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Science Engineering Technology

Effective drones well received by farmers

By: Tracy Hancock     6th December 2019 Local sugarcane farmers have responded positively to South Africa’s first licensed crop-spraying drone at a time when the industry is tackling a significantly challenging financial climate, says farmer-owned organisation Precision Agricultural Systems (PACSys) CEO Tim Wise. “Unfortunately, the... 

Cool coatings can help make living in low-cost buildings more bearable

By: Schalk Burger     6th December 2019 Cool coating technologies, also known as cool surfaces, can play a key role in making human settlements more energy efficient and sustainable, and buildings more habitable, says research institution South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) energy efficiency cool surfaces... 

Cool coatings can help make living in low-cost buildings more bearable
!KHEIS COATING Local youth cover a roof in cool coating in Groblershoop, in the !Kheis municipality in the Northern Cape

Digital mine reaping benefits before ramp up 

5th December 2019 JSE-listed resources group Exxaro Resources’ Belfast coal mine, in Mpumalanga, is enjoying the benefits of being a digital and connected mine, and is on track to start up ahead of schedule next year. Tracy Hancock tells us more.  

Digital mine reaping benefits before ramp up
Digital mine reaping benefits before ramp up

Africa must take the lead in scientific research to benefit the continent

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th December 2019 University of Edinburgh Global Health Academy Co-Director Professor Francisca Mutapi has stressed the importance of Africa taking the lead in scientific research and innovation programmes in, and concerning, the continent. She was delivering the keynote address at the 5th Science Forum South... 

SA's science diplomacy on show at fifth Science Forum in Pretoria

By: African News Agency      4th December 2019 The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande on Wednesday welcomed thousands of science enthusiasts, representatives from more than 40 countries, governments officials, researchers and academics to fifth annual Science Forum South Africa. "Our Southern African... 

 SA's science diplomacy on show at fifth Science Forum in Pretoria
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande

Spectrum is an inhibitor to lowering data prices, Vodacom, MTN insist 

By: Natasha Odendaal     3rd December 2019 A lack of access to spectrum remains a significant inhibitor in efforts to lower data prices, mobile operators Vodacom and MTN have said in response to the release of the Competition Commission’s ‘Final Findings and Recommendations of the Data Services Market Inquiry’ report. The parties indicate... 

Spectrum is an inhibitor to lowering data prices, Vodacom, MTN insist

South Africa can learn from China in drafting 4IR policy, say experts 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     29th November 2019 In tackling the lack of awareness of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the skills gap that prevents South Africa from successfully implementing these technologies, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) suggests that universities broaden their scope of work-based training and that... 

Government sets ambitious growth targets for SA defence industry

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th November 2019 The South African Government has set growth targets it hopes that the local defence industry will achieve over the next few years, reported Secretary of Defence and Military Veterans Dr Sam Gulube. He was delivering the keynote address at the recent 2019 Aerospace, Maritime and Defence... 

Future structure of Denel starts to emerge as turnaround plan advances

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th November 2019 Denel Chief Financial Officer Carmen Le Grange has indicated the businesses that the State-owned defence group was exiting or was planning to exit, as part of its turnaround strategy. She did so in an address to the 2019 Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Conference in Pretoria.  

Fourth Industrial Revolution tech will need protection from solar weather

By: Rebecca Campbell     29th November 2019 The phenomenon known as space weather was a cause for concern regarding the new generation technology systems that enabled the "Internet of Things" (IoT), which underpinned the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" (4IR). So warned South African National Space Agency (Sansa) Space Science MD Dr Lee-Ann... 

MTN, Huawei sign 5G development MoU

By: Natasha Odendaal     29th November 2019 Telecommunications giant MTN and information and communication technology solutions provider Huawei have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a joint fifth-generation (5G) innovation programme The partners will assess and work on new technologies, such as 5G and... 

MTN expands rural reach with OpenRan

By: Natasha Odendaal     29th November 2019 Mobile operator MTN has expanded its rural telecommunications coverage across Africa through the use of open radio access networks (OpenRan) technology, bringing cost-effective connectivity to areas that were previously unconnected. The company has already deployed over 200 commercial rural sites... 

Africa leads the chat commerce drive

By: Natasha Odendaal     29th November 2019 Chat commerce and chat banking is revolutionising the way African companies are engaging and serving their customers. The next generation of commerce enables companies to meet and engage with their clients on platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger without having to invest in... 

New entity launched to stimulate and coordinate the South African space sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th November 2019 Not-for-profit company ZASpace Inc. was launched in Pretoria on Thursday. It is intended to stimulate the development of the local space industry and especially the geospatial sector, to meet the rapidly growing needs of South Africa and Africa. This will include skills development and innovative... 

UK provides funding for small nuclear reactor programme

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd November 2019 Britain’s quasi-autonomous national research and development (R&D) agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) confirmed early this month that it had released £18-million in funding to a British industrial consortium developing a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR). The consortium, which has been... 

Shortlist of Africa Prize contenders announced

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     21st November 2019 The shortlist for the 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, run by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, was announced, in Cape Town, on Wednesday, recognising ambitious African innovators who are developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges. This year’s shortlist... 

Rare gas find solves puzzle of Southern Africa’s soaring landscape

19th November 2019 The discovery of gases released from deep beneath the Earth’s crust could help to explain Southern Africa’s unusual landscape, a study published in the journal Nature Communications suggests. Scientists have long puzzled over why areas such as South Africa’s Highveld region are so elevated and... 

Local R&D expenditure increasing, but concerns remain

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th November 2019 South Africa’s gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) increased in 2017/2018 for the seventh year in succession, the 2017/18 National Research and Experimental Development Survey, published last month, has reported. However, this growth trend is decelerating. Furthermore, in terms... 

Altron keeps focus on innovation as it reaches strategy halfway mark 

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th November 2019 As JSE-listed technology company Allied Electronics (Altron) celebrates the half way mark of its five year plan, CEO Mteto Nyati, who took the helm nearly three years ago, indicates that the next phase for the company will focus on geographic expansion. Two-and a half years since implementing the... 

Altron keeps focus on innovation  as it reaches strategy halfway mark
Altron CEO Mteto Nyati discusses the next steps for the company as it reaches the halfway mark of a five-year strategy. Camerawork: Kutlwano Matlala. Video editing: Nicholas Boyd.

745 000 autonomous-ready vehicles to be added to market in 2023 – Gartner

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th November 2019 By 2023, worldwide net additions of vehicles equipped with hardware that could enable autonomous driving without human supervision will reach 745 705 units, up from 137 129 units in 2018, research and advisory company Gartner has said. It expects net additions for this year to be 332 932 units. 

Small and medium-sized companies can compete in space sector

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th November 2019 South African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the space sector are competitive because of their lower overheads, pointed out Pinkmatter Solutions Earth Observation Solutions Manager Nicolas Steenkamp on Thursday. He was addressing the South African National Space Agency's second... 

South Africa suffers from a lack of startup companies

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th November 2019 Startup companies must not be confused with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), highlighted Co-Open Innovation Studio director Sandiso Sibisi at the South African National Space Agency's second Space for National Development Conference, in Pretoria, on Thursday. She explained that there... 

South Africa suffers from a lack of startup companies
Sandiso Sibisi

Space weather means 4IR technologies will need an umbrella

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th November 2019 The phenomenon known as space weather was a cause for concern regarding the new generation technology systems that enabled the Internet of Things, which underpinned the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So warned South African National Space Agency Space Science MD Dr Lee-Ann McKinnell at Sansa's... 

National Assembly passes convention establishing SKA Observatory

By: Creamer Media Reporter      13th November 2019 The National Assembly has approved the passing of the convention establishing the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory. The SKA is an international, mega-science project whose aim is to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope which will be co-located in Africa and Australia. 

National Assembly passes convention establishing SKA Observatory

Space important to South Africa but it is not sole responsibility of govt

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th November 2019 South Africa's mid-term strategic plans were developed not just by government. They had input from the private and other sectors as well, pointed out Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) Deputy Director General: Space Science and Innovation Mmboneni Muofhe on Tuesday. He was delivering the... 

If South Africa has the will, it could have its own satellite constellation

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2019 South Africa has the technological capability to create its own constellation of nano- or micro-satellites to enable the country, the Southern African region, or even the whole African continent, to implement the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of People (IoP) across the country, region... 

Radical new engine precooler technology passes critical test

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2019 UK advanced aerospace propulsion technology development company Reaction Engines has successfully tested its revolutionary engine precooler at airflow temperatures representative of Mach 5 – that is, five times the speed of sound. Mach 5 marks the start of the hypersonic speed regime. The... 

Top innovators recognised at MTN’s IoT conference

By: Natasha Odendaal     8th November 2019 Telecommunications giant MTN’s latest Internet of Things (IoT) conference recognised several South African local developers playing a meaningful role in the future of IoT. The winner of the overall 2019 MTN Business IoT Solution of the Year Award was original-equipment manufacturer Informed... 

$100bn required to provide broadband access for all in Africa in next decade

By: Natasha Odendaal     8th November 2019 Africa’s ambitions for universal, affordable and good quality Internet access by 2030 will require an investment of at least $100-billion over the next decade. About 1.1-billion more people across Africa, where less than a third of the population has access to broadband connectivity, need to be... 

While some local aerospace sectors are thriving, others are in a rough patch

By: Rebecca Campbell     8th November 2019 The South African aerospace industry embraces the public and private sectors. It includes manufacturers; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service providers; and research and development (R&D) institutions. It covers general, commercial and defence aviation (including manned and unmanned... 

While some local aerospace sectors are thriving,  others are in a rough patch

CSIR has started restructuring its support staff as part of its reorganisation

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th November 2019 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has announced that it has started a process of reorganising its support staff. This is part of the Council's reorganisation of its operating model, to allow the implementation of its new strategy, and follows on from its successful science,... 

Science, innovation investment crucial to Africa’s development

By: Mamaili Mamaila     7th November 2019 Africa still does not realise the potential and opportunity that science and innovation hold for its development and the time has come for the continent to be serious about investing more in research, development and innovation, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said... 

Science, innovation investment crucial to Africa’s development
Photo by Creamer Media's Dylan Slater
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor

UK govt's investment in small nuclear reactor programme confirmed

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2019 Britain’s quasi-autonomous national research and development agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) confirmed on Tuesday that it had released £18-million in funding to a British industrial consortium developing a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR). The consortium, which has been working on the... 

UK govt's investment in small nuclear reactor programme confirmed
An artist's impression of the SMR nuclear power station being developed by the consortium

Icasa publishes information memo on high-demand spectrum 

By: Natasha Odendaal     1st November 2019 The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Friday published the awaited information memorandum for the high-demand spectrum licensing process for comment. The document, previously expected to be published by December 31, follows the July publication of the Policy on High... 

Icasa publishes information memo on high-demand spectrum

Aerial evolution is not just for the birds

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st November 2019 Evolution has played almost as important a role in the development of aircraft as it has in the development of birds, although the timescales are very different, argued Boeing 787 Dreamliner chief test pilot Ricardo Traven at the recent 2019 Aeronautical Society of South Africa conference in... 

Air warfare being changed by a revolutionary fighter

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st November 2019 Fifth generation (5th Gen) combat aircraft are totally transforming the nature of air combat, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II test pilot Billie Flynn told the recent 2019 Aeronautical Society of South Africa conference, in Pretoria. The F-35 multirole fighter is the second 5th Gen combat... 

MTN committed to supporting Cell C – within reason

By: Natasha Odendaal     1st November 2019 Telecommunications group MTN remains committed to “doing its part” in extending a helping hand to embattled Cell C; however, saving South Africa’s third largest mobile operator was not the responsibility of MTN. Cell C and MTN are currently in negotiations over a roaming deal that would... 

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