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General Tech

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • 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....

  • Patrick Meier on single-click volunteering, the good side of tech

    "If you can click on a Facebook picture, you can be a digital humanitarian," author and technologist Patrick Meier says. The old sentiment “Information is power” is so much more pertinent in today’s age where, every minute, over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 300 000 tweets are posted. Beyond all those funny videos of cats getting vacuumed and celebrity twars, there is stuff being done on social media that can make a real difference. Gathering this data and making sense of it all is where the real challenge lies. And it has never been more critical in times...

  • Integration: the big tech trend businesses need to pay attention to in 2015

    As 2015 kicks into high gear for business – there is one technology trend that is the holy grail of businesses looking to expand their footprint – integration. Yet, despite its critical importance to business, most executives still don’t understand exactly what is meant by technology integration. For just about every national and multi-national business, especially those expanding throughout the African continent, integration within supply chains, logistics systems and even communications systems can be the difference between success or failure. So what is integration and why is it so critical for business? A simple definition is that...

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX finally launches DSCOVR satellite into deep orbit

    Scanning through Elon Musk's Twitter feed seems like something out of Interstellar's transcript with Matthew Mcconaughey rocketing through space, giving status updates as he goes along. "Can't delay any longer. Must proceed with primary mission to launch the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft," Musk tweeted recently. This tweet came just before space exploration company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (or just SpaceX) successfully launched an unmanned rocket, Falcon 9, at the Cape Canaveral enabling it to deploy a weather satellite. This is SpaceX's third attempt to carry the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth to the...

  • I’m still standing, and other achievements with a DeskStand standing desk

    Still standing? That’s the one question I’ve been asked most at my new job, not because I struggle with new pressures but rather because I literally haven’t taken a seat. New colleagues and visitors to our office are the type who really want to make conversation. As the only standing person they are sort of drawn to me. That and there’s this weird thing in front of me. It’s become the latest office fad: standing desks; costing forward-thinking firms millions as they replace cubicles with power-adjustable height desks. But those things are expensive as hell and apparently break easily. Still, I really wanted one...

  • Should emerging markets take a different approach to battling online piracy?

    In the West, the dominant issue touching all content creators, be it TV, movies, books or music, is how best to monetise products in the era of ‘on demand’ and multiple viewing platforms. The battle lines have been drawn between subscription services and pay-as-you-go digital downloads. Recent inroads by Netflix and Spotify suggest that consumers prefer subscription-based models. However, in emerging markets, digital content services have a tougher time gaining traction. This is mostly due to the prevalence of piracy, the same issue that plagued the music industry in the West through the 2000s. Across Africa, Asia and South...