At Galaxy Unpacked 2021, Samsung virtually launched the new Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, and the Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTag. I attended the event alongside Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Anshel Sag, and you can read my full take here.
I recently spent a few weeks using the Galaxy S21 Ultra as my primary business device, mainly using a mix of productivity and collaboration applications like Teams, WebEx, and Zoom and testing out new security features. Last year, I talked about how Samsung produced an incredible enterprise-ready device with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. I expected the Samsung S21 Ultra Enterprise Edition to be a strong follow-up to last year’s device. Over the last year, Samsung has set the standard for the ultimate enterprise smartphone, and I wanted to evaluate the new S21 Ultra from a pure enterprise perspective.
There’s no doubt that the Galaxy S21 line makes for incredible, premium consumer devices, but the coveted enterprise market comes with some different, additional device requirements. Let’s take a closer look at the new lineup of devices as Samsung released the Galaxy S21 Ultra Enterprise Edition and what Samsung has done to optimize it for enterprise customers.
Every flavor of 5G
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – Enterprise Edition marked another major milestone on the march towards 5G ubiquity. It has been two years since most major carriers have announced plans for a 5G network, and in the U.S. now, every major city and carrier has 5G in some form or fashion with a web-based mmWave, Sub6 GHz, or both.
Last year, I mentioned that I consider the S20 the first “5G world phone” to support every flavor of 5G. This year, I feel the S21 is the first “Fully-capable 5G world phone”. 5G networks being up and running worldwide is essential for enterprises in that if it sends its employees on work trips domestically or internationally, workers will have access to 5G coverage overseas. With the S21 Ultra, enterprise workers will have a phone that can take full advantage of the speedy networks. Carriers have been advancing to support this, and the S21 is more ready than ever to take office wherever you are. Another benefit of 5G is speed and low latency, which, with mmWave networks, is faster and much more secure than Wi-Fi. Speed, of course, benefits workers in that they have a higher probability of having a good collaboration experience and if tethered to their notebook, an office experience making collaboration and simple file cloud-sharing much easier.
As more businesses go wireless with remote work and hybrid arrangements, congested and saturated networks become inevitable. One major plus to the Samsung S21 Ultra Enterprise Edition is that unlike the standard S21 that only has Wi-Fi 6, the flagship device has Wi-Fi 6E, which adds value in various ways. Wi-Fi 6E means less congestion, less fighting for Wi-Fi, and getting enormously better Wi-Fi speeds on your smartphone device for little to no interruptions from daily duties.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra offers the latest and greatest connectivity technologies, ultra-wideband along with Wi-Fi 6E and 5G. With ultra-wideband, you can share files easily or access buildings or office spaces saving money on key cards for yourself and employees. The Galaxy S21 is the first smartphone ever to support the network giving it more capacity and lower latency. If 5G is in your area, which it most likely is, then the Galaxy S21 Ultra enables you to be more collaborative and practical with a plethora of 5G coverage options.
The S-Pen and Dex
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is also the first S-series device ever with S-Pen support. Sure, there isn’t a place to put your S-Pen unless you buy a case that holds it, but don’t let that stop you just yet. Considering the S-Pen is an add-on, it is nice to have, niche feature on the S21. I could see enterprise users using the capability for creativity and also collaboration to streamline workflows. I would personally use the S-Pen to sign documents, edit forms, or clean up a quick PowerPoint presentation.
The new Dex (desktop experience) application is a welcomed addition. Samsung launched Wireless Dex with the Samsung Galaxy S21 to improve its Dex desktop environment, and it works great. The Wireless Dex application allows your phone to wireless mirror onto a compatible display using screen share, screen mirroring, or Miracast. The unique desktop experience is more comparable with the Chrome OS but is quickly and arguably the best way to exchange files from your smartphone to your desktop of choice, whether it’s Windows, Linux, or macOS. There are a few compatibility requirements to use Dex. First, you need to find a compatible display. Samsung is a global leader with its Smart TVs display technology, so if you are uncertain of which TV is compatible with DEX, you can either go to the Samsung website or click your Dex application on your S21 phone then click the more information link. If you have a TV that supports screen mirroring, screen sharing, or Miracast, try that before investing in a new TV.
One of the most notable features for Samsung wireless text is that you can plug in a standard USB keyboard or mouse into one of the USBs into the back of the tv, and this allows you to use them as input devices, turning your phone into a computer or use a Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse. The wireless text helps business users multitask on multiple applications as they are all open simultaneously to work together to appear side by side and appear as applications do like on a Windows PC. If you prefer, you can use an adapter like a USB-C to type A adapter and plug it in your phone. The adapters would be most helpful if your TV only has one USB input, or you could turn on the ‘use phone as touchpad’ as a mouse and keep your USB input slot open.
I have had issues in the past, where some phones would be unusable when screen mirroring or plugged into a compatible laptop from your phone. The S21 Ultra is also fully functional while screen mirroring. That means you can call, text, and anything else without going in and out of the Dex app. Now, that sounds suited for the enterprise. You can even use applications like Snapchat to take photos of yourself and text back when taking a break or playing simple games like Candy Crush, which seems playable with no lag for me, but a game like Call of Duty Mobile isn’t going to work via Dex.
When I was using the Dex application and playing back a random 4K video of nature, I did not find any stuttering, latency issues, or frame drop, even when playing around on my phone. Yes, that means you can even be on a video call on your phone and see yourself and the call participants on the monitor without encountering any latency.
So, that what a great sign, which means you can share photos and videos, slideshows, and other needed work for creators and enterprise duties. When you play the video or audio file, you will hear the audio from the TV you are screen sharing on, not the device. So, no need to pair it with a Bluetooth device unless needed.
With the addition of S-Pen support and a much-improved Dex experience, enterprise users will be happy with the useability of the new S21 Ultra. From no latency video calling to multiple applications up while still playing on your phone, all the way to using wired or wireless keyboard and mouse.
Enterprise-grade security and reliability
With distributed and remote work becoming the new standard, improving the functionality and security of teams scattered worldwide is essential. Many sensitive work streams run off our phones. These streams include sensitive information like company financials, product roadmaps, and more. The Samsung Galaxy S21 protects against fault and side-channel attacks using multilayered protection at the software and hardware levels. Samsung allows the secure memory to store sensitive data safely by inputting privacy features like private sharing to enable the user to have protected files. Whether that means sharing images, videos, documents with friends, colleagues, or clients without worrying about them getting into the wrong hands, this removes metadata and gives the users the option to set a timer for how long someone has an image, video, or document. As I mentioned before in my S21 base model review, please think of this like Snapchat; you can share photos and videos for a short duration until it disappears from the other user’s device permanently.
Samsung’s signature defense-grade security platform is called Samsung Knox Vault and integrated into the SoC. How Samsung does this is by adding tamper-resistant secure memory to enable the extra layer of protection. The tamper-resistant memory allows devices to be managed and secure throughout its life cycles to help organize Enterprise Solutions. If the device was to be lost, encryption enables the device’s content inaccessible until it’s found. If permanently lost, then you can disable the device using Knox. All these features make the Galaxy S21 Ultra one of the most secure smartphones. Knox uses the fingerprint reader, which has improved rather significantly with 1.7x more biometric data captured, 77% larger fingerprinted reader area, and 50% faster to read, and it shows. Samsung brought a better way of securing information for all businesses worldwide with the Galaxy S21.
The S21 line comes with three rear incredible cameras to pair with the device. The 12MP Ultra-Wide F2.2 camera, 12MP Wide-angle Dual Pixel AF F1.8 camera, and Telephoto 64MP Optic 3x F2.0 camera is unmatched when it comes to any other cellular device on the market. The camera gets an upgrade as the front camera is now a 40MP Phase Detection AF F2.2 camera joined with a quad-camera instead of a triple rear camera of the other two models. If you’re like me, you may have Zoom, Teams, & WebEx meetings each day of the week, and the upgraded selfie cam will make for a sharper video conferencing experience. Other camera solutions include a 12MP Ultra-Wide Dual Pixel AF F2.2, 10MP Telephoto Dual Pixel AF F2.4 with Optical 3x, 108MP Wide-angle Phase Detection AF F1.8, and last but not least, a Telephoto 10MP Dual Pixel AF F4.9 with Optical 10x. The S21 Ultra also allows 100X Space Zoom and a laser AF Sensor for better stability. Samsung also made sure to call out its first-ever 4K 60FPS on all cameras. Additionally, the phone is 8K compatible at 24 fps.
With all, the ability to use so many options with zooming in 10x, 30x, and even 100x will allow the multiple AI cameras in real-time to record from the rear and front-facing cameras at the same time using the ‘Directors View’ and ‘Vlogger view.’ I could see this being used by many during the pandemic, such as electricians, plumbers, and others in an industrial-related field when needing to send recordings with an overlay to explain in detail about issues when social distancing at someone’s home. Additionally, the ability to zoom in while using night mode to take photos or videos of machinery or fixing areas will be much easier. These capabilities help workers collaborate with their colleagues and whom they are helping. The many options that allow the enterprise worker to reach out through social media and their communities without a professional camera crew to deliver high-quality footage from their phone and the abilities to edit and deliver through self-promotion have never been more comfortable and cost-effective. Finally, social media influencers are all the rage these days and probably will be until the end of days. If you don’t care about having ‘blue’ text and genuinely want to invest in your content production, this phone has it all made and ready for you.
Additionally, the new Multi-Mic Recording can utilize both the Galaxy Buds Pro to deliver precise and responsive video calls if you chose to go down that path. You need the best in noise cancellation and pair ability to go on your meetings or just sitting at your desk without others hearing any interruptions in the background.
Even though the S21 Ultra uses some power-hungry components like the WQHD+ 120Hz display and the big 5000mAh battery, this phone will last all day, even with Dex’s occasional use and playing games. The S21 lineup offers a max charging of 25 watts, meaning within 30 minutes, you will have 50% battery life. The phones support wireless charging at 15 watts and reverse charging for Galaxy Buds on the phone’s back at only 4.5 watts. As I mentioned in my previous consumer review of the S21 and S21 Ultra, the battery life will improve overtime as the phone optimizes based on how and when you use it.
The ability to charge your Galaxy Buds and charge your phone in less than an hour makes all the difference between being a sitting duck at work or blazing through the to-do list. Again, I can see many enterprise workers benefitting from using the S21 Ultra. Especially industrial workers using this phone for the battery’s longevity while spending 12+ hours a day in the field.
In my opinion, the new Galaxy S21 Enterprise Edition is going to give enterprise users plenty of performance and features to improve their collaboration and productivity massively. Samsung is doing all it can to encourage more collaboration and continue to deliver connectivity to everyone’s work experience by announcing the Galaxy S21 Enterprise Edition. The new device is agile enough to suit various enterprise users ranging from social media influencers, hybrid-working employees, those in the industrial settings, and even those who are starting up or maintaining a business to self-promote. The Enterprise Edition is a complete package of mobile technology and services. That’s why Galaxy S21 offers the latest and most remarkable connectivity technologies like ultra-wideband, Wi-Fi 6E, and 5G.
The S21 Ultra allows you to carry your business in your pocket and work seamlessly. With Dex, you can complete an email you started on your phone or drag and drop files between your phone and PC. You can send files to your colleagues, may that be images, videos, or slideshows, without the thought of your files getting into the wrong hands with Samsung’s signature defense-grade technology – Knox Vault. Additionally, with Enterprise Edition, you get a full year of Knox suite free at no additional or incremental cost with renewal discounts. A two-year product lifecycle with guaranteed SMR support for five years, four years of monthly updates one year of quarterly updates. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a device that offers ultra-premium security, connectivity, and performance for an unmatched work experience.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy game reviewer Zane Pickett contributed significantly to this review.
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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has announced a competition to pick eight co-passengers for his trip to the moon. The trip will occur in two years when fellow billionaire Elon Musk is expected to kick off his moon mission, in SpaceX’s Starship rocket. Maezawa had created history back in 2018 by becoming the first person to pay for the trip. Of course, the mission may be delayed still, but Maezawa seems bullish on its completion. The announcement was made via a video, in which he says humankind will once again head to the Moon in 2023. The mission will have 10 to 12 people in total, but Maeawa is opening 8 of those seats to anyone in the world.
How to apply to go to the moon
The steps to apply are easy enough, but one must remember that a moon mission isn’t the easiest thing for just anyone to achieve. Here’s what you need to do.
Open the dearMoon website, a site that Maezawa has setup to bring new information for the project.
The homepage of the website consists of the registration form, which includes your name, country, email address and a picture. You also need to tell them which social platforms you follow Maezawa on. The website also mentions that those who pre-register will receive an email about the selection process.
You will also get a certificate signifying that you were a candidate for the crew.
What is the dearMoon project?
Maezawa named his trip the dearMoon project and hasn’t clarified what the mission is meant to achieve. That’s an important note, since mission goals usually determine who will be picked for the mission. As mentioned before, it will take 10 to 12 people up to the Moon on the SpaceX Starship, which the company has been developing since 2012. It’s meant to be one of the first passenger missions to the moon. Elon Musk has also been planning a similar trip to Mars sometime in future.
Having private flyers is part of the way SpaceX funds its programs and the 2023 mission is expected to be the first time when man sets foot on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission back in 1972. Maezawa had originally said he wants to take “artists” with him, but added in this video that anyone doing something “creative” would be called an artist.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, job-seekers expect to attend employment interviews online. But increasingly, the employers and recruiters looking to hire are sitting those same interviews out.
Instead of asking candidates questions face-to-face, many hiring managers are now relying on asynchronous video interview (AVI) platforms that have candidates record answers to questions under a countdown timer.
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AVIs, which are also called one-way or on-demand interviews, have been around for years but their use has surged during the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the American company HireVue, one of the larger companies operating in the market, said the company has seen a 24 per cent increase for its on-demand video interviews during the past year.
In the same time period, Toronto-based Knockri quadrupled its customers, and Moncton-based VidCruiter doubled its staff.
A representative with VidCruiter told CBC Radio’s The Cost of Living it used to earn 99 per cent of its revenue from clients outside Canada, but that has changed in the past three years. The company said its clients include the CBC, Canadian universities, big corporations — such as Lowe’s — and the federal government.
Candidates may find one-way interviews uncomfortable, and some experts pose questions over fairness, privacy, bias and the use of artificial intelligence. Despite these concerns, industrial-organizational psychologists predict the one-way job interview format is not going away.
Why hiring managers like the one-way interview
Using AVIs can eliminate having to navigate complicated and conflicting schedules, because candidates complete them on their own time. They can also cut travel costs if candidates are screened out before having to meet a potential employer in person.
One of the reasons why a lot of companies are turning to this technology is because of efficiency.– Edwin Torres, University of Central Florida
Timed questions also force candidates to be more succinct with their answers than they might be in traditional interviews.
Edwin Torres, a professor in the Rosen College of Hospitality management at the University of Central Florida, has interviewed hiring managers from hospitality companies using AVIs.
“One of the reasons why a lot of companies are turning to this technology is because of efficiency,” he said.
In addition, video recordings mean employers can re-watch interviews and share them with colleagues.
Job-seekers are not as keen on them
Companies claim AVIs can level the playing field by standardizing job interviews, but some candidates have expressed mixed feelings about the format.
Beatriz Gascon, a student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, struggled during an AVI interview for an internship at genetic sequencing company Illumina, based in the United Kingdom.
Gascon said she appreciated being able to re-record answers on the HireVue platform, but she froze during her second attempt answering a difficult question.
The platform submitted her second attempt, but she did not get the internship.
Gascon said she prefers face-to-face interviews because talking to a person calms her nerves and the format is more forgiving.
“Usually you have time to make small talk or repeat the question back to yourself,” she said but was frustrated that during her timed, one-way interview there was no way to do that, and no time to waste at even going over a question a second time.
Experts find some won’t complete AVIs
According to researchers at the University of Calgary, some candidates are so against one-way interviews in this format, they refuse to complete them.
“There are a number of people who feel very passionately negative,” said Joshua Bourdage, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Calgary.
Bourdage and PhD candidate Eden-Raye Lukacik are researching perceptions of AVIs, including searching and scraping websites for comments about the interview format and then analyzing the emotions conveyed.
Many commenters complained that the AVI process may be more efficient for companies, but the interviews signal an unwillingness to invest time in speaking with applicants.
According to Bourdage, many job-seekers are interpreting this as a signal of what it would be like to work at a company that uses an AVI process.
How are the videos and recordings judged?
Since companies’ algorithms are proprietary and not shared publicly, neither candidates nor academics can fully understand how the recorded videos are evaluated.
Many companies use AVIs as a screening tool before scheduling face-to-face interviews with short-listed candidates, and some use artificial intelligence to rate what candidates say and how they say it.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, can scan for keywords as well as analyze body language and facial expressions.
AI’s advocates claim it can reduce unconscious bias if trained to ignore things like race and gender but this isn’t universally accepted.
“The problem with that technology is that it has biases built into it,” said Sean Fahey, CEO of VidCruiter.
The company’s own research found speech patterns varied in different regions in the U.S. and Canada. For example, an AI system programmed by someone who lived in one of those regions would automatically have a bias according to Fahey.
VidCruiter decided not to use AI in its product until the technology has been proven not to discriminate.
Researchers agree that artificial intelligence can be biased based on who programs it.
“As long as we train those systems on human ratings, on what the human raters tell us about those interviews, it’s so easy to have biases in this data,” said Markus Langer, a postdoctoral researcher in industrial-organizational psychology at Saarland University in Germany.
Langer, who researches AI and asynchronous interviews, said identifying biases is easier with a large and diverse dataset — something that isn’t always available.
How can candidates prepare?
Though Canadians may be comfortable recording videos in a social context, many are unprepared for AVIs according to Kimberley Black, a researcher who hopes to change that.
“Preparation for asynchronous video interviews needs to be a mandatory part of the curriculum now,” said Black, whose recently-defended masters thesis for Ontario Tech University focused on preparing students for asynchronous and one-way interviews.
Black had college students complete AVIs and critique their peers’ interviews. According to her, the experience led many to realize how much they could improve.
She recommends candidates wear professional clothing, smile, record in front of a neutral background, use hand gestures, and remember to look straight into the camera lens while speaking.
If struggling with that last tip, Black suggests taping a sticky note with a smiley face by the len.
At the University of Calgary, researcher Eden-Raye Lukacik recommends practicing, either by using the interview platform itself where possible or through a practice tool offered by her lab.
Lukacik also said candidates should also present themselves honestly, and pick a time and space that works best for them as they have an edge.
“You kind of get home-court advantage because you’re in your own house.”
Written and produced by Madeleine Cummings. Click “listen” at the top of the page to hear this segment, or download the Cost of Livingpodcast.
The Cost of Living airs every week on CBC Radio One, Sundays at 12:00 p.m. (12:30 NT).
The City of Edmonton is putting the finishing touches on a plan to turn some of its streets into shared-use spaces like it did in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.
Edmonton’s lead urban strategist said a “set of locations similar to 2020 will be implemented with some changes based on previous observed activities” beginning in the spring.
According to Charity Dyke, her team is finishing consulting with stakeholders to finalize the list.
In 2020, 28 kilometres of shared space was found through lane and street closures, like on Saskatchewan Drive and Victoria Promenade.
“Feedback received included appreciation of the extra space provided to Edmontonians to get outside for both recreation and essential trips and desire from some groups for space to be provided on a larger number of roadways,” Dyke said.
“I think it’s a great idea, especially in high-traffic areas,” Summit Drive resident Val Guiltner told CTV News Edmonton. “It does make space for people to ride their bikes and have their strollers out and go for runs in groups, go for bike rides in groups.”
But a resident of a neighbouring community, Scott Mather, found only some of the 2020 shared-space accommodations useful.
Of the hill going past the Victoria Golf Course he said, “That gets a ton of human traffic, so that one totally made sense.”
But if the city were to consider turning Summit Drive into a shared-use path, Mather commented, “We use this street a ton and quite honestly, this sidewalk’s probably sufficient. Our goal is just to get into the river valley and there’s no traffic there.”
LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK
Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack asked city administration earlier in the week about expanding the 2020 project.
He considers last year’s experiment mostly successful, noting there were challenges on arterial roads where a lane was taken away.
It’s being left to communities to approach the city if they feel there is a need for a shared-use path there.
“If we have a community that says, ‘Hey, here’s a roadway that gets a lot of foot traffic, gets a lot of bike traffic and it’s a local road,'” Knack said, “why not give them the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we could designate this a shared street?””
He expects consultations and planning to take another month before any announcements are made.
But, he said there may be potential for the idea to become permanent.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for a long-term way to help with getting people active. I actually think they also have the opportunity to help with traffic safety concerns.”
In 2020, the shared-use paths were active from April to the end of October at a cost of about $119,500 to the city.
That price, Dyke noted, related to putting up signs, was another concern the city was looking to address in 2021.
She also said traffic levels had returned to near pre-pandemic volumes by the end of the fall, when they started to decrease as the province introduced more restrictions. Currently, traffic volumes sit about 19 per cent lower than normal.
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