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Toy combines physical with digital world

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Gammatek has launched Tiggly, a range of magnetic accessories and apps that work with most new tablets and are designed to help youngsters learn maths, words and shapes.

Tablet time goes beyond mindless play with a new range of device accessories and apps, by Tiggly, which combine physical and digital play to deliver an intuitive and educational experience for young children. The unique Tiggly range is brought to the fingertips of South African parents by Gammatek.

In the Tiggly range is Tiggly Math Blocks to facilitate learning of basic mathematics concepts in young children aged three to seven; Tiggly Words, designed to help children aged five to eight grasp language concepts, and Tiggly Shapes which helps children aged two to five learn shapes and fundamental geometry concepts. Tiggly products, including the innovative magnetic accessories and downloadable apps, are compatible with all generations of iPad (except iPad 1), iPad Air, and IPad Mini, as well as leading Android devices including Samsung, Kindle and Kurio. The robust, child friendly accessories do not require Bluetooth, Wifi or batteries.

Gammatek’s Zev Cherniak says: “Nowadays, children are exposed to electronic devices from a young age. While there are obvious concerns over the impact of extended screen time on developing brains, there are developmental benefits of controlled use of devices in conjunction with stimulating, educational games. Some can encourage imagination, listening ability, learning sounds and speech. Apps and accessories like Tiggly are designed specifically for children, with age appropriate games that encourage cognitive learning, language and maths skills. Tiggly offers parents great tools for turning screen time into interactive learning experiences that count.”

Tiggly Math Blocks is an ingenious way to introduce early math concepts including counting, addition, subtraction, number lines and number sense with the use of “concrete” counting blocks. These help children to understand the meaning behind numbers and connect this to the quantities they represent. Learning is made fun with funny characters which inspire the idea that maths is an engaging subject they can relate to. Inspired by the traditional Cuisenaire rod used in Montessori schools, Tiggly Math Blocks Learning System has received numerous awards including the prestigious Brain Child Gold Award.

Research conducted by PlayScience Research Lab showed that five year olds who played with Tiggly Math Blocks improved in their early number skills 71% more than children who played with the apps alone.

Each Tiggly Math Blocks box comes with five connected math toys in the form of counting blocks and four math learning games. Three of the four games come in 11 languages.

Tiggly Words focuses on the the most challenging part of learning to read; vowels and phonetics. The learning games help grasp important literacy skills in a playful and exploratory way. Children learn to pronounce and build words. The meaning of words is learnt through visualizations and animations, and later applied in their own language and digital storytelling. Tiggly Words has also received many awards including the National Parenting Publication Gold Award. The Tiggly Words system includes five connected vowel toys and four literacy learning games such as the Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen.

Tiggly Shapes is the very first interactive tablet learning toy for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Designed by an award winning team of educators and creative engineers, Tiggly Shapes helps children find the fun in learning spatial reasoning, motor skills and language. Tiggly Shapes includes four connected shape toys and four compatible learning apps.

Tiggly is available at leading retail stores including Incredible Connection, iStore, loot.co.za and takealot.com. The recommended retail prices are R799 for Tiggly Math and Tiggly Words and R699 for Tiggly Shapes.

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IoT sensors are anything from doctor to canary in mines

Industrial IoT is changing the shape of the mining industry and the intelligence of the devices that drive it

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has become many things in the mining industry. A canary that uses sensors to monitor underground air quality, a medic that monitors healthcare, a security guard that’s constantly on guard, and underground mobile vehicle control. It has evolved from the simple connectivity of essential sensors to devices into an ecosystem of indispensable tools and solutions that redefine how mining manages people, productivity and compliance. According to Karien Bornheim, CEO of Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), IoT offers an integrated business solution that can deliver long-term, strategic benefits to the mining industry.

“To fully harness the business potential of IoT, the mining sector has to understand precisely how it can add value,” she adds. “IoT needs to be implemented across the entire value chain in order to deliver fully optimised, relevant and turnkey operational solutions. It doesn’t matter how large the project is, or how complex, what matters is that it is done in line with business strategy and with a clear focus.”

Over the past few years, mining organisations have deployed emerging technologies to help bolster flagging profits, manage increasingly weighty compliance requirements, and reduce overheads. These technologies are finding a foothold in an industry that faces far more complexities around employee wellbeing and safety than many others, and that juggles numerous moving parts to achieve output and performance on a par with competitive standards. Already, these technologies have allowed mines to fundamentally change worker safety protocols and improve working conditions. They have also provided mining companies with the ability to embed solutions into legacy platforms, allowing for sensors and IoT to pull them into a connected net that delivers results.

“The key to achieving results with any IoT or technology project is to partner with service providers, not just shove solutions into identified gaps,” says Bornheim. “You need to start in the conceptual stage and move through the pre-feasibility and bankable feasibility stages before you start the implementation. Work with trained and qualified chemical, metallurgical, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and structural engineers that form a team led by a qualified engineering lead with experience in project management. This is the only way to ensure that every aspect of the project is aligned with the industry and its highly demanding specifications.”

Mining not only has complexities in compliance and health and safety, but the market has become saturated, difficult and mercurial. For organisations to thrive, they must find new revenue streams and innovate the ways in which they do business. This is where the data delivered by IoT sensors and devices can really transform the bottom line. If translated, analysed and used correctly, the data can provide insights that allow for the executive to make informed decisions about sites, investment and potential.


“The cross-pollination of different data sets from across different sites can help shift dynamics in plant operation and maintenance, in the execution of specific tasks, and so much more,” says Bornheim. “In addition, with sensors and connected devices and systems, mining operations can be managed intelligently to ensure the best results from equipment and people.”

The connection of the physical world to the digital is not new. Many of the applications currently being used or presented to the mining industry are not new either. What’s new is how these solutions are being implemented and the ways in which they are defined. It’s more than sticking on sensors. It’s using these sensors to streamline business across buildings, roads, vehicles, equipment, and sites. These sensors and the ways in which they are used or where they are installed can be customised to suit specific business requirements.

“With qualified electronic engineers and software experts, you can design a vast array of solutions to meet the real needs of your business,” says Bornheim. “Our engineers can programme, create, migrate and integrate embedded IoT solutions for microcontrollers, sensors, and processors. They can also develop intuitive dashboards and human-machine interfaces for IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to manage the input and output of a wide range of functionalities.”

The benefits of IoT lie in its ubiquity. It can be used in tandem with artificial intelligence or machine learning systems to enhance analytics, improve the automation of basic processes and monitor systems and equipment for faults. It can be used alongside M2M applications to enhance the results and the outcomes of the systems and their roles. And it can be used to improve collaboration and communication between man, machine and mine.

“You can use IoT platforms to visualise mission-critical data for device monitoring, remote control, alerts, security management, health and safety and healthcare,” concludes Bornheim. “The sky is genuinely the limit, especially now that the cost of sensors has come down and the intelligence of solutions and applications has gone up. From real-time insights to hands-on security and safety alerts to data that changes business direction and focus, IoT brings a myriad of benefits to the table.”

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Oracle leads in clash of
e-commerce titans

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Three e-commerce platforms have been awarded “gold medals” for leading the way in customer experience. SoftwareReviews, a division of Info-Tech Research Group, named Oracle Commerce Cloud the leader in its 2020 eCommerce Data Quadrant Awards, followed by Shopify Plus and IBM Digital Commerce. The awards are based on user reviews. 
The three vendors received the following citations:

  • Oracle Commerce Cloud ranked highest among software users, earning the number-one spot in many of the product feature section areas, shining brightest in reporting and analytics, predictive recommendations, order management, and integrated search. 
  • Shopify Plus performed consistently well according to users, taking the number-one spot for catalogue management, shopping cart management and ease of customisation.
  • IBM Digital Commerce did exceptionally well in business value created, quality of features, and vendor support.

The SoftwareReviews Data Quadrant differentiates itself with insightful survey questions, backed by 22 years of research in IT. The study involves gathering intelligence on user satisfaction with both product features and experience with the vendor. When distilled, the customer’s experience is shaped by both the software interface and relationship with the vendor. Evaluating enterprise software along these two dimensions provides a comprehensive understanding of the product in its entirety and helps identify vendors that can deliver on both for the complete software experience.

“Our recent Data Quadrant in e-commerce solutions provides a compelling snapshot of the most popular enterprise-ready players, and can help you make an informed, data-driven selection of an e-commerce platform that will exceed your expectations,” says Ben Dickie, research director at Info-Tech Research Group. 

“Having a dedicated e-commerce platform is where the rubber hits the road in transacting with your customers through digital channels. These platforms provide an indispensable array of features, from product catalog and cart management to payment processing to detailed transaction analytics.”

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