tbreak.ae http://tbreak.ae tech'ing the Middle East Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:18:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Microsoft Lumia branding officially revealed http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-lumia-design-officially-revealed/ http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-lumia-design-officially-revealed/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:18:12 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=27884 Microsoft Lumia has now been revealed officially. Tuula Rytilä, senior vice president of marketing for phones at Microsoft, said in the Conversations blog that Microsoft are “looking forward to unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon”. What’s more is that we won’t be seeing anymore Nokia smart phones rather the name plate on the front and rear of all […]

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Microsoft Lumia has now been revealed officially. Tuula Rytilä, senior vice president of marketing for phones at Microsoft, said in the Conversations blog that Microsoft are “looking forward to unveiling a Microsoft Lumia device soon”. What’s more is that we won’t be seeing anymore Nokia smart phones rather the name plate on the front and rear of all future Nokia Lumia devices will be replaced by the Microsoft Logo we’re familiar with, followed the Lumia name.

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So is it the last time we see Nokia as a phone? Not yet. Microsoft still has a license to use Nokia feature phones for the next ten years. So you’re more likely to see a Nokia Asha for now. However Microsoft is set to change the market with low cost windows phone smartphones rather than a feature phone line and will only keep existing base models of the old Nokia around. So you should still be able to procure an entry level Nokia 130 which was unveiled last august. Rytilä says that this is a form of natural progression for the company to opt for  brand change so as to clear any confusion. Since Nokia has a strong base in the developing asian markets, Microsoft has a good reason to still provide base phones.

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ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 Review http://tbreak.ae/zotac-zbox-pi320-review/ http://tbreak.ae/zotac-zbox-pi320-review/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:16:00 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28039 ZOTAC have been known for putting out some really small mini-PCs over the years, but their latest installment is simple mind-boggling. The ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 is a ridiculously tiny yet fully-fledged PC, one that the company says you can disconnect and slip into your pocket. Build quality & design From a size standpoint, the PI320 […]

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ZOTAC have been known for putting out some really small mini-PCs over the years, but their latest installment is simple mind-boggling. The ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 is a ridiculously tiny yet fully-fledged PC, one that the company says you can disconnect and slip into your pocket.

Build quality & design

From a size standpoint, the PI320 is probably the smallest mini-PC that ZOTAC have manufactured so far. Measuring just 115.5mm x 66mm x 19.2mm, it’s ridiculously diminutive and roughly smaller than an average smartphone. Here’s a photo of it compared to my HTC One M8:

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Connectivity-wise you have three USB 2.0, full-size HDMI, Ethernet, audio, and even a microSD card slot. Under the hood there’s 2GB of RAM, 32GB of integrated eMMC storage, and an Intel Atom Z3735F Quad-core processor running at 1.33GHz. The 32GB of storage isn’t much, which is why ZOTAC included the microSD slot if you need extra space. Unlike other ZOTAC mini-PCs, the PI320 comes with Windows 8.1 preinstalled, so it’s ready to use right out of the box.

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Because of its tiny size, the PI320 can be hidden almost anywhere, and also includes a plastic mount to attach it discreetly to the back of any display. This allows you to use the PI320 as a HTPC, kiosk display, or even a simple machine to connect to a Citrix server in a business environment.

Benchmarks & Performance

A tiny machine like this has a limited number of uses due to the hardware powering it. You can quite comfortably stream full-HD content from YouTube or third party apps such as XBMC, without any stuttering. You’ll be able to run most basic applications such as Chrome or Office on the PI320, and maybe even some simple audio editing. Anything more challenging than that and you’re better off with a laptop or a tower PC. But for its size and price point, the PI320 is an excellent mini-PC that can be installed virtually anywhere for a multitude of purposes.

Heat and Noise levels

Thanks to the low-voltage processor being used, ZOTAC have managed to make the PI320 without any vents or fans, so it runs whisper-quiet – much like a thin client would. It gets a little warm to the touch after a long session of streaming content, but it’s barely approaching lukewarm. This is something you could easily tuck away in your bedroom or living room without even noticing that it’s there.

Conclusion

The ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 is a tiny little thing, but it’s capable of filling some rather big shoes. While the storage is the only upgradable thing about it, the PI320 makes a great (and silent) multimedia box or a simple PC you can tuck away in your house or office. At $200 with Windows preinstalled, it’s certainly an affordable deal for anyone looking for a simple mini-PC that they can literally slip into their pocket.

Retail price – AED 790

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Win an invite to Inbox by Gmail http://tbreak.ae/win-invite-inbox-gmail/ http://tbreak.ae/win-invite-inbox-gmail/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 03:32:47 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28106 Looking to score an invite for Inbox by Gmail? We have one and we want to give it away soon- within 24 hours. Just fill up the form below and we’ll pick a winner by 7:30AM Dubai time on October 25th. Fill out my online form.

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Looking to score an invite for Inbox by Gmail? We have one and we want to give it away soon- within 24 hours. Just fill up the form below and we’ll pick a winner by 7:30AM Dubai time on October 25th.

Fill out my online form.

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Sony Xperia M2 Review http://tbreak.ae/sony-xperia-m2-review/ http://tbreak.ae/sony-xperia-m2-review/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:20:32 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=26817 Sony M2 is an upgrade to the M version of smartphone manufacturer. The most important upgrade to the M version and an effective one in M2 is the Waterproofness. No matter if you are splashing in a pool-party or relaxing at the beach over weekend, the M2 stays up and running in the water. It […]

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Sony M2 is an upgrade to the M version of smartphone manufacturer. The most important upgrade to the M version and an effective one in M2 is the Waterproofness. No matter if you are splashing in a pool-party or relaxing at the beach over weekend, the M2 stays up and running in the water. It comes packed in a plastic body and that makes it extremely light-weight. This essentially is needed to keep the unit waterproof. The smartphone is sealed from the rear and comes with a non-removable battery.

Xperia.M2.Rear
Its design is somewhat identical to Xperia Z2 model. It measures a flat 8.6mm, which gives it slimmer look. The power button is placed on the center of the right-edge of the unit. In line of the power button is house for SIM and Micro SD slot. Also present underneath the power button is volume control, which is slightly inconvenient to operate unlike other devices that opts to have it placed on the opposite bezel. Sony has literally populated the right-edge with camera button also present there. The micro-USB slot is on the left bezel for charging and PC connectivity.
Xperia.M2.Speaker
The speakers are located on the bottom edge of M2. They are loud enough to be heard even if you are playing music in a little crowded place. However, the sound quality is not Sony like and I was really disappointed with its crackling sound – even on high bitrate music files.

The Xperia M2 is equipped with 2330 mAH embedded battery with rated talk-time of up to 12 hours and standby time up to 641 hours. However, in real world the battery life with average use of the phone with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities can last for a day. The battery life though can be enhanced with various power savings mode available with the device. The impressive one is the Stamina mode that completely transforms the battery performance to almost three times from the normal mode.
Xperia.M2.BatteryPerf

When the Stamina mode is operational, it disables Wi-Fi and mobile data temporarily and most applications will be inactive. You can still receive phone calls, SMS, calendar and alarm notifications. As soon as the display is alive phone functions normally.

Camera

Sony has done some cost-cutting in integrating the camera sensor for M2. It only has an 8 Megapixel rear camera with 4x digital zoom, flash and auto focus feature. Your Selfies might not be that impressive with M2 as it comes with a VGA front-facing camera.
Xperia.M2.Camera
The M2 however does provide some cool camera apps in addition to techniques like HDR and Exmor RS that drastically enhances the picture quality and visibility.
Xperia.M2.HDR Xperia.M2.ExmorRS
The eight Megapixel camera didn’t disappoint me when used both indoors and outdoors. The indoor images are quite satisfactory during the day-time as seen in the colorful baby swimming pool.
Xperia.M2.Pool
The outdoor shots are also quite satisfactory from the comfort of my balcony in daylight. It does cover the minute details when zoomed with no-pixel effect. These are shot without special effects and techniques, yet turned out acceptable considering its camera sensor.
Xperia.M2. Outdoor

Hardware, Software & Apps

The Xperia M2 is packed with a quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor and 1 GB of RAM. On the storage front it’s loaded with 8 GB flash memory expandable to 32 GB using MicroSD slot. On the connectivity front, it allows Bluetooth and NFC in addition to its Wi-Fi capabilities. The M2 sports a rather bigger 4.8-inch (540 x 960 pixels) QHD display to further enhance its spec-sheet. Overall the M2 comes with a good hardware set to complement its features and price tag.

Application wise the M2 does feature some decent apps to go with its smartphone functionality. Surprisingly, my review sample had Android KitKat pre-installed, which is a good lead forward for the smartphone of this caliber. The M2 comes pre-loaded with Sony Select app, which is home for downloading apps, games and themes. However, when you click to get an app or game, it re-directs to google play store. For troubleshooting and support, M2 also has an app called Xperia Care, which takes you to Sony’s support webpage.

You can conveniently turn your M2 into a navigation device with Navigon by Garmin – a highly rated navigation application. To my disappointment, the OS failed to update over Wi-Fi and required a PC to complete the action. Camera comes with various AR and Picture effects for fun photography. It also features Social Live camera mode, where you can live update pictures and video on Facebook. Sony fans will be delighted with Sony’s proprietary Walkman App which comes pre-installed with M2. Other proprietary software installed on the device includes, TrackID TV, TrackID, Smart Connect, Pixlr Express and Xperia Lounge.

Performance

Sony Xperia M2 is a mid-range smartphone that does feature some high-rated hardware profile. In my set of benchmarks, the M2 performed quite reasonable as expected. Though the figures are not very high or on par with LG G3 reviewed earlier, but it does offer some decent performance.
XPRTBench GFXBench GeekBench BaseMarkBench AnTuTuBench 3DMarkBench

Verdict

Sony has provided some great features and UI for a smartphone in their Xperia M2 with little setbacks here and there. For a price bargain of just $300, Sony has created a niche market for Xperia M2 with its all-round performance, design and specs. Overall the smartphone is packed with good features and over-average hardware profile to rival its competitors in the mid-range segment. It’s waterproof and sleek yet intricate design will surely attract a good chunk of audience – not to forget the reasonable price tag.

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Google Inbox is a new smarter email solution http://tbreak.ae/project-bigtop-googles-ticket-smarter-email-system/ http://tbreak.ae/project-bigtop-googles-ticket-smarter-email-system/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:42:07 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28076 Bored of the ordinary editing options in your email system? Forgot to attend an important email after your inbox got piled up by more emails? Here comes Project Bigtop, Inbox,  an initiative that Google started working on a year back with a focus on productivity. Inbox is available through invitation and can be accessed as an […]

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Bored of the ordinary editing options in your email system? Forgot to attend an important email after your inbox got piled up by more emails? Here comes Project Bigtop, Inbox,  an initiative that Google started working on a year back with a focus on productivity. Inbox is available through invitation and can be accessed as an app on iOS and Android or on the web through Google’s Chrome browser.

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So what kind of smart features are we talking about? Well, you will be able to “Snooze” an email, so that you will be reminded to give attention to at a later time- a feature borrowed from the Mailbox App. A “Pinning” feature will mark the mail to get attention immediately and a “Done” is similar to the archive feature in GMail. Also, you can group several mails as “Bundles” if they belong to the same subject. The web inbox UI will not be the traditional tabs, rather, it will look like a menu from KFC, running from left to right for different emails, and all are divided by days.

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You can even view attachments without the need to open an mail. On the mobile app, important tasks such as flights, shipping details, hotel reservations will show up as top priorities and do actions similar to Google Now cards. Users can swipe left to “Snooze” and swipe right or clear all unpinned mails as “Done”. Inbox By Gmail is currently an invite-only solution for now and only works on @gmail.com addresses (sorry Google Apps users.) Send in your request to inbox@google.com or find someone using it.

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Microsoft Lumia is now officially the new name for Nokia http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-lumia-now-officially-new-name-nokia/ http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-lumia-now-officially-new-name-nokia/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:33:32 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28040 We saw it coming and Microsoft has finally started to change the Nokia branding to “Microsoft Lumia”, with Nokia France as the first to receive the new branding, along with their Facebook and Twitter pages. Earlier, Microsoft had been redirecting the Nokia.com visitors to the all-new Microsoft Mobile webpage. Furthermore, most of the Windows Phone […]

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We saw it coming and Microsoft has finally started to change the Nokia branding to “Microsoft Lumia”, with Nokia France as the first to receive the new branding, along with their Facebook and Twitter pages. Earlier, Microsoft had been redirecting the Nokia.com visitors to the all-new Microsoft Mobile webpage. Furthermore, most of the Windows Phone apps developed under the Nokia ownership has been changed to Lumia.

Reports confirm that Nokia will still remain as an entity and future Windows Phone Lumia smartphones could have the possibility to carry a Lumia or Microsoft name stamping. Remember, we have still yet to see the upcoming Windows Phone 10 OS that was mentioned along with the official announcement of the all-new Microsoft Windows 10. Let’s hope Microsoft has something good to surprise us with their next Windows Phone 10.

It’s time to bid farewell to Nokia that brought us iconic creations into the mobile industry such as the first Nokia ringtone with the Nokia 2110, the Nokia Communicator series devices starting with the 9000, the Nokia 3310, the N-Gage gaming system, and the Nokia N95, N97, Nokia 5800, 5300, C7 series of Symbian devices with Nokia 808 as the last. Seriously, Microsoft should think of resurrecting the N-Gage as a Windows Phone gaming/Xbox One remote gaming platform and the Communicator/N97 with Windows Phone 8.1.

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Vineeth Sebastian Talks about AOC and Future of Displays http://tbreak.ae/vineeth-sebastian-talks-aoc-future-displays/ http://tbreak.ae/vineeth-sebastian-talks-aoc-future-displays/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:24:43 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28052 AOC is a fairly known brand when it comes to displays for entertainment and gaming segment. We touched base with Vineeth Sebastian – Regional Sales Director, EMEA at GITEX to know more about AOC’s displays roadmap, new technology innovations and AOC’s presence in portable segment. Tell us more about AOC and new technology developments in […]

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AOC is a fairly known brand when it comes to displays for entertainment and gaming segment. We touched base with Vineeth Sebastian – Regional Sales Director, EMEA at GITEX to know more about AOC’s displays roadmap, new technology innovations and AOC’s presence in portable segment.

Tell us more about AOC and new technology developments in display arena?

We have two brands AOC and Philips that comes under the umbrella of TPB which is the parent company. TPB is the world’s biggest monitor manufacturer with more than 38 percent market share worldwide. Our core  business is monitors and on that front we have long term plans. Out of the few technology enhancements, what we are showcasing this Gitex is SoftBlue technology. Other than that we are also showcasing our new range of tablets and smartphones and entering into the mobility business. But everything again is related to display so we are in the space of displays.

TPB is the world’s biggest monitor manufacturer with more than 38 percent market share worldwide.

Philips is more of a veteran brand than AOC. How are you managing both the brands under one umbrella?

We are focusing Philips for the B2B market, but at the same time Philips have solutions for B2C market. To segregate both the brands, we are targeting Philips as a premium brand, while AOC is targeted more towards the mid-range segment. However, in terms of revenue AOC is doing as good as its premium counterpart. So if a customer is looking for a value monitor and at the same time style and performance, we offer them AOC. With more powerful, sleek and premium features we have Philips to cater the B2B and B2C market.

AOC.GSYNC

Can you brief us on NVIDIA G-Sync and 4K technology and how AOC is placed in this segment?

Gaming segment is really booming specially if you are investing $5K-$10K in a proper gaming desktop. Hardcore gamers are looking for a monitor that meets the requirement of gaming system equipped with high-end graphics card and processor. To cater this segment we have AOC monitor that sports 1ms refresh rate and G-Sync chip, which is built-in the monitor itself. It is responsible for killing the rendering and tearing between the VGA and monitor. With this technology you actually see actual performance of GPU and CPU.

To summarise, NVIDIA G-Sync basically eliminates tearing which is seen more often on normal gaming displays. The delay time is zero. The frames per second is really fast that’s why you cannot see the refresh rate. This is one of the unique features of G-Sync along with 1ms refresh rate and 144Hz. Secondly, we have 4K monitor, which has 4K resolution (4-times of HD resolution). We are leading the market in this segment because we have a monitor with 60Hz refresh rate, while our competitors only have 30Hz rated monitors.

Can you elaborate more on SoftBlue technology?

All of us know that there are different colours used to display appropriate picture on the monitor and the most harmful of those colours to your eyes is Blue. So with SoftBlue technology we have soften the Blue colour while still retaining its core property. Generally, what other brands do is they filter out the Blue colour that leaves a slight yellowish tinge on the screen as their is no Blue. SoftBlue is a technology where we are not filtering-out the Blue colour, but we are raising up the frequency of blue light to a level where it absorbs 94 percent of the blue light leaving six percent, which is good enough to generate appropriate picture without yellow tinge. Soft Blue technology is used in a particular range of Philips monitors for now and soon will be followed in AOC displays. However, we see it as a standard six months down the line from now onwards.

 we have a monitor with 60Hz refresh rate, while our competitors only have 30Hz

What should consumers expect in the portable range from AOC?

We have three kinds of products in our portable range – Tablet, Phablet and Smartphone. In tablet we have models ranging from 7-inch to 10-inch. Phablet, of course is a two-in-one device (smartphone in tablet size device) and last but not the least smartphones. Currently we have launched four tablets, one phablet and one smartphone, by end of the year 2015 we should have 12 models in tablet and 14 models in smartphones.

AOC.Tablet

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Apple launches iTunes Gift Cards in AED Denominations http://tbreak.ae/apple-launches-itunes-gift-cards-aed-denominations/ http://tbreak.ae/apple-launches-itunes-gift-cards-aed-denominations/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:34:43 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28064 Apple has been selling iTunes Gift Cards in may markets but until now, customers of the UAE iTunes store have had to attach their debit or credit cards to make any purchases. However, today Apple is making iTunes Gift Cards available for the UAE iTunes store available through retailers in the region such as iStyle, […]

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Apple has been selling iTunes Gift Cards in may markets but until now, customers of the UAE iTunes store have had to attach their debit or credit cards to make any purchases. However, today Apple is making iTunes Gift Cards available for the UAE iTunes store available through retailers in the region such as iStyle, Sharaf DG and Carrefour.

These cards can be redeemed for purchases on the iTunes store, the App Store or the Mac App Store allowing you to purchase songs, movies, apps for your iPhone, iPad and Macs. The cards are currently available in three denominations- AED 100, AED 250 and AED 500 which are roughly equivalent of US$27, US$68 and US$136.

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Samsung Donates Smartphones to fight Ebola http://tbreak.ae/samsung-donates-smartphones-fight-ebola/ http://tbreak.ae/samsung-donates-smartphones-fight-ebola/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:37:06 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28056 In a move to help combat the spread of Ebola, Samsung Electronics announced on Tuesday that it has decided to donate 3000 of its smartphones to help fight the spread of Ebola in the 3 worst hit countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Ebola epidemic (as it’s been dubbed) is centered in those 3 […]

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In a move to help combat the spread of Ebola, Samsung Electronics announced on Tuesday that it has decided to donate 3000 of its smartphones to help fight the spread of Ebola in the 3 worst hit countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The Ebola epidemic (as it’s been dubbed) is centered in those 3 countries, killing more than 4500 people whilst infecting almost 10,000 more. It has also unfortunately spread to Europe and the US, with a handful of cases being reported and a few isolated deaths. An increased media frenzy has helped feed the panic revolving around it. As of yet, there is still no viable cure.

It’s times like this that brings out the good samaritan in companies like Samsung Electronics. The 3000 S3 Neo smartphones will be distributed through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) to 60 medical clinics in the 3 mentioned countries.

They will be used in conjunction with the UN’s “Humanitarian Connectivity Project”, an IT project designed by the UN that utilises mobile devices to provide humanitarian relief in areas struck by disaster. When the Ebola clinics in Western Africa receive the smartphones, medical workers will be able to install the UN’s Smart Health Pro application (surprisingly the only application on the play store that’s free even though it contains the word “Pro” in it).

According to Samsung, medical staff will be able to utilise these smartphone to treat patients and collect various medical data from said patients. Quarantined patients will also be able to use the smartphones to contact the families and loved ones. To ensure that “smartphones” doesn’t join the list of possible methods of transmission for the disease, all 3000 smartphones will be destroyed once the virus outbreak has subsided. And yes, we’ve reached that stage of life where a smartphone is the new tool on a doctors tray of surgical equipment.

This isn’t the only way Samsung has contributed to the fight against Ebola; it also provides financial support for the purchase of hazmat suits (Those really big plastic bags people wear) in Ghana as well as distributing hand sanitizers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has also launched an Ebola SMS text service in South Africa (SMS HELP to 9847, standard data rates may apply).

When it comes to prominent technological giants, Samsung though, are not the only ones to help fight the outbreak of Ebola; a week ago, Facebook Co-Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, donated $25 million to the cause. On Monday, Microsoft announced that it will it’s “Azure” cloud-computing service free of charge as well as research applications to medical researchers working on the Ebola virus.

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F5 talks security and best practices at GITEX http://tbreak.ae/f5-talks-security-best-practices-gitex/ http://tbreak.ae/f5-talks-security-best-practices-gitex/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:11:10 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=28035 This year at GITEX Technology Week a recurring theme was security, both in the enterprise and consumer space. Plenty of firms were giving talks on how companies can protect themselves from new kinds of attacks and intrusions, and judging by the strong turnouts at several booths, it was clearly a topic a lot of people […]

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This year at GITEX Technology Week a recurring theme was security, both in the enterprise and consumer space. Plenty of firms were giving talks on how companies can protect themselves from new kinds of attacks and intrusions, and judging by the strong turnouts at several booths, it was clearly a topic a lot of people needed some education on.

We sat down with Vincent Lavergne,  Director, Field Systems Engineering – South EMEA for  F5 Networks to chat specifically about security in the consumer market, especially in the wake of certain high-profile data leaks across several services. Here’s what he had to say:

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