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Technology & Communications News

Online retail booms, set to stabilise at higher level

By: Schalk Burger     Updated 4 hours ago Online retail revenue in South Africa grew by about 66% to R30.2-billion in 2020, accounting for about 2.8% of total retail revenue. Last year’s growth in online retail revenue was significantly higher than the 25% growth from R11.3-billion in 2017 to R14.1-billion in 2018. 

New discovery suggests Mars is not dead, but merely sleeping

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th May 2021 Scientists at the University of Arizona’s (UArizona’s) Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and at the Tucson, Arizona, based Planetary Science Institute (PSI), in the US, have discovered evidence showing recent volcanic activity on Mars, hitherto largely conceived of as a dead planet. Studying imagery... 

New discovery suggests Mars is not dead, but merely sleeping
Photo by Nasa/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Satellite image showing the recent volcanic deposit around a fissure in the Cerberus Fossae system

Online game shows scope, challenges of global climate change responses

By: Schalk Burger     11th May 2021 A free online interactive fiction game Survive the Century aims to show players that the future of the climate depends on the choices people make today and, while light-hearted, it is informed by climate science. The branching narrative game about the political, environmental and social choices... 

TPT to deploy new version of container terminal operating system

By: Schalk Burger     11th May 2021 State-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) will, later this month, launch a new version of its container terminal operating system Navis Sparcs N4. This latest version will set the new architectural foundation for added features and capabilities, says TPT CFO Sharla Chetty. 

US asteroid probe has started its journey home

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th May 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has announced that its asteroid sample collection and return mission OSIRIS-REx has departed from near-Earth asteroid Bennu and is heading back to Earth. OSIRIS-REx is an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource... 

US asteroid probe has started its journey home
Photo by Nasa
An artist’s impression of OSIRIS-REx leaving Bennu

Lebone reaping benefits of technology, people investments

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th May 2021 Print solutions company Lebone Litho Printers’ infrastructure and technological investments, as well as its skills development and small, medium-sized and microenterprise (SMME) focus, are engendering benefits for the company. This, combined with its diversification into digital, has enabled the... 

Nasa’s ‘little helicopter that could’ makes another landmark flight on Mars

By: Rebecca Campbell     10th May 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) Mars drone helicopter, Ingenuity, made a successful fifth flight on Friday. This was another landmark sortie by the little aircraft, which lasted 108 seconds and which set a new altitude record of 10 m. But the key importance of this... 

Nasa’s ‘little helicopter that could’ makes another landmark flight on Mars
Photo by Nasa
Ingenuity (far left) photographed at its new landing site by the Perseverance rover

TPT developing Cargo Connect logistics app

By: Schalk Burger     7th May 2021 State-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) is developing the Cargo Connect app, which will serve as a digital marketplace for logistics services in South Africa. The app will increase the logistics’ network visibility and benefit customers and the broader supply chain. Some of the app's features... 

Teraco becomes MÉTISS node, boosts regional interconnection

By: Schalk Burger     6th May 2021 Data centre operator Teraco on May 6 said it had become an integral node to the Meltingpot Indianoceanic Submarine System (MÉTISS) – a 3 200 km subsea fibre-optic cable system connecting South Africa to the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius. MÉTISS consortium members have... 

Mobile push authentication improves transaction security, improves user experience

By: Schalk Burger     6th May 2021 Mobile push authentication messages provide a better user experience and protect users more effectively than password-protected accounts and one-time pins (OTP), which is important to protect data as more companies have adopted cloud computing and remote working, says device identity and... 

Jupiter space probe arrives at research centre in the Netherlands for crucial tests

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th May 2021 The European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Thursday that its latest space probe, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice), had been delivered to ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (Estec) in the Netherlands. The spacecraft had been transferred from the Friedrichshafen facility of... 

Jupiter space probe arrives at research centre in the Netherlands for crucial tests
Photo by ESA
Juice, in its transport framework, after its arrival at Estec

SpaceX scores success with fifth test flight of its new Starship spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th May 2021 SpaceX’s latest crewed spaceship design, the Starship, made its first fully successful test flight on Wednesday. This was the fifth such attempt, the previous four all seeing the rockets concerned blowing up, at different stages of the flight profile. This fifth flight involved an improved... 

SpaceX scores success with fifth test flight of its new Starship spacecraft
Photo by SpaceX
Starship SN15 launching from Starbase

SA Novavax vaccine trial shows efficacy against B.1.351 Covid-19 variant 

By: Sane Dhlamini     6th May 2021 Results from the University of the Witwatersrand Novavax coronavirus vaccine trial show 51% efficacy against the B.1.351 variant in a South African study with HIV negative participants. A group in the trial, which included people who are HIV positive, showed 43% efficacy. Novavax is a... 

SA Novavax vaccine trial shows efficacy against B.1.351 Covid-19 variant

Commercialisation of university innovation presents opportunities for South Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     5th May 2021 The commercialisation of university intellectual property (IP) and technology innovation presents considerable opportunities for South Africa and would help engender a positive impact on society and economic growth, independent technology transfer consultant Tom Hockaday has said. He was speaking... 

Technology Innovation Agency funds the development of an affordable Internet solution for townships

By: Yvonne Silaule     5th May 2021 Gauteng-based startup FibrePoynt is developing an alternative antenna-based high-speed fixed Internet solution for low-income communities. The solution is being funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation. 

Technology, business strategies should align to ensure businesses are future-ready

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th May 2021 Global advisory services group Deloitte has released its twelfth yearly technology trends report, outlining the evolving technology landscape and the industry disruptors for the next 18 to 24 months. This year’s edition of the Deloitte Tech Trends 2021 report showcases nine trends such as... 

MTN reports strong first quarter results

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th May 2021 Telecommunications group MTN reported strong first quarter operational and financial results with data and fintech revenue driving service revenue beyond the company’s medium-term guidance. The group’s service revenue increased 17.8% to R42.3-billion during the three months to March. 

Fast-paced innovation driving the space industry to new heights – KSAT

By: Donna Slater     4th May 2021 A much faster pace of innovation currently taking place in the space industry is driving a “new space revolution”, Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) executive VP Arnulf Kjeldsen has said. Speaking during the 2021 SpaceOps Conference, on the topic of Commercial Ground Stations: New Space and... 

New chief technology officer to lead on ICT, technology at the PIC

By: Schalk Burger     4th May 2021 The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has appointed Makano Mosidi as its new chief technology officer (CTO). Her mandate is to provide sound leadership in all aspects of the business’ information and communications technology (ICT), and leverage technology to position the PIC as a leading asset... 

MTN Rwandacell lists on the Rwanda Stock Exchange

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th May 2021 Telecommunications group MTN Rwandacell has become the first mobile network operator to list its shares on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE). Crystal Telecoms’ shareholders now hold a direct 20% stake in MTN Rwanda and can trade their MTN Rwanda shares directly on the RSE as part of the May 4... 

Telkom launches new whistleblowing channels

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th May 2021 Telecommunications group Telkom has unveiled a new platform for the public to report any acts or suspected acts of fraud, corruption and irregular conduct within the organisation to ensure that it remains corruption- and fraud-free. As part of the group’s ethics and corporate governance... 

New insurance against cybercrime, data breaches will cover costs and damages

By: Schalk Burger     4th May 2021 Insurance technology start-up Surestart has developed an insurance offering for digital businesses and their customers that will cover the costs and damages caused by privacy breaches or network security breaches. Such items were previously uninsurable, says Surestart executive director Travys... 

Samsung hits third BBBEE contribution status target

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd May 2021 Technology group Samsung has achieved its third successive Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Level 1 contribution status. The company strongly believes in the transformative power of technology and innovation to effect societal change and says it is fully committed to empowering... 

South African, African space industries set for large-scale growth – Sansa 

By: Donna Slater     3rd May 2021 The South African National Space Agency (Sansa) is set to grow by 100 times over what it is normally used to over the next two years as Africa expands its “Space Agenda” and space ambitions, Sansa CEO Dr Val Munsami has said. He gave the keynote address at the 2021 SpaceOps Conference, which... 

South African, African space industries set for large-scale growth – Sansa
Sansa CEO Dr Val Munsami

Nasa’s Mars helicopter exceeds expectations and is assigned new mission

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd May 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has announced that its Ingenuity Mars drone helicopter has proven so successful that it has been assigned a new mission. Originally intended to be purely a technology demonstrator, to establish that powered and controlled flight was... 

Nasa’s Mars helicopter exceeds expectations and is assigned new mission
Photo by Nasa
The Ingenuity drone helicopter (centre-left) sitting on the Martian surface, photographed by the Perseverance rover (part of which is visible on the right)

Waspa elects new chairperson, office bearers for 2021

By: Creamer Media Reporter      3rd May 2021 The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (Waspa) has elected BaspaDE Attorneys founding director and long-standing board member Anthony Ekerold as its new chairperson. Ekerold, who previously served as Waspa vice chairperson between 2013 and 2017, as chairperson in 2018 and as... 

First Nasa/SpaceX commercial crew space mission successfully completed

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd May 2021 The first operational commercial crew mission, flown by private-sector space company SpaceX on behalf of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), came to a successful end on Sunday, when the Crew Dragon space capsule successfully splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. SpaceX was... 

First Nasa/SpaceX commercial crew space mission successfully completed
Photo by Nasa
Astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi, onboard Crew Dragon Resilience, after it was picked up by the SpaceX recovery ship

Takeover authority grants Adapt IT an extension on Volaris acquisition

By: News24Wire      3rd May 2021 Adapt IT shareholders will have to wait a little longer for Volaris Group’s acquisition offer circular, after the Takeover Regulation Panel granted the company an extension to evaluate the offer. The local technology company has captured the interest of Canada’s Volaris, which announced its... 

EOH assures customers of its transparent and ethical practices as legacy contracts near an end

By: Schalk Burger     30th April 2021 Information technology services provider EOH, responding to media reports in April about its irregular legacy contracts, said issues raised in the media reports are largely as a result of EOH’s transformation strategy, which has been systematically and regularly reported to all stakeholders. The... 

EOH assures customers of its transparent and ethical practices as legacy contracts near an end
EOH CEO Stephen van Coller

New system to advance precision health

30th April 2021 Medical technologies and digital infrastructure provider GE Healthcare unveiled StarGuide, a next-generation single-photon emission computerised tomography/computerised tomography (SPECT/CT) system that uses the latest digital technologies to help clinicians improve patient outcomes in bone... 

New system to advance precision health
MEDICAL ADVANCEMENTS GE Healthcare unveiled StarGuide, a next-generation SPECT/CT system that uses the latest digital technologies to help clinicians improve patient outcomes in bone

Registration opens for Milken Institute, Motsepe Foundation’s $2m AgriTech prize

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     28th April 2021 Nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank the Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation have launched the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize programme. The multiyear initiative focuses on global innovators and entrepreneurs developing technological solutions that accelerate progress towards implementing... 

Finland supports 4IR education and reducing the digital divide in Southern Africa

By: Schalk Burger     28th April 2021 Local Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) laboratory and education facility Forge Academy on April 28 said Finland has reiterated its intention to help narrow the digital divide in Southern Africa by focusing on skills development in the technology sector. “The global digital divide poses a... 

Altron to report significant surge in earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     28th April 2021 JSE-listed Allied Electronics (Altron) expects its basic earnings per share (BEPS) to increase more than 100% for the year-ended February 28 owing to the Bytes Technology Group demerger in December. Altron expects its BEPS to be between 3 256c and 3 270c apiece, compared with the restated BEPS of... 

MTN eyes telecoms licence in Ethiopia

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th April 2021 Telecommunications group MTN and its equity partners are bidding for a telecommunications licence in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia provides the largest telecommunication and digital services growth opportunity in Africa over the medium term and fits into our pan-Africa focus and platform strategy. We are... 

China preparing to launch the first module of its new, larger space station

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th April 2021 The rocket carrying the first module for China’s own national space station is now on its launchpad at the country’s Wenchang spaceport, the journal Spacenews has reported. The rocket was rolled out to the launchpad early on Friday local time (that is, some time late Thursday South African time)... 

China preparing to launch the first module of its new, larger space station
Photo by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
The Long March 5B rocket carrying the Tianhe core module is rolled out to its launchpad

SpaceX again delivers astronauts safely to space station

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th April 2021 US space company SpaceX, founded and led by South African engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk, has successfully executed its second operational crew delivery flight to the International Space Station (ISS), on behalf of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). If the original... 

SpaceX again delivers astronauts safely to space station
Photo by Nasa
SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour (upper left) approaches the ISS (right foreground) for docking

South African companies' cyber-preparedness lacking

By: Schalk Burger     23rd April 2021 Email security and cyber-resilience company Mimecast's '2021 State of Email Security' report showed that 47% of South African companies surveyed were infected by ransomware during 2020 and that 48% of South African organisations reported significant increases in the volume of email, but 12% still... 

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