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Technology & Communications News

Iodine used as a spacecraft propellant for the first time

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd January 2021 In what could very well prove to be a major development for space technology, a satellite has used an iodine propellant to alter its orbit around the Earth. This is the first time that iodine has been used as a propellant on a spacecraft.  The iodine thruster was fitted to a commercial research... 

Extraterrestrial oceanography sees scientists probing the depths of Titan’s largest sea

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd January 2021 Astronomers at Cornell University, at Ithaca in the US state of New York, have used radar data to determine that the biggest sea on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is, near its centre, at least 300 m deep. The sea is named Kraken Mare, and it is estimated to have a surface area of some 400 000... 

Extraterrestrial oceanography sees scientists probing the depths of Titan’s largest sea
Photo by Nasa
An artist’s impression of the Kraken Mare

Tribunal issues order for interim arrangement in GovChat, WhatsApp and Facebook matter

By: Natasha Odendaal     22nd January 2021 The Competition Tribunal has released an order for an interim arrangement until it issues its decision in the interim relief application against WhatsApp and Facebook by Government’s WhatsApp-based citizen engagement platform. The order, which will regulate the arrangements between GovChat,... 

Craft Craze app to boost craft beverage manufacturers’ reach

By: Donna Slater     22nd January 2021 A mobile application (app) – Craft Craze – has been developed to further the market reach and ease of access to South African-made craft beverages, including the growing craft beer market. Prototype app development started in March 2019, after which Craft Craze presented the concept to breweries... 

Craft Craze app to boost craft beverage manufacturers’ reach
A selection of craft beers typically found on the Craft Craze app

African tech startup funding passes $700m in record-breaking 2020

By: Schalk Burger     22nd January 2021 New funding records were set over the course of 2020 as 397 technology startups raised $701.5-million. These figures have increased substantially compared with the previous year, with the number of funded startups having increased by 27.7% compared with 2019, while total funding grew by 42.7%,... 

Skilled people needed for organisations to benefit fully from advanced technologies

By: Schalk Burger     22nd January 2021 The level of information technology (IT) skills in organisations and the IT ecosystem must catch up with the level of development to ensure that technologies are effective and help people to perform their functions, says IT multinational IBM Southern Africa COO Ziaad Suleman. Advanced... 

Skilled people needed for organisations to benefit fully from advanced technologies
ZIAAD SULEMAN Education and training, entrepreneurship programmes and the development specialist digital skills form a virtuous skills development cycle necessary for new enterprises to flourish and for the economy to grow

Satellites successfully used to count wild elephants

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st January 2021 A team of scientists from British and Dutch universities have, for the first time, used satellite imagery combined with ‘deep learning’ (data processing artificial intelligence) to successfully count large animals in complex and varied terrestrial landscapes. Previously, this approach had been... 

Siemens partners to extend Covid-19 facility at Eastern Cape hospital

By: Donna Slater     20th January 2021 Technology company Siemens South Africa has joined forces with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Eastern Cape Department of Health to provide a separate modular hospital solution to the... 

Govt chooses electronic vaccine roll-out system 

By: African News Agency      20th January 2021 The South African government is establishing an electronic vaccination data system to assist with the management and surveillance of the Covid-19 vaccine. The EVDS will help the government monitor vaccine effectiveness, planning and safety monitoring, as well as uptake and coverage, explained the... 

Govt chooses electronic vaccine roll-out system

Concerns about future viability drove M&A activity in last months of 2020

By: Marleny Arnoldi     19th January 2021 In its latest 'Global Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Industry Trends' analysis, PwC finds that deal volumes went up 18% in the second half of 2020, while deal values increased by 94%, compared with the first half of the year. Deal activity in the second half of last year experienced a surge... 

South African radio telescope array makes another breakthrough 

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th January 2021 South Africa’s world-leading 64-dish radio telescope array MeerKAT, which was inaugurated in July 2018, has registered another significant success and again increased our knowledge of the cosmos. In a study published on Monday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of... 

South African radio telescope array makes another breakthrough
Photo by South African Radio Astronomy Observatory
A view of some of the MeerKAT array’s dishes.

Clir provides software to enhance Lake Turkana Wind Power wind farm

By: Donna Slater     18th January 2021 Renewable energy software company Clir Renewables has formed a partnership agreement with renewable energy generator Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP). The partnership will result in Clir enhancing LTWP’s wind farm performance tracking and support its Kenya-based team in realising potential... 

R68 766 000 invested in Covid-19 research – Nzimande 

By: Sane Dhlamini     18th January 2021 The Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministry on Monday announced that it has invested R68 766 000 towards coronavirus (Covid-19) research and development. Addressing the media, Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said the funds were approved to support Covid-19 research and development in... 

R68 766 000 invested in Covid-19 research – Nzimande
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande

Virgin Orbit successfully puts CubeSats into space on its second launch mission

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th January 2021 US space company Virgin Orbit, part of the UK-based Virgin group (and a sister company to space tourism enterprise Virgin Galactic) successfully launched ten nanosatellites into orbit on Sunday. This was the company’s first successful space launch, achieved on its second launch demonstration... 

Virgin Orbit successfully puts CubeSats into space on its second launch mission
Photo by Virgin Orbit
Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl takes off from Mojave with a LauncherOne rocket under its wing

Cyberattacks using supply chains expected to increase in 2021, warns McAfee

By: Schalk Burger     15th January 2021 The December 2020 Sunburst campaign revealed the supply chain as a new attack vector that will continue to be exploited, says cybersecurity multinational McAfee senior VP and chief technology officer Steve Grobman. Sunburst exploited the SolarWinds Orion information technology (IT) monitoring and... 

New theory suggests that dark matter is made up of black holes formed by exotic events

By: Rebecca Campbell     15th January 2021 Scientists at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo, in Japan, have proposed a new theory to explain the mysterious phenomenon of dark matter. Dark matter makes up some 27% of the universe, whereas ‘normal’ matter is responsible for less... 

Mixture of strategies will provide suitable water treatment solution

By: Khutso Maphatsoe     15th January 2021 A mixture of strategies will provide the best water treatment solution for a water-scarce country, such as South Africa, says global technology company ABB Energy Industries South Africa sales manager Joyce Moganedi. “The scarcity of water has led to the Department of Water and Sanitation... 

Mixture of strategies will provide suitable water treatment solution
DECISIONS, DECISIONS Big data is an output that is targeted at high level management, to enable plant managers to make company strategic decisions

Low tax reduces solar incentive

By: Darren Parker     15th January 2021 The relatively low value of carbon tax in South Africa, and numerous allowances that government made available in year one of the Carbon Tax Act’s implementation, which took effect in June 2019, have resulted in there being little incentive currently for solar energy, technology company EDS... 

Low tax reduces solar incentive
OFFSET Solar energy is a “carbon positive” method of generating electricity, and those who implement it qualify for carbon credits

Deep grasp of data and where it’s stored key to ensuring protection of sensitive information

By: Schalk Burger     15th January 2021 Organisations must understand what data they have and where it is stored to ensure that sensitive customer information is protected correctly in compliance with data protection regulations and best practices, says data management solutions provider Gabsten Technologies MD Hemant Harie. “In... 

Deep grasp of data and where it’s stored key  to ensuring protection of sensitive information
HEMANT HARIE As each industry understands its cybersecurity and data risks better, it will become clearer what the appropriate responses are to ensure data management, protection and cybersecurity

Boeing awarded contract to increase space station power supply with new solar arrays

By: Rebecca Campbell     14th January 2021 US aerospace giant Boeing has been contracted by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) to construct six new and additional solar arrays for the International Space Station (ISS). These will increase the ISS’ power supply by 20% to 30% and so allow it to undertake greater... 

Boeing awarded contract to increase space station power supply with new solar arrays
Photo by Nasa
The International Space Station

Uganda orders internet blackout until further notice - MTN

By: Reuters     14th January 2021 Uganda's communications regulator ordered telecoms operators in the country to suspend all internet gateways from Wednesday evening until further notice, South African telecoms company MTN Group said. The blackout came on the eve of a presidential election in which long-time leader Yoweri... 

Cell C starts migrating customers 

By: Natasha Odendaal     13th January 2021 Mobile operator Cell C has started migrating its customers onto partner networks. The migration of contract and broadband customers is expected to be completed within the next two months, while the phased transition of prepaid customers will be confirmed in due course. 

UK launches study into using nuclear power for space exploration

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th January 2021 The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has signed a contract with global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce to study future nuclear power options for space missions. This is the first such contract awarded by the UK and is also the first ever contract between the UKSA and Rolls-Royce.  The intent... 

MTN offers 1 GB incentive to download Covid-19 Alert app

By: Natasha Odendaal     12th January 2021 Telecommunications giant MTN is offering customers 1 GB of free data for an hour to incentivise the download and zero-rated use of the Covid-19 Alert application. The Covid Alert SA app, designed by Discovery for the National Department of Health, uses Bluetooth contact tracing technology,... 

Tribunal asked to restrain GovChat’s removal from WhatsApp

By: Creamer Media Reporter      12th January 2021 Government’s WhatsApp-based citizen engagement platform GovChat has brought an urgent application to the Competition Tribunal to prevent Facebook, WhatsApp and Facebook South Africa from removing it from the WhatsApp platform. The Tribunal will hear arguments on January 13 from the applicants,... 

UCT launches open-access, African-centric research platform

By: Sane Dhlamini     12th January 2021 University of Cape Town Libraries director of research and learning services Dr Reggie Raju revealed on Tuesday, the institute’s newly developed continental platform for open access publishing in Africa. The African research community can now create and share its own scholarly content – open... 

UCT launches open-access, African-centric research platform

Economic turbulence, pandemic expected to lead to cybercrime increase in Africa

By: Schalk Burger     12th January 2021 Economic turbulence and the impact of Covid-19 is expected to contribute to an increase in cybercrime across South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria this year, says cybersecurity multinational Kaspersky in Africa Enterprise cybersecurity adviser Lehan van den Heever. While every country globally has had... 

Proudly SA opens bids for hosting of virtual conference

By: Simone Liedtke     11th January 2021 South Africa’s national buy local campaign, Proudly South African (SA), has issued a request for proposals from qualified service providers for the provision and execution of a virtual conference and expo, scheduled for March 8 to 10. All bids must be submitted on or before 15:00 on January 25. 

Telkom withdraws one portion of court case against spectrum allocations 

By: Natasha Odendaal     11th January 2021 Telkom has withdrawn the portion of its court application against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) that compels the authority to inform all potential parties interested in the spectrum auction of the proceedings. In December, Telkom took to the courts to have... 

MTN named best mobile network for 2020

By: Natasha Odendaal     11th January 2021 Telecommunications group MTN has secured the title of the best mobile network in South Africa for 2020. This is according to the MyBroadband Insights 2020 Mobile Network Quality Report, released on January 11, which is based on 1.2-million speed tests performed by 41 099 MyBroadband Speed Test... 

Vodacom and MTN telecommunications towers burnt in South Africa by 5G protesters

By: Reuters     8th January 2021 About three telecommunications towers belonging to Vodacom and MTN were burnt this week following a resurgence in conspiracy theories which link the emergence of Covid-19 to 5G technology, South Africa's communication minister said on Thursday. The towers were burnt and destroyed between Tuesday... 

UK Space Agency funding project to benefit Malawian farmers

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th January 2021 The UK Space Agency announced on Wednesday that it was providing funding to a project led by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to aid farmers in Malawi through the development of land-classification maps, using satellite data. These maps would cover high potential agricultural areas, and... 

Locust prediction tool allows for early intervention in four African countries so far

By: Marleny Arnoldi     6th January 2021 Pan-African marketplace Selina Wamucii has launched, on its platform, a free tool called Kuzi that can help farmers and pastoralists predict locust behaviour. The artificial intelligence-powered tool generates real-time heatmaps of locusts across Africa, showing all potential migration routes and... 

New cosmological theory suggests that dark matter is made up of ancient black holes

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th January 2021 Scientists at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo in Japan have proposed a new theory to explain the mysterious phenomenon of dark matter. Dark matter makes up some 27% of the universe, whereas ‘normal’ matter is responsible for less than... 

New cosmological theory suggests that dark matter is made up of ancient black holes
Photo by Kavli Institute
An artistic rendition of daughter universes forming during the cosmic inflation phase of our universe.

Managed security services can help mid-sized companies defend against cyberattacks

By: Schalk Burger     4th January 2021 Medium-sized companies face numerous hurdles to implement effective cybersecurity, while smaller and low-margin organisations cannot afford next-generation technology to improve their cybersecurity posture, as these require expert skills to implement not only next-generation security solutions,... 

Young South African women scientists awarded funding by L’Oréal and Unesco

By: Rebecca Campbell     4th January 2021 Last month, six young South African women scientists were awarded research grants by the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science partnership. French group L’Oréal is reportedly the world’s biggest cosmetics company and Unesco is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.... 

Africa to benefit as AST, Vodafone launch plans for space-based metwork

By: African News Agency      18th December 2020 Telecommunications firm AST & Science, in partnership with Vodafone, plans to launch the first phase of a space-based commercial mobile communications service in 2023, a move which will boost phone coverage in Africa. SpaceMobile will be the first space-based mobile network to connect directly to... 

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