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Riverbed events to unravel the impact of SD-WAN

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Two events hosted by Riverbed Technology in Johannesburg next week will offer insights into the transformation that software-defined wide area networks are about to make on businesses.

It may sound like just another acronym, but SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networks) is expected to transform the corporate network in the coming years.

That is one of the messages attendees can expect to hear at two events hosted by Riverbed Technology in Johannesburg on 20 April. Riverbed FORCE and Riverbed Partner Connect, targeted at end-users and the channel respectively, will address the challenges of end-to-end optimisation, visibility and control in hybrid IT networks.

In this context, says Riverbed’s sub-Saharan Africa head Wimpie van Rensburg, SD-WAN is set to be a “game-changer”. It will be introduced and extensively discussed during the event.

“In hybrid enterprises where people, apps and data are everywhere, assuring application performance is critical to business productivity,” he says. “Riverbed FORCE is an exciting opportunity for our customers to gain the tools and knowledge they need to address this complexity. The attendees will also gain valuable insights into SD-WAN which is set to be a game-changer, while also learning how our technology partnership with Microsoft will address their cloud, collaboration, Solution as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) ambitions.”

The sessions will follow a common theme of ‘Maximizing application performance’. The day will be split into two segments, with end-user focused sessions in the first half, followed by the partner event. Featuring presentations by local and international experts, the sessions will include a range of talks from top technical Riverbed specialists showcasing the Riverbed platform and its next-generation architecture of Software-defined networking (SDN) solutions. Leading partners will also update attendees on the trends and technologies transforming enterprises in the digital age.

Close to 80 business and technology decision makers, including CXOs, IT Directors and IT Managers, as well as technical professionals like network administrators, storage architects and enterprise architects, are expected to attend Riverbed FORCE, while Riverbed Partner Connect will draw in both new and existing channel partners.

“We remain 100% channel driven, so the enablement and education of our channel through such events is vital to our success,” says Van Rensburg. “By attending the event, resellers and integrators will be rapidly brought up to speed with the Riverbed Application Performance Platform. They will also have the opportunity to gain direct access to key members of our regional team and network with their peers.”

Riverbed FORCE will take place from 09:00 to 13:00, followed by Riverbed Partner Connect from 13:30 to 18:15. Partner Connect will close with an awards presentation for top achieving local partners.

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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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