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Toy combines physical with digital world

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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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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