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Oracle puts IoT to work

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The Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud offering has been enhanced with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that powers Digital Twin and Digital Thread capabilities. 

As a result, customers and partners can quickly gain operation-wide visibility and leverage predictive insights from connected assets. These insights can decrease deployment times, reduce costs, improve business outcomes, and accelerate new market opportunities. Combining the power of Oracle IoT Cloud and enterprise applications, Oracle also introduced new industry solutions for digital field service, smart connected factories, and digital fleet management.

“IoT holds the potential to transform today’s siloed operations into a modern, interconnected, digital set of workflows with real-time visibility and responsiveness,” said Bhagat Nainani, group vice president, IoT Applications at Oracle. “Oracle continues to push the boundaries of IoT to help our customers significantly simplify their IoT deployments. By receiving real-time data streams enhanced with predictive insights, they can reach new levels of intelligence and a much quicker realization of ROI.”

The expansion follows the recent introduction of new Oracle IoT Cloud Applications for asset monitoring, connected workforce, fleet monitoring, and production monitoring. Also, in the past six months alone, Oracle has more than tripled its IoT application ecosystem of device and systems integration partners. Oracle IoT Cloud is offered both as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, as well as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, enabling a high degree of adaptability for even the most demanding implementations.

“Hitachi Consulting is constantly looking for industry leaders like Oracle to help clients and prospects harness the power of data and IoT to optimise operational and financial performance, outpace their competition and solve significant business problems,” said Garth Carter, vice president North America Sales, Hitachi Consulting. “Our longstanding, strategic relationship with Oracle delivers industrial IoT solutions to digitise the physical world for manufacturing, energy, and transportation. In particular, Hitachi is leveraging Oracle IoT Applications—asset monitoring and production monitoring—that are uniquely engineered to meet specific industry and functional needs. These applications have a depth of OT, IT and IoT functionality that no competitor can match.”

New capabilities introduced today include:

·         Digital Twin for Supply Chain Management
Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical asset or equipment that enhances traditional analytics approaches. The object model includes multi-faceted views into current, historical, and predictive data, as well as operational and behavioral dimensions of that asset. This enables remote users to not only monitor the health of that asset to prevent failures before they occur, but also to run simulations of “what-if” scenarios in the context of the business processes. With Digital Twin, organizations have a new operational paradigm to interact with the physical world, allowing lower operational and capital expenditures, minimizing downtime, and optimizing asset performance.

·         Digital Thread for Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain practitioners have spent millions of dollars in implementing SCM and ERP systems, but most often, data is manually fed into these systems. Digital Thread is a connected business process framework that leverages IoT and creates a “system of systems” by connecting traditionally siloed elements in real-time throughout the digital supply chain. By providing an end-to-end view of an asset throughout the entire manufacturing lifecycle, Digital Thread seamlessly bridges the entire supply chain process—from product design and order fulfillment, to manufacturing and product life cycle management, to warehousing and transportation, to logistics and procurement.

·         Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Built-in AI and machine learning features are now fully integrated across Oracle’s IoT solutions portfolio. These technologies leverage machine data in the context of business data from applications, such as manufacturing, maintenance, service, and logistics. The built-in operational analytics help detect anomalies, predict equipment failures, and recommend the best course of action. They also provide the intelligence needed to evolve capabilities to increase effectiveness and experiences of applications.

·         Industry Solutions Built on IoT Cloud Applications
Oracle IoT industry solutions help customers reimagine and innovate business solutions for the connected, intelligent, context-aware, digital enterprise. New solutions introduced today include:

o    Digital Field Service: Showcases intelligent remote monitoring, failure prediction, over-the-air repair, and dynamic technician dispatch. The solution features IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud, CX Service Cloud, CX Engagement Cloud, and CX Field Service Cloud, plus the use of augmented reality (AR) for guided equipment repair.

o    Smart Connected Factory: Demonstrates how incident detection, root cause analysis, and smart resolution are performed within minutes in a connected factory. The solution features IoT Production Monitoring Cloud, SCM Cloud and ERP Cloud, and the use of virtual reality (VR) to navigate the manufacturing floor. It can also be used for remote worker training.

o    Digital Fleet Management: Showcases real-time shipment tracking, risk management, and logistics synchronization. The solution features IoT Fleet Management Cloud and Oracle Logistics Cloud.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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