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Technology & Communications News

Rolls-Royce starts manufacture of the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st February 2020 UK industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has announced that it has started manufacturing the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades. These are for its UltraFan demonstrator power plant, which will be unprecedentedly efficient and sustainable. A full set of UltraFan blades will have a diameter of... 

Skilled-worker gap to widen as technology develops

By: Natasha Odendaal     21st February 2020 The gap between jobs and skilled workers is continuing to widen as the unprecedented speed of technological development brings rise to innovations and new business models that have changed the face of global economies. While 2019 proved to be a significant year for the technology sector, and 2020... 

Chemists develop process to turn rubbish into graphene

By: Schalk Burger     21st February 2020 Rice University laboratory chemists, led by James Tour, have in the science journal Nature introduced a process by which almost any source of carbon can be turned into graphene flakes, the university said. The gram-scale bottom-up flash graphene synthesis process is quick and cheap and can... 

Chemists develop process to turn rubbish into graphene
FLASH GRAPHENE Undergraduate intern Christina Crassas, chemist James Tour and graduate students Paul Advincula and Duy Luong turn carbon black into graphene in a flash

Organisers aim high for defence and aerospace expo

By: Halima Frost     21st February 2020 Despite various challenges in South Africa, as well as in other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) Expo organisers hope to host a successful event this year, says AAD exhibition director Leona Redelinghuys. These difficulties include... 

Organisers aim high for  defence and aerospace expo
AIMING HIGH The Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo will showcase South African Air Force’s capabilities in an ever better air show this year

4IR vocational training a viable alternative to Grade 12

By: Schalk Burger     21st February 2020 The digital world being ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) requires more than just office workers; it requires engineers, technicians and artisans. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) enables learners to further their studies, as it creates more opportunities... 

Fundi launches student accommodation digital platform

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     20th February 2020 Education funding and solutions provider Fundi on Thursday launched its new digital student accommodation platform, a single-access source for all things student accommodation. Launching the platform at the Rand Club, in Johannesburg, Fundi CEO Tshepo Ditshego said the organisation chose to... 

Safaricom likely to borrow to fund Ethiopia Telecom bid

By: Bloomberg     20th February 2020 Safaricom, weighing an offer for Ethiopia’s telecom business later this year, plans to take on debt to fund a joint bid by a consortium including parent Vodacom Group and two other entities. “We do know the investment to build the network in Ethiopia will be big,” Safaricom’s interim Chief... 

R2K to picket over Rica privacy failure

By: Natasha Odendaal     19th February 2020 Advocacy organisation, the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign on Wednesday held protests in Pretoria and Cape Town against what it says is the failure of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) to protect South African citizens’ right... 

R2K to picket over Rica privacy failure

5G to support more than 10% of global mobile connections by 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal     19th February 2020 Fifth-generation (5G) technologies are poised to support more than 10% of mobile connections globally as Internet connectivity rises over the next three years, a new report by information, communication and networking equipment and software multinational Cisco shows. By 2023, 66% of the global... 

Openserve says South Africa’s international connectivity restored

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th February 2020 Infrastructure provider Openserve says it has received confirmation from aboard cable ship Leon Thevenin that repairs to the damaged portion of the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable (SAT3/WASC), offshore the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been completed. This concludes a long and... 

Vodafone Africa’s path to expansion is paved with $2 mini loans

By: Bloomberg     17th February 2020 Vodacom Group sees its African financial services business as a cornerstone of growth as the wireless carrier expands into products such as funeral insurance and loans of as little as $2. The unit of the UK’s Vodafone Group uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to customize its... 

Blue Label to conclude 3G Mobile deal, Blue Label Mobile at advanced stage

By: Natasha Odendaal     14th February 2020 JSE-listed Blue Label is set to receive its R544-million asking price, after all suspensive conditions relating to the disposal of subsidiary The Prepaid Company’s (TPC’s) interest in the 3G Mobile handset trading operations were on Friday fulfilled. In September last year, Blue Label announced... 

Ramaphosa announces new science and technology varsity

By: News24Wire      14th February 2020 The people of Ekurhuleni in Gauteng will soon enjoy a new science and technology university, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on Thursday night. "We will enable young people in that metro to be trained in high-impact and cutting edge technological... 

Eskom tests appetite for ‘commercialisation’ of PBMR technologies, assets

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th February 2020 State-owned electricity utility Eskom is seeking to dispose of its Pebble Bed Modular Reactor technology and remaining assets. It recently issued an Expression of Interest (EOI), regarding the “commercialisation of Pebble Bed Modular Reactor SOC [State-Owned Company] Ltd (PBMR), design,... 

Huawei to participate in ‘noncore’ elements of Britain’s 5G network

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th February 2020 Towards the end of last month, the British Government announced that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be allowed to participate in the creation of the UK’s fifth-generation (5G) broadband telecommunications network. This despite strong lobbying from the US Government to exclude Huawei.  

Digital transformation initiative for smallholder farmers

By: Schalk Burger     14th February 2020 The Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (ESWADE), in partnership with network operator Eswatini Mobile and South African agri-fintech company eSusFarm Africa, will use the eSusFarm Africa platform to provide information and services for 10 000 farmers on small-holdings. ESWADE... 

Cable repair ship faces a further delay

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 Unfavourable conditions at sea continue to hamper the progress of the Leon Thevenin cable repair vessel and crew undertaking the joint repair mission of the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable (SAT3/WASC) and the West African Cable System (WACS). According to a statement published on... 

Cable repair ship faces a further delay

KfW, DBSA renew MoU

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     13th February 2020 German development bank KfW has renewed its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with development finance institution, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), to continue their successful collaboration on the financing and implementation of programmes. The signing of the MoU took place on... 

Accelerator Lab aims to use innovation to tackle SA's biggest social problems 

13th February 2020 In an effort to provide a network and platform through which new solutions can be developed to mitigate and solve the country’s challenges, the United Nations Development Programme has launched its 60th Accelerator Lab in South Africa. Journalist Simone Liedtke attended the launch event last month. 

Accelerator Lab aims to use innovation to tackle SA's biggest social problems
Accelerator Lab aims to use innovation to tackle SA's biggest social problems

R150m University Technology Fund a first for Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     12th February 2020 Stellenbosch University (SU) and the University of Cape Town are coinvesting through a newly established R150-million University Technology Fund (UTF), set up by the SA SME Fund in its endeavour to partner with South African universities to commercialise the technologies and business ideas that... 

MTN to post double-digit growth in full-year earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     12th February 2020 JSE-listed MTN expects to report double-digit growth in headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended December 31. Reported on an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 16 basis, the group expects a 30% to 50% increase in HEPS to between 438c and 506c for the year under review,... 

Rolls-Royce has started making the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th February 2020 UK industrial technology group Rolls-Royce announced on Tuesday that it has started manufacturing the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades. These are for its UltraFan demonstrator power plant, which will unprecedentedly efficient and sustainable. A full set of UltraFan blades will have a... 

Rolls-Royce has started making the world’s largest aeroengine fan blades

Skills shortages threaten South Africa’s 4IR progress

By: Natasha Odendaal     11th February 2020 Skills shortages will be the single biggest challenge facing the South African information and communication technology (ICT) sector over the next ten years, the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) says. While South Africa’s highly innovative and... 

Smart drones to be tested in battle against East Africa locust swarms

By: Reuters     11th February 2020 The United Nations (UN) is to test drones equipped with mapping sensors and atomizers to spray pesticides in parts of east Africa battling an invasion of desert locusts that are ravaging crops and exacerbating a hunger crisis. Hundreds of millions of the voracious insects have swept across... 

Employment services assist facilities go digital

7th February 2020 Temporary employment services (TES) provide the missing link in helping healthcare facilities on their journey to digital transformation, says information and communication technology company T-Systems South Africa operational excellence manager Theresa Ackerman. Healthcare costs continue to... 

South African, Chinese researchers in quantum communications breakthrough

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th February 2020 A joint team composed of researchers from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), in Johannesburg, and China’s Huazhang University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, has successfully demonstrated the transmission of “multiple quantum patterns of twisted light” down a 250... 

Telematics company introduces live streaming

By: Darren Parker     7th February 2020 Fleet and asset management solutions company MiX Telematics has added a live streaming service to its MiX Vision solution. The streaming service enables fleet managers to live-stream footage from up to eight cameras simultaneously using MiX Fleet Manager – MiX Telematics’ online software solution... 

Telematics company introduces live streaming
IN REAL-TIME The live streaming service helps fleet managers to improve driver safety and compliance

Workplace equality seen as key to attracting and retaining talent

By: Schalk Burger     7th February 2020 A sustained, measured and directed approach to workplace diversity and gender equality bolsters the corporate entities that leverage them to attract and retain the desired talent from within a competitive pool of candidates, says information technology services company Dimension Data System... 

Workplace equality seen as key to attracting and retaining talent
THEMBA CHAKELA Allowing people to develop their skills while maintaining diverse and effective teams helps to sustain and grow services

Cable repair ship to move to next section earlier than planned

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     4th February 2020 Infrastructure provider Openserve on Tuesday said the repair under way on one of the affected segments of the West African Cable System (WACS), off the coast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was nearing completion. This will allow the repair ship, the Leon Thevenin, to depart for the next... 

Vodacom to launch 5G services in South Africa this year

By: Reuters     4th February 2020 Vodacom Group, South Africa's biggest telecoms company by value, expects to offer 5G mobile services in its home market this year thanks to a recent roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom, CE Shameel Joosub said on Tuesday. Last month Liquid Telecom said it would launch the first fifth generation... 

Stellenbosch University appoints US expert to lead startup incubator

By: Marleny Arnoldi     4th February 2020 Stellenbosch University has appointed US social entrepreneur Joshua Romisher CEO of its LaunchLab business incubator. From New York, to Silicon Valley to South Africa, Romisher has traded a career in investment banking to help the university create innovative startups in South Africa and... 

Stellenbosch University appoints US expert to lead startup incubator
Stellenbosch University LaunchLab CEO Joshua Romisher

Vodacom posts 6.6% rise in quarterly revenue

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th February 2020 Telecommunications giant Vodacom reported 6.6% growth in group revenue to R23.6-billion for the quarter ended December 31, as two-million customers were added to the network. The South African operations recorded 5.9% year-on-year growth in revenue to R18-billion, while the international... 

Icasa to review IMT responses

By: Natasha Odendaal     3rd February 2020 The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has set its sights on the next milestone for the licensing of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum. The licensing process is scheduled for first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year – starting April 1 – following... 

Competition Commission extends data deadline for telco’s

By: Natasha Odendaal     3rd February 2020 The Competition Commission on Monday said it had extended, by one month, the deadline handed to South African mobile operators to agree to several recommendations outlined in the ‘Final Findings and Recommendations of the Data Services Market Inquiry’ report. Published in December, the... 

Eskom seeks commercialisation offers for PBMR technologies and assets

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st January 2020 Eskom has issued a request for an Expression of Interest (EOI) regarding the “commercialisation of Pebble Bed Modular Reactor SOC [State-Owned Company] Ltd (PBMR), design, development, manufacturing, and construction of [a] Small Modular Reactor and supply of TRISO [Tristructural Isotropic]... 

SA space agency’s new strategic plan incorporates continental initiatives

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st January 2020 The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has developed a new strategic plan for the next five years, which it hopes will soon be approved and implemented with effect from the start of the next financial year (April 1, 2020). “In terms of the process, we’re going through the formal... 

SA space agency’s new strategic plan incorporates continental initiatives

Further postponement announced in Boeing 737 MAX return to service

By: Rebecca Campbell     31st January 2020 US aerospace giant Boeing has reported that its 737 MAX single-aisle airliner would remain grounded for longer than the company had hoped. The grounding of the aircraft was imposed after two fatal crashes, in late 2018 and early 2019, which killed a total of 346 people. A system fitted to the 737... 

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