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MWC: Nokia goes wearable

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At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia announced that the Withings range of connected health products will be launched under the Nokia brand, with the company announcing a redesigned Health Mate app.

The Withings range of connected health products, including connected scales, trackers, blood pressure monitors, thermometers and home cameras, is about to launch globally under the Nokia brand. At the same time, Nokia will also unveil a redesigned Health Mate application.

Formerly Nokia Networks, it reverted to the Nokia brand following its acquisition of Alcatel Lucent. Its medical-grade connected health products will now extend further into the healthcare system through the launch of the company’s Patient Care Platform, enabling physicians and patients to manage chronic conditions such as hypertension.

“Nokia is a powerful global brand that is synonymous with innovation, connectivity and great design,” said Cedric Hutchings, VP of Digital Health, Nokia. “Withings joined Nokia because we share a vision to inspire individuals to take control of their own health. With the full power of a brand recognized for trust, reliability and quality, we will reach more people and impact more lives to help the human family be healthier together.”

Health Mate is at the centre of the digital health ecosystem and collects data from scales, trackers and other connected devices in one place to provide a 360-degree view of health. Coinciding with the product rebrand, the Health Mate application will undergo a redesign for an improved user experience. The redesigned app will make it easier to add devices, share progress with family members, and will introduce new in-depth coaching programs. The coaching programs will take users on an eight-week journey to achieve a health goal along with personalised experiences to better manage their health and wellbeing.

Nokia will also roll out the company’s Patient Care Platform designed to transform the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals. The new platform will give doctors and care teams the power to remotely monitor patients with their smart devices to help prevent and manage chronic conditions and drive timely and targeted patient care to avoid unnecessary office visits and hospitalizations. The platform is being used by the NHS in the UK in a 69,000-person study to better understand hypertension and the role of remote monitoring in lowering hypertension rates.

The new Nokia branded connected health devices will be available later in the year via Nokia’s website and retail channels including Amazon, John Lewis, Argos and Currys PC World. The redesigned Health Mate application will coincide with the rebrand.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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