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General Tech

  • As tech takes over, we’re not always in control of our lives

    Technology has a rapid rate of change and with this comes new mechanisms for communication. Today, most people use these services to communicate on a daily basis from remote areas to urban centres and among individuals and corporate groups. One of the main challenges for remote areas is affordable access to the internet to enable communication mechanisms. If this is resolved, adoption rates and the ability of everyone to communicate regardless of personal circumstances will be far greater. That is why national policy for enabling internet access across the country should address this. Free WiFi services is one...

  • Deep analytics could help resolve SA’s power crisis: here’s how

    Now is the ideal time for Eskom to use advanced analytics to improve decision-making and better handle South Africa’s power crisis. Eskom has always used a degree of analytics to manage power supply. However, the big data it gathers from power plants, transformers, generators and other machinery only reflects events that have already happened, making decisions based on this historical data ineffective. Looking back vs looking ahead The biggest problem is that decision-making is reactive rather than proactive. Take infrastructure maintenance as an example. Many of South Africa’s power plants are operating well beyond their 30- to 35-year lifespans. An increase in demand...

  • Here’s what you need to know about getting digital transformation right

    There has been a lot of talk recently about digital transformation and how every business has to be a digital business. And it is certainly true that the rise of the web, digital communications and internet tools have penetrated and disrupted just about every aspect of business life. To take digital at its simplest, for example, I don’t think there are many enterprises out there now who would argue against the urgent need for some sort of presence on the web. But digital transformation is about more than just a website, it is about taking advantage of technology to improve...

  • 5 ways technology impacted the Nigerian elections

    Last Saturday (and Sunday in some parts of the country), Nigerians went to the polling stations to participate in the presidential election which was eventually won by four-time presidential candidate and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. For this electoral exercise, technology was on trial as those in favour of — and those against the deployment of technology — in the electoral exercise anticipated the outcome of the election and how far technology would, or could, go in the country’s electoral process. 1. Rigging could be curbed Rigging during elections is a fairly popular electoral tactic in Nigeria. ‘Rigging’ is the word...

  • Error 404: Democracy Not Found — what social media tells us about the state of our culture

    At a time in our world when there are more people voting for their government representatives than ever before, it’s a discomforting thought that most of us are unhappy with the way our lives are run. To be fair, we are growing up alongside financial crises alongside an overpopulated planet. Still, whether political systems are under more assault due to having so many more eyes on it or whether people are feeling somewhat more entitled, the fact remains that the web — specifically when we look at social media — is playing a massive role in how it’s being...

  • Standard wank in a digital world: using someone’s likeness in video games

    We love the digital space because it’s so creative and communicative. Our ability to blog, meme, post and share content through digital platforms is sexy. Naturally, in digital and “real world” contexts there are limitations on an unfettered ability to create and share content. What is unclear is if using someone’s likeness in video games is part of those limitations? The gaming industry is big business. Global gaming is forecast to rise to US$70.1-billion in 2015. South Africa’s gaming industry is worth roughly R2.5-billion domestically. In the USA, a trend has emerged of using a celebrity’s likeness (rather than their...

  • Your 10-Point checklist for integrating digital and mobile at your next live event

    To elevate your live event game, you probably wouldn’t look to Maroon 5’s wedding-crashing stunt for inspiration. But you might reconsider when you recognize the massive engagement the chart-topping band achieved through a combination of digital marketing and in-person connections. To create footage for their “Sugar” video, band members traveled around Los Angeles and crashed weddings, surprising couples with concerts at their receptions. The resulting music video perfectly captures the reactions of the brides, grooms, and wedding guests and has become a viral marketing asset. This stunt not only speaks to the benefits of experimenting with fan engagement, but...

  • 5 ways tech companies can take customer support offshore

    The internet has given technology businesses an easy way to build a presence in new markets by localising their websites to make products available to international customers. But before you start adapting your product and website for Kenya, Nigeria and Mauritius, have you thought about customer support? As technology gets more complex, consumers and enterprise users alike don’t always instinctively understand a new product. There needs to be some way for customers to get in touch with your company’s reps or support team. Research has shown that personal recommendations are the number one driver of consumer purchase decisions and enterprises also...

  • Kruger National Park is getting drones to boost rhino protection

    While Amazon has just received permission to test drone-delivery in the States, the Kruger National Park in South Africa is getting more aerial power of its own in an effort to improve rhino protection. South African National Parks (SANParks) announced yesterday that, as part of the current strategy to combat rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, it is in the process of applying and evaluating various aerial support technologies, which include the testing of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). In a media announcement, SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni explained: “The UAV project aims at investigating the effectiveness of various UAV technologies as...

  • 5 steps to defining an effective IT strategy

    The business world is shrinking daily. Customers are increasingly more tech-savvy and the instant gratification generation demands change and innovation now. This, combined with the upsurge in cloud solutions and distributed workforces, makes IT strategy progressively more important to all organisations – especially as businesses look to cut costs and operate more effectively. What is it? An IT strategy is an integral part of the overall organisational strategy. It is a comprehensive plan that guides organisations on how technology can help them achieve their goals, boost their competitiveness and increase their chances of success through technological innovation, cost savings and process...

  • When it comes to digital education tools, diversity and individualisation are key

    Digital technologies including cloud computing, mobile devices and the Internet have the potential to transform the content offerings of schools and universities. Education institutions are no longer limited to the usual subjects of maths, science and languages. They now have an opportunity to diversify their subject and course offerings to include unconventional choices such as aviation, catering, music, ballet and anything else in their curricula. Students are spoiled for choice when it comes to which university to attend and what to study, increasing competition among institutions to attract top students. However, universities tend to offer the same or similar study...

  • Life in standard definition: how your tech perspective shifts moving from London to SA

    Could I live with the slow internet speeds in South Africa? Not a standard interview question, but relevant considering I was about to make the move from London to Johannesburg. My answer was an assured “Yes”. I don’t know why I lied. Had I answered “no” would I have still got the job? Probably. The point is, yes, Internet speeds are getting faster in South Africa but for someone who is used to a domestic download speed of 80 mbs, with the capacity to stream 2K resolution video – without buffering – direct to my Smart TV, it is not...

  • 5 ways big businesses can do a better job of introducing new tech

    Even though the cloud has brought many benefits to businesses: providing access to data when and where we want, the ability to sync our mobile devices and the ability to collaborate in real-time, it has also created new challenges for business leaders. With its growth in popularity, most people expect constant cloud-like experiences, when not all enterprises can, or will, offer all of their applications in the cloud. It’s impossible to put every application in the cloud, nor would you want to –budget constraints, technical limitations, security concerns, performance issues can all be valid barriers to doing so. This...

  • Robots built to widen access to art on display at Design Indaba

    Imagine Night at the Museum but instead of animals and statues coming to life, four robots roam the darkened halls — robots you could control from the comfort of your home. That’s exactly what two creatives, playing at the intersection between digital technology and interactive design, dreamt to do and the result blew the world away. Ross Cairns and Tommaso Lanza are two of the many innovative thinkers visiting Cape Town this week as part of Interactive Africa’s Design Indaba. With over half a million visitors each year, the conference and expo has become internationally renowned for attracting and showcasing the world’s...

  • Peak performance through a ‘software-defined environment': why it matters

    Gone are the days when database users had to tell computers exactly what to do. Now, computers can figure out how you want them to work, before you do – and act on that knowledge faster than you could. This concept has been coined by IBM as a “software-defined environment” (SDE), or more broadly referred to as “software-defined everything.” Instead of having hardware processes wholly dependent upon the commands of users, the software is configured to act as the operator, leaving the human user free from tedious technical labor. Why SDE? Let’s assume that a particular worker is beginning a project....