29 September 2008South African cellular operator Vodacom has launched three new Vodacom Speaking Phones to make cellular communication accessible to people who are blind or partially sighted.“Vodacom is proud to be the first operator in South Africa to increase accessibility to cellular communication products and services in line with our specific needs initiative launched in 2004,” Vodacom Group chief communications officer Dot Field said in a statement earlier this month.Text-to-speech software is loaded onto the Vodacom Speaking Phones that converts the information displayed on the cellphone screen to speech, including text messages and contacts.The software also enables the user to check other information, including battery life and signal strength. Speaking phones are available on Vodacom Contract-, Top Up- and Prepaid packages and are available at participating Vodacom approved outlets.“Vodacom Speaking Phone users will not pay extra for the text-to-speech software as Vodacom has subsidised this cost,” said Field.Specific needsAccording to the statement, the focus of the specific needs initiative was accessibility: access to the company, access to information and access to Vodacom’s products and services for all.Karen Smit, a senior specialist for specific needs and employment equity at Vodacom Group and a disabled Vodacom employee herself, highlighted the need for such products and services within the cellular industry:“We are proud to be the pioneers of this service in South Africa, and on the continent as a whole,” she said. “At Vodacom, accessibility is always top of mind and as a disabled person I understand how important independence, accessibility and mobility is.”Vodacom will also continue to offer the “voice bill” service which allows visually impaired or blind customers access to their itemised billing electronically through reader software on their computers.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
16 July 2014 The government will establish 12 more dedicated sexual offences courts in the 2014/15 financial year, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha told a media briefing ahead of his department’s budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday. The plan, Masutha said, was to establish 106 sexual offences courts over a period of 10 years, as part of the country’s drive to combat crimes against women and children. The concept of sexual offences courts was introduced in South Africa in 1993, and by the end of 2005 there were 74 sexual offences courts countrywide. The special courts were phased out in the years following because of budget constraints, but were reintroduced in August 2013. Since then, 22 such courts have been established. “Through sexual offences courts, we are able to provide specialised victim-support services, improve the effectiveness of witnesses in the execution of their role in court, reduce the turnaround time in the finalisation of sexual offences matters, and improve the conviction rates,” Masutha said. The courts feature specially trained officials, procedures and equipment to reduce the chance of secondary trauma for victims. There is a proper screening process to identify cases that fall within the sexual offences category; a special room where victims will testify; a private waiting room for adult witnesses; and a private waiting room for child witnesses and victim support services. The courts also include special equipment to enable victims to identify the accused from the testifying room when required to do so, as well as a designated court clerk and a court preparation programme for witnesses to prepare for court and to provide debriefing after they have testified. The Department of Justice and Correctional Services’s chief operating officer, Khotso Dewee, said R100-million had been allocated for the running of the sexual offences courts. On the issue of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, Masutha said his department, together with various Chapter 9 institutions and civil society organisations, had launched the National LGBTI Programme in April, in order to guide the government’s response to the growing victimisation of LGBTI people in the country. Source: SAnews.gov.za
Clayton Jacobs With the AR/VR sector attracting a significant amount of capital recently, the space has only begun to grow. Here’s a look at the 3 American AR/VR companies that received investment in August:ImmersvVenturebeat reported that Immersv raised $10.5m USD in a Series A for mobile advertising utilizing virtual reality as well as 360-degree mobile video. Immersv describes itself on its website as “…a virtual reality discovery and advertising platform, founded by the team that created the largest app distribution platform on Facebook and then again on iOS and Android.” This is the first public round of funding for the Los Angeles based company which a roster that isn’t kidding about its team’s experience. See also: What Facebook’s F8 AR/VR announcements mean for marketersMany of the team members at Immersv, including its co-founder and CEO Mihir Shah, are ex-employees of Tapjoy. Tapjoy is another U.S.-based company that provides monetization services for the largest advertisers and mobile app developers. Its services currently reach over 500 million users, so this team knows how to create something viral. The advertising space needs to constantly be changing their business models as the way people consume content is never stale. For the next way of VR content, look to Immersv for monetization.Sliver.tvTechcrunch reported that Sliver.tv raised $9.8m USD in Series A led by Danhua Capital to continue developing virtual reality viewing experiences for e-sports fans. According to Sliver.tv’s own website its primary product “is a platform to record, view, and stream top eSports games in fully immersive, 360° cinematic VR video”. Coincidentally, the Head of Product for Sliver.tv, Ryan Nichols, is actually the co-founder of Tapjoy, so he must be quite familiar with the folks over at Immersv. The platform allows viewers to be placed in the center of the action side-by-side with their favorite e-sports athletes, an experience that can’t be replicated nearly as simply with standard offline sports. Sliver.tv has been having a very successful year starting off with signing deals with ESL & Dreamhack, large organizers of e-sports tournaments in America and Europe, to be partnered for 14 full-scale events. Given that the two co-founders are Chinese along with Danhua Capital being a Chinese/American VC fund, it is possible that this newly raised money could be invested into a Chinese market expansion given it’s the largest one in the world for e-sports.MatterportPR Newswire reported that Matterport raised $5m USD in a strategic investment from Ericsson Ventures. This was by no means a growth round for Matterport as it has already raised over $60m USD in last four years after going through Y Combinator in Fall 2012. Matterport has created a platform that is designed to quickly understand 3D spaces and render a digital model that is viewable in 2D, 3D, mobile and VR. See also: Eye tracking in AR/VR — the promise and the perilsAccording to the PR Newswire report, over 550,000 spaces have been made into digital models accumulating a total of more than 220 million views from all around the world. Ericsson Ventures made the investment to work with Matterport in developing its next generation of products. These products would use its existing library of data and machine learning to create artificial intelligence that could potentially automatically design, correct, or create 3D models on its own according to Matterport CEO, Bill Brown. Unfortunately it is unknown whether any ex-Tapjoy employees work at Matterport or not. How AR and VR Will Enhance Customer Experience Tags:#AR#Augmented Reality#Immersv#Internet of thngs#IoT#Matterport#Sliver.tv#virtual reality#VR How a Modern Gaming Engine Can Supercharge Your… Few Industries will not be Transformed by AR an… Related Posts AR And VR: Which is More Important to Emerging …
England beat India by 6 wickets (D/L method) during the fifth and final ODI at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Friday. Score | PhotosThe win dashed Team India’s hopes of giving Rahul Dravid a winning farewell, who retired from ODIs after scoring 1089 runs in 344 ODIs.With this win hosts England have whitewashed India in both forms of game. They beat India 4-0 in the Tests and then capped it was a 3-0 win in the five-match ODI series. The first ODI was washed away and the fourth ended in a tie (D/L method).The Cardiff match too witnessed the Duckworth Lewis method coming into picture with the match affected by rains on three occasions – start of both occasion and midway during England innings.Put to bat, India scored 304/6, with Rahul Dravid, playing his last ODI, scoring a fine 69. But it was Virat Kolhi’s fast-paced century that was the highlight of the India innings followed by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 26-ball unbeaten 50.India openers Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel started the innings with caution and gradually upped the tempo. But their opening-wicket stand came to an end on the first ball of the 13th over. A Jade Dernbach ball took the top edge of Rahane’s bat and Steven Finn took a fine catch at third-man. He scored 26.Soon the other opener Parthiv departed. A Graeme Swann turner took the edge of his willow and Tim Bresnan snatched a neat catch at mid-on. Parthiv fell for 19 and India lost their second wicket on 57.advertisementSoon Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli batted on to increase the tempo and helped India reach past the 100-run mark. The duo continued batting and soon India were way past 200 with a run rate that was hovering close to six an over.Kohli went on to complete his sixth ODI century and it took him just 87 balls to reach the millstone. He hit eight fours and one six in the process.However, even as the fans were celebrating Kohli’s ton, the very next ball sent Dravid back on a Graeme Swann turner. The ball entered Dravid’s bat-pad gate and clipped his off stump. He fell for 69 and India lost their third wicket on 227/3. His 79-ball inning was decorated with four fours.Soon Kohli too headed towards the pavilion, falling in a way he wouldn’t have imagined. He nudged the ball off Swann and went ahead to take a single without realising that his backfoot had hit the wicket. Kohli scored 107 off 93 balls.Then left-handed batsman Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni combined to hike the run rate even as the English bowlers struggled to find an answer to their charge.It was not until the 49th over that Raina departed. The penultimate ball of Steven Finn’s over saw Raina attempt an untimely slog which was lapped up by Tim Bresnan at extra cover. He fell for 15 when the India total was 284/5.Ravindra Jadeja fell on the first ball of the last over and skipper Dhoni went on to complete his half-century as India posted a fine 304/6.England were given a revised target of 270 in 40 overs (D/L method) as the start of their innings was delayed by intermittent showers. However, the target was revised for a second time to 241 in 34 overs when the match was halted again during their innings.In reply, England got off to a not so impressive start losing their opener Craig Kieswetter early. A R. Vinay Kumar delivery trapped Kieswetter leg-before on 21.Kieswetter was a long way into the crease, but umpire Nigel Llong raised his finger and the batsman was seen walking back when the England total was 27.Post that fall however, the other opener – captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott started batting with resolve. But their effort came a cropper when the match was again halted and the target revised (241 off 340 overs).Post the rain break, the two went on with a fine partnership scoring 79 runs for the second wicket. Captain Cook scored 50 before falling to Kohli on 50 when the team total was 106. Trott went on to score a fine 63 hitting three fours and four over-the-fence shots before departing in 26th over of the innings off Jadeja’s ball.Spinner Jadeja did claim a wicket, but it was his lacklustre bowling that cost India heavily. He was belted across the tract by the English batsmen who scored 52 runs in the five over that he bowled.Finally Ravi Bopara, who had got out on nervous 90s in the last ODI, and young Jonny Bairstow, who led their team to victory putting on a unbeaten 75 runs for the fifth wicket.advertisementThe two turned the course of play with their impressive batting display which reduced the margin from almost two runs a ball to a run a ball and soon the runs were lesser than the number of balls remaining.While Bopara played is safe, rotating the strike nicely and dealing in ones and twos, it was Bairstow whose barrage of shots left Indian bowlers astray. He picked RP Singh and hit boundaries and sixes at will in his over and then repeated the task in Kohli’s over.Bairstow’s unbeaten 41 came off just 21 balls and included three huge sixes and one four. Bopara on the other hand scored a 36-ball 37 decorating his innings with three fours and one six.The two helped England reach the 241-run target with 10 balls and six wickets to spare.There was more disheartening news for India as Munaf Patel injured himself during play on Friday, while Praveen Kumar, India’s best bowler on tour, had to skip the match as he got injured during training on Thursday.