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Industry 4.0 promises a new level of collaboration between man and machine

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Businesses hoping to leave their mark through the possibilities that digitisation digital transformation presents will need a game plan, says Microsoft.

Businesses hoping to leave their mark through the possibilities that digitisation digital transformation presents will need a game plan, says Microsoft.

Anyone who works in the technology field is likely to say that with today’s lightning-fast pace of change, no-one really knows how technology will change business over the next 10 years.

So says Yesh Surjoodeen, device sales lead at Microsoft SA, adding that we are currently sitting on the very edge of Industry 4.0, the potential of which is only becoming apparent now.

“Building upon the birth of internet-enabled telecommunications systems, Industry 4.0 promises a new level of collaboration between man and machine, the age of automation, mass data exchange, proliferation of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IOT), and cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Truly on-demand

“Cold-calling, door-to-door sales techniques are ripe for extinction right now. And gone are the days when businesses could manufacture their product supply and only afterwards go out and pursue demand,” he adds.

The digital age has already flipped this power dynamic (with marketing playing the dominant role in attracting consumers), but Industry 4.0 is giving rise to an even more attractive model in which speed and personalisation are becoming defining features.

“Chatbots and social media communication channels are already addressing this need for instant, always-on customer service, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and other sectors are using tech to improve customer experience (CX) to unimaginable levels of speed and convenience.”

Surjoodeen believes it is likely that the manufacturing and retail sectors will feel this change most strongly. In the near future, pre-manufacturing and expensive warehousing and logistical issues will be a thing of the past. “For example, let’s say a car owner requires a certain part for their engine. Rather than pulling the item from stock and shipping it across the world, car manufacturers could make their designs available online for anyone to print in a 3D printer, anywhere in the world, at exactly the time the product is needed.”

Democratisation of digital resources

Currently one of the most exciting prospects for greater digitisation is the access to information, products and services that will be granted to the world’s most underserved communities.

“Let’s take healthcare as an example. In a future where voice recognition parity has been convincingly achieved, and millions of people have true interactive AI in their very living rooms, will visiting a GP in person (except in rare cases) even be necessary anymore? AI has already shown itself to be as capable of fast, accurate diagnosis as most doctors are, so at what point will these consultations be fully digitised?”

Even in SA’s private healthcare facilities, queues are long, data management is frequently inefficient, and prices continue to exclude the great number of citizens. He says to consider the condition of our public healthcare system as well, and the case for digitisation of such services becomes all the more urgent.

But why stop at healthcare? Technology and connectivity will allow rejuvenation of the third world’s educational systems as well, bringing international-quality learning resources to even the poorest learners and the most under-resourced teachers. “And as years go on, the application of augmented and virtual mixed reality, already used in educational and training applications in many industries, will enrich our businesses and our lives in ways that are difficult to imagine today.”

Mobility

“We’ve discussed customers, and we’ve discussed employers, but what about employees? No view into the future of business is complete without looking at the workplace itself.” Surjoodeen emphasises that more and more businesses are already seeing big benefits from mobile workplace policies, including lower infrastructure costs and higher employee productivity.

Moreover, collaboration technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Slack, SharePoint and many others, mean that the physical distances between workers count for far less, and this trend is only likely to accelerate in the coming decade, he says.

“Better, smaller, smarter devices mean that working on the go is as efficient as being desk-bound, and even traditional communications, like telephone calls, can be routed anywhere in the world instantly, with a simple VOIP telephony system. We’re seeing a renewed call from employees for better work-life balance, and mobility will be an essential component when it comes to attracting top talent and retaining it in the long run.”

Creating a 10-year roadmap

However, for businesses hoping to leave their mark through the possibilities that digitisation digital transformation presents, will need a game plan, he adds.

“It won’t have to include every new technology out there. For sales-centred businesses, artificial intelligence is a great place to start, while manufacturing businesses will find 3D printing and IOT more in tune with their needs.”

Surjoodeen asks us to remember, digitisation digital transformation is not a once-off project, it is a business model transformation, and a long-term investment that doesn’t come without some upfront expense, plenty of trial and error, and a considerable amount of fear in this era of cyberthreats and ever-more complicated compliance requirements.

But for those businesses committed to outmanoeuvring the competition, and who take the time to strategise their digital transformations sustainably, the rewards will be more than worth the effort, he concludes.

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Maimane on the DA’s complicated relationship with Mkwebane: ‘It’s not your office, it’s you’

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While DA leader Mmusi Maimane is pleased with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding regarding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign funding, he still thinks she should go.

Speaking on the sidelines of a safety event in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, on Monday, Maimane said he was the one who had laid a complaint about Ramaphosa’s campaign funding with the Office of the Public Protector. 

He noted this was after he had first asked the question in Parliament, and Ramaphosa said it was “his son’s contribution”, but then changed his statement. 

ALSO READ: Public Protector finds Ramaphosa ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament over R500 000 Bosasa payment

“Now, the Executive Members’ Ethics Act makes it specific that when there is an allegation of a breach [of the act], that can only be reported to the Public Protector.

“It cannot be reported to any other sphere of the government.”

The DA has made it clear that it does not regard Mkhwebane as a suitable candidate for the position of Public Protector, and Maimane said the Absa-related judgment supported this. 

On Monday, the Constitutional Court upheld a costs order against Mkhwebane alleging she had put forward a “number of falsehoods” over the Absa/Bankorp investigation. Mkhwebane has since denied this.

“I have been very clear from the beginning with the party that we do not support this particular Public Protector and therefore in light of the judgment that was handed down today, I think it strengthens our case to have her removed,” said Maimane.

“But just because I did not vote for her, just because I don’t support her, does not mean the office ceases to exist,” he said. 

“I did not vote for President Ramaphosa in the election, yet, because he’s a president of the republic, he becomes the president of all citizens. His office exists. We have to hold everybody accountable, regardless of who they are.” 

Maimane said he welcomed Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday night that he would take Mkhwebane’s report on review, because it is Ramaphosa’s right to do that.

However, the party still wants to get to the bottom of whether or not the president had misled Parliament. 

“The president made a statement and proceeded to change it, can that be allowed?” asked Maimane.

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Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

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When creating the ultimate gaming experience, whether it be on PC or console, the peripherals and accessories are often the finishing touches. But when it comes to these devices, a premium experience often necessitates paying premium prices, which is why good value for money peripherals are always welcome.

To aid in that regard is the Recon 70 gaming headset from Turtle Beach, which at R699 (RRP) sits neatly in between a professional and novice setup.

While its price will certainly pique your interest, does it actually deliver the value for money that Turtle Beach is touting? We took the Recon 70 headsets for a spin to find out.

Simple and Sturdy

The design of the Recon 70 can best be described as utilitarian. The majority of the headset is swathed in black plastic, with hits of electric blue scattered here and there to catch your eye. It also features a diagonal slash on the outside of the ear cups in order to make them stand out a bit.

All in all though, it’s a design that won’t turn many heads, and that’s just fine for me at R699.

What I’m wanting is something that can last a good while. Despite not throwing the headset around after a rage quit, I mean when the CPU was clearly cheating, the headsets feel reassuringly solid despite the plastic heavy design.

Another characteristic of the Recon 70 is the fact that all the moving parts feel rigid, which has its ups and downs.

The downs come in the form of a lack of fluidity when adjusting the size of the headphones on the  sides just above the ear cups. This mechanism does not seem to have a great deal of movement, and only increases or decreases two positions either way, which means it won’t get much larger.

Luckily it’s fairly large as is. I myself have a particularly pronounced noggin and the Recon 70 fit nicely.

The upside of the rigidity meant the headband doesn’t provide too much flex. This results in a snug but comfortable fit, although it may mess up any “unique” stylings you’ve chosen to adorn the top of your head with.

Sticking with comfort the ear cups are generously large, and sit over-the-ear. They also have a good deal of padding and cushion things nicely without leaving any gaps. As such if you’re wanting to wear these for prolonged sessions, there is no fear constant fiddling or moving in order to cope with a lack of comfort.

A bit of everything

Now let’s move onto some of the specifications of the Turtle Beach Recon 70 headset.

Driving the sound here are some respectable 40mm neodymium speakers which yield a frequency of 12Hz to 20kHz. The range of offer here is solid, with it coping nicely with bass and not producing any kind of tinniness during my time with the Recon 70.

If there is one complaint when it comes to sound, it’s the sensitivity of the volume wheel located on the ear cup, as the dial does not travel very far. This means nuances in volume are best handled on the device you’re playing on than the headset itself, which is a pity.

Sticking with some of the issues I encountered the 3.5mm cord, fixed to the headset, felt a tad shorter than expected. The fact that they are fixed to the headset also means you cannot switch out with a longer option, and will need to find some sort of extender if needed. This is less of an issue for PC gamers who will more than likely be close to their setup, but may prove an obstacle for console gamers playing in a living room for example.

That said, it’s not a deal breaker, but something to consider.

Said 3.5mm headphone is compatible for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and did not provide any weird feedback or anomalies while connected.

One of the other elements worth talking about on the Recon 70 is the omni-directional mic, which swivels up or down depending on whether you’re using it or not. The quality it produces is mixed, with it performing fine in co-op gaming or multiplayers in small groups.

The moment you try to make yourself heard in a larger group of players also trying to get their instructions across and the mic struggles slightly, getting the odd “please repeat” or “what was that?” Again I’m splitting hairs here, and for the price of the Recon 70 the audio experience is certainly above par.

Final Verdict

I’ve harped on about the price of the Recon 70 for some time now, and for good reason. Value for money is hard to come by when it comes to good quality headsets, and at R699 this pair provides enough all-round solid use to provide peace of mind that it’s money well spent. It also means you can spend your hard-earned cash on other elements of your gaming setup.

For cost-savvy gamers who want a headset that handles the basics well, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 is definitely worth a second look.

When creating the ultimate gaming experience, whether it be on PC or console, the peripherals and accessories are often the finishing touches. But when it comes to these devices, a premium experience often necessitates paying premium prices, which is why good value for money peripherals are always welcome. To aid in that regard is the Recon 70 gaming headset from Turtle Beach, which at R699 (RRP) sits neatly in between a professional and novice setup. While its price will certainly pique your interest, does it actually deliver the value for money that Turtle Beach is touting? We took the Recon 70 headsets for a spin to find out. Simple and Sturdy The design of the Recon 70 can best be described as utilitarian. The majority of the headset is swathed in black plastic, with hits of electric blue scattered here and there to catch your eye. It also features a diagonal slash on the outside of the ear cups in order to make them stand out a bit. All in all though, it’s a design that won’t turn many heads, and that’s just fine for me at R699. What I’m wanting is something that can last a good while. Despite not throwing the headset around after a rage quit, I mean when the CPU was clearly cheating, the headsets feel reassuringly solid despite the plastic heavy design. Another characteristic of the Recon 70 is the fact that all the moving parts feel rigid, which has its ups and downs. The downs come in the form of a lack of fluidity when adjusting the size of the headphones on the  sides just above the ear cups. This mechanism does not seem to have a great deal of movement, and only increases or decreases two positions either way, which means it won’t get much larger. Luckily it’s fairly large as is. I myself have a particularly pronounced noggin and the Recon 70 fit nicely. The upside of the rigidity meant the headband doesn’t provide too much flex. This results in a snug but comfortable fit, although it may mess up any “unique” stylings you’ve chosen to adorn the top of your head with. Sticking with comfort the ear cups are generously large, and sit over-the-ear. They also have a good deal of padding and cushion things nicely without leaving any gaps. As such if you’re wanting to wear these for prolonged sessions, there is no fear constant fiddling or moving in order to cope with a lack of comfort. A bit of everything Now let’s move onto some of the specifications of the Turtle Beach Recon 70 headset. Driving the sound here are some respectable 40mm neodymium speakers which yield a frequency of 12Hz to 20kHz. The range of offer here is solid, with it coping nicely with bass and not producing any kind of tinniness during my time with the Recon 70. If there is one complaint when it comes to sound, it’s the sensitivity of the volume wheel located on…

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Headset Review: Plug In and Go

2019-07-22

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Combined Score – 7

7

Solid Sounds

Value for money is hard to come by when it comes to good quality headsets, and at R699 this pair provides enough all-round solid use to provide peace of mind that it’s money well spent. It also means you can spend your hard-earned cash on other elements of your gaming setup.

User Rating: Be the first one !

7

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Newborn’s gut ‘microbiome’ could give clues to weight later

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A newborn’s first stool holds telltale clues about his risk for becoming an overweight 3-year-old, according to a European study.

The clues come from the population of bacteria (microbiome) in the baby’s gut.

Finnish researchers used genetic sequencing to analyse the first stool produced by 212 newborns and another sample at age 1. Called meconium, a baby’s first stool is composed of material ingested while in the womb.

The children’s weight and height were checked at regular visits, and their antibiotic use recorded.

Analysing the bacteria

Researchers found that the greater the abundance of Staphylococcus bacteria in an infant’s first stool, the shorter the child was at 1 and 2 years of age.

Kids who were overweight by age 3 had much more (29% versus 15%) Bacteroidetes in their infant microbiome than those who were not overweight, the study found. Bacteroidetes are a large group of bacteria found in many environments, as well as in the guts and skin of many animals.

Newborns who were overweight by age 3 also had less Proteobacteria (19% versus 35%), according to the team led by researcher Katja Korpela from the University of Oulu.

The study was presented at a meeting of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The research also found that antibiotics can alter a child’s microbiome.

Lasting impact of antibiotics

Babies who were given antibiotics in their first year of life had lower levels of Actinobacteria at age 1 than did those who received antibiotics shortly after birth, whose mothers took antibiotics during pregnancy, and those who had no exposure to antibiotics.

In a meeting news release, Korpela’s team said that shows the lasting impact of antibiotics on a child’s microbiome.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Image credit: iStock








 







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