Posts Tagged ‘Software’

Lenovo Selects Hillcrest’s In-Air Pointing and Motion Control Software for New Smart TVs

April 23rd, 2014

Hillcrest Labs announced today that Lenovo’s new line of Smart TVs is using Hillcrest’s patented Freespace® in-air pointing and motion control software. Freespace enables point-and-click, gesture and motion control of Smart TVs through simple in-air movements of a remote control. Lenovo’s Freespace-enabled Smart TVs include the new S9 Smart TV that was unveiled on April 16 for sale across China.

Freespace will form the foundation of Lenovo’s Smart TV user experience and enable improved content navigation, better gaming options, and simple Web browsing. It provides simple to use point-and-click controls and 3D motion tracking optimized for consumers in the living room environment. This is particularly important for Android™ TVs, as the technology replicates the touch and tilt based controls commonly used by Android apps on other devices.

“We are very proud that Lenovo has chosen Freespace motion interface technology as the foundation of its Smart TV user interface,” said Dan Simpkins, CEO of Hillcrest Labs. “A strong brand, spirit of innovation, and focus on quality will undoubtedly establish Lenovo as a Smart TV market leader. We are pleased that our products and intellectual property will be used throughout Lenovo’s impressive Smart TV product line.”

“Smart TV adoption continues at a tremendous pace, and we fully intend to take a leadership role in this market,” said Xiong Wen, General Manager of Digital Home Business Unit at Lenovo. “Hillcrest is a proven global leader in motion-enabled TV products with essential intellectual property that enables key features in these products. Moving forward, Freespace will be a core technology for our Smart TVs. Together, we will deliver the best user interfaces for TV, Web, and apps across Smart TVs.”

Lenovo’s choice of Freespace is further evidence of the technology’s importance across advanced Smart TV platforms. It also marks another major, Asia-based consumer electronics OEM to adopt Hillcrest’s technology. To support this growing market, Hillcrest also announced today that it will open a new regional office based in Taiwan, which will address the local demand for Freespace in Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, wearable electronics, and more. The office will consist of both sales and technical support staff to support Hillcrest’s growing customer base in the region.

Hillcrest has a commanding worldwide intellectual property portfolio that includes over 110 granted out of over 220 total filed patents exclusively owned by Hillcrest Labs. This includes patents which are critical to the orientation compensation, automatic calibration and intelligent motion stabilization features that ensure motion control technology is simple and intuitive to use on Smart TVs.


Energy-hungry data centres seek savings in software

April 23rd, 2014

After spending 15 years managing data centres for online retailers, Aaron Rallo’s attention slowly began fixating on large monthly power bills that hit the office as computers and servers chugged day and night.

But the former president of PNI Digital Media admits he didn’t know much about power expenses. Those bills were invoiced and he didn’t really question them until he noticed energy costs rising three years ago.

“It was getting really close to being 33% of my total data centre expenses,” he recalled.

“And what I realized [was that] if I could find a way to save a little bit of that money, we could put it into the bottom line.”

When he left PNI Digital in 2012 to found TSO Logic just a few floors up in the same building near Vancouver’s Chinatown, he was intent on developing software to help other managers cut costs as energy rates went up.

“I realized that if I could start to see my power usage based on all the different things that I do, applications that I host and run inside of my data centres, then I can make smarter decisions and try to drive down [costs],” Rallo said, adding he essentially sought to create a tool that did not exist previously.

So TSO Logic’s 18-person team got to work developing a dashboard that spells out exactly how much power is being used for different business applications. Just as importantly, the software features an automation engine that reduces power usage when data centres slow down during non-peak times.

“Data centres tend to be built to support your busiest periods of time,” Rallo said.

“And in our case it was a really busy two-hour window just before Christmas, yet I kept that equipment spinning 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

He was forced to ask himself: “Why am I paying the same power bill at Christmas, when I’m really, really busy generating a lot of revenue, as I am in March, when I’m less busy?”

While major data centres use various techniques to cut down on power usage, those approaches generally start at the bottom by looking for efficiencies in the electrical and chiller infrastructure.

The dashboard sidesteps the traditional method by giving C-level executives and operations personnel access to data that can be interpreted easily. From there, they’re able to work their way down to the actual power draw.

TSO has been able to demonstrate 50 to 60% reductions in power costs using this software.

Arc Productions, an animation and effects house based out of Toronto, has saved $120,000 annually on its 500-server farm.

Rallo said momentum is building in the market for TSO’s products and the company is in the process of installing software for its first local client, the University of British Columbia (UBC), where a 5,000-square-foot data centre hosts 4,000 servers.

“While the enterprise services we provide to the UBC community must be reliable, scalable and secure, we are willing to look at leading-edge solutions,” Mario Angers, UBC’s information technology systems manager, said in an email.

He added the software has been intuitive and easy to use and he doesn’t expect any major barriers as it’s implemented.

“TSO has a solution that will give us abilities that we haven’t found elsewhere in the market in terms of sustainable IT.”


Fight Software Piracy With SaaS

April 23rd, 2014

SaaS makes application deployment easy and effective. It could eliminate software piracy once and for all.

Microsoft’s ongoing quest to fight global software piracy using legal means may be on its last leg. The software giant’s latest attempt to quell piracy of its OS and application software suites enlists the help of US state’s attorneys. It will be the job of the state’s attorney to seek out and sue global companies operating within his or her state that knowingly pirate software.

While a novel approach at eliminating an illegal competitive advantage, state-driven lawsuits will be a monumental battle, and one that likely will take years to gain traction. Instead, a more efficient way to solve Microsoft and other software publishers’ piracy problems may be to put all applications inside the relative safety of the cloud.

In fact, software piracy is actually an invisible force, partly responsible for the popularity of architectures like software as a service (SaaS). If you want to do your part to fight against software piracy, you may want to think about moving to cloud services in your organization.

When we think about what propels software innovation, most of us think that momentum is primarily driven by a customer perspective. While it’s true that software companies may listen customer needs, that’s often not their primary driver. There are even times when a software vendor steers customers toward a particular product or service that may not be in their best interests. Often this is because the product or service provides a higher rate of return. In other cases, it’s to ensure that the vendor stays relevant.

A traditional method of staying relevant in the IT industry involved the practice of vendor lock-in through the use of proprietary hardware or software. But, as is the case with Microsoft and many other software publishers, the migration of customers onto tightly controlled SaaS architectures is a more appealing way to maintain relevancy while combatting mass piracy at the same time. SaaS and other cloud models might be the only real way to eradicate piracy for good. If you can control software and keep it protected inside the cloud, users can access it only when it’s been paid for.

SaaS architectures also make self-installed and managed software feel antiquated and less appealing. If a company can use a cloud-based service at or below the price of managing software on its own, it no longer makes sense to manage it in-house. In addition, cloud models offer huge flexibility and elasticity benefits. As organizations expand and contract, so do their software needs. SaaS models can conform to meet the needs of any organization in an instant, without the high costs of hardware purchases and rearchitectures.

The same level of agility cannot be said of software running locally on PCs or within private datacenters. Once IT realizes that cloud models provide superior application deployment, it will abandon any desire to use privately managed software. As the cloud-service market continues to grow and mature, so will the added benefits of migrating.

Pirated software is everyone’s problem, even if it’s not happening in your organization. Piracy creates an uneven playing field in which competitors don’t have to foot the cost of licensing. While the use of the legal system often works within a single nation, using it is proving to be an ineffective way to combat global piracy. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s interest to look at moving to cloud-service models like SaaS.


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