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All posts tagged "Tech4Africa"

  • How is the internet improving people’s lives in Africa? [T4A]

    There are five key characteristics reflecting how the internet has “greatly improved” people’s lives in Africa, so says research conducted by On Device Research. The company, which presented its findings of a survey conducted recently, addressed some key consumption patterns for audiences in Africa and how the internet has changed their lives and the ways they consume content. “The data is representative of mobile internet users. That means that in the UK it is all smartphones whereas in the African markets the vast majority are feature phone users,” said Alistair Hill of On Device told the audiences at the Tech4Africa conference,...

  • Giving it away for free: advertising, content and the paywall debate [T4A]

    Mail & Guardian editor-in-chief Chris Roper is standing in front of a graph predicting newspaper circulation figures — and it’s not good. You may be used to the hockey-stick shaped growth curves of tech darlings like Pinterest and Instagram, but the chart forecasting the future of information provided in newsprint and ink is gradually headed towards zero. The editor of one of South Africa’s most prominent investigative titles glances at the graph behind him and summarises the prospects of newspapers bluntly: “Generally, you’re screwed.” With more and more readers ditching paper for pixels, how to make money from a medium...

  • Senior Google engineer: building innovative products requires team work

    When building technologies that can change the course of history and reshape mankind, team work is pretty important. In a place like Google, where many such technologies are being built all the time, the engineering teams responsible for them should be working together. Google senior engineer Petra Cross agrees. After joining Google in 2005, Cross spent four years developing software for evaluating the relevance of Google’s search algorithms and another four years developing for and tech-leading a team at Gmail. She is currently working on a Google Wallet front-end server in San Francisco. Cross, who will be speaking at the Tech4Africa...

  • 5 major trends anyone in the African tech space should be aware of

    The African tech scene is changing. Some of that change is positive, whilst some of it is negative. However, this is all part of how an ecosystem matures, so it’s good when you look at the bigger picture. Here are some of the biggest trends I’ve noticed over the past year or so. 1. The breadth of tech is maturing We’re seeing that there are a number of newer technologies becoming more and more popular over and above the usual technology stacks one comes across. Due to the proliferation of open source libraries and coding sites like GitHub, it’s now...

  • Can Mozilla really disrupt mobile like it did the web? [Tech4Africa]

    Look at the figures. Android and Apple are completely dominating the smartphone space. Despite the best efforts of its competitors, no seems able to break their hold on the industry. Mozilla thinks it can. The open-source organisation reckons it can disrupt the smartphone OS space in the same way it did with desktop browsing, using its web-based Firefox OS. Speaking at Tech4Africa Desigan Chinniah, a “Firestarter” at Mozilla, says that we “absolutely” need an alternative mobile OS and that Mozilla is “making a damned good go of it”. Mozilla started off as an offshoot of Netscape. Anyone familiar with...

  • Ralph Simon: mobile success lies in being ‘Glocally’ relevant [Tech4Africa]

    Success in the mobile space is all about “glocalisation”, says Ralph Simon from mobile strategy company Mobilium. Speaking via Skype from Russia at the Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg, Simon talked about the importance of making content that’s in line with global trends but that is at the same time locally relevant in order for it to spread most effectively to its intended audience. This was echoed earlier by Catherine Luckhoff of Bozza, the South African mobile content distributor, who talked about how downloads increase dramatically through word of mouth. It’s this word of mouth that is facilitated best when content...

  • The challenges of ecommerce in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    Building an ecommerce business in Africa is a markedly different process from other, more developed parts of the world as well as other emerging markets. The business models, operations and marketing solutions that work for Amazon, for example, probably won’t work in Africa which is evolving very differently in terms of infrastructure and economic growth. Sim Shagaya, founder and chief executive of DealDey and Konga in Nigeria, has first hand experience building a successful ecommerce business model in a country with limited infrastructure and no real history of structured and formal retail. DealDey has grown into a successful ecommerce, group-buying hybrid...

  • IBM taking a seriously big interest in Africa [Tech4Africa]

    There are four key trends that are currently disrupting technology around the world says Tom Rosamilia, IBM’s head of global strategy. According to Rosamilia, cognitive computing, data, workload optimised systems and nano devices are shaping the future of technology, and they present particular challenges and opportunities. “Computing has changed significantly — before the 1960s, all computers did was counting and tabulating,” says Rosamilia. He explains that the era of computing has changed significantly since then. With programmable systems, we are in the era of cognitive computing — systems that can think and learn. Using IBM’s Waston, the company’s cognitive...

  • Tech4Africa: How usable is your digital product, really?

    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” — Albert Einstein Simplicity is at the core of great digital user experience, whether you’re building a website, app or any other digital marketing campaign. Making sure your user’s experience is slick, smooth and, most importantly, gives them the information they want quickly and easily, will determine the success or failure of your product or campaign. What exactly is “user experience” (UX)? UX is a hot buzzword at the moment, but misunderstanding what...

  • 9 Events every tech startup should add to its diary

    South Africa’s tech scene is on the rise and tech entrepreneurs from the country are finding their way to Silicon Valley with products worthy of the world’s attention. Some of these entrepreneurs are now mentors and have a wealth of knowledge that they’re willing to share with their fellow countrymen. Two of the most common themes among startup mentors, coaches and founders whose companies got acquired, are to learn continually and to increase the quality of your network. You can do both at industry relevant events, so I took a moment to find out which South African tech events...

  • Five ways Africa can move up technologically [Tech4Africa]

    Africa is lagging in technological innovation says TED Fellow, Ndubuisi Ekekwe. The continent’s obsession with consuming technology has left it lagging as a technological creator. Ekekwe emphasises five things that can pull Africa from a “technological downstream to a technological upstream” at this year’s Tech4Africa conference. He calls on all African technological enthusiasts to “Think. Invent, Redesign Africa”. This is how he proposes going about this redesign: The right ecosystem Ekekwe believes that Africa needs an ecosystem for ideas, a comfortable space where Africa’s young innovators can come together to share and implement ideas. He also believes...

  • UX: 5 Pearls of Wisdom from UX Designers [Tech4Africa]

    As far back as the days of ENIAC and old-school IBM punch-card computers, users have been trained to adapt their experience to the capabilities of the computing devices available to them. And, as we all know, there has been a 30-year evolution of usability and functionality that has been working towards the clear goal of making every aspect of the tech experience easier. Whether it be a device, an operating system, a web-site, or a dozen of the every-day amenities of life, the shift in priorities is clear — User Experience Matters. This was the overwhelming message from Cennydd...

  • Social media fatigue, Radiohead and QR Codes: Q&A with Josh Spear

    As one of the youngest and most influential marketing strategists in the world, Josh Spear owns Undercurrent, a New York-based consultancy that applies a digital worldview to the challenges and ambitions of complex corporate organisations. Nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Spear serves on the Global Agenda Council on Marketing and Branding. He has been an active participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos since 2008. Most recently, he has been advising Millennium Promise, helping apply digital technology to the eradication of extreme poverty and the completion of the Millennium Development goals. Speaking to...

  • Sketching, prototyping — The key to solving design problems

    A leading figure in the British user experience community, Cennydd Bowles is a user experience designer and writer based in Brighton, England. He works in design and strategy at Clearleft, a UK-based design agency well-known as a leader in user experience, and his book, Undercover User Experience Design, written with colleague James Box, has been acclaimed as “a must-have for your bookshelf”. In a recent blog post Bowles wrote: Design is inherently less predictable than most other product fields, since it closely involves emotion, comprehension, taste and all those complex, deeply human attributes. That means that design is a gamble....

  • Eight startups that promise to Ignite

    Tech4Africa, a prominent web and emerging technology conference, has announced the eight finalists for its “Samsung Ignite” startup initiative. The startups provide a diverse range of services, covering everything from real-time wine buying assistance to automised billing. Ignite aims to showcase and foster local technology development and is inspired by similar competitions at internationally renowned conferences like South by South West and TechCrunch Disrupt. The eight finalists will have the opportunity to...