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Quality Imaging using AI Tech


To provide for the rapidly evolving technological advances and interest in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Pacific Radiology has purchased its fifth MRI scanner for Canterbury, the top of the line Siemens 3T Magnetom Vida, now installed at Forté Health on Peterborough Street.

MRI technologists Simon and Stephen with the new machine at Forté

MRI scans are minimally invasive and very safe; they do not use radiation and there is no exposure to x-rays.

MRIs image soft tissue structures in the body – for instance, the brain, eyes, heart and ligaments around joints such as shoulders.

Stephen Kingston Smith has been working as an MRI tech with PRG for more than 11 years.

He was involved in researching the purchase of the new machine and was impressed with the latest advancements the Vida has to offer.

“The patient has a much more comfortable experience,” Stephen says. “The opening on this scanner is wider, which improves the experience for the claustrophobic patient.”

Stephen was also impressed with the scanner software and computer advancements.

The new Bio Matrix capability of this scanner uses artificial intelligence (AI), which auto-detects motion and results in some fantastically clear images.

“It can scan a bigger range and has sensors which help image clarity in the case of patient movement and respiration. Scan times are also quicker on this machine,” Stephen says.

The new generation of MRI scanners produces much better soft tissue contrast in shorter scan times and is being used to scan the abdomen and pelvis with exquisite detail.

MRI is now being used routinely to screen for prostate cancer, small bowel disease and breast cancer, to mention a few.

Pacific Radiology radiologists and neuroimaging specialists are excited by the continuing growth and advancement in MRI.

MRI advanced imaging techniques of the brain. The colours are showing the direction of the nerve tracts within the brain.

Gareth Leeper, charge MRI technologist at Pacific Radiology, says, “The new scanner at Forté is producing the best pictures we have ever seen of the nerves right down to the hands and feet, and we have seen an increase in the number of referrals for imaging of the leg and arm nerves in patients with chronic pain syndrome.”

Pacific Radiology has built a team of talented medical professionals who have a wealth of knowledge trained extensively in MRI.

The new MRI scanner at Forté will help address the growing demand for MRI scans.

The team is excited to be bringing the absolute state-of-the-art to enhance their late model fleet of MRI to the people of Canterbury/West Coast.


Transitioning to a digital workplace: Ricoh


In 1888, lawyer Thomas de Renzy Harman was busy in central Christchurch when a 50-second long earthquake shook the city, causing the spire of Christchurch Cathedral to collapse.

 

 

 

More than 120 years later, the firm of Harmans Lawyers was even busier, still operating within the central city when the 2011 earthquake struck. Fortunately, Harmans had by then expanded to Papanui, operating out of two offices, and the city staff were able to relocate to the Papanui premises. This enabled colleagues to collaborate within the one site, ensuring Harmans was able to continue its unbroken line of legal service to the greater Canterbury region.

“Working all together in Papanui had enhanced our collegial culture, and we thought hard about Harmans’ location when the city was being rebuilt,” Managing Partner Graeme Riach says.

“We decided to keep the Papanui branch because our clients love the ease of access, but also to move back into the central city because that is our first home and we have corporate clients based there. Proximity to the court is also an advantage for our litigators.”

A 12-year technology partnership with Ricoh aided Harmans in making the transition to a digital workplace an easy one. Their meeting room solutions enabled Harmans to run multiple offices collaboratively. “With our Ricoh system for video conferencing in place, we feel like a firm based in one office, but with the advantages of central and suburban sites.”

The Papanui office features a 55-inch Ricoh Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) and a 75-inch IWB is fitted in the conference room in the city office. Each has a Crestron Sound Bar and the system integrates seamlessly into Harmans’ IT environment. “We have meetings between the two offices and it is almost like an extension of the room. The microphone on the wall is so effective compared to the old way of huddling round a central one,” Graeme says.

 

In fact, Ricoh’s core product, the IWB, takes you far beyond video conferencing. It can be either wall-mounted or set up as a table top. It functions as a traditional Windows PC, while also operating like a traditional whiteboard, enabling you to write with your finger. The whiteboard function allows you to overlay data, plans or images on your screen, enabling you to alter, design, highlight and rearrange with a fingertip. You can save work straight to your computer, print, and email instantly from the screen.

The applications for the IWBs are almost endless. They are ideal for companies where client presentations are integral, perfect for small and large group training and even for standard meetings. Graeme says “From a lawyer’s point of view, we need quality of output, and speed and reliability is key. We always found Ricoh better than their competitors in copying and printing technology, and now have found their IWB plus soundbar set up better than we had hoped for.”

Peter O’Connor of Ricoh says, “We’ve focused on making our meeting room solutions simple – often any more than three steps and staff won’t use the technology, so it’s just point, click and connect. Completely wireless, there’s no messy cables or plugging in, everything is shared over Wi-Fi networks.”

“Our system is completely pre-set to us,” Graeme says. “We can simply send a weblink to clients on email, and that’s time and money saved for everyone.”

 

 


 

International learning expertise hits the city


We are heading into a time of great uncertainty, with rapid technological change affecting almost everything in our society in the coming decades, from the work we do to the skills we need, to the way we teach students, and to retraining staff displaced by technology to allow them to successfully adapt.

 

 

By Hamish Duff of Recalibrate Ltd

 

The scale of the changes we are seeing is unprecedented in our history – and they are accelerating. That trend is incredibly difficult to comprehend, but it is happening whether we comprehend it or not.

We are going to be challenged and it is likely that education will not be able to change fast enough. That is a pretty big issue for us to deal with – for teachers, for administration, for the Ministry, for employers and, of course, for students.

The Future of Learning is an event designed to help us to adapt to the future – international and national experts in workplace learning, education and emerging technologies are converging on Christchurch to help guide strategy and actions, such as:

  1. What does the future of workplace learning really look like?
  2. What are the potential changes we will see?
  3. How will technology change the way we learn?
  4. How will that change formal education and qualifications?
  5. How will it change the way we teach new skills to staff?
  6. What are the current leading-edge learning practices?

The Future of Learning is being held on 30 September and 1 October 2019 at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street, Christchurch. Tickets are available until the day!

To find out more about the event, go to www.futureoflearning.nz.

Power of the pixels


They say that money can’t buy happiness, but how about a Samsung 98-inch 8K television instead? Sounds good? Then be prepared to part with around $80,000 for that slice of cutting-edge happiness.

 

 

Samsung is spearheading the launch of 8K technology in New Zealand with its ultra-premium Q900 QLED 8K range, available in stores now.

While many homes are still entering the 4K TV market, the demand for larger screens and an even better quality image is on the rise. 8K resolution actually features four times the pixels of a 4K UHD TV and 16 times more than a full HD TV.

The technology for streaming native 8K content isn’t available in New Zealand as yet, but in this fast- moving industry it won’t be long. Japan has already launched an 8K channel for the Rugby World Cup. But that’s not to say your current viewing won’t look any better on an 8K TV, because it does and the difference is bigger than you might think due to huge advances in upscaling AI.

Let’s take a look at the theory involved without breaking out too many initialisms and formulas. It’s commonly believed that the best 4K screen is the Sony BVM-X300, a 30-inch 4K mastering monitor that carries 156 pixels per inch, producing an almost flawless 4K image. Now take that same image and put it on a 55-inch 4K TV and the pixel density drops to 81ppi, on a 98-inch TV and it takes a dive to 45ppi. In a nutshell, that 4K image no longer looks like 4K.

 

 

So as the screen size gets larger we find ourselves needing more pixels per inch to display these ultra-high-definition images as they are meant to be seen. Our eyes and brain are clever enough so that when they see gaps in information they compensate to make things seem more natural. This is where 8K comes to the fore. To put an 8K TV into perspective, imagine 16 4K TVs in a 4×4 grid, now imagine condensing them all down to the size of one big-screen TV. You are left with a massive pixel density with fewer gaps in the information being displayed. Fewer gaps means our eyes and brains need to do less work and the picture seems more natural to us.

Ranging in sizes and price from the 65-inch at $10,999 to the enormous 98-inch at $79,999, the Samsung Q900 QLED 8K range will be the drooling point of any gathering, but needn’t be an eyesore when not in use due to their ability to blend in with the wall they are on or function as a piece of art.

Whether they are within your budget or not, head into your nearest Samsung TV stockist and take a look at the wonderment you are missing out on.

 


 

Preserving precious memories


Many years ago, people used to savour the photographs they took because they had to pay good money for rolls of film to be developed. I still remember the anticipation and inevitable disappointment of picking up my envelope of photos to find images of my thumb, the grass, animals that had walked off in the time it took the shutter to operate, and all manner of blurred people.

 

 

But photos were photos, each one a time-capsule in itself and even the blurred ones got put into a photo album or at least in the ‘photo box’. You always knew where they were if you wanted to reminisce with family or friends.

But how many of us can account for the digital photos we took 10 or 15 years ago with our point-and-click cameras and early mobile phones? Are they on an old computer, memory card or USB stick? Or have those memories been lost forever?

Of course, with the advent of social media and instant cloud uploads we are archiving our photos more and more. But even they bring their own set of problems. What happens if you pass away? Who can access your Dropbox, Google Drive, Samsung, HTC, iCloud or One Drive? The potential for your precious memories getting forgotten about or lost is just as real.

 

New Zealand company Phable Ltd has developed an app that allows you to upload your favourite digital photos and even short videos into it using a simple interface that lays out your photos in a beautiful photo book which is then printed, bound and delivered to your door. You can upload directly from your device or even import from Facebook or Instagram.

Before you commit the album to print, you can rearrange the layout and enlarge or crop images. Uploaded videos appear as photos in the physical album except they have an embedded QR code. You can then use any smartphone to read the code and instantly play the video.

Phable has three variations of the book available to order, each containing 24 images (including four videos), and while they range in sturdiness, all three will easily take pride of place on any coffee table. The Playbook Lite is a simpler, no-frills book costing $14.99. The Playbook Original is slightly more sturdy at $49.99 and the Playbook Premium is solid and luxurious with ‘wow’ factor at $69.99. You are even able to customise the cover of all three books with an image and text of your choice.

The Phable app provides an extremely user-friendly interface that even the least tech-savvy family members could navigate their way around. The app is currently only available on the iOS App Store, but an Android version is in development.
So preserve those precious moments now before a whole generation of digital memories disappears into the ether.

By Ian Knott

 


 

Make meetings interactive: Ricoh


The late Karl Lagerfeld said “I don’t do meetings,” but then of course he didn’t have a bespoke meeting room solution complete with a state-of-the-art Interactive Whiteboard created for him by Ricoh New Zealand.

 

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Finance Operations Manager Giles Beal (L) and Ricoh NZ Senior Account Manager Jason Carter

 

In a thriving business, meetings have to happen and Ricoh knows how to maximise productivity through design and technology. Every meeting room is different and every company is different, so Ricoh’s solutions are tailored to ensure that technology, room size, rate of usage, natural and artificial light, acoustics and table size dovetail for best efficiency and enjoyment.

Ricoh’s core product is the amazing Interactive Whiteboard. To see it in action is to realise you need it and once installed, you’ll wonder how the business functioned without it. Picture an iPad in table-top size that also functions as a whiteboard you can write on with your finger. Then picture the whiteboard function overlaying the data, plans or images on your screen, enabling you to alter, design, highlight and rearrange with a fingertip. You can save work straight to your computer, print and email instantly from the screen, video call and conference meeting rooms all over the country – it is easy and instinctive to use.

The applications for the Interactive Whiteboards are almost endless. Often wallmounted, the Interactive Whiteboards can also be placed on a stand and used table-top style, which is invaluable for architects, designers, engineers and planners. They are ideal for companies where client presentations are really important, perfect for small and large group training and for standard meetings. “At Ricoh we now have so much better interaction with our own head office and regional branches using this technology,” Karen Heydon says.

The Ricoh team recently installed an Interactive Whiteboard for the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, which has since ordered another for a second space. “As the home and voice of Canterbury business, The Chamber offers around 100 events and 300 training courses every year,” Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says.

“With many of our trainers favouring a workshop approach to encourage engagement, the multi-functionality aspect of the whiteboards has been really important. This means that we don’t need to clutter up our training spaces with a range of different solutions – we can easily use the board for everything from Skype to presentations as well as just for writing on. Being internet-enabled in particular makes a huge difference, as our trainers often use this feature to show instructional videos and can navigate websites easily with a touch of the screen. It’s also really user-friendly so even the least tech-savvy people can use it.”

The Chamber has been working with Ricoh for a number of years. “We have been impressed with the way they have taken the time to learn about our organisation and our specific business requirements. They have been able to work with us to provide a fit-for-purpose IT solution that ticks all of the boxes – taking care of everything from photocopiers to IT support and troubleshooting. Their ability to get any issues sorted is integral to us being able to continue to support and empower local business,” Leeann adds.

 


 

Forcing your hand


Innovative Christchurch tech company Swiftpoint has recently released its latest ergonomic mouse, appealing to users who are used to assigning tasks to multiple buttons.

 

 

The ProPoint mouse keeps the same RSI-beating design as its predecessors, forcing the user’s right hand (sorry lefties, no love for you here) into a pen-grip position rather than the usual claw-shape of regular mice. I reviewed the original Swiftpoint mouse many years ago and have been a regular user on my laptop ever since, so I am well used to the very different hand position the ProPoint requires. But I do remember the initial steep learning curve and just how plain weird using a pen-grip mouse feels. Persistence pays off though and once you get used to the new position, making that gnarled claw shape on regular mice makes you realise how bad it is for you.

The Propoint talks to a small USB dongle that also doubles as a charging station for the little mouse, but it can also connect via Bluetooth. I couldn’t get my MacBook Pro to recognise the ProPoint, but I had no issues pairing my iMac and iPad. The mouse supports more than one simultaneous Bluetooth connections, so hot-swapping between devices is easy.

 

Just like the original Swiftpoint, the technology behind the rechargable battery is astonishing. A full charge will see days of regular use, or weeks of intermittent usage, while a quick one-minute charge will have you working for hours.
Pairing the ProPoint with an iPad doesn’t allow you to use it as a mouse or stylus, but it does allow you full control over Word and Excel via remote desktop apps such as VMWare and TeamViewer for example.

The ProPoint also comes with gyroscopic technology and, with the flick of a switch, the mouse becomes a presenting device for Microsoft PowerPoint, letting you navigate and draw on slides or use it as a virtual laser pointer. The gyroscope also facilitates the ‘tilt’ functionality that you can programme (through the downloadable control panel) to do a range of tasks, my favourite being flicking between tabs in the browser. With three buttons and a scroll wheel to customise, the ProPoint is more than enough mouse to satisfy any non-gaming computer usage.

ProPoint: $319
www.swiftpoint.com

 


 

Boring is the New Black


On average, Kiwis unlock their mobile phone 80 times per day. That’s right, eight-zero. If you’re looking at that statistic with disbelief, you’re not alone. I did the same before thinking back through a typical day and realising that I’d easily hit that national average, if not more.

 

 

However, there’s been a recent groundswell of anti-mobile sentiment as people and businesses start to realise the real-life social disengagement and productivity loss that overuse of smartphones causes. One recent US study found that the likelihood of making a mistake increases by 23 percent after getting distracted by your mobile phone. For some industries, rather than costing just time and money, that may even put people in danger.

Social change invites opportunity, and New Zealanders Alex Davidson and Jasper Mackenzie have come to the realisation that taking a massive step backwards could be the best way forwards. Enter the BoringPhone. About to be launched on Kickstarter, BoringPhone looks and feels like your average smartphone, but has a significant difference – this minimalist phone goes back to basics with all of the useful features and none of the distractions.

 

ALEX DAVIDSON AND JASPER MACKENZIE

 

Running a customised Android operating system, BoringPhone makes calls and sends text messages, takes pictures, plays music and has maps, just like the phone you probably have sitting in front of you right now. What makes BoringPhone different is what it doesn’t do. It has no internet browser, no social media, no email and you can’t download and install any apps on it.

There are fairly recent alternatives out there, such as Nokia’s re-release of the classic 3310, but that in itself comes with the stigma of actually looking like an old-school phone. Owning it is a statement, inviting comment and almost seeking attention. It’s the tech version of announcing you’re vegan, have quit sugar, or you’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones.

But BoringPhone looks like every other smartphone and its makers are marketing it not only towards socially conscious users, but towards businesses that want a fleet of phones that won’t be susceptible to dangerous third party apps. The Kickstarter campaign begins in June 2019 and every initial BoringPhone will be handmade, with personalised support.

Sign up for news and follow the project at www.boringphone.com.


 

St Andrew's College

Technological Talents: St Andrew’s College embracing technology

Technological change is sweeping the world and, although many are being overwhelmed by its disruptive nature, St Andrew’s College is taking the technological opportunities with both hands. Rather than simply teaching its students how to be technology users, it is preparing students to control and create future technology, and investing accordingly in this area.

St Andrew's College
Last year St Andrew’s expanded its Technology programme, appointing Wilj Dekkers to the newly created role of Head of Innovation and Information Services. Wilj has been tasked with leading the development of the new Green Library and Innovation Centre, which was officially opened last month.
This has seen the extension of the existing Secondary School Library, which now features innovation, design and construction spaces with access to modern tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters.
Current student projects in the new Green Centre include the development of virtual reality content to help Allanvale School students learn to cross the road safely and
a new, online ordering system for the
St Andrew’s College cafeteria allowing parents to ‘top up’ their child’s account and keep track of their purchases.
St Andrew’s College also has a strong robotics programme and younger students participate in various coding clubs and Lego Mindstorm.
Rector Christine Leighton says the Green Library and Innovation Centre is the College’s response to the changing face of education. “We are mindful technology will bring the inevitable disruption to our educational landscape and are conscious of being adaptable and responsive to change,” she says.
“The new Green Centre provides a space where inspiration, innovation, creativity and collaboration are at the heart of how our students learn.”

TES Limited

Protecting your tech investment: TES Limited is your go-to for quick and helpful technical assistance

Nothing creates deep frustration as quickly as technical issues can. To deal with such issues, TES Limited in Avonhead provides technical assistance with a fast turnaround and a guarantee on all work.

TES Limited

From maintenance such as PC/laptop/phone/iPad repair, to fixing overheating laptops or broken laptop/mobile screens and power sockets, there is very little that TES cannot fix. This prevents technology from going to landfill and saves customers the money and frustration of dealing with a device not working to its full potential.
The company can solve problems remotely and provides computer maintenance like virus removal, lost file recovery and software installs. TES also sells ex-lease machines in excellent condition (listed regularly on the Facebook page and website, with a six-week layby option). It can also provide annual maintenance contracts to businesses, a PC and laptop rental service, as well as internet and networking support.
“Technical issues that can be complicated to others are easy for us because it is what we do,” owner Pankaj Gupta explains.
“Sometimes people struggle for too long with things that are actually a very easy fix. We give free estimates and fast turnaround, which is why customers leave smiling, wishing they had come to us earlier. We also have an on-call service.”
Technology is such a big part of our lives now that having a business you can rely on when things go wrong helps protect your technology investment. Pankaj seems to build good relationships like that every single day.
Visit Shop 6, 104 Staveley Street, Avonhead, phone 03-342 7373 or shop online at
www.teslimited.co.nz.