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Technology & Communications News

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)... 

The Long March 5B rocket carrying the Tianhe core module is rolled out to its launchpad
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 Crew Dragon Endeavour (upper left) approaches the ISS (right foreground) for docking
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... 

Mars helicopter Ingenuity is expanding its flight envelope

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd April 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Nasa) has announced that its Ingenuity drone helicopter made a successful second flight on Mars on Thursday. This flight, although still brief, significantly expanded the machine’s flight envelope. The little helicopter and its control algorithms were... 

Ingenuity photographed by the Perseverance rover during the helicopter’s second flight
Photo by Nasa
Ingenuity photographed by the Perseverance rover during the helicopter’s second flight

EOH clarifies SIU statement, says started repaying State funds in October

By: Schalk Burger     23rd April 2021 Information technology services company EOH on April 23 clarified that it had entered into an acknowledgement of debt (AoD) with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) at the end of September 2020 and that it had started monthly payments in terms of the AoD from October 5, 2020. It also highlighted... 

Tech assists water utilities improve sewer systems

By: Khutso Maphatsoe     23rd April 2021 Water technology company Xylem Africa offers the BLU-X wastewater network optimisation technology to water utilities for better control over the performance and capacity of their sewer system assets. “BLU-X helps utilities to reduce sewerage overflow, detect sewer blockages, minimise flooding... 

PROBLEM SOLVED
The power behind BLU-X is not only the data collected but also the meaningful insights generated that will enable utilities to make informed decisions
PROBLEM SOLVED The power behind BLU-X is not only the data collected but also the meaningful insights generated that will enable utilities to make informed decisions

IT professionals institute questions plan to create State IT infrastructure company

By: Schalk Burger     22nd April 2021 Industry association the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) has questioned the need for the creation of a a State Digital Infrastructure Company (SDIC) and High-Performance Computing and Data Processing Centre (HPCDPC), as outlined in the Department of... 

Icasa calls for public comment on review of disaster frequency regulations

By: Schalk Burger     22nd April 2021 Telecommunications regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has called for written comments on the review of the Information and Communications Technology Covid-19 National Disaster Regulations. The issues of consultation in the submissions must include the... 

Nasa scores another technology first on Mars

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd April 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) latest Mars mission has recorded another first. Yet another technology demonstration unit carried to the Red Planet by the Perseverance lander has demonstrated success. This technology demonstrator is named the Mars Oxygen In-Situ... 

The Moxie instrument is lowered into its place in the Perseverance lander, during the latter’s final assembly.
Photo by Nasa
The Moxie instrument is lowered into its place in the Perseverance lander, during the latter’s final assembly.

NRF seals agreement to send PhD students to US under Fulbright programme

By: Schalk Burger     21st April 2021 The National Research Foundation (NRF) has partnered with the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme (FFSP) to support NRF-funded PhD students registered with a South African university to travel to the US to conduct research towards their doctorates at a host US institution or university. This... 

Vodacom, AUDA-Nepad launch mVacciNation digital toolbox 

By: Natasha Odendaal     21st April 2021 Telecommunications giant Vodacom Group and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-Nepad) have joined forces to deploy a mobile technology platform that manages vaccination appointments and stock availability. Developed by Vodacom Group member Mezzanine, the mVacciNation digital toolbox will... 

Vodacom, AUDA-Nepad launch mVacciNation digital toolbox

Nasa provides more details on first flight of Mars drone helicopter

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th April 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has released more details about the first ever flight by a human-built aircraft on another planet. The aircraft, an autonomous drone helicopter designated Ingenuity, made its maiden flight, on Mars, on Monday. That flight lasted a total... 

Cell C reports full-year loss, assures company stabilised 

By: Natasha Odendaal     20th April 2021 Telecommunications group Cell C has reported a full-year loss of R5.5-billion during the 12 months ended December 31, 2020, widening from the loss of R4-billion reported in 2019. However, the company returned to profit during the second half of the year, reporting a profit before tax of... 

Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson
Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson and Cell C CFO Zaf Mahomed discuss Cell C’s financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2020.

SpaceX wins Nasa contract to land next astronauts on the Moon

By: Rebecca Campbell     20th April 2021 US private-sector space company SpaceX, founded and led by South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk, has been awarded what is probably the most prestigious single contract in the space sector today. The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Nasa) has selected SpaceX to supply... 

An artist’s impression of a Starship HLS on the lunar surface
Photo by SpaceX
An artist’s impression of a Starship HLS on the lunar surface

Altron subsidiary to buy LawTrust

By: Natasha Odendaal     20th April 2021 Allied Electronics (Altron) subsidiary Altron TMTSA is planning to acquire JSE-listed Etion cyber and information security subsidiary LawTrust for R245-million. The duo entered into an agreement that will see Altron TMT absorb LawTrust to enhance its information technology (IT) security service... 

MTN Rwandacell to list on Rwanda Stock Exchange

By: Natasha Odendaal     19th April 2021 MTN Rwandacell will list on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) on May 4 following approval by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE). The listing of MTN Rwanda will see over 1 350 886 600 ordinary shares with a nominal value of Rwf1 each being registered with the RSE... 

CDC, Sansa sign MoU to drive mutual benefits

By: Donna Slater     19th April 2021 Following an expression of interest entered into between the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) to identify opportunities for collaboration this year, Sansa recently hosted the CDC at its Space Operations facility, in Hartebeesthoek, near... 

Nasa’s Ingenuity helicopter makes history on Mars with first flight

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th April 2021 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ingenuity technology demonstrator drone helicopter successfully made its first flight on Mars on Monday. The flight took place at about noon, South African time. This marks a very major milestone in the history of flight: the first time a... 

A monochrome photo taken by Ingenuity's navigation camera showing the shadow of the helicopter as it hovered over the Martian surface.
Photo by Nasa
A monochrome photo taken by Ingenuity's navigation camera showing the shadow of the helicopter as it hovered over the Martian surface.

South African company partners with Unicef to support global vaccine rollout

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     19th April 2021 South African Internet of things (IoT) solutions provider Beyond has recently entered into a long-term agreement with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) to supply its remote cold chain monitoring solution in support of Unicef's global vaccination programme. Unicef will be responsible for... 

Eskom says Oracle halts technical support 

By: Bloomberg     19th April 2021 Eskom Holdings said it was urgently seeking new providers of technical support after Oracle Corp’s South African unit withdrew its services over a payment dispute. The State power utility has been in a disagreement with Oracle, which initially claimed Eskom underpaid it by about R7.3-billion,... 

Eskom says Oracle halts technical support

More evidence that the invention of farming led to gender-based labour divisions

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th April 2021 A new survey of a very ancient technology – stone tools – has provided evidence that supports the theory that a gender-based division of labour emerged with the adoption of farming, at least as far as Europe is concerned. A team of four scientists from Spain, France and the UK, led by Alba... 

BLSA reiterates significance of Eyes and Ears crime fighting partnership

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     16th April 2021 Addressing an Eyes and Ears (E2) meeting this week, independent organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) national project manager Fouché Burgers said the partners in the initiative had been working hard over the past few years since the initiative was piloted in Gauteng in 2018. It... 

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... 

THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL THINGS connectivity forms the foundation of industrial control and automation
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... 

RAJ NAIDOO The Internet of Things offers huge benefits to the energy sector
RAJ NAIDOO The Internet of Things offers huge benefits to the energy sector

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... 

TECHNO TRAINING To implement and maintain Industry 4.0 technologies, artisans need to acquire appropriate skills
TECHNO TRAINING To implement and maintain Industry 4.0 technologies, artisans need to acquire appropriate skills

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... 

The Ingenuity helicopter sitting on the Martian surface
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)... 

IS-10-02 imaged by MEV-2’s infrared wide-field-of-view camera at a range of 15 m
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... 

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