BlackBerry Playbook to Make Australian Debut Next Week
Finally joining its competitors in the race for the hottest tablet, Research In Motion will debut its Blackberry Playbook in Australia on June 20—and it may just be the business executive’s answer to the tablet.
Coming in at 7 x 5 inches and 0.9 pounds, the Playbook is ultra portable and small enough to fit in most coat pockets. It’s also being touted as a real multitasker that provides an excellent user interface. According to its makers at RIM, the Playbook offers “industry leading performance, uncompromised web browsing, true multitasking, HD multimedia, advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a robust development environment.” It also features front- and rear-facing cameras, a 1GHz dual-core processor and support for high-res videos and Adobe Flash.
The PlayBook is being commended for external design and screen quality. It offers apps for the busy executive, including Word To Go, Slideshow To Go and Sheet To Go—and they’re all compatible with Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel.
It’s also making its mark by being the first tablet in Australia to not feature Google’s Android OS or Apple’s iOS. Instead it’s equipped with the BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing.
The BlackBerry Store's Australian site says the BlackBerry PlayBook version with 16 gigabytes of storage is priced at A$649, while the 32 GB version is available at A$789 and the 64 GB is sold at A$949. Telecoms Optus, Telstra and Vodafone and electronics retailer Harvey Norman will also sell the Blackberry PlayBook tablet.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.