Samsung unveils ‘listening’ fridges
Electronics maker has introduced advanced voice capabilities to Family Hub that allow users to talk to the smart refrigerators to use (See story below).
Samsung has announced that its home appliances will leverage connectivity in the next 3 years. In preparation for the full-fledged smart home era, Samsung has been spearheading the standardisation of global Internet of Things (IoT) technologies as a core member of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF).
This year, the company is introducing an array of innovative products including Family Hub refrigerators with more advanced voice capabilities, and a Samsung Connect app that’s capable of seamlessly products integration across the cloud.
Samsung has introduced advanced voice capabilities to Family Hub that allow users to talk to the smart refrigerators to use it, and will expand the voice functionality to European markets this year. This convenient enhancement will make it possible to carry out a wide range of tasks, from looking inside the fridge to playing music, by simply speaking to the fridge.
“Samsung has continuously enhanced the Family Hub since its first introduction at CES 2016, focusing on improving consumer lifestyles,” said JS Park, Executive Vice President of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics. “Our endeavor to advance the smart features of home appliances has always been closely tied to our mission to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individual consumers and families with innovations that matter.”
“Samsung is also actively working to evolve Family Hub into an IoT control centre, to the point where users will be able to control all of their home’s connected appliances through voice recognition. Just imagine being able to summon your robotic vacuum to clean up the kitchen or monitor your laundry cycle while you cook. The possibilities are endless,” it said.
Samsung says it is also helping to deliver a smart home with the Samsung Connect app, which is compatible with all devices and operating systems, and allows users to control Samsung products through the cloud. With Bixby in Samsung smartphones, it is possible to control the Samsung Connect app by voice recognition.
Samsung’s remote diagnosis service will be upgraded by linking with the Samsung Connect app. Customers will also be able to receive guidance through their smartphones to identify and solve problems with Samsung’s smart home appliances in real-time.
Samsung is the first in the industry to receive the OCF certification for its smart TVs, Family Hub refrigerators and air conditioners, and intends to expand the certification to all of its home appliances throughout the year.
The OCF certification is a standard that enables compatibility between the products of member companies, strengthening connectivity so that different kinds of devices may communicate effectively with one another. In addition to Samsung, more than 390 companies have joined the OCF.
Samsung is also working with various third parties to integrate voice support for functions including Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into smart home appliances including its refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and robot vacuums, and Google Home support in its robotic vacuums as well.
As the first in the industry to apply open APIs to home appliances, Samsung plans to focus on expanding services through collaboration with various smart home companies.
Samsung says it will continue to contribute to creating meaningful changes in consumers’ lives and strengthening the industry’s IoT ecosystem.
Liquid Telecom signs deal with Microsoft to offer free internet
Pact will see provision of international software such as Microsoft Azure, on the cloud across the continent
Liquid Telecom Kenya Ltd has started providing free internet to Nairobi Garage’s newly opened Entrepreneurship Centre along Ngong Road.
The venture supports up to 300 co-workers with high-speed internet connectivity of 150 Mbps as part of its plan to support businesses across the country with both internet and software services too.
Liquid Telecom Kenya Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adil Youssefi, while unveiling the free connection during the partnership ceremony with Microsoft in Nairobi, said deal signed between them will see provision of international software such as Microsoft Azure, on the cloud across the continent.
Youssefi noted that they will be offering Microsoft cloud services and applications that developers and Information Technology (IT) professionals can use to build, deploy and manage applications across Africa.
“ This means our internet infrastructure across the continent will now enable companies and entrepreneurs to operate with international software based on easy access to cloud products and services that we are now delivering through with our partnership with Microsoft ,” said Youssefi.
Youssefi further said that the deal offers a cloud connectivity service level agreement that bundles together data and cloud services to ensure that businesses never run out of data bundles.
He noted that they are offering Microsoft Azure enterprise customers in Africa a Microsoft Express Route services; a reliable, cost-effective, lower latency, faster and highly secured connection over the internet into European–based Azure clouds.
He added that softwares offer an extension to on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider.
The director of Nairobi Garage Hannah Clifford noted that co-workers accessing the Liquid Telecom infrastructure and Microsoft cloud will now come as part of a membership costing between Ksh 2,000 to Ksh15, 000 a month for fully enabled working space.
“At Nairobi Garage, we believe in providing more than just workspace to our members. We want to provide our society with very best tools to allow them to innovate and thrive”, she said.
Clifford reiterated that partnership with Liquid Telecom was an exciting development for their new hub space, saying they are looking forward to welcome old and new members to their premises.
Huawei moves to cement global presence
ICT solutions provider signs deals with Redington and VST ECS to expand and deepen their cooperation with Huawei in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and other regions
Huawei have signed Global Distributor Strategic Cooperation Agreements with Redington and VST ECS to expand and deepen their cooperation in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and other regions.
These agreements signify that the ICT solutions provider will increase its enterprise business’s presence in the global market, accelerate the speed to cover more partners and customers, work with mainstream distributors, and further enhance its influence on partners and customers across the globe.
As the largest distributor in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, Redington covers 24 countries, works with over 51,000 partners, and will start strategic cooperation in India, the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.
As a leading ICT distributor and service provider in Asia Pacific, VST ECS has more than 40,000 active Asia Pacific partners and is global leading ICT vendors’ crucial partner in Asia Pacific. Based on VST ECS’s comprehensive sales networks in Asia-Pacific and Huawei’s competitive solutions in cloud computing, storage, and agile networks and other domains, Huawei and VST ECS will collaborate in regional alignment, training technology teams and joint marketing, among others.
Samsung’s new J7 Neo to retail at Sh21,999
New smartphone is a power-efficient device that provides freedom and mobility for longer use, thanks to a 3000mAh battery
Samsung Electronics East Africa has introduced the Galaxy J7 Neo smartphone in the market, offering consumers an affordable avenue to experience the 4G LTE network internet speeds. The device will retail at Ksh21,999 and seeks to dominate the mid-tier smartphone category.
Vice President and Managing Director of Samsung Electronics East Africa, Mr Jung Hyun Park said: “We understand the dynamics of the emerging and developing markets, where we have to create a balance between the entry level, mid-level and flagship models.”
“Mobile data subscription is growing at a fast pace especially among the millennials. Fast and reliable data will therefore be a key consideration when this demographic makes their next smartphone purchase. Samsung is therefore gearing itself to provide quality and affordable 4G-enabled devices. If you look at the J7 Neo, it comes with 4G support. Consumer experience is also a key consideration especially when browsing on the internet.”
With its 5.5″ display and crisp HD resolution (1,280 x 720 HD), the Galaxy J7 Neo brings out every last detail and offers an incredible viewing experience. It has a modern look thanks to the unified colour scheme in which the sides, the home button, the trim around the camera and receiver all match the body. If you look at the back, you’ll see a nonslip pattern that provides a firm grip for your comfort and convenience.
With the J7 Neo, performance has reached a whole new level thanks to the Octa-core 1.6 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM. The result is a faster phone that uses less battery power and supports seamless multitasking. The Galaxy J7 Neo makes it easy to take gorgeous, bright photos under all sorts of conditions. The 13 MP rear camera produces crystal-clear photos even in low light conditions. In addition to the 5MP front camera, the device allows users to take brighter selfies with the front LED flash and the selfie flash that light up and keep the face bright even when lighting conditions are poor.
The Galaxy J7 Neo is a power-efficient device that provides freedom and mobility for longer use, thanks to a 3000mAh battery.
The Galaxy J7 Neo is available countrywide at the Samsung brand stores and authorised dealers.
A free taxi app for drivers launched in Kenya
Riders get discounts of up to 50% by sharing rides, putting ShareCAB into new space for competitive pricing, from base fares that are pegged at industry norms
A Kenyan company has launched the country’s one of most affordable taxi App. Virscom’s ShareCAB charges drivers zero per cent commission – meaning drivers earn more, but riders don’t pay more – and provides an additional cab sharing facility that saves riders up to 50% of fares, part of an array of new money saving and security features.
“ShareCAB is a state-of-the-art app, offering every facility in Kenya for app-based taxis, plus new models on ride sharing, zero commission so that drivers earn far more per ride, and a green motivation in reducing rides through sharing,” said Virscom Founder and CEO Mwakio Ngale.
The launch comes at a time when taxi drivers have expressed increasing discontent by the very large commissions taken out of their fares by other taxi Apps.
“No taxi App can deliver the breadth of drivers for any rider who books a call, if the drivers themselves are losing money or earning too little to respond to bookings. For a taxi App to serve riders with prompt pick-ups and motivated drivers, drivers themselves need to be properly rewarded, and riders need to enjoy competitive fares,” said Mwakio.
With ShareCAB, drivers pay zero per cent in commission, and also earn more as riders share, gaining up to 38% on combining passengers on the same route, even as the passengers themselves travel for less. Instead of taking commissions, the App takes a flat rate membership fee of Sh2,000 a month from drivers, who typically earn from Sh40,000 and upwards, making for a fee equivalent to 5%, and often far lower.
Riders get discounts of up to 50% by sharing rides, putting ShareCAB into new space for competitive pricing, from base fares that are pegged at industry norms.
“My motivation was to create a platform where costs can be drastically reduced for customers and increased for drivers, in a combination that was smart, and also improved on our carbon footprint. At the end of the day, every shared ride will make a better environment for our kids,” said Mwakio.
ShareCAB, which was built by a team of Kenyan developers, also offers new features offered by none of the existing international apps, including an SOS button, that instantly calls police and loved ones if riders see or experience anything untoward during a ride.
“Watching how other taxi Apps were evolving, we were struck by the need to add extra security to our own App, over and beyond the map tracking and driver vetting, as a facility that could get instant help in the case of any issue at all,” said Mwakio.
ShareCAB is available on Google play store, and allows riders to choose either to share a ride to get large discounts, or to ride solo for personal comfort.
“If you choose to share, the in-App features gives the first customer the privilege to select who to share the ride with after a quick view of the customer’s profile during the shared ride request. The selections take seconds and saves up to half a fare while leaving speed unimpaired,” said Mwakio.
In order to guarantee near zero security issues for both riders and customers, ShareCAB has put in place a very stringent vetting program that ensures they have the right type of drivers operating on the platform.
“We collect the drivers’ copies of Certificate of Good Conduct, KRA certificate, national ID and passport size photographs. We have also partnered with an agency that assists us with the drivers’ background checks,” said Mwakio.
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