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Smart home is with us

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fridges, TVs and in some cases, full automation, they are becoming more and more realistic, writes RIAAN GRAHAM, Sales Director for Ruckus, sub-Saharan Africa.

In today’s crazy technology age, we are seeing many developments being incorporated into the home from smart fridges, lighting, CCTV cameras, smart TVs and mirrors. In some parts of the world, we are even seeing automation being fully integrated into the home.

Residents are connecting more devices in their home from laptops to smartphones, gaming systems, and other smart home devices. They want a connected home where wireless services link every aspect of their work and play together, and property owners are looking at ways to ensure this is all provided to the home owner.

While full home automation has not been high on the average house hunter’s priority list, things are about to change – just look at the stats.

In 2016, 80 million smart home devices were delivered world-wide – a 64% increase from 2015, according to IHS Markit. What’s more, the global smart home market was valued at around USD $24.10 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD $53.45 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 14.5% between 2017 and 2022. The Middle East and Africa is also expected to be one of the fastest growing regional markets for smart homes in the coming years, where the major growth drivers include awareness among consumers for energy consumption, on-demand services and rising disposable income. This is changing expectations all round.

Property Developers Have their Work Cut Out for Them 

As a property developer or investor, you invest a lot of resources to provide a great living experience in your multi-dwelling units (MDUs). But whether it’s student housing, luxury apartment complexes, assisted living or other properties, your residents expect more today. They no longer see you as just the landlord, they also want you to be their network service provider. That means supporting a large number of smart devices, demanding video and gaming services, and other high-bandwidth wireless applications. This means making the network experience just as reliable as residents’ water, heat and electricity.

That’s a lot of technical challenges to overcome. But your residents don’t want to hear about how hard it is to provide great Wi-Fi in places with thousands of devices, large indoor/outdoor coverage areas and multi-story buildings. All they know is that the property down the street offers free Wi-Fi. Does yours?

Network access rolled into the rent sounds great to residents. This is becoming a major driving decision for people to determine if they would like to move or stay in their current residence. However, wireless dreams can quickly turn to nightmares – for both residents and the business – if the Wi-Fi isn’t simple, reliable and secure. A resident’s love for Wi-Fi will quickly turn to hate if connecting their devices is a chore, or if they have to constantly provide credentials to log back onto the network. If residents are relying on the property owner for Wi-Fi, it needs to be protecting their sensitive traffic.

As a (property owner) Wi-Fi provider, one should look at the following:

  • To deliver high-performance across hundreds of units and thousands of users – even in environments with mixed indoor/outdoor spaces and varying construction material
  • To deploy access points and wireless solutions that support more simultaneous devices and higher-bandwidth applications, even in challenging residential environments. Patented BeamFlex+ antenna technology adapts for interference and other wireless challenges automatically to provide consistent connections to every device and user
  • To look for simple, secure on-boarding management so that Wi-Fi doesn’t have to be more complicated than any other utility on your property. Find a solution where residents can connect any device, anywhere on the property in seconds, through a branded self-service portal. They can log on once and never have to do anything again. And they can do it all through a platform that protects every connection with the strongest wireless encryption

In the multi-dwelling housing market, amenities are king! This message is consistent across the board within condos, student housing and assisted living management organisations where everyone understands that potential tenants want one thing: amenities. In today’s world, the number one tenant amenity is Wi-Fi. Whether it is a young professional who works from home, a student accessing course content, or senior citizens needing to communicate with health care providers, they all have one thing in common: the need to stay connected.

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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