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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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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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