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MWC: Simplified applications with SAP Cloud

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SAP has unveiled a new consumption-based commercial model for customers to easily acquire and engage the SAP Cloud Platform, the company’s platform as a service (PaaS) at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

Additional updates include the next-generation SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, which allows customers to easily extend enterprise apps and processes to mobile devices.

SAP Cloud Platform is the foundation of SAP Leonardo, SAP’s digital innovation system. Together they enable rapid innovation and empower customers to become “intelligent enterprises,” ready for the 21st century.

“The new consumption-based commercial model for SAP Cloud Platform makes it even easier for our customers and partners to build and extend innovative solutions utilizing our increasing portfolio of platform and business services,” said Björn Goerke, SAP Cloud Platform president and chief technology officer. “Innovations in mobile delivery with consumer-grade experiences via our new SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS give organizations more freedom and agility to create and reinvent their businesses.”

SAP Cloud Platform: The Foundation for the Intelligent Enterprise
The new consumption-based commercial model for SAP Cloud Platform provides a simpler, low-touch customer experience for configuring and using SAP Cloud Platform services. Cloud credits are easily acquired, and available SAP Cloud Platform services can be quickly activated using a single provisioning cockpit. This allows customers to innovate on their terms and at their own pace. In addition, the new commercial model provides transparency into the usage of each service consumed through regular metering, reporting and detailed accounting analytics on the customer’s cloud credit consumption and balance. This makes it easier for customers to identify, procure and monitor needed services for their applications on a timely basis.

Customers can visit the newly designed web experience cloudplatform.sap.com to explore, test, price and estimate SAP Cloud Platform usage for any innovation project, all within a single site. This new model makes innovating with SAP Cloud Platform even simpler, while offering greater agility and flexibility for enterprises of all sizes. For more details read the blog by Bertram Schulte, chief digital officer at SAP.

The enhanced SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS provides an engaging consumer-grade mobile work experience with new controls and tighter integration with the Xcode integrated development environment, as well as integration with other capabilities within SAP Cloud Platform for delivering powerful enterprise mobile apps. It also supports consumption of SAP Leonardo services, such as image recognition from a mobile app. Customers can now access application programming interfaces from SAP API Business Hub within the apps, as well as easily translate apps using SAP Translation Hub. In addition, new analytic controls enable real-time data analytics and visualizations within mobile apps from SAP S/4HANA®, SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services and the SAP HANA® business data platform. Additional updates make it easy to use iOS device capabilities in end-to-end processes for administrative tasks, such as onboarding.

Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U. (CEPSA), a Spanish multinational oil and gas company, uses SAP Cloud Platform to meet the emerging needs of oil and gas energy users.

“We needed an innovative platform for app development, and SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS was a natural choice,” CEPSA Chief Information Officer Joaquín Reyes said. “By integrating our SAP back-end applications and developing iOS apps for order fulfillment and payment processing, we were able to streamline our business processes throughout our entire value chain. As a result, our employees, partners and service-station managers are now able to improve the overall customer experience.”

SAP introduced two new iOS mobile apps: SAP Insurance Sales Assistant enables the insurance agent to effectively manage all sales activities by providing comprehensive customer insights through a 360-degree customer view and an overview of performance KPIs. SAP Asset Manager leverages the digital core with SAP S/4HANA as well as SAP Cloud Platform as the Internet of Things platform for managing work orders, notifications, condition monitoring, material consumption, time management and failure analysis.

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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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