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Is it a chair? A table? ‘Smart space’ can transform lifestyle

Essential tips and tricks to help open your mind to closed spaces, by Michelle McGowan, product marketing manager at LG Electronics SA

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“Goodness gracious your apartment is spacious!”

Isn’t that exactly what you want to hear when you usher in a guest into your apartment for the first time?

Urban city living offers its own unique experiences and big advantages. It’s cheaper, more convenient and easier to freely indulge in that lock-up-and-go lifestyle that plays at the very heart of urban life. However, it does also offer smaller living spaces. But, if you’re smart about your space, you’ll be able to make the most of every square metre without having to compromise on any of life’s little luxuries.

Dual-purpose furniture

It’s a chair! It’s a table! It’s a kist! No! It’s all of those things. To really thrive in a small apartment or flat, you have to find intuitive ways of inventing storage space and then making it disappear into the background. There are plenty of ottomans and coffee tables that can provide extra storage space. Furniture retailers like Kist Company have many clever options when it comes to dual-purpose furniture that can stylishly fit into your living space.

Mount your TV on the wall

We all love a big screen TV, but at 40” and above they can become quite cumbersome. If you’re attached to your TV, then consider firmly attaching it to your wall with a proper mounting bracket. You can find these wherever TVs are sold. You will have to drill some holes in the wall so if you are concerned about the installation, there are plenty of professionals around to help with the installation. A simple visit to Takealot will reveal a wide range of TV brackets to fit your needs.

Don’t be a hoarder

When you’re living in a small space, life should be about experiences and memories. The more stuff you own, the more stuffy your apartment is going to feel. When you get right down to it, all of us are bogged down with useless clutter that doesn’t benefit our life. At least once a year, the best thing you can do is gather up what you can live without and donate to those in need. Best-selling author and organising guru, Marie Kondo, gives a fresh take on decluttering your space on her Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”.

Your kitchen deserves the right fridge

If there is one appliance that dominates the kitchen it is the fridge. If space is a challenge, you need to find a brand of fridge that perfectly balances style with function. A combined fridge and freezer is the way rather than having two separate coolers.

Electronics manufacturer LG Electronics has a range of bottom fridge freezers that offer the ideal solution for minimalist apartment kitchens. The LG V+ bottom fridge freezers offer style, convenience and efficiency in a neat package – just what you need in an apartment. The fridges have flexible, eye-level shelving and the freezer is spacious, helping keep food organised and fresh.

Mirrors are magic

The keys to more spacious living is the illusion of more space. Put a mirror on the wall or on a door and you will feel the room expand immediately. The trick is to angle your mirrors to give off the illusion of depth. Not only this, mirrors are good at reflecting both natural and artificial light, which will brighten up your apartment during the day.

Outsource your storage

As we grow in life, so do our possessions. Yes, there is a certain amount of culling you can do but eventually you end up with more things you cannot live without than you have space to store them. You may have noticed an upsurge in storage space companies popping up all over the place. This is because more and more people are living smaller, whether they want to or not. If that’s you, it’s not a bad idea to rent some storage space and keep your non-essentials hidden away out of sight, safe and secure in a storage locker.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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