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Ericsson on evolution

Telecommunications giant Ericsson will offer live demonstrations of its offerings for the next generation in wireless broadband technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE) , at AfricaCom 2008 in Cape Town next week.

A wide selection of Ericsson’s solutions will be on show at AfricaCom 2008 in Cape Town on 18 and 19 November 2008., including its ‘Full Service Broadband’, Managed Services and Multimedia Solutions, together with live demonstrations of its HSPA, Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Convergent Charging options.

“The LTE demonstration is likely to generate quite a large amount of interest this year, in particular,” observes Aingharan Kanagaratnam, senior manager: Radio Access Sales Support, market unit sub-Saharan Africa, “since it will show what people will be using this technology for and the exciting possibilities that exist when bandwidth is no longer a limitation.”



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New era in global ICT standards

The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly closed in Johannesburg last week with decisions on a wide range of issues that will change the future direction of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry .
The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in climate change stands out among a range of key issues that the global telecommunications industry body has agreed to tackle in the coming years.

Members of the International Telecommunications Union, spanning the global ICT industry and administrations from across the world, asked for increased emphasis on key areas such as ICTs and climate change, the deployment of IPv6, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and interoperability testing, and encouraging academic participation in the ITU’s work.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) said in his closing speech: “We have received a strong message from our members that ITU is, and will remain the world’s pre-eminent global telecommunication and ICT standards body. And we also hear very clearly that ITU should continue on its mission to connect the world, and that bridging the standardization gap – by increasing developing country participation in our work – is an essential prerequisite to achieve this goal.”



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MWEB sale a signal of change

The announcement last week that Naspers has put MWEB up for auction created a stir of surprise, but not shock. Arthur Goldstuck looks at the implications

 

Is the decision by Naspers to sell MWEB a vote of no confidence in the Internet? Hardly. If anything, it declares the opposite: a recognition that the Internet has become so pervasive, its best businesses will be built on what people do on the network, rather than on how people connect to it.

While it may not be a good thing for MWEB, it is probably a necessary thing as MWEB evolves from an ISP into a telecommunications company. MWEB is entering a new era in South African telecommunications and has little choice but to become an infrastructure owner – once the regulatory environment allows it. Naspers is traditionally in the content space, and has avoided owning the plumbing that makes it all work. It will be a painful divorce, but good for the kids.




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Posted in the category: News, Technology, Trends

Mobile banking – and its threats – on the rise

Simeon ConeyThe unprecedented growth in mobile banking in Africa comes as welcome news to investors, telecoms providers, financial institutions and consumers. However, warns SIMEON CONEY, VP of Strategic Development, at AdaptiveMobile, the potential for fraud and abuse requires user education and operator engagement.

South Africa stands to emerge as the leader in mobile banking on the continent of Africa.

A recent United Nations Trade and Development Conference singled out how mobile technology can help trade and commerce, specifically benefiting the growth and sustainability of small vendors in South Africa.

Mobile is a natural medium for banking services such as money transfers, and the ubiquity of the mobile phone makes it easier to reach consumers, overcoming the challenges of limited ATM and bank property infrastructure in particular regions.

With this opportunity comes the challenge to protect users and the system from fraud and abuse.


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Posted in the category: Economy, Technology, Trends

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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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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The message from Barcelona:anywhere, anytime, anything

With the concept of ubiquitous services being at the heart of this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a keynote session focused on the topic of ubiquitous networks rang a loud bell.

The CEOs of Bharti Airtel, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Telstra examined the way in which networks are developing to support mobile as the access method of choice and deliver anywhere, anytime connectivity to anyone or anything.

Mobile everywhereCarl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, said that for him the idea of a ubiquitous network was ‘broadband everywhere,’ and that this was being achieved through the rapid growth of the HSPA ecosystem. He pointed to some 250 vendors producing around 400 devices as proof, stating that the ever-shrinking size of HSPA data cards means they will soon be installed in multiple devices and ‘everything will communicate’. Within a year, he claimed, HSPA will be delivering 40Mb/s in the downlink.

Of course, that is a rich claim, bearing in mind the big deal South Africa’s networks have made of moving to 3.6Mb/s download speeds on HSDPA cards.



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Posted in the category: Insight, Technology, Trends

Mobile users reveal their fears

McAfee Inc used the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce findings from new research in developed countries that reveals that almost three out of four mobile consumers are concerned about the security of today’s and tomorrow’s mobile services.

Mobile Security reportNo less than 72% of mobile consumers in the USA, United Kingdom and Japan are concerned about the security of today’s and tomorrow’s mobile services, such as mobile multimedia downloads, mobile payments and mobile ticketing.

This was the central finding of the McAfee Mobile Security Report 2008, released at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The report discusses in detail users’ experiences of traditional and emerging mobile services and their awareness and perceptions of mobile security issues.

The following statistics must be viewed in the context of highly developed markets – 2000 respondents were interviewed across three of the world’s leading industrial nations. The relevance therefore declines when applied to developing markets.


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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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