Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Swiss Chalet Chips-In Special Sauce For Unique Lays Taste

Photo Credit: PepsiCo Canada

For 62 years, Swiss Chalet has taken the concept of partaking in a delectable chicken meal in a comfortable manner. By dining in one of their over 200 restaurants, ordering food for take-out or even delivery, many Canadians have feasted on some of the eatery chain's signatures such as their rotisserie chicken. With every Swiss Chalet dining opportunity, formalities associated with fine foods need not apply. Starting in September, the introduction of a fourth way to satisfy your taste buds to the essence of the restaurant will be the most casual experience yet.

Through an arrangement with Frito Lays Canada and PepsiCo Canada, Swiss Chalet has brought a distinctive flavour to a bag of potato chips for a limited time. A longtime companion to the restaurant's chicken, Swiss Chalet's secret recipe dipping sauce is at the forefront for a uniquely Canadian taste. Chalet Sauce flavour Lays potato chips will be available only in select Swiss Chalet restaurants in 40-gram and 255-gram bag sizes. "We pride ourselves on being Canadian, from our 62 year foot print, to our product quality story and heritage, and our friendly "home away from home" service. This uniquely Canadian potato chip was the perfect way to bring two iconic Canadian flavours to the masses in a new and exciting way." said Director of Marketing of Swiss Chalet, Cara Operations Limited Lindsay Robinson.

Chalet Sauce flavoured Lays pototo chip is the latest of many imaginative tastes introduced in recent years by the snack company. Montreal Smoked Meat, Cinnamon Bun and Bacon Poutine have been some of the more unusual flavours of chips Lays had offered for a temporary basis.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

In Time for Holidays, Canadians Can Now Acquire Samsung's Gear VR for 360-Degrees of Entertainment

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.

Since the beginning of the year, we were told wearable technology would be the biggest sector looking to breakout in 2015. While there hasn't been a super high-capacity boom, there has been some impressive concepts emerging in the infancy of wearable technology. While much of the attention has been focused on smartwatch devices, other forms of wearable electronics have emerged with the capacity of delivering a unique user experience.

From Samsung, Gear VR technology could change the way many of will look at our smartphones (literally). Through a piece of headgear that attaches to certain popular Samsung smartphone types, Gear VR is promising to offer 360-degree viewing experiences assembled as photos, videos as well as games. Launched in the United States earlier this fall, Canadians are now able to explore the interactive virtual viewing experience in its entirety.

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.

The first consumer edition of the Samsung Gear VR headset is now officially available in Canada. At a price of $139.00 excluding the compatible Samsung smartphone, the Frost White coloured device contains an Accelerometer, Gyrometer, and comfortable foam padding. This consumer version of the Gear VR is an evolution from the so-called Innovator Edition as being lighter as well as less expensive. Without the smartphone, the weight of the Gear VR is rated at 318 grams.

Requiring the installation of Samsung's Milk VR app from the Oculus store, the Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge+, S6 or S6 edge device is attached to the Gear VR headset by clips as well as a micro USB connection. Once connected through the Gear VR, the user wearing the device is immersed with a 96-degree field of view created by a Super AMOLED display. While wearing the Gear VR, the 360-degree view adjusts in accordance to your head movements. When launched in Canada on December 11th, the available content through Milk VR provides 300 app titles and more than 25 hours of video for the wearer to view in a 360-degree perspective. Video Content immediately offered in the new viewing format consists of several genres of entertainment. Entertainment choices such as the Hollywood blockbuster Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part 1 and GONE, a thriller developed exclusively by Robert Kirkman and David Alpert's Skybound Entertainment for the viewing system, can be accessed for the Gear VR.

"The Gear VR offers a truly innovative experience, getting Canadians closer to incredible 360 degree content in a completely immersive way." says Samsung Electronics Canada's Executive Vice President Mobile Solutions Paul Brannen.

Please find included below is a Youtube demo prepared by Samsung Mobile of the Gear VR providing a different perspective for smartphone gaming:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The True Cost of Apple's Latest iPhone 6S Smartphones

Photo Credit: IHS

Last weekend, Apple sold an record of 13-million units of their latest iPhone smart device. In many stores across the world, first examples of the Apple iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus were promptly snatched-up by mobile technophiles. Featuring many operational upgrades over the previous device such as 3D Touch, the new edition iPhones are also equipped with a more power A9 processor, 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras as well as a lighter, more efficient battery.

The rite of passage to Apple's new normal in mobility requires buyers to part with $649 US ($899 on the Apple Canada website) for the 16-gigabyte iPhone 6S. For $749 US or $1,029 Canadian, the Apple iPhone 6S Plus can fit in your pocket (providing it is a large enough pocket to fit the 5.5-inch touchscreen smartphone). Parting with a considerable amount of money for what is the Apple lifestyle, this movement obviously benefits the bottom line of a technology company ranked as the richest corporation in the world. Services such as iTunes, App marketplace and their new music streaming service are seen as market-leading cash cows succeeding in giving people hooked to their brand. However, it's also intriguing to note the amount of money Apple makes off the devices themselves.

Exactly how much does Apple stand to make with every latest generation iPhone sold? A recent report shared by information and analytic company IHS has shed some light on the actual cost of the new phone's hardware providing some level of insight to the profit margin of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

According to IHS, the total cost of producing an 16-gigabyte Apple iPhone 6S Plus is $236.00 ($231.50 for the components and $4.50 for the assembly per device). Compared to the previous iPhone 6 Plus, the new version cost $16 more. Roughly $10 to the bill of material cost for the new iPhone is associated with the new Taptic Engine used to reproduce a sensory feeling when the device is touched. The following illustrates a partial breakdown of costs attached to manufacturing the latest smartphone:

Highlight Hardware Costs for Apple iPhone 6S Plus:

5.5-inch touchscreen hardware with Retina Display: $52.50
Apple A6 64-bit processor: $22.00
16-gigabyte flash memory storage: $5.50
Li-Polymer battery: $4.50
Front and rear cameras: $22.50
Wireless/Bluetooth Technology: $6.00

Referring the 16-gigabyte flash memory storage unit (supplied by top-ranked Korean tech company SK Hynix) above, The IHS report states production of a 64-gigabyte iPhone 6S Plus is just $17 US more per device. Interestingly enough, when the 64-gigabyte Apple iPhone 6S Plus lands in retail environments, the cost difference is $100 US.

Keep in mind, the costing report leaves out one item that is pivotal to any Apple device. The development costs of the software, including the IOS 9 basis for the smartphone.

In the case of automobiles, buyers can often use the differential between the dealer invoice and the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) to negotiate a purchase price. Even though the Apple iPhones feature mobility as well as a high cost, tech-savvy buyers have no hope applying any money-saving buying strategies.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trash Talk: Volvo Group and Universities Working on Refuse-Gathering Robot

In the classic episode of The Simpsons where Homer Simpson ran for the sanitation office of Springfield, he ran on a pie-in-the-sky campaign promise of "Can't someone else do it?" when it came to waste collection duties. In 2015, Volvo Group working in cooperation with students from Chalmers University of Technology and Mälardalen University in Sweden as well as American Penn State University could change the topic to "Can't something else do it?" through the development of trash-collecting robot technology.

In a group effort to reduce the strain and noise related to garbage collection, robotic and autonomous principles are being engaged in the creation of a project called ROAR. ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling) is conceived as an extension of the garbage collection truck. The robot unit will be ample to collect and empty containers of waste into the garbage truck in the same labour-intensive procedure performed by human collectors. The ROAR system will relieve refuse collectors of the heavy workloads but will not take the human element of the equation. The robot or robots will operate under the supervision of a truck driver will ultimately instruct the technology.

Currently exiting the conceptual stage on-route to the development stage, a test vehicle integrating ROAR technology is planned for completion by June of 2016. Waste recycling company Renova will develop the vehicle while the three universities have divided construction of the ROAR project into separate responsibilities. An operating system will be created by Chalmers University while Penn State's Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute will be in charge of designing graphics, communication technology and the control panel inside the garbage collection vehicle. The basic design for the robot is entrusted to Mälardalen University. Project leader of the largely student driven development Mikael Ekström says, "It is exciting that we are combining advanced research with our training in robotics."

With focus on the completion of the ROAR project, autonomous technology and programming coming together in this application could prove important in the fostering of smart equipment in performing a wider array of duties. Project leader for the Volvo Group Per-Lage Götvall comments, "Within Volvo Group we foresee a future with more automation, this project provides a way to stretch the imagination and test new concepts to shape transport solutions for tomorrow."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tesla Powerwall Quickly Charges Up with Canadian Backers

For many Canadian consumers, energy costs for our homes tend to travel in one direction; upward to pricier plateaus as illustrated on power bills. Smart meters, time of use rates have done nothing to provide us with a Simple logic would suggest we lower our consumption. Despite seeking low wattage lights and energy-saving appliances, we still seem to be paying more. In this modern world where connectivity and smartphones neglect any possibly for most of us to live off the power grid, it appears we are held at our mercy every time we turn on a light switch or plug in a device.

Last week, Tesla introduced a novel solution of a chargeable Powerwall battery providing a variety of opportunities to liberate consumers and small businesses from inflexible energy distribution. Today, it was announced the first 38,000 Powerwall units have already been sold in the United States through pre-orders. Less than a week after Elon Musk presented the new energy storage solution to the world, plans for releasing the Powerwall in Canada has been solidified.

In a partnership between Toronto's energy storage project developer NRSor Inc. and smart grid software engineering company Opus One, the Tesla Powerwall will began installation north of the 49th parallel border by the end of the year. "This energy storage system will provide Canadians with the opportunity to find demonstrable efficiencies in their daily energy usage as well as ensuring access to energy when it is really needed." said Chair and CEO of NRStor Annette Verschuren.

Expected for release statewide for the summer, the Canadian roll-out of the intelligent lithium-ion based energy storage unit will be available in limited markets for 2015. Widespread availability of the Tesla Powerwall in Canada is scheduled for the early part of 2016. The sale price for the Powerwall units have not been announced nor is there any announcement if the technology will ever qualify for government incentives.


What is the Tesla Powerwall?

Comprising as a large rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the Tesla Powerwall weighs around 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and measures 1,300 millimeters by 860 millimeters by 180 millimeters (51.2 x 33.9 x 7.1 inches) in dimension. Introduced in storage capacities of 7 kWh and 10 kWh (priced at $3,000 and $3,500 respectively), the Powerwall can be installed in a collection of up to 9 units for a total battery storage capacity of 90 kWh. As a reference for the necessary capacity needed by a home or business, Tesla offered the following examples:

Refrigerator: 4.8 kWh/hour
Flat Screen TV: 0.1 kWh/hour
Lighting for a Room: 0.1 kWh/hour
Laptop Computer: 0.05 kWh/hour

Out of curiosity, a single Tesla Powerwall will not be able to fully charge a Model S. The Tesla Model S 70D fitted with a 70 kWh battery would require seven-battery home system using 10 kWh units to be completely charged from empty. Single and multiple battery setups must be installed by a trained electrician.

There are two primary ways the Tesla Powerwall can operate. The first way the Powerwall works is as energy storage for generated power from a solar panel setup. The Tesla Powerwall will also function as a backup power source for a home's existing conventional system. Under the second scenario, smart technology is employed to draw power for charging during off-peak hours for storage. During peak power periods, the Tesla Powerwall supplies energy to the connected home or building. Using numbers from Ontario Hydro as an example, on-peak cost for power per kWh is 16.1 cents while off-peak is 8.0 cents. Using a 10 kWh Tesla Powerwall, the savings will equate to 81 cents per day. While it seems meager in one day, the savings over a year is over $295.

The Tesla Powerwall is also equipped with an emergency system that will automatically switch on when utility-supplied power is lost in the event of a storm or other outage.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Record 9.23 Million Canadians Watched 2015 Super Bowl

Photo Credit: Rawlings

Super Bowl XLIX was best defined as the game New England Patriots fended-off a late game charge to win over the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. While the players of one team left the field victorious with the ultimate prize of being NFL champions, the football game was a massive win for television stations broadcasting the game. In the United States, NBC quickly sold 30-second commercial spots for 4.5 million dollars ahead of the Super Bowl and recorded consistent viewership of 114.4 million Americans watching the close, suspense-filled match. An all-new record for a Super Bowl broadcast, the 2015 game's peak viewership topped out at 120.8 million through a late New England Patriots drive for a touchdown. In Canada, the 49th annual football game was also a ratings blockbuster.

Between CTV and the French-language RDS sports channel, Super Bowl XLIX drew an average audience of 9.23 million viewers according to Bell Media making it the most-watched edition of the game ever in this country. The 2015 game breaks the 8.18 million audience that watched the 2012 Super Bowl tournament between the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

While the majority of Canadian audiences were accounted watching CTV, there was a million Francophone viewers alone. Over the course of the Super Bowl telecast in this country, 19.3 million unique members of the Canadian population watched the game at some part in the Sunday evening. The total number of viewers meant roughly 55 percent of Canada's total population watched the Super Bowl. Bell Media also noted that the event's halftime show drew 12.2 million in this country consisting of Katy Petty singing alongside guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott.

Once again, Canadian viewers of "The Big Game" lost out on seeing a majority of the highly-produced commercials created for the NBC airing of the game. Leading up to this year's Super Bowl, a CRTC ruling decried after 2016 that Canadian broadcasts could no longer replace the American advertisements with others supplied through the telecast provider in this country. Called simultaneous substitution, this is a common practice exercised in Canadian broadcasting for almost any broadcast from the United States shown as the same time in Canada. For Super Bowl XLIX, the result was commercials from Canadian Armed Forces, Tim Hortons, Government of Canada, PC Financial and Home Hardware making it to air on CTV.

Explained as a response to the CRTC's public consultation Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians, the plan to outlaw simultaneous substitution has not sat well with Bell Media and its parent company Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE). Bell owns the rights to the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl and would lose autonomy in distributing their ad space. Days following the ruling, the notion of discontinuing simultaneous substitution was greatly argued by pundits (many against the CRTC coming from Bell-owned media companies). BCE noted the influence of sponsors in their press release saying, "Last night's record audience proves once again there is no better opportunity for Canadian advertisers to strike a chord with Canadian viewers than the Super Bowl.". Bell Media properties also received considerable ad time throughout the 2015 game.   

After the record 2015 Super Bowl, 1.35 million Canadians remained on CTV to watch the season 2 premiere of Masterchef Canada.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Aerial Drone Flight School Opening in British Columbia Teaching New Transport Canada Guidelines

Photo Credit:  CyPhy Works-Business Wire

The flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones has provided an outlet for recreation as well as a useful tool allowing professionals to accomplish tasks in a new, efficient manner. However, the growing access to UAVs has not been without concerns for their use. Privacy, property damage, signal interference and interference with other aircraft have been some of the worries regarding small flying devices.

In Canada, a new set of guidelines have been implemented to provide pilots with rules to safely operate their UAVs. Defined as Transport Canada Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems (UAV) 25 kg or Less, the guidelines cover a wide assortment of aspects to flying a drone aircraft regarding the vehicle as well as the operator. With fines up to $25,000 applying in some cases when an operator of the UAV causes a disturbance, the Transport Canada guidelines gain a great importance.

In British Columbia, a partnership between Aerobotika Aerial Intelligence and Pacific Rim Aviation Academy has formulated the first instructional course designed specifically for UAV operation under the new Transport Canada rules. The monthly course will educate students on the lawful use of UAVs covering subject matter such as standard pilot training along with avoidance of dangerous situations.

Starting in late February, the class will operate monthly as a two-day seminar. With four students per instructor, completion of the course results in pilot candidates receiving a Letter of Completion used to acquire a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada.