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Andile Tlhoaele  on Promoting Tech Solutions for African Business: Global Entrepreneurship Congress

This past week at the Global Entrepreneurship Conference (GEC) in Sandton, a host of African business leaders discussed the critical role of technology in the growth of African economies.

 

 

Andile Tlhoaele, founder of Inforcomm (INC), was one of the speakers at the event on hand to share his business knowledge based on years of experience with local and international IT & Telecoms companies in South Africa and across Africa.

 

 

This past June, Tlhoaele launched “76@40” to celebrate his 40th and to mark the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising. 76@40 is a creative initiative designed to support start-ups and SMMEs on the continent.

 

As part of this work in supporting SMME’s, Tlhoaele has over the years addressed many small business owners, university graduates, and learners on topics including the importance of partnerships to run a successful business, opportunities for youth employability, and the importance of mentoring using his experience as a case study.

 

At the GEC this past week, Tlhoaele spoke about the advent of the so-called 4th industrial revolution that is building on the third digital revolution and is characterised by the fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the digital, physical, and biological domains. Technology and telecommunication organisations worldwide are driving towards continuous innovation and disruption to enable this revolution, and one of the ways to embrace this rapid innovation is by enabling tech startups.

 

 

Tlhoaele believes that this is especially important in Africa as the interplay between technology startups and tech giants is imperative to the development of the African continent and to ensure that Africa plays a critical role in the new wave of digital disruption.

 

As Tlhoaele explained;

 

 

“You cannot disrupt what you don’t understand – Africans are poised to take advantage of opportunities to solve their own challenges, this includes using digital to disrupt conventional ways of dealing with challenges, starting with digital citizens, digital education, and digital health care. The notion that to be educated you must be in a classroom must be challenged. We must ask how do we use digital to ensure that kids in rural communities get access to world-class education and quality health care.

 

Connectivity—whether the Internet or mobile phones—is increasingly bringing market information, financial services, and health services to remote areas and is helping to change people’s lives in unprecedented ways.”

 

Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, World Bank Economist stated it simply, “The mobile platform is emerging as the single most powerful way to extend economic opportunities and key services to millions of people.”

New information and communications technologies (ICT), in particular high-speed internet, are changing the way companies do business, transforming public service delivery and democratising innovation. With 10 percent increase in high speed Internet connections, economic growth increases by 1.3 percent.

 

Within this context, according to Tlhoaele, it is important that “we disrupt the notion that East African markets are served from the Middle East and Asia and North West Africa from the Europe and North America.”

 

The panel discussion also looked at the ways that start-ups are promoting tech solutions to African businesses, the importance of start-up innovation in tech, and the roles played by both start0ups and tech giants on the continent.

 

 

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GINX eSports coming to DStv Now

Posted by radio On March - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

GINX, the 24/7 eSports and gaming network, will be available to stream on DStv Now and SuperSport.com from May 1.

The deal also includes selected GINX eSports TV content being simulcast on the SuperSport channels.

 

 

Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport, said: “The deal with GINX is a massive leap forward and signals our intention to embrace the newest sport out there. There is a real buzz around eSports and we want to be part of that.”

 

Michiel Bakker, CEO of GINX eSports TV, commented “We’re delighted to bring GINX eSports TV to South Africa. It’s an exciting time to be launching in a country with such a rapidly growing eSports scene. GINX eSports TV will provide South African fans with the biggest and best events from around the globe. We also look forward to working closely with MultiChoice and SuperSport to broadcast local eSports events.”

 

 

Massive growth in eSports

 

The global eSports genre is growing exponentially, with hundreds of millions of fans who watch popular online gamers around the world. According to a recently published report, by Ericsson ConsumerLab, 40 percent of young adults and 20 percent of young women watch eSports content.

 

GINX eSports TV will be available to DStv Access, Family, Compact, Extra and Premium customers, as well as to Compact, Extra and Premium customers on the DStv Now service online and on the app.

Live blocks will be broadcast on DStv with Mondays and Fridays featuring live show The Bridge and Saturdays and Sundays featuring five-hour broadcast slots.

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As one of the world’s largest messaging and social media apps, BBM is constantly upgrading and improving its features. A host of new features have just been announced for the South African and Nigerian markets and the latest version of BBM is now available on Google Play or the App Store.

 

This new version includes a new chatbot API, more analytics for BBM partners, spam reporting, the ability for existing users to add a phone number to their profiles, and more.

 

Streamlined Look and Feel

This release includes a number of updates and improvements to streamline the iOS user experience. They include:

 

Updated icons for Chats, Contacts, Feeds

 

 

 

  • Contacts and Discover simplify the main navigation menu
  • Discover icon now appears on the main navigation menu
  • BBM Channels moved from main navigation to BBM Discover screen
  • User profile picture, PIN and other information on your settings is now on the “Me” menu
  • Mute conversations by swiping left on items in your chat list—a new feature
  • Friend requests now appear on the Contacts tab
  • Group chat notifications now include name of group members, as well as group name

 

The new layout will make it easier to see new services as they launch, since they will get slotted into the list. Also, just for Android users, when you update your profile picture, it will show up as a full image in the feeds so people can view the image without clicking to expand.

 

Chatbot API

The latest release also includes the anxiously awaited chatbot application programming interface (API). BBM channel owners now have the opportunity to bring their own, interactive software chatbots to BBM that can converse with customers.

 

This new capability builds on the channel chat feature where previously, you could chat with the channel owner but only via phone. Now, a human channel representative or a chatbot program can answer the questions received in chat.

This is the first of a number of API initiatives that BBM plans to add so stay tuned for more news soon.

 

If you’re a channel owner, now is the time to jump on this exciting technology trend.

 

Analytics for Partners

BBM has also integrated better metrics via Google Analytics to provide partners with a view into expanded engagement metrics. Partners can now easily track their traffic, including the number of unique users, returning users, how long people are staying on their applications, and more.

 

Spam Reporting

BBM now lets you report unwanted friend requests as “spam.”  BBM has been hearing from users that they’ve been seeing unwanted friend requests in their BBM. Now there’s an easy way to report those.

 

Add a Phone Number

Last July, BBM added a phone number registration feature, making it possible to sign up for a new BBM account with a phone number, instead of an email address as the main contact. Now, existing users who originally set up their BBM account with an email address can add a phone number to their profiles. Adding a phone number provides additional security and speeds up the process for resetting forgotten passwords. It also makes it easier to find friends.

 

All these new features join the many others that BBM has released over the last couple of years in order to make BBM the hub of your digital life.

 

 

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MTN has reaffirmed its commitment to become a leading player in the digital and music streaming arena when it unveiled its revamped online music platform, MTN Music+, which offers first to market functionalities.

 

Says Maxwell Nonge, Chief Digital Officer: MTN SA: “The revamped Music+ strengthens our focus on developing local content and contributing meaningfully to the development of the music industry in South Africa. At the heart of our endeavours into the music space is the firm belief that we need to partner with artists and empower them to take control over the success of their brand.

 

The revised functionality of Music+ is the first proposition of its kind in South Africa where digital music and data are bundled for the user’s convenience and ease of use. This means that if a customer has an active bundle, any activity that they perform on Music+ will be zero-rated.”

 

The streaming pricing will be tiered by daily, weekly and monthly subscription fees, and downloading prices for subscribers will be discounted.

 

With the revised Music+, customers with an internet capable device and a balance of data bundles can stream content online and offline via the mobile app, mobile portal, web portal and mobile app interfaces on the 2G, 3G and LTE network.

 

Music+ has a number of new functionalities, and these include the following:

 

A music library with over 670 000 tracks, 40% local and 60% international;

Music downloads with innovative music bundle download packages;

Pricing will include data costs;

Subscribers will be levied discounted downloading costs.

Says Maxwell Nonge, Chief Digital Officer: MTN SA: “We are excited to offer our subscribers an improved version of our online musical proposition. This is part of our strategy of providing exciting value added services to our customers and cementing our foothold in the digital space. As a company that always strives to stay ahead of the curve, we believe that this revamped proposition mirrors the trends in the music space and resonates with our customer’s demands.

 

We believe that the revised offering will also help to combat piracy which is the nemesis of the music industry, and will further bolster the live music market in South Africa.”

 

According to research, in 2014 the global digital music revenues had overtaken physical music revenues. Downloads and subscriptions accounted for 75% of this revenue. In South Africa digital music is experiencing high growth as well, driven mainly by local artists. Research by PwC and GMR has found that physical music sales have declined by 17%, while digital music sales are increasing by 9%.

 

“As MTN, we want to be at the forefront of this revolution and leverage our infrastructure to ensure that our customers and the industry benefit from this changing eco-system,” Nonge concludes.

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DStv Now usage booms

Posted by radio On March - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

DStv customers are loving the fact that they can watch what they want, when they want, if our stats are anything to go by. Between December 2015 and December 2016, DStv Now usage grew by a remarkable 90%!

 

DStv Now is accessible either via an app or through your desktop browser. You can watch Live TV, enjoy DStv Catch Up content (via streaming or download), manage your account or see the full DStv TV Guide on the go.

 

During the the last year, more than four million titles were played across Live TV, Catch Up and downloads. These titles were split across the online platform (38%), Android (33%) and iOS (30%) apps.

 

Our online platform has been proving increasingly popular, since we introduced a slicker HTML video player which reduces buffering and works on any browser. It uses adaptive bitrates to deliver the best possible viewing experience based on your connection speed and quality.

 

“In addition to the 90% growth in DStv Now users, we also saw an increase in engagement, with almost four times as many movies and series being viewed in December 2016 compared to December 2015,” says Graeme Cumming, head of DStv Digital Media. “The number of video plays on our web platform grew by more than 500%, with app plays up by nearly 300%. We were delighted to top the four-million play mark at the end of last year and are sure that DStv Now’s evolution over the next few months will continue to drive the number of customers that use the service, as well as the volume of content they watch.”

 

Usage of DStv Now peaked in 2016 with live sporting events such as the ICC Cricket World Cup, Super Rugby, the Olympics and the Springboks’ end-of-year tour to Europe and the UK. Viewing clearly follows linear TV patterns, with peak usage between 19:00 and 21:00, which just goes to show how the service is an important additional viewing environment at home.

 

While Android customers dominate the DStv Now Live TV viewership figures, iOS customers watch Catch Up content almost three times as often as their Android counterparts. Web viewers split their time nearly 50/50 between Live TV and Catch Up services.

 

In terms of popularity, both local and international shows have done equally well across Android, iOS and online platforms for January 2017, with Binnelanders, MasterChef Australia and Isibaya sharing the top three spots.

 

On the Live TV front, sport dominated across the platforms in January 2017. Android customers’ most-viewed channels were SuperSport 2, SuperSport 3 and M-Net respectively; while iOS customers showed a preference for SuperSport 3 over SuperSport 2, followed by M-Net. Online customers also watched SuperSport 2 more actively followed by M-Net and SuperSport 3. kykNET and Via came in at fifth and seventh place respectively, reflecting a hunger for local content.

 

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BBM users in South Africa can now reduce the amount they pay for their mobile service simply by participating in surveys or shopping at their favourite retailers

Billaway, a marketing technology company that converts global currencies earned through consumers’ everyday activities into free mobile airtime has partnered with Creative Media Works, a stand-alone consumer-focused social networking business operating as BBM to launch Rewards for consumers across Android and iOS platforms in South Africa.

 

With Rewards, BBM users can now reduce the amount they pay for their mobile service simply by participating in surveys or shopping at their favourite retailers*. The underlying mobile cost reduction technology relies entirely on Billaway’s marketing platform, which can be integrated seamlessly into any mobile application, web-based eCommerce site or traditional retailer’s marketing strategies.

 

BBM is one of the largest mobile messaging applications. In addition to offering free voice and video calls, BBM also allows users to send pictures,audio recordings, files, share real-time location on a map, as well as a wide selection of stickers. Since it was created in August 2005, BBM has evolved from a pure messaging application for communication (text and video) to a social eco-system unifying chat, social, commerce and services.

 

“At BBM, we continue to innovate and evolve our content and services, including the likes of bill payments, top-up, vouchers/coupons, news,video, shopping, travel and games,” says MatthewTalbot, CEO of BBM. “We’re providing our users with an enrichedexperience within BBM and giving them more compelling reasons to share BBM with their friends and family.”

 

With mobile expenses proving high,South Africa has been chosen as the market for the initial roll out of the new Rewards, with additional countries slated for launch in the coming year.

 

“As consumer consumption of mobile data rapidly increases, Billaway is excited to partner with such an integrated service like BBM,”says Paul Harkins, CEO of Billaway. “This partnership brings Billaway closer to its goal of enabling every global consumer using mobile data with the option to reduce the cost of their monthly mobile bill, through everyday activities.”

 

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If there’s one thing we love seeing, it’s celebrities who manage to give back to the community regardless of their high flying status. We’ve seen many around South Africa who remind us that humility and service to your fellow man and woman is the best way to give back.

Black Coffee is one such celebrity who you can count on to always give back to those who look up to him. He did it again this week when he made headlines after helping make a fan’s “dream come true”.

It began when the person in question was invited to the Creative Construction Conference which takes place in Croatia later this year. Unfortunately, tickets from SA to Croatia are kinda pricey so this young talent took to Twitter to look for some help:

 

 

 

 

[Source: MTV]

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Facebook launches Video App on Apple TV

Posted by radio On March - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Facebook is keen to prove its social media platform isn’t just about news feeds or updates from friends but can be an equally popular video sharing site as well.

 

Facebook has launched a new Video app on the Apple TV. The social media giant had already identified videos as one of its priority areas, and the launch of the new app dedicated exclusively to videos can well be considered to be in line with that. The app will be compatible with only the fourth-gen Apple TV.

 

The new app that allows you to view the videos in a big screen will also enable Facebook to emerge as a competitor to YouTube, something that the company wishes to see itself to shape into in future. Facebook’s VP of Partnerships Dan Rose had earlier announced such an app for viewing videos being in the works though a similar app for Android should also be in the making. Dan, though, is yet to confirm any such plans.

 

Meanwhile, as should be already discernible, the app will be good for viewing only videos and will carry none of the news feeds or photos that you can see on the regular Facebook app. The Video app will have six sections – Shared by Friends, Top Live Videos, Following, Recommended for You as well as Saved Videos and Recently Watched. You will also be able to visit a particular page to view videos shared by them.

 

There also are reports of Facebook trying to forge an agreement with MLB to have one baseball game to stream on the app every week. However, nothing definitive has emerged on that so far. That said, there will no doubt be similar efforts to source more exclusive live content to stream on the Facebook Video app.

 

Facebook will also be recommending the more popular live streams based on what you like and viewing tendency. The social media giant already has extensive knowledge of our likes and preferences and populating the recommended section will never be an issue for them.

 

The Video app is available for free from the tvOS App Store even though it won’t function as a standalone app. Instead, the app would very well be part of Facebook for iOS and requires an active Facebook account for its operation. Dan also stated the app won’t carry any ads as of now though that again is a tested method to rake in popularity during the initial stages.

 

[Source: www.inferse.com]

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ShowMax sets up shop at the Nairobi Garage

Posted by radio On March - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Internet TV company ShowMax has set up its East Africa headquarters in Kenya at the acclaimed Nairobi Garage co-working space, and is in the process of recruiting for a number of new roles based in this office. The new office will support growth both in Kenya and in the wider East Africa region as ShowMax continues to expand to new countries with a tailored, localised service.

Talking about this, Chris Savides, Head of ShowMax Africa said:

“One of the keys to business success in Africa is recognising and catering for the differences in each market. In our view it’s essential to tailor content, functionality, and partnerships to the needs of consumers in each individual country. Our new office in Nairobi forms the heart of our operations in East Africa and is key to this localisation strategy.

“We chose to base our operations at the Nairobi Garage for both practical and competitive reasons. Practically, it’s a flexible space well-known for consistently delivering the services essential to running a business like ours. Competitively, we want to be plugged-in at the heart of digital entrepreneurship in the region. We’re looking forward to learning from and hopefully contributing to the business community in Nairobi.”

 

ShowMax is currently recruiting for a number of roles to be based at the new office including:

Partner growth manager East Africa

Head of regional growth East Africa

Marketing manager Kenya

For more information on working at ShowMax visit careers.showmax.com.

 

Nairobi Garage, set up in early 2012, is the largest co-working space in Africa accommodating over 100 businesses. They currently have two different office hubs located in Westlands and Ngong Road and have further expansion plans in the pipeline.

Hannah Clifford, General Manager of Nairobi Hub said:

“A common mistake companies make is to think that they can run their business in this region from thousands of kilometers away or even from another continent. It’s great to see companies like ShowMax investing in Kenya and creating jobs. The co-working concept is a proven model and by surrounding themselves with startups and entrepreneurs, we think ShowMax is making the right move to grow their business.”

 

ShowMax was launched in 2015 and is part of Naspers, a global internet and entertainment company and one of the largest technology investors in the world.

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DStv Premium subscribers to enjoy DStv Now

Posted by radio On February - 24 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

All DStv Premium customers will now be able to enjoy more than 60 live DStv channels and access to world-class TV shows and movies on-the-go on Catch Up.

 

MultiChoice has extended access to the full DStv Now service to all DStv Premium customers. Previously, this service was only available to DStv Premium customers with active PVRs.

 

The Catch Up library on the DStv Now app turns your smartphone or tablet into a decoder in your pocket. You can watch live TV or stream or download series and movies from DStv Catch Up. Now it’s easy to enjoy DStv originals like The Voice SA and Ons Sprokiesbruilhof.

 

This library also includes the M-Net Movies Collection which offers 1000 movies that are updated weekly. There’s also a DStv Kids section on the app, specifically designed to keep the little ones entertained when you’re away from home, with a handy parental control feature to ensure the kids watch what’s right for them.

 

Premium customers can now stream live sport from the SuperSport channels; perfect for keeping up with live action like Vodacom Super Rugby and the Proteas versus New Zealand.  DStv Now can also be used to access Express from the US shows on M-Net, M-Net Edge and Vuzu AMP including Suits, Quantico, Homeland, Madam Secretary and Vikings which are available within hours of their US broadcast.

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