Microsoft has kicked off its TechEd 2013 conference with a strong statement of intent in the cloud computing space, including the announcement of the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS), which allows users to move existing apps to the cloud to save time and money.
With this announcement, Microsoft is now the only cloud provider offering customers a fully supported, comprehensive hybrid cloud solution with platform and infrastructure services, said Microsoft South Africa’s developer platform head, Clifford de Wit.
“This is a significant step in our cloud computing strategy, which has been influenced directly by our discussions with customers and partners around the world,” said De Wit. “Customers don’t want to rip and replace their current infrastructure to benefit from the cloud; they want the strengths of their on-premises investments and the flexibility of the cloud.”
“It’s not only about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), it’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios. The cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organisation’s IT fabric, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting.”
Delivering the keynote address at TechEd 2013, which runs until Friday at Durban’s ICC, De Wit said Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform was gaining momentum in the marketplace, with nearly 1000 customers signing up for Azure daily. More than 200 000 customers are using the Windows Azure platform to date, with “strong growth” in the South African marketplace as customers started seeing the benefits of the platform. (more…)
There’s a sense of anticipation building in South Africa’s IT Professional and Developer communities as some 2500 technology fanatics prepare to descend on Durban later this month for Microsoft’s iconic TechEd Africa event – and with less than a week to go until registrations close, Microsoft says last-minute registrations are pouring in.
TechEd Africa runs from 16-19 April at Durban’s International Conference Centre (ICC), and features a host of top local and international speakers.
The major areas of focus are expected to be on Microsoft’s Server solutions, which are driving the modern enterprise’s drive towards cloud computing, Office 365, and Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. However, this year is also expected to see a surprising amount of attention being paid to apps, with a specific track around apps and developing apps on all of the company’s platforms.
There will be no shortage of content and insights, says Microsoft SA’s Developer and Platform Evangelist Lead, Clifford de Wit. The event will see more than 200 technical sessions, a 36 chalk & talks and self-paced hot lab that focus on areas like client infrastructure, security and management, Business Intelligence, data platform and development, Server and cloud infrastructure and management, security and identity access, Sharepoint, Exchange, Office 365, Dynamics and certification opportunities.
“There’s a lot going on in the world of technology right now, and TechEd is a critical platform for us to share our roadmap and insights with our IT Professionals and developers,” said De Wit. “Cloud, in all its complexity, is probably going to dominate the discussions, but there’s also a huge emerging focus on apps, which are a major opportunity for enterprises going forward.” (more…)
The African Internet has taken massive strides forward over the past three years, thanks to the large investments telecommunications operators have made in new terrestrial and submarine cables. However, there is still a lot of hard work to be done before Internet services are accessible and affordable to every person on the continent.
That’s according to Mark Simpson, CEO of SEACOM, reflecting on the state of Africa’s Internet ahead of World Telecommunications Day (17 May 2012). He says that the telecommunications industry has broken many of the bottlenecks to affordable and ubiquitous broadband across the continent.
New submarine cables such as SEACOM and the recently launched WACS have helped to boost the performance of the Internet in many African countries while driving costs down for the end user. SEACOM alone has seen more than 10-fold increases in bandwidth penetration in several of Africa’s most underserved nations, driven by drops in connectivity prices and increases in terrestrial coverage.
3G cellular network technologies have helped to boost connectivity speeds to the end user and new terrestrial networks have helped to extend connectivity from submarine cable landing points into African hinterland, once only covered by expensive satellites. Many challenges still remain, including extending the reach of the international cables into vast African territories that remain underserved, says Simpson.
Vodacom customers can expect roaming savings when travelling to 6 African countries where Vodacom and Vodafone operate. These countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. Vodacom is leveraging its presence and that of its parent company Vodafone in these African countries, to provide customers who travel there with reduced rates applicable across the Vodacom and Vodafone networks.
The flat rates have resulted in roaming data rates being reduced by more than 70%, from R17,50/MB to R5/MB. While still not as cheap as local data, regular smartphone-carrying travellers will appreciate it. In addition, roaming customers will also enjoy free incoming calls when they travel in these countries.
Here is are the decreased call costs:
|Data||- R5/MB*Data roaming is only available to Contract customers and charged in 10KB increments|
|Voice||- Free incoming calls- Local Voice call – R2.90- Call back to South Africa or an International call – R5.00*Voice calls are charged on a per minute basis|
|SMS||- Local and international SMS messages – R1.50 per SMS- Free incoming SMS messages|
Broadband connectivity will be one of the major spurs to the growth of African economies over the next decade, but there is still plenty of work to be done in building the telecommunications backbone that will connect the continent to the global village. This is according to Aidan Baigrie, Head of Business Development at SEACOM, who was speaking at the Sixth Annual Africa Economic Forum. He says that broadband is to the 21st century what railways were to the last century – the engine of social and economic progress that forges economic links between countries and supercharges trade and transactions.
One World Bank study found a 1.3% increase in GDP for every 10% increase in broadband connectivity – an illustration of just how important connectivity is in Africa’s growth path. Though the relationship between GDP and broadband may not be one of simple direct causality, there is no doubt that access to information, communication and education helps countries to grow their economies at a rapid rate.
Baigrie says that new international cables such as SEACOM have helped to boost the performance of the Internet in many African countries while reducing costs for the end-user. In service since July 2009, SEACOM alone has seen more than 10-fold increases in bandwidth penetration in several of Africa’s most underserved nations, along with big drops in connectivity prices. Many African operators are also investing in national backhaul links and the last mile.
Samsung today showcased its diverse array of new, and specifically tailored to the African market, products at the 2012 Samsung Africa Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa. Embracing its new guiding philosophy of “Built for Africa – Inspire the Future” the company shared its strategy to expand its African market and deliver connectivity and content across multiple devices – from TVs, mobile phones, tablets, Notebook PCs, cameras and home appliances.
“At our very first Africa Forum, in 2010, I announced the plan to grow our business in Africa to $10 billion by 2015, as measured by the sales of our partners – and today, I am pleased to announce that we are well on track to meet this objective. This year, not only will we continue to maintain growth in key regions, but so too are focused on targeting growth of 100% in West, East and Southern Africa,” says; KK Park, CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa. “Over the next 3 – 4 years this growth will be underpinned by a focus on 3 key premises; Built for Africa research and development; B2B and B2G partnerships supported by key CSR initiatives and of course, growing and strengthening our partner network across Africa to reach our core mission – to inspire the future of Africa!”
Here is Samsung’s Vision for Africa:
1. Built for Africa research and development:
Samsung believes in investing in developing technology that is specifically relevant to the African market -
Cape Town is preparing to host the 2012 Samsung Africa Forum, a four-day spectacular where Samsung showcases the latest innovations across all of its product categories including audio visual and home appliances, mobile phones, digital cameras and IT solutions. The strategy behind the Africa Forum is geared to allow consumers, business partners and associates, media and government as well as consumers to experience the brand and appreciate the company’s leadership position both locally and across Africa.
Showcasing Samsung’s Comprehensive Product Portfolio
“As one of the largest and most comprehensive product showcases in Africa, we are certainly very excited to host our 3rd annual Samsung Africa Forum and share the company’s strategy to expand the African market and deliver connectivity and content across multiple devices and product portfolios,” said George Ferreira, Vice President and COO of Samsung Electronics Africa. “More than ever, consumers are leading dynamic lifestyles that require technology to enrich their lives and Samsung are looking to achieve this through new product innovations, continued investment in research and development, and by driving corporate and social responsibility programs in the broader African region.”
With all the fuss over Groupon’s dubious IPO, there has not been much other news in the public eye in the group buying industry. In South Africa, things have been growing steadily and the arena is going to arch a peak this year and Adam Smith’s little invisible economic hand will do the sorting.
So let’s take a lighter look at group buying this week. I keep a very lose eye on the industry globally. How are things going in other countries, in Africa, and more specifically, in Kenya? Naturally the group buying model goes well in countries with some sort of internet penetration. South Africa’s has been quoted as anything from 7% to 15%, depending who you ask, and this gives us an “internet population” of anywhere up to 7.5 million. Kenya seems to have around 6 million already.
According to a man on the ground in Kenya, Mark Kaigwa, and some funky Google skills, I find the following are in the mix in Kenya’s group buying scene:
This one uses the same website that old Twangoo used, so there went my dinner. However, do they then potentially have the connections to get on the Groupon bandwagon? This could be interesting.
Mark Kaigwa mentions them as the first to market, and, like Wicount in South Africa, that doesn’t ensure first place.
I also noticed this website a while back in Kenya and now see that they are not operating any longer.
This doesn’t seem to be group buying to me, but nevertheless one to watch.
However, this all means that Kenya has a very, very small market, which I’m told is due to a smaller infrastructure, but also the difficulties facing small online businesses as well as a different set of payment options in Kenya.
A difficult whois check finds that most of the top global group buying sites’ domain names have been registered – not always by the company themselves. All of this makes for a gap where we could see things changing rapidly soon, as Kenya has the potential to be yet another fresh group buying marketplace.
Do you have any news on Kenya’s group buying scene?