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INTERVIEW Carey van Vlaanderen – CEO ESET Southern Africa

How to create an innovation culture that lasts

A day in the life of Dangote Group’s Chief Information Officer

FEATURED Top 15 Best countries for business in Africa

March 2018


238009 9 772616

ISSN 2616-2385

R34.95 Incl. VAT



LIBERIA A country bursting with ICT potential

The Internet of Things is here. SqwidNet is the SIGFOX network operator for South Africa. It provides an ecosystem for IoT innovation and for developing and delivering IoT solutions that are enabled through: the deployment of long-range networks that are purpose-built for IoT access to low-cost and highly secure connectivity access to low-cost, low-power devices and modules. SIGFOX is a global IoT network deployed in 36 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The SqwidNet network roll-out started in January 2017 and now covers close to 65% of South Africa’s population. National coverage will extend to 85% of the population by the end of this year.

Logistics optimization

Cloud and Services + Platform

Factory optimization


Hospital optimization

Smart grid

Integrated operations centre

Smart Hospital Smart Factory Connected ambulances

Smart City Intelligent medical devices

What is the IoT all about? The Internet of Things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items — embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

For more information or to sign up as a SqwidNet partner, visit www.sqwidnet.com.

Home energy management Comms network optimization

Smart Highway

Automated car system

Intelligent digital signage

Connected traffic cameras

Traffic flow optimization

ITNews Africa Magazine |





28 | DON’T KNOw whAT TO DO

















































FORUM 2017






PUBLIShER Abe Wakama – abe@itnewsafrica.com EDITOR Darryl Linington – darryl@itnewsafrica.com CONTRIBUTORS Fundisiwe Maseko Darryl Linington Dean Workman




SUBSCRIPTIONS IT News Africa is the premier gateway for technology companies who want to reach potential customers in Africa. Building 22A, The Woodlands Office Park, Woodmead, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2191 Tel: +27 11 026 0982 Fax: 0866 130 386

NEWS ENQUIRIES/PRESS RELEASES news@itnewsafrica.com ADvERTISING AND PRESS OFFICES sales@itnewsafrica.com MEDIA PARTNERShIPS media@itnewsafrica.com PARTNERShIPS AND PROPOSALS opportunity@itnewsafrica.com

ITNews Africa Magazine |

African Innovator Magazine is now IT News Africa Magazine Welcome to the second edition of IT News Africa Magazine, the successor to the highly coveted African Innovator Magazine, and sister publication to its online platform www. itnewsafrica.com. As time is constantly moving forward and life is constantly changing, we saw 2017/2018 as the perfect time to evolve the African Innovator Magazine into a more relevant magazine for the IT industry. With a strong focus on technology, and how it uplifts the African continent, IT News Africa Magazine will be publishing articles about technology solutions to socioeconomic issues in Africa. To be honest, there are a lot of challenges in Africa such as the lack of access to healthcare, education, and internet access, which we believe technology can help overcome. IT News Africa Magazine is here to address and highlight these topics, solutions, and innovations. The magazine is also here as a platform for technology solution providers to showcase their solutions

for business and the public sector. Africa is our home and we believe that technology will have the most impact on the continent. It is our duty as Africans to contribute in whatever way we can. In this edition of IT New Africa Magazine, we take a look at how the African Digital Revolution is gaining pace. Additionally, we focus on the Internet of Things as well as the management of innovation. Furthermore, this edition of contains interviews featuring Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa as well as Nir Marom, the co-founder of Lumos - a disruptive off-grid solar energy. We hope you enjoy this edition of IT News Africa Magazine.

Abe Wakama CEO IT News Africa


IT News Africa Magazine |

Goodwell Investments raises $24 million for African investment Impact investing firm Goodwell Investments has raised US $24.8 million. The firm raised the money from over 30 investors and will be using it to place investments in the inclusive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Afrimax reveals sale of Busy Internet Ghana

According to the firm, Goodwell invests in young, fast-

The Afrimax Group has successfully completed the

growing companies that offer products and services to

sale of one of its African subsidiaries, Busy Internet

unserved people to meet their increasing demand for

Ghana Limited, to AI Technologies Limited, a company

affordable and quality basic products.

incorporated in Ghana.

Its African portfolio companies include Nigeria’s

The move is part of the Afrimax Group’s strategy aimed at

Paga and South African startups Nomanini and

reorganising its corporate structure with a view to enabling


continued improvement in the delivery of its strategic

The new Goodwell III investment fund is built on a portfolio

goals, thereby allowing it to focus on key commercial and

that is spread across various impact sectors and regions

financial priorities in its focus markets.

in Sub-Saharan Africa. Half of the fund will be invested in

Lars Stork, Group CEO commented: “The successful sale

financial services, and the other half in agriculture, health

of our business in Ghana is in line with our restructuring

and sanitation, energy, transport and education.

strategy aimed at building a next-generation 4G business

“Investment in the financial sector is crucial as it is the

in Africa. We are very grateful to the government of Ghana

driving force behind a thriving local economy. This gives

for their support throughout our operations, which allowed

businesses the best leverage and opportunities to scale up.

us to extend digital inclusion to thousands of Ghanaians.

Goodwell’s extensive network in this sector and successful

“We are also very grateful to all our employees, whose

track record from predecessor funds, allows the company

drive and commitment enabled Busy Internet to become

to be a trusted and insightful mentor within the impact

a leading provider of digital services in the country. We

investment space,” the company said.

are confident that AI Technologies Limited will build on

“Economic and social developments are rapidly changing

the strength of Busy Internet and enhance the services

the face of Africa. Still, millions of people are excluded

provided to customers.”

from accessible and adequate basic goods and services,

Javed Muhammad, CEO ZFJ Investments, Dubai

such as financial services, energy or health care. Goodwell

commented: “This was a strategic acquisition given

is convinced that if un(der)served consumers had access

Ghana’s telecom and IT Ecosystem and we are confident

to these basic services, it would contribute to a more

we will be able to provide top of the line products and

sustainable and inclusive society. This objective is best

services to our customers and value to our shareholders.

achieved by providing capital and management support

Best wishes to the Team Busy.”

to companies that deliver these products and services,” the

Amit Gaur, CEO, AI Technologies Ltd commented: “We

company concluded.

are happy to be part Busy and its success in the Ghanaian market. We will be investing resources and funding to take this very popular local brand to the next level.” Praveen Sadalage CEO, Busy Ghana commented: “We welcome the successful transaction ensuring continuation for Busy to deliver quality services to its esteemed customers and ‘make things happen’ ethos in Ghana. ZFJ investments are the lead partners in the deal through their subsidiary AI Technologies Ltd in Ghana.”


IT News Africa Magazine |

South Atlantic Undersea Cable in Brazil signals new chapter in Africa and America’s Telecoms Angola Cables, a telecommunications multinational, has revealed that the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) has made landfall at Fortaleza on the Brazilian coast. Company CEO, António Nunes said that the arrival and installation of SACS on the Brazilian coast was “an important strategic milestone for the company, Angola and Africa as it will be the first direct link between the Americas and the African continent, offering a faster routing with higher capacity.” Now entering the final phase of completion, SACS is expected to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2018. The undersea cable is one of the most advanced submarine telecommunications systems and will have an initial capacity of 40Tbps (100Gbps x 100 wavelength x 4 pairs of fibre). “Once SACS has been fully commissioned, we will see a significant improvement in communications and content sharing between Angola, African countries and the Americas. With SACS, the delay in transporting digital content, known as latency, will be reduced fivefold, from the current 350 thousandths of a second to just over 60 thousandths of a second.” “Investments made by Angola Cables and its partners in underwater cable systems, such as the West African Cable System (WACS) and Monet – connecting North and South America – combined with other investments in terrestrial infrastructure such as data centres, is opening up global communications networks. It is also reorienting worldwide internet traffic and is effectively positioning Angola as a telecommunications hub in sub-Saharan Africa,” concluded Nunes.

Tanzanian hospital adopts voice recognition technology The Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam has become the first public hospital in Tanzania to use voice recognition technology. The new technology will help doctors to encode patients’ information, decrease report turnaround time and increase patient satisfaction with quality reporting while maximising patient care. MNH Executive Director, Prof Lawrence Museru said the new technology will reduce the time it takes to process patients’ information. “We can’t say with certainty the time it would take, but it will definitely take a shorter time now to process the images,” said Prof Museru when briefing reporters on the new facility at the national hospital. “We used to have a situation where patients had to wait long to obtain results. This technology will also ease the burden on our staff because they had to move back and forth in trying to process such imaging tests,” he added. The speech engine is capable of showing the cardiology report template occupied, with the name of the patient and other essential demographic data. By dictating the cardiology report narrative, the computer recognises the narrative context and intent and condenses a complete, correct, and structured data-based document. Prof Frank Minja from Yale School of Medicine in the US helped facilitate the installation of this technology at the MNH. He said: “We realised doctors are not good at typing, but they can speak. So, this technology helps a doctor in recording patients’ information by simply speaking through a voice recorder which then transmits the info into an image through a computerized system as the diagnosis is being made.”


IT News Africa Magazine |


Internet of Things Forum AFRICA 2017 Powering a new era of Operational Transformation



IT News Africa Magazine |


The Internet of Things Forum Africa

presentations, there were various

IoT Forum Africa 2018 will feature

2017 (IOTFA2017) took place at the

exhibitors at IOTFA who showcased

industry tracks with speakers

Gallagher Convention Centre on the

the most innovative and cutting-edge

discussing the potential impact of IoT

29th and 30th of March 2017. The two-

technologies and services around

day event brought together leaders

IoT, demonstrating to the attendees

in manufacturing, energy, finance,

of industry to discuss all the latest

exactly what IoT can do for their

developments in the IoT.


Focusing on the theme “Powering a

With IOTFA 2017 being such a

new era of operational intelligence,”

success, the second edition of IOTFA

the top-class speakers at the

2018 (#IOTFA2018) will take place on

conference eloquently unscrambled

the 14th and 15th of March 2018 in

IoT providing the array of decision

Johannesburg, South Africa, and will

makers and executives from various

bring together an array of top quality

industries in attendance with a better

thought leaders, visionaries and

understanding of the IoT landscape as

experts who will share their knowledge

a whole.

of real-world IoT trends, challenges and

In addition to the enthralling



transportation, retail, security and mining. Under the theme, “Powering a new era of operational transformation,” IT leaders and senior executives will have the chance to hear from over 30 expert speakers who will showcase the leading developments in IoT. For more information visit http://iotforumafrica.com/

By Darryl Linington

IT News Africa Magazine |


TIPSâ„¢ CONFERNCE 2018 Technology . Innovation . People . Systems



IT News Africa Magazine |

The TIPS Conference 2018 which took

successfully drive innovation.

and become agile in the workplace.

place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in

During his keynote address, Dr

Sandton, South Africa on Wednesday,

Phil Mjwara, Director General at

By Fundisiwe Maseko

28 February 2018, was organised by IT

the Department of Science and

News Africa in partnership with tt100

Technology, provided insight into some

and in association with The Da Vinci

of the initiatives that the department

Institute as well as the Department of

has undertaken in South Africa.

Science and Technology.

Dr Mjwara highlighted the

Speakers at the conference discussed

department’s support for the Da

thought-provoking topics such

Vinci tt100 Business Innovation

as technology readiness and risk

Awards programme. Attendees at the

management, a leadership perspective

conference were given the opportunity

on enabling creativity and innovation,

to explore ideas with industry peers

innovation as a management

and thought leaders on the TIPS

process as well as how leadership can

Framework and how to align, engage



IT News Africa Magazine |


Gadgets & Gaming Drones offer inspection and maintenance benefits The future of Facilities Management to benefit from a future with drones.

The commercial applications market for UAS and vehicles is projected to grow from $2 billion in 2016 to more than $127 billion by 2020 In facilities management, inspecting large institutional, engineering, manufacturing, mining and commercial facilities and assets can be a challenging, dangerous, and dirty job. Ensuring that assets are performing reliably to design standards means balancing tight budgets and ageing infrastructure or finding new ways to maximise the value of existing


assets. As digital technologies merge with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), otherwise known as drones, maintenance and engineering managers maintain assets and facilities while also reducing costs and safety risks across Africa and globally. The commercial applications market for UAS and vehicles is projected to grow from $2 billion in 2016 to more

than $127 billion by 2020. Infrastructure has been identified as one of the business areas that can best benefit from the use of drones. In fact, the value of prospective drone applications in global infrastructure projects is expected to reach $45 billion in the next few years.

IT News Africa Magazine |

In South Africa, the use of drones has escalated to the

them effective methods for handling many of the dull,

point where the Ministry of Transportation and Civil

dirty, and dangerous functions of inspection and

Aviation Authority (CAA) recently added a chapter on

surveillance. They also offer flexible flying capabilities,

remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to the Civil

as well as the ability to capture high-quality images

Aviation Regulations, including technical standards

and footage. With both tethered and untethered

and aeronautical information circulars. Under these

types of drones, technicians can safely and cost-

laws and standards, South Africa permits different

effectively inspect and maintain large assets and

forms of RPAS operations: private, commercial,

infrastructure, as well as parts, tools, equipment,

corporate and non-profit operations.

stations, and underlying information technology

By putting drones to work, managers are given visual, thermal, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), heavy-duty engine oil (HD-EO), corona, hyperspectral, gamma, and magnetometer inspections of hard-to-access spaces.

assets. The use of drones only solves one part of the challenge managers face. The data and images drones gather need to be shared with a sophisticated enterprise asset management (EAM) solution that incorporates historical records, maintenance standards and specifications, repair instructions, diagrams, warranty information, and other data to assess condition levels and determine maintenance needs. By sharing the information collected by drones with an EAM system, managers can improve their asset

The potential benefits of drones have received a great

maintenance programmes, more efficiently schedule

deal of attention, as more and more uses have been

maintenance and track assets, inspect locations

identified. Drones give managers easier access to

where it is difficult and time-intensive to send

data, lower cost and risk, and the ability to document

workers, and create a safer working environment.

asset conditions in an automated fashion. As the

Beyond photographic images, drone technology

technology to support drones progresses, facilities,

also can supply infrared and X-ray images to

infrastructure, and asset managers will be better able

detect structural issues or dangerous leaks in an

to use drones to perform fundamental maintenance

environment that might be unsafe for humans. The

and security activities.

drones also can capture input sensor data, such as

By putting drones to work, managers are given

colour video, thermo-video, still frames, and LiDAR

visual, thermal, light detection and ranging (LiDAR),

three-dimensional data and send it directly to an EAM

heavy-duty engine oil (HD-EO), corona, hyperspectral,


gamma, and magnetometer inspections of hard-

Capturing information in real time allows managers

to-access spaces. Using remote-controlled cameras,

and technicians to compare the condition of assets

drones can relay images of buildings, rooftop

today with previous imagery and sensor readings, and

machinery, or a vital piece of equipment in an

then compare them to manufacturing or industry

inaccessible location. With the use of this advanced

standards to determine the next course of action in

technology, field technicians monitoring equipment

the asset management lifecycle. Managers can then

performance can obtain valuable visuals and details

schedule maintenance and repair activities directly

about critical assets — all without risking their well-

from the EAM system, causing minimal disruption to

being. The ability to compare prior inspections with


current results to rapidly identify changes also can

A variety of facilities are using drones to maximise

give managers more actionable information with

the lifespan of their assets. Think of the possibilities

which decisions can be made.

for building and structure management. When

To keep facilities and infrastructure operating

managers implement a comprehensive asset

effectively and extend their performance lives, it

management strategy that includes the use of drones

is crucial to monitor performance and conduct

for inspections, they can gain greater operational

preventive maintenance. This is particularly true of

visibility to inform their decision-making, better

mission-critical equipment that cannot fail, such

manage facilities’ energy consumption, and become

as generators, security systems, wind turbines, and

more proactive in operations and maintenance.

electrical towers. Drones can perform functions such as perch-andstare, video capture, and laser scanning, which make


By Jane Thomson, Managing Director at Softworx, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa


IT News Africa Magazine |

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset Review The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is a powerful wireless headset with an attractive price.

Overall, while not the loudest headset on the market, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset is a great addition to any gamers arsenal of gaming accessories.

By Darryl Linington

Monster Hunter: World Review A beautiful world where adventure and thrilling combat awaits. The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset has officially launched in South Africa. The headset is set to retail for R1799. For a mid-range headset, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset performs rather well especially for what it costs.

For those who wear glasses, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset is glasses friendly.

Developed and published by Capcom, Monster Hunter: World has finally arrived on the PlayStation

When it comes to sound quality, the Turtle Beach

4 and Xbox One. While console players have access

Stealth 600 Wireless Headset delivers clear and

to the latest game in the franchise now, PC players

detailed audio. Granted, when it comes to turning up

will, however, need to wait as the game is only set to

the volume, the headset could have been a bit louder;

release late 2018. This is according to Monster Hunter:

however, this was not possible as the headset won’t

World Producer, Ryozo Tsujimoto.

let you crank up the volume to the point of where you

Monster Hunter World places the player in the shoes

blow the speakers. While this felt a little restrictive at

of their very own, self-created character who has

first, the more I used the headset the more I realised

been tasked to travel with the Guild and its Research

that, when on full blast, the headset pushed out just

Commission in order to get to the bottom of a

the right amount of volume.

mysterious phenomenon where, once every decade,

For those who wear glasses, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset is glasses friendly. This ultimately means that with prolonged use you won’t begin to feel your glasses pushing up against your face, allowing for more comfort and extended gaming sessions. This is thanks to the latest version of Turtle Beach’s patented ProSpecs Glasses Relief System, which works rather well. For the price, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Wireless Headset is well-worth its weight in gold. The headset is super comfortable and a pleasure to use. To add to this, it’s extremely simple to setup up and can be done so by simply plugging in the wireless transmitter and switching on the headphones.


the Elder Dragons trek across the sea in order to travel to the land known as the New World in a migration referred to as the Elder Crossing. While travelling to the New World, the Fifth Fleet has a brief encounter with the colossal elder dragon – known as Zorah Magdaros. This throws things into disarray when your hunter, as well as his rather quirky and energetic handler, have to find a way to reach their base of operations, the town of Astera. Once you have reached Astera, the epic storyline begins to move at a slower pace as you start to find out more about Astera and explore the world around you in order to eventually discover the reason behind the Elder Crossing. Monster Hunter: World, while slow-paced at first, has an excellent storyline to it. Seeing the Elder Crossing


IT News Africa Magazine |

up close and personal is really a sight and something

arrow when facing off against monsters that either

to experience. What also adds to the entire storyline is

have the ability to fly or were just too powerful and

the fact that it moves at the pace of the player. While

quick on their feet.

the player has the option to jump straight into the

Once you have found the right weapon, you will notice

main campaign, they also have the option to take

that Monster Hunter: World has an excellent combat

on a number of side-quests where they can either hunt and kill monsters or capture them for research purposes. To add to these side-quests there are also a number of research quests that will see your character explore the world in order to collect various items such as honey, mushrooms, and various fauna and flora in order to assist researchers as well as gain vital experience and upgrade points.

When it comes to graphics, Monster Hunter: World is a beautifully crafted title. While out in the world you will come across a variety of beautifully designed forests, wastelands, and other areas with their own complex ecosystems that are just visually breath-taking. These include the likes of the Ancient Forest, Wildspire Waste, Coral Highlands and the Rotten Vale. These beautifully created areas, as stated above, host their own ecosystems… as well as monsters to slay. These monsters include the pack leader of the Jagras, the Great Jagras, as well as the highly vicious – T-rex, inspired – Anjanath. There

system. Not only can you thrash through monsters with your overly large weapons, you can also set traps to deal further damage to the particular monster you are hunting. As there is a living, breathing ecosystem, monsters can also be baited to areas where rival monsters may have their nest. This will allow the player the opportunity to take a break from the fight as two rival monsters go head to head. Another high point for Monster Hunter: World is the on-the-fly crafting system. While out in the field you can craft health potions, antidotes, traps and so on. This makes things a fair bit easier, especially when you have a monster on the run, but need to craft some health potions.

Monster Hunter: World, while slowpaced at first, has an excellent storyline to it. When it comes to graphics, Monster Hunter: World is a beautifully crafted title. From the watering holes, to the beautiful forests… Monster Hunter: World is

are a plethora of monster to capture or slay, but be

a gorgeous title. You can see that the team has not

warned… they are each as deadly as the other.

only put in a tremendous amount of effort into the

Tracking monsters, this time around, is made a bit

world, but also the monsters and characters featured

easier as the player can use scout flies in order to find

throughout the game.

footprints, markings, mucus and anything else that may assist in tracking down your prey. Once the scout


flies have locked on to your prey’s scent, they will

While it features a deep learning curve and does not

guide you straight to it.

promote holding the player’s hand, Monster Hunter:

While slaying monsters sounds like fun, it can be

World is a brilliant title, and one of the best in the

challenging. While it does feature many tutorials, the game does not hold the player’s hand. Monsters, much like the Anjanath and Tobi-Kadachi, can be relentless, vicious and highly challenging, which is why taking part in side-quests to upgrade your equipment can be a lifesaver at the end of the day. Speaking of equipment, Monster Hunter: World features a number of weapons that can be chosen – depending on the player’s playstyle. These include dual-blades, longswords, lances, bows and arrows, axes, and many more. As a brief tip, I would suggest spending a bit of time with each and every weapon in order to find something that is best suited to your style. I personally opted for the switch axe as my primary weapon and then relied on the bow and


franchise. Not only does it feature a deep combat system, but it also features a beautiful world in which to explore. To add to this, it features some of the most creative creatures I have seen to-date. I take my hat off to Capcom for the immense amount of creativity that has gone into Monster Hunter: World.

By Darryl Linington


IT News Africa Magazine |

MyKi Touch Review - Keep your child safe Child safety is a key priority with the MyKi Touch watch.

comes with an SOS button. The SOS button can be linked to two numbers, when the watch is equipped with a SIM card, and once pushed will begin to dial both numbers until the call is answered. The MyKi Touch can also make calls to numerous numbers that are pre-set by the parent or guardian through the mobile application. It can also send voice messages and receive text messages via the application chat. Parents can connect with their child at any time as long as they have a smartphone or a computer.

Wearable devices are all the rage these days; however, many wearable devices only focus on heart rate monitoring, fitness, and sleep tracking. While these devices do come in handy, they do not track the individual wearing them. This is where the MyKi Touch comes in handy. Specifically designed for children, the MyKi Touch is essentially a touchscreen GSM/GPS tracking device. Once switched on and paired with the MyKi Watch application, which can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple Store, both the app and watch work in tandem in order to provide parents and guardians with the location of the child wearing the watch. This information is updated every 60 seconds via 24 satellites for maximum precision while localising your child.

Specifically designed for children, the MyKi Touch is essentially a touchscreen GSM/GPS tracking device. While the watch can be used to track your child, it can also be used to create secure zones for your child. For example, a secure zone can be placed around your child’s school... if your child is meant to be at school from 7:30 am to 14:00 pm and they leave, the MyKi Touch will immediately alert the parent or guardian.

To add to the security features, the MyKi Touch also comes with an SOS button. The SOS button can be linked to two numbers, when the watch is equipped with a SIM card, and once pushed will begin to dial both numbers until the call is answered. As revealed by the manufacturer, the MyKi Touch has a colour touchscreen display with a 240x240 pixel resolution, a picture menu for navigation and intelligent vibration. Parents can pre-set the locations and times in which the watch works in vibration mode. This is so the child can safely wear it when in class. The MyKi Touch also has a silicone strap that features antibacterial properties. The MyKi Touch is easily charged too. The 480 mAh battery is charged using a standard micro USB cable. You can charge the watch either using a computer or a standard phone charger and a plug. Conclusion: The MyKi Touch is the perfect device to keep track of your child. Not only does it keep parents up-todate on their child’s location, it is also a stylish and comfortable to wear. As the device is a touchscreen device it also comes with a multitude of features, which include the ability to make calls, send voice messages, as well as track steps. To add to the security features, the device will also warn a parent or guardian if the watch is removed. Overall, if you are looking to protect your child, and keep an eye on their whereabouts, the MyKi Touch is

To add to this feature, the MyKi Touch will also alert

the perfect device to choose.

the parent or guardian if your child is travelling

The MyKi Touch is currently available in South Africa

faster than 50KM per hour. Parents can then use the

through Vodacom on contract. Additionally, the MyKi

app to call the watch in order to listen in on what is

Touch can be bought on prepaid for R2 699.

happening with their child. To add to the security features, the MyKi Touch also


By Darryl Linington


“The clear leader in anomaly detection” 451 Research

SELF-LEARNING SELF-CONFIGURING Powered by machine learning and AI algorithms, Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System detects and responds to emerging threats inside your enterprise that no one else can find.


IT News Africa Magazine |


The Innovator Interview: Carey van Vlaanderen From the back of a garage to the top of Southern Africa’s IT security mountain


T News Africa Magazine recently spoke to Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO

objectives are being met. During

penetration testing and various

her time as CEO, Carey’s direction,

security services. At the request from

of ESET Southern Africa, in an interview

coupled with her pragmatic approach

clients to suggest an antivirus solution

which unpacked her journey from the

to business, has played a pivotal role in

that didn’t slow down machines, Justin

back of a garage to the top of Southern

expanding ESET to 18 African countries,

found the technically strong NOD32

Africa’s security software industry.

working with 3,600 partners.

product. At the time, ESET were just

ESET is a global provider of security

starting to grow their international

software for enterprises and consumers

Carey graduated from the University

and is dedicated to delivering instant,

of Cape Town, with an Honours BCom

comprehensive protection against

degree in Information Systems. In this

evolving computer security threats.

interview Carey outlines her journey

Carey first joined ESET, a global

into ESET, how she penetrated a

provider of security software for

saturated market all those years ago,

enterprises and consumers and a

the affect IoT will have on security and

subsidiary of 4DI Group (Pty) Ltd, in

what advice she would giving budding

January 2004. She held various key

entrepreneurs in the IT industry.

positions in operations management

Where did the inspiration behind the

Carey first joined ESET, a global provider of security software for enterprises and consumers and a subsidiary of 4DI Group (Pty) Ltd, in January 2004. She held various key positions in operations management and sales, before being appointed CEO in March 2010. and sales, before being appointed CEO

company come from, and how did

in March 2010.

you get it started?

As CEO, her key responsibilities focus on accelerating growth, driving

We started out in 2003 as 4D Digital

strategy and vision across the company

Security, perhaps a bit ahead of

and ensuring ESET’s business

time, focusing on security audits,


distribution network for their product they’d home grown in an attic in Bratislava, Slovakia. Back in Cape Town, we were starting to grow our own business from a garage in Claremont. After enquiring on the possibility of distribution rights for Sub-Saharan Africa, ESET insisted on a business plan and marketing strategy for the region, only to find out after many years of success in our region, that it was the first business plan they’d received from any distributor. It was clear from the beginning that we shared the same vision and ethics of the international company which allowed the base for a productive relationship with like-minded people going forward. Both 4D and NOD32 grew from strength to strength and quickly the business turned to focus solely on the ESET products in our region, changing the focus globally to push the company brand of “ESET” along with the strong brand recognition of the NOD32 product.

IT News Africa Magazine |


However, the technically advanced products have shown their due and now moving into addressing the large corporate segment. The expense of distribution at the time when online was not an option, posed a challenge to get the product out there. Again, this forced one of our best decisions to leverage the vast IT reseller network in South Africa formulating is the base of our business model. How did you manage to partner with an overseas company in ESET to What attitude and qualities did you

Can you give us an insight into what

become ESET South Africa? Can you

need in order to make your business a

the industry was like when you

describe this journey to us?

success in a challenging industry?

started out?

Something that I think still makes

In 2003, internet connectivity was still

any company successful, is the “all in”

expensive and poor with few ISP’s in

attitude. Still today, when recruiting

the market, Apple was not a big thing

we make sure that each individual, no

yet, we still had 3 floors at “Computer

matter what their specialty is, would

Faire” IT industry exhibitions in

be “all in” to help in any area of the

Johannesburg with a floor dedicated

We are exclusive distributors of the

Carey graduated from the University of Cape Town, with an Honours BCom degree in Information Systems.

ESET products and represent the ESET brand in our regions, but we have never merged companies as such. In the beginning, ESET themselves were growing and took a long time to provide the amazing global structures and resources that they offer to us today. Initially we created all our own marketing collateral, PR focus and sales direction only getting the product from HQ. Together we have grown into more professional companies, helping

business if really needed. This produces

to security, the fast-growing SaaS

an environment where loyalty to each

and MSP models were only in their

other, the team, clients and the brand

infancy. Surprisingly, working in a very

resonates. As the first employee, I’ve

male dominated industry allowed for

worked in all departments which

a refreshing and welcomed change

really helped me build the company

when introduced as a female CEO.

business relationship, backed by a

needed to help keep people happy

What were some of the major

and 3rd in South Africa for Endpoint

and grow the revenue. “I’ve been there,

challenges in starting an IT security

done that”, comes to mind. Keeping

company in South Africa all those

an open mind and open door while

years ago?

with a true understanding of what is

each other with direct and honest feedback. Both coming from humble beginnings, we’ve grown with the true grounding to develop an unbreakable product that is ranked 5th globally protection. How are you planning to grow across the African continent?

building a culture where every team member loves to be at work and with

The IT industry was dominated by

their “work family”. Having strong

big corporate and government

We started with 18 countries in Sub-

ethics and being fair ensures that any

organisations with well entrenched

Saharan Africa and built the countries

decision we make is the right one.

products like MacAfee and Symantec

outside of South Africa with a small

Most importantly, staying human.

and the ICT System Integrators

sub-distribution network. We took the

People buy from people, so providing

providing them. This forced us to focus

decision to help focus efforts there by

our clients with the local and honest

on the SME segment which set the

setting up a separate structure to look


company with a low-risk and perfect

after all other countries besides SA

sweet spot that is the global and local

and Namibia. We now have offices in

dominant market for ESET products.

Mauritius and Nairobi with the focus on East Africa and strong distributor ties in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


IT News Africa Magazine |

Further to that, Convergence Partners

nuclear meltdown. Experts have stated

joined the business in 2017, bringing

that they believe this to be only a large-

with them invaluable experience and

scale test of the malware and could

connections, not only in the African

most likely be used in upcoming years.

market, but large enterprise. How is ESET planning on combating the threat posed by IoT devices? IoT has been a consideration of ESET for many years and therefore various technologies have been covered by native products but specific coverage will be provided in the form of our new Smart TV Security Solution for android

With proper security software in place at your perimeters and internally such as ESET gateway security you can scan all upcoming threats at the moment they enter your network stopping them from reaching any of your critical systems that are in place. If you could go back in time is there anything you would change and what

based TV’s that provides a similar form

advice could you give to aspiring

of protection to our mobile device

entrepreneurs within the IT industry?

security which is already widely used providing malware, virus, hacking and

Make sure that you don’t have your

phishing protection for this device.

eggs in one basket. Focus on a

When I look at IOT there are so many

target market that has immediate

different devices on the market with so many different operating systems that it can be a bit of a nightmare to lock them all down. This is why it is so important to make sure that the network that you are connecting to is secure. With our solutions, you are provided with the ability to scan your home router for any flaws and remediate them and also to see if anyone is connected to your network and possibly sniffing and stealing your information. What is often not considered, is the coverage needed for industrial security. In 2017 ESET research labs uncovered Industroyer, which highlighted the more important need for security on major systems like national transport and industrial machines. The biggest problem is that a lot of the machinery and technology used in industry was designed decades ago and security wasn’t at the forefront of design leaving systems exposed to today’s malicious attacks. Industroyer exposed industry at its weakest point and with this malware hackers were able to take control of a nuclear facility in the Ukraine and were able to adjust centrifuges which could have led to a


potential, a quick sales cycle and a good distribution network around you to leverage. Stay human and remember that relationships and faceto-face time with people is extremely important. The culture you create in your team resonates to your clients, so work hard on it and ensure you always have a happy team that feel valued.

By Dean Workman


IT News Africa Magazine |




Most powerful Internet of Things companies operating in Africa Africa’s biggest players in IoT have been revealed.

The Internet of Things is disrupting the way organisations conduct business worldwide. In a few years, the world will see a massive growth in connected things from our devices to our homes and cars. Businesses worldwide are seeking ways to harness the Internet of Things, as IoT promises to deliver benefits while making the lives of many much easier. It is said that the term Internet of Things will become more described as the Internet of Everything as emphasis shifts from products and gadgets to fastmoving networks that are smart and invisibly integrated into our surroundings. Based on a list by Computer World UK, we compiled a list of the most powerful Internet of Things companies operating in Africa.


IT News Africa Magazine |

1 General Electric .

3 Microsoft .


interoperable reference model that connects devices with one another and delivers that data to the cloud. Intel’s IoT products can be found in buildings, smart cities and connected cars. In Africa, Intel has offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos. Intel harnesses the capabilities of the cloud, the ubiquity of internet of things and the latest advances in memory and programmable solutions.

American manufacturing company General Electric (GE) created a parallel organisation called General Electric Digital in 2015 to focus on predictive maintenance and other aspects of IoT. GE first started operating in Africa over 100 years ago. In Sub-Saharan Africa, GE has over 2600 employees, revenues of about $3.3 billion dollars (2015) and operations in 33 countries. GE’s main operations in SSA are in Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya where its SSA Headquarters is located. GE Africa is dedicated to innovation in infrastructure, healthcare, energy and transportation. GE Digital’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, Predix, is a software platform that integrates machinegenerated data with traditional and cloud databases.

2 Oracle .

According to this technology giant, Internet of Things should be applied to everyday business activities. Microsoft offers IoT through a variety of products

5 IBM .

including customised Windows Embedded operating systems meant to collect and analyse data, as well as via products in its Azure cloud, such as Intelligent Systems - an offering that offloads heavy data analysis to the cloud. The company has been operating in Africa for 22 years. Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobilefirst, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. In May 2016, Microsoft acquired Italian IoT start up, Solair to ‘help customers harness the power of the Internet of Things. Solair promotes IoT projects across the manufacturing, retail, food and beverage, and transportation

IBM has a variety of products in this area including a messaging platform for machine to machine (M2M) data named MessageSight; along with MobileFirst, which gives objects mobile capabilities; and BlueMix, a development platform for apps that can manage IoT data collection and analysis. IBM also has the ‘cognitive computing’ of its AI platform, Watson - and now offers an IoT platform that makes use of Watson’s capabilities.


IBM Africa strives to lead in


manufacture of the industry’s most



the creation, development and advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics.

Oracle offers storage space for all the data created by the Internet of Things movement. The company has a suite of services, including a platform for enabling Java in embedded sensor

Intel offers IoT solutions such as the

devices (a middleware platform for

highly energy efficient QuarkSoC

creating applications to capture data)

X1000 for low capacity workloads, to

and databases to store it all. Oracle

Xeons, for heavy-duty processing. The

aims to provide real-time IoT solutions.

Intel IoT Platform is a scalable and


IT News Africa Magazine |



8 Cisco

10 SAP

In February 2017, HPE bought Niara, a

Cisco provides IoT infrastructure across

SAP’s in-memory S/4HANA enterprise

behavioural analytics company that it

a wide range of industries, including

resource planning (ERP) software suite

hopes will complement the ClearPass

connected factories, utilities and smart

allows customers to gain real-time

network security portfolio it picked

grid, oil and gas, aviation, mass transit,

insights from the data collected from

up from the Aruba buy. In 2015 HPE

maritime, rail and roadways.

connected sensors. The platform also

acquired networking vendor Aruba

The company also offers field network

allows third parties to develop IoT

Networks for $3 billion in an attempt to

infrastructure for the monitoring

applications via open APIs. In addition,

tap into the Internet of Things market.

and control of energy distribution,

SAP launched Leonardo in January

The company now offers IoT bundles

management and application

2017 as a standalone IoT platform,

through the Universal IoT Platform.

enablement, embedded networks, and

offering its customers a service which

HPE operates in African countries

IoT-enabled cybersecurity products.

tracks data from connected sensors to



gain insights quickly.

namely South Africa, Nigeria and Angola to name a few.

9 Dell .

7 Google .

IoT is now a core business piece to Dell, once traditionally known for Google made waves in the IoT market

its affordable PCs in the consumer

when it bought Nest for $3.2 billion.

space and its servers in the enterprise

Nest sells thermostats and fire

sector. Dell announced a specialised

detectors that are “smart,” meaning

IoT division in October 2017, with the

they learn energy usage patterns and

intention of offering customers a full

interact with their owners. Google also

stack of hardware, software, security

provides capabilities for businesses

and consulting to get their IoT projects

to manage data via its Google Cloud

up and running.

Platform service. In Africa, Google has offices in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.



By Fundisiwe Maseko

IT News Africa Magazine |




Best Countries for business in Africa The African continent is a field of ripe business opportunities just waiting to be picked. www.itnewsafrica.com

IT News Africa Magazine |

The African continent is buzzing with potential rich in natural resources, a hardworking population, and huge gaps and opportunities for anyone who wants to succeed in business. Yes, there are challenges, but there is also enormous potential for growth in almost any sector. Based on Forbes’ Best Countries for Business list, IT News Africa Magazine has compiled Africa’s top countries for business. The list was compiled by rating 139 nations on 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. Drawing from the Forbes list, this list highlights the 15 Best Countries for Business in Africa:

1 Mauritius .

is the 2nd best country for business in Africa.

3 Morocco .

This Island off the coast of East Africa is ranked 39th in the overall list. Trans-

Africa’s most Northern country

formed from a low-income agricul-

Morocco, 51st on the overall list, has

ture-based economy into a diversified

taken advantage of it proximity to

upper middle-income economy with

Europe and their reasonably low labour

growing financial, industrial and tour-

costs to build a diverse, open-market

ism sectors, sound economic policies and prudent banking practices backs up Mauritius’s ranking. Highly ranked in Trade Freedom, 4th, and Property Rights, 34th, Mauritius is the best country for business in Africa.

2 South africa .

economy. Despite Morocco’s economic progress, the country suffers from high unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, particularly in rural areas. With their rankings of 17th in Market Performance and 21st in Monetary Freedom, Morocco is Africa’s 3rd best country for business.

4 Namibia .

At the Southern tip of Africa, South Africa is ranked 48th in the overall list. South Africa is a middleincome emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world. Unemployment, poverty and inequalities in South Africa are among the highest in the world, but with their ratings in Investor Protection, 22nd, and Property Rights, 30th, South Africa



This Southern African country is ranked 63rd on the overall list. Namibia is the world’s 5th largest producer of Uranium and has an economy that is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of natural mineral resources for export. Namibia is ranked 5th in Market Performance and 55th in Trade Freedom. This sees them ranked 4th in this list.

IT News Africa Magazine |

5 Botswana

7 Rwanda

This Southern African country, ranked

East African country Rwanda is placed


68th overall, fuelled by diamond mining has maintained one of the world’s highest economic growth rates since 1996. A downturn in the global diamond market as well as water and power shortages have seen Botswana growth slow slightly, but with rankings such as 28th in Corruption and 44th in Property Rights, Botswana is Africa’s 5th best country for business.

6 Cape Verde


78th in the overall list. It is a rural country where 90% of its population is involved in sustenance agriculture and minerals. Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange are tourism, minerals, coffee and tea. With rankings such as 33rd in Property Rights and 47th in Innovation, Rwanda is the 7th best country for business in Africa.


9 Zambia .

Southern African country Zambia, ranked 86th overall, has had one of the fastest growing economies over the last 10 years. Despite Zambia’s lack of diversification and overreliance on copper trading, their rankings of 51st in Tax Burden and 66th in Innovation, sees them place in at 9th in this list.

10 Tunisia .

8 Senegal .


Ranked 87th overall, North African country Tunisia has long been hailed as an African success story owing to its

An Island off the Northwest coast of Africa, Cape Verde is number 70 in the overall list. The economy is serviceoriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services. Although the country suffers with a poor natural resource base, they are ranked 1st for Personal Freedom and 14th in Monetary freedom, which sees them

Senegal is a West African country that

diversified market-oriented economy.

is placed 81st in the overall list. The

With rankings such as Market Perfor-

economy of this country is driven by

mance, 39th, and Personal Freedom,

mining, construction, tourism, fisheries

42nd, Tunisia is ranked the 10th best

and agriculture. Although the country

country for business in Africa.

has a heavy reliance on direct foreign

11 Lesotho

investment, donor assistance and remittances, their rankings in Personal


Freedom, 42nd, and Innovation, 50th, sees Senegal ranked as the 8th best country for business in Africa.

placed as Africa’s 6th best country for business.

Completely landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho is ranked 88th in the overall list. Although Lesotho has a heavy


IT News Africa Magazine |

reliance on South Africa, their ratings of 47th in Trade Freedom and 59th in Corruption sees them placed 11th in

14 Egypt .

this list.

12 Ghana .

Northeast African country Egypt, 103rd in the overall list, has been characterised by an uncertain political, policy and security landscape since Ghana is a West African country which

2011. Egypt performs favourably in the

is ranked 90th in the overall list. Ghana

ranks of Red tape, 34th, and Market

has a market-based economy with

performance, 2nd, which sees them sit

relativity few policy barriers to trade

in 14th spot on this list.

and investment. Ghana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and with ratings of 36th in Personal Freedom and 53rd in Property Rights,

15 Kenya .

Ghana is the 12th best country for business in Africa.

13 Liberia .

Kenya is the economic and transport hub of East Africa, seeing them placed 105th overall. Although poor infrastructure continues to hamper Kenya’s potential for economic growth, the country ranks highly in Innovation, 36th, and Investor Protection, 80th. West African coastal country Liberia is ranked 96th on the overall list. Liberia is a low-income nation that relies heavily on foreign assistance. It is blessed with the climate for agriculture and is rich in mineral resources. With rankings, 33rd in Red Tape and a Tax Burden rating of 66th, Liberia is 13th on this list.


This places them 15th on this list.

By Dean Workman


IT News Africa Magazine |


Don’t know what to do with all that IoT data?

IoT users need to do so much more than just capture documents and information; they need to absorb information of all sorts into business processes and then standardise and automate.

As more and more devices become connected, the sources of information and the pace at which data is generated increases drastically. The Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging as the next technology mega-trend and the third wave in the development of the Internet. With it, we’re seeing explosive growth in the volume and variety of data and content. Yet, successful digitalisation depends on the free flow and proper management of this data

of this data only becomes valuable if we can extract insights from it. For example, by analysing real-world data measurements from a sensor, organisations can understand how a device is used in the field. This understanding can help the organisation improve its operations, reduce defects, detect problems before they occur, and ultimately integrate this feedback to design and manufacture better products for customers . But all of this can only be done if the data is routed

and information.

to the right person, timeously. Take for instance, the

As more and more devices become connected, the

scenario where a connected device sends an alert

sources of information and the pace at which data is

that it needs a service or else it might fail. How and to

generated increases drastically. However, having all

whom does the device report this? Is the technician


IT News Africa Magazine |

available to do the service at that time? Who notifies

By bringing previously unmanageable data under a

the spare parts warehouse?

single system that is easy to access by all those who

Enterprise content management (ECM) centralises

need to, it enables a better strategic overview of all

important business content in one secure location,

processes, making the organisation nimble enough to

and then delivers the relevant information to users

adapt to the pace of client demand.

when they need it, wherever they are. Deploying an ECM solution as an organisation’s enterprise

IoT users need to do so much more than just capture

information hub automatically orchestrates key

documents and information; they need to absorb

business processes, synchronising information

information of all sorts into business processes and

managed by the system in real-time with tasks and

then standardise and automate. They then need to

activities initiated by other mission-critical line-of-

extract insight from this exploding volume of data

business systems.

and prepare for the era of machine processing and

Users are able to access related documents and data

Enterprise content management (ECM) centralises important business content in one secure location, and then delivers the relevant information to users when they need it, wherever they are. in the context of a particular business process or set of tasks, which greatly simplifies workflow. The combination of accurate, current information and the ability to work within the context of a specific business process, boosts productivity while creating a more natural and less disruptive path to effective decision making. With all content in one centralised place, and all activity happening in a coordinated manner, an ECM solution also enables an organisation to gain insights into the performance of its processes and systems. For example, a manufacturer can look at the weaknesses in its current processes and use an ECM system to solve the problems that are creating bottlenecks and slowing the flow of information and goods. It may be that design teams are wasting time looking for information, or that specific components are not reaching the relevant part of the production line fast enough after changes are made. Perhaps prototypes are not working as well as they should, or feedback on them is lacking. ECM systems can be targeted at the source of inefficiencies and allow solutions to be found by taking charge of the flow of information.


artificial intelligence. Finally, they need to develop policies and automatic processes to dispose of information without business value or when required by law. The digitalisation of devices means more information can be harnessed, and ECM enables it to be used strategically.

By Monique Williams, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager


IT News Africa Magazine |


How IoT and cloud computing can transform mobile app development Different mobile phones and operating systems call for the power of IOT and cloud computing when developing apps. MEAPs, HTML5 in developing apps to make this solution work. What is cloud computing? Cloud computing is internet-based technology where a network of remote servers hosted on the internet provides for the storage, processing and management of data. On this platform, you can provide and share information, files, and data via a variety of online resources. Thereafter, you can access this information, files, and data from anywhere in the world. This provides platforms to store and share data in reliable, easy to access, and secure ways. Mobile phones differ in screen size,

type of such device is released. This is

operating systems, and attributes.

a problem most top app development

To develop mobile apps that can run

companies can solve with ease via

on multiple mobile devices is not an

cloud computing.

easy task. Developers will need cross-

There are solutions to these problems

platforms with capabilities that can

in mobile app development and

help them create such apps. This will

mobile computing. For instance, apps

make more apps available to users

and their data can be stored on servers

with more work put into doing so by

via mobile cloud rather than on mobile

developers. Imagine what happens

phones. Thus, users can access apps

Cloud computing is a significant

when developers implement apps for a

and their data with ease through

technology that enables/enhances

type of mobile phone. They would have

mobile cloud using their mobile

mobile app development. It helps app

to create new apps each time a new

phones. Developers can use tools like

developers to create and provide better


Mobile cloud computing offers these solutions to make things easy for both app developers and users. This is an enhanced cloud infrastructure that provides an effective mobile ecosystem for apps and thus, the possibility for app data processing and storage to happen outside the user’s device with results shown on the device screen.

IT News Africa Magazine |

3) Hybrid app development

user experience by utilizing mobile

is the ability to create apps that can

clouds and tools to simplify the

run on multiple devices. Here are a

process, which in turn helps eliminate

few solutions developers can use to

Hybrid mobile app development

the difficulties associated with

overcome this problem.

reduces the amount of effort put

developing apps for multiple devices; a tool like HTML5 equips developers


into app development. Here, app 1) Develop mobile apps using HTML5

with the ability to provide nonstop

developers can take advantage of certain physical attributes of mobile

service levels. Furthermore, across the

App developers can overcome this

phones. This is a unique method,

globe, mobile app developers now find

problem by creating mobile cloud apps

it combines native capabilities of

value in the use of cloud computing to

using HTML5. This will help developers

phones with architectural capability

improve mobile app deployment.

to develop apps for multiple devices

for HTML5. Hybrid mobile app

App developers utilize cloud

with ease. HTML5 permits developers

development is a mobile cloud-based

technology as it offers a reduction in

to determine what the end device

native downloadable application.

the cost of developing custom apps.

using the apps is. This IOT tool can help

This application can run most of its

query in real-time and can determine

user’s interface in a mobile embedded

that data is sent to a mobile device

browser, an approach which saves

within a defined scope.

developers from writing application

This is possible owing to reduced testing during the creation and development process. As stated earlier, the added benefit which cloud computing provides in that it eliminates the burden of managing app servers, remains an attraction to most top app development companies. The truth is, most of these

codes for each mobile operating 2) Develop mobile app using MEAPs

companies now develop apps using Although mobile apps run on mobile

Cloud computing is a significant technology that enables/enhances mobile app development.

companies are now dependent on cloud computing for app development - and rightly so! Cloud computing offers scalability. The serverless nature of cloud technologies allows scaling up, or down where necessary. These are solutions that can help integrate data analytics and other sophisticated technologies; they are all components of the internet of things and together, cloud computing and the internet of things will eliminate key problems in app development. What is the Internet of Things? The Internet of things is the interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday devices. This enables them to send and receive data and information and is useful for mobile app development. Internet of things creates a network of devices for exchange of data and information. How to use mobile cloud and internet of things to simplify mobile app development A major problem in app development


system. Most top app development hybrid mobile app development. Advantages of designing apps with cloud computing and IOT Cloud computing and IoT do more than ensuring app development for multiple devices happen with ease. Other advantages of designing apps

cloud, there is need to support them to run on multiple devices. This support is necessary because these apps will run on multiple devices with different attributes. Moreso, these devices are from different mobile phone manufacturers. Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs) will make providing support for cloud-based apps easy. Most top app development companies now use MEAPs for app development.

that can run on mobile clouds include

• mobile devices can access powerful

back-end mobile apps provided there is enough security

• more apps can provide for a large number of users across the globe

• more organisational mobile apps can be provided for organisation users

• mobile devices can be included in a cloud-centralised security scheme

• the provision of broad and wideranging opportunities for checking

A MEAP is an IOT tool. It is a set of

the security of mobile devices as it is

wide-ranging products and services

possible to run many security apps on

for enabling app development with

mobile clouds.

platforms that do specific things for

Cloud computing and IOT in app

mobile devices. They help data from

development are enabling the

the cloud to fit on the screen of mobile


devices and helps to convert data into better user-friendly interface. MEAPS has a full authentication mechanism that connects to mobile devices. This is useful for mobile phone users because in cases where a device is lost, memories are erased with ease.

• the ability to deploy apps in many regions of the world

• geo-location • social media networking • many OS platform development By Harnil Oza is a CEO of Hyperlink Infosystem

IT News Africa Magazine |

IoT shaping new facilities management paradigms


IoT set to radically change the landscape of facilities management With the adoption of the Internet of

to the Green Star rating system and these

Things (IoT) and connected technologies,

buildings are recognised for their resource

the landscape of facilities management

efficiency, which are rated in minute detail

will change radically within three years,

using sustainability indicators on every aspect

as the number of connected devices

of the development, from light and water

globally rises from 10 billion in 2015 to an

fixtures, to paint and carpeting. In 2018, the

estimated 34 billion in 2020.

GBCSA expects the proportion of green

Driven by broadband internet, decreasing

South African building project activity.

technology costs, ubiquitous smartphone penetration and more devices created with built-in sensors and Wi-Fi capabilities, the implications on Building

buildings to climb from 2017’s 41% to 61% of all

This global move towards uncovering valuable insights from building data and making adjustments to improve efficiency

management are significant.

has shifted attention away from equipment

Vast datasets, generated by connected

integrators and support teams. While the

building devices, provide new opportunities for building owners and facility managers to derive insights from data and improve building performance. According to a January 2017 research report from Morar Consulting in the US, 63% of facility managers show interest in implementing new digital technologies, such as intelligent analytics to improve maintenance decisions and operations, and 89% indicate they expect to achieve a return on their IoT investments within three years. Building efficiency paramount In line with the US and the EU, South Africa is also supporting building efficiency and focuses on workplace efficiency by creating comfortable and productive workspaces, while also reducing energy consumption. The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) certifies buildings according


manufacturers and into the hands of system building management system (BMS) still serves as the backbone of any smart building, these systems have become commoditised over the years. The real value of these systems lies in their ability to connect to other devices within the building environment and reveal opportunities to improve efficiency and performance. Facilities management changing rapidly The South African Facilities Management Association defines facilities management, as “An enabler of sustainable enterprise performance through the whole life management of productive workplaces and effective business support services.” Today, the efficient running of a company’s internal services and its premises is of paramount importance, in terms of both the enormous efficiencies and cost savings that can be gained. However, the shift towards IoT-enabled buildings is fundamentally changing the role of today’s facilities professionals and creating

Driven by broadband internet, decreasing technology costs, ubiquitous smartphone penetration and more devices created with built-in sensors and Wi-Fi capabilities, the implications on Building management are significant.

IT News Africa Magazine |


continues to advance at a rapid pace,

a deep knowledge of mechanical

opportunities for facilities to reach

new questions are being raised. How

systems. To be successful, the next

new levels of efficiency, future growth

can it be integrated into building

generation of facility professionals

will hinge on specialised knowledge

systems effectively and strategically?

must find a way to merge their new

and education. These insights and

How do we interface it with the many

world knowledge of the IoT with the

resources will ultimately help system

other devices that are in our buildings

mechanic knowledge that drove the

integrators grow their business and

and homes?

building management industry for

provide facility professionals with


more control over the complete

Connected technologies that need

Industry experts add knowledge

building environment as they create

to be integrated into a modern BMS

The key to success in today’s building

and manage the smart buildings of

were not being applied five years ago

management landscape for both


and did not exist a decade in the past.

experienced and newer facility

In buildings of the past, the facility manager was the person who handled the mechanics and daily functions of the systems in the buildings they managed.

concerned with not only the building they have ownership of but also with the plethora of smart, connected devices that interact

understanding of the components critical to achieving comprehensive energy management within homes

Sean Wilson: Schneider Electric’s Channel Sales Manager for EcoXpert

and facilities – including lighting &

Today’s facility managers are systems

professionals is gaining a deep

room controls, power distribution, data communication, HVAC control and energy monitoring.

This global move towards uncovering valuable insights from building data and making adjustments to improve efficiency has shifted attention away from equipment manufacturers and into the hands of system integrators and support teams.

with their facilities on a daily basis. As a result, facility managers must learn new skill sets

To achieve in-depth knowledge to

such as data analysis and broaden

optimise building control, operational

their technology knowledge base in

efficiency and energy management,

order to successfully manage and

facility professionals should seek out

make the most of today’s building technologies. They must also work with the right systems integrators who know how to install and manage the most optimised and comprehensive intelligent energy solutions. While technology has greatly impacted the role of today’s facility professionals, we are also seeing a demographic shift as older workers retire and leave the workforce and are replaced by the next generation of facility managers. These younger facility professionals are technologically savvy when it comes to network connectivity and information technology. However, they often lack


industry experts who can offer support in the following key areas: •

Specialised training on the

most critical challenges facing building owners and facility managers and the solutions that can solve them •

An open network of fellow

facility professionals and system integrators that promotes idea sharing and best practices implementation •

Access to industry-leading

technology solutions that will drive the future of intelligent buildings In a world where technology is constantly evolving and creating

IT News Africa Magazine |



PRASANNA KUMAR BURRI Group Head Chief Information Officer at Dangote Industries Limited


IT infrastructure and applications

Chief Information Officer at Dangote

are securely and optimally deployed

Industries Limited, one of the

across the business landscape and

largest African conglomerates with

kept attuned to leading practices and

a footprint across a range of sectors


on the continent. Presently, the company’s interests include cement

Previously, Prasanna was the Director

manufacturing, salt, sugar, flour, pasta,

for Product Management for SAP’s

beverages and real estate, with recent

cloud integration services as well

projects in oil and gas and fertilizer

as a principal for SAP’s business

production amongst others.

transformation services in the Americas.

Prasanna is responsible for Dangote

“I started my career as a Client

Group’s IT organisation and he is the

Operation Engineer. My interest in

Chief Executive Officer of DANCOM

Information Technology was sparked

Technologies Limited, an IT Shared

by applications and the ability to

Services subsidiary. In an interview with

make things happen at a scale which

IT News Africa Magazine, Prasanna

involves making the lives of people

gives insight into some of his tasks at

easier,” said Prasanna.

Dangote, the latest technology trends

“One of the first exposures that I had

as well as what inspires him about the

was a mainframe type of system,

President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote. In his capacity as CEO of DANCOM Technologies Ltd, Prasanna is, among other tasks, responsible for IT operations at production plants, sales offices, depots and other business locations spanning across over 12 African countries. Components of this mandate include ensuring that


which had banking and auto-booking systems. I got introduced to SAP and was amazed at the power of integration; how it can tie different types of businesses together and the fact that what used to take a couple of days can now happen in just hours. I then chose SAP as an entry point into the IT application space and that is where I spent a good fifteen-plus years of my career,” he said.

My interest in Information Technology was sparked by applications and the ability to make things happen at a scale which involves making the lives of people easier,”

IT News Africa Magazine |


Prasanna says as the Group Head, his

users with infrastructure; my day does

of Things (IoT) type of solution – which

job involves ensuring that application

not end in the office as I could get

is still work in progress”.

infrastructure systems work efficiently

home around 23:30 pm.

“In our rice business, we are working

and sustainably, and that business

with Microsoft to see how we can

processes are optimised by working

Prasanna describes working for Africa’s

innovate in the agriculture sector to

with business transformation

richest man [the President and Chief

enable farmers to achieve scale by

strategies and project management

Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote] as

officers. “I try to make sure that

inspiring. He said, “My boss is the

using the Cloud.” “Another initiative

people have the right analytical tools

richest African and he believes in Pan-

required to do their job efficiently. I

African growth and transformation.

also make sure that we are connecting

It is very encouraging for us to take

our customers and employees in a

part in that; we want to be part of

digital marketplace where business

that contribution. Playing a part is

transactions can proceed smoothly”

fulfilment, making a living and at

said Prasanna.

the same time, enriching the lives of

Further explaining his role, Prasanna

people that are in the region.”

said, “In terms of innovation, I

According to the CIO, as a continent,

am responsible for incorporating

Africa needs to be more efficient, more

and introducing new tools and

transparent and have more visibility.

technologies such as the Cloud,

He says these are the things that

Internet of Things and Artificial

empower people and organisations

Intelligence. These are some of the

to do more. “There is business

areas that we are trying to innovate

opportunity in Africa. People’s lives

and bring in the added value while

can be improved; parliament can be

making sure that we become market

better. A lot of innovation adoption is

leaders. We use these areas to support

in the private sector, but we would also

business on behalf of IT and ensure

like to see this unfold in government

that we have a robust platform that we

especially the education sector,” said

can operate upon.”


we are working on closely with Microsoft is using technologies such as Blockchain to automate and secure our transactions with various banks,” continued Prasanna. Speaking about trends the company is looking at for the future, Prasanna said, “We want to deploy biometric ID systems that allow free movement of our staff; and we’re working on deploying fleet management solutions that will minimise the logistics overhead. We are trying to do more on fleet management. The company is also looking at hyper-converged IT infrastructure that reduces recovery times significantly.” Prasanna joined Dangote four years ago. His specialities include digital transformation, business

“In our rice business, we are working with Microsoft to see how we can innovate in the agriculture sector to enable farmers to achieve scale by using the Cloud.” With numerous responsibilities as the

Speaking about some of the

Group Head, Prasanna’s work never

technologies that the company

really ends; he says a typical day can

implements, he said “We have

start at around 6:00 am. “I have a daily

developed some complimentary tools

operations meeting with my team in

in-house [and] our in-house solutions

the morning where we review issues

enable efficient operations within

that may cause interruptions. I then

the organisation. We have a solution

move on to our regular team meeting

that allows managers to track sales

where we meet with key stakeholders

movement [and] staff movement and

and other management. Another thing

we are also working with organisations

we do [the IT team] sometimes is assist

like General Electric to pilot an Internet


transformation, IT strategy, IT Program Management, SAP implementations to name a few. He is based at the Dangote head office in Lagos, Nigeria.

By Fundisiwe Maseko

IT News Africa Magazine |


no better

time to join the African digital race Hendri Lategan, CEO of Swipe Interactive unpacks how mobile apps are changing the face of business on the African continent. IT News Africa Magazine recently

1) With the rapid growth of mobile

models, apps are scalable and the

spoke to Hendri Lategan, CEO of Swipe

usage in Africa, how important is it

embodiment of the one-to-many

Interactive, in an interview which

for companies to have a mobile app?

models. Instagram still only employs a

looks to unpack how mobile apps are

team of 13 people. And finally, an app

changing the face of business on the

Mobile isn’t the future in Africa; it is the

gives you unprecedented access to

African continent.

here and now. In two of the continent’s

anybody with a phone in their pocket

Swipe Interactive is a specialist digital

biggest economies, Nigeria and South

no matter where they are. People

solutions agency that delivers custom

Africa, mobile makes up about 80%

can engage with your app while

built digital products for startups and

of web traffic – far above the world

summiting a mountain peak, surfing in

SMBs to large corporates across the

average of 50%, according to the 2017

Bali or lying out under the stars.

globe. The company started in 2014

Global Digital Overview. It is business

and since then has amassed a client

critical that companies have mobile as

3) In Africa, will businesses who fail to

roster of some of the biggest names in

their primary digital channel to their

leverage this technology fall behind?

tech and media.

African customers. But that doesn’t

WeChat, DStv, Discovery Networks UK,

necessarily mean having an app. In

It has already begun to happen.

to name a few.

fact, building a mobile optimised web

Uber has unsettled the metered taxi

Lategan was appointed CEO of

presence should be your first port of

industry in several countries around

Swipe back in August 2016, before

call. Only when you are able to find a

the world – not just in Africa. Airbnb

then he was the founder and CEO

way to add an additional dimension

has done the same to hotels. Mobile

of Barbarossa Media and worked in

to your business through the power of

technologies have been a critical part

various senior positions looking to help

an app should you consider going this

of this. And it was all fairly predictable.

companies on their digital journey.


But technology hubs in Kenya and

The biggest trend is to develop for mobile first. Like I said, mobile is how the vast majority of Africans access the internet.

Cape Town have shown that Africa has the drive and raw talent to deliver impactful digital solutions that are problems only they can solve. With technology, everything is always in a state of flux. If you haven’t gotten into

We spoke to Lategan about how

the digital race yet, there is no better

important it is for businesses to have

2) What are some of the benefits for

a mobile app/platform, what the

businesses to have a mobile app?

benefits are, how companies who don’t

time to start than now. 4) What are some of the biggest

leverage this tech will fall behind, the

An app can be a powerful way to

biggest trends in the industry, and how

manage customer engagement

businesses can choose the perfect app.

with the business and drive revenue

The biggest trend is to develop for

through creating powerful tools and

mobile first. Like I said, mobile is how

experiences that add true value to

the vast majority of Africans access the

their lives. Unlike traditional business

internet. There was a time when


trends in the industry?

IT News Africa Magazine |


the right vision and approach to create mobile traffic was relegated to mobi

solution to these challenges will be

mobile products and platforms that

sites, which have limited functionality.

equally unique. Don’t blindly copy

But smartphones and tablets

have global impact. It doesn’t have to

something just because it’s worked for

are becoming cheaper, and their

be a startup. Even big, long-established

somebody else. Think about what you

penetration continues to grow rapidly.

businesses have the potential to be

can do differently and do it better than

So mobile apps and mobile-responsive

anybody else.

industry disruptors, if they are curious

sites are probably the way most companies should go when developing digital

and forward-thinking enough to

We are living in exciting times. There is so much potential for anyone with the right vision and approach to create mobile products and platforms that have global impact.

products. 5) How do businesses choose the

6) How would you describe the

perfect app for them?

current climate of the mobile apps industry?

By understanding what their users need and how they can best provide

We are living in exciting times. There

value to them – whether your users

is so much potential for anyone with

are your employees, your customers or even your investors. Every business has a unique set of challenges. The


partner with technologists that have the skills and expertise to develop nextgen digital solutions.

By Dean Workman

ITNews Africa Magazine |


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CONGRESS 2018 Redefining the future organisation through Digital



26 July 2018

Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa


2018 WHY ATTEND: Join us at Digital Transformation Congress 2018 as business leaders and technology innovators come together to collaborate on the re-invention of products, processes, technologies and cultures through digital transformation. We’ll explore how to increase efficiency and agility with operational excellence, while creating customer-obsessed experiences that grow revenue and re-invigorate your business.


For more info:

Tel: +27 11 026 0982 Email: events@itnewsafrica.com

Register today at


IT News Africa Magazine |

luMOs set tO lIGHt uP ThE AFRICAN CONTINENT Nir Marom Co-founder of lumos,


IT News Africa Magazine |


Here’s how an off-grid solar energy solution could impact the African continent IT News Africa Magazine recently

company is looking to overcome power

such as kerosene. The best part is that

spoke to Nir Marom the co-founder

issues on the African continent, how

it’s all very simple and very reliable

of Lumos, a disruptive off-grid solar

the at-home electricity device works,

– customers pay a small startup fee,

energy provider focused on emerging

the company’s partnership with MTN,

markets, in an interview which looked

expansion plans for 2018, and how

take home one of our solar devices,

to unpack how an off-grid solar energy

Lumos’s solutions will fit into the IoT

solution could impact the African


continent. Lumos offers affordable solar systems

What was the inspiration behind

to the 1.3 billion people worldwide who


are not connected to the grid, using

and then pay for the electricity on an as-needed basis via their cell phone. Buying a solar system like ours is prohibitively expensive for almost the entire off-grid population, but by letting them pay as they use the device, we make it suddenly affordable.

an innovative, pay-as-you-go system

Before starting Lumos, I worked on

in partnership with mobile service

large, grid-based solar projects. While

providers. In December 2016, Lumos

doing this, I discovered that hundreds

announced a historic deal in the form

of millions of people around the world

to power multiple devices at the same

of a $90 million investment, the largest

are living off-grid, with many spending

time, day or night.

in the history of the industry. Lumos

more than fifty times the cost on

has also partnered with MTN, one of

electricity than what could be done

How would you describe Lumos’s

Africa’s largest mobile providers, and

with solar. I thought that was crazy – I

impact in Africa and the impact it will

influential development organisations

knew that we could give them reliable,

including Department for International

safe energy for cheaper.

have going forward?

Development (DFID) and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Lumos officially launched nationwide

The company has today sold over

in Nigeria in February 2017. We set

65,000 systems, providing affordable,

out as two entrepreneurs with an

clean, reliable power to over 200,000

idea – today we are almost 100 people

people, and recently announced

at corporate and over 600 people in

expansion into the Ivory Coast.


Before founding Lumos, Nir founded two successful companies in the energy space

The energy is not only safer, cleaner, and more reliable, but it can be used

We are the market leader in Nigeria, and already provide power to 350,000 people. The impact is phenomenal – people who previously had no access to clean, reliable energy can now power lights, fans, laptops, TVs, cell phones and other small electronic devices, and all for the same cost spent today on kerosene. Which industries are your services

Before founding Lumos, Nir founded two successful companies in the

How is Lumos looking to overcome

energy space - Greenlet Technologies

the power issues on the African

(a high-tech startup which develops

continent and how does the at-home

and sells utility scale energy demand

solar electricity device work and aid in

management hardware and software)

the solution?

and SunIsrael (a solar energy producer – which develops, finances, builds,

Lumos provides a cheaper and more

operates and owns large scale solar

effective way of bringing electricity


to people living off-grid who have

In the interview, Nir spoke about the

previously been forced to rely on

inspiration behind Lumos, how the

expensive and unsafe alternatives,


having a significant impact on? What we’ve found to be amazing is that Lumos is impacting so many areas of life – by helping local entrepreneurs to run their small businesses, enabling children to read and learn after dark, and even power health clinics. People joined Lumos for diverse reasons and it’s great that we’re able to help so many communities.

IT News Africa Magazine |


Do you see solar power as the future

working with MTN in Nigeria is that our

How important is your partnership

in Africa, as we head into the Fourth

with MTN?

Industrial Revolution which will see

systems are sold in MTN stores, making

connected devices place pressure on

it easy for people to access the product

an already strained power grid?

throughout the entire country.

revolution and solar energy. Since MTN

Absolutely – it’s the most abundant

is Nigeria’s largest mobile provider, our

yet underused power source in Africa.

By Dean Workman

partnership means we have access

It’s cheaper, decentralised and more

to their massive sales and billing

accessible for the masses of people

infrastructure system. We couldn’t

who aren’t on the grid. Even for those

achieve what we have without MTN;

who are on the grid, that traditional

they are an integral part of our success.

electricity supply is often unreliable

Together, with MTN, we connect the dots between the mobile payment

and too expensive, so we fully expect Are there plans to expand Lumos

the uptake of solar power to increase

across Africa in 2018?

dramatically across the continent. For example, in 2017 Lumos more than

At the end of last year, we expanded

doubled device sales from 2016, with

into Cote d’Ivoire where we expect

total deployments reaching more than

swift growth comparable to that which

73,000 systems in Nigeria at the end

we’ve experienced in Nigeria. Our

of the year. There was also a doubling

ultimate ambition, though, is to serve

in mobile payment transactions – with

the hundreds of millions of people

1.2 million transactions, compared to

across the continent who live off-grid

514,850 in 2016. In addition, the systems

with no access to reliable energy; so

are now available in over 300 stores

the sky really is the limit in terms of our

across Nigeria – up from 86 in 2016.


These figures are reflective of the huge demand for power across Nigeria and a

Do you think your solution could aid

snapshot of what we’ll see in the years

in the deployment of IoT (Internet of


Things) products and services and

It’s a truly disruptive force and it’s

how can it do this?

exciting to be paving the way for the solar revolution in Africa.

Lumos itself is a connected IoT device.

Before founding Lumos, Nir founded two successful companies in the energy space We remotely control the systems and

Are your solutions affordable enough

turn them on only when a customer

to have a significant impact in rural

has paid. We also collect data from

areas in Africa on a large scale?

each and every system about how much energy is being generated and

Lumos is designed to be entirely


affordable, with only a small

What we are building is a network of

commitment fee for customers to

connected devices which generate

sign up for our service. After that,

electricity. We intend to use this as a

the electricity is purchased via a

platform in the future for more and

customer’s cell phone on a pay-as-

more connected devices in homes and

you-go basis, so a customer is only

small businesses.

ever buying what they need, as they need it. And the great advantage of


IT News Africa Magazine |


Building IOT ecosystem for innovative business solutions Sensors and Actuators


concepts exist before bearing many

These are the front face of the IoT

Sensors for collecting data and

different names but only recently the

ecosystem. Sensors collects inputs

actuators for taking required actions

full potential is beginning to emerge

and actuators performs the actionable

are not new. It has been widely used

clearly. Proliferation of data collecting

outputs. Sensors act as a nerve system,

in industrial automation in many

options, improvement in processing

collecting data about temperature,

decades. Industrial automation means

power, miniaturization, and maturity

moisture level, light intensity, gas

only a handful of companies and a

of standards all contributed to the

presence, distance, humidity, motion,

very limited highly standardize and

massive expectation from IoT. And

smoke, proximity etc. Based on the

costly devices. Realizing these facts,

we are, the NybSys, a believer of

input data, the controller performs

we worked on innovating a cost

technology innovation. We are doing

the desired actions like sound an

research and development for IOT

effective solution for connecting all

alarm, open a gate, turn on the

and other advanced technology in

sensors/things to a gateway. The IG100

sprinklers, turn on/off the lights, alert

Africa for a very long time. We started

gateway connects multiple different

the security, and many more. Pulse

working on IoT as telemetry system

types of sensors, actuators, relays,

Width Modulation (PWM) is used to

back in 2006 and machine to machine

pwm, and analytics systems. Nokia

control the flow of voltage to regulate

was connecting people but our IoT

IoT is surrounded by a lot of hope, confusion, and dreams. Similar

(M2M) in 2009. Now we are in the forefront of the technology innovation in connected things and we are ready to bring a real solutions to you out of the all the noises in the industry. The IoT Ecosystem The differentiating factor of IoT is that it is not an isolated technology, rather a complete ecosystem. This is the reason IoT took it’s time to become mainstream and it is still evolving. However from our point of view, the full potential IoT can be reaped when the following elements come together:

or control a device. Relays are used as switch to turn things on or off; open or close a door. The possible combinations are almost unlimited. All our IoT gateway products currently supports more than 110 sensors in 36 categories. These sensors are capable of measuring almost all types of environment variables and can give you an accurate reading of almost anything you want to measure. With this type of information, we are in a unique position to determine what to do with actuators or output to smart living. Some example use cases section are available in our website wwwnybsys.com .


Gateways we connect “things�. We have different gateways to connect different things. We have basic gateways (iG 100 and iG 200) for home and small business, and large, high capacity gateway/ aggregators (iG 500 and IG1000) for enterprise, industrial and government. Cost effective IG 100 product connects 4 analogue and 12 digital sensors with 4 PWM output and 4 relay output. It provides on board CANBUS and MODBUS protocol support with Ethernet and Wi-Fi capability. The system is loaded with onchip MQTT server which you can stream data to

IT News Africa Magazine |


Machine Learning

the cloud such as AWS or you can host

thousands of sensors, you need a

your own IoT event processing and

powerful machine to control such a

decision support system. CAN Bus port

large infrastructure.

The final component of our IoT

enables the device to interface directly

IG 1000 is the high performance

ecosystem is Artificial Intelligence,

with any vehicle and can transmit

computing at the edge with 4

machine learning and deep learning

sensor information by using 3G/ LTE

processing module - either all four can

stack. Human intelligence is still


be GPU or FPGA. Zynq UltraScale+

irreplaceable but we can use machines

IG 200 offers on board FPGA and

devices provide 64-bit processor

to do repetitive works. Once we teach a

multicore CPU for up to 256 sensors.

scalability while combining real-time

machine to learn and take actions they

It can aggregate sensors signals and

control with soft and hard engines

can be better companion to human

stream to processing server at gigabit

for graphics, video, waveform, and

to make complex decisions based

speed. It supports all features of IG100

packet processing. You have power

on facts. We have constant demand

in addition to that FPGA can provide

of providing real time video analytics

upto 16 bit analogue data processing

or running machine learning at the


edge. We support NVidia GPU in the

IoT gateways will be the first

same box. Our IG1000 is the ultimate

phenomena of the IOT revolution.

box for stream analytics, complex

It is very similar to the concept of

event processing and machine

“Interchangeable Parts� that made

learning. With builtin 4 port 10 Gbps

the industrial revolution. Currently

Ethernet connection and a 3 port 100

you need to use separate methods

gbps infiniband connection provides

and channels for connecting different

ultimate power to handle large volume

types of sensors which can be analog

of data processing.

or digital. Without a proper Gateway, it

from law enforcement agencies to predict where the likelihood of incident can happen. Factories are asking for predictive maintenance. Medical Imaging needs to detect and analyze the likelihood of benign and malignant cells. Cyber security needs predicting of next malware attack. Domestic security agencies are looking for predicting threats from fake bts /IMSI catchers. Our machine learning team is a

is impossible to connect and manage

combined force of hardware and

The differentiating factor of IoT is that it is not an isolated technology, rather a complete ecosystem. This is the reason IoT took it’s time to become mainstream and it is still evolving

drive to teach a machine what it needs

software engineers working in exciting to know for making decisions to make our life safer, smarter and easier. To build a better world, our drive for machine learning will combine human intelligence with machine intelligence to offer in integrated system.

all different sensors and get benefits of


connected world. Our gateways are the link to connecting the unconnected

Data is useless unless it is analyzed and

and enable you to realize your

meaningful insight is extracted from

dreamed digital revolution.

seemingly unrelated chaos. Sensors are collecting a massive amount of


raw data, demands high performance computing power to process at the

For homes and small businesses, the

edge or in the cloud. IG1000 is the

basic gateways are sufficient. However,

ultimate high performance machine

in case of large installations industrial,

at the edge and our partnership with

building /campus automation, smart

AWS provides ultimate data processing

city type of solution needs more

at the cloud. To meet the customer

than a gateway. It requires a gateway

additional demand for machine

aggregator to connect multiple

learning and deep learning to enable

gateways, security cameras, access

reinforcement learning, we have been

control system, and line of business

using Nvidia DGX 1 with power of 960

system to provide a single point for


performing real-time visualization and decision support system. To connect


Conclusion We, at NybSys, believes that IoT will change the way businesses are run and service delivery is done in next couple of years. The opportunity IoT brings will increase efficiency and reduce cost. The important factor is who will take the opportunity. If you keep running your business like the way you do it today, you may find your competitors outrun you by miles. Embracing IoT will not be an option, it will be a necessity. The sooner you embrace the future, the more you will remain ahead of the rest.

By Nybsys

IT News Africa Magazine |



IT News Africa Magazine |


Experience often teaches hard lessons like small steps at a time, avoidance of the big bang approach and learning as you go, but some of the most effective approaches to generating a sustainable innovation culture lies in the following, often overlooked activities. Many organisations kick-off an

culture lies in the following, often

not championing innovation, they risk

innovation programme with innovation

overlooked activities.

becoming one of the greatest barriers

training or brainstorming sessions. Seeing that it is easier to execute, this

to innovation in the organisation. Explaining the what and why

can be a good way to engage the

Get them on board early with clear objectives and tightly aligned goals –

organisation around innovation intent.

Many organisations have not taken

A good programme that delivers fresh

the time to properly and eloquently

ideas utilises the power of collaboration

define what innovation means in

to create repeatable differentiated

their organisations. It is about context,

value in the market, and one can

and creating a common language

The development of an innovation

appreciate that creative brainstorming

that is understood and internalised

strategy is one of the first steps an

alone is not going to deliver that

by all in the organisation. How else

organisation must take on the road to

type of return. Training might equip

will you get people to understand

success. It defines your game plan, sets

innovation teams better for the task

why it is necessary to participate in

the rules (will we focus on incremental

at hand, but done in isolation, it will

an innovation programme? Defining

or radical innovation? what is the

not build a sustainable culture of

what innovation means for your

investment budget and who is


organisation is not only a necessary

responsible for tracking outcomes?) It

The TT100 awards recognises that

first step, it is imperative if you want

must outline the organisation’s overall

the management of people includes

to create strategic alignment and lay

strategic business goals, and show how

the human technology interface.

the foundation for ultimate innovation

innovation can be applied to achieve

It embraces both the employee


it. A well-defined innovation strategy

and the end user. It is about the processes that organisations deploy

which highlights the next point: Have a game plan

will focus activities, manage outcomes, Leadership buy-in

in the development of their human

fund opportunities, track success and impact culture.

capital, and how they retain and

Without visible leadership support

re-skill existing employees, how they

and clear communication on the

incentivise their people and how

imperative of innovation for the

they plan for succession to ensure

organisation, any effort to transform

Innovation needs a home. What do

organisational longevity.

the culture will be dead in the water.

people do with their ideas?

Culture is both about people

Leadership needs to stand up and

The organisation needs an effective,

management and technological

be counted; they need to fly the flag

transparent process to support

enablement. Building innovation DNA

high. What type of behaviour is the

innovation so that ideas can get from

is painstakingly hard work. It focuses

organisation supporting, punishing

people’s heads to implemented value.

on output and reinforcement of

or rewarding? Leadership needs to

What type of ideas are you looking

behaviours. Experience often teaches

lead innovation, and this applies to all

for? How will you filter and decide on

hard lessons like small steps at a time,

managerial levels. Success very often

the best ones? How often will you run

avoidance of the big bang approach

depends on middle management –

innovation challenges and campaigns?

and learning as you go, but some

who has the responsibility to ensure

How will these align with your strategic

of the most effective approaches to

implementation of the corporate

objectives? Employees need to know

generating a sustainable innovation

strategy. If middle management is

the answers to these questions and


Provide structure and guidance

IT News Africa Magazine |

have the information required to

Connect and Co-create

help them to participate and engage effectively. Communicate and engage

about whether you should invest in building an innovation capability as an

as a top secret internal activity is

organisation, it is about how you are

long gone. Isolated innovation effort

You need to communicate about the

depth that comes from stakeholder

what, why, where, when and how of

engagement and an integration of

innovation constantly. If the message

different points of view. Although

is not clear and compelling, staff will

many organisations start with internal

not engage and your programme will

innovation campaigns to learn the

drown in a flood of more imminent

ropes, it is important to consider

pressures. This makes innovation

integrating an outside perspective

reward part of the discussion.

into the creation of your innovation

Rewarding people for innovation effort

pipeline. External stakeholders that

is a very important activity. Reward

include customers, suppliers, academia

needs to be well thought through

or other experts in industry can add

and need to encourage the type of

tremendous value to your own effort

behaviour you want people to display.

and help you find an edge far beyond what you would have been able to do on your own. Organisations wining at innovation have embraced formal and

There will always be nay-sayers,

informal mechanisms of stakeholder

non-believers or stubborn opposers

engagement and collaboration, to the

of the new in an organisation. It is

benefit of the organisation.

important to recognise who these

It is a truly extraordinary time for

people are and to find ways to get

innovation. Changing business

them to work with you. Not everyone

landscapes, disruptive and

will be an avid innovation champion or

unconventional market forces and

diligent contributor to the innovation

the reality of a true global village

programme, but a diverse talent pool

presents both opportunity and threat.

increases the quality of contributions

It will be those organisations that

and the chances of finding something

flex their innovation muscle and

truly impactful. Write up case studies,

strengthen collaborative networks

If middle management is not championing innovation, they risk becoming one of the greatest barriers to innovation in the organisation.

showcase successes and demonstrate results. It will help you spread the word, while showcasing the outcome of your efforts. There is nothing as convincing as realworld results to help you build the business case for innovation.


that will lead the future. It is no longer

The days of innovation being seen

often misses the mark or lacks the

Celebrate and demonstrate


going to win at it. For more information on the TT100 Business Awards, please contact Da Vinci by emailing storm@davinci. ac.za. To talk innovation please contact Innocentrix by emailing henra@ innocentrix.co.za or by visiting www. innocentrix.co.za.

Contributed by: Henra Mayer – CEO Innocentrix

IT News Africa Magazine |



MANAGING tHe AMBIdextROus ORGANIsAtION ANd BAlANCING tHe deMANds OF tHe BusINess OF tOdAy wItH tHe BusINess OF tOMORROw Is A skIll. The world is changing quicker than

just as undetectable.

Getting innovation right requires a

you can say Flash Gordon! We talk

CEO’s have undeniably turned to

demystification of the concept and a

about Moore’s Law, the role of the

innovation in order to address the

seriousness about getting to market,

Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial

organisational changes necessary to

and none of this will happen without

Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Digitisation,

grow in the future, yet they also feel

doing the groundwork first. Innovation

Disruptive Business Modelling and

their organisations are really bad at it.

capability in essence includes a

then throw into the mix other specifics

The reason we bother with innovation

like FinTech, the potential of the

in the first place is to change the status

consideration of the following enablers:

Blockchain and the sharing economy,

quo, yet innovation programmes fail

to name but a few. It’s a jungle out

more often than they succeed.

there. Managing the ambidextrous organisation and balancing the

Why innovation programmes fail

demands of the business of today with the business of tomorrow is a skill.

The process of getting ideas to

The process of getting ideas to market will differ from organisation to organisation, but most challenges in this regard are universal.

• Leadership and management – to ensure intent, focus and strategic enablement

• Organisational structuring – where the organisation puts in place the required processes and structures to support innovation

• Culture building – a focus on people and building of cultural DNA to make it happen in a sustainable manner

• Implementation and measurement – getting ideas implemented and tracking returns

• Effective collaboration – effectively Strategic thinking needs to be elevated

market will differ from organisation

supporting collaboration efforts

to the next level, aligned and resourced

to organisation, but most challenges

at various stages of the innovation

to focus on driving innovation results.

in this regard are universal. Think

lifecycle, both internal and external to

This is a leadership responsibility

lack of resources, insufficient budget,

the organisation

and in order to benefit fully from the

inappropriate strategic attention or

When any of the above activities gets

evolving central role of innovation,

not enough time to get to innovation

left behind, innovation is stunted and

management must become more

as well.

responsible for innovation output, and

Many organisations talk about

returns are left to chance. But there

put in place tactical strategies to give

innovation with authority, but when it

it legs. If strategic intent for innovation

comes to considering a well-defined

is not visible, it will go nowhere, and

approach that enables innovation as

innovation results will continue to be

a strategic lever, talk is often cheap.


is more that can be done to increase innovation’s survival rate over the long run.

IT News Africa Magazine |

The process of getting ideas to market will differ from organisation to organisation, but most challenges in this regard are universal.

the whole is greater than the sum of

keep their fingers on the pulse of

its parts. Innovation happens at the

progress and diligently lead their

periphery, thinking in isolation will not

organisations towards the pinnacle of

yield the same results. Although the world of business constantly talks about innovation and disruption, the challenge with doing this successfully is often not linked to a shortage of ideas. It is about getting the good ideas to market, and doing so

Process and Technology


Tools can help you get to

Looking back to look forward

implementation faster Technology and the power it

It is important for organisations to

represents opens a new world of

look back at the past, in order to

potential all around. It is often difficult

learn from mistakes and capitalise on

to navigate this ever-changing

learnings. In order to remain relevant

landscape but it is necessary to do so

and stay ahead of the curve it is also

with an open mind. Today’s leaders

essential to understand what needs

have a myriad of options

to be done today in order to prepare

Decision-making must consider

for tomorrow. No one has a crystal

fit-for-purpose tools in support of

ball to predict what will happen next,

strategic objectives, the streamlining

but future foresight is essential for

of processes and ever-changing

organisations in the fight for relevance.

requirements that require flexibility.

Many companies, having become

The focus is on enablement by means

dominant in their industries, lost their

of strengthening organisational

competitive edge and their desire and

technological capability and driving

belief in the need to innovate. Think

results. Technology enables efficient

Blockbusters and Blackberry, beloved

processes and for innovation to

giants of industry that fell quickly and

flourish, a finely tuned, transparent


innovation process is necessary.

Innovation success will require a focus

Consider idea flow, internal as well as

on doing the right things, but will also

external participation, engagement,

ask the organisation to consciously

gamification, teams and the issue of

learn and assess. What are your core

effective collaboration.

capabilities? Do they still serve you? What else do you need to learn?


It is important to understand the competitive forces in your environment

The competitive advantage is effective

and the trends in terms of new and

teams that bring projects to market.

emerging business models required

Ideas are just that. Innovation success

to deal with it. Despite the time

will depend on your ability to harness

and energy required for the day-

the power of people to bring those

to-day operations of the business,

ideas to market in a feasible way.

organisations must develop the

Organisations good at innovation

commitment and discipline to look

know that it must come from various

to the future to recognize trends and

sources; that it depends on diverse

ensure that they continually react and

teams, internal as well as external to


the organisation. They understand

True leaders have the ability to inspire

that this will lead to an outcome where

people to great achievement. They



innovation excellence.

Contributed by: Henra Mayer – CEO Innocentrix

IT News Africa Magazine |




IT News Africa Magazine |

From designing products for the South African

a host of products to meet international quality

Defence Force which later grew to the creation of

standards as well as tailor these products to our

the Autowatch brand, PFK Electronics has grown to

partners’ needs. The benefits of partnering with

become one of the largest suppliers to all the major

PFK as a distributor throughout the world include

automotive OEM producers operating in South

PFK partners leveraging PFK’s brand name – which

Africa - and international ones - racking up numerous

is synonymous with quality excellence – as a proud

awards over the years. The company was established

offering to their customers. PFK products are

in 1985 and has offices in Johannesburg, Durban,

requested by name and the ability of our partners to

Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, the UK, Canada, the USA

sell our products (which can also be white-labelled)

and Portugal.

provides them with a strategic and advantageous edge over their competitors.

PFK Electronics received numerous awards at the Da Vinci TT100 Business Innovation Awards in 2017.

What solutions does PFK Electronics offer?

The company was also awarded the Department of Science & Technology Ministers Award for Overall

PFK utilises its experience and expertise to provide

Excellence – Large Enterprise. It specialises in

specialised solutions covering custom OEM, vehicle

innovative automotive solutions for manufacturers,

security systems, video telematics, alcohol ignition

the aftermarket, major fleet and freight companies,

Breathalok devices, as well as build-to-print contract

and the public transport sector.

manufacturing services. These solutions can be PFKbranded or white-labelled and distributed around the

IT News Africa Magazine spoke to Marco Valente, PFK

globe by PFK’s Partner Network. PFK products are

Electronics’ Chief Executive Officer, to discuss the

sold within the transport and fleet industry, public

company’s footprint around the world, some of the

transport sector, automotive aftermarket and other

solutions the company offers and what the future


holds for the manufacturing specialist. How has receiving the Department of Science and Technology Minister Award for Overall Excellence

At the cornerstone of PFK are the values of innovation, commitment, ownership and accountability as well as empowerment.

impacted the organisation? PFK has and continues to work closely with local and national agencies, government departments and a host of educational forums/ institutions to lead innovation and

When was PFK Electronics established and how has

technology in our country. At the cornerstone of PFK

it grown since then?

are the values of innovation, commitment, ownership and accountability as well as empowerment. Being

PFK was established in 1985 and has made a name for

recognised by the Da Vinci Institute and receiving

itself as a leading player in both the local and global

the Ministers Award for Overall Excellence was a very

markets. In 2012, PFK expanded its capabilities into

proud moment for the organisation. PFK has been

control instruments and OEM solutions by acquiring

awarded 15 different awards by the Da Vinci Institute

Pi-Shurlok and moved its production facilities into

and their TT100 initiative since 2007 and receiving

Pietermaritzburg as a result. This state-of-the-art

the Ministers Award for Overall Excellence in 2017

production facility afforded the rebranded PFK

shows an incredible vote of confidence in PFK. As

Shurlok the ability to custom build unique solutions

the company innovates its products and solutions,

in high volumes, to a variety of specifications from

it continues to manage and maintain an incredibly

around the world.

high standard of quality, systems and products which our partners are proud to be associated with.

As a manufacturing specialist, PFK can customise



IT News Africa Magazine |

Africa-specific products will be available in the near future and distributed through our partner network into the continent.

How does getting recognition from initiatives such as the Da Vinci TT100 awards influence organisations such as yours? At the core of PFK are partnerships such as the one with the Da Vinci Institute, which has spanned many years. The Da Vinci Institute is an organisation whose commitment to technology and innovation PFK supports. By receiving these TT100 awards, PFK has shown its ability to remain relevant and forward thinking amidst a variety of companies who aspire to challenge the status quo. Having had a presence in many countries across the globe, is the company looking to expand into the rest of Africa?

specific products will be available

With over 30 years of designing

in the near future and distributed

expertise and nearly 50 years of

through our partner network into the

manufacturing experience, PFK


builds and enhances our partners’ footprint in the industry. Our quality

What do you think sets you apart

products allow PFK partners to focus

from your competitors?

on their customers whilst we focus on their technology. PFK solutions

PFK was started by two engineers

can be white-labelled and thus PFK

who love technology and created an

partners can leverage our quality

organisation with an ethos of hard

and technology for their growth and

work, but also fun and innovation.

customer benefit.

Over the years, PFK has retained this and delights in the unique ways our engineers show their love for technology and what they bring to the company’s value of innovation. When PFK acquired Pi-Shurlok, our love for technology and innovation was strengthened by a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,

Over the years, PFK has retained this and delights in the unique ways our engineers show their love for technology and what they bring to the company’s value of innovation.

and working with our teams across the country, PFK has managed to maintain its unparalleled level of excellence. PFK products are designed and manufactured by people who aspire and live our values, allowing PFK to bring

With PFK’s ability to customise and

to fruition the products of tomorrow.

tailor-make advanced technology,

Furthermore, our manufacturing

plans are in place to structure

facility allows PFK to produce these

and specialise a line of products

products to the highest International

to specifically meet the Africa


requirements. PFK’s global footprint has afforded us the opportunity to

Why is it important that organisations

specialise our talent and skills for each

take advantage of the available

market and thus, even though our

technologies offered today by PFK

current products can already be found


throughout Southern Africa, Africa-


What does PFK Electronics hope to achieve in the future? PFK has some very exciting innovative solutions, particularly in the Video Telematics and Contract Manufacturing fields, which we are excited to announce soon.

By Fundisiwe Maseko


IT News Africa Magazine |


Our services range from transformation strategy management, through execution and staffing, to training and development of entire organisations. We are also developers of the revolutionary KEY360 Management Solutions, an Operational & BI Platform which now facilitates over 100 different verticals. How has receiving the Minister’s award for overall excellence at the TT100 awards impacted the

HOw tO suRvIve IN

who shared what the company plans


the company offers clients, as well


Key360 is impacting businesses.


What is the inspiration behind the


how has it grown since then?

Consulting firm, SSG Consulting has been in operation since the end of 2007. The South African based company received the Minister’s Award for Overall Excellence at the TT100 awards in 2017, which took place at the Johannesburg Country Club in South Africa. SSG Consulting assists clients with Key360 which is a Business Intelligence software platform provider for Project Management and Business Process functions. The platform serves large-scale implementations in Infrastructure, Mining, Energy, Water and Petrochemical verticals, to smaller projects ranging from commercial


to do in the future, what solutions as how their Business and Project

Project and Engineering Management


Management software solutions,

establishment of SSG Consulting and

SSG Consulting was inspired by a passion for executing Capital Projects at an exceptional level of excellence. As an organisation, we have an insatiable appetite for learning, creation, innovation and ideation of new concepts and paradigms. Our culture of sharing knowledge and commercialisation of technology further energises our mission. This appetite only continues to grow. What solutions does SSG Consulting offer? SSG Consulting offers a comprehensive range of solutions in the Capital Project Management and Asset Development industries. These include Mining,

The award mainly serves as a validation of the ceaseless efforts of our exceptional staff in delivering transformational Tech Solutions to our growing client base. Clients also value the award as an endorsement of their trust in SSG Consulting. How does getting recognition from initiatives such as the Da Vinci TT100 awards influence organisations such as yours? The recognition inspires our staff to greater heights, as well as facilitating a first level benchmark in terms of what other companies are doing. Is the company operating in other countries and if not, is it looking to expand into the rest of the continent? Our offices are currently based in Pretoria, South Africa, but we execute work through Africa, India and Australia. We have a subsidiary in Australia and have established a

ventures, BPR and other IT projects.

Infrastructure, Petrochem, Rail,

company in Botswana. Our Channel

The Key360 app which is, according

Ports, Energy, to name but a few. Our

Partner network is also increasing into

to the company, “changing the way

compelling solutions are allowing us

Africa including countries like the DRC,

clients do business,” is available on

to move into other verticals including

Mauritania, Ethiopia and Kenya where

Google Play store and App Store.

IT, Education, Health, Wellness and

we have discussions underway. We

IT News Africa Magazine spoke to

Financial Services, Performance

plan to expand to an extensive global

Steven Golding, CEO, SSG Consulting,

Management etc.

footprint during the next 2 years.


IT News Africa Magazine |

What do you think sets you apart

will break the current tech industry

from your competitors?

paradigm of supplying different platforms for work, social, community

There are so many areas we focus

and personal requirements, by

on specifically in SSG consulting to

providing totally immersive platforms

differentiate. To name only a few, we would list our unique and specific culture, based on Christian principles, our ceaseless and fearless tech innovation, our client focus on delivery and relationships and our ability to execute on required outputs. Why is it important that businesses take advantage of technologies available today such as KEY360? Business should not buy technology solutions just for the sake of digitalisation. Companies should invest in totally immersive solutions that aggressively address both operational as well as human capital delivery

The South African based company received the Minister’s Award for Overall Excellence at the TT100 awards in 2017 challenges in a radical fashion. This is to ensure survival in a global economic environment that is changing so quickly, and to remain relevant to a client base that is rethinking expectations on a constant basis. Clients and markets have the ability to adjust requirements instantly, whereas changing your offering is not as simple. Companies therefore have to embark on relevant changes as early adopters, as opposed to waiting for the maturity of any said industry. In this age, this equates to being behind the market. What does SSG Consulting hope to achieve in the future? SSG Consulting and KEY360 Solutions


combining all these requirements. We are also aggressively combining this with advances in Blockchain initiatives to create a new way of doing business and interacting with people.

By Fundisiwe Maseko



What did you want to be when you were young? For over generations we’ve been supporting the ambitions and aspirations of the people in the engineering industry, to help them achieve their goals. As our industry and technology rapidly evolves you’ll find that we’ll be on hand to support future generations. RS has been helping customers for over 80 years achieve their goals through our extensive range of industrial, maintenance and electronics products delivered through our world-class distribution network. We’re here

500 000 products | 2500 global brands | Fast Delivery

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), the global distributor for engineers was founded as Radiospares, in 1937. The company started as a supplier of parts to the burgeoning radio market, and has evolved to become a global distribution enterprise, with operations in Europe, North America, Asia and now Africa offering a diverse portfolio of more than 500,000 industrial, maintenance and electronic components across 2500 global brands. RS is globally renowned as one of the first industrial distributors to successfully transition into an e-commerce business within the B2B space and continues to win awards for innovation and supplier development. RS South Africa opened its doors in 1996, the flagship operation in Africa, celebrating 22 years of distributing products and components to engineers around the continent. Brian Andrew, Managing Director of RS South Africa commented: “How things have changed. In 2009 we took the decision to print our last paper catalogue. It was a big risk to take in a market where e-commerce was just taking off and where the industry was still quite traditional with engineers requesting our 3000 page catalogue to physically search for their favourite parts. We started off with just 5% of sales coming through the website in 2009 and this has steadily grown to 65% of all sales coming through the website. That 3000 page catalogue is now available on our website with over 500 000 products for our customers to choose from, and a further 5000 new products get added on a monthly basis. The shift has been phenomenal with unbelievable efficiencies gained through the use of technology.” RS Components recently launched its Africa website www.rs-online. africa geared to meet the requirements of a growing continent with demand from various industries such as manufacturing, mining, automotive, utilities, electronics, and industrial IOT. “Customers in Africa did have access to our products prior to the website, however there were long lead times and higher freight costs depending on location. With the new website customers receive their products much quicker and we can give more markets in Africa access to our range through our e-commerce platform. There is also an improved customer experience with our French and Portuguese speaking sales agents, that are better equipped to assist with customer queries. So much is happening in Africa - we want our engineers, makers and maintenance professionals to have access to the widest range of products and the latest technologies to achieve their goals and to develop the products and solutions of the future. The rest of the world has access to these goods, now so do we,” Brian Andrew, MD of RS South Africa.

DesignSpark.com is the brainchild of RS Components which supports electrical, mechanical and electronic design engineers around the world. It’s an online community for engineers that share the latest product and technology trends and ‘how to’ information on engineering challenges. The site also offers free software downloads for PCB, Electrical and Mechanical design projects making it easier to bring an engineer’s designs to life.

Inspiring the Engineers of the Future Globally there is a shortage of STEM skills which means that we are developing less engineers and scientific minded youth to tackle current and future challenges. At RS we are passionate about the next generation of engineers and technicians and have partnered with innovators in education that promote STEM learning through the use of technology. Two such companies are RaspberryPi.org and PiTop. RaspberryPi.org - are the manufacturers of the ‘Raspberry Pi’, a credit-card-size computer board that can run the same basic functions as a PC but costs a fraction of the price. The device has been used in numerous applications from setting up computer labs to DIY home automation, from atmospheric monitoring to robot cars. The concept was to create an affordable computer at $35, with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science and coding in schools - over 15 million units sold worldwide.

PiTop – is a computer powered by the Raspberry Pi. Essentially users get to build their very own laptop without the need for a soldering iron. Learn about programming, computing and hardware creation all at once. Start to experiment with electronics, create printed circuit boards and produce 3D projects through step-by-step online tutorials and lesson plans. Both companies provide free software upgrades and tutorials for users. There are also resources available for teachers to use in the classroom.

South Africa: za.rs-online.com Email: sales.za@rs-components.com Africa: rs-online.africa Email: africa@rs-components.com Tel: 011 691 9300

IT News Africa Magazine |


Country Focus:

Liberia: A country bursting with ICT potential


olitical Climate

resources do not end up in the pockets

technologies) or replacement are not

of government officials,” said the

in place in Liberia and therefore allow

On the 22nd of January 2018 after

former international footballer during

for extensive investment opportunities

a long and contentious campaign,

his inauguration.

in the provision of devices, networks,

George Weah was sworn in as the new

It remains to be seen whether the

protocols, etc., employed in the

President of Liberia replacing Ellen

Weah-led administration will change

information technology and telecoms

Johnson Sirleaf in what was Liberia’s

the fortunes of Liberia, but the

first transition between democratically-

industry. This makes Liberia an ideal

country is undoubtedly filled with

elected leaders since 1944.

destination for investment in such

optimism about the new president’s

Weah’s predecessor, Sirleaf, made



history as Africa’s first elected female president. She played a pivotal role in

ICT Infrastructure

the country’s history as she led it out of a 14-year civil war which was noted

Following the 14 year-long civil war,

for a record level of barbaric carnage

Liberia had a lot of catching up to

and characterized by heinous crimes

do in the early 2000’s. According to

perpetrated by drugaddicted child soldiers and myriad rebel groups, stripping the country of any semblance of infrastructure. 15 years on and Liberians

Telecommunications Notwithstanding war and the near-complete destruction of its infrastructure, Liberia has become a prime example

Notwithstanding war and the nearcomplete destruction of its infrastructure, Liberia has become a prime example of an almost entirely wireless telecommunications market.

were beginning to demand

of an almost entirely wireless telecommunications market. In Liberia there are four mobile operators who compete for customers – LoneStar

more from the government

(majority owned by MTN), Comium

than simply keeping the peace. The

statistics from Internet World Stats

Sirleaf-led administration which has

(country), Liberia – which now has a

been accused of failing to combat

population of 4,730,437 (2017) – had a

widespread poverty and tackle

mere 500 internet users in December

corruption recently lost at the country’s

2000. That has now grown to 395,063

general elections to George Weah, a

showing an increase of 78,912.6%.

the mobile operators. The high cost

51 year-old former football star and

Internet penetration is put at 8.4 %

and limited bandwidth of connections

member of parliament.

with 330,000 users on Facebook.

means that internet access is

Weah has promised to tackle the

While these statistics are far from

expensive and data rates are very

corruption endemic in the country.

outstanding, it does show steady

low. Although additional bandwidth

“It is my belief that the most effective

growth and there is optimism around

is available from an international

way to directly impact the poor, and to

the country’s ICT infrastructure space,

submarine cable, considerable

narrow the gap between the rich and

as legacy systems which may have

investment is still needed in domestic

the poor is to make sure that public

required upgrade, adaptation (to new

fixed-line infrastructure


(Novafone), Cellcom and LiberCell. According to a report by ReportBuyer, Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs as well as

IT News Africa Magazine |

George weah President of Liberia


IT News Africa Magazine |


before end-users can make full use of

on hubs, incubators and competitions

network infrastructure for institutions

the cable.

which look to provide people with

of learning such as universities,

In the mobile sector, competition has

innovative and problem-solving

polytechnics, colleges, primary and

led to relatively low call prices despite

ideas, access to funds, training and

the lack of basic infrastructure in


secondary schools which they believe

the country. The harmonisation of a

In Liberia, the main driver behind this is

disorderly licensing and spectrum

the Business Startup Center Monrovia

allocation regime has caused some

(BSC Monrovia) which was established

difficulties, and market penetration

in 2009 as a collaboration between

remains low compared to other

the Association of Liberian Universities

countries in the region.

(ALU) and SPARK. The BSC Monrovia

The market is ineffectively monitored

organises activities and services to

by the telecom regulator, The Liberia Telecommunications Authority, which lacks the resources, technical expertise and documentation to enforce its orders. As a result, a number of operators are able to avoid paying

will aid in growing the ICT culture in the country. Liberia’s Startup ecosystem and its tech industry in general are limited by a lack of infrastructure and will be one of the focus areas for the new president, George Weah. His challenge

Liberia’s Startup ecosystem and its tech industry in general are limited by a lack of infrastructure and will be one of the focus areas for the new president, George Weah.

dues to the government, and operate despite the regulator’s rulings that they must cease operating in the

support job creation and poverty


alleviation in Liberia. Some of the

Some of the key developments in

activities organised by the organisation

Liberia over the recent past, according

include: Business Plan Competition,

to ReportBuyer, include the Global

Employability Training, Business Skills

Voice Group (GVG) delivering

Training, Business Development

International Gateway Management

Services, Matchmaking with investors,

System; Google stepping in to improve

Coaching, Mentoring, and Business

internet availability in Liberia; Orange


Group re-branding Cellcom Liberia

In 2014, BSC Monrovia expanded

as Orange Liberia and the expanded

by opening a further four centres

reach of its LTE network outside

across Liberia. The BSC Monrovia


has partnered with a number of

The underfunded telecoms regulator

foreign governments such as the

will now receive a portion of operator

United Kingdom and Germany, on

revenue under new payment regime.

several projects which look to foster

Government and the regulator has


also imposed SIM card registration in

Another organisation looking to help

a bid to reduce crime, while Libtelco

in this space is Technology for Liberia

launched the first phase of its fibre

(TFL), a non-profit organisation that

network in tie-up to the ACE (Africa

focuses on providing students with

Coast to Europe) cable system.

tools and educational resources that give them access to current

Startup Ecosystem

technology and empower them to use and contribute to technology in

As with many African countries, the

Liberia and the world. The aim of TFL

Liberian Startup ecosystem is reliant

is to build a foundation of computer


will be to foster the right partnerships and programmes that will aid in the development of the ICT sector in order to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

By Dean Workman

Embrace disruption During this time of disruptive change, let Deloitte show you how Robotics and IOT can transform your business by guiding you through your digital transformation journey. To explore more on our digital capabilities, visit www.deloitte.com/za/consulting or contact Deloitte Consulting Chief Digital & Innovation Officer, Arun Babu on arbabu@deloitte.co.za


ITNews Africa Magazine |


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