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Samsung unveils new vision

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At this year’s IFA conference in Berlin, Samsung showcased its European vision by demonstrating its latest Smart TV technology, home appliances and printers.

‚”One of the secrets of our success is that we go to great lengths to understand how people use technology. These insights inform everything we create. That’s how we come up with products and services that make life at home just so much more comfortable and happier,‚” said Boo-Keun Yoon, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics.

‚”Samsung is driven by three guiding principles,‚” he added, ‚”people, innovation and society. During the past year, Samsung opened five Lifestyle Research Labs around the world that work to spot what customers need and want. These Labs are part of a research network that includes a further 33 R&D locations and six design centers. In all, over a quarter of Samsung’s workforce is dedicated to product innovation.‚”

Samsung has deep roots in Europe and plays a very active role in the region, working to train and inspire the next generation of technology leaders. In the Netherlands, Samsung trains teachers how to integrate technology in the digital classroom while in Poland, students are taught computer programming skills. These initiatives extend to France and the UK where Samsung works to support disadvantaged children. These are just a few examples of Samsung’s drive to advance digital knowledge and help tackle youth unemployment.

Home Entertainment reaches new levels

Samsung has led the European TV market for the past nine years, achieved by pioneering LED and Plasma technology able to display the brightest colors, deepest blacks and sharpest pictures. Now, Samsung is driving a new era of TV innovation with bold approaches to Ultra High-Definition (UHD) and OLED technology designed to deliver the ultimate lean-back experience.

Last year, Samsung sold two TVs every second around the world, and in Europe the company has a 41% market share. To cement its leadership in Europe, Samsung surveyed over 18,000 Europeans in 18 countries to understand what they wanted from TV. The results show that extraordinary picture quality, bigger screens and a simpler, more intuitive user-experience are front-of-mind with consumers.

UHD F9000 Series TV

The Samsung UHD F9000 delivers on all three consumer desires with an unparalleled viewing experience born of pure innovation. With over eight million pixels and a resolution four times higher than Full HD, the UHD F9000 is a revolution in resolution as the most intricate of visual details are defined, clear and breathtakingly lifelike.

The unrivalled LED panel produces crisp detail, optimal color and contrast all complemented by Quadmatic Picture Engine, the powerful picture processing technology. No matter the source of the content SD, HD or Full HD the Quadmatic Picture Engine adapts the source image, eliminates visual noise, improves the detail and sharpness of the image before finally up-scaling the picture to be displayed in stunning UHD.

In addition to shaper images, the F9000 and all of Samsung’s UHD TVs offer unrivaled brightness, superior contrast with the deepest blacks, and real UHD resolution using proprietary algorithms for superior images.

Designed to be a showpiece in the living room, the UHD F9000 incorporates a minimalist design with a narrow bezel, metal stand and metallic finish. The design deftly hides the built-in speakers and subwoofers for a powerful 70W sound experience and the One Connect Box removes cable clutters by aggregating all connectors from multimedia players. The innovative craftsmanship continues on the inside as the TV has ability to upgrade its software features over time to offer more services including future UHD standards through its inbuilt Evolution Kit.

The Samsung Smart Hub, a simple and intuitive five-panel layout that turns the start screen of the TV into an entertainment and social hub, has evolved to meet another customer insight Samsung discovered: live TV is no longer at the center of the television experience. S Recommendation suggests shows and films to watch dependent on the user’s tastes and watch history. Coupled with a Twin Tuner, built-in camera, video chat capability and one-button content sharing with mobile devices, the F9000 delivers a true state of the art viewing experience.

Home Appliances for a Happier home

Samsung Digital Appliances’ vision is to deliver a home-life well-lived, built on the foundation of deep local market insight, listening to want consumers want and true design excellence. Samsung knows its customers have many passions from fantastic food and great cooking to dazzling interior design. Every digital appliance created speaks to these passions, helping to create a happier home.

In 2013, Samsung’s home appliance business grew by 14 percent, making it one of the fastest growing brands globally. In Europe, Samsung ranked number one in terms of market share for four consecutive years for refrigerators and microwave ovens and is on course to be number one in home appliances by 2015.

To reach this goal, Samsung is focusing on leveraging deep local insight, harnessing consumer passions and delivering design innovation. At IFA 2013, Samsung launched a range of initiatives and products tailored to enhance people’s lives at home.

Club des Chefs

Samsung has partnered with award-winning chefs to develop the future of home cooking. The newly created ‚’Samsung Club des Chefs’ includes Eric Trochon of Semilla in Paris: Michel Troisgros of Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France: Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli of Frankie Sputino in New York: and Christopher Kostow of The Meadowhead in Napa Valley, California. This elite group of professional chefs will suggest ways for people to discover new cooking techniques in their kitchens and provide invaluable expertise in the creation of future Samsung products.

Samsung Motion Sync Vacuum Cleaner

Building on consumer insights, Samsung developed the Motion Sync Vacuum Cleaner SC20F70 prioritizing design and easy-of-use. A revolutionary Motion Sync Design makes it one of the most agile canister vacuums on the market, reducing the amount of movement needed by the user while innovative CycloneForce Multi technology maintains powerful suction for maximum performance. Coupled with controls on the handle, sensors that detect areas to be cleaned and a bagless design, the Motion Sync Vacuum Cleaner combines exceptional performance with superior maneuverability.

Food Showcase FS9000 Refrigerator

Samsung conducted research into how families organize the food in their refrigerators and found that often there is little structure to the placement of items. The Food Showcase side-by-side refrigerator separates the interior into ShowCase and InnerCase sections. These sections give easy access to everyday items as well as those used less frequently, thereby delivering greater convenience for every member of the family on a daily basis.

The understated design conveys a sense of purity with a clean material finish. With a volume of 834 liters, the Food Showcase incorporates Space Max Technology that allows the walls to be thinner and insulate better in comparison to standard refrigerators. Food ShowCase will be available to European consumers from early 2014.

Printing Innovation for Home and Business Users

Samsung is developing its printing portfolio through a focus on mobility, the user-experience and design with an aim to become the number one A4 laser and Multifunction Printer (MFP) manufacturer by 2017. Advances in mobility, security and the dramatic growth of digital content are driving the need for modern devices that let users personally manage their work and home printing environments.

Samsung has been developing mobile focused printing applications since 2009 including a dedicated Mobile Print app, Wi-Fi Direct support, and a Native photo printing button and recently added Google Cloud Print and NFC functionality.

Changing the way people print in today’s mobile era

In Berlin, Samsung showcased the world’s first NFC multifunction printer, the Xpress C460. Evolved from the consumer desire for greater communication, collaboration and connectivity, users can now print photos and documents directly from smartphones with just a simple tap. Scanning and faxing documents is also made easy as users are able to sync the contacts on their smartphones with the printer.

Simplifying the user experience is central to how Samsung develops its products and the company recognized that the process of setting up wireless printers often involved multiple stages. With the Xpress C460 installation is three quick steps without even the need for a USB connection between the printer and computer.

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Prepare for Wi-Fi 6

From traffic to healthcare, the applications of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard are set to transform how we connect.

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20 years ago, with the release of 802.11b, Wi-Fi began its conquest of the world networking scene in earnest. Wi-Fi can easily be called out as one of the most popular technologies of the last two decades. Just as mobile telephony and mobile internet, it has become a part of everyday life. And with the advent of IoT and the introduction of 5G, the time has come for the new standard – Wi-Fi 6.

Beyond being significantly faster than the previous generation, Wi-Fi 6 delivers up to four times greater capacity. Latency is vastly improved, allowing for near real-time use cases. Wi-Fi 6 is also easier on connected devices’ batteries.

So what impact will Wi-Fi 6 have on business in the coming years?

Digitisation, mobility and IoT are driving the need for connectivity. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started. In 3 years, 28 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, many of which (robots, production lines, medical devices) will communicate over a wireless network. Against this background, it is easy to understand why we need a redesigned wireless standard that is more responsive to present and future challenges.

Wi-Fi 6: The business impact

“In the first phase, we expect the new wireless standard to gain a significant foothold in the B2B field, where it brings important innovations,” said Garsen Naidu, Country Manager, Cisco South Africa. “We will see it, together with other technologies, penetrate significantly into manufacturing, into the logistics industry. The technology is also more effective in high-density settings like large lecture halls, stadiums and conference rooms, so we are likely to see significant penetration in these settings too. And, with its extremely low latency, Wi-Fi 6 also promises to open up new opportunities in AR/VR, healthcare, and self-driving vehicles. ”

Ever since the launch of the Internet, every leap in network speed has had a major impact on technological innovation: 4G has brought along the age of smartphones, whilst 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will transform the business world. According to Cisco experts, these two technologies – 5G and Wi-Fi – will be widely adopted at the same time, complementing each other.

A short history of Wi-Fi

In 1999, half a dozen technology companies, including Aironet, which was later acquired by Cisco, formed the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance. The standard announced that year, 802.11b, which gained significant commercial traction, was the first to emerge under the ‘Wi-Fi’ brand. As such, 1999 marks the year in which Wi-Fi really began.

Solutions that carry the official Wi-Fi logo work consistently with the IEEE 802.11 data transfer standard. These solutions are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which guarantees compatibility between various wireless devices. In addition, networking manufacturers have done a lot to improve compatibility. Launched as early as 2002, Cisco Compatible eXtensions is a free licensing program that has enabled other vendors’ Wi-Fi products to be securely deployed on Cisco wireless networks.

Subsequent developments in Wi-Fi technology included managing interference and increasing data stability. Cisco is supporting these with the Cisco Flexible Radio Assignment and Cisco CleanAir technologies. The latter is capable of identifying and graphically displaying radio interference, identifying the source of the problem, and directing users to other, less crowded, channels.

Challenges of the present and opportunities for the future

One of the most widespread business applications of wireless technology is office Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi, employees can move freely and access the network from anywhere where there is a hotspot. Wi-Fi-based analysis and location services are also becoming increasingly popular. And with the spread of IoT, Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, and is today found everywhere from agricultural fields to production lines.

“We see promising business opportunities and a wide range of new applications. At the same time, with hundreds and thousands of new devices connecting to wireless networks, IT teams are facing increasing complexity. So we need to rethink IT architectures from the ground-up,” added Naidu.

Much of this need to rethink network architectures is driven by the enormous growth in wireless connectivity.

Wi-Fi has driven growth in general IT use, which in turn has led to the need to provide and run bigger and more complex networks with a greater variety of endpoint device types on them. This complexity ‘feedback loop’, driven in no small part by Wi-Fi, requires that new solutions are developed to deal with this complexity.

Cisco has pioneered in this area, using AI, machine learning, and machine reasoning, via products such as Cisco DNA Assurance to eliminate manual troubleshooting and reduce the time spent resolving service issues.

The latest Wi-Fi 6 developments introduced earlier this year make a consistent, efficient and seamless wireless connectivity experience a reality.

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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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