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Alienware and Dell To Deliver Supercharge Mobile Gaming and Audio Engineering

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Alienware and Dell are tapped into what the community wants – gaming solutions with more performance, portability, display technologies, and community benefits. This year at Computex 2019, Alienware and Dell will deliver on this and more. The new Alienware m15 and m17 as well as the Dell G3 15 are among Dell’s first gaming laptops to showcase a brand-new design and processors that supercharge the PC gaming experience. Two Alienware branded headsets, several new display technologies, a new esports investment in education, blue light reduction, and custom home installation round out the offerings.

“Gamers across the globe have high expectations from Alienware and Dell when it comes to our gaming products and without a doubt our latest announcements will exceed even the highest of expectations out there,” said Frank Azor, vice-president, and general manager of Alienware, G Series, and XPS at Dell. “To get to this point it has taken over two decades of uncompromising commitment to gamers, the collaboration of an incredibly talented and devoted team, and an ever-expanding group of top-tier partners.”

Alienware introduces a totally redesigned Alienware m15 and m17 that is leaner, more advanced and more powerful than its predecessor. With a starting weight under 4.7lbs and 5.8lbs* respectively, Alienware is proud to release its thinnest 15” and 17” gaming laptops to date. Not only do they introduce Alienware’s new Legend industrial design, announced earlier this year at CES, the new Alienware m15 and m17 also introduces innovation culminating from everything the Alienware design team has learned over the years – giving them a clean slate to design around anticipated issues and enabling them to reach new heights in sophistication.

The Alienware m15 and m17 are engineered for gamers who prioritise mobility without compromise to performance by offering Intel processors and NVIDA GeForce GPUs. Numerous display technologies enhance gameplay with the m15 being the world’s first 15” laptop to feature Tobii eyetracking, and the m17 being the world’s first laptop to feature Eyesafe® display designed to lower blue light emissions, while maintaining vivid colour integrity. Gamers can also choose between 144Hz, 240Hz and the newly available OLED displays. The latest Alienware Cyro-Tech 3.0 offers a newly optimized thermal module design to improve cooling performance, increasing airflow by 20% over the previous generation of the m15 and 25% on the m17. Additional design features include an all-magnesium chassis, smooth-edge, narrow-bezel design, re-engineered keyboard, precision-point glass touchpad, SSD-only storage, and per key RGB LED AlienFX lighting.

In its G Series family of gaming laptops for budget-conscious and entry-level players, Dell’s G3 15 comes to this year’s Computex with even more to offer at a competitive price point. Delivering plenty of power and performance, the new Game Shift feature enables maximum fan speed for optimal processor performance during periods of intense gaming with the click of one button. The 15-inch G3 also shows its outward innovations through a thin and sleek design, narrow borders, optional 144Hz gaming display, 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard and a new S-curve design to accommodate larger component ports near the back.

The 9th Gen Intel Core mobile CPUs offer desktop-calibre performance to gaming and creator laptops, delivering up to 5.0 GHz Turbo, 8 cores, and 16 threads, on a platform that handles everything from demanding AAA games to taxing creative workloads like editing and rendering, even when on the go. Complementing this is NVIDIA’s new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphic cards, built with the breakthrough graphics performance of award-winning NVIDIA Turing architecture, a blazing-fast supercharger for today’s most popular games. Available on GeForce GTX 1660Ti and RTX 2060, 2070 and 2080 graphics options, HyperEfficient VR technology delivers up to 8-phase graphics voltage regulation and 6-phase processor voltage regulation for longer sustained high-performance.

Listening closely to the gaming community and catering to the needs of different gamers, Alienware is excited to launch the next generation of wired gaming headsets – the Alienware 7.1 Gaming Headset and Alienware Stereo Gaming Headset.

The new range of headsets feature hand-picked 50mm high resolution drivers that have been custom tuned to provide amazing audio clarity. The specially sculpted, deeper audio chambers amplify the resonance and the memory foam ear pads provide a high level of noise isolation. All this is packaged into a sleek, iconic Alienware Legend Design with non-exposed extenders, and a retractable boom microphone that help create a beautiful seamless outline.

Enjoy a fully immersive surround-sound gaming experience with the Alienware 7.1 Gaming Headset, with pinpoint accurate sound positioning and astounding clarity. The retractable boom microphone provides consistent voice clarity in team gameplay. Comfort fit earcups incorporating a hybrid of leatherette, sports fabric and memory foam create a deeper acoustic chamber with noise isolation that complements the high-resolution audio. The cushioned leather headband with the ideal clamp force ensures no slippage during those long hours of gaming.

Created to provide unparalleled clarity, the Alienware Stereo Gaming Headset combines the high-resolution audio of the hand-picked 50mm drivers in custom-tuned audio chambers which allows for fuller, more resonant sound and incredible clarity even during the most chaotic gameplay Combining both plush memory foam and sports fabric in the ear cups and textured fabric headband, the headset provides optimal cooling, comfort and noise isolation during marathon gaming sessions.

Gamers will also enjoy the cross-platform compatibility these headsets provide via the detachable 3.5mm cable that makes it compatible with a variety of gaming platforms.

Dell G7 17” and Alienware m17 will be first to offer next generation Eyesafe® display optimised to reduce blue light exposure. This display option will be added to the Alienware Area-51m in June; Dell plans to expand Eyesafe® display across the entire Alienware portfolio in coming months.

Eyesafe® reduces high energy blue light emissions while maintaining colour accuracy. With many gamers engaging in extended screen time, this added functionality intelligently manages light energy at the source, selectively reducing potentially damaging blue light and dispersing it across the light spectrum. Prolonged exposure to blue light from a typical display may have health impacts that can lead to dry, irritated eyes, trouble sleeping, blurred vision reduced attention span and concentration1.

Alienware has long been ingrained in the esports community as an investor, advocate, fan as well as the gaming system of choice for competitive and professional gamers around the world. As esports continues to increase its global popularity, universities understand the benefits of dedicated technology consultants and solutions and are turning to Dell Technologies to bring esports into their curriculum. With the numbers on the rise accordingly to National Association of Collegiate esports, more than 130 universities belong to the National Association of College Esports, more than 475 colleges offer esports clubs, and 800 high schools in North America now belong to the High School Esports League – delivering opportunities to both the students and the institutions themselves.

Committed to fostering technological literacy among youth, today Dell Technologies’ end-to-end technology solutions equips U.S. educational institutions with the ability to build varsity-level dedicated esports arenas, start esports gaming clubs or build dual-purpose spaces to support teaching, learning, and esports in a single environment. Whether students are competing on their Alienware system or designing games on a Dell Precision workstation, esports give scholars an opportunity to develop skills such as collaboration, strategy, communication and critical thinking. These life-skills are helping to better prepare students for new career opportunities that are arising in the digital era.

“We have to ensure our next generation is equipped with the skills to thrive in a digital world and need as much talent as possible to meet the needs of our future workforce,” said Jeanne Weber, Senior Higher Education Strategist, Dell Technologies. “Dell Technologies has been a partner to the education community for some time; with our commitment to esports and the explosive growth of the game, we are strategically positioned to help support these winning programs across educational institutions of every level, everywhere.”

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank to disburse CBN’s N100bn loan to health, sells FX to SMEs, education sectors

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As part of proactive measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 and revamp the nation’s dwindling economy, Heritage Bank is set to disburse the N100billion set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This is in line with the apex bank’s policy to introduce another intervention scheme directed to the health sector, which is known as the NGN100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare sector (the Scheme). Specifically, the scheme is to provide credit to indigenous pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare value chain players intending to build or expand capacity.

Also, the CBN resumed provision of foreign exchange to all commercial banks for onward sales to parents wishing to pay schools fees and small medium enterprises (SMEs) with plans to make essential imports needed to revamp economic activities across the country. In particular, the CBN is resuming the provision of over US$100 million per week for both categories.

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank serves as a conduit which will assess and channel the profiles of interested applicants to the CBN while using its platforms to create awareness for the scheme.

The CBN has also made complete arrangements to resume foreign exchange sales to the BDC segment of the market for business travels, personal travels, and other designated retail uses, as soon as international flights resume.

To access the N100bn loans provided by the CBN for firms in the healthcare sector, a corporate entity must submit its application to a participating financial institution (PFI) which could be either a Deposit Money Bank or a Development Finance Institution of its choice with a bankable business plan.

It stated in its latest guidelines that the PFI must appraise and conduct due diligence on the application; and upon approval by the PFI’s credit committee, the application would be submitted to the apex bank with relevant documents attached.

The CBN would process and disburse funds to the PFI for onward release to the project, it added.

The CBN stated that the PFI must receive and review applications submitted by its customers; undertake due diligence based on normal business considerations, and bear the credit risk.

They must also issue offer letters and forward qualified applications to the CBN; disburse the released funds to successful applicants; monitor the project and recover the loans from the beneficiaries, and maintain adequate records of all beneficiaries and facilities.

It requires the PFIs to register all movable assets with the National Collateral Registry; forward periodic returns in the prescribed format on the scheme to the CBN; comply with the guidelines, and carry out any other duties as the CBN may prescribe from time to time.

According to the CBN, eligible participants under the scheme comprise healthcare product manufacturers – pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; and healthcare service providers/medical facilities – hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centres/laboratories, fitness and wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, dialysis centres and blood banks, among others.

Others include pharmaceutical/medical products distribution and logistics services; and other human healthcare service providers as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.

Eligible activities under the scheme would include manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; establishment/expansion/upgrade of basic and specialised healthcare facilities; and medical/pharmaceutical supplies.

Others are medical/pharmaceutical research and development; distribution of medical/pharmaceutical drugs and supplies; Manufacturing of medical/pharmaceutical drugs distribution technology; and any other healthcare value chain activity as may be prescribed by the CBN.

The CBN said the term loan had a maximum of N2billion per obligor; and the interest rate under the intervention would not be more than five per cent per annum up until February 28, 2021; and that interest on the facility would revert to nine percent as from March 2021.

To access further details on the modalities, interested persons and institutions can logon Heritage Bank’s website (www.hbng.com).

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Banking

COVID 19 Rebound: We are building Entrepreneurs and supporting financial Inclusion through Xpress Point Agents – Ecobank

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Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated that its agency banking scheme, also known as Xpress Points, is building entrepreneurs and pushing financial inclusion to the large unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The Ecobank Xpress Point enables eligible Agents to carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) and earn commission on every transaction processed. The consumer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch. Ecobank Xpress Points is also a channel that can be used for the deployment of national social intervention programmes of the Government.

The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neoghbourhood to provide easy banking services.

Speaking in Lagos, Nike Kolawole, Head, Agency Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said unemployed and retired persons should avail themselves the opportunity to earn extra income by keying into services offered by the bank as Xpress point agents. According to her, the Ecobank Xpress point which are in various neighbourhoods across the country, are well positioned to facilitate basic financial transactions, with the process and services simplified to attend to a broad spectrum of the society.

She further disclosed that agency banking in general, brings about economic and youth empowerment by way of job creation and earning extra income, adding that small savers can easily do their savings at home or near their home. This leads to financial inclusion of the underbanked in the country.

For now, Ecobank has over 43,000 agents across Africa. The agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission per transaction processed. Xpress Points can also be used as a channel for the deployment of national social intervention programmes, especially at this time that we are fighting the impact of lockdowns due to the COVID-19.”

Kolawole listed the services offered by the Xpress point agents as; cash in, cash out, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge, remittance and account opening, among others. She added that the services are available for “sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, microfinance banks, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair saloon and others.”

Ecobank boasts of a bouquet of digital channels comprising solutions aimed at delivering convenient, accessible and reliable financial services. For instance, users of the bank’s USSD code, *326# carry out transactions without paying session charges. The USSD platform, *326#, makes it possible to open an Xpress account and Xpress Save account instantly. The bank’s mobile banking app, Ecobank Mobile offers the option of generating a virtual card; this comes in handy as customers are continually turning to web payments for their shopping and payments. The Ecobank virtual card offers the flexibility and convenience of creating a shopping card that is not linked to a customer’s account but is fully capable of carrying out online payments. The virtual card can also be shared with loved ones as a gift card for their own shopping.

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BUSINESS

Mastercard Builds on COVID-19 Response with Commitment to Connect 1 Billion People

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Extends effort beyond 500 million financially included over the past five years; Maximizes technology, partnerships to deliver aid, insights and access to businesses and communities; Programs like the Mastercard Farmer Network and Kasha are connecting people across East Africa.

The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard (www.Mastercard.com) has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.

The extended commitment builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 related health and economic challenges facing individuals all over the world, including in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Financial inclusion remains key to unlocking the potential of Sub-Saharan Africa, and will become crucial as we support Governments in driving long-term, sustainable economic recovery. Digital transactions are both safe and efficient and giving access to these for as many people as possible, is an important part of supporting the most vulnerable parts of the population through the current situation. Our focus right now – beyond philanthropy – is to steadfastly continue collaborating  with governments and private sector partners on solutions that are safe, viable, and most importantly, socially impactful for communities across the region,” said Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system. It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.

The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion (www.Mastercard.us) – the technology company’s first lab focused on financial inclusion – is committed to empowering millions of Africans through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions. One such solution is the Mastercard Farmer Network, a mobile platform that improves market access, increases price transparency and digitizes payments to connect small farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

East Africa is also served by Kasha, an e-commerce platform optimized for women’s health and personal care. It offers confidential and convenient service, online/offline digital ordering and delivery to both urban and low-income rural areas. In Uganda, Mastercard launched Kupaa in partnership with UNICEF Uganda and the country’s Ministry of Education. It enables parents and caregivers to pay school fees and other school expenses with their mobile phones securely, easily, and in small payments when they are able, easing the burden of lump sum payments.

Mastercard also expanded its partnership with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store) – a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend credit for stock purchases.

Additional efforts include ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programs.

This announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach. That work includes:

  • In the first weeks of the global health crisis, Mastercard committed up to $25 million in seed funding to establish the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator (www.TherapeuticsAccelerator.org) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others to help speed up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by discovering, developing and scaling-up treatments for deployment around the world.
  • Mastercard has committed $250 million in financial, technology, product and services support over the next five years to small businesses in many markets where it operates, supporting the vitality of businesses and the financial security of their workers.
  • Mastercard is leveraging its network to provide support to governments around the world in a range of areas. This includes providing data insights to inform policymakers about the economic impact of the pandemic; increasing the speed and efficacy of aid disbursements to communities and business segments that need it most; developing donation platforms to enable emergency fundraising; and working with governments to assist business owners and consumers with cyber vulnerability assessments.
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