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Technology & Communications News

Pandemic paves the way for Industry 4.0 course

By: Darren Parker     16th April 2021 A positive consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it has accelerated the progression of Industry 4.0, as it has prepared us all for a life online, says industry education entity Colliery Training College (CTC) MD Johan Venter. One of CTC’s flagship offerings is the Artisan 4.0 training... 

Industry 4.0 tech adoption requires forethought

16th April 2021 For the successful adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, several considerations must be taken into account from both a technology and human standpoint, says technology solutions provider Dwyka Mining Services CEO Jamie van Schoor. “Changing mindsets to embrace technology adoption is no easy... 

Industry 4.0 tech adoption requires forethought
THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL THINGS connectivity forms the foundation of industrial control and automation

Electricity grids to benefit from IoT

By: Nadine Ramdass     16th April 2021 Embracing renewable energy, adapting business models, reducing operational expenditure and using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can lead to effective power generation and transmission, says University of Pretoria (UP) associate professor Raj Naidoo. While the energy model for electricity... 

Electricity grids to benefit from IoT
RAJ NAIDOO The Internet of Things offers huge benefits to the energy sector

Telcolink named project house on Gauteng Broadband Network

By: Creamer Media Reporter      15th April 2021 Altron Nexus has appointed information and communications technology solutions provider Telcolink as a project house on the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) initiative. The appointment will see Telcolink managing and assisting small, medium-sized and microenterprises in the West-Rand that form... 

EOH expects restructuring to be completed soon; will pursue growth from later this year

By: Schalk Burger     14th April 2021 Information and communication technology services group EOH reported in its interim results for the six months ended January 31, 2021, that it had stabilised its businesses, achieved an operating profit for the first time in two years and narrowed its headline loss a share. It achieved an... 

Spectrum progress being made, but allocation unlikely in 2021 

By: Natasha Odendaal     14th April 2021 While the auction of high demand spectrum has experienced another setback and is not likely to be allocated this year, much progress has been made compared with a year ago. The release date of high demand spectrum remains uncertain, owing to several legal battles over the Independent... 

Delays in digital migration, exclusive spectrum licensing hampering broadband rollout

By: Schalk Burger     13th April 2021 While the delayed migration of analogue television and radio broadcasting signals to other spectrum bands is hampering the rollout of broadband telecommunications services, especially in rural areas, the licensing of the exclusive use of spectrum only by a single market player is preventing... 

Nasa engineers find fix for Mars helicopter glitch, but first flight delayed for several days

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th April 2021 Engineers at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have developed a software fix for a glitch that developed in the command system of the Ingenuity helicopter. The problem emerged during a pre-flight test sequence for the Martian aircraft... 

Nasa engineers find fix for Mars helicopter glitch, but first flight delayed for several days
Photo by Nasa
The Ingenuity helicopter sitting on the Martian surface

US group extends life of a second in-orbit satellite

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th April 2021 US aerospace giant Northrop Grumman has reported that its Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) spacecraft has successfully docked with the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) telecommunications satellite. MEV-2 will extend the life of IS-10-02, which was running out of fuel (having been launched in 2004)... 

US group extends life of a second in-orbit satellite
Photo by Northrop Grunman
IS-10-02 imaged by MEV-2’s infrared wide-field-of-view camera at a range of 15 m

MTN named South Africa’s best mobile network

By: Natasha Odendaal     13th April 2021 Telecommunications group MTN has secured the title of the best mobile network in South Africa from the quarterly MyBroadband Insights report. The first quarter Mobile Network Quality Report showed that MTN achieved a network quality score of 9.73, followed by Vodacom with a score of 5.65, Telkom... 

Students developed Covid-19 symptoms chatbots for 4IR hackathon challenge

By: Schalk Burger     12th April 2021 Seven students in three teams developed chatbots - interactive programmes to aide customer enquiries - during a hackathon hosted by Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) education facility Forge Academy in Fourways, Gauteng. The software programmes had to serve as a digital solution to guide... 

MTN group values mobile-money arm at $5bn, considers IPO

By: Bloomberg     12th April 2021 MTN Group is valuing its mobile-money arm at about $5-billion, joining African wireless carriers planning to list these businesses in a region that has more mobile-money accounts than anywhere else in the world. MTN’s valuation of its unit follows Mastercard Inc. and TPG Holdings investing... 

Biden proposes increased spending for space agency Nasa

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th April 2021 In its budget proposal for the 2022 financial year (FY), the new US administration of President Joe Biden has included some $24.7-billion for the country’s space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). This would represent an approximately 6.3% increase over the agency’s... 

Biden proposes increased spending for space agency Nasa

EWT, Eskom use drones to deploy bird flight diverters

By: Donna Slater     12th April 2021 A drone-operated system that can deploy bird flight diverters, or so-called “flappers”, has been designed and developed in a partnership between the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT’s) wildlife and energy programme and Eskom. The diverters serve as markers that will improve the visibility of... 

First cohort completes tech centre course

By: Schalk Burger     9th April 2021 The first group of students enrolled in the newly established Stellenbosch University (SU) data science and entrepreneurial development upskilling initiative Techpreneurship Centre, have completed a six-week programme. Seventy per cent of those who completed the course have been offered full-time... 

MTN Nigeria in talks for longer term pricing structures of banking channel sales

By: Natasha Odendaal     9th April 2021 Telecommunications group MTN Nigeria has been participating in a series of meetings, since April 6, to align on longer term pricing structures after a temporary suspension of airtime sales through the company’s banking channels owing to a dispute over the reduction in cost of sales. The sales of... 

Mine protocols adapted for Covid-19

By: Theresa Bhowan     9th April 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the mining industry, owing to employees often having to work in close proximity to one another and the consequent difficulty of isolating tasks. To mitigate these difficulties, America-based industrial medical support service provider Remote... 

Mine protocols adapted for Covid-19
QUALITY SCREENING Remote Medical International has adapted its proprietary Health Dashboard to capture and track Covid-19 information on mine employees

Pandemic accelerated digital education, but some way to go to make tool truly effective

By: Schalk Burger     9th April 2021 Enabling effective education and the development of foundational, specialist and new skills that are needed across industries and societies – in part through adopting digital education tools – requires a broad partnership among civil, commercial, educational and governmental organisations, a... 

Pandemic accelerated digital education, but some way to go to make tool truly effective

Absa to train staff on cloud skills

By: Schalk Burger     8th April 2021 Financial services group Absa has launched a cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with cloud services multinational Amazon Web Services (AWS) to enhance the cloud computing skills across its operations in Africa. The cloud incubator initiative will equip more than 1 500 staff across Absa’s... 

Absa to train staff on cloud skills
Absa group chief technology officer Andrew Baker

National Treasury e-tender portal down

By: Simone Liedtke     7th April 2021 The National Treasury confirms that its e-Tender Portal is currently experiencing technical difficulties. The information and communications technology (ICT) server infrastructure that hosts the portal suffered a crash caused by a technical failure, which has resulted in data corruption leading... 

Ultra-sensitive radio images reveal star-forming galaxies in early Universe

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th April 2021 An international team of astronomers has published the most sensitive images of the Universe ever taken at low radio frequencies. The images were taken using the International Low Frequency Array (Lofar). The software needed to do this, specifically that which handles the direction-dependent... 

AB4IR to host digital solutions hackathon

By: Schalk Burger     6th April 2021 Township digital technology nonprofit AB4IR will host a hackathon in partnership with digital services multinational Liquid Intelligent Technologies from April 16 to 18. Participants will have to develop technology solutions to overcome challenges faced by communities, government and the private... 

South Africans have good and bad cybersecurity habits, but lag global levels

By: Schalk Burger     6th April 2021 South Africa was ranked sixteenth out of 21 countries in terms of national privacy and cybersecurity awareness and practices and local participants in virtual private network service company NordVPN's National Privacy Test achieved good scores in their awareness of and responses to online threats... 

Amendments to environmental plan for construction of SKA published

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     6th April 2021 The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment says amendments to the Integrated Environmental Management Plan required to manage the impacts associated with the development of the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), in the Northern Cape, have been published. No further... 

Science dept to support technology innovations to assist unemployed IKS graduates

By: Yvonne Silaule     6th April 2021 The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has committed to supporting technology innovations to help overcome the challenges facing Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) unemployed graduates. DSI deputy director general of technology innovation Dr Mmboneni Muofhe last week said that despite IKS... 

Lenders cut off Nigeria’s biggest telco from banking platforms

By: Bloomberg     6th April 2021 Some Nigerian lenders have cut off MTN Nigeria from their banking platforms, making it impossible for millions of customers to buy credit for their phones. All lenders in Africa’s most populous country, except Zenith Bank, have taken MTN Nigeria off their platform, said Funso Aina, spokesman for... 

German physicist determines that starships are indeed possible – at least in theory

By: Rebecca Campbell     2nd April 2021 New calculations by a physicist at Germany’s Georg-August University, in Göttingen (more generally known as the University of Göttingen) has indicated that superluminal (faster-then-light) space travel may indeed one day be possible. Theoretical considerations of superluminal travel are based on... 

Local company shines in furnace rebuilds

By: Darren Parker     2nd April 2021 Foundry and engineering company Thos Begbie is conducting several major furnace rebuilds locally and globally. Locally, the company is manufacturing and supplying the copper furnace components of platinum producer Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) in Rustenburg, in... 

Local company shines  in furnace rebuilds
ALL-ROUND SOLUTION Thos Begbie uses advanced casting simulation and machining simulation programs to reproduce what has been designed on computer-aided design programs by design houses

College introduces digital artisan training

By: Khutso Maphatsoe     2nd April 2021 In addition to the initial training of artisans, during which they are taught how to work with hand-held and power tools, artisan and mining skills training college Colliery Training College (CTC) has introduced Artisan 4.0 training. Although the need to carry and use physical tools will remain,... 

College introduces digital artisan training
LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD The purpose of the programme is to train artisans from any trade in advanced automation and digital skills

Stellenbosch researchers make major advance in imaging biochemical processes in cells

By: Rebecca Campbell     1st April 2021 Scientists and engineers at Stellenbosch University have developed a ‘visualisation tool’ that can, in three dimensions (3D) in space, as well as in time, automatically localise and quantify specific processes inside biological cells, such as those that make up the human body. The main focus for... 

Stellenbosch researchers make major advance in imaging biochemical processes in cells
Photo by Rensu Theart
A processed MEL image of mitochondria, with the different events identified by different colours

PwC report identifies payment as a core digital economy value proposition

By: Schalk Burger     31st March 2021 Digital payments, and the ecosystem partnerships required to enable them, are a cornerstone of the new digital economy and customers and businesses are increasingly relying on digital options to buy and sell goods and services, says advisory multinational PwC Strategy& Payments Transformation... 

New NRF CEO appointed

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th March 2021 The Board of the National Research Foundation (NRF) has announced the appointment of a new CEO for the organisation. He is Professor Fulufhelo Nelwamondo and he will take up the post of April 1. The NRF is an independent statutory body mandated to promote and support research by providing... 

Covid-19 hits Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace hard, but diversification helps the group

By: Rebecca Campbell     26th March 2021 UK-based global major industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has reported its full-year results for last year. The group was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, suffering a loss (including tax) of nearly £3.17-billion. In 2019, it had experienced a loss (including tax) of just over £1.31-billion.... 

South Africa to gain another radio telescope array 

By: Rebecca Campbell     25th March 2021 South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Research Foundation (NRF) have authorised R35-million to fund a new radio telescope to be located in the country. Designated the Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX), it will be built at the South... 

South Africa to gain another radio telescope array 
Photo by National Research Foundation
An artist’s impression of the HIRAX array

Science, innovation dept invests R18.9m in nanosatellites

By: Yvonne Silaule     25th March 2021 The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has invested R18.9-million in the development of two nanosatellites that will  be used to improve maritime domain awareness in South Africa. The investment is the first initiative in the country to provide satellite communication services to the... 

Competition Tribunal grants GovChat interim relief against WhatsApp, Facebook

By: Creamer Media Reporter      25th March 2021 The Competition Tribunal has interdicted and restrained Facebook, WhatsApp and Facebook South Africa from removing GovChat’s WhatsApp-based citizen engagement platform from the WhatsApp platform for a period of six months. This follows GovChat and its subsidiary #Let’sTalk’s application for... 

Airbus satellites arrive at their launch site

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th March 2021 Europe-based global major aerospace group Airbus announced on Wednesday that its first two Pléiades Neo Earth observation satellites had arrived in the French territory of Guiana in South America. There they will be integrated with Vega launch rockets before being launched from the European Space... 

Airbus satellites arrive at their launch site
Photo by Airbus
One of the Pléiades Neo satellites, at an Airbus facility, before transport to Kourou
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