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Local cloud traffic to quadruple in next 3 years

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The fifth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2014-2019) forecasts that Middle East and Africa cloud traffic will more than quadruple by the end of 2019.

From a regional perspective, the report found that MEA is expected to have the highest cloud traffic growth rate at 41 percent by 2019. Several factors are driving cloud traffic’s accelerating growth and the transition to cloud services, including the personal cloud demands of an increasing number of mobile devices; the rapid growth in popularity of public cloud services for business, and the increased degree of virtualisation in private clouds which is increasing the density of those workloads. The growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections also has the potential to drive more cloud traffic in the future.

“The Cisco Cloud Index highlights the fact that cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution, with cloud traffic expected to grow more than 30 percent in every worldwide region over the next five years,” reveals Vernon Thaver, CTO of Cisco South Africa. “South African enterprise and government organisations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads. At the same time, consumers continue to expect on-demand, anytime access to their content and services nearly everywhere. This creates a tremendous opportunity for cloud operators, which will play an increasingly relevant role in the communications industry ecosystem.”

In addition to the rapid growth of cloud traffic, Cisco predicts that the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the connection of people, processes, data and things—will have a significant impact on data center and cloud traffic growth. Today, only a small portion of this content is stored in data centers, but that could change as the application demand and uses of big data analytics evolves (i.e. analysing collected data to make tactical and strategic decisions).

New technologies such as SDN and NFV are also expected to streamline data center traffic flows, such that the traffic volumes reaching the highest tier (core) of the data center may fall below 10.4 ZB per year and lower data center tiers could carry over 40 ZB of traffic per year.  To help put things in perspective, 10.4 ZB is equivalent to:

·         144 trillion hours of streaming music: Equivalent to about 26 months of continuous music streaming for the world’s population* in 2019

·         26 trillion hours of business web conferencing with a webcam: Equivalent to about 21 hours of daily web conferencing for the world’s workforce in 2019

·         6.8 trillion of high-definition (HD) movies viewed online: Equivalent to about 2.4 hours of daily streamed HD movies for the world’s population in 2019

·         1.2 trillion hours of ultra-high definition (UHD) video streaming: Equivalent to about 25 minutes of daily streamed UHD video for the world’s population in 2019

Here are some of the MEA (including SA) key highlights from the Cisco Cloud Index:

·         Data center traffic will grow 4.0-fold, up by 32% from 2014 to 2019

·         Cloud data center traffic will represent 86% of total data center traffic by 2019, compared to 61% in 2014

·         Consumer will represent 61% of cloud data center traffic by 2019, compared to 30% in 2014

·         7.1% of data center traffic will travel between data centers by 2019, compared to 7.1% in 2014.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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