Opening up SA’s heritage

first_imgThe eye-catching Open SA! logo. (Image: Open SA!) Documents such as this 1949 immigration form belonging to a Dutch immigrant, are an important part of South Africa’s history. (Image: Wikimedia)Janine ErasmusA new project titled Open SA! aims to make South African historical and cultural material widely accessible, by allowing ordinary people as well as professionals to share their heritage online and make it available for republishing and remixing, for the benefit of all.“We believe that getting ordinary people involved in sharing their history on the internet with artists, historians, students and researchers is a great way to keep local history alive and accessible,” said the Open SA! team in a statement.The Open SA! project is an initiative of popular positive-themed blog SA Rocks and the African Commons Project, a Johannesburg-based non-profit organisation that works to empower communities towards innovation, creativity and wisdom through the internet and other new technologies.African Commons is working closely with the Alexandria Archive Institute, which is building a collection of open access, internet-based resources for archaeology and world history.Using the principle of public domain – those works that the public may copy, adapt and share without limitation – Open SA! gathers, tags and manages relevant submissions from contributors from all facets of society, and makes them freely available online.The Open SA! team has another mission, and that is to reach out to young creative voices in South Africa, with a view to teaching them how to find open content that they may freely and legally adapt and share.Finally, for those whose material needs to be digitised first, Open SA! plans to arrange digitisation drives, with the help of volunteers, to transfer collections into the correct format.Shared heritageSouth Africa’s national Department of Arts and Culture, the custodian of the country’s rich and diverse heritage, has long held that shared heritage is an important tool in social cohesion and nation building.The Encyclopaedia of South African Arts and Culture, currently in beta testing, defines nation-building as the fostering of a sense of pride and knowledge in all aspects of South African culture, heritage and the arts.An additional aspect of nation building is the encouragement of mutual respect and tolerance and inter-cultural exchange between various cultures and art disciplines, which in turn facilitates the emergence of a shared cultural identity based on diversity.  Open SA! takes advantage of new developments and publishing platforms, such as blogging and citizen journalism, and online publishing of photographs, videos and music, which it views as vital components of a new form of democratic speech. This, it says, should be nurtured, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide easy access to quality resources and materials.Citing examples such as the speech former president Nelson Mandela delivered on his release from prison in 1990, or his successor Thabo Mbeki’s rousing “I am an African” speech, the Open SA! project says that these priceless resources should be available to more than just the professional journalists, filmmakers and researchers who were traditionally authorised to re-publish them.To this end, the public is encouraged to submit their material or material belonging to friends or family, provided that contributors either own the copyright to the materials or have written permission from the copyright holder.Leading the field One of the first contributors to Open SA! is new media specialist and photographer Gregor Rohrig, who has made available a classy selection of his photos taken around Johannesburg.All photos are licensed under the Creative Commons concept and may freely be shared and remixed, provided that proper attribution is given, images are used for non-commercial purposes, and any adaptation of the works is distributed under the same or a similar licence. These conditions may be waived with permission from Rohrig.Commenting on the wealth of historical and cultural material held by South Africans, Rohrig asked, “What good are these materials if they cannot be used and reused creatively?”The talented photographer expects the local creative industry to be even more inspired and encouraged with the unlocking of local resources that have previously been inaccessible.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] linksOpen SA!Open SA! photo collection on FlickrDepartment of Arts and CultureEncyclopaedia of South African Arts and Culture (beta)SA RocksAfrican Commons ProjectGregor RohrigAlexandria Archive Institutelast_img read more

How will IoT change the lives of our aging population?

first_imgFollow the Puck Cate Lawrence How do we conceptualize aging and disability in an era where there’s a heady excitement about a future reality that surpasses our current lived experiences of health and old age? Consider future tech such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a growing movement of people into posthumanism and of course fiction like the TV series Black Mirror with the incredibly poignant San Junipero episode giving a fictional account of life beyond our physical beings.See also: Will data analytics change our healthcare system?With these thoughts in mind, it’s not every day that you talk to a hugely successful tech entrepreneur who comes out of retirement to create a company serving the aged and people with disabilities. CEO and co-founder of K4Connect, Scott Moody has done just that.You may recall Moody as the co-founder of AuthenTec, a company that provided mobile security software licenses to mobile manufacturing companies and biometrics sensor technology, such as fingerprint sensors and NFC technology to mobile and computer manufacturers. The company was acquired by Apple, in 2o12 for $356 million.From tech security to health and well-beingToday Moody heads a team of technologists intent on improving the health and well-being of the aged and people with disabilities. I met with Moody to learn about his new venture. Their first product, K4Community, leverages the power of our platform to deliver technology to the tens of millions of older adults living in senior living communities.Their mission is to serve the underserved with the belief that technology shouldn’t be just about the next generation but every generation. K4Community is specifically designed and tailored for the residents of senior living facilities, through three central pillars: Helping to make life simpler  (integrated smart home); healthier (connected wellness); and happier (social engagement). As Moody explained:“We’re  a mission centered technology companies really serving older adults and those living with disabilities and we achieve this through a software platform (which we call a connected life platform)  to integrate all aspects of your life into a single application. This means a more independent life a that is oriented around IoT.  This includes home automation, such as thermostats, sensors, door locks and video doorbells. Then we wrap in healthier elements so that connected wellness and home products connect such as a garment activity tracker to a scale, a blood pressure monitor and tele-monitors.The happier element is that as your mobility is becoming reduced, the whole idea of being able to provide or keep a connection with family and friends. So those are things like video chat or Audio Chat, messaging, picture sharing.”The K4 platform is a patented software platform that is open, modular and scalable. As Moody explains,“One of the things that we’ve done is while everybody ran to the cloud we actually use a combination of the cloud and edge process. So you know if your internet is down, if your wifi is down, your house continues to live, the latency is exceedingly quick, So if grandma is getting out of bed at 2 a.m. in the morning, you want the light to come on almost immediately. You don’t want to delay it 20 or 30 seconds.”The adoption rate of K4Connect’s technology amongst senior residents is impressive. Moody says:“In the 11 communities that have K4Community installed,  100% actually use the home automation features. They may not use the app but they use the home automation. Lights are coming on automatically when they get out of bed. Thermostats are changing automatically depending on the time of day to make rooms comfortable or to aid sleep. And then 75% of the clients are using the app, on average for about 15 minutes a day. I know that if you had a Silicon Valley company come out and say that 75% of their target demographic use their app, it would be pretty big. 15 minutes a day is as much as you see on pinterest or almost anyone besides Facebook.” Related Posts Tags:#connected health#featured#health data#Home Automation#Internet of Things#IoT#IoT platform#sensor tech#top#wearables The value of IoT data to health diagnostics and researchIntrinsic to the work of K4Connect is the value of the data technology that is delivered through the home automation, wearables and social enhancement. Telemedicine is gradually become a reality, enabling people to access remote medical services from the comfort of their homes. As Moody explains, a smart home is able to enhance this experience:“The doctor can see if you’ve been getting out of bed at night or restless at night. They can see a record of your heart rate and other body metrics from wearable tech. They know whether you’ve bee leaving the home or talking to family, meaning that they have a greater body of information than they could glean in a simple 10-minute visit in the doctor’s surgery.One of the things that I find about older adults is that they are very willing to participate in studies to not only help themselves but help others so I think that in time we will be a ready resource for research through those volunteers.  Just think, if you want to try out a new Multiple Sclerosis medication. You’re not only trying out the medication, all of a sudden we have all this other information we can provide separate to what is ascertained on their visit to the research clinic. We’re this platform where you can integrate a lot of different features, e.g. how much they’re sleeping, how much they’re communicating how much they’re moving around.  All of this information that we can provide to that study that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”K4Connect is at work on two related products, Casework home care which is for professional home care providers providing a service to clients in their homes and K4Life, a product for clients living in their own homes.  With our rapidly aging population, we can expect this to be just the beginning. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more