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Apple and SAP partner to help clients build their own iPhone business apps

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Business software maker SAP and Apple are teaming up to help clients develop their own mobile business applications using Apple’s machine-learning technology.

This will make it possible, with the help of augmented reality, to use iPhones or iPads for a range of business tasks, such as accurately stocking store shelves or machinery repairs.

Germany’s SAP partnered with Apple in 2016 to rebuild mobile apps for its existing product lines, including human resources and expense management, to run natively on Apple’s iOS operating system.

Native apps are developed specifically for the device’s hardware and software, meaning they run more smoothly than web or cloud-based apps designed to work across multiple platforms.

This alliance is now being expanded across SAP’s broader app portfolio, including areas such as procurement. It will also be possible to run the applications on Apple’s Mac computer range, the companies said in a joint statement.

Chief Executives Bill McDermott and Tim Cook, sharing a stage at SAP’s Sapphire annual U.S. user conference in Orlando, said Apple’s CORE ML technology would enable companies to create customized apps on SAP’s Leonardo platform.

“It’s come a long way and it has a lot further to go,” Cook said of the freedom that the technology creates for workers to do their jobs on the move.

“That is what all of us in total are trying to realize in our companies. And I think we are at the front end of that.”

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, is moving from running companies’ inner workings towards a more end user-focused approach, backed by its $8 billion takeover of Qualtrics, a U.S. firm specializing in tracking consumer sentiment.

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The Motivator

Instant camera translation in Google Translate is getting a lot better

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Google has just announced a handful of improvements for the real-time camera-based translation in the Google Translate app. In addition to supporting 60 new languages, you can now also translate between combinations that don’t include English. The app can also now automatically detect languages for you, so you don’t need to wonder what to select if you’re in a bilingual area, and the quality of the instant camera translations has been further improved via the magic of Neural Machine Translation.

Previously, Google Translate’s camera could only translate between English and another language, but with these changes it will work with many more combinations, allowing you to translate from 88 languages into over 100 others. And while automatic detection previously worked for written translations, the app didn’t support its use with the camera, graying out the option and spitting an error message if you tried.

Whatever update delivers these new features isn’t live for me just yet, though Google makes it sounds like these features are rolling out today, so try your own luck over on the Play Store.

Source: https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/07/10/instant-camera-translation-in-google-translate-is-getting-a-lot-better/

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The Motivator

How you lock your smartphone can reveal your age: UBC study

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Older smartphone users tend to rely more on their phones’ auto lock feature compared to younger users, a new UBC study has found. They also prefer using PINs over fingerprints to unlock their phones.

Researchers also found that older users are more likely to unlock their phones when they’re stationary, such as when working at a desk or sitting at home.

The study is the first to explore the link between age and smartphone use, says Konstantin Beznosov, an electrical and computer engineering professor at UBC who supervised the research.

“As researchers working to protect smartphones from unauthorized access, we need to first understand how users use their devices,” said Beznosov. “By tracking actual users during their daily interactions with their device, we now have real-world insights that can be used to inform future smartphone designs.”

Analysis also showed that older users used their phone less frequently than younger users. For every 10-year interval in age, there was a corresponding 25 per cent decrease in the number of user sessions. In other words, a 25-year-old might use their phone 20 times a day, but a 35-year-old might use it only 15 times.

The study tracked 134 volunteers, ranging from 19 to 63 years of age, through a custom app installed on their Android phones. For two consecutive months, the app collected data on lock and unlock events, choice of auto or manual lock and whether the phone was locked or unlocked while in motion. The app also recorded the duration of user sessions.

The study also found gender differences in authentication choices. As they age, men are much more likely to rely on auto locks, as opposed to manually locking their devices, compared to women.

In terms of overall use, women on average use their phone longer than men, with women in their 20s using their smartphones significantly longer than their male peers. However, the balance shifts with age, with men in their 50s logging longer usage sessions than women of the same age.

While the study didn’t look at the reasons for these behaviours, Beznosov says the findings can help smartphone companies design better products.

“Factors such as age should be considered when designing new smartphone authentication systems, and devices should allow users to pick the locking method that suits their needs and usage patterns,” he said, adding that future research should look into other demographic factors and groups of participants, and explore the factors involved in authentication decisions.

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The study was presented at last month’s CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Glasgow, Scotland.

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/uobc-hyl061919.php

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Tech News

3 VR Myths That Are Unreal

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Virtual reality (VR) has generated a lot of interest over the years — some good and some not so good. It uses computer technology to create simulated environments that allow users to feel as though they’re fully immersed — physically and mentally — in these compelling 3D spaces.

Not surprisingly, tech workers and other professionals who understand the ins and outs of technology have been among the first to dabble with VR software and hardware solutions. (For more on the hype surrounding VR, check out Tech’s Obsession With Virtual Reality.)

“I’m actually an early adopter,” says John Bruno, vice president of productmanagement at Elastic Path, an e-commerce company. “I’ve had a VR headset at home – PlayStation VR – for two years. I’ve also used other hardware setups to do everything from explore new destinations, consume educational content, build configurable products, and interact with a physical workspace.”

Bruno, who previously served as senior analyst at market research firm Forrester, says that the VR solutions available today are only a glimpse of what’ll be possible in the future.

But it’s precisely this future that Bruno alludes to that have many critics questioning whether the benefits of VR outweigh what they say are the possible negatives. No technology is perfect, and any technology can be misused or abused — and VR is no exception. This does not mean, however, that criticisms leveled against the technology hold any water — literally or virtually.

What follows is a look at three VR myths or misconceptions that don’t hold up to proper scrutiny.

Myth 1: VR Is a Passing Fad

According to Zion Market Research in a report early this year, the global VR market was worth $2.02 billion in 2016 and will be worth $26.89 billion by the end of the 2017-2022 forecast period. Looking at VR hardware and software for consumer and business applications, the research firm says that Oculus VR, Sony, HTC and Samsung Electronics are some of the key vendors of virtual reality worldwide. These players across the VR market are, it adds, focusing on innovation and on including advanced technologies in their existing products.

Dr. Hala ElAarag, who earned a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Central Florida and who works as a professor of computer science at Stetson University, says that the convergence of artificial intelligence and VR will change both in important ways. (One area where VR and AI intersect is wearables. Learn more in How AI Is Enhancing Wearables.)

“The merging of artificial intelligence and VR will revolutionize both fields and will be very important for [the] entertainment industry,” says ElAarag, also a senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

It will also help the hearing impaired by detecting sounds and the visually impaired by detecting objects. The wide spread of 5G will empower VR. The high speed and the low latency of 5G technology will enable computationally intensive applicationsto be executed in the cloud. This will also have a significant impact on the esportindustry.

Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise that VR has been on the receiving end of some pushback from different groups in society. After all, says Dr. Mehran Salehi, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyst with Southland Engineering, this isn’t the first time that a new technology has encountered opposition before eventually being widely accepted.

Salehi, who earned his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo, adds that negative sentiments surrounding VR will likely let up over time. In 10 years, for instance, VR could very well be the norm in the day-to-day lives of many people.

“My first experience in VR comes with the gaming industry,” he says.

I loved it. I was in a tech exhibition and they were showing a virtual reality setup … I loved it. I was like, “Wow this is amazing.” You go and by the time that you put on those, basically, glasses and the controller you really feel like you’re inside that environment and the way that you interact with the game changes a lot. After that, when I heard that VR is basically finding its way towards industry, I became more interested. I was like, “Oh, yeah, there are people developing code in that area.”

Myth 2: VR Is Just for Gamers & Tech Geeks

One research report shows that the size of the worldwide VR gaming segment is expected to climb to $45.09 billion by 2025. So growth is on the horizon, but it’s not just about gaming.

Bruno, for instance, highlights how VR could revolutionize the car buying experience in the future. While there are some people who love heading down to the dealership lot, looking at vehicles, and haggling to get a great deal, many don’t enjoy the process at all. But VR stands to make the entire process less overwhelming and more consumer friendly.

“VR doesn’t just flood the user with the sensation of being transported,” he says.

It floods the user with data. If you take the car purchasing process today, you identify a make and model you like and you then walk around a car lot to sit in different vehicles with different specs and trims. Imagine a VR experience of the future. Now if you want to see the difference between a black interior and a tan interior, instead of finding a different car with a potentially different exterior color, all of those options and others can change in front of you in real time.

And the benefits extend beyond dealership lots. VR technology will enable consumers to virtually pick up products, to spin the products around in their hands, and to examine every minute detail before making a purchasing decision.

Myth 3: VR Will Create Mindless Zombies Incapable of Living in the Real World

Will VR create a generation of people who are so removed from the real world that they can’t relate to, much less empathize with, other people? Quite the contrary, according to recent research. A study shows that research participants who took part in a VR experience focusing on losing a job and becoming homeless demonstrated stronger and more sustained empathy towards people who are homeless compared to people who simply read an article focused on homelessness. Other benefits of VR include, but are not limited to, boosting retention and recall, simplifying complicated issues and situations, and helping people with different learning styles.

VR — The Road from Here

While there is plenty of upside on the VR front, that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. A lot of the factors limiting the mass market appeal of VR are hardware related, notes Bruno. But he’s hopeful that time will sort everything out.

“If Moore’s law holds true, we’re not too far off from closing these gaps and building truly immersive experiences,” he says. “Today, VR is ideal for scenarios where the user can be stationary and where the cost of the real-world experience is exorbitant or simply not possible.”

Source: https://www.techopedia.com/3-vr-myths-that-are-unreal/2/33864

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