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Microsoft unveils the Xbox One

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Microsoft has unveiled its latest gaming console, the Xbox One, featuring voice control, a new version of Xbox Live and built-in Skype.

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One, an all-in-one gaming and entertainment system created for today and the next generation. The company showcased how Xbox One puts the user at the centre of games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype.

‚”Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device,‚” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. ‚”Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment.‚”

Introducing Xbox One

Say ‚”Xbox On‚” to launch a personalized Xbox One Home screen, discover what is popular on TV or see friends’ latest gaming achievements all using your voice. The more you interact with Xbox One, the more it gets to know you and learns what you like. Some of the Xbox One features include the following:

• TV on Xbox One. Navigate and watch live TV from a satellite set-top box through the Xbox One.

‚Ä¢ Home. Turn on the entertainment system with two powerful words, ‚”Xbox On,‚” and a custom-tailored Home dashboard welcomes you with your favourite games, TV and entertainment.

• Snap. Do two things at once. Use Snap to jump into a multiplayer battle while watching a movie, talk with friends on Skype while watching live TV, or track your fantasy team on TV as you watch the real game.

• Skype for Xbox One. Specially designed for Xbox One, talk with friends on your TV in HD.

• Trending. Stay on top of what is hot on TV by discovering the entertainment that is popular among your friends, and see what is trending within the Xbox community.

• OneGuide. Find entertainment easily, searching by network or name, all via voice commands and presented in a tailored program guide.

An eight-core, x86 processor and more than 5-billion transistors helps make lag and load times less

Titles launched with the Xbox One include the following:

‚Ä¢ ‚”Forza Motorsport 5‚” from Turn 10 Studios is the latest edition of the highest-rated racing franchise of the past 10 years.

‚Ä¢ ‚”Call of Duty: Ghosts‚” is the next generation of ‚”Call of Duty‚” and a leap forward for the franchise. It delivers a new world, new characters and an all-new story

‚Ä¢ ‚”FIFA 14,‚” ‚”Madden NFL 25,‚” ‚”NBA LIVE 14,‚” and ‚”EA SPORTS UFC‚” from EA Sports are driven by the new EA Sports Ignite engine, delivering innovations in human intelligence, true player motion and living worlds.

‚Ä¢ ‚”Quantum Break‚” from Remedy Entertainment is an entertainment experience from the creators of ‚”Max Payne‚” and ‚”Alan Wake‚” that blurs the line between gaming and TV by integrating drama and gameplay into one immersive experience. How you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game.

Introducing a new generation of Xbox Live

Included with the Xbox One is a new version of Xbox Live that is more powerful and that takes more advantage of the cloud.

• Smart Match. A new Smart Match matchmaking system virtually eliminates waiting in lobbies by estimating wait times and finding people you want to play with while enjoying other activities.

• Living Games. Dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play, and advanced artificial intelligence can learn to play like you, so friends can play against your shadow.

‚Ä¢ Expanded achievements. A new and expanded achievements system captures video of your epic moments, continues to grow a game’s achievements over time and rewards you in new ways, and your Gamerscore carries over from Xbox 360.

• Xbox SmartGlass. Xbox SmartGlass is natively part of the Xbox One platform, built in from the beginning with the ability to quickly render content directly onto your device, and now more devices can connect at one time for multiplayer and shared entertainment.

Introducing the Xbox One look and feel

The console is shaped in the 16:9 aspect ratio and employs a horizontal orientation optimized for its high-speed Blu-ray disc player. Its chassis liquid black in colour and includes a beveled edge.

The redesigned 1080p Kinect is more precise, more responsive and more intuitive. Its vision, motion and voice technology let you reach into games and by expanding its field of view and fidelity. It works in nearly any lighting condition, recognises precise motion control from a slight wrist rotation, and distinguishes your voice even in a noisy room using advanced noise isolation.

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How to save cloud from complexity

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By DOUG WOOLLEY, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa

Ten years ago, business technologies had saturated to breaking point. The potential they offered were diminished by their deployment and maintenance costs. Then virtualisation, cloud and similar technologies emerged to offer new capacities and optimisation. Companies were able to vastly simplify their technology stacks, as is evident by even large enterprises moving wholesale to service-centric models where you own less and get more.

But that pendulum was going to change direction eventually. The arrival of the cloud world wasn’t just about creating efficiencies. It introduced radical new ways of creating applications and deploying services. The initial gains in terms of efficiency were just the start – once the cloud engine started firing on more cylinders, its true potential came to light. Artificial intelligence, real-time data, IoT infrastructure and other cutting edge services became widely feasible and affordable.

The modern technology era is powerful because of its modularity, but this creates a new type of complexity headache. Several reports have highlighted concerns among modern CIOs that complexity is getting out of hand again. One study found that a single web transaction used to interact with around 22 technology systems a few years ago, whereas today the number is more than 35. That’s a 59 percent increase in complexity.

The major bite is coming from managing multi-cloud environments. Today’s organisation is spoilt for choice. It can juggle hyperscale environments, co-location arrangements, private clouds, application containers and straight service pipes to create the best combination of technologies that enable its desires. But the simple beauty of grabbing an iPad for a performance dashboard belies the agile and complex relationships making that happen behind the scenes.

I can tell you that Dell EMC has been mulling this long before it became a clear challenge. Even before the successful merger that created Dell Technologies, we already pursued ways to better manage the complexity created by cloud environments. I don’t say this to advertise our services, but to point out that we never bought into a blue-skies view of cloud. The complexity was bound to return. If it isn’t contained and disciplined, then the promise of cloud would soon devolve into the familiar muck everyone’s trying to break free from.

We’re not alone: the market has been reaching this conclusion as well. A recent VMWare survey found that 83 percent of cloud adopters are seeking consistent infrastructure and operations from the data centre to the cloud. In other words, they want as seamless an experience as possible between the various moving parts of their technology investments.

Digital maturity isn’t a single curve. It’s more akin to a radar chart, with different indicators spreading outwards to complete the picture. The ability to curtail multi-cloud complexity is increasingly a dominant indicator of digital proficiency. But the means to create that control will depend heavily on the partner of choice.

Reining in cloud isn’t just about a nice management suite. It has to cover a powerful integration of hardware, software, services and consumption options. It also can’t exist to try and cap your cloud capabilities for the sake of stability. Cloud management has to remain dynamic to allow for the agility, accelerated innovation, improved economics and reduced risk that are the promises of the cloud era.

This requires a multidisciplinary approach that no single vendor can comprehensively provide. It needs a stable of different capabilities, such as virtualisation, infrastructure management and mature business thinking. When a company wants to avoid or untangle the new complexities wrought by cloud, the solutions don’t lie in services but how rich the partner landscape is that provides the management services.

Multi-cloud environments are delivering both expected and unbelievable gains, often as smooth interactions for end-users. But the background complexity can diminish returns very quickly and erode digitisation gains. This is the technology conversation of the year and foreseeable future, so let’s start talking.

We will be hosting our Dell Technologies Forum on 27 June at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Register now (https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-za/events/forum2019/Johannesburg/index.htm) and take this opportunity to raise your feelings about complexity and how to keep the cloud in line with your business expectations.

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Uberising solar energy

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A team of students from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday walked off as winners with R20 000 in prize money for an innovative concept to provide equitable energy access to remote villages based on, among others, “Uber(ising) solar energy.”

The team was one of four university teams participating in the African Utility Week and Powergen Africa conference and exhibition’s first ever Initiate! Impact Challenge. The 19th edition of the event gathered thousands of power, water and gas industry experts in Cape Town this week and ended on Thursday.

Student teams from Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand also took part in the three-day challenge sponsored by the Enel Foundation, the Innovation Hub, Lesedi Nuclear Services and the Russian Nuclear Agency Rosatom. The Initiate! Challenge aimed to create a platform for students and start-ups to drive innovation and share ideas for the energy sector.

Strathmore University’s winning team: (left to right) Fredrick Amariati, Ignatius Maranga, Raymond Kiyegga and Alex Osunga.

The Strathmore University team included engineering students Ignatius Maranga, Raymond Kiyegga, Fredrick Amariati and Alex Osunga. One member of the team will also have the exclusive opportunity to join the 5th annual student fact-finding mission to Russia to visit several state-of-the-art nuclear facilities and dedicated Russian nuclear universities. Maranga said the team is happy and humbled especially because they competed against some of the top universities on the continent. He said the teams’ winning idea is rooted in real life challenges that Kenyans in rural areas face. “The solutions offered so far to expand energy access are not solving these problems as many are not financially viable.”

The team’s idea is to put a solar panelled container in rural villages that will also house a clinic and a knowledge hub like a school for vocational training to teach people about the use and benefits of solar energy. It will also include a shop where villagers can buy daily essentials like milk.

Maranga said: “The school will help with capacity building as villagers will see and learn benefits of electricity and as the business grows, they will want to have electricity in their homes and when that point comes, we will have solar powered tricycles. These tricycles will carry and deliver batteries like Uber does passengers to villagers in more remote areas. The system is modular so we will add another container to charge batteries. These batteries are ferried on trikes, so villagers in more remote areas can request a number of charged batteries on their phone.”

Maranga explained that it is common cause that Africa is big, and many people live in remote rural villages. “So, it is not always possible to extend the power grid to these areas as it is very expensive. So, what do we do instead? Most people own a cell phone, and everyone needs electricity, so you take it to them. They cannot exactly carry a battery for two kilometres so why then not Uber a battery?” Maranga said their company Kijiji, (Swahili for village) will now look at commercialising their idea, optimise it and do market tests. “If accepted we want to roll it out depending on funding.”

The team’s idea appealed to the judges because it was a simple idea that is easy to replicate beyond Kenya to the rest of the continent. Chief executive officer of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, Dmitry Shornikov, said: “We are very pleased with the solutions presented by the students. The maturity and depth of their research gives us great hope and proves that young Africans really are devoted to solving Africa’s energy challenges.”

Business Development executive at Lesedi Nuclear Services, Shane Pereira, in an earlier interview said the company partnered with Initiate! because it is dedicated to the youth that will be the leaders of tomorrow. “The growth and development as well as training, coaching and mentoring of the youth is critical to the success of our future economy.”

The ideas of the other three teams focused more on mitigating the risk of climate change and came up with ideas ranging from vertical farms to energy boxes.

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