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Smart lockers, tutors, building plan app, win #HackJozi

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Smartlockers for chronic medication, a tutoring app and an app for submitting building plans to municiplaties have come out as the most innovative digital ideas in the 2016 #HackJozi Challenge.

The #HackJozi Challenge is a project of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University and the City of Johannesburg, designed to accelerate early stage ICT start-ups. Three winners were chosen from a shortlist of ten finalists that best utilised technology solutions to meet and solve every day challenges.

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the JCSE says the conclusion of the challenge isn’t the end of the journey for the winners and finalists.

“The JCSE will work with each of the ten businesses, and the wonderful entrepreneurs behind them, for the next year with the support from the City of Johannesburg to help drive their future success,” he says.

The top ten will enjoy a one-year free membership at the well-known ICT Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein, a Wits University initiative under the leadership of Professor Dwolatzky.

“#HackJozi gives the JCSE a great opportunity to work with local government to help launch ten new ideas into the world,” says Dwolatzky. “Through the finalists’ success, we feed the digital economy with new business start-ups, where each new start-up means new jobs. #HackJozi is so important because it creates jobs, economic activity and the opportunity to build a tech ecosystem based on meaningful partnerships.”

This year’s winner TechnoVera, which uses smart lockers to reduce the average waiting time for patients collecting chronic medication at primary healthcare collection facilities, will receive R1 million in funding. While second runner up Tuta-Me, a mobile app that connects tutors with students for tutoring services, and third runner up eSubmit, an online platform for submitting building plan applications to municipalities, will each receive R350 000.

In addition to building capacity and skills within the sector, Dwolatzky says each of the finalists contributed to finding solutions for some of South Africa’s most pressing challenges, particularly within education and health.

“The winners and finalists also addressed a third challenge in that they each contributed to developing entrepreneurship. What South Africa needs is for more people to believe they can create their own future, and #HackJozi helped foster that spirit in participants.”

Now in its second successful year, Dwolatzky is confident #HackJozi will continue to grow from strength to strength.

“Year on year we’ve seen a step change and even more great businesses come through. I’m so optimistic that next year we’ll see a similar change, and that is a mark of great progress. #HackJozi is about making innovation happen and we’re doing something better every year.”

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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