changes the way in which local businesses consume IT, by allowing them to direct valuable capital expenditure toward the more efficient and competitive operation of their organisation, rather than spending on hardware products. 

“The rental costs are up to 50% lower than if they buy these products through traditional asset financing methods. Furthermore, using HaaS gives businesses the ability to scale up and down depending on their infrastructure requirements. Customers on a 12 month contract can return up to 10% of the devices rented, while those customers on 24 and 36 month contracts can return up to 20% of the devices – at any time during the contract,” adds Kemp.

More than just a rental

HaaS gives business access to repurposed Tier 1 hardware from vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, equipped with the required specifications (processor, memory, and storage), and come installed with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, unless an older version is specifically requested by the customer.

Kemp says: “Where HaaS is different from simply renting IT hardware is that businesses get full asset lifecycle management, such as having all company software pre-installed, flexible refresh cycles and upgrades, support and warranty management and transparent and predictable per user monthly fees.”

The ability to upgrade during the contract period means that businesses can keep pace with the latest in technology without needing to invest on depreciating equipment, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency for employees. Returned devices are put through a decommissioning process that ensures anonymity, certified data protection, and environmental compliance. 

Businesses further stand to benefit from Vox Care, which incorporates asset management and logistical services for customers. This includes initial delivery and setup in major centres, asset tagging of all rented items, creation, and the repair and/or replacement of faulty machines within three business days – again in the main metropolitan areas. 

Vox Care also assists in the design, testing and deployment of custom images, whereby HaaS clients can have the additional programmes they need (security, productivity tools, business software, etc) easily pre-installed along with the Windows operating system, on all their machines.

Kemp says HaaS customers can get further peace of mind by outsourcing the day to day management of their desktop environment to Vox Managed Services, as well as leverage the company’s knowledge and expertise to manage and host workstation backups to ensure business continuity.

Says Kemp: “Hardware-as-a-Service allows businesses to reduce the total cost of ownership of their hardware and ensure they only pay for what they use. Making the switch to a service model helps them take advantage of the global move in this direction, and to turn their business into a highly functional, flexible, low cost, change your mind whenever you want workplace.”

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Seedstars seeks tech to reverse land degradation in Africa

A new partnership is offering prizes to young entrepreneurs for coming up with innovations that tackle the loss of arable land in Africa.

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The DOEN Foundation has joined forces with Seedstars, an emerging market startup community, to launch the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, which showcases solutions to environmental, social and financial challenges that focus on land restoration activities in Africa. Stichting DOEN is a Dutch fund that supports green, socially-inclusive and creative initiatives that contribute to a better and cleaner world.

While land degradation and deforestation date back millennia, industrialization and a rising population have dramatically accelerated the process. Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Currently, nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Land restoration is an urgent response to the poor management of land. Forest and landscape restoration is the process of reversing the degradation of soils, agricultural areas, forests, and watersheds thereby regaining their ecological functionality. According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded 9 months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, the hybrid program challenging traditional acceleration models by creating a unique mix to improve startup performance and get them ready to secure investment. They will also access a 10K USD grant.

“Our current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve our society ecologically and socially,” says Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation. “The problems arising from this can be tackled only if a different economic system is considered. DOEN sees opportunities to contribute to this necessary change. After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative. Landscape restoration is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation. Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early-stage restoration enterprises and inspire other frontrunners to follow suit.”

Applications are open now and will be accepted until October 15th. Startups can apply here: http://seedsta.rs/doen

To enter the competition, startups should meet the following criteria:

  • Existing startups/young companies with less than 4 years of existence
  • Startups that can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • The startup must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  • The startup needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource areas.
  • The startup can show clear environmental impact (either by reducing a negative impact or creating a positive one)
  • The startup can show a clear social impact
  • Technology startups, tech-enabled startups and/or businesses that can show a clear innovation component (e.g. in their business model)

Also, a specific emphasis is laid, but not limited to: Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes; big data and technology to reverse land degradation; resource efficiency optimization technologies, ecosystems impacts reduction and lower carbon emissions; water-saving soil technologies; technologies focused on improving livelihoods and communities ; planning, management and education tools for land restoration; agriculture (with a focus on precision conservation) and agroforestry; clean Energy solutions that aid in the combat of land degradation; and responsible ecotourism that aids in the support of land restoration.

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