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Future Trends

  • Here’s what’s possible with Tesla, SolarCity technology

    Is it possible to power an entire island using nothing but the sun? Well, yes. Just ask Tesla and SolarCity. After the two companies' fresh union, SolarCity has detailed a rather ambitious project involving a slew of batteries, solar panels and an island in American Samoa. The project, funded by the American Samoa Economic and Development Authority, the EPA and the Department of Interior, has allowed the entire island of Ta'u to be powered almost entirely by solar rays. The island previously used diesel generators to provide electricity to its hospital, schools and government institutions. But the solar array has largely made these...

  • Cockroach-like ‘biobots’, UAVs may help future disaster relief efforts

    Researchers at the North Carolina State University have developed a way to map areas using a combination of both smart hardware and software, which could effectively help with relief efforts in disaster areas. With a little help from wirelessly-controlled UAVs (effectively drones) and robots that mimic the shape and movement of insects (called biobots), large unfamiliar areas can be surveyed and recorded. "The idea would be to release a swarm of sensor-equipped biobots -- such as remotely controlled cockroaches -- into a collapsed building or other dangerous, unmapped area," explained assistant professor and co-author of the research paper, Edgar Lobaton in a...

  • Drone racing could be South Africa’s next big sport

    Drone racing might be South Africa's latest national sport, that's at least if Drone Racing Africa has anything to say about it. DRA is the " first fully funded drone racing league and series in Africa" geared toward promoting and growing the popular sport among all ages and genders Internationally, drone competitions and drone culture has become more prevalent an ingrained in society. Events such as Dubai's World Drone Grand Prix, and Hawaii's Drone World Championships are all pushing the awareness and intrigue of the sport. Now, Africa will be getting a taste of that action. Drone racing, and consumer drones, have been slowly...

  • South Africa’s media landscape: what will 2020 hold?

    A new PwC report has laid out predictions for the South African media and entertainment landscape by 2020. Entertainment and media (E&M) companies saw double digit growth of 10.6% in the country in 2015, according to the 2016 Entertainment and Media Outlook report. However, it predicts a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% to 2020 -- still edging out the USA and Western Europe's growth levels. PwC cited two reasons for the slower rate of growth. "First, with mobile internet penetration in particular now being more mature -- at 44.8% in 2015, from just 14.6% in 2011 -- internet access revenue growth will slow. Second,...

  • Heek: this chat bot will build a website for you

    We've seen chat bots become the new "cloud" this year, as everyone from Google and Microsoft to Facebook gets in on the action. However, we've also seen some novel uses for these AI-powered bots, with the most recent example being a bot that builds a website for you. It's called Heek. Yep, Heek's AI chatbot asks you a number of questions, such as your name, the type of industry you're in and desired website designs. The bot also makes suggestions, such as adding contact forms, page navigation options, testimonials and more. Once you've done most of these basics, you can tweak the website further with...

  • Gartner Cape Town: 10 strategic tech trends for 2017

    Between 3D printing and machine learning, there were plenty of strategic trends predicted for 2016 at last year's Gartner Symposium. Now, Gartner analyst Stephen Prentice has revealed 2017's expected trends, featuring a few of the same entries. But they're no less interesting anyway - here they are, in no particular order. 1. Conversational systems Prentice says that conversational AI systems will form part of the so-called "Digital Mesh" - along with the next two entries on the list. The analyst noted that there are expected to be at least 25 conversational AI systems by 2018, citing examples already such as Siri, Cortana and...

  • Gartner Cape Town: 6 things to know about IT and Ops trends

    The Gartner Symposium kicked off in Cape Town this week, and we were fortunate enough to attend a talk from the company's Phil Dawson. The talk, titled Top Ten Technology Trends and Their Impact on IT and Operations, was pretty self-explanatory, if a bit in-depth for most tastes. But there were some takeaways for more than just the average IT manager. Switching to the cloud won't automatically fix your problems Dawson noted that issues you have won't be fixed by simply moving to the cloud. "If you virtualise a mess, it's still a mess," Dawson said. "Don't assume it's going to fix your...

  • South Africa’s CLEVVA is making AI-powered virtual advisors a thing

    Artificial intelligence is impressing us more everyday, as the technology demonstrates amazing learning capabilities and flexibility. It's not just the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft working on AI though, as South African firm CLEVVA has a rather innovative application for the technology. The company, founded in 2011, has crafted virtual advisors, powered by AI and used in sales fields (among others) to train and guide sales representatives. Just how does this service work? Could the average SME easily get to grips with it? What will future of AI look like? Will it take our jobs? We interviewed CLEVVA CEO Ryan Falkenberg... A 'GPS'...

  • Arizona State University finds a way to control drones using brainwaves

    The brain is a complex processing unit which contains approximately 200-billion neutrons. These neutrons fire thousands of electrical signals per second. As complex as the brain is, we still can't telepathically move things with our minds, until today. Director of Human-Orientated Robotics and Control Lab, Panagiotis Artemiadis who's also the assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter has found a way to successfully control drones using a wireless interface. The controller uses a skull-cap connected to a computer, which is outfitted with 128 electrodes. The cap reads the brainwaves you produce when instructing parts of...

  • What more can be done to deliver fibre connectivity across South Africa?

    It seems like we hear news of fibre developments every other week, as the likes of MTN, Vodacom, Vumatel and Telkom announce suburbs and projects. There's no denying that many projects take place in affluent suburbs, but even living in a well-off suburb isn't a guarantee of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity. What can be done to ensure that fibre connectivity reaches more areas though? We interviewed Dominic Cull, regulatory advisor for the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), and asked for his thoughts on the matter. This is why fibre isn't available in more suburbs First of all, Cull outlined a host of reasons for fibre connectivity not being available...

  • Social recruitment: the next big trend in hiring for your business

    Social media, supplemented by news apps is the go-to place to find the latest news happenings, but it is also on these platforms where job seekers are finding out about available positions. Gone are the days of employers and recruiters advertising a position in print and online and being inundated by quality candidates. Recruiters now use social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in addition to LinkedIn to find and engage with prospects, sometimes starting off with a very small pool of candidates meeting the criteria. What the water cooler of old was for office gossip, social media networking...

  • 5 mega-trends that will soon revolutionize the real estate market

    The real estate market is on the verge of major transformations that will revolutionize how we do business. Climate change, ecommerce and a demographic explosion are building new horizons in real estate. The next few decades will usher in a new era where technology dominates business and lifestyle, creating a new impetus for stakeholders and investors to stay ahead of the curve if they don’t want to go extinct. Here are the five biggest trends that will reshape the industry over the coming decades. Generation geriatric Over half the world’s population will be over 60-years-old by 2030 according to UN. That 1.4-billion...

  • Is technology the answer to South Africa’s massive youth unemployment?

    It has been 40-years since 16 June 1976 when a group of brave youngsters in Soweto rose up against the tyranny of the Apartheid government to take back their future, and the future of the next generations. So the really hard question is: Was their struggle for nought? Of course not. The uprisings of 1976 ultimately led to the downfall of the apartheid regime but if we take honest stock of where we are now vs four decades ago, are the youth (specifically) any better off? I believe our current education system is South Africa’s new...

  • Drone sports photography is on a power play

    Casual sports fans -- not to mention people who couldn’t care less about the home team’s record -- are invariably surprised to learn that professional and collegiate athletes lend their talents to a very high-tech business. Scientists and physicians have been pushing the boundaries of human endurance and resilience since the dawn of the modern pro sports era. As the athletic economy’s growth continues to outpace that of the broader economy, the stakes are getting higher -- and the pace of innovation is accelerating. Broadcasters and content networks are getting in on the innovative action, too. In the past few...

  • 4 technologies that are rapidly changing online search habits

    The traditional search via desktop browser has been on the decline since advent of the iPhone a decade ago. Currently, a typical mobile user might search via Google Maps, or the app versions of vertical services like Yelp, or through social networks of every stripe. The next generation of search will rely on far more complex and intelligent methods. This will change not only how consumers find, say, their way to your product, but also the way brands can connect with their presences online.  Here's a look at some of the ways that search technology is already evolving. Virtual assistants Google Now,...