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MWC: Lenovo goes broad

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At this year’s Mobile World Congress, Lenovo unveiled a range of new devices, covering all its bases in the mobile industry.

Lenovo has introduced a broad new device portfolio at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona this week, spanning nearly all mobile form factors.

These include the detachable Miix 320, “blending affordability with connectivity on-the-go”, two convertibles, mobile powerhouses Yoga 720 and 520, four tablets, including the versatile Tab 4 family, and Moto G and Moto G Plus, smartphones that pair premium features with affordable prices.

At the same time, Lenovo is announcing an enhancement to Lenovo Connect with support for reprogrammable e-SIMs, which will allow customers to take advantage of their local telco contract for data when at home and the best local wireless pricing when they are roaming, without having to swap out their SIM.

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Lenovo provided the following information:

Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus

The newest members of the Moto G family bring together an unexpected combination of beauty and power. Both devices feature precision crafted metal design – a first for Moto G – and powerful octa-core processors that enable exceptional performance. Long lasting, all-day batteries mean less plugging in and more getting done, fingerprint readers keep user information safe and secure and advanced camera capabilities allow for the capture of stunning photos with faster focus. Unexpected is now extraordinary.

Lenovo Tab 4 Series Tablets

The Lenovo Tab 4 tablet family builds on the foundation of its mainstream tablets by making them even better: delivering four beautifully designed, powerfully built devices crafted for every member of the family. High on the multimedia experience, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Lenovo Tab 4 10 models have dual speakers and Dolby Atmos. The Lenovo Tab 4 family also introduces an all-new premium line for media buffs: the Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus and Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus, sporting a standout dual-glassdesign with full HD displays, powerful processors and up to 12 hours of battery life.

We take the tablet concept ever further with optional packs that transform the Lenovo Tab 4 series into dedicated kid’s tablets or productivity tablets. The Kid’s Pack comes with a shock-resistant bumper, a blue-light filter and a pair of colorful, scratch resistant 3M stickers, augmented by an optimized kid’s experience from the Lenovo Kid’s Account, which features up-to-date and curated kid’s content, a browser with whitelisted websites and scheduling tools for parents. The tablets can also transform into a 2-in-1 Android workhorse with the addition of the optional Productivity Pack with Bluetooth keyboard, which complements the experience of the Lenovo Tab 4’s productivity interface. This interface incorporates a taskbar for quick switching between apps, multi-window support, support for common keyboard shortcuts, and optimization for mouse and keyboard operations. (Read more about the Lenovo Tab 4 Series here.)

Miix 320 Detachable with Lightning-Fast LTE Option

The Miix 320 combines the productivity of Windows 10 with full keyboard in a lightweight, affordable detachable. Use it as a laptop with its up to FHD 10.1-inch display for work or detach and use it as a portable tablet on the go weighing only 550g. With up to 10 hours of battery life, you can catch up on a full season of Game of Thrones without a charge. Connect nearly anywhere with its optional LTE. The mobile multitasking generation will find its balance of size and weight particularly useful with its detachable screen to watch videos, its stable docking keyboard and full PC performance when needed to create content. (Read more about the Miix 320 here.)

Lenovo Connect e-SIM

Lenovo Connect e-SIM enhancement makes it easy to connect anywhere in the world – no more swapping out SIM cards. Lenovo Connect gives users a seamless connection and local wireless pricing even when they are abroad by taking advantage of local Telco contract for data. Users can even share the same plan across devices when those devices are enabled with Lenovo Connect.

Yoga Convertibles

There are times when mobile users want the full power and productivity of a PC in a thin and light machine. As these multitaskers constantly flip between work and play, we built the Yoga 720 and 520 for them, available in 13, 14 and 15-inch models. The 15-inch Yoga 720 is the most powerful convertible in its class and comes with up to the latest 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete graphics, blazing-fast Thunderbolt 3 and up to nine hours of battery life. For those looking for a wafer thin device, we designed the 13-inch Yoga 720 that’s 17 percent thinner than before at just 14.3mm. All the convertibles give users the most freedom and flexibility to use Yoga the way that fits their on-the-go lifestyles best through multiple modes. (Read more about the Yoga 720 and Yoga 520 here.)

* For more information, visit www.lenovo.com/mwc

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UN calls for electronics overhaul to beat e-waste

Seven UN entities have come together at the World Economic Forum to tackle the escalating scourge of electronic waste.

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Seven UN entities have come together, supported by the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to call for an overhaul of the current electronics system, with the aim of supporting international efforts to address e-waste challenges. 

The report calls for a systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, trade unions, civil society and associations in a deliberative process to reorient the system and reduce the waste of resources each year with a value greater than the GDP of most countries. 

Each year, approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) are discarded — the weight of more than all commercial airliners ever made. In terms of material value, this is worth 62.5 billion dollars– more than the GDP of most countries.  

Less than 20% of this is recycled formally. Informally, millions of people worldwide (over 600,000 in China alone) work to dispose of e-waste, much of it done in working conditions harmful to both health and the environment. 

The report, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot,” launched in Davos 24 January, says technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), support gradual “dematerialization” of the electronics industry.  

Meanwhile, to capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and create global circular value chains, the report also points to the use of new technology to create service business models, better product tracking and manufacturer or retailer take-back programs.  

The report notes that material efficiency, recycling infrastructure and scaling up the volume and quality of recycled materials to meet the needs of electronics supply chains will all be essential for future production.  

And if the electronics sector is supported with the right policy mix and managed in the right way, it could lead to the creation of millions of decent jobs worldwide. 

The joint report calls for collaboration with multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, academia, trade unions, civil society and associations to create a circular economy for electronics where waste is designed out, the environmental impact is reduced and decent work is created for millions. 

The new report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes: 

  • International Labour Organization (ILO); 
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU); 
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); 
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); 
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); 
  • United Nations University (UNU), and 
  • Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions (BRS). 

The Coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG).  

Considerable work is being done on the ground. For example, in order to grasp the opportunity of the circular economy, today the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment announce a 2 million dollar investment to kick off the formal e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over 13 million dollars in additional financing from the private sector.   

According to the International Labour Organization, in Nigeria up 100,000 people work in the informal e-waste sector. This investment will help to create a system which formalizes these workers, giving them safe and decent employment while capturing the latent value in Nigeria’s 500,000 tonnes of e-waste. 

UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on e-waste projects, including UNU, ILO, ITU, and WHO, as well as various other partners, such as Dell and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a UNIDO e-waste project, co-funded by GEF, seeks to support sustainable economic and social growth in 13 countries. From upgrading e-waste recycling facilities, to helping to establish national e-waste management strategies, the initiative adopts a circular economy approach, whilst enhancing regional cooperation. 

Another Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) report launched today by the World Economic Forum, with support from Accenture Strategy, outlines a future in which Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies provide a tool to achieve a circular economy efficiently and effectively, and where all physical materials are accompanied by a digital dataset (like a passport or fingerprint for materials), creating an ‘internet of materials.’ PACE is a collaboration mechanism and project accelerator hosted by the World Economic Forum which brings together 50 leaders from business, government and international organizations to collaborate in moving towards the circular economy. 

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.

Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.

With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.

Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.

Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist. 

So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?

For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.

In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.

This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.

In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.

As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.

This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.

The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.

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