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Wi-Fi will transform transport

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Faster, more dependable Wi-Fi connectivity that works even in a crowded train or bus station or terminal is critical to meeting passenger and operational needs, says MICHAEL FLETCHER of Ruckus Wireless.

Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa says; “Each day, thousands of people pass through transportation hubs such as airports, train and bus stations, and with business and leisure travelers carrying smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the demand for high capacity high performance Wi-Fi connectivity has not just become a ‘nice to have’ amenity, but rather an expected service, like electricity and running water. The City of Tshwane’s Bus Rapid Transit system, A Re Yeng, is a perfect example of this.”

Tshwane’s bus system began operations in December 2014 and with it came a world-first in mobile connectivity, with the rollout of uninterrupted free WiFi along the trunk route for commuters on board as an expansion of the City of Tshwane’s free WiFi network. Since inception, a total of 163,126 unique users have used the Tshwane Free WiFi service, with a total of 6,461,327 sessions being accumulated, with a total usage of 21242.3GB being uploaded and downloaded.

Says Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe, which has been integral to Tshwane’s free public WiFi efforts; “The A Re Yeng busses come equipped with a connection to Tshwane’s WiFi service, offering 250MB of free WiFi access per device per day, giving travelers the ability to do things like look for jobs, access learning materials online, and keep in touch with their friends while on the move around the city. Looking at the statistics and growth of the system, it is evident that the demand is growing in South Africa.”

Passengers need real-time access to schedules, gate and ticket information, maps and/or other guidance as they pass through the bus terminal. WiFi not only provides an ideal method for these activities, it also provides a platform for new revenue generating services such as additional WiFi access or 3G/4G offload, as well as support for bus terminal operational needs such as point-of-sale, digital signage and video security.

Continues Fletcher; “From a commercial perspective, there is also a global trend for transportation cargo and fleet services to become more involved in value added activities such as cargo processing and logistics, which will require new processes, practices and technological advances around stock control and integration, as well as better wireless connectivity.”

Steven Sutherland, Sales Director for MiX Telematics, agrees that WiFi plays a crucial role here. “WiFi is critical, especially when it comes to companies that are using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to run and/or keep an operational eye on their businesses. In the fleet sector specifically – across Africa – WiFi enables constant, reliable connectivity for managers that are on-the-go – offering them the opportunity to remain connected when they might not be otherwise. This enables real-time access to their fleet and their business data at any given time.”

As drivers and remote workers become more and more included in day-to-day processes through the application of smartphone and tablet based applications, so too does the reliance on WiFi networks and coverage.

“Essentially, it’s about smart transportation management, which facilitates the management of fleets in real-time, remote access to in-cab video, efficient user connections, real-time alerts and geo-location of all vehicles,” adds Sutherland.

Transportation hubs – both from a consumer and commercial perspective – are often very large facilities that require wireless connectivity everywhere, both inside and out. Getting reliable and complete WiFi coverage across a facility can be expensive and time-consuming. Because density of client devices over the course of the day can dramatically impact demand – it can result in poor connections, low user satisfaction, and unacceptable network quality.

“This isn’t acceptable anymore, and as infrastructure and transportation hubs develop across the regions and cities move towards becoming smarter not only in terms of operational processes and service delivery, but also connecting citizens – we are likely to see high-density WiFi take it’s rightful place more and more as a critical enabler,” says Fletcher.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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