The concept to establish a centralised, technology-focused entrepreneurial community in South Africa’s Gauteng Province was first discussed in 2001. Four years later the foundations for a Science and Technology Park, the Innovation Hub, were put in place and the idea of an area dedicated to applied innovation in trade and industry to benefit provincial, national and global socio-economic development became a reality.
Addis Fortune reports that several telcos, including ZTE, Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET), have secured 25,000 sqm of land to establish incubation centres within ethio ICT, an ICT Park that is reported to represent a total financial outlay of five billion Birr (approximately $270 million).
International internet connectivity between Africa and Europe has been affected by damage to Seacom undersea cable infrastructure. The company has issued several statements since Friday last week saying that they are in the process of restoring transmission.
However, South African internet provider Internet Solutions notified their clients that repairs could last till April. In an email dated 23 March, Internet Solutions responded to a service request by saying that the impact of the current cut and subsequent repairs will be increased latency from South Africa, and “Repairs to be completed ETA 05 April 2013”.
Moving towards a knowledge-based economy will enable Africa to adapt to changing conditions while designing solutions that will enhance the competitiveness of the continent’s emerging nations. Furthermore, it is crucial for Africa to develop its own ICT skills and infrastructure particularly in light of the fact that only 5.7 percent of all Africans have access to the Internet.
This highlights significant opportunity for growth and technology adoption on the African continent. Fortunately, African countries often don’t have to deal with legacy system issues. Innovation can often be achieved through leap-frogging earlier versions of a technology and going directly to more mature stages: GSM mobile telephony, mobile internet access, prepaid cellular and electricity payment and digital satellite television are all examples of how African countries circumvented the migration phases that American, European and other countries went through in moving from analogue and fixed location services.
There is huge demand for e-commerce facilities in East Africa – but the market is still in its infancy, according to PayGate marketing director Robin Philip. “We are very excited about the opportunity to develop strong, mutually rewarding partnerships in the region,” says Philip. “The economy is vibrant, particularly in the IT sector as well as in travel and tourism.”
Much of the demand for e-commerce facilities currently comes from abroad, says Philip – but PayGate believes there is significant latent local demand.
“According to the card associations, there are only 200,000 credit cards in Kenya at the moment, but six million proprietary debit cards that can’t be used for e-commerce,” he says. “The card associations are working hard to bring these on board.”
The 4th IT Leaders Africa Summit took place in Johannesburg recently and attracted numerous African business leaders from various sectors that make up the continent’s growing ICT industry. The two-day event included display area with the likes of Lexmark, Polycom, Huawei, Dell, Intel, Informatica and MTN all participating, as well as networking and workshop sessions covering critical issues that impact the ICT such as BYOD, IT & Cloud services, data integration, the datacentre and Machine-to-Machine.
Leading representatives from Amazon Web Services and Google have been announced to speak at the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa – www.cloudworldseries.com/africa – taking place on 23rd-24th of April at the Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg.
Microsoft has used the National Small Business Chamber’s (NSBC) myBusinessExpo in Midrand to unveil several initiatives to support and create small businesses in South Africa, including an SME online hub that will provide free support and resources and an affordable all-in-one small business solution. The online hub is a cornerstone of Microsoft’s SME4Afrika initiative, which aims to bring 100 000 SMEs online in the next three years and help them gain access to the solutions and services they need to be successful and grow their business.
Pamoja, the cloud services business unit of Pan-African ICT enabler SEACOM, has officially launched its business model and go-to-market strategy in Johannesburg, with management offering a detailed explanation of how SMEs and partners form part of the plan to build a cloud services market for the continent.
The privately owned communications service provider SEACOM has selected Ciena Corporation’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and OneControl Unified Management System for the upgrade of its submarine network across the Southern and Eastern African coastlines.
This falls in line with SEACOM’s focus on driving the development of the African internet and opening the broadband tap for African consumers. Ciena’s technology will allow SEACOM to meet the growing capacity demands of its customers and enable affordable Internet access to East Africa with a network that offers a better cost point and a smoother evolution path for the future.
The upgrade includes key countries in SEACOM’s 17,000km undersea network, including India, Egypt, Dijbouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa. The solution will allow SEACOM to deliver its capacity in very short timeframes and provide for future demands. The deployment will initially use Ciena’s 40G coherent transport technology, with ultra-long distance 100G wavelengths planned for future upgrades.
Square Kilometer Array (SKA) South Africa, a business unit of the country’s National Research Foundation is joining ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and IBM in a four-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems aimed at developing advanced technologies for handling the massive amount of data that will be produced by the SKA, which is one of the most ambitious science projects ever undertaken.
The SKA is an international effort to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, which is to be located in Southern Africa and Australia to help better understand the history of the universe. The project constitutes the ultimate Big Data challenge, and scientists must produce major advances in computing to deal with it. The impact of those advances will be felt far beyond the SKA project—helping to usher in a new era of computing, which IBM calls the era of cognitive systems.
Airspan Networks Inc., an established provider of 4G broadband wireless access networks, has announced that RCS-Communication Ltd, a seasoned service provider in South Sudan, has selected its solution for a 4G WiMAX network deployment. The first phase of the implementation started in Juba, the capital of the Republic of South Sudan. "The Airspan network shows excellent results in terms of coverage and enables us to serve our clients in areas where we were previously unable to reach them on our terrestrial network." said Philip Gerber, RCS-Communication’ Country Manager for South Sudan.
With the deployment of cloud services continuing to rise across the African continent, the Cloud World Forum returns to Johannesburg in April to address all the hottest topics in cloud computing and the African IT industry. After the outstanding success of the first ever edition of the event in 2012, the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa is back in 2013 with a brand new expert speaker line-up and even more cloud-related subjects to cover.
Taking place at the Sandton Sun Hotel, in Johannesburg, on the 23rd and 24th of April, the event will feature a two-day conference with dual stream – Telco and Enterprise – and a co-located expo.
With over 1,500 people in attendance from across Africa, more than 20 top global exhibitors and over 60 expert speakers giving focused talks, the 2nd Annual Cloud World Forum Africa is one of the most anticipated events on the region’s IT calendar.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2013, the Year of the Snake, is the year for science and technology. But you do not have to be a seasoned astrologer to know that the ICT sector will play a major role within global commerce. Closer to home, Africa has an opportunity to leverage off these trends, possibly even leapfrog, and elevate its international ICT profile. We have reviewed industry analysis, research and the opinions of operators to prioritise the most significant technology trends and developments that will shape Africa’s commercial landscape this year.
Established international telecommunications company Airtel announced it will deploy Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi carrier-grade access points across 17 African nations in an effort to boost high-speed service to regions that readily rely upon 2G networks. The rollout was announced by GigaOM, citing a top official close to Airtel with information related to the delivery.
Intel has entered into an agreement with business incubator iHub to foster and grow the developer community in Africa through targeted investments in mobile app development, online developer resources, university training programs, device seeding programs and expansion of technology hubs. iHub catalyzes the tech community in Kenya and has evolved into a space with over 10,000 members. The model set by iHub has been used to start more than 30 other tech hubs across Africa, and enjoys a leadership role in the continent due to its size and relationship with the other hubs. Being a tech space, iHub is able to offer thought leadership in areas of mobile technology and its use.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has targeted April 23, 2013 as the date to launch the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). In a video interview published on Friday, ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehadé said the organisation was on track to "recommend" the date for processing more than 1,900 gTLDs.
But he added: "I want to be very clear - there are some things that we can’t control that may cause this date to slip."
For example, registries still don’t have any guidance on how to connect to the Trademark Clearinghouse, a central database of trademarks that can send warnings to alleged cybersquatters. Chehadé stressed that any delays would last weeks, not months.
This is the first time that ICANN, which plans to launch 20 new gTLDs per week, has specified when the domains will be ready to go live.
The latest Ookla Net Index statistics show that South Africa’s average Internet download speed is 3.82Mbps - up from 3.35Mbps three months ago. The Net Index website, which uses data from millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, shows that the global average download speed is 13.09Mbps. This is just over three times the local speed. South Africa’s average upload speed of 1.57Mbps is also significantly higher than the December value of 1.4Mbps. These higher speeds are likely linked to the launch of LTE in South Africa, which offers significantly higher upload and download speeds than 3G access.
A new report published in Kenya by the International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed that the overall number of Internet users in the East African country has risen to 17.38 million. This is a dramatic rise from less than 10 million in 2011, said the Julisha ICT survey. According to the study, mobile phones have also seen a massive rise in ICT expansion and overall Internet usage is on the upsurge.
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