Sophia, a humanoid robot that has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, was the star at SAP NOW, a two-day interactive knowledge-sharing showcase of the latest breakout technologies hosted by SAP Africa.
Sophia is an innovation by Hanson Robotics, and the company’s most famous and advanced robot featuring remarkable expressiveness, aesthetics and interactivity. Since making her debut in March 2016, she has graced the cover of Elle Magazine, and has been a guest of multiple TV shows including CBS 60 Minutes, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning Britain. A featurette of Sophia by CNBC garnered more than 6.5 million views on YouTube and elicited more than two billion engagements on social media.
“Sophia is a shining example of what is possible when innovation and ambition meets exponential technologies such as AI,” says Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa. “As we look toward a new tool set of breakout technologies to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and achieve the ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, innovations such as Sophia will be instrumental in inspiring a new wave of innovators, disruptors and digital champions.”
Sophia can animate more than 60 facial expressions including smiling, frowning, anger, disgust, confusion and happiness. Built-in cameras enable her to track people’s eyes and faces to maintain eye contact and build rapport with people, while advanced AI capabilities and voice recognition, along with scripts and chat bots enable her to hold natural conversation with her human counterparts.
Sophia joined Smith on stage for an interactive conversation on Thursday 30 August before the rest of the SAP NOW program kicked off. The event followed the theme of Tomorrow is Already Here and focused on innovation, with a view to showcasing how the best run businesses help the world run better through innovative use of technology.
With topics ranging from ‘Let’s map, build and inspire a future we all want to live in’ to ‘The Journey to the Intelligent Enterprise’, SAP NOW was designed to encourage a collective learning experience while unveiling top industry innovations and sharing the latest knowledge and industry know-how.
New iPhone pricing for SA
The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.
|iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,
Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg
Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.
The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.
The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.
Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”
Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.
Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands.
Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.
“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”
“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”