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Preserve memories in 360 degrees

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Samsung has released the Gear 360. The camera uses front and rear 195-degree lenses that capture images horizontally and vertically and uses software to provide the user with a single 360-degree image or video.

Samsung Electronics South Africa has released its first 360-degree camera, the Gear 360, in South Africa, promising that it “will allow users to preserve their memories in a whole new way”. The Gear 360 offers a more vivid and expanded viewing experience, as everything is recorded in 3840×1920 high resolution video and 25.9 megapixel photos.

In order to create a seamless and complete 360-degree field of view, the unit uses front and rear lenses that each capture 195 degrees horizontally and vertically. Sophisticated software then stitches the two images together to provide a single, 360-degree image. Naturally, users can choose to utilise just one of the two lenses to capture a striking wide-angled view either in video or stills.

“While Samsung has a notable reputation for creating devices like smartphones and TVs, which are essentially tools that enable viewers to consume content, the Gear 360 is a new type of product that will enable users to produce superior visuals as well,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

“The Gear 360 is an easy-to-use, all-in-one gadget that lets everyone take photos and videos in this exciting format. It is also easy to pair it up with your Galaxy smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to shoot and edit UHD-grade videos with a single device. This can be done using the Gear 360 Manager application for smartphones, or the Gear 360 ActionDirector for a PC.”

Samsung provided the following information:

The device further includes a range of entertaining camera features such as Time-lapse and Looping Video. Time-lapse makes it possible to take a sequence of frames at set intervals to record changes that take place slowly over time. Looping Video enables continuous video recording – overwriting the beginning of your video to allow for new footage to be captured. This can help to conserve space on your microSD card in order to enable users to create all kinds of content.

Explaining the look of the Gear 360, Fleischer says that inspiration for the apparatus was drawn from the helmets astronauts wear in space. These helmets look sleek, seamless and minimal, but also feature very sturdy inner structures. Like these, the Gear 360 is sleek and minimal on the outside but it is ultimately a 360-degree imaging tool designed for daily and outdoor use, featuring sturdy hardware on the inside and a splash and dust resistant outer shell.

In addition, the Gear 360 comes with a tripod designed to fit with the body as a complete package. Furthermore, a range of accessories can be attached to the universal tripod hole for greater compatibility and convenience.

“This exceptional creation is going to offer people a whole new way to create and share their memories, in a format that’s more immersive than ever. These moments can then be relived through your Gear VR or Galaxy smartphone. With the Gear 360, you can capture life as it happens all around you,” concludes Fleischer.

The Gear 360 is compatible with the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge with the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app.

Recommend Retail Price (RRP): R 6,999

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Now for hardware-as-a-service

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Integrated ICT and Infrastructure provider Vox has entered into an exclusive partnership with Go Rentals to introduce a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) offering, which is aimed at providing local small and medium businesses (SMEs) with quick, affordable, and scalable access to a wide variety of IT infrastructure – as well as the management thereof.

“Despite an increasingly competitive business environment where every rand counts, many business owners are still buying technology-based equipment outright rather than renting it,” says Barry Kemp, Head of Managed IT at Vox. “The problem with this is that the modern device arena has grown in variety and complexity, making it more difficult to manage, and to reduce the overheads of controlling these devices.”

According to Kemp, there is a global trend being observed in businesses moving away from owning and managing IT infrastructure. This started with the move away from servers and toward cloud-based subscription services, and now organisations are looking to do the same with the remaining on-premise hardware – employees’ desktop systems.

The availability of HaaS changes the way in which local businesses consume IT, by allowing them to direct valuable capital expenditure toward the more efficient and competitive operation of their organisation, rather than spending on hardware products. 

“The rental costs are up to 50% lower than if they buy these products through traditional asset financing methods. Furthermore, using HaaS gives businesses the ability to scale up and down depending on their infrastructure requirements. Customers on a 12 month contract can return up to 10% of the devices rented, while those customers on 24 and 36 month contracts can return up to 20% of the devices – at any time during the contract,” adds Kemp.

More than just a rental

HaaS gives business access to repurposed Tier 1 hardware from vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, equipped with the required specifications (processor, memory, and storage), and come installed with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, unless an older version is specifically requested by the customer.

Kemp says: “Where HaaS is different from simply renting IT hardware is that businesses get full asset lifecycle management, such as having all company software pre-installed, flexible refresh cycles and upgrades, support and warranty management and transparent and predictable per user monthly fees.”

The ability to upgrade during the contract period means that businesses can keep pace with the latest in technology without needing to invest on depreciating equipment, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency for employees. Returned devices are put through a decommissioning process that ensures anonymity, certified data protection, and environmental compliance. 

Businesses further stand to benefit from Vox Care, which incorporates asset management and logistical services for customers. This includes initial delivery and setup in major centres, asset tagging of all rented items, creation, and the repair and/or replacement of faulty machines within three business days – again in the main metropolitan areas. 

Vox Care also assists in the design, testing and deployment of custom images, whereby HaaS clients can have the additional programmes they need (security, productivity tools, business software, etc) easily pre-installed along with the Windows operating system, on all their machines.

Kemp says HaaS customers can get further peace of mind by outsourcing the day to day management of their desktop environment to Vox Managed Services, as well as leverage the company’s knowledge and expertise to manage and host workstation backups to ensure business continuity.

Says Kemp: “Hardware-as-a-Service allows businesses to reduce the total cost of ownership of their hardware and ensure they only pay for what they use. Making the switch to a service model helps them take advantage of the global move in this direction, and to turn their business into a highly functional, flexible, low cost, change your mind whenever you want workplace.”

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Seedstars seeks tech to reverse land degradation in Africa

A new partnership is offering prizes to young entrepreneurs for coming up with innovations that tackle the loss of arable land in Africa.

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The DOEN Foundation has joined forces with Seedstars, an emerging market startup community, to launch the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, which showcases solutions to environmental, social and financial challenges that focus on land restoration activities in Africa. Stichting DOEN is a Dutch fund that supports green, socially-inclusive and creative initiatives that contribute to a better and cleaner world.

While land degradation and deforestation date back millennia, industrialization and a rising population have dramatically accelerated the process. Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Currently, nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Land restoration is an urgent response to the poor management of land. Forest and landscape restoration is the process of reversing the degradation of soils, agricultural areas, forests, and watersheds thereby regaining their ecological functionality. According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded 9 months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, the hybrid program challenging traditional acceleration models by creating a unique mix to improve startup performance and get them ready to secure investment. They will also access a 10K USD grant.

“Our current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve our society ecologically and socially,” says Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation. “The problems arising from this can be tackled only if a different economic system is considered. DOEN sees opportunities to contribute to this necessary change. After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative. Landscape restoration is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation. Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early-stage restoration enterprises and inspire other frontrunners to follow suit.”

Applications are open now and will be accepted until October 15th. Startups can apply here: http://seedsta.rs/doen

To enter the competition, startups should meet the following criteria:

  • Existing startups/young companies with less than 4 years of existence
  • Startups that can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • The startup must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  • The startup needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource areas.
  • The startup can show clear environmental impact (either by reducing a negative impact or creating a positive one)
  • The startup can show a clear social impact
  • Technology startups, tech-enabled startups and/or businesses that can show a clear innovation component (e.g. in their business model)

Also, a specific emphasis is laid, but not limited to: Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes; big data and technology to reverse land degradation; resource efficiency optimization technologies, ecosystems impacts reduction and lower carbon emissions; water-saving soil technologies; technologies focused on improving livelihoods and communities ; planning, management and education tools for land restoration; agriculture (with a focus on precision conservation) and agroforestry; clean Energy solutions that aid in the combat of land degradation; and responsible ecotourism that aids in the support of land restoration.

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