App development needs stronger project management skills

App development needs stronger project management skills

App development needs stronger project management skills.

It is no surprise that the mobile app sector is predicted to continue booming. Globally, 197 billion apps were downloaded in 2017 and by 2021, the number is predicted to reach 353 billion. It’s an exciting sector, full of promise according to Cassie Lessing, CEO, Strato IT Group, a mobile business application company, but he says that despite the immense progress, there is one area that continues to hamper the app development progress: scope management.

“We are getting deeper and deeper into a UX-defined era, and while brands rally to offer more personalised experiences, at a faster rate, they completely mismanage the scope of the project. They find it difficult to restrict expectations after exposure to the unlimited potential of mobile business applications. As a result, user demand and expectation is ever increasing, placing tremendous strain on available resources and the agreed budget,” says Lessing.

There are two common reasons for scope miss-management according to Lessing: client demand and developer desire: “Clients will always push the design-envelope once the process starts, asking for more and more features. It’s a common occurrence and is mostly because app development is an exciting process.”

It’s a costly thrill though, because the more features you add, the more the budget and timeline is compromised. The resources required and workload generated are also eventually disparate and the project is at risk.

“It is not as obvious at it seems, these situations tend to build up over the course of the project and before you know it, the entire app is compromised,” says Lessing.

Developer desire is another common, but dangerous reason for app project failure. In any design-inspired project, it is always tempting for the team to start implementing their own features and design elements. This is not always for the good of the app, but its either an attempt to further impress the client or even to satisfy a personal desire.

While app development is relatively new, project management principles aren’t and Lessing says it’s important to ensure that you have a strong project manager with a solid approach: “As an industry veteran, I will always believe that some basics don’t change, whether you adopt an agile or more classic approach, project management is a vital component for successful app development.”

He says that it’s reasonable to expect a certain degree of scope-creep. It will happen, but it’s about planning for it as opposed to discovering the creep when it is too late: “Build in enough time to adequately understand the client’s goals for the app, and accurately define the end product. Build a solid working relationship with the client from the outset. Developing an app is really done in partnership, so it is important to build mutual trust and respect.”

While there are many thousands of seemingly successful apps, the question is how many were delivered on time, within budget and as per the original scope? Lessing says there are still too many that fail based on these parameters: “It is in some way teething problems and as the industry matures, hopefully the number of failed apps will decline. In the interim, the demand remains real and Strato IT Group is excited to continue developing and growing app development within several key vertical sectors.”

Edited by Fundiswe Maseko
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Namibia should follow Europe’s lead in protecting clients data

Namibia should follow Europe’s lead in protecting clients data

Namibia should follow Europe’s lead in protecting clients data.

This year in Europe a major new regulation will come into force to safeguard customers and clients’ data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law across the European Union as of 25th May, 2018. Which lets us in Namibia breathe a sigh of relief; “At least it is not here.” This may be the case, but data protection is essential and the fact that it is now to be regulated comes as no surprise, especially if we think about how much data, well our own data, details and information is flying around out there in cyberspace or stored somewhere. How do we know who has access to it, who can use it or perhaps leverage for fraudulent activities? Can our data or identities be stolen, simply because we once filled out a form which has been digitised by a company or organisation? Or whether a company simply sells your information on to a third party without your knowledge.

Whether you shop online, use social media or have a bank account, insurance policy, driver’s license you can be sure there’s an organisation that has your details. This does not have to be a problem, as long as the organisation knows how to handle, store, and protect your data. It is after all…your data!

Most people would feel uneasy or downright offended if someone was just to start scrolling through their smartphone. The information, details and perhaps pictures on there may not be for everyone’s eyes. The same can be said for information that is stored on company servers or in the cloud. They need excellent protection to avoid, pre-empt and stop data leaks, data hacks or data simply being stolen. The European Regulation’s aim is to give individuals more rights over their data and restrict how companies process private information and with whom they share it. This will become the norm across the globe.

As more and more services move online in Namibia, more data is collected. With the increasing stability of Internet and higher speeds, services that were beyond our reach in Namibia are now accessible. Just think of Amazon, Netflix, online insurance brokers, banking and many others. Often we only see the convenience in being able to buy, sell, apply or subscribe to things online. We are more than willing to give our personal details and simply assume they will be handled, carefully, securely and with the greatest respect for privacy. This data is immensely powerful and we have all heard of the horrors of ‘identity-theft’ and people having their credit cards maxed out or their bank accounts depleted. Countering this starts with ensuring you protect your own information and knowing that the organisations that have your information for whatever reason, know how vital it is to keep it safe and secure and protected from prying eyes.

Whether the organisation is large or small, their responsibility to safeguard your information and data is no less. This is what the new European Regulation deals with in broad strokes. One can be confident that across the world and therefore, right here in Namibia similar regulations will become the norm. Companies and organisations will expose themselves to lawsuits, criminal damages and immense fines if they cannot ensure that their clients’ data is protected. Often it pays to be ahead of the curve and with protecting your customers’ data this is definitely the case. It is something that customers and clients will appreciate and seek out organisations that protect their information and data. Additionally it is only a matter of time before it becomes law here in Namibia as well.

By Johann van Rooyen, Senior Technical advisor, Green Enterprise Solutions

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Citrix appoints Andy MacDonald as Area Vice President for Emerging Markets

Citrix appoints Andy MacDonald as Area Vice President for Emerging Markets

Andy MacDonald, newly appointed Citix Area Vice President, Emerging Markets.

Citrix has announced the appointment of Andy MacDonald as Area Vice President, Emerging Markets. Andy brings three decades of European and Emerging Markets experience to Citrix, plus notable expertise in leading multicultural teams in the networking and cloud arenas to drive business growth in challenging environments. Reporting to Sherif Seddik, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Citrix EMEA, he will be responsible for the growth and development of Citrix sales and services operations in the newly-created area by driving revenue, executing an aggressive growth strategy and cultivating the company’s valued partner ecosystem.

Citrix is creating the new Emerging Markets area to better serve customers and partners as they transition to, adopt and manage complex cloud environments. The area is comprised of the following high-growth regions: Russia & CIS; Eastern Europe (including Turkey, Israel and Southeast Europe); Middle East & North Africa; and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Andy’s experience and expertise will provide invaluable support and insight for many of our customers in Emerging Markets as they embark on their cloud journey. At the same time, the new sales area will enable Citrix to draw on the talents of Andy and his team to create more innovative methods of approaching these markets, rather than applying go-to-market strategies intended for larger or more mature markets. I am excited and confident in Andy’s ability to drive the business forward and help Citrix achieve its cloud-centric future”, says Sherif Seddik, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Citrix EMEA.

Prior to joining Citrix, Andy held several Emerging Markets leadership roles at Cisco Systems in Dubai, UAE since 2008, most recently as Vice President, Global Services Provider Sales, Middle East, Africa and Russia. In this role, he was responsible for building and driving Cisco’s Service Provider Sales strategy across the region. Prior to this, Andy co-founded Internetwork Support Limited (ISL) in the UK in 1992, which grew into one of Europe’s largest and most recognized networking companies. On the sale of ISL to ThruPoint in 2001, he led the combined organization across EMEA until 2008. Andy began his career holding various technical and managerial positions at BT based in Glasgow, London and Paris.

“It is an exciting time to join Citrix. Work is increasingly digital and virtual. To be productive, we all need a seamless user experience across different devices and platforms. Businesses throughout the emerging markets area are looking to reimagine the future of work, by deploying comprehensive secure digital workspaces that unify the apps, data and services people need to be productive. Adopting – and managing – complex cloud environments is a high priority for organisations, and presents a significant opportunity for Citrix to help our customers in the emerging markets on that journey,” says Andy MacDonald, Area Vice President, Emerging Markets at Citrix.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Altron appoints Mashishi as Group Executive: Human Capital

Altron appoints Mashishi as Group Executive: Human Capital

Dolores Mashishi newly appointed Group Executive: Human Capital at Altron.

Altron has announced that Dolores Mashishi has joined the company as Group Executive: Human Capital.

Mashishi comes to Altron after spending five years as the Group Executive: Corporate Services for Development Bank of Southern Africa. Prior to this, she was the Human Resources Executive for Brait South Africa as well as the Head: Learning and Development for Investec Bank.

Mashishi holds an MSc in Education Degree from the University of Eastern Illinois, Chicago and various Management Programmes through INSEAD, Harvard Business School and Wits Business School.

In her capacity as Group Executive: Human Capital, Dolores has joined the Altron Group Executive Committee and reports directly to Altron CE Mteto Nyati.

“People and culture are at the heart of our turnaround strategy at Altron. With her extensive and diverse in-depth management experience in human capital, Dolores will drive the executive responsibility for people development, top talent recruitment and retention, ensuring that our people work in an environment that enables them to thrive and reach their potential,” Nyati said. “We welcome Dolores to the Altron Group and wish her all the best.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Africa Data Centres carrier-grade facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Africa Data Centres carrier-grade facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Africa Data Centres carrier-grade facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town. centre

Africa Data Centres, part of pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, has launched newly-expanded data centres facilities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

The carrier-neutral South Africa Data Centre (SADC) Johannesburg and SADC Cape Town will provide cloud service providers, carriers and enterprises with additional rack space and colocation services to meet the rising demand for cloud-based services in Southern Africa.

Africa Data Centres has more than doubled the size of its existing South Africa-based facilities, which are built to Tier III standards and were acquired as part of Liquid Telecom’s ZAR 6.55 billion deal for Neotel in February 2017.

Following completion of the first phase of expansion, SADC Johannesburg now offers over 3000 square metres of secured space for data servers served through a total power capacity of 7MW, while SADC Cape Town provides 1800 square metres of secured rack space with 5.5MW of power.

Further stages of expansion are planned for SADC Johannesburg and SADC Cape Town as Africa Data Centres aims to increase space at the facilities by five-fold over the next five years.

The newly expanded SADC facilities were officially opened by the South African Minister for Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele, at an exclusive launch event at SADC Johannesburg.

“As moving to cloud-based solutions becomes more commonplace, businesses across Africa require more carrier-neutral, open-access data centre space for their business-critical data and applications,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, Liquid Telecom. “Through continuous investment in Africa Data Centres, we are providing the foundations for leading enterprises and cloud providers to come and build their digital future in Africa.”

SADC Johannesburg and SADC Cape Town are already home to nearly 100 customers, including global, regional and local telecoms operators, ISPs, cloud service providers and large enterprises.

Connected by the fibre routes of many major carriers, the facilities also host internet exchanges independently operated by INX-ZA. Through a partnership with INX-ZA, the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) has been expanded to SADC Johannesburg, while the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) has been extended to SADC Cape Town, enabling connected members in any site to peer quickly and cost-effectively with members in other data centres.

SADC Johannesburg and SADC Cape Town, along with partner locations East Africa Data Centre (EADC), Nairobi, and Central Africa Data Centre (CADC) are Africa’s largest and most diverse set of carrier-grade, highly interconnected purpose-built data centre facilities.

They are interconnected by multiple networks including Liquid Telecom’s award-winning fibre network, which provides regional and international reach for customers. This allows businesses hosting data and cloud in Africa to have control and flexibility of where to host and back-up their data with geographic diversity.

Additional information:

  • Africa Data Centres is also currently expanding its award-winning East Africa Data Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, which houses 2,000 square metres of secured space for data servers over four floors. EADC is currently the only data centre in East Africa to hold a Tier III certification from the prestigious Uptime Institute.
  • SADC Johannesburg and SADC Cape Town are ISO 27001 certified, complying with high international information security management standards. The data centre facilities are also both PCI DSS compliant; the global information security standard set by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council to help control and minimise points of risk to fraud or compromise of sensitive information.
  • Customers at Africa Data Centres can also access Liquid Telecom’s CloudConnect for Microsoft ExpressRoute service, which enables businesses to create private connections between Azure data centres and infrastructure on-premises or in a colocation environment. In the first half of 2018, Liquid Telecom will be able to offer direct private connections to the South African Azure data centres – marking the first time that businesses in Africa will be able to access Azure on their own continent.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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Drones offer inspection and maintenance benefits

Drones offer inspection and maintenance benefits

Drones offer inspection and maintenance benefits.
(image: JacarandaFM)

In facilities management, inspecting large institutional, engineering, manufacturing, mining and commercial facilities and assets can be a challenging, dangerous, and dirty job. Ensuring that assets are performing reliably to design standards means balancing tight budgets and ageing infrastructure or finding new ways to maximise the value of existing assets. As digital technologies merge with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), otherwise known as drones, maintenance and engineering managers maintain assets and facilities while also reducing costs and safety risks.

The commercial applications market for UAS and vehicles is projected to grow from $2 billion in 2016 to more than $127 billion by 2020. Infrastructure has been identified as one of the business areas that can best benefit from the use of drones. In fact, the value of prospective drone applications in global infrastructure projects is expected to reach $45 billion in the next few years.

In South Africa, the use of drones has escalated to the point where the Ministry of Transportation and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently added a chapter on remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to the Civil Aviation Regulations, including technical standards and aeronautical information circulars.  Under these laws and standards, South Africa permits different forms of RPAS operations: private, commercial, corporate and nonprofit operations.

The potential benefits of drones have received a great deal of attention, as more and more uses have been identified. Drones give managers easier access to data, lower cost and risk, and the ability to document asset conditions in an automated fashion. As the technology to support drones progresses, facilities, infrastructure, and asset managers will be better able to use drones to perform fundamental maintenance and security activities.

By putting drones to work, managers are given visual, thermal, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), heavy-duty engine oil (HD-EO), corona, hyperspectral, gamma, and magnetometer inspections of hard-to-access spaces. Using remote-controlled cameras, drones can relay images of buildings, rooftop machinery, or a vital piece of equipment in an inaccessible location. With the use of this advanced technology, field technicians monitoring equipment performance can obtain valuable visuals and details about critical assets — all without risking their well-being. The ability to compare prior inspections with current results to rapidly identify changes also can give manager more actionable information with which decisions can be made.

To keep facilities and infrastructure operating effectively and extend their performance lives, it is crucial to monitor performance and conduct preventive maintenance. This is particularly true of mission-critical equipment that cannot fail, such as generators, security systems, wind turbines, and electrical towers.

Drones can perform functions such as perch-and-stare, video capture, and laser scanning, which make them effective methods for handling many of the dull, dirty, and dangerous functions of inspection and surveillance. They also offer flexible flying capabilities, as well as the ability to capture high-quality images and footage. With both tethered and untethered types of drones, technicians can safely and cost-effectively inspect and maintain large assets and infrastructure, as well as parts, tools, equipment, stations, and underlying information technology assets.

The use of drones only solves one part of the challenge managers face. The data and images drones gather need to be shared with a sophisticated enterprise asset management (EAM) solution that incorporates historical records, maintenance standards and specifications, repair instructions, diagrams, warranty information, and other data to assess condition levels and determine maintenance needs.

By sharing the information collected by drones with an EAM system, managers can improve their asset maintenance programmes, more efficiently schedule maintenance and track assets, inspect locations where it is difficult and time-intensive to send workers, and create a safer working environment.

Beyond photographic images, drone technology also can supply infrared and X-ray images to detect structural issues or dangerous leaks in an environment that might be unsafe for humans. The drones also can capture input sensor data, such as color video, thermo-video, still frames, and LiDAR three-dimensional data and send it directly to an EAM system.

Capturing information in real time allows managers and technicians to compare the condition of assets today with previous imagery and sensor readings, and then compare them to manufacturing or industry standards to determine the next course of action in the asset management lifecycle. Managers can then schedule maintenance and repair activities directly from the EAM system, causing minimal disruption to operations.

A variety of facilities are using drones to maximise the lifespan of their assets. Think of the possibilities for building and structure management. When managers implement a comprehensive asset management strategy that includes the use of drones for inspections, they can gain greater operational visibility to inform their decision-making, better manage facilities’ energy consumption, and become more proactive in operations and maintenance.

By Jane Thomson, Managing Director at Softworx, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa

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Taxify and OrderIn partner up to take on Uber

Taxify and OrderIn partner up to take on Uber

Taxify and Orderin partner up to take on Uber.

On Tuesday 30 January 2018, South African food delivery service, OrderIn, and ride hailing app, Taxify, announced that the companies will enter into a partnership. The companies believe that the deal will significantly expand the reach and offering of both companies who are looking to grow their customer base in South Africa.

The partnership will offer incentives to customers and additional earning power to Taxify drivers. “It all comes down to scale, with more scale we can offer greater efficiency to our customers and reduce our prices – even further,” said CEO and founder of OrderIn, Dinesh Patel.

The collaboration will be promoted through social media, in car and in app. Discount coupon codes will be offered to first time OrderIn and Taxify users and ongoing exclusive incentives will be made available to regular customers.

“We’re continuously on the look-out for innovative ways to incentivise our drivers and grow our customer base in local markets. The partnership with OrderIn was a logical next step for us,” says Operations Manager for Taxify, Sinako Cetyiwe. “As the saying goes – ‘the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’”

Launched in 2012, OrderIn has a network of over 1 200 restaurants, in all the major metropoles. The locally founded business is the most affordable food app on the market with a R10 delivery fee. Taxify, which re-launched in South Africa in 2016, already operates in 20 countries worldwide. The global business has seen considerable success with its fairer, more transparent ride-sharing service.

“Our focus as a company has always been to provide our drivers with higher revenue-per-ride. We strongly believe that a happy driver means a happy rider. With this in mind, we seek strategic relationships that not only benefit our customers, but also boost the earning power of our drivers. The partnership with OrderIn offers just that. We’re looking forward to a long-term relationship with Dinesh and his team.”

Edited by Dean Workman
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How to avoid getting scammed: combating cybercrime

How to avoid getting scammed: combating cybercrime

Kyle Condon, Managing Director of D&K Management Consultants.

From phishing to identity theft, the invasion of privacy, Internet/ATM/wire fraud, file sharing and piracy, counterfeiting and forgery, child pornography, and hacking – cybercrime is a chilling and imminent threat across the globe. With botnets, ransomware, spam and social engineering afoot, both individuals and companies must safeguard themselves against these constant attacks.

The 2013 Norton Report showed that South Africa has the third highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide. In 2015, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report rated cybercrime as the fifth highest risk on a likelihood/impact scale. In 2016, the Norton Report again confirmed that 8.8 million South Africans were hit by cybercrime.

According to Kyle Condon, Managing Director of D&K Management Consultants, an investigation and risk consultancy, cybercrime includes any illegal or criminal act perpetrated through the Internet and its vast networks. “This includes things such as downloading illegal music files to stealing money from bank accounts, identity theft, harassment, etc. But, it is not just crimes for personal or financial gain, it also includes the spreading of malicious viruses and leaking of sensitive information.”

Condon confirms that South African citizens are most often hit with phishing and pharming attacks, which are committed to gain access to one’s identity. “Both methods are designed to extract personal information from victims, such as identity numbers, account details, and other sensitive, personal information,” he adds. “This is normally done by the creation of an official and bona fide looking website, perhaps selling some or other product. Often usernames, passwords and phone numbers are required. All ending up in the criminal’s hands.”

Why do people fall victims to these crimes? Condon believes it’s because these sites or emails appear incredibly legitimate. In addition, a large majority of victims are the elderly. These age-groups are vulnerable, as they are often not aware of the latest criminal trends and are not as tech-savvy as the generations born with an iPad in hand.

Often, cybercriminals take advantage of holidays or special occasions to gain access to their victims’ information. “During the holiday seasons, we see a spurt in Internet crime because users become more active. Fake websites offer irresistible holiday deals, accommodation rates, or specials. Facebook users start to share travel plans and destinations. This all plays into criminals’ hands,” warns Condon. “Valentine’s Day is around the corner and the buying of gifts over the Internet is another popular way of getting victims to part with both their personal information and their money.”

While it may seem like danger lurks at every click of the mouse, there are ways to combat cybercrime. With a little wisdom and an acute awareness, South Africans can protect themselves. Condon provides his top seven tips for protecting yourself and your identity.

“I always advise our clients to change passwords regularly. This minimises the chances of your passwords being hacked. Never store your passwords, usernames and other personal information on mobile devices. Once they get into the wrong hands you are at real risk. Spend money on good and recognised anti-virus software. Don’t ignore the importance of having well run firewalls. These defenses can save you from many of the cybercrime viruses out there,” confirms Condon. “Use encryption for all your sensitive data and protect your identity at all costs. Consider your actions very carefully before sharing credit card information, identity numbers, and other personal information.”

Condon adds that the digital age requires citizens to become shrewder on social media. “Ensure your Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts are set on ‘private’. Be careful what information you post. You never know who is watching or stalking. It’s also important to be wary of emails that are Gmail based. All legitimate companies should have professional email addresses. Not ones that are simply created and hosted online.”

Condon concludes that, despite best efforts, some may still become victims of cybercrime. He believes it is essential to report these crimes so that investigations can be instigated, and the criminals brought to justice. “Cybercrimes can be reported to a number of agencies, such as: onTrack.org.za; Just.ac.za; Investigators.co.za; Crimeline.co.za; Scambuster.co.za; and Easycomeeasygo.co.za,” concludes Condon.

By Kyle Condon, Managing Director of D&K Management Consultants

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Breakthroughs in AI will make your smartphone even smarter in 2018

Breakthroughs in AI will make your smartphone even smarter in 2018

Ernst Wittmann, Regional Manager for Southern Africa at ALCATEL.

More and more smartphone users are using virtual assistants such as Google Assistant to enhance their mobile experiences. These voice-powered artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced assistants are making it easier and faster to gain access to a wide range of services and information via your phone.

Utilising your voice, you are able to ask your smartphone to compose a text message, read the news headlines or weather forecast as well as identify a song playing in the background or look up a quick fact on the web and so much more. We can expect to see AI and machine learning (computer systems that learn from the user’s experience without being programmed) become more advanced, allowing us to do even more with our mobile devices.

There are two prevalent trends coming to the fore that promise to take AI and machine learning to the next level in 2018. The first of these is the integration of dedicated AI processors into smartphone hardware platforms, allowing mobile devices to handle the processing of AI-related tasks such as image and voice recognition more quickly and efficiently.

The hardware will also enable smartphones to crunch machine learning algorithms and complete many complex AI tasks without connecting to the Internet. For example, an AI-powered app on your smartphone will soon allow you to translate speech or writing in real-time, even if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have access to an Internet connection.

Gartner predicts that 80% of smartphones will be equipped with on-device AI capabilities by 2022, up from less than 10% right now.

The second trend relates to tools that make it easier for software developers to embed AI and machine learning into their applications—for example, they will be able to use these tools to create algorithms that let their apps learn from and adapt to your behaviour. Oreo, the latest version of the Android operating system, for instance, includes an application programming interface (API), which helps developers to take advantage of AI hardware to execute AI and machine learning tasks.

Some examples of the features and functionality we can expect on our smartphones in the next few months include:

Enhanced augmented reality (AR) apps: AI will play an important role in unlocking the potential of AR—a technology that captures the world through a mobile device camera and puts a digital overlay on the video and image the user sees on the display. Google, for example, is bringing the Google Lens AR technology and Google Assistant closer together.

One example of an application that blends AR and AI is using Google Assistant to identify a flower which the user has pointed his or her camera to. Or imagine walking through a shopping mall and getting user reviews and informational annotations about the restaurants around you on your smartphone’s display.

A helping hand with your photography: Smart software has helped to improve smartphone photography by leaps and bounds over the last few years. But new AI and machine learning features will help anyone take photos like a pro in the years to come. For example, it will become increasingly common for AI to help you adjust your photography settings according to the subject in the camera frame, be it a night scene, a landscape, a picture of your dinner or a selfie.

AI will also be able to do touch-ups for you in real-time, such as enhancing facial features. Google and MIT have already announced a system that uses machine learning to retouch smartphone photos, before you even take the snap. While you’re framing the photo, the technology displays what the final, touched-up version will look like. Such a system could, potentially, learn about your aesthetic tastes and suggest appropriate tweaks to your pics.

A phone that adapts to your needs: Virtual assistants will soon become more proactive about organising your life and your device. Your smartphone might learn how you switch to silent before you go to bed at 9pm, turn notifications on when you leave for work at 7am on weekday mornings, and turn Bluetooth on when you get into your car at around 7:30am. It may also track how and when you use apps, cueing your fitness monitor when you head for the gym at 5:30pm.

As the smartphone monitors and learns from your behaviour, it will automate many tasks for you rather than you worrying about configuring the settings. It could, perhaps, even dramatically optimise the performance and efficiency of your battery, data and processor usage in response to your behaviour.

The potential becomes even more amazing when one starts to think about how your smart home and smart car devices could interact with your smartphone in the future. For example, what if your smartphone alerted your home thermostat when you were on your way home, so that it could adjust the temperature in anticipation of your arrival?

More accurate and responsive biometric recognition: Improvements to AI will make features such as facial and voice recognition smoother, faster and more accurate. That will make features such as unlocking your phone with voice or facial recognition a lot snappier, which could mean the end of remembering pin codes and passwords to secure your phone.

Gartner Research Director, CK Lu, sums up the future potential of AI like this: “Future AI capabilities will allow smartphones to learn, plan and solve problems for users. This isn’t just about making the smartphone smarter, but providing a more advanced user experience and reducing users’ cognitive load.” It may be early days for AI, but the next few years will see it change our lives for the better.

By Ernst Wittmann, Regional Manager – Southern and East Africa at TCL

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Dell reinforces gaming commitment with new software launch

Dell reinforces gaming commitment with new software launch

Dell reinforces gaming commitment with new software launch.

At the Consumer Electronic Show 2018, held in Las Vegas this January, Dell debuted its new Alienware Software Command Center which according to the company shows its continued commitment to Gaming.

According to the company its new software is tailored for gamers. The new Alienware Software Command Centre is the place for players of all skill levels, from novice to expert. It helps gamers optimise and tune PCs and peripherals to their unique gaming needs, centralises gaming libraries in a slick and responsive new menu layout, and brings new levels of customisation to the AlienFX 2.0 lighting system, said the company.

“Gamers have long been unshakable supporters of the PC, so it is great to support that dedication,” said Chris Buchanan, Dell Client Solutions Director for Southern Africa. “We have also embraced more casual players, because gaming is for everyone. The new Alienware Software Command Centre proves this: it’s a place for both the hardcore and neophytes to start playing, tweaking and customising without any fuss, fit for every skill level.”

Central to the new change is also a revamped games library. Dell believes that this area now makes it even easier to know what games have been bought and installed, allowing users to integrate information from both physical- and digital-copy game sources, the games library is the central information source for entire gaming libraries, no matter where they reside.

Launching concurrently with the new command centre is AlienFX 2.0, the second generation of Alienware’s proprietary in-game lighting system that works across Alienware PCs, mice and keyboards. This provides even more customisation of individual keys and key groups with over 16.8 million colours in each lighting zone. Yet all of its potential can be easily set through the command centre’s visual menus, needing just a few clicks to really stand apart.

In addition to these updates, Dell and Alienware also reinforced their ongoing commitment to e-sports. Dell and Alienware have long invested in the eSports industry: supporting the first Championship Gaming Series in 2007; Team Liquid, Team Dignitas, ELEAGUE and also local South African team Bravado Gaming.

At CES, Dell also unveiled the new Alienware eSports Training Facility for Team Liquid. The new 740m² facility in Los Angeles will serve as Team Liquid headquarters. It includes an in-office chef, sports psychologists, nutritionists, dedicated coach and analyst and training spaces– with everything powered by the newest and most powerful Dell and Alienware technology.

Fans will be able to follow the athletes as they train for high stakes competitions, while design teams, video crews and coaching staff make use of monitors, touch screen displays and more to break down the action and create content for fans.

Edited by Dean Workman
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