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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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How to save cloud from complexity

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By DOUG WOOLLEY, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa

Ten years ago, business technologies had saturated to breaking point. The potential they offered were diminished by their deployment and maintenance costs. Then virtualisation, cloud and similar technologies emerged to offer new capacities and optimisation. Companies were able to vastly simplify their technology stacks, as is evident by even large enterprises moving wholesale to service-centric models where you own less and get more.

But that pendulum was going to change direction eventually. The arrival of the cloud world wasn’t just about creating efficiencies. It introduced radical new ways of creating applications and deploying services. The initial gains in terms of efficiency were just the start – once the cloud engine started firing on more cylinders, its true potential came to light. Artificial intelligence, real-time data, IoT infrastructure and other cutting edge services became widely feasible and affordable.

The modern technology era is powerful because of its modularity, but this creates a new type of complexity headache. Several reports have highlighted concerns among modern CIOs that complexity is getting out of hand again. One study found that a single web transaction used to interact with around 22 technology systems a few years ago, whereas today the number is more than 35. That’s a 59 percent increase in complexity.

The major bite is coming from managing multi-cloud environments. Today’s organisation is spoilt for choice. It can juggle hyperscale environments, co-location arrangements, private clouds, application containers and straight service pipes to create the best combination of technologies that enable its desires. But the simple beauty of grabbing an iPad for a performance dashboard belies the agile and complex relationships making that happen behind the scenes.

I can tell you that Dell EMC has been mulling this long before it became a clear challenge. Even before the successful merger that created Dell Technologies, we already pursued ways to better manage the complexity created by cloud environments. I don’t say this to advertise our services, but to point out that we never bought into a blue-skies view of cloud. The complexity was bound to return. If it isn’t contained and disciplined, then the promise of cloud would soon devolve into the familiar muck everyone’s trying to break free from.

We’re not alone: the market has been reaching this conclusion as well. A recent VMWare survey found that 83 percent of cloud adopters are seeking consistent infrastructure and operations from the data centre to the cloud. In other words, they want as seamless an experience as possible between the various moving parts of their technology investments.

Digital maturity isn’t a single curve. It’s more akin to a radar chart, with different indicators spreading outwards to complete the picture. The ability to curtail multi-cloud complexity is increasingly a dominant indicator of digital proficiency. But the means to create that control will depend heavily on the partner of choice.

Reining in cloud isn’t just about a nice management suite. It has to cover a powerful integration of hardware, software, services and consumption options. It also can’t exist to try and cap your cloud capabilities for the sake of stability. Cloud management has to remain dynamic to allow for the agility, accelerated innovation, improved economics and reduced risk that are the promises of the cloud era.

This requires a multidisciplinary approach that no single vendor can comprehensively provide. It needs a stable of different capabilities, such as virtualisation, infrastructure management and mature business thinking. When a company wants to avoid or untangle the new complexities wrought by cloud, the solutions don’t lie in services but how rich the partner landscape is that provides the management services.

Multi-cloud environments are delivering both expected and unbelievable gains, often as smooth interactions for end-users. But the background complexity can diminish returns very quickly and erode digitisation gains. This is the technology conversation of the year and foreseeable future, so let’s start talking.

We will be hosting our Dell Technologies Forum on 27 June at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Register now (https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-za/events/forum2019/Johannesburg/index.htm) and take this opportunity to raise your feelings about complexity and how to keep the cloud in line with your business expectations.

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Uberising solar energy

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A team of students from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday walked off as winners with R20 000 in prize money for an innovative concept to provide equitable energy access to remote villages based on, among others, “Uber(ising) solar energy.”

The team was one of four university teams participating in the African Utility Week and Powergen Africa conference and exhibition’s first ever Initiate! Impact Challenge. The 19th edition of the event gathered thousands of power, water and gas industry experts in Cape Town this week and ended on Thursday.

Student teams from Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand also took part in the three-day challenge sponsored by the Enel Foundation, the Innovation Hub, Lesedi Nuclear Services and the Russian Nuclear Agency Rosatom. The Initiate! Challenge aimed to create a platform for students and start-ups to drive innovation and share ideas for the energy sector.

Strathmore University’s winning team: (left to right) Fredrick Amariati, Ignatius Maranga, Raymond Kiyegga and Alex Osunga.

The Strathmore University team included engineering students Ignatius Maranga, Raymond Kiyegga, Fredrick Amariati and Alex Osunga. One member of the team will also have the exclusive opportunity to join the 5th annual student fact-finding mission to Russia to visit several state-of-the-art nuclear facilities and dedicated Russian nuclear universities. Maranga said the team is happy and humbled especially because they competed against some of the top universities on the continent. He said the teams’ winning idea is rooted in real life challenges that Kenyans in rural areas face. “The solutions offered so far to expand energy access are not solving these problems as many are not financially viable.”

The team’s idea is to put a solar panelled container in rural villages that will also house a clinic and a knowledge hub like a school for vocational training to teach people about the use and benefits of solar energy. It will also include a shop where villagers can buy daily essentials like milk.

Maranga said: “The school will help with capacity building as villagers will see and learn benefits of electricity and as the business grows, they will want to have electricity in their homes and when that point comes, we will have solar powered tricycles. These tricycles will carry and deliver batteries like Uber does passengers to villagers in more remote areas. The system is modular so we will add another container to charge batteries. These batteries are ferried on trikes, so villagers in more remote areas can request a number of charged batteries on their phone.”

Maranga explained that it is common cause that Africa is big, and many people live in remote rural villages. “So, it is not always possible to extend the power grid to these areas as it is very expensive. So, what do we do instead? Most people own a cell phone, and everyone needs electricity, so you take it to them. They cannot exactly carry a battery for two kilometres so why then not Uber a battery?” Maranga said their company Kijiji, (Swahili for village) will now look at commercialising their idea, optimise it and do market tests. “If accepted we want to roll it out depending on funding.”

The team’s idea appealed to the judges because it was a simple idea that is easy to replicate beyond Kenya to the rest of the continent. Chief executive officer of Rosatom Central and Southern Africa, Dmitry Shornikov, said: “We are very pleased with the solutions presented by the students. The maturity and depth of their research gives us great hope and proves that young Africans really are devoted to solving Africa’s energy challenges.”

Business Development executive at Lesedi Nuclear Services, Shane Pereira, in an earlier interview said the company partnered with Initiate! because it is dedicated to the youth that will be the leaders of tomorrow. “The growth and development as well as training, coaching and mentoring of the youth is critical to the success of our future economy.”

The ideas of the other three teams focused more on mitigating the risk of climate change and came up with ideas ranging from vertical farms to energy boxes.

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