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5 innovations that will change our lives within 5 years

IBM has unveiled the eighth annual “IBM 5 in 5”– a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years. This year’s IBM 5 in 5 explores the idea that everything will learn – driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalised way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics and learning technologies all coming together, with the appropriate privacy and security considerations, for consumers, citizens, students and patients. Over time these computers will get smarter and more customised through interactions with data, devices and people, helping us take on what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds us and bringing the right insight or suggestion to our fingertips right when it’s most needed. A new era in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assist us in making good choices, look out for us and help us navigate our world in powerful new ways.

The widest 3G network in South Africa battle

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that Vodacom may not claim to have the “widest 3G network” in South Africa. This followed a complaint by MTN. A Vodacom print advertisement stated that “Get extra data on the widest 3G network … surf more, download more and stay connected 24/7”. MTN lodged a complaint with the ASA against Vodacom’s “widest 3G network” statement, arguing that the claim is unsubstantiated and misleading. MTN said that Vodacom may have the widest coverage in some regions, but it does not have the widest coverage across all regions. MTN further said that coverage methodology needs to be considered when assessing such claims.

MTN boosts e-commerce in Africa

MTN has partnered with Rocket Internet and Millicom International to enable African telecom operators to offer broader e-commerce and digital services on the continent. The groups have partnered to launch the services through Africa Internet Holding (AIH), which will serve as a vehicle to develop e-commerce businesses in Africa. The three parties will each have a 33.3% holding in the company. AIH was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Millicom International Cellular, and has a presence in 13 countries on the continent, including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

How SA ranks for Internet affordability

South Africa ranks highly for Internet affordability in Africa, according to the first annual Affordability Report, compiled by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). In the report, A4AI indexes 46 emerging and developing countries across the world in terms of communication infrastructure and Internet access and affordability (equally-weighted). Out of the 46 countries, South Africa is ranked as the 12th most affordable country for Internet access – 3rd in Africa, behind Mauritius (1st) and Morocco (2nd).

New imaging technology can “see” you thinking

Kwanghun Chung wants to make it easy for scientists to take a molecular snapshot of the brain. The very best imaging technology available today allows inspection of just 10 or so biomolecules in 3-D. “It’s not enough,” says Chung, who hopes to render a complete picture of all of the hundreds of thousands of biomolecules at work inside the thousands of distinct cell types across a whole human brain. A new assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Chung started on a project to preserve subsets of neurons in brain samples and to isolate them in place for visualization while a postdoc at Stanford University.

Top tweet of 2013 revealed

Twitter on Thursday revealed that a message acknowledging the death of ‘Glee’ television show star Cory Monteith was the most echoed tweet on the globally popular messaging platform this year. The message posted on Twitter about Monteith’s fatal drug overdose by co-star Lea Michele was re-tweeted more than 408,000 times from 133 countries, making it the “Golden Tweet” of 2013, according to the San Francisco-based Internet company. “Among the millions of affecting Tweets this year, there is something we call The Golden Tweet,” Twitter spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in a blog post. “It’s the most-retweeted Tweet of the year – the one that resonated most with millions of Twitter users around the world. In 2013.”

What will drive Africa, technically, in 2014?

Growth is what analysts predict as far as the state of Africa’s telecommunication sector in 2014 is concerned. Part of research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media, entitled Africa Telecoms Outlook 2014: Maximising digital service opportunities, identifies mobile broadband and the increase in global connectivity as key drivers behind this projected growth. According to statistics revealed in this research, there were 778 million mobile subscriptions in Africa by end June 2013 and the expectation is that the mobile-subscription count will reach one billion during 2015. Contrary to what is being experienced in other regions, in Africa mobile voice revenues are expected to grow over the next few years. The research adds that annual mobile data revenues on the continent are expected to rise from US$8.53 billion in 2012 to US$23.16 billion in 2018.

Hot topics headline agenda at ITU Telecom World 2013

Key players from across industry shared views on network virtualization, Big Data and the future Internet ITU Telecom World 2013, the leading networking, knowledge sharing and industry showcasing event took place recent in Bangkok, Thailand. The event welcomed some 6000 participants from across the industry for a packed programme of far-reaching debate. Discussions at the event spanned a diverse range of topics from social and mobile apps to the transformative impact of the Internet in Africa. Here we explore just some of the conversations headlining the event agenda:

Top 5 IT Predictions for 2014

CA Technologies CTO, John Michelsen, says that in 2014 IT will drive stronger engagement models between business and the services it delivers. USA-based Michelsen will be visiting South Africa in February when he will be one of the keynote speakers at CA Southern Africa’s IT Management Symposium. “CIOs are getting more comfortable giving up control while providing an end-to-end service delivery model, tying in all the required elements and technologies to create an integrated user experience. By focusing on delivering systems of engagement through mobility and relying more confidently on application performance management, IT is now moving more strongly into the role of a trusted advisor and service broker in this brave new world of dynamic IT,” he says

African Union marks Science and Technology week

As part of the year-long celebration of the commemoration of the OAU/AU 50th year anniversary, the African Union Commission (AUC), through its Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, (HRST) opened the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) week. It also witnessed the three winners of Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Regional Award, this week, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the opening ceremony H.E Demitu Hambisa, Minister of Science and Technology, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, considered Science and Technology as the most effective means to enhance growth and socio-economic development of nations. “Technological development has a profound and long-term impact on income distribution, economic growth, employment, trade, environment and industrial structure,” she added. “The AU's approach to the post 2015 development agenda and the forthcoming Agenda 2063 highlight the promotion of STI as a key driver of change and recognizes that "Africa's sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation will require investments in new technologies and innovations." At the same time, the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024) places science, technology and innovation at the centre of Africa’s social and economic development”, said Ambassador Gary Quince, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the African Union.

Affordable satellite internet coming to Free State

Maxwell Technology is rolling out affordable satellite-based internet to South Africa’s Free State, in a bid to connect rural and underserved areas to the internet. The company is also launching a satellite-based connectivity solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area, with Maxwell suggesting the new service will be particularly suited to agriculture and hospitality oriented businesses operating from rural areas. According to Maxwell, while satellite may not have been considered a viable internet solution to date, new advances in satellite technology makes it an ideal solution both for individual consumers in unserved or underserved areas, and for companies wishing to integrate satellite into their connectivity framework to improve reliability and capacity. “Satellite networks can be easily integrated to complement, augment or extend any communications network. They help overcome geographical barriers, terrestrial network limitations and other constraining infrastructure issues,” Maxwell said.

Predictions for 2014 and trends that will impact the industry

With the year wrapping up and companies looking toward 2014, Jay Kidd, Chief Technology Officer and senior vice president at NetApp, gives his predictions for 2014 and the trends that will impact the industry including flash, cloud, and software-defined. He also takes a look back at 2013 and the predictions that came true. Kidd believes the key themes that will emerge in the upcoming year include The “Parting of the Clouds” into a Hybrid Cloud of clearly distinguished IT service offerings, and the acceleration in adoption of technologies that have emerged in the past two years.

Africa: Tech Challenge Develops Algorithms to Predict Atrocities

Mathematical models that use existing socio-political data to predict mass atrocities could soon inform governments and NGOs on how and where to take preventative action. The models emerged from one strand of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, a competition run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and NGO Humanity International. The winners were announced last month (18 November) and will now work with the organiser to further develop and pilot their innovations. The five winners from different countries who won between US$1,000 and US$12,000, were among nearly 100 entrants who developed algorithms to predict when and where mass atrocities are likely to happen.

Don’t let Cybercriminals ruin Christmas – Kaspersky Lab

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s also a great time for cybercriminals to take full advantage of online shoppers with new and improved ways of stealing your confidential information. Whilst it’s convenient to shop online, you can easily fall victim to an attack – even by visiting a completely legitimate website. There are ways however, to keep personal information safe, claims Kaspersky Lab. 1. Know what you’re buying and whom you’re buying it from: Fraudsters can set up e-commerce stores under any name to phish for your credit card information. Locate and note phone numbers and physical addresses of vendors in case there is a problem with your transaction or your bill. If you’re shopping online and receive a pop-up chat box asking for your credit card details, ignore it and close down the Website. Legitimate online sellers never ask for information via chat boxes or e-mails.

Internet : Maurice comptera des sites .africa en 2014

Des sites internet africains, dont certains de Maurice, se termineront dès septembre 2014 par .africa. Ce nom de domaine sera officiellement lancé le 1er mars prochain. « .africa est le premier nom de domaine de premier niveau pour la promotion des peuples, des cultures et du business d’Afrique en ligne.

Africa leads developing world on internet affordability

Africa leads the developing world in terms of internet affordability, with Morocco top of the table and Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda also ranking in the top five developing countries, according to a new report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). HumanIPO reported in October on the launch of the A4AI initiative by public and private sector players, calling for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets. In the newly released Affordability Index, which considers internet affordability across 46 emerging and developing countries, Mauritius ranked second among emerging countries, while African countries made up four of the top five performing developing countries. However, the report warns that for the two billion people living on US$2 per day in the countries surveyed affordable internet remains entirely unattainable, with the cost of internet across the countries studied on average exceeding 40 per cent of income for the those living on US$2 daily.

Broadband still costs over half a month’s salary

For those living on less than US$2/day, entry-level broadband costs an average of 40% of monthly income and in many countries this figure exceeds 80% or 100%. As a result, billions cannot afford to get online, entrenching the digital divide and constraining economic and social progress.This is the key finding of the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s (A4AI – a4ai.org) first Affordability Report – a major study into the drivers of Internet affordability in 46 developing and emerging countries. A4AI is a global coalition of more than 40 members, whose global sponsors are Google, Omidyar Network, the UK Department for International Development and US AID.

New SA domains: what you need to know

South Africa’s online landscape is set for huge changes in coming months as new top-level domains, including three “dot-city” top-level domains, are opened for registration for the first time and as long-dormant domains are reintroduced. In the months ahead, the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), which operates the centralised registry platform for .co.za and other domains, will begin accepting registrations for Internet addresses that end in .africa, .joburg, .capetown and .durban. In addition, it will again begin accepting registrations for .net.za and .web.za addresses, which have been dormant for the past decade. Local, provincial and national government departments and agencies are being given the opportunity to preregister names in the three new city domains, so the City of Cape Town, for example, could secure tourism.capetown or tablemountain.capetown before registrations are opened to the general public. Companies are also able to reserve their trademarks, helping deter domain squatters.

Taking mobility into Africa

NETCB,one of Novell's mobility partners in Africa, has introduced a range of mobile solutions for the African market. This complete mobility solution for enterprises provides comprehensive mobile device management, it ensures secure mobile productivity and delivers safe file sharing and mobile printing capabilities from any device. As the workplace environment becomes increasingly more mobile, NETCB is dedicated to delivering enterprise-quality solutions that allow organisations to meet employee demand for anywhere, anytime access while providing IT with control in the digital landscape. NETCB’s CEO Cobus Burgers says mobility is expanding rapidly through the African continent. "The introduction of enterprise mobility to the IT environment is about much more than just facilitating BYOD. It's about tangibly enhancing productivity without compromising security.”

Airtel wins African Operator of the Year Award

Bharti Airtel has been recognised as the African Operator of the Year at the CommsMEA Awards 2013. Executives including telecoms CEOs, vendors, ministers and regulators attended the eighth edition of the event at a 300-strong gathering at the Awards gala dinner held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai. The award recognizes excellence within the telecoms sector across the Middle East and Africa. By beating some seriously strong contenders on the shortlist, which were the MTN Group, Vodacom and Nedjma, Airtel has consolidated its position as the best African Operator.