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MWC: Seat Minimó – AI meets urban mobility

Picture: Arthur Goldstuck

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Seat unveiled the Minimó – a concept car that it says will transform urban mobility. With this concept, the company confirms it is going to spearhead the Volkswagen Group’s micromobility strategy by coming up with ideas and creating products specifically designed for short trips within cities.

Click through to read about Seat’s latest concept car and how it implements AI.

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Seat claims its latest concept car combines the safety and comfort of a car with the agility and parking ease of a motorcycle. It has been especially developed for shared use, is 100% electric and thanks to an innovative battery swap system, it enables carsharing providers to reduce their operating costs by up to 50%.

Over the course of the congress, Seat had the chance to meet with and listen to representatives of several public institutions to learn about their views and specific needs regarding urban mobility. As a result of these joint efforts, SEAT will analyse the possibilities of integrating the proposals made by authorities and the public in the development of the SEAT Minimó concept car to find solutions with a common goal – enhance urban mobility.

Seat and IBM also reported the development of a new solution designed to transform driving in cities. Mobility Advisor uses IBM Watson AI to help urban citizens make informed decisions about their daily transportation options: from cars to scooters, bikes and public transport.

Currently under development and designed to run as a mobile app on 4G/5G networks, Mobility Advisor uses IBM Watson Assistant to provide users with a conversational interface to plan and optimise routes and suggest the most suitable transportation options.

“Traffic congestion and environmental challenges are putting huge pressure on cities to transform,” said Jordi Caus, head of new urban mobility concepts at Seat. “At Seat, we are leading the way by working with innovative cities and technology companies to come up with solutions to make mobility easier and more efficient. With its advanced cloud and AI technologies, IBM is helping us to innovate new approaches to mobility that will transform our business strategy while improving the lives of people living in urban areas.”

With IBM Watson Machine Learning, Mobility Advisor can learn a user’s preferences and make personalised recommendations for how best to complete a journey. Connected to the IBM Cloud, it dynamically adapts to changing conditions by taking into account weather forecasts, traffic reports and things happening in the city that day. It incorporates the user’s appointments and historical data about previous choices in order to suggest the best modes of transportation each time – even if that means leaving the car behind, walking, or using one of Seat’s e-KickScooters for the part of the journey.

“With the roll-out of 5G networks in cities in the coming years, the possibilities for transforming the driver experience are limitless,” said Juan Ramon Gutierrez Villar, industry solutions leader at IBM Global Markets. “At IBM, we are working with telecommunications companies and innovative manufacturers like Seat to provide the open technologies which they need to deliver on this vision and create highly contextualized and personalized user experiences that work at lightning speed across multiple clouds and IT platforms.”

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Canon launches world’s lightest DSLR camera

Canon has announced the Canon EOS 250D, which it claims to be the world’s lightest DSLR camera.

Click below to read more about the camera.

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For a family looking to step up from smartphone photography or upgrade from their existing camera, the EOS 250D is a DSLR to consider, packed with the latest technology that provides users with a formidable introduction to interchangeable lens photography in a small and lightweight body.

The successor to Canon’s award-winning EOS 200D, the EOS 250D has a guided user interface for simplified operation, a large 24.1 Megapixel Dual Pixel CMOS APS-C sensor, 4K movie capability, fast and responsive autofocus, and connectivity to smart devices. In addition, the camera features DIGIC 8, Canon’s latest image processor which powers many of its functions, including 4K movie recording, 4K time-lapse, and 4K frame grabs from 4K movies. 

With straightforward handling in a lightweight and compact body, the EOS 250D includes a guided user interface that shows on-screen hints and tips. It is also possible for users to capture images in imaginative ways with Canon’s Creative Assist feature, a suite of effects, filters and colour adjustment tools to apply to photographs when composing an image or after it has been taken.  

Canon’s DIGIC 8 image processor supports a variety of improvements in Live View autofocus precision and Eye Auto-Focus (AF), Auto Lighting Optimizer, Digital Lens Optimizer, and Highlight Tone Priority for sharp high-resolution images ready to share straight from the camera. The 24.1 Megapixel sensor performs well in low-light and facilitates a shallow depth of field, adding background bokeh to images.

The EOS 250D is a camera for many occasions. Its intuitive Vari-Angle touchscreen enables comfortable shooting from a variety of angles, making it possible to frame selfies or vlog videos. Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology will also keep subjects in sharp focus when shooting stills and video via the touchscreen. Delivering a classic shooting experience, the EOS 250D features an optical viewfinder with a  responsive 9-point AF, so moments can be framed clearly and as they were seen with the naked eye. 

When images and videos are ready to be shared, the EOS 250D integrates with smart devices  via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi using the Canon Camera Connect app for iOS and Android. From here, images and videos can be downloaded to a smart device, reviewed and posted on social media or shared. 

The Canon Camera Connect app also facilitates shooting remotely from a smart device, great for capturing group shots or a hands-free selfie. Images can then be sent to a paired smart device as soon as they are taken via the Automatic Image Transfer function, delivering peace of mind that images are safely backed-up. 

The EOS 250D is available in three sleek finishes: black, white and silver and is part of the Canon EOS ecosystem, comprising of over 80 world-class lenses, flashes and accessories, offering a level of choice as users look to expand the camera’s capabilities. The EOS 250D is available now in South Africa.

For more information about Canon, please visit www.canon.co.za or follow Canon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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Nokia 3.2 gets biggest screen

The new Nokia 3.2 handset combines a large HD+ display with Nokia’s signature two-day battery life and is powered by the latest Android 9 Pie experience.

Click below to read more about the smartphone.

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“The Nokia 3.2 will revolutionise the way you interact with your smartphone, ensuring that your experience keeps getting better,” says Shaun Durandt, general manager of HMD Global Southern Africa. “Premiering the dedicated Google Assistant button, you’ll be able to get directions, make calls, listen to music and get answers to your questions at the touch of a button.”

Industry-leading display, better performance, and two-day battery

Taking a holistic view of battery life, Nokia 3.2 combines a larger battery than many premium smartphones with efficient hardware and software. To squeeze every last drop out of the huge battery, the Adaptive Battery feature introduced in Android 9 Pie manages background applications using artificial intelligence (AI), learning from user behaviour to know when to throttle or increase power to specific apps or processes. It has enough power to go two days with one of the largest displays Nokia has put in a smartphone.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 mobile platform and available with 2/16GB memory configuration, the Nokia 3.2  is also among the first Nokia smartphones to include a notification light – the power button alerts users of notifications. Not quite BlackBerry, then.

Personalised experience: learns as it is used

It features the Google Assistant button, pioneered on the Nokia 4.2 (https://gadget.co.za/hmd-global-launches-nokia-4-2/), which enables instant access to the Google Assistant to get directions, make calls, listen to music, and get answers by using one’s voice. One can double press to receive a visual overview of one’s day from Google Assistant with intelligent suggestions and personalised information, including transport info, bills that need paying and calendar updates via voice.

Many of the premium features on the device are powered by AI, including face unlock to give a hands-free way to unlock it, or exclusive Google Assistant actions to open apps quicker. The handset also allows access to Google Assistant without unlocking the phone, after opting-in through settings, and enables basic tasks like setting a timer, scheduling reminders, playing music, or asking it questions.

Pure, secure, and up-to-date, Android 9 Pie reinforced with Android One

It comes pre-installed with Android 9 Pie out of the box. It joins the comprehensive line-up of Nokia smartphones in the Android One family, which means it delivers the latest Android innovations and software experiences. Nokia smartphones with Android One offer great storage and battery life out of the box and come with three years of monthly security patches and two major OS updates. 

Android 9 Pie includes AI-powered features to make the device smarter, faster and adapts to how users use it, so their smartphone experiences get better with time, claims HMD. The Adaptive Battery feature limits battery usage from apps one doesn’t use often, and App Actions predicts what one is about to do so the smartphone can react faster.

The Nokia 3.2 will receive three years of monthly security patches and two major OS updates, as guaranteed in the Android One program. In addition, Google Play Protect scans over 50 billion apps per day to prevent malware, making Nokia smartphones among the most secure phones on the market. 

Availability

The Nokia 3.2 with 2GB/16GB RAM/Memory is available in Black, from Vodacom stores and retail partners for an estimated R2,399.00 or R179/month for 24-months.

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