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Satya Nadella: We must strive for inclusion in the digital economy | Forum Insight

Can our technology reflect the diversity of the people who use them? At Davos 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlines the challenges tech giants face to provide products for our complex world. He also lays out how his company tries to live that reality in everything it does.

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Farmers in the Netherlands are growing more food using less resources | Pioneers for Our Planet

This pioneering Dutch farm has found clever ways to generate higher yields using less space and fewer inputs. They’re growing food that’s more sustainable and economical too. Despite being a small, densely populated country, the Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest vegetable.




Shanghai Electric, DEWA top out Central Tower at MBR Solar Park

SEGC minimised the impact of construction by relocating wild animals, 180 mesquite trees across the site to a wildlife park

Shanghai Electric Group Company (SEGC) has topped out the central tower of the world’s largest single-site solar park, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park (MBR Solar Park) that Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is developing.

The 260-metre tall 700MW central solar tower CSP project was topped out at a ceremony that was attended by representatives from DEWA, Noor Energy 1, and China Construction Third Engineering Bureau.

Speaking about SEGC’s work on the project, construction manager at Noor Energy 1, Enrique Valades, said: “SEGC showed us their outstanding performance, finishing the concrete solar tower according to schedule, even if they suffered tough challenges along the way.”

SEGC said in a statement that sustainability was the focus of the project, with the company having appointed experts and partners to relocate wild animals and 180 mesquite trees across the 40km2 site to a new wildlife park to minimise the impact of construction.

The 700 MW CSP project is part of Phase 4 of the MBR Solar Park, which is an important element of UAE’s Vison 2021, which focuses on sustainable development.

Upon completion the MBR Solar Park — which is being built with an investment of $13.6bn (AED50bn) — will have a capacity of 5GW by 2030.

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World Bank Supports Sustainable Renewable Energy for Priority Healthcare Facilities Responding to COVID-19 in Haiti

WASHINGTON, DC, September 30, 2020 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today US$6.9 million in additional financing for the Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project. This financing aims to scale up renewable energy investments to expand and improve access to electricity for health infrastructure, households, businesses, and community services.

“Access to reliable energy is essential to reinforce the ability of Haiti’s healthcare centers to power essential equipment needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other priority health services. This timely intervention complements our existing support to the health sector, while strengthening the country’s resilience to future shocks,” *said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti. *“Clean and locally-available energy access will also foster inclusive growth in Haiti, facilitating new investments and innovations, which are fundamental for economic recovery from the pandemic.”

The electricity sector poses a major constraint to economic development and emergency response and recovery from shocks in Haiti. The country’s hospitals rely heavily on backup diesel generators, as grid electricity is often available only for a few hours a day. Lack of reliable electricity is constraining the efficiency of laboratories to test for COVID-19, limiting the distribution and safe storage of medicines (and eventually vaccines), and can prohibit the use of life-saving equipment, such as oxygen concentrators.

The US$6.9 million additional financing to the ongoing Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project will allow the Haitian Government to expand the provision of clean and reliable electricity for at least four priority healthcare facilities involved in the response to the pandemic. This will include the installation of solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage for health infrastructure and water facilities. The project will also complete the rehabilitation of the Drouet mini hydroelectric plant in the Artibonite Department, which will provide clean and reliable electricity to nearby communities and the regional grid.

US$4 million of the additional financing is a grant from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, and US$2.9 million is granted from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Trust Fund. The Haiti: Renewable Energy for All Project was launched in March 2018 thanks to a grant of US$19.62 million from the Strategic Climate Fund.




How to Leverage Technology to Improve Customer Experience

Increasingly, contractors and water quality companies are looking at technological solutions to see them through the pandemic, turning to cloud-based platforms that can support all aspects of business: sales, dispatch, customer service and reporting.

The most pressing needs so far have been about addressing remote work issues and the need for contactless technologies to help make customers feel safe. Businesses have to recognize that consumer needs and expectations have changed, and if they do not adapt, they will be left behind. A quality customer experience matters greatly. So, any technology needs to be able to increase customer convenience. This means looking for platforms that can help to:

  • Make it easy to schedule and track appointments. Younger homeowners do not want to have to call a business to book an appointment. Make it easy to book online, whether through a Google Local Service integration, on the website or through a chat or text message.
  • Keep customers updated. Do not keep homeowners in the in the dark about when a technician will arrive. If UPS or Grubhub can provide real-time updates to customers about when a package or food will be delivered, your business should be able to do the same. That is what consumers expect.
  • Keep track of repeat customer information. When a business receives a request from a repeat customer, the CSR needs to be able to access all of their contact and payment information and service history immediately and conveniently. These details will improve customer interactions by office staff and help technicians provide a white-glove experience on the jobsite.
  • Boost technician performance. Some platforms can help systemize diagnostic and analysis processes, ensuring consistent service no matter which technician is on a call. They can also give technicians immediate access to technical documentation and guides.
  • Facilitate financing. Being able to easily integrate real-time financing into a service call will pay off. Companies and consumers are concerned about maintaining their reserves of their cash right now. So, now more than ever, making it easy for them to buy is an important workflow.
  • Increase marketing ROI. Software can help companies better zero in on their target customers to allow them to be leaner and meaner with marketing dollars. Companies can ensure that marketing offers are going to the right people and be able to track results to see what kind of return on investment they are getting.



ION, Navya ink partnership to boost autonomous transport in the GCC

The autonomous shuttles, which operate in Masdar City, are wheelchair accessible and enhanced with deep learning tech

UAE-based sustainable and smart transportation company ION, which is is a joint venture between Bee’ah and CE-Creates, has partnered with autonomous driving systems firm NAVYA to operate and maintain the company’s electric and autonomous shuttles as well as promote its vehicles and related activities in the UAE and the GCC region.

The AUTONOM SHUTTLE fleet offers first- and last-mile transportation solutions, with navigation and safety features.

The autonomous shuttle also uses guidance and detection systems and is enhanced with deep learning technology.

Operating in Masdar City, the shuttles are also wheelchair-accessible and have a capacity of 15 passengers.

ION’s technicians are currently undergoing training with NAVYA experts to ensure models of the AUTONOM SHUTTLE operating in the region provide a regular, dependable service.

Commenting on the partnership, group CEO of Bee’ah and member of the Board of Directors at ION, Khaled Al Huraimel, said: “Our partnership with NAVYA stems from our commitment to revolutionise transportation in the Middle East region, making it greener and smarter, which is key to a better quality of life for cities and communities.”

He added: “This partnership will help ION on its journey towards environmental sustainability and the development of a zero-emissions transportation network in the UAE and wider region.”

The chief operating officer of NAVYA, Jerome Rigaud, said: “Masdar is an ideal environment to showcase how driverless vehicles integrate seamlessly into our everyday lives”

Fuente: https://www.constructionweekonline.com/products-and-services/261966-ion-navya-ink-partnership-to-boost-autonomous-transport-in-the-gcc

Navya: https://navya.tech/en/

 




Scientific Games wins international awards for their products

Scientific Games is the largest producer and marketer of games for casinos and lotteries on the planet. Every year it receives awards for its quality and technology.

Casino Journal Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Awards

  • Kyber
  • Unified Wallet

Nevada Battle Born Business

  • Scientific Games

Eilers & Krejcik 2nd Annual EKG Slot Awards Show

  • Top Performing Core Mechanical Reel Game – 88 Fortunes
  • Top Performing Online Slot – 88 Fortunes
  • Best New Online Slot – Quick Hit Ultra Pays Sun Dragon
  • Top Social Casino Company – SciPlay

Gaming Intelligence Hot 50

  • Tim Bucher, Chief Product Officer
  • Phil Horne, Chief Executive Officer Gaming

Gaming Intelligence Awards

  • Supplier Innovation of the Year – SG Vision

International Gaming Awards

  • US Gaming Company of the Year

Global Gaming Awards ICE London

  • Retail Supplier of the Year

EGR Nordics

  • Sports Betting Supplier of the Year

Technology Association of Georgia

  • Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies in GA – OpenSports

​Institutional Investor 2020 All-America Executive Team

  • Scientific Games listed among the top 80 Most Honored Midcap & Smallcap Companies
  • 2020 All-America Executive Team – Consumer: Gaming & Lodging
    • #1 Best IR Team: Scientific Games
    • #1 Best CFO: Michael Quartieri
    • #1 Best IR Professional: Robert Shore
    • #2 Best CEO: Barry Cottle
    • #2 Best in ESG/SRI Metrics: Scientific Games
    • #3 Best Investor Relations Program: Scientific Games
    • #3 Best in Corporate Governance: Scientific Games

SBC Awards

  • Standalone Platform Provider of the Year – Scientific Games

TalentDesk 2019 Best Companies

  • Quality Assurance Jobs – Reno, NV

Global Gaming Business Awards

  • Digital Product of the Year – Open Sports

Global Gaming Business Gaming & Technology Awards

  • Best Interactive Product – Open Gaming System (OGS) and Open Platform System (OPS)

Georgia Manufacturing Alliance

  • People of Manufacturing Award for Operational Excellence

TAG Southeastern Software Association Impact Awards

  • “Emerging Mega Trend” finalist – Scientific Games

Casino Player

  • Favorite Theme Games
    • #1 – MONOPOLY
    • #2 – THE WIZARD OF OZ
    • #3 – JAMES BOND: CASINO ROYALE
  • Reel Slot
    • #1 – 88 Fortunes

2019 Gaming Guide Best Slot Awards

  • Best Penny Slot – Dancing Drums
  • Best Video Slot (2nd place) – Dancing Drums

EGR B2B Awards

  • Platform of the Year (iGaming)

G2E Asia Awards

  • Best Electronic Gaming Solution (Slot & ETGs) – Jin Ji Bao Xi

Walmart Services Division

  • 2019 Supplier of the Year, Product – PlayCentral® 54

Eilers & Krejcik Slot Awards 

  • Top Performing Core Video Reel Game – Dancing Drums
  • Top Performing Core Mechanic Reel Game – 88 Fortunes
  • Top Performing New Mechanic Reel Core Game – Quick Hit Triple Blazing 7’s Super Wheel
  • Top Performing New Cabinet – TwinStar J43
  • Best Use of Land Based Content in a Social Slot Game

Gaming Intelligence Awards

  • Lottery Supplier of the Year
  • Hot 50 Executives – Barry Cottle, CEO and President, Dylan Slaney, SVP Casino for Digital, Cameron Garrett, VP of Analytics and Insights, Lottery Group

Technology Association of Georgia

  • Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies in GA

SBC Awards

  • Standalone Sportsbook Platform Provider of the Year
  • Best Live Betting Product – OpenBet

Sands Supplier Excellence Awards (China)

  • Sands Supplier Excellence Award for Innovation

 Business Awards of Macau

  • Most Valuable Brand – Scientific Games Corporation

 Macau Gaming Show

  • Best Game Theme – Super Flower of Riches

 Global Gaming Awards

  • Land-Based Industry Supplier of the Year
  • Digital Industry Supplier of the Year: SG Digital  
  • Digital Product of the Year: Open Bet

 Gaming and Technology Awards

  • Best Interactive Product: OpenBet

 Gaming Hall of Fame

  • Dick Haddrill, Vice Chairman of Board of Directors

 Jens Halle Memorial Award from Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers

  • Gavin Isaacs, Vice Chairman of Board of Directors

 Global Gaming Business Emerging Leaders of Gaming’s 40 Under 40

  • Jamie Knight, Senior Game Producer

 North American State and Provincial Lotteries

  • Best New Instant Game: DC Lottery’s Neighborhoods produced by SG

 Lottery Hall of Fame

  • Chuck Kline, Senior Vice President of Lottery Licensing

 EGR Italy

  • Mobile Supplier

 G2E Asia Awards

  • Best Industry Rising Stars: Matthew Alan Righton
  • Best Electronic Gaming Solution (Slots and ETGs): Duo Fu Duo Cai

 Gaming Intelligence Awards

  • Lottery Supplier of the Year
  • Social Casino Supplier of the Year
  • Supplier Innovation of the Year:  ONEVoice™

 Gaming Intelligence HOT50

  • Matt Davey
  • Jason Wallbridge
  • Pat McHugh

 Business in Excellence Awards (Forsyth County, Georgia)

  • Business of the Year

 Communitas Awards

  • Green Initiatives: Scientific Games’ Global Sustainability Initiatives
  • Making a Difference: Scientific Games’ Humanitarian Relief Effort

 




Orlando gets ‘future-ready’ with its first smart city strategy

Orlando, Florida, has launched its first-ever smart city strategy to “guide [its] efforts to be a centre of innovation, technological advancement and resilience”.

The Future-Ready City Plan has been presented – via a virtual meeting room – for additional feedback from residents and will be taken to City Council for approval next month.

It includes measures to close the digital divide, ensure resilience for all citizens and prepare the way for future mobility systems.

Orlando has already run several smart city initiatives. In 2017, it was named an autonomous vehicle (AV) proving ground by the US Department of Transportation. The city also has an open data portal and launched a “digital city hall” to improve the efficiency of services for citizens. It is targeting getting all of its energy from clean sources by 2050.

“We wanted to step back and create a more comprehensive plan as we move forward with some of these innovative approaches,” Michael Hess, Director of Future Ready, City of Orlando, told Cities Today. “We also really wanted to reach out to our community.”

Creating the plan

To create the roadmap, the city partnered with VHB and a group of other local consultants. It engaged internal stakeholders, the business community, educational partners, utility providers, non-profits and residents in the process.

Several “foundational elements” underpin the plan, including transparency, collaboration, security, resilience and prosperity for all. The strategy has then been organised into seven pillars: connectivity, energy, health and safety, materials, mobility, placemaking and water.

Hess said: “A lot of people hear smart city and they instantly jump to technology. To me, that’s not the right approach. If it’s technology-led, you might end up with a [lot] of technology that your community doesn’t even want. For us, the key thing is, it has to start with community engagement.”

Following roundtables, public meetings and workshops and an online survey, community priorities emerged around connectivity and resilience, Hess said, and these are among the short-term strategies outlined in the plan.

As well as providing  immediate relief through Wi-Fi hotspots and learning pods at community centres and exploring ideas such as a tablet loan programme, an initial focus will be defining the digital divide. This includes partnering with an Internet speed test company and using the data to target areas which have slow speeds, or where Internet speed tests are not being run – and therefore probably don’t have broadband.

In terms of resilience, Hess noted: “We are a hurricane-prone climate but not every person can afford to have a back-up generator and to stock up on food. That sparked the [conversation] around equitable resilience and how we can start to provide community assets to make sure that everyone has additional resiliency built-in for the hurricanes and other events that come our way.”

Orlando is looking to convert some of its community centres into resilience hubs, where residents can go to access connectivity, power, food and other resources in case of emergencies.

Future-ready

Other actionable short-term strategies, which are all budgeted for, Hess said, include developing a digital twin, implementing an integrated public alert and warning system, installing more smart IoT systems into buildings, and setting up a food recovery network. Orlando will also explore urban air mobility and the operation of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) city taxis.

Hess said: “This points to one of the reasons why we like the term ‘future-ready’. These technologies are coming: how are we going to prepare for that?”

He added: “If you think back to when Uber all of a sudden showed up in cities, most cities just weren’t ready.” The city will explore identifying appropriate take-off and landing spots, and collaboration with urban air mobility companies and local businesses.

Longer-term plans include deploying fast electric vehicle charging infrastructure, digital kerbside management, expanding fibre infrastructure, air quality initiatives, a single payment scheme for transportation, an energy microgrid, smart street lighting and more.




What is a digital twin and what is it for?

The virtual replica of a real product, service or system can help anticipate potential issues and curb risks by testing new functionalities before rolling them out.

According to a number of consulting firms, in recent years, the modeling of digital twins has crystallized to become one of the most promising technological trends.  But what exactly is a digital twin? Broadly speaking, a digital twin is a virtual rendering of a product, service or process, which is capable of simulating the behavior of its physical counterpart, whose reactions under specific scenarios can be monitored and analyzed to improve its performance and efficiency.

By replicating the structure and the information handled by the actual object, the digital twin can be used for running risk-free virtual trials and tests, a feature that is particularly beneficial in manufacturing processes.  In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2021, half of large industrial companies will use digital twins, resulting in those organizations gaining a 10% improvement in effectiveness.

Michael Grieves, a computer engineer at University of Michigan first introduced the use of the term digital twin in the Industry 4.0 in 2003, at his Executive Course on Product Lifecycle Management. The term, though, was coined in the 1980s by NASA engineers. During that decade, the US space agency began using virtual simulations to predict the behavior of space shuttles or equipment, with the aim of ensuring the viability of certain missions and the physical integrity of astronauts.  Today, as technologies such as big data, cloud computing, and the internet of things (IoT), reach critical mass and become more easily available, an increasing number of organizations and sectors are being able to start modeling their own product’s digital twins.

Main benefits

Merging the physical and virtual worlds, digital twins enable the performance of in-depth information analyses, based on which – and leveraging big data, IoT and AI solutions – it is now possible to thoroughly control systems to detect and remedy potential issues, prevent Downtime, test new business opportunities, plan future scenarios through simulations and customize production based on customer requirements.

By having a virtual replica, it is now possible to immediately gather ‘feedback’ about the activity in progress and apply eventual corrective measures in record time.  For this reason, digital twins are particularly useful for the maintenance of connected machines and equipment units that generate and analyze large volumes of data.

How do they work?

To work with this technology, the first step is to develop solutions capable of collecting the information generated by the different components of the physical element. This requires fitting out sensors and other devices capable of collecting data on the status of the process, product or service in real time.  In turn, these physical components must be connected to a cloud-based system, capable of receiving and processing all the information it gathers, in addition to comparing it against other contextual parameters. From there, it is already possible to virtually replicate the process, product or service and tweak it to try out any changes, which will only be applied physically once their success in the digital environment has been proven.

In order to facilitate the implementation of a digital twin, Gartner has singled out the four pillars that will help companies overcome some of the challenges posed by this type of projects:

  1. Establish standardized approaches to modeling
  2. Involve the entire product value chain
  3. Ensure access to multiple sources for data collection
  4. Ensure long-term access to models and their evolution

Once a virtual representation is rendered, it allows expediting innovation processes inside the organization, following a model that keeps gaining traction in the age of the Industry 4.0.




What Can Gamification Bring to the Enterprise?

Gamification increases employee happiness and motivation when applied to learning and training and increases customer engagement and awareness when it’s used in marketing. So what exactly is it?

Gamification uses principles and elements of game design in conjunction with non-game activities such as learning and marketing. According to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, games facilitate a disposition toward collaboration, problem-solving, communication, experimentation and exploration of identities. These attributes promote success in a rapidly changing information-based culture, and contribute value to organizations that use gamification as part of the learning process. 

Here are some examples of gamification concepts and how they enhance enterprise learning programs and customer engagement.

Gaming Strategies for Learning

Gaming principles such as challenges, competition, rewards and personalization keep employees engaged and learning. The end result is experience, knowledge and the skills needed to solve real-life challenges that occur in an enterprise business.

According to Richard Ryan’s and Edward Deci’s Self-Determination Theory, human behavior is driven by the need for competence, autonomy and relatedness. Gaming fulfills those needs. Learners gain competence through the mastery of game challenges and what is called flow, a state of concentration or complete absorption. Autonomy is gained through the fact that games are usually voluntary, and players have control of gameplay. Relatedness is gained through interaction and competition with other gamers.

The challenge is to create a game that is challenging but not so difficult that it becomes taxing or boring. It also has to be engaging through the use of a point or level system, enticing graphics, the ability to compete and interact with others, and some type of reward or achievement system.

James Hadley, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Bristol, UK-based Immersive Labs, said that gamification has several benefits for skills development within cybersecurity. “At the heart of this is the need to build adaptability into a company’s front-line human assets,” he said. “Attackers never use the same techniques twice, so it is pointless to teach people to address fixed problems.” 

Improved Skills Through Gaming

Gamification helps people learn to solve problems and is a perfect fit for creative minds, Hadley said. That’s true of his industry, cybersecurity.

“Typically, these people are creative, and don’t like to be told what to do,” he said. “They want to solve problems on their own. For this reason, games are much better than static training, where people switch off and stop engaging.”

Cybersecurity professionals need to develop the ability to think on their feet and adapt quickly, often in a stressful environment. “This is why gamification is crucial,” said Hadley. “By presenting people with problems they can solve themselves in the form of games, they develop critical thinking and problem-solving. The more they do this, the better they get. It is like training a muscle.”

Shenzen, China-based Tencent, the largest gaming company in the world, reported net income of $13.5 billion in 2019, largely through the sale of mobile games. Although well known for its part ownership of Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Battlestate Games, the company has also invested in “serious games” for education, science, health and other industries.

One example of a serious game is Sea Hero Quest from Glitchers, a British video game company, that was designed to help in the fight against dementia. When it is played for two minutes, the equivalent of five hours of lab-based research data is generated.

Tencent will be releasing similar games across five categories: traditional culture, educational knowledge, science and engineering, popular science and parent-child interaction. Although the games are designed to help solve real world issues, Tencent will use the data produced to improve and grow its services.

Gamified Learning Is Socially Distanced Learning

Gamification is not new to the U.S. Army and Marines. Both branches of the U.S. military have been using it to train soldiers since 1992 when Lockheed Martin developed the Close Combat Tactical Trainer (CCTT). CCTT integrates all of the aspects of combat vehicle operations to acclimatize soldiers to the scenarios they are likely to face on the battlefield. It enables units to train in tactics, doctrine, weapons systems, mission planning and rehearsals. The CCTT is described as immersive simulated training, designed to help individuals become highly skilled through the use of virtual, collective and gamified training.

The Army has been using games to provide training and maintain the skills of its soldiers during the pandemic and associated social distancing requirements. According to the Army, the Tankers of D Troop, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division realized that many soldiers are avid gamers and selected games most suitable for their needs, which in this case revolved around tank crew operations. By combining games with a free gaming voice app, they were able to allow team leaders to use voice commands with their troops, just as they would in a simulator or real-life scenario.

According to the Army report, troop commander Capt. Mike Manougian said the decision to use gaming for training has helped tankers better understand the tactical decision-making of their leaders. Sgt. David Ose, a section leader with 1st Platoon, said it helps younger soldiers get a better idea of the bigger picture and enables them to understand the reasons behind what they do.

What Gaming Companies Have Learned About Motivation

According to a study of more than 3,000 gamers conducted by academic researchers in Hungary, there are seven motivational factors for online gaming: social, escape, competition, coping, skill development, fantasy and recreation.

Games provide players with degrees of interactivity that range from total freedom to tightly scripted, according to a research paper from Julia Brich at Ulm University entitled “Motivational Game Design Factors In Player-Game Adaptivity.” Freedom of control can increase a player’s perceived autonomy while a more restricted experience may be better for delivering meaningful stories.

It’s important to consider player interests before designing. According to Brich, for serious games, a player’s intent or motivation can initially be either to play the game or to use it as a learning tool. This intent affects the way the game should present itself and its contents which has an effect on motivation.

“One of the best ways to engage workers is to harness their innate competitive nature with gamification techniques,” said Peter Schnorbach, senior director of product management at Atlanta-based Manhattan Associates. “With gamification programs, as achievement increases, employees receive positive reinforcement through awards such as digital badges, medals and milestone markers.” 

Gamification helps keep employees engaged, focused and motivated, and can foster a more interactive and compelling workplace, he said. “Virtual rewards are given instantly, connections with colleagues are improved and seemingly mundane tasks are suddenly interactive and competitive, which boosts overall performance. Ultimately, gamification improves employee experiences, leaving workers more engaged and happier in their roles, thus reducing churn and improving productivity in any enterprise.”

Enhance Collaboration, Communication and Productivity

There have been several studies on the effectiveness of gamified learning to enhance collaboration and communication skills, as well as to increase productivity. Results indicate that gamification increases collaboration, course communication efficiency and reduced response times. 

Discord, a streaming and voice, video and text communication service with more than 100 million monthly active users, was created to solve one problem: how to communicate with friends around the world while playing games online. The founders of Discord, Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy, knew that gamers like to communicate with each other while they play games. The service, which was created in 2015, can now boast of 13.5 million active servers per week and 4 billion server conversation minutes daily.

The gaming industry has long suspected that video games can increase productivity. A 2019 study by four information systems professors from Brigham Young University showed that newly formed work teams experienced a 20% increase in productivity on subsequent tasks after playing video games together for only 45 minutes.




What are Smart Cities and What Challenges do they Face?

Technologies such as 5G and IoT will help to drive the cities of the future, making them intelligent, react to real-time events, and improve well being amongst its citizens. What are smart cities, what technologies do they rely on, and what challenges do smart cities face?

What are Smart Cities?

Smart Cities are cities which integrate modern technology solutions to monitor, respond, and improve many aspects of city life including traffic, air pollution, street lights, public networks, safety, and improve city-wide services. While many cities around the world are quickly integrating different technologies, smart cities are still a concept as opposed to reality, but this does not need to be the case as current technology solutions are widely available.

What technologies will Smart Cities be reliant on?

As smart cities are mostly concerned with data gathering, IoT will be a major player. IoT devices placed around a city allow for the monitoring of many environmental readings, including temperature, humidity, air pressure, air pollution, and the presence of people or cars. Air pollution sensors will allow for smart cities to track which areas are mostly affected by pollution. Thus intelligent traffic control systems can redirect cars along other roads to ease the pollution levels in specific areas. The monitoring of cars and people (i.e. their presence or lack thereof), can allow for major energy savings by turning off street light and services in empty areas. This also helps to reduce the overall levels of light pollution as well as help with reducing overall CO2 emissions.

Future autonomous cars, combined with the vast number of IoT devices, will require a network which can handle large amounts of traffic as well as many thousands of simultaneous connections. While many different network solutions exist, it is most likely that such a system would utilise a single, common network for all devices. Thus, it makes sense for smart cities to utilise 5G networks as these are designed with MIMO antenna with beam-forming, can provide high download speeds, and provide low latency connections which are ideal for applications requiring cloud computational services.

The use of such a network may also allow for smart cities to not only deploy a large number of sensors, but it could also be used to monitor and track vehicles and smart devices. This can allow for advanced traffic monitoring as well as allow for intelligent systems to decide where best to direct services.

IoT devices and a cellular high-speed network allow for large amounts of data to be gathered, but all of that data is useless if it cannot be processed intelligently.

Therefore, smart cities will take advantage of AI systems that can intelligently process the data to make decisions on how best to improve city conditions.

For example, traffic monitoring systems combined with air pollution sensors can allow an AI system to reroute traffic away from areas that are experiencing heavy pollution.

An AI system can also be used to dynamically adjust 5G networking resources to improve download speeds in highly congested areas, thus improving network performance for users.

What challenges will Smart Cities face?

Two major challenges faced by Smart Cities will be security and privacy. Developing a city which can be controlled from a central system raises serious questions on security. With so many thousands of devices scattered across a city, all it would take is for a single sensor to be attacked to provide an entry point for an attacker. From there, the attacker could attempt to gain entry into the central control system, which may be able to change traffic systems, street lights, railway barriers, and even emergency services.

Privacy will also be a major concern for those living in smart cities. A city which is heavily monitored by IoT sensors will most likely be littered with camera systems.

The use of network tracking systems may also allow for individual citizens and vehicles to be tracked by location. Thus, an attacker who gains entry into the central control system may be able to track down an individual with malicious intent.

Giving such power to authority may also cause an issue with some citizens, and allowing authority such power may lead to abuse of power.

Of course, smart cities will also be troubled by infrastructure costs and implementation. A city that is upgraded with hardware may take several years to implement, and this may come at a major cost to the taxpayer. On top of that, once installed, the system may find itself quickly outdated, thus requiring the infrastructure to be upgraded.

Smart cities that deploy IoT technologies may need to consider software-defined systems that allow for upgrades without needing to change the fundamental hardware.




Global game developers see growth opportunity in ‘world no. 1’ Chinese market

The Chinese market for video games, estimated to be the largest globally, is set to further expand in terms of size and quality, according to industry players who met at Asia’s biggest gaming fair, the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference, better known as ChinaJoy, in Shanghai.

Many gaming companies have said the COVID-19 pandemic caused challenges, but also offered an opportunity to win fans. As more global players aim to expand their market share in China by introducing new games, many say adding Chinese classics is key to design and localization.

French video game developer Ubisoft said that it noted an “increase in playtime” during the recent COVID-19 lockdown period especially among Chinese players, and expressed optimism in the further growth of the market.

“I think the Chinese gaming market is the number one market in the world. It has been increasing a lot in the last few years,” Jean-Francois Vallee, studio manager of Ubisoft China told CGTN at the fair.

China is said to be the largest games market currently, with revenue estimated to reach 41 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, followed closely by the U.S at 37 billion U.S. dollars, according to estimates by games and esports analytics firm Newzoo. The total game industry revenue from consumers will reach 159.3 billion U.S. dollars, a 9.3 percent increase year on year, Newzoo predicts.

The firm also said that 2.69 billion people will play video games this year (from 7.8 billion global population), with over half of those in the Asia-Pacific region.

Vallee said that gamers in China now have access to very high quality games, and this will be boosted by 5G technology and the availability of mainstream consoles like the Nintendo Switch, which received its own Chinese version after working with Tencent in December last year.

He also said that Ubisoft, which has been in China for over 23 years, aims to tap into the growing market and now has over 1,000 staff in Shanghai and Chengdu.

“Really our strategy is to leverage Ubisoft’s high quality IPs and try to infuse that with Chinese cultures like ‘Journey to the West’,” he said, referring to the Ubisoft Rabbids: Adventure Party for Switch launched last year.

The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association says games developed by Chinese companies earned nearly 7.6 billion US dollars from overseas markets last year, up 36 percent annually. The United States, Japan, and South Korea are the three top markets, with the U.S. and Japan together accounting for more than half.

Liu Zhipeng, assistant general manager of Market Platform Department of Tencent IEG, said they’ve brought out around 30 new games. But because of the pandemic, they’ve moved esports games online, and have had to delay some of their game launches.

With over 660 million gamers, roughly twice the population of the U.S., China has become the world’s largest mobile games market.

Meanwhile, other developers also told CGTN that games with Chinese characteristics have not only been a large hit in China, but game developers are even taking games with Chinese elements to the world.

Case in point, China-based developer Perfect World’s Chinese-themed games was created by a group of French developers. And the game, released three years ago, now has 80 percent of its players outside the Chinese mainland.

“We are using different ways, using different eyes to look at Chinese culture, not only us, but utilizing different people to interpret this culture and utilize the characters in this culture,” said Robert H.Xiao, CEO of Perfect World.

“We have been in presence from outside China for the past 12 years. But still we are developing a different understanding of different people from different cultural backgrounds. So the key is to blend Chinese culture with whatever culture or behavior they have,” added Xiao.

The Shanghai Online Game Association went as far as saying that Chinese-elements are a factor for worldwide popularity of a game in recent years.

“The more Chinese elements a game involves, the more popular it will become worldwide. That has been proven in many fields. For example, some films and animations with Chinese characteristics have gained great market performance globally. The style can be very Chinese, but the story telling should be very international,” said Shanghai Online Game Association secretary general Han Shuai.

The China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference 2020 showcased over 400 exhibitors with games, devices and experiences.

Fuente: https://news.cgtn.com




15 MOST COMMON ENGLISH IDIOMS AND PHRASES

Every language has its own idioms and expression and the English language has plenty of phrases that is useful to learn. Idioms are words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally and usually have a cultural meaning behind them.

Most of the English idioms you hear are offering advice’s but also contain some underlying principles and values. You have probably heard some of them, especially in TV-shows and movies, and wondered why you can’t understand these idioms even though you fully understand the words.

To learn English idioms and expression it can take some time but there are some of them that are more popular than others that will come handy if you know them.

When you learn English idioms and phrases you will sound more confident especially when you speak with native English speakers. If you can’t understand idioms you will not be able to understand the context. That is why we have gathered some of the most common English idioms and phrases so you will understand the true meaning of them.

Here are the most common English idioms and phrases that will enrich your English vocabulary and make you sound like a native speaker. Now with even more idioms and phrases added!

1. ‘The best of both worlds’ – means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.
“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”

2. ‘Speak of the devil’ – this means that the person you’re just talking about actually appears at that moment.
“Hi Tom, speak of the devil, I was just telling Sara about your new car.”

3. ‘See eye to eye’ – this means agreeing with someone.
“They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.”

4. ‘Once in a blue moon’ – an event that happens infrequently.
“I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.”

5. ‘When pigs fly’ – something that will never happen.
“When pigs fly she’ll tidy up her room.”

6. ‘To cost an arm and a leg’– something is very expensive.
“Fuel these days costs and arm and a leg.”

7. ‘A piece of cake’– something is very easy.
“The English test was a piece of cake.”

8. ‘Let the cat out of the bag’ – to accidentally reveal a secret.
“I let the cat out of the bag about their wedding plans.”

9. ‘To feel under the weather’ – to not feel well.
“I’m really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.”

10. ‘To kill two birds with one stone’ – to solve two problems at once.
“By taking my dad on holiday, I killed two birds with one stone. I got to go away but also spend time with him.”

11. ‘To cut corners’ – to do something badly or cheaply.
“They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.”

12. ‘To add insult to injury’ – to make a situation worse.
“To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.”

13. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ – to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance.
“I thought this no-brand bread would be horrible; turns out you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

14. ‘Break a leg’ – means ‘good luck’ (often said to actors before they go on stage).
“Break a leg Sam, I’m sure your performance will be great.”

15. ‘To hit the nail on the head’ – to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”

16. ‘A blessing in disguise’ – An misfortune that eventually results in something good happening later on.

17. ‘Call it a day’ – Stop working on something

18. ‘Let someone off the hook’ – To allow someone, who have been caught, to not be punished.

19. ‘No pain no gain’ – You have to work hard for something you want.

20. ‘Bite the bullet’ – Decide to do something unpleasant that you have avoiding doing.

21. ‘Getting a taste of your own medicine’ – Being treated the same unpleasant way you have treated others.

22. ‘Giving someone the cold shoulder’ – To ignore someone.

23. ‘The last straw’ – The final source of irritation for someone to finally lose patience.

24. ‘The elephant in the room’ – matter or problem that is obvious of great importance but that is not discussed openly.

25. ‘Stealing someones thunder’ – Taking credit for someone else achievements.




READING BRAILLE ALOUD

The Snail is a Braille reader that works smooth as silk on a surface that’s predictably bumpy! It can record the text as it reads for future playback and it even syncs with a Bluetooth headset so the visually impaired can listen to the book without disturbing others.

Features like kinetic recharging and pressure sensitive reading make it the ideal companion for a bookworm!

Designer: Wonkook Lee

 




Glossary: Top 35 IoT Terms You Need to Know

Whether you’re at work, at home, off on vacation, or simply out on the town doing some shopping, you can’t escape the Internet of Things. For those still not in the know, the Internet of Things is a system of connectivity that takes computer devices, digital technology, objects, and people, and binds them into a network of continually streaming information.

With the Internet of Things, everyday objects like cars, wearable tech, household appliances, even dog collars, can be equipped with sensors and an Internet connection. This setup enables the item in question to send and receive data, which can then be used to collect data that can, in turn, be used to improve products and services.

The Internet of Things is growing daily, insinuating itself in every aspect of our lives. According to Forbes, the number of cellular IoT connections is expected to reach 3.5 billion by 2023!

With a field so rich in potential, IT professionals must be well-versed in IoT, and that includes its terminology. That’s why we now present the top 35 IoT terms for your information and edification.

IoT Terms

  1. 6LoWPAN

    A fusion of IPv6 (the current Internet protocol), and Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks, it permits power-constrained IoT devices to access the TCP/IP Internet directly. This means that even the smallest and weakest IoT devices can have connectivity.

  2. Advanced Encryption Standards

    This is an electronic data encryption specification that has been the standard for IoT device transport layer security since 2001.

  3. Application Programming Interface

    A method of expediting communication between computers and hardware/software platforms.

  4. Beacon Technology

    This permits small network transmitters to interact with systems utilizing low-power Bluetooth. Apple’s version is called iBeacon.

  5. Big Data

    Large volumes of information, both structured and unstructured, collected from a massive number of sources and delivered at extremely rapid speed. This information is raw data that is used by analysts to devise better-informed strategies for businesses and other organizations. IoT is a huge source for Big Data.

  6. Bluetooth Low Energy

    A wireless, personal-area network characterized by lower power usage and a limited range for data transmission. It’s also called Bluetooth 4.0.

  7. Cloud Computing

    Remote servers connected via a network and used for data storage, processing, and management, instead of relying on a local, in-house physical server.

  8. Embedded Software

    The computer software that controls hardware devices and systems that are not usually considered computers, like a smart refrigerator, for instance.

  9. Firmware-Over-The-Air

    Also known as FOTA, this technology allows the remote wireless installation, repair, and upgrading of software and services on mobile devices.

  10. Gateway

    This is any device that gathers information from various network points and sends that information on to another network.

  11. Global Navigation Satellite System

    The GNSS is any satellite navigation system that offers autonomous geo-spatial positioning, timing, and navigation, either by region or globally.

  12. Industrial IoT

    This is the means for machines and industrial applications to have real-time communication with each other (M2M). This will probably be what brings SkyNet online.

  13. Link Budget

    This is a telecommunication system jargon that describes an accounting of all of the gains and losses going from a transmitter, passing through the medium, and ending up at the receiver. 

  14. Low-Power Wide-Area

    A network offering a low range and low power consumption, used primarily for M2M communications.

  15. Low-Power Wireless Sensor Network

    A collection of scattered, independent devices that measure environmental or physical conditions, all without significant power consumption.

  16. Lora Protocol

    A long-range digital wireless communication technique to facilitate IoT and M2M communications.

  17. LTE-M

    A more power-efficient standard for machine communications.

  18. Machine-to-Machine

    Also known as M2M for short, it’s the process of machines or other connected devices communicating with each other without human intervention.

  19. Media Access Control

    A data link layer (DLL) sublayer transmits data packets to and from a network interface card.

  20. Mesh Network

    A network system where devices transmit their data while also serving as relays to other nodes.

  21. Mobile IoT

    Low power, wide area devices used in conjunction with mobile devices interfacing with IoT networks.

  22. NB-IoT

    This stands for Narrow Band IoT and is used as a convenient, cost-effective means of expanding IoT into a whole new series of devices and everyday household items. This is a low-power, wide-area technology, and will be instrumental in increasing the scope of IoT in the years to come.

  23. Near-Field Communication

    Otherwise known as NFC, it permits two-way communication between closely located endpoints. It’s a short-range, low-power, low-speed form of radio communication.

  24. Quality of Service

    A measurement of how well a network supports IT connectivity. This covers elements such as transmission delays, availability of connections, and data loss.

  25. Radio Frequency Identification

    Commonly called RFID tags, uses electromagnetic coupling and radio frequencies to identify people and things. It has a limited range and data transmission capabilities. The number bibs that runners use in road races, for instance, are equipped with RFID tags to confirm they passed certain course checkpoints.

  26. RF Geolocation

    Otherwise known as using a radio transceiver to find another radio transceiver. The classic example of this is the ever-popular GPS, found in many models of cars.

  27. Repeater

    A device used to extend network range by receiving a digital signal and re-transmitting it.

  28. Sensor/Sensor Network

    A device or group of devices that monitor and collect environmental data from a variety of locations in network range.

  29. Smart Meter

    A device used by utility companies to collect information about energy consumption (e.g., electricity, natural gas, water), and transmit the data back to the company or even to the consumer.

  30. Software-Defined Network

    A network method that reassigns information flow control from hardware in favor of a software controller.

  31. Telematics

    A computer system designed for long-distance data transmissions, the most ubiquitous example being GPS and satellite radio tech installed in automobiles.

  32. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

    Better known as TCP/IP, this is the basic protocol suite for all Internet and private network communications and connections.

  33. Ultra-Wide Band

    The UWB is a weak signal sent over a wide frequency and is employed mostly as a localizing signal and distance measurement.

  34. Wearable

    Devices were worn by people and equipped with sensors, monitors, and an Internet connection to gather data regarding the wearer’s activity, life, and environment (e.g., Apple Watch, Fitbit).

  35. Zigbee/Z-Wave

    Used for personal-area networks (PAN), this is a short-range, low-power standard employed for control and sensing, and can also be used to create a more extended range, energy-efficient, low data transfer rate networks.