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MTN offers Amazon Web Services

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MTN Group has announced it would be the first African company to offer Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect to business customers across multiple countries on the continent.

The new service will leverage the extensive footprint of MTN’s *Global MPLS network, to provide customers with connectivity between their data centres or businesses and the AWS EU Ireland region. This will give enterprises across Africa a dedicated link with which they can access the flexible, scalable and reliable AWS cloud.

“The relationship with Amazon Web Services is an important step in our plans to address the needs of enterprise customers in emerging markets, particularly Africa,” says MTN Group Chief Enterprise Officer, Mteto Nyati.

“As MTN Business, our purpose is to enable and inspire growth on the continent. We believe that by working with a global technology leader such as Amazon Web Services, MTN will be better placed to enable customers to grow their businesses by providing them with reliable connectivity and access to world-class digital solutions,” says Nyati.

MTN’s Global MPLS network connectivity offers improved manageability, reliability and performance. As a result, AWS Direct Connect is expected to bring significant benefits to multinational and large enterprise customers by providing a more consistent network performance when they access AWS.

”We are excited to be working with MTN to bring the security and reliability of AWS Direct Connect to customers across Africa,” said Steve Midgley, Head of EMEA, Amazon Web Services Luxembourg Sarl. “By utilising AWS Direct Connect, customers are able to reduce network costs, increase bandwidth throughput and provide a more consistent network experience, helping African businesses of all sizes to rapidly expand their organisations.”

Customers are also assured of good quality of service as a result of the service level agreements which MTN offers on MPLS. In addition, customers will benefit from reduced bandwidth costs, as the dedicated connection to AWS will result in a lower data transfer rate than normal Internet data transfer rates.

AWS Direct Connect is one of the ways in which MTN is addressing the needs of its enterprise customers. To this end, the company will also be enhancing its Cloud offering with new services in the coming months.

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ConceptD: Creatives get a tech brand of their own

The unveiling of a new brand by Acer recognises the massive computing power needed in creative professions, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It’s a crisp Spring morning in Brooklyn. The regular water taxi from Manhattan pulls up at Duggal Greenhouse on the edge of the East River. It’s a building that symbolises the rejuvenation of Brooklyn as a hub of artistic and creative expression.

Inside the vast structure, global computer brand Acer is about to unveil its own tribute to creativity. Company CEO Jason Chen takes to the stage in faded blue jeans and brown t-shirt, underlining the connection of the event to the informality of the area.

“Brooklyn is become more and more diverse,” he tells a gathering of press from around the world, attending the Next@Acer media event. “It’s an area that is up and coming. It represents new lifestyles. And our theme today is turning a new chapter for creativity.”

Every year, Next@Acer is a parade of the cutting edge in gaming and educational laptops and computers. New devices from sub-brands like Predator, Helios and Nitro have gamers salivating. This year is no different, but there is a surprise in store, hinted in Chen’s introduction.

As a grand finale, he calls on stage Angelica Davila, whose day job is senior marketing manager for Acer Latin America. But she also happens to have a Masters degree in computer and electric engineering. A stint at Intel, where she joined a sales and marketing programme for engineers, set her on a new path.

Angelica Davila, marketing manager for Acer Latin America

For the last few months, she has been helping write Acer’s next chapter. She has shepherded into being nothing less than a new brand: ConceptD.

Click here to read more about ConceptD.

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Which voice assistant wins battle of translators?

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Take the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.

OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  (See chart). All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.

OHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard. 

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