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Technology & Communications News

Vodacom Group appoints Raisibe Morathi as Group CFO

By: Natasha Odendaal     25th August 2020 Telecommunications giant Vodacom has appointed Raisibe Morathi as its new Group CFO, effective November 1. Morathi, who is joining Vodacom from Nedbank Group, where she was the Group CFO since 2009, is the successor to Till Streichert, who left the position in June. 

Covid-19 impacts business landscape in the steel manufacturing industry, says Macsteel

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th August 2020 African manufacturer, merchandiser and distributor of steel and value-added products Macsteel is planning to leverage on technology to sustain its business growth as part of its post-Covid-19 business continuity plan. This after the spread of Covid-19 created business disruption around the world,... 

Covid-19 impacts business landscape in the steel manufacturing industry, says Macsteel
Nival Porun

Blue Label expects significant rise in 2020 earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     24th August 2020 JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms expects to swing back into the black during the year ended May 31, 2020. The group’s trading statement indicates that earnings per share will increase between 740.97c and 742.42c apiece to between 13.16c and 14.6c in the year under review. 

Phishing attacks in Africa diversify, target small companies

By: Schalk Burger     21st August 2020 Phishing attacks – a type of social engineering digital attack – are becoming increasingly more targeted in Africa, especially at small companies, says cybersecurity multinational Kaspersky security expert Tatyana Sidorina. Security solutions detected 2.02-million phishing attacks in South... 

Nasa announces validation of much less toxic spacecraft propellant

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st August 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Nasa) announced on Thursday that, following just under 13 months of operational test and evaluation in orbit, it had validated a new type of propellant for spacecraft. This new propellant is much less toxic than the standard current propellant,... 

Nasa announces validation of much less toxic spacecraft propellant
Photo by Nasa
Artist’s impression of the GPIM spacecraft in orbit

New association, focused on scientific imaging, set up in South Africa

By: Rebecca Campbell     21st August 2020 A new scientific, engineering and technology (SET) association has been launched in the country. This is the Scientific Imaging Association of South Africa (Siasa). The association describes scientific imaging as “the process of obtaining images within a scientific discipline for the purpose of... 

Science and tech key to sector’s survival

By: Halima Frost     21st August 2020 The impact of Covid-19 on infrastructure projects demands that the construction sector use its scientific and engineering expertise better, says engineering consultant SRK Consulting partner and principal engineering technologist Steve Bartels. “The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that... 

Science and tech key to sector’s survival
STEVE BARTELS Communication and data-sharing technologies will be increasingly important tools in the country’s ‘new normal’ working practices since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic

4IR brings new tech to fire prevention

21st August 2020 With the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technological advancements introduce new possibilities, and the fire protection and detection sector is no exception, highlights leading engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance company Lesedi fire engineer Francois Holtzhausen. An... 

4IR brings new tech  to fire prevention
FRANCOIS HOLTZHAUSEN Fire safety is multifaceted in that it involves life safety, operations, the environment and public sentiment

Reliable infrastructure needed to meet fibre demand  

By: Halima Frost     21st August 2020 With physical distancing encouraged amid Covid-19, the need for reliable fibre connectivity and infrastructure has increased, says open access network provider Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) strategy, mergers and acquisitions and innovation executive Vino Govender.  “We have seen a significant increase... 

Reliable infrastructure needed to meet fibre demand
Dark Fibre Africa strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and innovation executive Vino Govender discusses the increased demand for bandwidth and data during Covid-19. Camerawork: Kutlwano Matala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 23.07.2020

Next SpaceX Crew Dragon flight set for October, says Nasa

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th August 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has announced that the next mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will take place in late October. This flight, which will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), will actually be the first routine... 

Next SpaceX Crew Dragon flight set for October, says Nasa
Photo by Nasa
The Crew Dragon space capsule just before splashdown at the end of its successful crewed Demo-2 mission

Scientists harvest more eggs from near-extinct northern white rhino

By: Reuters     19th August 2020 Scientists racing to save the northern white rhino from extinction have harvested 10 more eggs from the last two females alive which they hope will help create viable embryos that can be incubated by other rhinos acting as surrogates. Neither of the remaining northern white rhinos on Earth - a... 

Mupita appointed as MTN group president and CEO

By: Natasha Odendaal     19th August 2020 MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita has been appointment as successor for group president and CEO Rob Shuter, effective September 1. Shuter will step down from his executive responsibilities on August 31 and will provide support until the end of his fixed-term contract early next year. 

TPT awards contract for a logistics app to connect South Africa’s supply chain

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th August 2020 Terminal operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) recently awarded a contract to global technology company TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop a logistics platform that will enable the company and the broader industry to integrate into the logistics supply chain. “Cargo Connect is an online... 

South Africa’s 4IR starts with proper spectrum allocation, incentives

By: Marleny Arnoldi     18th August 2020 University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor and deputy chairperson of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR) Professor Tshilidzi Marwala has shared some the recommendations of the commission’s report around South Africa’s progress towards embracing the Fourth... 

Avalanche caught in progress on Mars by Nasa spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th August 2020 The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has just released this photograph of an avalanche in progress on the surface of Mars. The avalanche was caught by the HI-RISE imager on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft. The avalanche took place in Mars’ northern polar... 

Avalanche caught in progress on Mars by Nasa spacecraft
Photo by Nasa/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Caught in the act: an avalanche races down an escarpment on Mars.

The last light that will illuminate the death of the universe predicted

By: Rebecca Campbell     18th August 2020 A theoretical physicist at Illinois State University in the US has calculated that the last phenomena that will happen in our universe is what he calls ‘black dwarf supernovas’. Assistant physics professor Matt Caplan has had his theoretical paper accepted for publication by the Monthly Notices... 

The last light that will illuminate the death of the universe predicted
Photo by Event Horizon Telescope
Black dwarf supernovas will take place so far into the future that even black holes – like this one in the M87 galaxy – will all have evaporated.

Intelsat announces simultaneous launch of two innovative spacecraft

By: Rebecca Campbell     17th August 2020 Global telecommunications satellite group Intelsat announced on Saturday that it had launched, on the same rocket, its second mission extension vehicle (MEV-2) and its Galaxy 30 geosynchronous communications satellite. The two spacecraft were launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space... 

DTIC establishes Botshabelo Digital Hub site in Mangaung

By: Natasha Odendaal     17th August 2020 The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has established a digital hub in the Botshabelo Industrial Park, in Mangaung, in the Free State, as part of a programme to bolster digital training and create jobs. The revitalised Botshabelo Digital Hub site is one of ten digital hubs... 

Steel awards go virtual

By: Darren Parker     14th August 2020 The South African Institute for Steel Construction’s (SAISC’s) yearly Steel Awards will be judged and hosted virtually through a dedicated application (app) this year. This comes on the back of efforts to mitigate restrictions on social gatherings and take advantage of the digital marketing... 

Steel awards go virtual
VIRTUOSITY ASSESSED Small teams of judges attend sites physically, observing Covid-19 health and safety protocols, while others attend site visits virtually

Tech crucial to market sales in local industry

By: Cameron Mackay     14th August 2020 Automation solutions provider MACmobile MD Andrew Dawson stresses that technology that offers mobility, automation and the ability to engage customers while maintaining social distance will be crucial to driving market sales in the local industry. “The key technology at this stage is mobility –... 

Tech crucial to market sales in local industry
ANDREW DAWSON What’s important is enabling retailers, with their own methodology software-wise, to generate orders and use the call centres to create new sales and awareness

The use of recycled plastic used to store electrical energy demonstrated in the US

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th August 2020 Researchers in the US have successfully used recycled plastic to create rapidly-charging energy storage devices. The research team is composed of engineering professors and students at the University of California Riverside (UCR), and they have been working on using sustainable resources –... 

The use of recycled plastic used to store electrical energy demonstrated in the US
Photo by University of California Riverside
Left to right: Professors Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan.

Operators call for lower spectrum pricing

By: Natasha Odendaal     13th August 2020 While the imminent auction of high-demand spectrum by the end of the year is a promising step forward for South Africa’s fifth-generation (5G) ambitions, if the price is set too high in the bidding process, it may prove detrimental. The interim findings of a study by World Wide Worx into the... 

Etion widens losses

By: Natasha Odendaal     13th August 2020 JSE-listed Etion has reported a significant widening of its loss after tax for the year ended March 31, on the back of economic weakness, one-off restructuring costs and write-offs and impairments. The group posted a 1 237% plunge in loss after tax, from a loss of R2.7-million in the prior year... 

Radio frequency monitoring satellites to be launched on SpaceX rocket

By: Rebecca Campbell     13th August 2020 Luxembourg-domiciled space-based radio frequency (RF) reconnaissance data collection and provision company Kleos Space announced on Thursday that its next satellite cluster would be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This will be Kleos’ second satellite cluster, the first set to be launched... 

PwC, Unicef collaborate to boost skills of youth in South Africa

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     12th August 2020 Professional services firm PwC and the United Nations Children's Fund South Africa are collaborating to help prepare young people with relevant skills to enter the workforce. This is part of a three-year global collaboration between the two entities in support of Generation Unlimited, a... 

Airbus space-based radar undergoes key deployment test

By: Rebecca Campbell     12th August 2020 Airbus Space Systems, part of Airbus Defence and Space (itself part of the Europe-based global aerospace group Airbus), reported on Tuesday that the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna that it had developed for the Sentinel-1C satellite had been successfully deployed for the first time in one... 

Airbus space-based radar undergoes key deployment test
Photo by Airbus
The deployed Airbus Space SAR antenna for Sentinel-1C in the Friedrichshafen test facility

South African team launches non-invasive breathing system for early-stage intervention

By: Marleny Arnoldi     12th August 2020 In response to the Covid-19 public health emergency and an impending ventilator shortage in South Africa and other parts of the world, a team of experts have designed the first-ever Non-Invasive Breathing System (NiBS) in South Africa. The makers of the NiBS comprise a team of engineers, an... 

Cassava, Liquid Telecom launches Sasai WiFi Finder

By: Natasha Odendaal     12th August 2020 Cassava Fintech International (CFI) and Liquid Telecom Group (LTG) have teamed up to develop a service aimed at accelerating digital and financial inclusion in Africa. Through the newly launched Sasai WiFi Finder, the duo plan to establish an expansive network of data access points across Africa... 

DeepMind grants first postgraduate AI scholarships at Stellenbosch University 

By: Schalk Burger     11th August 2020 London-based artificial intelligence (AI) research and application company DeepMind has awarded eight scholarships for postgraduate studies in the fields of applied mathematics, statistics, electrical and electronic engineering and computer science at Stellenbosch University (SU). The DeepMind... 

BLSA’s Mavuso laments lack of investment in South Africa

By: Simone Liedtke     11th August 2020 While there are talks of mobilising more investment to kickstart the South African economy post-Covid-19, Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso laments that current developments are showing the opposite, as projects and investments have either been cancelled or delayed. In her... 

Laser beam technology breakthrough could revolutionise optical communications

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th August 2020 Researchers a the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US have developed a new category of laser beams that could revolutionise optical communications and laser technologies. These new laser beams have properties that are unique and not possessed by standard laser beams.  The new laser... 

Presidential Commission Report on 4IR to head to Cabinet 

By: Natasha Odendaal     7th August 2020 The Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to present to Cabinet after President Cyril Ramaphosa received its landmark report on the recommendations to harness the available 4IR opportunities. The report was presented by Communications and Digital Technologies... 

New approach suggests the universe is younger than previously believed

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th August 2020 Using a new approach, a team of scientists at the University of Oregon (UO), in the US, have come up with a new estimate for the age of the universe – 12.6-billion years. Since 2013, the generally accepted age of the universe has been 13.77-billion years. (This figure was derived using data from... 

Embedded, distributed generation will create jobs, enhance energy security

By: Schalk Burger     7th August 2020 Allowing for the greater development of embedded and distributed generation assets will help to create and sustain jobs, as well as bolster energy security and business continuity, says economic development advisory company ED Platform head of strategy and growth Maloba Tshehla. Embedded... 

UK funding capacity building at African Centre of Excellence at Stellenbosch University

By: Rebecca Campbell     7th August 2020 Stellenbosch University’s African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy is to receive funding of R12-million over two years from the UK. The money is being provided by Britain’s science, technology and innovation funding agency, UK Research and Innovation... 

Company goes digital to curb challenges

By: Theresa Bhowan     7th August 2020 An increasingly competitive sphere, and a large choice of partners and customers are two of the chemicals industry’s greatest challenges. Specialised chemicals company BASF aims to lead in digital transformation in the chemicals industry to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its... 

Company goes digital  to curb challenges
DALE WALKER The “new normal” that has been imposed by Covid-19 on the globe, has allowed for radical transformation in the way that the company does business

New interface’s mobile version coming soon 

By: Tracy Hancock     7th August 2020 Data-driven agricultural solutions provider SupPlant has launched a new user interface for its decision support system (DSS), with a mobile version to follow, enabling farmers to keep an eye on their crops wherever they are. The Israeli company first entered the South African market when it... 

New interface’s mobile version coming soon
ADVANCING AGRICULTURE The new platform makes all the data from SupPlant’s sensors, such as the first continuous measurement fruit sensor on Macadamia fruit in South Africa, easily accessible and understood
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