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Technology & Communications News

European Space Agency announces contract for removal of orbital debris

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th November 2020 The European Space Agency (ESA) is contracting Swiss start-up company ClearSpace to remove a piece of space debris from orbit, in a deal worth €86-million. The will be both the first ever mission to remove orbiting space debris and the first time ESA has contracted a private-sector company to... 

Moody's downgrades Telkom's credit rating following sovereign rating action

By: Natasha Odendaal     27th November 2020 Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded telecommunications group Telkom’s corporate family rating to Ba2, from Ba1, with a negative outlook. This followed Moody’s downgrading of South Africa’s sovereign rating by one notch to Ba2 with a negative outlook on November 20. 

Indaba aims to encourage sector growth

By: Darren Parker     27th November 2020 Revitalising and growing manufacturers is the theme of this year’s Manufacturing Indaba, which aims to get the South African manufacturing industry stakeholders together to unpack the way forward towards growing their businesses. This year’s event was originally slated to take place on June 9 and... 

Indaba aims to  encourage sector growth
THIS TIME IT’S VIRTUAL This year’s Manufacturing Indaba will be entirely virtual and, therefore, free to attend

UK funds study into space-based solar power

By: Rebecca Campbell     27th November 2020 The British government has commissioned a study into the engineering and economic practicality of space-based solar power (SBSP) systems. More specifically, the study – the value of which has not been released – has been jointly commissioned by the UK Space Agency and the Department for Business,... 

Pneumatic breakers increase efficiency and productivity

27th November 2020 The powerful, lightweight and ergonomic RTEX and TEX pneumatic breaker ranges from industrial equipment manufacturer Atlas Copco exemplify abalance between high performance and high comfort, says Atlas Copco portable products business line manager David Stanford. 

Pneumatic breakers increase efficiency and productivity
RTEX PNEUMATIC BREAKERS The breakers have a breaking power that matches much heavier top class 30 to 35 kg breakers

Forge Academy launches AI lab in Johannesburg

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th November 2020 Nokia-powered education facility Forge Academy has unveiled a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in Johannesburg. The laboratory, based at The Gantry, in Fourways, aims to equip students with theoretical, laboratory and on-the-job training for the Fourth Industrial Revolution... 

McAfee reports increase in cyberattacks amid Covid-19 lockdowns

By: Schalk Burger     25th November 2020 Cybersecurity multinational McAfee's 'Quarterly Threats' report shows that there were nearly 7.5-million external attacks on cloud user accounts during the second quarter of this year across all major industries globally, including financial services, healthcare, public sector, education, retail,... 

Fund helps South African universities unlock benefits of homegrown IP 

By: Donna Slater     25th November 2020 Since its inception in February, the University Technology Fund (UTF) has approved six investments. Technology and innovation incubated in South Africa’s universities is, as a result, being commercialised and a step closer to commercialisation, creating significant economic, investment and job... 

Fund helps South African universities unlock benefits of homegrown IP
SA SME Fund CEO Ketso Gordhan

Etion H1 earnings contract

By: Creamer Media Reporter      25th November 2020 JSE-listed Etion reported a decline in net profit to R4.9-million for the six months ended September 30, 2020, from R5.4-million reported in the corresponding six months last year. The group’s profit before tax increased by 45% from R5.4-million in the first half of 2019 to R7.9-million during... 

New sea-level monitoring satellite successfully launched

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd November 2020 The European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) sea-level monitoring Sentinel-6 satellite was successfully placed in orbit over the weekend, after being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the US State of California on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. The Sentinel-6 has, unusually for a satellite, a... 

New sea-level monitoring satellite successfully launched

UN leveraging new technology for peacekeeping missions

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     23rd November 2020 The UN is introducing new technologies to assist in its peacekeeping operations, says UN Support Office in Somalia supply chain management service chief Herbert Pechek. Some of the elements of the UN’s programme are arms control, cease fire monitoring, elections, enforcement and combat, public... 

Famed US radio telescope to be decommissioned due to structural instability

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th November 2020 The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that the world-renowned Arecibo Observatory, in the US territory of Puerto Rico, is to be decommissioned after 57 years of operation. The decommissioning is the result of structural weaknesses that have been discovered after a support cable... 

Famed US radio telescope to be decommissioned due to structural instability
Photo by University of Central Florida
A recent photograph of the Arecibo radio telescope; the damage to the dish is clearly apparent

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests

By: Darren Parker     20th November 2020 The impact of Covid-19 on South Africa and Italy has highlighted the need for strong action to ensure that European business interests are protected in South Africa, according to a statement by Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (ItalchamSA) secretary-general Pamina Bohrer... 

Stronger advocacy needed to protect European business interests
PAMINA BOHRER European business interests need to be protected in South Africa

Scientists discover more evidence that, in the past, women were hunters and fighters

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th November 2020   American archaeologists and anthropologists, supported by forensic scientists and physicists, have made a striking and theory-upsetting discovery in the Peruvian Andes. They uncovered the 9 000-year-old grave of a hunter – who was a woman. The burial site is located high in the Andes at a place... 

SA urged to pursue cybersecurity frameworks based on global best practice

By: Schalk Burger     20th November 2020 The data that public and private organisations capture and use, as well as its sensitivity, risk, and protection, are central not only to international best practices of cybersecurity, but also to laws and regulation. Information and communication technology (ICT) and law experts indicate that... 

SA urged to pursue cybersecurity frameworks based on global best practice

Communications satellite megaconstellation company about to exit bankruptcy protection

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th November 2020 In a webinar hosted by the Washington Space Business Roundtable in the US, small satellite megaconstellation broadband connectivity company OneWeb VP: Regulatory Affairs Ruth Pritchard-Kelly stated on Wednesday that the enterprise should exit bankruptcy protection “any day now”. The company,... 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully docks at space station on its first regular mission

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th November 2020 The space capsule Resilience successfully has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), some 27 hours and 30 minutes after its launch from the US State of Florida. The spacecraft is executing the first ever regular, certified, commercial crewed flight, carrying four astronauts to the... 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully docks at space station on its first regular mission
Photo by Nasa TV
The Crew Dragon capsule Resilience docked with the ISS

Liquid Telecom, Zayo partner to expand global network coverage

By: Natasha Odendaal     17th November 2020 Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom and communications infrastructure leader Zayo Group have partnered to leverage their existing networks for customers that have operations in Africa, Europe and North America. This partnership will see the duo add value for their customers through the use... 

UK funds study into space-based solar power

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th November 2020 The British government has commissioned a study into the engineering and economic practicality of space-based solar power (SBSP) systems. More specifically, the study – the value of which has not been released – has been jointly commissioned by the UK Space Agency and the Department for Business,... 

Vodacom reports half-year surge

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th November 2020 Telecommunications group Vodacom has reported a surge in data use that has led to an increase in service revenue for the six months ended September 30. The group’s revenue was up 7.8% to R47.8-billion during the half-year under review, underpinned by strong growth in Vodacom South Africa’s... 

SpaceX reaches another milestone with first regular crew launch

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th November 2020 The first US National Aeronautics and Space Administration- (Nasa-) certified regular commercial crewed spaceflight successfully launched in the early hours of Monday, South African time. The flight is being undertaken by private-sector enterprise SpaceX on behalf of Nasa, using the company’s... 

SpaceX reaches another milestone with first regular crew launch
Photo by Nasa
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew Dragon “Resilience” on the Crew-1 mission lifts off

AWS solutions unlock machine learning potential for Arçelik

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th November 2020 Global household appliances manufacturer Arçelik is establishing a companywide analytics and machine learning programme, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), as it transforms its appliance manufacturing business into a data-driven organisation. AWS was selected as the preferred cloud provider... 

Kagiso Capital invests in local IoT commercial technology development company

By: Schalk Burger     13th November 2020 Transformative investment holding company Kagiso Capital has invested R100-million in Stellenbosch-based specialised technology investment group Alphawave Group, which is focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). The Alphawave Group’s 12 businesses traverse technologies from sensor technology,... 

Digital network launched to support wine sector

13th November 2020 The Western Cape government, in partnership with agency for tourism, trade and investment promotion for Cape Town and the Western Cape, Wesgro, as well as wine marketing specialists Wines of South Africa (WoSA), have announced the launch of the Cape Export Network (CEN). Launched in September,... 

Digital network launched to support wine sector
TECH TALK The Cape Export Network uses technology to introduce producers and buyers on a secure platform

Africa’s Internet economy gaining traction with increased contribution to GDP

By: Donna Slater     12th November 2020 It is estimated that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing about $180-billion to the continent’s economy, a report released by Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on November 11 shows.... 

New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct 

12th November 2020 Chinese information and communication technology giant Huawei, data-only network operator Rain and the University of the Witwatersrand have partnered to launch South Africa’s first 5G laboratory, located at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, in Johannesburg. Natasha Odendaal tells... 

New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct
New 5G lab unveiled at Tshimologong Innovation Precinct

US space agency certifies SpaceX capsule for regular crewed missions

By: Rebecca Campbell     11th November 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) announced on Tuesday that it had certified SpaceX’s Commercial Crew transport system, allowing it to be regularly used to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). This certification follows the successful... 

US space agency certifies SpaceX capsule for regular crewed missions
Photo by Nasa
PHOTO The Falcon 9 rocket with attached Crew Dragon capsule Resilience at Launch Pad 39A, before being elevated into the vertical launch position

New hominin fossil suggests environmental conditions drove micro-evolution

By: Schalk Burger     10th November 2020 A newly discovered Paranthropus robustus fossil documents small-scale evolutionary changes. The fossil cranium shows evidence for micro-evolution and suggests environmental conditions drove rapid changes, says University of Johannesburg Palaeo-Research Institute project co-director Stephanie... 

New hominin fossil suggests environmental conditions drove micro-evolution
Stephanie Baker

Econet, X’s Project Taara to deploy new Internet technology in sub-Saharan Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     10th November 2020 Telecoms and technology group Econet Group has teamed up with X’s Project Taara to expand and enhance affordable, high-speed Internet connectivity to communities across sub-Saharan Africa using a new optical wireless technology developed by Taara. This is the first roll-out of Taara’s technology... 

Econet, X’s Project Taara to deploy new Internet technology in sub-Saharan Africa
Taara Kenya

Omnia expects to report 280% jump in interim earnings

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th November 2020 JSE-listed Omnia has advised that it expects to report a 280% to 300% year-on-year increase in earnings a share for the six months ended September 30. The group expects earnings a share to increase to between 146c and 154c.  

Telkom posts growth in interim headline earnings as working-from-home increased 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     10th November 2020 Despite having experienced different impacts to its business units as a result of Covid-19 and the related lockdown, JSE-listed telecommunications company Telkom still came out of the first half of its financial year with improved profitability, strong liquidity and a strengthened balance sheet.... 

Telkom posts growth in interim headline earnings as working-from-home increased
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko shares the good and bad impacts of Covid-19 impacts on the business

Virgin Galactic expects first powered test flight of its spacecraft within three weeks

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2020 Sub-orbital crewed spaceflight company Virgin Galactic announced on Thursday that the first powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane will take place later this month. The test flight will be made from Spaceport America in the US State of New Mexico. The test flight will be conducted... 

Virgin Galactic expects first powered test flight of its spacecraft within three weeks
Photo by Virgin Galactic
A view from below of WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo beneath its wing centre section

Scientists discover that, in the far past, women hunted

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th November 2020 American archaeologists and anthropologists, supported by forensic scientists and physicists, have made a striking and theory-upsetting discovery in the Peruvian Andes. They uncovered the 9 000-year old grave of a hunter – who was a woman. The burial site is located high in the Andes at a place... 

Shift in strategy to maximise offering

By: Halima Frost     6th November 2020 Bearings manufacturer and distributor SKF held a virtual webinar last month to discuss the company’s three-pronged strategy shift to better meet client requirements.  “The strategy has encouraged every part of the company to rethink the way it works, especially SKF’s core research and development... 

Shift in strategy to maximise offering
LEARNING CURVE The ability to re-look at the company's research and development strategy has been important to SKF during the Covid-19 pandemic

Fibre-optic tech monitors bearing parameters

By: Halima Frost     6th November 2020 Bearing manufacturer and distributor SKF says its fibre-optic sensing technology used in its bearings to capture their working parameters, is “a world first”. The technology provides instant access to a variety of bearings data, including axial versus radial loads, polar lots of the bearing´s... 

Fibre-optic tech monitors bearing parameters
FULLY LOADED The fibre-optic load-sensing bearings developed by SKF gather data such as load and stress on pumps and compressors at a distance

Bearing mounting app simplifies installation

By: Halima Frost     6th November 2020 Bearing manufacturer and distributor SKF has developed a new mobile application (app) that simplifies the task of mounting and replacing bearings. SKF’s Bearing Assist app, developed together with customers, provides detailed mounting instructions for a comprehensive range of SKF bearings. 

Space agency seeks to boost European commercial space transport with new contracts

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th November 2020 The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed its first three contracts under its ‘Boost!’ programme, intended to encourage the development of commercial space transport services in Europe and to support equivalent national programmes in its member States. Boost! was authorised in November last year... 

Space agency seeks to boost European commercial space transport with new contracts
Artist’s impression of Isar Aerospace Technologies’ Spectrum rocket
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