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Technology & Communications News

New science, tech policy book focuses on transformative policy making

By: Schalk Burger     Updated 3 hours ago A new book authored by a host of international scientists and policy advisors sets out the theories, approaches and lessons for how science, technology and innovation (STI) policy making should be developed to ensure the intended benefits of research, development, innovation, progress and... 

City of Johannesburg invites tech startups to submit Covid-19 mitigation ideas

By: Marleny Arnoldi     Updated 3 hours ago The City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ’s) Smart City Office has invited startup technology companies to submit proposals for smart city innovative solutions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and innovative ideas on how we can go into the future together. “The lockdown protocols have ignited new... 

Gauteng Covid-19 visualisation platform enables monitoring, prediction

By: Schalk Burger     Updated 4 hours ago A visual analytics tool allows Gauteng Government users to visualise prediction models provided by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to see predicted active Covid-19 cases, as well as predicted bed availability over time. This can help determine where to focus resources ahead of when... 

SA receives additional ventilators from US

By: Sane Dhlamini     7th July 2020 The US government through the US Agency for International Development, has delivered a second shipment of 100 ventilators to South Africa to assist with its national response to the coronavirus pandemic. USAID will also train up to 10 000 critical care nurses and physicians and support supply... 

SA receives additional ventilators from US

Rain doubles Pargo pick-up points for Sims

By: Natasha Odendaal     7th July 2020 Data network provider rain and Pargo have more than doubled the number of pick-up points available for rain’s fourth-generation (4G) Sim cards amid a growing demand for the data-only Sim cards. There are now 260 Pargo pick-up points at selected Clicks stores across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the... 

Airbus wins new generation satellite order form Australian telecoms group

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th July 2020 Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded an end-to-end turnkey contract for a telecommunications satellite by Australia’s leading satellite operator and number two telecommunications company, Optus. This is Airbus’ first contract from an Australian operator and is the fourth order for Airbus’... 

Regulation of online contracts needed to protect consumers, says SU academic

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     6th July 2020 Almost every time one browses a website, click the “accept” icon or download software, they are concluding an online contract  ̶  a non-negotiated contract such as the terms and conditions regulating the use of websites or the privacy policies of online suppliers. People are rarely required to... 

Blue Label expects double-digit rise in earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     6th July 2020 JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms expects to report a more than 20% increase in earnings for the year ended May 31, 2020. This will be a turnaround on the prior year’s performance, which reported losses on basic, headline and core headline a share of 727.81c, 312.49c and 304.77c respectively. 

Insolvent global Internet satellite communications company bought by UK/India partnership

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th July 2020 UK-domiciled but US-based global Internet satellite communications company OneWeb, which became insolvent because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been bought by an international public-private partnership (PPP). OneWeb’s aim is to establish a constellation of, at first, 650... 

Insolvent global Internet satellite communications company bought by UK/India partnership
Photo by OneWeb
An artist’s impression of a OneWeb satellite in orbit.

Reliable connectivity essential for effective IoT

By: Schalk Burger     3rd July 2020 A global study conducted by satellite communications multinational Inmarsat found that only 15% of mining organisations consistently have access to reliable connectivity for their Internet of Things- (IoT-) enabled projects. Inmarsat’s research programme into IoT trends 'The Rise of IoT in... 

Moon metals discovery aids development of lunar formation theories

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd July 2020 Scientists using data from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft have discovered evidence that the Moon might, underneath its surface, be richer in metals (such as iron and titanium) than had previously been believed. Nasa is... 

Moon metals discovery aids development of lunar formation theories

Supply chain liquidity and digitisation support fund launched

By: Schalk Burger     3rd July 2020 A R25-billion Covid-19 Instant Supplier Payment Scheme and digitisation drive has been launched for private and public sector institutions in South Africa and selected African markets, supply chain payments company Tradeshift and trade and supply chain finance and services platform Raindew Trade... 

Greater drone deployability in Africa requires regulatory allowances, supply chain integration

By: Donna Slater     3rd July 2020 Drones are being successfully deployed to support medical and humanitarian projects across Africa, but for a greater, more sustainable impact, they will need to be fully integrated into supply chains within an enabling regulatory environment, according to panellists who spoke during a webinar on... 

Structural testing completed for first flight of America’s latest spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd July 2020 The US space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has announced that structural testing of its Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission had been successfully concluded. The Orion will carry astronauts deeper into space than any previous human spacecraft. This... 

Structural testing completed for first flight of America’s latest spacecraft
Photo by Nasa
The full stack fo the Orion STA, including adaptors and the jettisonable fairing, in Lockheed Martin’s reverberant acoustic test chamber

New digital technologies improve manufacturing capabilities

3rd July 2020 Metallurgical plant supplier SMS group has developed digital technology called the X-Pact MES 4.0, along with the Safety Locator Suite system, which both aid in the digital transformation of organisations and help to gain faster insights and more informed management decision-making, with the... 

Plant productivity could be increased by virtual support

3rd July 2020 Metallurgical plant supplier SMS group aims to increase the technical resources of its clients’ plants by using local service teams from SMS Group with virtual support from global experts around the world using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. The aim is to improve... 

Icasa to publish WOAN, spectrum invitation

By: Natasha Odendaal     2nd July 2020 The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is preparing to publish the Invitation To Apply (ITA) for both the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) and the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum. While Icasa has made “extensive progress” in developing both ITAs... 

South African professor elected to chair Unesco expert group on AI

By: Schalk Burger     30th June 2020 University of Pretoria department of philosophy Professor Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem has been elected as the chairperson of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will formulate a recommendation for... 

MTN launches 5G network

By: Natasha Odendaal     30th June 2020 Telecommunications group MTN has launched its fifth-generation (5G) network, with 100 sites live across areas in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth. During a live-streamed launch event, MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa said that 5G will deliver higher peak data speeds,... 

All parts of Nasa’s new heavy space rocket are now qualified for flight

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th June 2020 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) – the US space agency – has  announced that the structural testing campaign for its new Space Launch System (SLS) was completed on June 24. The SLS is Nasa’s new heavy rocket, which will launch into space its upcoming Artemis crewed Moon... 

All parts of Nasa’s new heavy space rocket are now qualified for flight
Photo by Nasa
The moment the SLS liquid oxygen tank failed during its final, destructive, test

Sled dogs are much older than previously thought

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th June 2020 Scientists at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the University of Greenland and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, have determined that sled (or sledge) dogs (for example, Huskies, Malamutes and Greenland Sledge Dogs) are much older than previously believed. This was... 

New astronomical discovery raises questions about theory of creation of early black holes

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th June 2020 Astronomers, using three telescopes based in the US State of Hawaii, have discovered the  second-oldest, or second most distant, quasar so far found in the universe. Quasars are the most energetic objects known in the universe and are powered by supermassive black holes in their centres. And the... 

Vodacom appoints interim CFO

By: Creamer Media Reporter      26th June 2020 Telecommunications group Vodacom has appointed Sitho Mdlalose as interim CFO, effective July 1. This follows the resignation of Till Streichert, who will leave the position of CFO on June 30. 

Local app helps beauty salons manage queues as Covid-19 lockdown measures ease

By: Schalk Burger     26th June 2020 The Fleeker platform, created by four University of Cape Town (UCT) students, allows users to schedule appointments with hairstylists, barbers, make-up artists and nail technicians and manage long in-salon queues to meet physical distancing regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Physical... 

Aeroswift 3D printer project still ‘a key focus’, assures CSIR

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th June 2020 The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has confirmed to Engineering News & Mining Weekly that the Aeroswift additive manufacturing project remains “a key focus” for it. Additive manufacturing is popularly known as three-dimensional (3D) printing. Additive manufacturing involves... 

Subsea cable to improve connectivity in Africa

By: Tracy Hancock     26th June 2020 Submarine communications network supplier Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been appointed to build the 37 000-km-long 2Africa subsea cable – one of the largest subsea projects globally, which will connect 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. "We are honoured by the trust of our... 

Subsea cable to improve connectivity in Africa
CONNECTING AFRICA The 2Africa subsea cable will be the most comprehensive subsea cable to serve Africa and the Middle East

US research group says quantum computing at least a decade away for most businesses

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th June 2020 US research and data company Lux Research has, in its most recent report, “Preparing for Quantum Computing”, cautioned that quantum computing is still at least a decade away from being a useful, reliable technology for most businesses. While quantum computing promises to be able to solve complex... 

Competition Tribunal confirms MTN agreement

By: Natasha Odendaal     25th June 2020 The Competition Tribunal has approved a consent agreement between the Competition Commission and telecommunications group MTN on data pricing. In terms of the agreement, MTN will reduce the data prices of its 30-day prepaid bundles across channels; offer all its customers a daily free capped data... 

Altron progresses potential listing of Bytes Technology UK

By: Natasha Odendaal     25th June 2020 JSE-listed Allied Electronics (Altron) is actively progressing the potential separation and listing of its UK subsidiary Bytes Technology on the main market of the London Stock Exchange with a secondary listing on the JSE. The group on June 25 said it had appointed Numis Securities as the... 

MTN to launch 5G network in South Africa next week

By: Reuters     24th June 2020 Mobile operator MTN Group will launch its 5G commercial network in South Africa next week, joining Vodacom Group and Rain in the race to expand fifth-generation technology in the country. The firm said on Wednesday it is hosting a virtual launch event on June 30, where MTN South Africa CEO... 

New Digital Economy Master Plan nearly ready

By: Natasha Odendaal     23rd June 2020 A new Digital Economy Master Plan is being developed to build a sustainable future digital ecosystem enabling South Africa to become a hub of all digital infrastructure serving the African continent. The Department Communications and Digital Technologies is preparing to publish the Digital... 

B4SA receives R13m worth of PPE donations from public, private sector

By: Marleny Arnoldi     23rd June 2020 In heeding Business for South Africa’s (B4SA’s) call for help, individuals and companies have donated more than 1.4-million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), valued at R13.2-million. B4SA in March launched a national donations drive called “Business Mzansi, we need you” that called... 

Cell C plans to lay off 960 workers as it streamlines operations

By: Reuters     23rd June 2020 South Africa's third-biggest telecom operator Cell C said on Monday it plans to lay off 960 workers as it restructures its operations to align the organisation with its new operating model. Unlisted Cell C, in which Blue Label Telecoms has a 45% stake, said it has initiated discussions with... 

Schneider Electric extends strategic partnerships to enable IT/OT convergence

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     22nd June 2020 Energy management and automation provider Schneider Electric has announced the expansion of its partnerships with technology companies to address the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). Bringing together system integrators with IT solution providers to... 

Telkom redirects dividend payouts to spectrum, capital investment programme 

By: Natasha Odendaal     22nd June 2020 JSE-listed Telkom has suspended its dividend payouts for the next three years from the 2021 financial year to redirect the capital to acquire much-needed spectrum and complete its capital expenditure (capex) programme to ensure future sustainability. The group, which announced its intention of... 

Telkom redirects dividend payouts to spectrum, capital investment programme
Telkom Group CEO Sipho Maseko and Group CFO Tsholofelo Molefe discuss the group’s financial results for the year ended March 31, 2020.

Visa launches new initiative to support small businesses in South Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th June 2020 Digital payments service provider Visa has launched a new initiative that aims to champion and enable entrepreneurs in South Africa, while encouraging consumers to support small businesses. Having launched on June 17, Visa’s initiative is aimed at supporting small businesses through the Visa... 

AI-powered predictive maintenance engenders costs savings, says GlobalData

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th June 2020 Predictive maintenance techniques powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are helping enterprises across industries to find patterns that can avoid machine failures. Unlike AI, traditional business intelligence systems are not designed to handle huge volumes of industrial Internet of things (IoT)... 

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