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SA Manufacturers fall behind in connectivity

Corporate digital divide holds back uptake, according to the latest report by World Wide Worx in partnership with Syspro.

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South African manufacturers have fallen behind the curve of rapid advances in connectivity that make advanced technologies possible, according to research findings revealed today by SYSPRO, in partnership with World Wide Worx.


This is a key finding of a new study entitled ‘The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2019’, which reveals that manufacturing enterprises typically use slower forms of connectivity than other enterprises in general – resulting in the need to use stopgaps to cross the corporate digital divide. 

The study, based on telephonic interviews with information technology (IT) decision makers at 400 large companies in South Africa, found that, while 63% of manufacturing enterprises regarded fibre-to-the-office as a key technology, this figure leaped to 74% for other industries. Furthermore, it showed rapid uptake of fibre connections by enterprises in general – but with the manufacturing sector lagging. 

“With one of our organisation’s key vertical focuses being that of manufacturing, it was surprising to see that manufacturers in the country prefer legacy forms of connectivity over the unprecedented opportunities that advanced forms of connectivity have proven to offer,” says Mark Wilson, Managing Director of SYSPRO Africa. “This has the potential to have a negative impact not only on productivity and overall output, but also on the abilities of these organisations to remain agile and competitive.”

The survey also revealed the continued importance of Wi-Fi – in particular with the emergence of mobile Wi-Fi devices. Almost half of all respondents, 47%, regard Wi-Fi in the office as important, with similar levels of use across industries. Mobile Wi-Fi is only regarded as important by 23% of respondents, but only 12% regard it as unimportant, indicating that it is beginning to fill the gap left by poor access to other forms of high-speed connectivity. 


Overall, voice communication remains the heart of the corporation, with landlines and basic cell phones being ranked the most important hardware devices by all respondents. However, this area also revealed a massive gap between manufacturers and the rest – with 73% of the former regarding each of these as important, versus 89% for other industries. 

“The research shows that connectivity has become important across all categories of activity, at the workstation, moving about the office environment, and beyond the office,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. 

“This is further emphasised by the fact that the laptop computer has become as important as the desktop machine in corporate South Africa – both are regarded as important by exactly two thirds of respondents. The importance level is the same across all industries, revealing the extent to which mobile productivity has become a pervasive need.” 

Further supporting this conclusion, 42% of respondents reported that employees were away from their desks, on average, around two to three times a day, probably taking their devices along with them to work on-the-go. 

“It’s no surprise that mobility continues to gain increasing prominence as a concept that the fourth industrial revolution has brought with it,” says Wilson. “This is further echoed by the fact that cloud collaboration was rated as important by 79% of companies, indicating the impact of ERP solutions in the cloud.”

Says Goldstuck: “As technology continues to evolve, we will almost certainly see a rise inadoption rate within crucial industries, as well as inthe opportunities that will present themselves fororganisations to transform.”

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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