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Samsung’s 3 new Gears gear up wearables

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Samsung has introduced three Gear devices to its wearable portfolio. The Gear Sport, a smartwatch that is water resistant; the Gear Fit2 Pro and the Gear IconX, the next generation wireless earbuds.

The new devices assist with a range of activities across robust fitness tracking to nutrition and sleep monitoring, as well as motivational coaching as a lifestyle companion. Through the introduction of new smart capabilities, easy-to-use features and by partnering with leading names in technology and fitness, Samsung is enabling consumers to go beyond fitness, to accomplish even bigger things.

“Samsung has a long history of innovating technologies that meet consumers goals and aspirations. Whether you are going for a jog or training for a triathlon, Samsung’s wearables are designed with everyday athletes, of varying fitness levels, in mind. Our wearables defy the stereotype that being fit requires spending copious amounts of time in the gym with fitness trackers that are complex and only compatible with the most intense workouts. Rather, the new Samsung Gear wearables enable consumers of all shapes and sizes to ‘go beyond fitness’ to enjoy an active, balanced and fulfilled life in a smart and seamless way,” said Justin Hume, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung South Africa.”

As part of this updated line-up, Samsung created new capabilities for Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro:

·         Industry-Leading Water Resistance and Swim Tracking: An ideal companion for any swimming activity – from laps to playing in the pool – these devices are 5 ATM certified for water resistance. Now with Speedo’s latest swimming training app, Speedo On, the Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro also allow consumers to easily track key swim metrics including lap count, lap time, stroke type and more.

·         Top-of-the-line Heart Rate Monitoring: With improved accuracy, the devices offer advanced real-time heart rate monitoring. They help consumers to continuously monitor heart activity such as while enjoying an invigorating cycling class.

·         Premium Partnerships: Daily activity can be supplemented with updated Under Armour and Spotify partnerships. Both devices provide access to Under Armour’s fitness apps including Under Armour Record, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun and Endomondo for activity, nutrition, sleep and fitness tracking functions – these apps provide users with a holistic picture of their health and fitness. Spotify’s Offline mode lets users listen to their favourite music online, offline or even without a smartphone so they can enjoy their favourite tunes regardless of location.

·         Auto Activity Detection: Automatic activity detection built into the devices are in tune with the body and can recognise the following categories of activities: Walking, Running, Cycling and performing Dynamic Activities that could include dancing to basketball.

·         Personalised Motivation: Consumers can customise a wellness plan with tailored goals and alerts.

Gear Sport: A new versatile smartwatch to support an active and balanced lifestyle 

Gear Sport is stylish, yet practical with a minimalistic, circular bezel, Super AMOLED 1.2-inch display and improved user interface that makes it easy to view information, even when on-the-go. With Gear Sport, users can work to achieve health and wellness goals, and receive nutrition management alerts and activity recommendations even when they are offline.

Designed with military-level durability, it can handle a wide-range of environments. With its sleek, ergonomic form, it can be worn in a variety of colourful and easily changeable standard 20mm straps, and it is perfect for any occasion so you can effortlessly transition from the gym to a night out with friends. Gear Sport is available in blue and black and also includes Gear foundational functions to:

·          Control Samsung IoT-enabled devices through Samsung Connect

·          Act as a remote control, whether for a PowerPoint presentation or Samsung Gear VR headset

·          Pay for goods with a flick of the wrist via Samsung Pay (NFC Only)

Gear Fit2 Pro: An advanced GPS fitness band

In addition to new swim and heart rate monitoring capabilities, the new Gear Fit2 Pro features advanced built-in GPS tracking to capture a run or ride with accurate activity tracking. Gear Fit2 Pro’s Super AMOLED curved 1.5-inch display and a high-resolution colour touchscreen make real-time updates and notifications easier to read. The all-new secure, ergonomic band is light weight and comfortable to use for all activities. Available in black and red, its versatile design also makes it a stylish accessory.

Gear IconX: Comfortable fit, cord-free earbuds

IconX cord-free earbuds enables consumers to effortlessly listen to their favourite music – making the daily commute more enjoyable or helping to get more from a workout. Music can be enjoyed on and offline by transferring songs from a Samsung smartphone or PC, or accessing tunes through Bluetooth connectivity. The earbuds are also the newest connection to Bixby. With a simple tap and hold of the earbud consumers can use their voice to control music or the phone – without even having to hold it.

The updated design comes in black, grey and pink and is more ergonomic and lightweight so they are effectively secure, comfortable and stylish to use. For the fitness enthusiast, the Gear IconX automatically tracks running routines, and also features the standalone Running Coach function which can be activated by simply tapping the earbud to provide in-ear audio exercise status updates – in real-time and without a phone. With a fast-charging and improved battery life of up to five hours of music streaming or seven hours of standalone music playback, and up to 4GB of internal storage, consumers can enjoy a seamless and fully standalone music listening experience.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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