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Mobile apps: Brand enhancer, business tool or waste of time?

Published by on Jul 22nd, 2013, 1 Comment

mobile-app

Not every mobile app is worth building, says Gartner research director Richard Marshall and investing in the wrong app can waste resources and damage brands.

“There is an app frenzy at the moment that’s leading many companies to rush into building apps because they feel they have to be on trend,” says Marshall, who will present several talks and workshops on mobility at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa in Cape Town in September. “But if an app is going to succeed, there must be a good reason for it to exist, and for people to download and use it.”

For example, he says, “it might seem like a great idea for an insurance company to release an app that their customers can use after a car accident, to record all the information they need. But nobody ever plans to have an accident – so who’ll download an app to help them manage one?”

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Samsung committed to Education Ecosystems

Published by on Jul 22nd, 2013, No Comments

Samsung-africaAdequate education remains a critical issue in South Africa. With remote locations playing a largely negative role in appropriate learner schooling alternative options to traditional classrooms are required. Technology is driving the way forward for many educators and learners and will continue to play an integral part in filling the current educational gap.

Says Manoj Bhoola, Business Leader for Business to Business at Samsung Electronics Africa: “Samsung is committed to design education solutions that promote a student-centric learning experience. By partnering with a suitable training ecosystem, we are able to leverage our customisable portfolio to suit specific education needs.”

Any technology system needs to fulfil certain prerequisites if it is to remain sustainable. Since each environment in which solutions are deployed varies, the idiosyncrasies of countries, regions and even specific schools requirements need to be carefully considered. Ideally, a digital educational system should be a full suite of end-to-end solutions and devices that stimulates learning, empowers educators and which provides efficient administration tools for the intuitions.

Students are increasingly expecting an interactive learning experience, and while some educators have been slow to adopt technology-driven learning vehicles, this is set to change in the near future,” says Bhoola. “Tablets, mobile applications, social networks and digital content are becoming more popular in the classroom scenario and their accelerated incorporation into current learning modes is now more commonly accepted.” (more…)

The Business of Hotel Wifi

Published by on Jul 22nd, 2013, 2 Comments

hotel-wifi

I recently went to an event launching WiFi at all Tsogo Sun properties around the country. Press release blurb starts here:

In its ongoing quest to create great experiences, Tsogo Sun has installed high speed quality connectivity Wi-Fi in all its hotels that is free up to a varying data limit per room per day, depending on which grade of hotel the guest is staying in.

 

In Tsogo Sun’s Deluxe hotels, 750MB is free per room per day to in-house guests; in Southern Sun hotels, the cap is 500MB per room per day; in Garden Court hotels, the cap is 350MB per room per day; and in StayEasy hotels, the cap is 250MB per room per day. In all the hotels, these data limits are limited to a maximum of three devices per room. The free high speed, quality connectivity Wi-Fi service was launched in Tsogo Sun hotels at the start of June 2013, setting a new Wi-Fi standard in the hospitality industry in South Africa.

I think it’s a great move by Tsogo and while it might initially be painful it’s a step in the right direction. Tweeting about this led to an interesting debate: surely WiFi in a hotel is akin to having towels? Well the counter argument has two points: (more…)

Visiting The Cyber Security for the Next Generation conference, UK

Published by on Jul 19th, 2013, No Comments

Bandwidth Blog TV had been invited by the Kaspersky Lab team to form part of the “Cyber Security for the next generation” conference in Britain. The conference covered various topics like the “Emerging threats for emerging platforms”, “Securing cloud, virtual and big data infrastructures”, “Future protection technologies”, “Securing corporate infrastructure” and “Security education”.

CyberSecurity-for-the-Next-Generation

During the conference it became clear that the threat malware and viruses offer, has become far more dangerous and sophisticated than I could have imagined. The days where a virus is written by someone random  who simply enjoys seeing people’s frustration as their computer freezes, are long gone. Cyber criminals have shifted their attention to something much more profitable: personal information.

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Google Street View finally captures Venice

Published by on Jul 19th, 2013, No Comments

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Known to the world as “the City of Water” Venice exists among canals linked by bridges where tourists and locals walk along its narrow alleyways and through piazzas. A world heritage site and a must see destination for many, navigating through such a place, proved to be a challenge for the famous Google Street View car.

However, Google has finally managed to capture this floating city using backpacks holding large cameras mounted on a four foot pole, that are then worn by employees who walk about the city taking 360 degree views along the way.

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Net Prophet 2013: Interview with Justin Stanford of 4Di Capital

Published by on Jul 19th, 2013, No Comments

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Justin Stanford of 4Di Capital, an early stage venture capital fund based in Cape Town, took part at the 2013 Net Prophet conference during which he spoke on the topic VC in SA: Where are we now?

You can watch his full presentation here.

In the short interview clip, Stanford provides some insight into the venture capital ecosystem in South Africa versus the rest of the globe and shares how the Silicon Cape Initiative came to be.

Watch the full interview below:

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Microsoft Research turns Kinect into sign reader

Published by on Jul 19th, 2013, 1 Comment

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Kinect was always touted by Microsoft to have many different uses ever since it was unveiling at E3 five years ago. While most of those haven’t materialised and it is primarily using it as an extension of the gaming experience, Microsoft is not giving up on its technology. They actually have many patents linked to the Kinect just laying around the office, but not this one.

Microsoft Research Asia recently showed off software that allows the Kinect to read almost every American Sign Language gesture via hand tracking, even at conversational speeds. In addition to converting signs to text or speech, the software can also let a hearing person input text and “sign” it using an on-screen avatar. All of this is still confined to a lab so far, but the researchers hope that one day it’ll open up new lines of communication between the hearing and deaf. We can really get behind this innovative idea, as it can make a big difference to many people’s lives. Check out the demo after the break. (more…)

Google’s impressive Q2 earnings

Published by on Jul 19th, 2013, No Comments

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Google’s stock price has been surging over the last 6 months – inching ever closer to the $1000 mark – and for good reason. The search giant has been churning out impressive revenue and profit numbers over the last couple of quarters. They have just made their Q2 2013 earnings public and things are still looking rosy in Mountain View.

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In the second quarter of 2013 Google raked in $14.11 billion in revenue, which is a 19% increase year-on-year. Most of that revenue, as expected, came from their advertising properties. A massive $12.1 billion of revenue came from advertising. Of interest in the mobile market is how the acquisition of Motorola is affecting Google’s numbers. Motorola’s revenue was $998 for the period but made a loss of $342 million. Google has just started the turnaround strategy for Motorola, and there are some exciting products coming up like the Moto X. That loss to Motorola is chump change to Google in any case, as it has $54.4 billion in cash piled up in its coffers. (more…)

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