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‘Video cockpit’ to boost Germany in FIFA World Cup

SAP has introduced technology innovations to the SAP Sports One solution to help the German national football team play at peak performance during the World Cup in Russia.

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SAP and the German Football Association (DFB) co-innovated the video cockpit and player dashboard to respond to the team’s evolving need to analyze and share relevant match data efficiently, putting them in the best position to win.

The video cockpit is a content hub that merges copious amounts of the team’s live-play videos with match and training information from a variety of sources. This enables the DFB match analysts and coaching team to quickly identify patterns and tendencies and craft strategies to address opponents’ potential weaknesses. Using the player dashboard, team coaches and analysts can provide players with easy access to personalized information and videos from their mobile devices in real time. The video cockpit and player dashboard represent the latest features of SAP Sports One, a solution that helps sports teams and organizations digitalize performance management by coordinating all administrative, training and team management, scouting and medical processes.

“We have an incredible amount of data at the German national team that we need to process and share in real time with the trainer, the players and the analysts,” said Oliver Bierhoff, general manager, German national football team. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning play a significant role in football and are an essential part of data analytics. Our experts and the ones from SAP are working on these topics together. We aim to gain a competitive advantage by using the latest technology innovations and we’re glad to work with SAP as the best partner for that.”

The DFB was among the first to recognize the impact that data and real-time insights could have on football.

“The tactical aspects of soccer have become increasingly important in recent years,” said Christofer Clemens, head of scouting and match analysis, German national football team. “This means that coaches, assistant coaches and match analysts are putting more effort into observing and analyzing the various data sources of a game. It is a logical step to use technological innovations – especially from the fields of data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning – to simplify and accelerate certain processes. Using the new functionalities of the SAP Sports One solution – video cockpit and player dashboard – allows the match analysts to prepare the coaches and players even more efficiently. Additionally, the players receive tailor-made information packages for upcoming matches.”

Since 2013, the German national football team and SAP have transformed the team’s use and processing of data to enhance player performance. Working together, they created innovative solutions that turn vast amounts of data into unique, real-time insights, providing a competitive edge in training and match performance.

“As the reigning World Cup champion, the German national football team is at the forefront of the digital transformation across football and among the first to recognize that data and real-time insights can have a powerful impact on the field of play,” said Stefan Ries, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Since 2013, the German national football team and SAP have transformed the way the team captures and processes data to inform and enhance player performance. The new SAP Sports One features, video cockpit and player dashboard, make the job of the coaches and game analysts easier, as they have direct access to the information that is essential for the team to win.”

In 2014, SAP developed the SAP Match Insights solution, offering greater insights into team performance on the field, and the SAP Team One mobile app, a mobile application that helps players and coaches communicate and share information more easily. In 2016, SAP introduced the SAP Penalty Insights Web application and the SAP Challenger Insights mobile app, two prototypic technologies providing data-driven insights into opponent tendencies and formations. Using SAP solutions and the resulting insights as an integral part of its training and preparation, DFB has won various international titles, raising its performance on the world stage.

Outlook to the Future: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technology

Looking ahead, SAP and DFB are already working on solutions to strengthen the development of the next generation of German players. Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities in match analysis have been identified as key priorities by SAP and DFB. For example, in the near future team officials will be able to identify more easily and quickly complex match scenes and opponent tendencies based on pattern detection and positioning data. As an official partner of the DFB Academy, SAP will continue to contribute its technology expertise by creating training solutions for players and coaches, helping the team in the areas of talent development and player scouting.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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