New R1m scholarships for SA’s poorest

first_img10 January 2014 A R1-million scholarship programme to benefit poor students has been announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Professor Adam Habib, the vice- chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand. The announcement was made in Johannesburg on Monday night, the day Motshekga released the official 2013 matric results. The Equality Scholarships, worth about R100 000 each, will be awarded to the top 10 matriculants from Quintile 1 and 2 schools – demarcated schools in the poorest areas – who choose to attend Wits University, one of the country’s top universities based in Johannesburg. The scholarships cover all tuition and residence fees, textbooks, food and a cost of living allowance. The students who qualify for these scholarships will be supported for the duration of their undergraduate degree, provided that they continue to excel, Wits said in a statement.Talented learners “The Wits Equality Scholarships in partnership with the Department of Basic Education have been developed to enable talented learners from disadvantaged communities to access quality higher education,” Motshekga said. “This is one example of how government is partnering with higher education and other stakeholders to improve the lives of future generations, who in turn will help us to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.” The minister said the Wits’ Equality Scholarships would help to transform the lives of talented learners who would otherwise not afford higher education costs.Financial aid Habib said Wits already administered about R500-million in financial aid and scholarships annually on behalf of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme, corporates, private donors and other institutions. “Over half of Wits’ students receive bursaries or financial aid in one form or another,” he said. The programme would supplement the current Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships, awarded to the 10 best learners from all schools, and will enhance Wits’ current suite of equity programmes, which includes the Targeting Talent programme, the Bale Scholarship programme for young women, the Go to University to Succeed (GUTS) outreach campaign and the Leadership, Education and Development Programme (LEAD). Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

Is speech recognition software having a renaissance?

first_imgFollow the Puck Related Posts Tags:#featured#IBM#Internet of thngs#IoT#Microsoft#Omilia#top#voice recognition Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the founder and principal at CaCube Consulting. He is an Advisor and Consultant to B2B software companies, helping them grow. Nicolas covers all aspects of marketing and market development, working on a project basis or as a VP of Marketing on demand. He spent over 25 years in the Cloud and Software industry as a product and marketing executive.Nicolas as extensive experience with Enterprise Software markets and is a recognized expert in customer facing technologies including Customer Service, Contact Centers, Sales, E-commerce, and Analytics.Nicolas held numerous executive roles at Genesys. As head of Product Management, he transformed the company from Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) middleware to a Software Application provider. As Chief Marketing Officer, he drove the company expansion in the broader multi-channel Contact Center market. Before joining Genesys, Nicolas held several senior positions at Alcatel-Lucent where he most notably established and developed the Call Center business. Prior, he was Chief Technology Officer at Cirel, a startup that pioneered multi-protocol gateways and ran a Software Integration practice at Digital Equipment (now Hewlett Packard). Nicolas De Kouchkovsky Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… The past months have witnessed breakthrough announcements from Microsoft, IBM, and Google, all hitting new marks in speech recognition accuracy; they claim that the error rate has reached 5.1 percent — the word error rate of humans.Still, that doesn’t seem particularly accurate — the last time I spoke to a machine, I didn’t get the feeling that the recognition was nearly that good. Let’s review the next generation of speech technologies, how they are enabling new analytics, and the growing role of these insights for businesses to see whether the companies’ claims are accurate.Some history of speech recognitionIn early 2000, speech recognition reached 80 percent accuracy. In the enterprise space, it triggered adoption for Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which was initially implemented to remove the complications involved in customer service problems.But speech applications were very dependent on vocabularies and languages. They required a sophisticated set-up by highly specialized system integrators, and each major language had its speech recognition startup. It was only in 2005, when Nuance snapped up 15 companies, that the space was consolidated.See also: Amazon makes it cheaper for developers to use Alexa voiceAside from speech usage for IVR, a second use case emerged for Quality Management (QM). Customer service organizations use quality management applications to listen to call center calls and rate them. The process used to be tedious, limited to a small sample of calls, and like looking for a needle in a haystack. With speech recognition, it became possible to automate parts of the process. Workforce optimization leaders NICE and Verint developed or bought ways into speech analytics, followed by Contact Center Infrastructure players like Avaya or Genesys.These developments remained limited. IVR speech enablement has failed to transform the customer experience, and voice self-service experiences continue to be rated poorly. Speech for QM is often confined to compliance or script adherence verifications. At the beginning of the 2010s, it seemed that speech technology had stalled.The machine learning transformationWhile speech for customer service was developing, Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft continued investing in research and development of speech technologies, driven by the vision it would eventually become critical for user interaction with machines.Apple broke into the market with the introduction of Siri, which used machine learning to transform speech recognition. Artificial intelligence removed many of speech technology’s complications and intricacies, as well as the need to re-engineer the stack for new languages or new vocabulary sets.Today, most digital disrupters, most notably China “Big Three,” Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, are building their speech stack. Because generic machine learning engines can be used, barriers to entry have been lowered dramatically. Open source options, like CMUSphinx, HTK, Julius, Kaldi, and Simon, are also widely available.Disrupting the customer service spaceThe AI breakthrough has paved the way for new entrants. Companies like iFLYTEK or Speechmatics are aggressively addressing the issues of usability, accuracy, and deployability, in particular beyond the dominant languages.For customer service, the battle is now shifting to the other half of the equation, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU).Yactraq is applying its patented technology to democratize audio mining. It is finding that, by democratizing the technology for businesses, it can enable businesses to innovate besides compliance and adherence, helping discover best practices in customer interaction.Deep Learning has been powering its speech stack since 2013. It now sees NLU as the next frontier, as it can understand more than one command from different, simultaneous speakers, and prioritize them. After targeting automation and assistance for call centers, it is expanding in other industries and use cases. This industry focus is critical to finding solutions.Omilia is another intriguing story. Originally formed as an IVR system integrator, in 2007, it started developing its own speech technology with the vision to leapfrog IVR-directed dialogs and offer natural conversations. Omilia was able to leverage deep learning to assemble its stack; its technology bolstered an impressive 59 percent reduction in IVR abandonment and a double-digit increase in self-service completion at Royal Bank of Canada.Sales communication leading the way?Inside selling is on the rise, and as a result, sales communication has become an active and innovative space. A growing number of sales interactions are taking place over the phone, and sales executives are concerned about becoming blind to these conversations.Chorus.ai is a pioneer of the sales intelligence space. Cultivating a solutions approach, it has assembled a vertically-integrated stack that provides a broad range of indicators for assessing the effectiveness of conversations and correlates sales process elements to actual outcomes. It uses homegrown speech recognition, tuned and modeled for sales conversations. The company is baking its know-how in a three-step “onboarding” process, recording all conversations to uncover insights in a matter of days. These insights are then used to create dashboards tracking performance drivers, which can eventually be monitored in realtime and used to drive changes on the front lines.Gong.io was born from one of its founders experiencing building fast growing sales teams. The founder got frustrated with inaccurate, undeveloped, superficial tools for measuring performance. He reviewed existing tools and found them too complex and ill-suited for B2B sales, which have long, unscripted conversations that can involve more than two participants. Gong.io focuses on conversation intelligence by uncovering topics and recognizing performance patterns. Founded recently, in August 2015, Gong.io assembled its first solution in record time.The sales technology space, though recent, is incredibly dynamic: in only a few years, it evolved beyond coaching and performance management to provide broader prospect and customer insights. Sales technology is poised to become a key element of Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs.Across the three market landscapes —Inside Sales, Interaction Management, and Intelligent Assistance and Bots — I am maintaining with VB Profiles, I have identified over 30 players:Artificial intelligence is transforming the speech industry. Within a given domain or use case, voice recognition technology is very accurate. Usability still has not been perfected, and NLP and NLU have yet to be implemented, but speech technology has already become mature enough to stimulate the creation of new applications and markets — more startups and innovations should be on the way.last_img read more

PBA: Almazan, Camson ejected after trading punches

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Almazan retaliated, gracing Camson with an elbow to the face then punches were thrown before players Ronald Tubid, Don Trollano and the referees helped pacify the situation.Both were ejected after getting slapped with a flagrant foul penalty 2.The two met while being escorted by security on their way to their dugouts on opposite ends of the Cuneta Astrosome hallway and got into a heated verbal exchange.Rain or Shine leads, 44-40, at the half as of posting.ADVERTISEMENT #KicksStalker: Levi’s Jordan IV is classic rock and rap combined Almazan and Camson got tangled near basket while fighting for positioning during a rebound play. Camson appeared to hit first with an elbow that triggered the scuffle. MOST READ LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraqcenter_img 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues Read Next View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding WARNING: This video contains strong language.Heated hallway exchange between Almazan, Camson after getting ejected. #PBA2018 | @MarkGiongcoINQ pic.twitter.com/O3DARcXY6b— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) January 20, 2018FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe game between Rain or Shine and Kia turned ugly after Elasto Painters center Raymond Almazan and Picanto big man Eric Camson traded blows late in the second quarter.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

West Indies board ignores RCB star Chris Gayle for series against India

first_imgAt odds with the West Indies Cricket Board, explosive batsman Chris Gayle was on Monday left out of the squads announced for the lone Twenty20 and the first two one-dayers against India starting June 4.”Chris Gayle will not be considered for selection to the West Indies team before an intended meeting with himself, the Selection Committee, the WICB Management and the West Indies Team Management,” the WICB said in a statement.”The Selection Committee views this meeting as necessary as a result of Gayle’s comments in a widely publicised radio interview in Jamaica,” it added.Gayle, who was recently ignored for the series against Pakistan, has had a massive war of words with the WICB after claiming that he was left to fend for himself during recent injury problems.An angry WICB retorted by saying that the batsman was well looked after and it was he who kept the Board uninformed while flying out to India to play in the IPL for eventual runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore.The 31-year-old Gayle was the star of the recently-concluded Twenty20 league finishing as the top-scorer with 608 runs, including a couple of hundreds, but even this destructive form could not fetch him a place in the two national sides to be captained by Darren Sammy.Pacer Kemar Roach has been rested for the lone Twenty20 and the first two ODIs in Trinidad. Roach will, however, be available for selection for the third ODI of the five-match series.”It is expected that other players with heavy workloads will also be rested and rotated from time to time throughout the West Indies v India Series 2011 and moving forward,” the WICB said.advertisementThe explosive batting duo of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were declared “not eligible to represent the West Indies in Twenty20 format as they did not take part in the last edition of the Caribbean Twenty20″.But both of them have made the squad for the first two ODIs.”The WICB Selection Criteria outline that for a player to be eligible for selection to the West Indies team he must participate in the corresponding format of the game at the regional level,” the Board explained.Although he has been allowed to return to “low intensity cricket in Trinidad”, young batsman Adrian Barath has been left out of the two squads as he is still undergoing rehabilitation.”A decision on his return to international cricket will be taken following the assessment and it is hoped he will be available for the Digicel Test Series  West Indies v India,” the WICB said.Pacer Jerome Taylor, who like Gayle accused WICB of leaving him in a lurch during injury problems, has also been left out of the squad.”Jerome Taylor is required to play a full season of regional cricket in order to prove his fitness to compete adequately at the international level before being considered for selection,” the WICB stated.The 12-man Twenty20 group has uncapped left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie as the lone new face. But apart from the 26-year-old Santokie, there is no other change in the side that beat Pakistan in St Lucia in April.Twenty20 squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Lendl Simmons, Andre Fletcher (wk), Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Danza Hyatt, Christopher Barnwell, Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul, Krishmar Santokie.Squad for first two ODIs: Darren Sammy (capt), Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlton Baugh (wk), Andre Russell, Anthony Martin, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul.-  With PTI inputslast_img read more

Panasonic’s Eluga A is a phone for budget shoppers

first_imgJust weeks after launching its flagship Android phone, Panasonic India on Wednesday launched the Eluga A. The device, which has a 5-inch screen with 854×480 pixels resolution, is priced at Rs 9,490. It will be available from August 15.The Eluga A uses Android 4.3 (JellyBean) and runs Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor. It is a quad-core processor with a speed of 1.2GHz. The device has 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, support for up to 32GB microSD cards, 2000mAh battery and support for two SIM cards.According to Panasonic, the smartphone sports “fit home” user interface with features such as “Kwik Lock”, where the user can double tap the home screen to lock it. The company says that the “fit home” interface makes using the Eluga A with single hand easy.”Through Eluga, Panasonic will bring advanced technology to the Indian smartphone users. The Eluga A has advanced technology for audio enhancements, voice clarity, faster charging, longer battery life and local language features, in tune with the needs of the Indian consumer,” said Manish Sharma, managing director of Panasonic India.In the market, the Eluga A will compete against the likes of Asus Zenfone 5 and Motorola Moto E. While the Zenfone 5 has a similar price, it offers consumers better hardware, including a 720P screen and 2GB RAM. The Moto E, meanwhile, has similar hardware except the screen size and camera functionality. But it costs almost Rs 2,000 less than the Eluga A and offers consumers unmodified and latest version of Android.advertisementlast_img read more

Prime Minister Calls for More Support of MSMEs

first_imgStory Highlights “There is great liquidity in the system to invest. But sometimes it is also lack of information… about the quality (and) value of, for example, working capital. They do, however, have more information and well developed polices and regulations around motor vehicle ownership, which may explain why banks are more willing to take the risk on the consumer asset than on a commercial asset, such as working capital,” the Prime Minister said. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says private financial institutions should provide more support for business development, particularly micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs). Mr. Holness’ comments come against the background of what he says is the seeming reluctance by some banks to provide access to credit and other resources for businesses which “are good (entities) in and of themselves.” Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says private financial institutions should provide more support for business development, particularly micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs).Mr. Holness’ comments come against the background of what he says is the seeming reluctance by some banks to provide access to credit and other resources for businesses which “are good (entities) in and of themselves.”“There is great liquidity in the system to invest. But sometimes it is also lack of information… about the quality (and) value of, for example, working capital. They do, however, have more information and well developed polices and regulations around motor vehicle ownership, which may explain why banks are more willing to take the risk on the consumer asset than on a commercial asset, such as working capital,” the Prime Minister said.He was speaking at Friday’s (April 27) closing ceremony for the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) Programme pilot, at the Spanish Court Hotel, in New Kingston.Mr. Holness pointed out that as a result of Government polices now in place, there has been an increase in financial institutions’ support for business development.“We are seeing a greater trend of banks supporting businesses. Commercial and industrial lending is increasing at a noticeably significant rate, and I am very happy for that,” he said, citing this as pivotal to spurring economic growth.The Prime Minister contended, however, that for sustainable growth to occur, “lending has to (further) increase to the medium-size, small and micro enterprises, in particular.”“One of the things that we have to do is to support informal businesses in becoming formalized (by helping them) to develop business plans and getting regularized with, for example, the tax authorities,” he said.Mr. Holness said doing so will bridge the information gap on businesses encountered by financial institutions in several instances, “because for banks to take the risk on your business, they need to know about you.”“When you are formalized, when you are registered and compliant, then banks are able to better assess the risk that they are taking,” he said.Mr. Holness emphasised that the key to generating economic growth is channelling support for the private sector.“The engine of growth is the private sector. But when we say private sector, we tend to believe that the private sector is only (the) big businesses. The truth is that the private sector is really the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. They drive growth,” he added.The DBJ, through IGNITE, enables Jamaican entrepreneurs, particularly MSMEs with innovative business ideas, to access grant funds to develop and commercialize their products and services.The bank provided funding of between $1 million and $4 million to 27 entrepreneurs under IGNITE’s 18-month pilot phase, for which $75 million was budgeted.Phase two was also launched at the ceremony.last_img read more

5 shot including a girl 8 in New York Police

5 shot including a girl 8 in New York Police

first_img.Five people were shot, including an eight-year-old girl, in Syracuse, New York on Thursday, the city’s police chief said.Police responded to a shooting in the city in upstate New York shortly after 9:00pm local time, the department said in a statement posted on Twitter by a producer for National Public Radio.“This is very tragic event,” Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler said during a news conference. “This is something that cannot occur in our community.”Fowler did not disclose the condition of the five wounded people.The Syracuse Firefighters union reported earlier that seven people were shot on Midland Avenue in the city, according to a Facebook post.News website Syracuse.com reported that the shooting took place at a family gathering to remember a person who died of cancer.The website said ambulances were seen driving away from the scene with a police escort at about 9:15 pm.Syracuse is about 250 miles (402 km) northwest of New York City.last_img read more