5 ways to enable the smart city thanks to the cloud

5 ways to enable the smart city thanks to the cloud

5 ways to enable the smart city thanks to the cloud.

While smart cities have held a great deal of promise for many years, they are only beginning to come to fruition now. This is due to the fact that we now have the network connectivity and the backend storage and compute infrastructure to unleash their full potential. This bodes well for municipalities and governments and is equally good news for citizens, whose working and day to day lives alike are made easier by connected cities.

Amazon Web Services shows 5 ways to enable the smart city by leveraging cloud, for a future with more efficient and successful collaborative cities.

1.The cloud unleashes the full potential

Essential to enabling both smart cities and collaborative cities is a robust cloud backend. Put plainly, utilising the cloud makes implementing a smart city possible. This is particularly important as cities would likely generate petabytes of data in a month.

All this information needs to be securely stored and the scalability of a cloud solution mitigates having to constantly upgrade storage capacity to cater for the continuous influx of data. Just as important is cloud analytics, which can analyze a myriad of datasets, in near real-time, on a city’s environment in order to enhance living conditions for its citizens.

A prime example of this can be found in the City of Chicago, which is one of the first to implement sensors throughout the city that permanently measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation, wind and traffic. The data from these sensors stream into the cloud where it is analyzed to find ways to improve the life of its citizens. Collected datasets from Chicago’s ‘Array of Things’ are then made publically available on the cloud for researchers, developers and entrepreneurs to find innovative ways to analyse the data.

For those municipalities aiming to explore smart city implementation, a typical Internet of Things (IoT) enabled smart city scenario entails deploying numerous connected sensors and probes throughout the area to gather information. The problem with this approach is that it can require substantial investment in dedicated sensors. Instead, governments should be encouraged to consider using other alternatives, which can be leveraged to bring any city to life.

2. Leverage existing resources

One such alternative would be to leverage existing sensors cities may already have at their disposal. An example of how this could work is smart parking, in which people can use a mobile app to view available parking spots nearby when navigating a city. However, the same result could also be achieved by using existing video cameras within a city.

As indicated by startup Park Smart it is entirely possible for a city to garner parking information based on analysis of video camera footage, and use this to determine whether there are parking spots that are occupied. Those bays are then displayed on a map, with occupied spots highlighted in red, and available spaces shown in blue. Users can access this information via a mobile app, enabling them to determine at any given time where in the city there is parking availability.

3. Information from everywhere

Another way to leverage existing infrastructure is by attaching a low cost, low power sensor to a bus or streetlight, for example, effectively turning it into an information gathering device in its own right. For example, in a large city like London, sensor-equipped buses could gather data as they traverse the city on information such as traffic movement, CO2 levels, temperature and sound. With cloud analytics, this information can then be extrapolated and analysed to determine where traffic jams or accidents may be present or where pollution levels are rising to unsafe levels and citizens can be kept informed via a mobile app. People often talk about cities being living, breathing entities and this would effectively like giving a city a real-time MRI scan.

“Italian’s vibrant taxi industry, which transports million commuters a day, could be used in a similar fashion” added Soro “gathering information about traffic flows, and other data, during particular times during the day and specific days during a week.”

4. Innovation outsourced

Attaching sensors is not the only way to use the cloud to foster a smarter, collaborative city, it can also be achieved by publishing open datasets. Returning to our example of Chicago, the city publishes an Excel spreadsheet with the date, description and GPS coordinates of streets that are scheduled to be cleaned. In Chicago, cars parked on the street in question would be towed and their owners fined. With this in mind, independent developers use the dataset to create an app that allowed users to view when a specific street will be cleaned and receive an email alert should they live or work in the area.

One of the major advantages of sharing datasets is that it empowers individual developers or small businesses to design their own apps, which can either be sold for a small fee, or earn their creators revenue by supporting it with advertising. This then fuels an app ecosystem, which fosters continuous innovation. Already we are seeing examples of this outsourcing of innovation taking root.

As a case in point, Peterborough City Council in the UK. The city council has installed weather stations in schools across the city. The sensors are simultaneously used to monitor meteorological and climate activity. The data sourced from these installations can be used at all levels of education and across subjects, from science to technology to social behaviour studies augmenting the curriculum in local schools and making learning near real-time.

The council also found that by open sourcing the data from these weather stations, and enabling developers to leverage it, helped address their shortage of dedicated developers they had in-house. Sharing datasets in this manner also holds interesting potential. For example, by sharing datasets for weather stations and hospital admittances, a city could determine whether a temperature drop below a certain point correlated with increased hospital admissions during a particular time of year, and take precautionary measures.

5. Citizens become app developers thanks to open data

A true smart city is a collaborative one which not only has sensors that are accumulating data but also features engaged citizens who are aiding in the collection of data in order to add to a system that benefits others.

Clearly, smart cities and cloud technology are a natural fit; while the former is ever-changing, and adapting to its citizen’s needs, the cloud is able to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of its users.

Governments and municipalities should not only think of smart cities in terms of deploying probes and sensors in order to capture information. Rather, they should pay attention to how existing infrastructure can be retooled to aid in gathering data.

Cities should also consider citizens not just as collectors of information but creators of applications themselves using open datasets. Then the information provided can be analysed using secure cloud technologies such as Amazon Web Services. This not only benefits a city, it also fulfills the promise that smart cities bring, enabling citizens to enjoy higher standards of living

By Geoff Brown, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Manager, Amazon Web Services

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Datacentrix attains Dell EMC Titanium Partner status

Datacentrix attains Dell EMC Titanium Partner status

Mike King, Dell EMC sales specialist; Rudolf van der Gryp, Dell EMC BU lead; and Kristoff Kasch, Dell EMC senior solution architect

Datacentrix, a provider of  ICT solutions, has been appointed as a Dell EMC Titanium Partner, joining a niche group of partners who are recognised for their expertise in the South African industry.

The Titanium tier of the Dell EMC Partner Program acknowledges partners who have demonstrated capability and resources, going above and beyond requirements to achieve expert levels in their designated areas of competency. In the case of Datacentrix, these include client-computing, networking, and server and storage.

Rudolf van der Gryp, Dell EMC business unit lead at Datacentrix is naturally pleased with the acknowledgement and believes it was the expected next step in the partnership between the two organisations.

“The synergies are apparent to both ourselves and our customers,” he says. “We have grown our Dell EMC business by more than 100 percent year-on-year over the past four years, and believe this is due to the fact that Dell EMC’s solution offering helps our customers overcome challenges easily and affordably.

“Our new Titanium status will afford Datacentrix the opportunity to work more closely with Dell EMC to meet our mutual customers’ needs in bigger and better ways.”

This level of partnership recognises the service and execution levels that Datacentrix customers have grown to expect, but it also enables the company to offer more by way of competitive pricing, early access to the latest technologies and training, and a roadmap to future growth with Dell EMC.

“The digital era is here – all that is left for us is to reach out and take charge of it,” says Doug Woolley, GM of Dell EMC South Africa. “But that’s easier said than done, and you need the best partners to go on that journey. I’m very glad that Datacentrix has decided to join Dell EMC in helping South African companies transform for the future. As a Titanium partner, they will create great gains for the country while growing their own business. We look forward to working with them in creating a society of which we’re all proud.”

 

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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Top 5 game releases of 2018 so far

Top 5 game releases of 2018 so far

Far Cry 5 (Image sourced from )

2018 has started off as a great year for new games across all platforms. It seems to be a great year for storytelling and action.

Here are a few of the top new releases so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.

Following the success of the Xenoverse series, Bandai Namco released Dragon Ball FighterZ, a slice of awesome nostalgia with spectacular fights and memorable characters. The game features high-end anime graphics, aerial combos, destructible stages and famous scenes from the Dragon Ball show.

 

4. Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is an action-adventure first-person shooter game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

A cult has taken control of Hope County and it is up to players to join the resistance and restore peace. The massive open world is breathtaking and made to explore at your leisure. Not to mention gunfights, dropping bombs from planes, taking down entire cult settlements with your friends and still finding time to do some fishing. There is no shortage of mayhem and entertainment in this game.

 

3. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves is a shared world action-adventure video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Studios for Microsoft Windows 10 and Xbox One.

A massive open world lets players join up and experience the merry life of pirate shanties, treasure hunting and getting drunk with your friends on an easily-sinkable ship. Players can battle each other on their own ships or do things the old-fashioned way with a swordfight. All that really matters is who finds the most gold and becomes a pirate legend.

 

2. A Way Out

A Way Out is an action-adventure game developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under their EA Originals program.

A Way Out is a cooperative narrative game that tells the story of Vincent and Leo, two prisoners in a maximum security prison, as they escape and try to get revenge on the forces that put them there. The game is played with two people—one controlling Vincent and the controlling other Leo—and together you will try to solve puzzles, navigate through the prison and shoot whoever gets in the way.

 

1. God of War

God of War is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

The story follows Kratos and his son Atreus as they navigate the dangerous Nordic wilds on a very personal quest. God of War is made up of intense combat, spectacular landscape and a compelling story that could draw anyone in.

 

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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MTN Group commits to creating 1000 jobs in support of the YES initiative

MTN Group commits to creating 1000 jobs in support of the YES initiative

MTN Group commits to creating 1000 jobs in support of the YES initiative

MTN Group confirmed its support of the Youth Employment Service (YES) and has committed to the creation of 1000 jobs within the first year of the initiative.

In March, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched YES, a business-led collaboration with government and labour which aims to empower one million young South Africans by offering paid quality work opportunities over the next few years.

MTN will be creating the 1000 jobs across its South African business and Group head office, covering both operational and functional roles.

“YES is an innovative social partnership that has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic growth and development,” says MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter.

“MTN loves fresh and bold solutions and that’s what YES is bringing to South Africa’s unemployment crisis. We’re proud to be a supporter of the YES programme and look forward to welcoming more companies to the YES Team so that together, we can drive sustainable change for the unemployed youth of our country,” Shuter says.

Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of YES, says the success of the initiative now lies in bringing scale to the operation.

“Research has consistently shown that young people, with at least a year of paid work experience, are significantly more likely to secure permanent employment after that first year. South African business holds in its collective hands the chance to turn the tide on the scourge of youth unemployment and we are very pleased to welcome MTN Group as one of the forerunner companies to Team YES,” Ismail-Saville says.

“The return on the investment in creating pathways for youth that are currently locked out of the economy will be a significant return for all businesses, in the longer term. On the other hand, the costs of ignoring six million of our marginalised youth will be a far higher price to pay, for our economic future,” she adds.

YES is supported by Government and the initiative is individually cited in the proposed amendments to the B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) Codes of Good Practice. Business and the public are encouraged to give inputs and comments on these amendments. Comments will be accepted until 29 May 2018.

 

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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Experts bemoan high cost of internet data in Africa

Digital Rights experts have questioned the high cost of Internet data in many African countries, saying the prohibitive cost makes it difficult for poor citizens to access the Internet.

The experts said this at the Internet Freedom Forum, organised by Paradigm Initiative.The co-founder of Witness Radio, Jess Sebaggala, said: “The Internet is still expensive for too many people in many countries, which is a big problem for expanding access. There are too many people below the poverty line in many African countries, and it would be difficult to expand access to the Internet without reducing the cost of access for users.”

The Executive Director of Internet Without Borders, Julie Owono, said: “There’s no point talking about digital rights, when there is no access to digital technologies and the Internet.”

Experts who spoke at the three-day international forum were drawn from over 30 African countries. They took turns to speak on the state of the Internet in their respective countries and the dangers facing the Internet.   

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Nigeria to lead space research, development, says minister

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said the commitment of the Federal Government to its space research and development agency is sacrosanct.
Onu spoke at the Kogi State University Anyigba, where he commissioned the Laboratory Complex and Engineering Workshop building of the Centre for Atmospheric Research (CAR).

He said: “Nigeria cannot be indifferent to what is happening in space. As the developed nations are exploring space, we cannot be indifferent. We cannot go to sleep and allow them do it and then later we go and copy. No, we want to also be in space. We want to be at the frontier of knowledge. We want to pursue knowledge as other nations are doing, and there is very good reason to do so.”

Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Professor Seidu Onailo Muhammed, said the centre is mandated to provide sound education, research and knowledge in lower atmosphere; upper atmosphere; atmospheric chemistry and environmental science.The Director also reported a support from the Japanese government and American institutions worth over $400,000 in the last three years.

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Five key areas where AI and Automation could most impact your business

Five key areas where AI and Automation could most impact your business

Niral Patel, MD of Oracle South Africa.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly finding a place at the heart of the enterprise, with it set to affect 25 percent of technology spend going forward, according to Accenture. Enabling better-informed decisions by augmenting human intelligence with powerful computing and precise data analysis, and then automating the tasks that follow, AI and automation – like an AA battery – have the power to energise business and help them drive towards success.

Their rapid emergence has been driven by three factors. The cloud has made huge amounts of computing and processing power available, on demand. The data deluge – where 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in just the last two years – has brought the critical mass needed to power the smart algorithms that drive these new capabilities. New AI tools that can easily be integrated into a business as an engine for innovation, are helping organisations more easily adopt them and gain benefit.

With so many potential applications for AI, where should companies start, especially given Forrester’s caution that in 2018, 75% of AI projects will underwhelm because they fail to model operational considerations?[2] Here are five key areas for consideration:

1. Driving value from data: We live in a world where data is big and insight needs to be in real-time. As data sets become larger, new, automated, AI-enabled tools will speed up the ability to find the needle in the haystack and then ensure appropriate action is taken. These tools will also have an incredibly powerful role to play in how data is managed. Taking on the tasks of running, patching and optimising databases and data warehouses, these new offerings will deliver unprecedented availability, performance, and security—at a significantly lower cost by eliminating the cost of human error stemming from manual processes.

2. Rebalancing the cyber warfare: Another area where humans can’t keep up is around the rapidly expanding challenges inherent to enterprise cybersecurity. There are too many devices, too many applications, too many users, too many infringements and too many megabytes of log files for humans to make sense of it all, and then react in a timescale that would make a difference, in today’s world, that potentially could be milliseconds. Businesses will need to rely on AI and automation to automate the detection, prevention and response to security breaches, performance anomalies, and vulnerabilities. Only by using machines to fight machines will companies be able to reprioritize and rethink about how they defend their information.

3. The search for operational excellence: Businesses are under increasing pressure to reduce time-to-market for new applications and services. At the same time, they are overwhelmed by the distributed nature and volume of their operational systems, finding their siloed form hindering their ability to make good decisions, troubleshoot issues and drive cross-business collaboration. Cloud, while simplifying things in certain areas has added an extra dimension, making it increasingly difficult for IT teams to optimise enterprise systems and prevent catastrophic failures. AI can automate the many various monitoring and control requirements needed to keep enterprise systems running at their best, helping identify anomalies that human teams would have missed, enabling new levels of optimisation.

4. Boosting business performance: Embedded AI capabilities within core business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), supply chain management (HCM), Sales and Marketing are helping make the decision-making process simpler and more efficient for business professionals across the organisation. In Finance this has the potential to improve activities like supplier negotiations, especially at times like end of quarter reporting when companies are also focused on optimising cash flow needs and balancing costs. In HR, recruiters would be better able to identify the best candidates in the shortest time. For Marketing professionals, AI is already being used to help them run more personalised campaigns around next best offers.

5. Creating conversation from chat: Finally, as shown by Bajaj, a good area to start with AI is chatbots, especially given the rising importance of the customer experience set to be a key competitive battleground for 2018. With new AI enabled platforms available that make it quick and easy to build and train Intelligent Bots without the need for specialist AI skills.

Without doubt, AI will be an increasingly important element of the business environment and is not something that can be watched from the sidelines. Given that the benefits of AI are really quite simple – speed from automation and the ability to make better decisions – if the guy in front makes a better decision than you and does it faster, you are going to be outraced. You can’t afford to sit back and wait.

By Niral Patel, Managing Director Oracle South Africa

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HP gifts brand lovers amazing prizes

In a bid to give back to its loyal customers, HP is giving lovers of its brand a chance to go home with amazing prizes in its ‘Easter Make A Wish’ promo.
However, the prizes involve a fabulous offers on a selection of HP 15 Pavilion series, HP Envy, HP Spectre, and the new super exciting HP Power Pavilion Gaming PCs to participants.

According to the company, “It also involves an entering to the ultimate giveaway raffle draw to win prizes worth 350,000 naira. All you have to do is buy any of the HP Envy or HP Spectre PCs, get a raffle draw ticket and make a wish.

Highlighting the features of the products, the company said, “it is beautifully designed and lightweight, the HP Spectre has a great keyboard and trackpad, a sharp HD display and an above-average sound system. Battery life with this display is great, and its performance top notch, while the HP Envy

PC come with a CPU Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz, a Windows 10 Home operating system, a 16GB Ram, and a hard drive size of 256GB SD.

“While HP Spectre goes for an amazing CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost), Intel HD Graphics 520, 8GB LPDDR3 SD RAM (1,866MHz) and a 13.3-inch screen. Bright View Corning Gorilla Glass WLED-backlit display.

“Even cooler, there is more for our game lovers! HP just introduced the new Power Pavilion Gaming PC. Driven by the latest technology and a massive amount of storage, your on-the-go workspace becomes your go-to Launchpad for creating by day and kicking into high gear by night.

“With a rugged Intel Core i7-7700HQGet, graphics adapter NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, 16384 MB memory and a 15.6 inch display, there’s no limit to your gaming experience. Get an instant gaming headset when you buy the new HP Power Pavilion Gaming PC.

“However, visit any of our participating stores (Spar, Office Everything and Office R US) and get free HP accessories when you shop.”

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Fortune Global set to ramp up technological innovation in energy logistics

Fortune Global set to ramp up technological innovation in energy logistics

Managing Director/CEO, Fortune Global Shipping and Logistics Limited, Mr. Eric Opah

In keeping with its strategic objective to not only remain a dominant player in indigenous oil and gas logistics but also on the world stage, Fortune Global Shipping and Logistics Limited is set to align its logistics services with cutting-edge technological advances in the global oil and gas industry.

As such, the company will join over 70,000 industry professionals and exhibitors to brainstorm on scientific and technical developments for offshore resources, and showcase its diverse range of logistics services to the global audience at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) scheduled to hold in Houston, Texas from April 30 to May 3, 2018.

Since its incorporation in 2006, Fortune Global which also has offices in Houston has leveraged its membership of renowned international networks to gain a competitive advantage over local players and multinationals in the logistics industry. In 2010, the company made its foray into oil and gas logistics and port operations, where it has made its mark by providing marine support services for ambitious multinational initiatives such as the SPDC Forcados Yokri Integrated Project (FYIP) and Total’s EGINA FPSO Project, among others.

Managing Director/CEO, Fortune Global Shipping and Logistics Limited, Mr. Eric Opah, a notable advocate for local participation in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, explained that the company’s participation in OTC 2018 is hinged on its strategic intent to continually push the frontiers of innovation, provide premium logistics services to its clients in the oil and gas sector and raise the profile of indigenous industry players on the world stage.

He said: “Our enviable track record in the industry is hinged on the twin pivot of local competitiveness and international relevance which always breaks new ground for our business. OTC 2018 provides the platform to continually innovate our service mix on the home front, and also showcase the depth of our potential in the oil and gas logistics subsector to a diverse global audience.”

In 2013, Fortune Global emerged the 10th fastest growing company in Nigeria for redefining the Nigerian supply chain landscape by dint of international freight forwarding expertise, depth of portfolio and transparency. The company is tipped to continually consolidate its strategic logistics partnership with reputable players across the oil and gas value chain in years to come.

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How television has evolved

How television has evolved

How television has evolved.

The very first electronic television was invented by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, who lived in a home without electricity until the age of 14. The first image he transmitted was a line, but he later managed to transmit a dollar sign after a potential investor asked when he would begin to see some dollars.[i] However, inventor John Logie Baird is touted as one of the major inventors of the television and was involved in mechanical as well as electronic television development – with the first public demonstrations as far back as 1926.

It’s doubtful any of the first inventors or viewers of television could see what it would become, except perhaps Aldous Huxley who wrote “television was left on, a running tap, from morning till night”, in his book Brave New World, which was published in 1932. With fuzzy picture quality and no remote control, the first televisions were a far cry from what most people now enjoy in their homes every day.

In 1970, Samsung Electronics produced its first TV set, a 12-inch black and white model. It didn’t take long before the TVs were market leaders and by 1976, over one million units had been sold in Korea alone. Two years later, Samsung became the world’s largest producer of black and white televisions.

Mike van Lier, Director of Consumer Electronics for Samsung South Africa says, “Since the development of its first television model, Samsung has been pushing towards innovative technology that consistently breaks boundaries.”

In South Africa, television was a contentious issue, with the leaders of the day hesitant to allow South Africans access to something they felt was evil. In fact, South Africa was one of the few countries in the world to not have watched the famous moon landing in 1969. It was only in 1971 that South Africa introduced a television service. According to the South African 2011 Census, there were more televisions in homes than fridges.

In 1998, Samsung began mass producing the world’s first digital TV, which set a much higher standard for picture quality than ever before. The innovation and development didn’t stop there – from Ultra High Definition to OLED, colour and quality kept getting better. Now, Samsung’s QLED televisions are taking the market by storm – with quantum dots that are particles of between two and 10 nanometres in diameter – each giving off different colours according to their size. This means they can emit brighter, more vibrant and diverse colours.

Sports fans around the world now must seriously consider whether the live game or watching on television is the better option. It’s generally easy to spot sports fans who usually watch on TV at live games – they’re the ones looking for the slow-motion replay when at a live match.

“QLED technology brings the world right into your home – it’s no longer about merely watching a television programme, it’s about being fully immersed in the content. The colours, crispness, quality of image and sound create an experience that’s like no other,” notes van Lier.

Streaming services have also changed the way people consume television programming. Which is why TVs need to have the ability to connect to the internet, allowing viewers to choose their content on one screen. Whether using the One Remote or a connected smartphone, television viewers have so many more options, as well as far greater quality and an all-round more immersive experience.

While South Africans may have missed out on watching the moon landing in 1969, it’s just possible that they will get to watch the first Mars landing, live and in extraordinary colour and depth.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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