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Arthur C Clarke remembered

Science fiction writer and visionary Sir Arthur C. Clarke died on 19 March 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the age of 90. He was born on 16 December 1917 in Minehead, Somerset in the United Kingdom and moved to Sri Lanka; then called Ceylon, in 1956.

The international telecommunication community will remember Sir Arthur for making popular the concept of using the geostationary orbit for communications. In October 1945, Clarke published in the British magazine Wireless World a technical paper entitled “Extra-terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” The paper established the feasibility of artificial satellites as relay stations for Earth-based communications. Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C Clarke in 1984 at work on the film sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Photograph: Rex Features/MGM

Clarke predicted that one day communications around the world would be possible via a network of three geostationary satellites spaced at equal intervals around the Earth’s equator.



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Posted in the category: News

Study reveals multinational's broad economic footprint

Every one person employed by multinational giant Unilever is responsible for the support of a further 22 individuals, according to a critical study of the company’s economic footprint in South Africa. The findings are expected to create the impetus for other multinationals and large businesses to re-look how they create and share wealth.

The “Footprint” study, a critical research project carried out by Professor Ethan Kapstein of INSEAD, a leading European business school, has found that every person employed by Unilever South Africa supported another 22 up and down the supply chain. This impact on jobs is regarded as significant in South Africa, with its extremely high unemployment.Gail Klintworth and Ethan Kapstein

Unilever SA’s Gail Klintworth with Professor Ethan Kapstein

The study also found that, for every R100 of sales by the company, a further R145 of value-added is created in the wider South African economy. The associated economic activity also generated nearly one percent of South Africa’s tax revenue.

The role of multinationals, especially in developing countries, has been the subject of debate for many years. Some governments and campaigning organisations have questioned whether multinationals do more good than harm in emerging markets.



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

Africa on the move

The Africa 2008 telecommunications conference, to be held in Cairo from 12 to 15 May 2008, will welcome leading names in the ICT industry, and more than 5000 visitors. It comes at a time when increased liberalisation of markets is leading to a boom in telecommunications on the continent.

Organized by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU Telecom Africa 2008 is intended to promote the ICT industry both regionally and internationally. Five to six thousand visitors are expected to attend the event and explore the region’s ICT and telecommunication market.

The event promises a concentration of government, regulatory and private sector players, together with leading thinkers to negotiate and debate the industry’s most innovative technologies and its most significant issues.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré“The investment climate in Africa is particularly inviting right now,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “Liberalised markets forge forward and demand continues at a remarkable speed.”

Referring to the successful Connect Africa Summit, Dr Touré added, “We’re certain to see further momentum on the investment commitments generated in the last six months.”

AFRICA 2008 boasts an extensive international Exhibition – a key component of ITU Telecom since its inception in 1971. Leading players from the region as well from major international companies come together with a huge display of ICT products and services at the Cairo International Conference and Exhibition Centre.



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Posted in the category: News, Technology, Trends

The beleaguered brand in 2008

Brand strategists and marketers face major challenges in 2008: from the painful death of traditional advertising and the stratospheric rise of social networking to environmental consciousness and, in South Africa, a divided ANC. Idea Engineers’ Managing Partner, JANICE SPARK, looks at what we can expect on the brand front this year.

Janice SparkGlobally, 2008 will mark a decisive shift into the dynamic world of Web 2.0. For brand strategists and marketers, the painful death of traditional advertising will be accompanied by the stratospheric rise of social networking. Add a global boom in environmental consciousness and you have a complex matrix of competing variables to negotiate. Locally, a divided ANC offers a telling sign of the social challenges that will continue to underpin all commercial activity.

These are some of the key movements South Africans can expect on the brand front in the year ahead:



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Posted in the category: Insight, Strategy, Trends

From Medici to Saatchi: The changing business of art

Ahead of the Joburg Art Fair running from 14 to 16 March in Sandton, independent curator CAROL BROWN looks at the changing face of corporate art collections, what it means for African and South African artists, and the why and how of supporting art.

el Anatsui’s sensational curtainUntil about ten years ago, corporate art collections were hidden behind doors and only shared with employees of the leading banks, law firms and financial institutions. They were mainly purchased for financial investment and to decorate the walls of the offices. Now, walls are disappearing from offices and the art is changing and having to fulfil new roles.

Artworks have become widely publicised assets which are used to brand a company and build internal corporate identity and as part of a wide ranging package of community and social responsibility activities.

There are many reasons for this but one which has recently surfaced is that national art museums are now longer adequately funded. It’s pretty much an international trend and not only applicable to South Africa.

This means that our heritage cannot be preserved by museums and our cultural capital becomes lost as artists seek other occupations or, in South Africa’s case, leave the country to go to places where there is more interest in purchasing contemporary art. So the big corporate collectors now have a great opportunity to fill the role previously played by museums and to become keepers of heritage and patrons of living artists.



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Posted in the category: Insight, Trends

WiMAX delays dampen impact in SA

Limited roll-out of WiMAX has resulted in dampening of its potential impact, according to a new research report from World Wide Worx.

Delays in the award of licenses for providing the new WiMAX high-speed wireless broadband service to businesses and consumers and the limited roll-out of services that have been licensed has resulted in dampening of its potential impact.

WiMAX in SA 2008This is the core conclusion of the first study on the impact of the technology in South Africa, conducted by World Wide Worx. The report, “WiMAX in SA 2008: Year Zero”, released yesterday, shows that only those companies that have already deployed WiMAX have appreciated its impact.

These companies are all using Telkom’s scaled down version of WiMAX, which is provided only where its ADSL fixed line service is not available, and only at ADSL-type speeds. WiMAX can theoretically offer speeds of up to 70Mbps, as opposed to ADSL’s fastest option in South Africa of 4Mbps. Even at far lower speeds, however, the potential offered by WiMAX is not yet on the horizon, since no serious competition exists to spur its roll-out.



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Posted in the category: News, Technology, Trends

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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