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Smart City spend to top $180bn in 2023

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A new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide shows global spending on smart cities initiatives will reach $189.5 billion in 2023. The top priorities for these initiatives will be resilient energy and infrastructure projects followed by data-driven public safety and intelligent transportation. Together, these priority areas will account for more than half of all smart cities spending throughout the 2019-2023 forecast.

“In the latest release of IDC’s Worldwide Smart Cities Spending Guide, we expanded the scope of our research to include smart ecosystems, added detail for digital evidence management and smart grids for electricity and gas, and expanded our cities dataset to include over 180 named cities,” said Serena Da Rold, program manager in IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group. “Although smart grid and smart meter investments still represent a large share of spending within smart cities, we see much stronger growth in other areas, related to intelligent transportation and data-driven public safety, as well as platform-related use cases and digital twin, which are increasingly implemented at the core of smart cities projects globally.”

The use cases that will experience the most spending over the forecast period are closely aligned with the leading strategic priorities: smart grid, fixed visual surveillance, advanced public transportation, smart outdoor lighting, and intelligent traffic management. These five use cases will account for more than half of all smart cities spending in 2019, although their share will decline somewhat by 2023. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast are vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, digital twin, and officer wearables.

Singapore will remain the top investor in smart cities initiatives, driven by the Virtual Singapore project. New York City will have the second largest spending total this year, followed by Tokyo and London. Beijing and Shanghai were essentially tied for the number 5 position and spending in all these cities is expected to surpass the $1 billion mark in 2020.

On a regional basis, the United States, Western Europe, and China will account for more than 70% of all smart cities spending throughout the forecast. Japan and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will experience the fastest growth in smart cities spending with CAGRs of around 21%.

“We are excited to present our continued expansion of this deep dive into the investment priorities of buyers in the urban ecosystem, with more cities added to our database of smart city spending and new forecasts that show the expanded view of smart cities, such as Smart Stadiums and Smart Campuses,” said Ruthbea Yesner, vice president of IDC Government Insights and Smart Cities programs. “As our research shows, there is steady growth across the globe in the 34 use cases we have sized and forecast.”

IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide quantifies the expected technology opportunity around smart cities initiatives from a regional and worldwide level. Spending data is available for nine regions with 34 distinct use cases across five strategic priorities and eight technology categories. In addition, the spending guide offers a complementary Cities dataset, providing smart city spending for 182 cities across nine regions. The spending guide is designed to provide IT vendors with insights into this rapidly growing market and how the market will develop over the five-year forecast period.

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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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