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Video communications prevents digital dislocation

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A new study has revealed that organizations are embracing video more effectively with their workers to help prevent digital dislocation between companies and workers.

Organisations are embracing video to help them communicate more effectively with their workers, according to new independent research commissioned by BT and Cisco. Coupled with the proliferation of cloud computing and mobile, these developments are helping to prevent ‘digital dislocation’ between organisations and their employees.

The study, which included respondents from South Africa, found that technologies such as video, cloud and mobile are becoming critical platforms for communication across large businesses – from executives through to employees. Eight-five percent (85%) of local respondents thought desktop video would really add value and be useful, while eighty-one percent (81%) of local IT decision makers said they wanted video on their work-smartphone or tablet.

The findings suggest that more work is needed to reduce “digital dislocation”, whereby employees feel disconnected due to lack of face-to-face interactions with colleagues. Seventy-six percent (76%) of local IT decision makers complain about time wasted trying to contact colleagues, and three quarters want simpler ways to share information.

These struggles reflect changes in the modern workplace in recent years, with initiatives such as bring your own device (BYOD) and flexible working driving the need for more innovative communication and collaboration technology. The research reveals that over half (67%) of employees now work ‘flexibly’, either on the go, at client sites or from home, while eighty-seven percent (87%) want more simple ways to share information with colleagues and collaborate more easily when on the move for work. Similarly, the research finds that in South Africa, fifty-seven percent (57%) of workers want to use their own devices at work (over 47% globally).

Better collaboration tools are increasingly being seen as the solution, with eighty percent (80%) of employees wanting to use collaborative tools more often.

To address this demand, BT and Cisco are announcing an upgrade to the BT One Cloud video technology platform. The new set of enhancements further simplifies scheduling a video call conference using Outlook. They also make it easier for almost any type of video user to join a conference using any device or application, including TelePresence and Skype for Business – whether they are located inside or outside of the organisation.

Oliver Fortuin, managing Director, BT in Sub Saharan Africa, says: “As the mobile workforce continues to grow locally, it is easy for employees to get trapped inside specialist departments and divisions or drop off the map while working out of the office. But staying connected has never been so important and is vital to an organisation’s success. Using effective collaboration tools, employees can share information and make faster, better decisions.”

Scot Gardner, vice president, Global Service Provider Europe, Middle East and Africa and Russia (EMEAR) at Cisco says: “Businesses are under extreme pressure to prevent against ‘digital dislocation’, streamline processes and improve productivity in a variety of locations across countries and even continents. By adopting cloud, mobile and video technology, like the BT One Cloud video technology platform, companies can ensure that they have simple and seamless communication throughout their organisation, avoiding siloed departments and ultimately, creating an inclusive and connected culture, regardless of geography.”

In order to facilitate these new technologies, many IT managers are looking at cloud services to help stretch their budgets and replace outdated legacy systems. Globally, the research reveals that those organisations that have rolled out a cloud technology beyond trial have benefitted, with average total operating costs falling by twenty-five percent (25%). At the same time, they have seen a thirty percent (30%) increase in employee satisfaction directly following implementation of cloud based collaboration technology. Crucially, far fewer IT decision makers view security as a barrier to using cloud based collaboration, down to fifty-two percent (52%) globally from sixty-eight percent (68%) three years ago.

Concludes Fortuin; “As organisations become more familiar with cloud services, there is increasing trust and confidence in their security. At BT we’ve noticed that organisations leading the trend by using cloud collaboration tools are already experiencing great results – saving money and delivering better customer experience.”

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and 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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