Samsung keeps smartphone lead despite Note 7 debacle

Samsung keeps smartphone lead despite Note 7 debacle

(FILES) A file photo taken on September 19, 2016 shows a Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone at a telecommunications shop in Seoul.

Samsung maintained its lead in the global smartphone market in the third quarter despite a massive recall that has tarnished the South Korean giant’s image.

Samsung had a 20 percent market share in the quarter, well ahead of number two vendor Apple, according to reports late Wednesday from IDC and Strategy Analytics.

The electronics giant discontinued its Galaxy Note 7 after its replacement devices faced the same problems of batteries overheating and bursting into flames.

“Samsung’s market dominance in the third quarter was unchallenged in the short term even with this high-profile Galaxy Note 7 recall, but the longer term impact on the Samsung brand remains to be seen,” IDC analyst Melissa Chau said.

“If the first recall was a stumble for Samsung, the second recall of replacement devices face-planted the Note series. In a market that is otherwise maturing, Christmas has come early for vendors looking to capitalize with large-screened flagship alternatives like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel.”

Strategy Analytics reported Samsung sold more than 75 million handsets in a global market of 375 million units, while IDC estimated the Samsung figure at more than 72 million in a total market of 363 million.

Overall smartphone sales were up just one percent from a year ago, according to IDC, while the Strategy Analytics report pegged the increase at six percent.

Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics noted that the growth rate for Samsung was its slowest in nearly two years and its market share has dipped from 24 percent to 20 percent in the past year.

“Samsung’s recent Galaxy Note 7 recall was handled badly, which dented its brand image and left a large product gap in its premium smartphone lineup,” he said. “Samsung will now be looking to its next flagship launch, such as the rumored Galaxy S8 model, to recover momentum in 2017.”

Apple’s quarterly total of 45.5 million iPhones — a five percent drop from last year — kept the US firm in second place with a share of more than 12 percent, while Chinese smartphone makers gained ground.

Huawei held the third position with more than nine percent of the market and 33.6 million units sold, representing growth of 23 percent, the surveys showed.

Chinese makers Oppo and Vivo, which sell mainly in their home markets, held the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

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Tesla expands its portfolio to produce solar roof tiles

Tesla expands its portfolio to produce solar roof tiles

Solar roof

Electric carmaker Tesla has diversified into the alternative energy business, on Friday unveiling solar roofs for environmentally friendly homes.

“Global warming is a serious crisis and we need to do something about that,” company founder Elon Musk said during a news conference at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Musk noted that electric cars in the past “didn’t look good… They were like a golf cart,” but Tesla automobiles are now highly desired by movers and shakers including Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Solar panels need to undergo the same transformation, he said.

“We need to make them as appealing as electric cars have become.”

“The goal is to have solar roofs that look better than a normal roof, generate electricity, last longer, have better insulation, and actually have a total cost that his less than the price of a normal roof plus electricity,” Musk said.

“Why would you buy anything else?”

Tesla, which has joined forces with solar panel maker SolarCity, aims to capture five percent of the market, Musk said.

The roof tiles are made with extremely strong tempered glass, high-efficiency solar cells and colored film.

“We expect to start installing these roofs sometimes next year,” Musk said.

He also unveiled an updated version of Tesla’s Powerwall, a compact, solar powered battery that can provide the energy to a home or business.

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Dotng domain name will promote local content — NIRA

Dotng domain name will promote local content — NIRA

Sunday Folayan, President NiRA

The President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association(NIRA), Mr Sunday Folayan, on Friday said that using the dotng (.ng) domain name would promote local content.

Folayan, in a statement, said that Nigeria had unique local content ranging from Nollywood, Kannywood, diverse languages and other heritage and tourist attractions, among others, which could be put online.

He said that without content, there would be any motivation for anyone to embrace the internet, hence, the need for local contents, under the .ng domain names.

According to him, two major channels instrumental to the development and promotion of content on the internet are the Domain Name System (DNS) and Web Hosting.

“The DNS is integral to the internet, providing a way to match names (of websites) to numbers (IP Address of the websites), whilst web hosting provides connectivity to the internet and housing/computer storage space for the websites.

“I was privileged to be invited to an online forum of some Yoruba traditional rulers in Nigeria, who are committed to promoting the rich linguistic, artistic and cultural heritage of their people.

“With the widespread adoption of the Internet, what better way to reach their subjects and the world at large?

“Simply put, technology meets tradition and tradition has gone ahead to embrace technology. They are beginning to assemble their content, and a silent revolution is brewing,” he said.

Folayan said that with the deepening level of internet penetration in Nigeria, there were still many Nigerians who patronised foreign companies for these services.

He said the use of other domain names by Nigerians, apart from the .ng domain name for their websites or use of foreign hosting companies meant capital flight and does not promote local content.

“Promoting local content therefore starts with an .ng domain name. It is a task for everyone, so let us work together to get our local content online using our own products and services,” the NIRA president added.

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FG licenses 6 slots to broaden broadband penetration

FG licenses 6 slots to broaden broadband penetration

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu

The Federal Government has licensed six slots of the 2.6 MHz spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE services in its efforts to broaden broadband penetration in Nigeria.

The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu announced this on Friday in Kaduna at the 4th National Council of Communication Technology.

Shittu said that broad penetration in Nigeria had reached 20.95 per cent, while the percentage of internet penetration had reached a milestone 47.44 per cent, which makes Nigeria, second in ranking in the Africa.

Shittu disclosed that the process for the licensing of broadband services on the 5.4 GHz spectrum bank and allocation of 70/80 GHz band (E-Band) had commenced.

The theme of the Council Meeting was “ICT as a Focal Point for Economic Diversification.’’

The minister said that the ICT sector would be re-engineered to expand the frontiers of its contribution towards facilitating Nigeria’s early exit from recessionary economies.

According to him, ICT innovation and entrepreneurship and the broadening of investment opportunities is one of the key avenues for increasing generated revenue in any economy, Nigeria not an exception.

Shittu said that ICT had become a fulcrum of the nation’s economy.

He, however, said that the challenge now was how to harness and leverage opportunities thrown up by new economy powered by ICT to address issues of revenue, investments and cost savings.

According to him, many developed countries around the world do not rely on the export of any raw materials, but on the development and export of ICT.

The minister listed Singapore, India and Thailand as examples of developing countries that had leveraged on ICT to make a difference in their economies.

Shittu informed the council that he had facilitated the draft of a Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, to chart a short term framework for the sector.

He assured that his ministry would ensure that the ICT in Government Initiatives was sustained.

“Through Galaxy Backbone, government has provided internet access to about 400 MDAs, over 11,000 nodes of wireless LAN to all MDAs at the Federal Secretariat.

“Over 40,000 email addresses for government officials under the domains. This has ensured that government data is hosted locally on a secured website with databack-up to MDAs and 200 servers hosting MDAs,’’ he said.

In the area of spectrum management, he said the Ministry of Communications had issued and renewed a total of 668 licenses from November 2015 to September 2016, and generating about N500 million as government revenue.

Shittu commended council members for attending the 4th Council Meeting, which is the first under his leadership as minister of communications.

Shittu said that the National Council on Communications like any other governmental sector council exists to facilitate inter-governmental consultations on ICT mattes and to avoid unnecessary disparities in developmental structures.

“This NCCT platform enables me, as the minister coordinating ICT development in the country to interact with the Commissioners in charge of ICT matters at the state level towards brainstorming on the optimal approach to ensure effective implementation of ICT policies across the country,’’ he said

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Digitata takes Mastercard’s digital payment message to mobile masses

Digitata takes Mastercard’s digital payment message to mobile masses

Mastercard in collaboration with Digitata Insights launched a gamification campaign to educate South Africans.

Mastercard in collaboration with Digitata Insights, recently launched a gamification campaign to educate South Africans on the benefits of making safe, secure and fast payments with Masterpass, the global digital payment service from Mastercard.

The interactive game – “The Masterpass Race” – showed South African consumers the benefits of Masterpass across digital payments channels including airtime top-up, online purchases, bill payments and in-store payments. It also demonstrated the security features, convenience and ease of use people will find in Masterpass—including the fact that they can pay with a smart app on their smartphones and leave their physical wallets at home.

“We at Mastercard are innovating faster than ever before in our efforts to make digital payments simpler, more secure, and more accessible,” says Gabriel Swanepoel, Product Development and Innovation, Mastercard. “To create widespread adoption of our Masterpass solution, we looked for a unique, fun and engaging platform to bring its benefits to life for consumers. Gamification was a perfect opportunity to educate consumers about how digital payments can improve their lives.”

To participate, subscribers had to dial a USSD short code. Players earned points for by answering questions relating to information supplied in the game about mobile and cashless payments and Masterpass, and completed actions such as downloading and using the Masterpass app. Accumulating points got players to the next level of the game and points could be converted into airtime.

Richard Walton, acting CEO at Digitata Insights, says: “Gamification – the incorporation of game play into online marketing – is an extremely effective way to keep mobile users engaged, offering the ideal opportunity to educate them in an interactive manner. The fact that players could receive free airtime ensured continued engagement and made the game extremely popular.”

Digitata Insights developed the USSD-based gamification service using the company’s MeMe measurable mobile media platform. “Text-based USSD was the ideal channel as all mobile users are familiar with the *111# service. It is also a prolific channel because it is device and network agnostic, which means there is potential to deliver bespoke content to a huge market, all without the subscriber incurring any charges as no data is required.”

To ensure the broadest reach, Digitata Insights partnered with South Africa’s two largest network operators, gaining access to millions of potential customers. The results from the campaign were impressive: more than 398,595 people started the race and some 153,000 reached the finishing line by completing all 17 levels in the game.

“Overall we feel that the Masterpass campaign was on par with some of the biggest USSD-based consumer engagement campaigns run globally,” says Walton. “And despite this form of mobile marketing being around for 15 years already, we’re not aware of any other campaigns that have been able to generate these numbers. We therefore feel that we’ve taken USSD-based marketing to the next level, and are now starting to realise the full potential that this form of mobile engagement has always held.”

Staff Writer

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Secucloud protects IoT devices from botnet threats

Secucloud protects IoT devices from botnet threats

IoT Anti-Bot Package enables efficient compliance with IT security regulations (image: Shutterstock)

The botnet is a popular tool with cyber-criminals as it enables them to distribute malicious software or bring websites down with DDoS attacks. Botnets comprise multiple infected systems and can be controlled remotely for malicious purposes. Smart devices within the internet of things (IoT) are increasingly becoming a target for online fraudsters.

For example, a French website hosting firm was the victim of the biggest DDoS attack of all time at the end of September. The attack included security cameras as well as video recorders. The growing threat situation has also prompted Germany’s Federal Network Agency to enforce compliance with the new IT security regulations by increasing checks. Its goal is to verify whether telcos are really fulfilling requirements concerning information and protection. To help telcos implement these measures effectively, the German security specialist Secucloud is now providing an IoT Anti-Bot Package. This automatically detects suspicious bot activity and blocks it immediately, even for smart IoT devices.

The goal of Germany’s new IT security law is to better support the police working to block criminal botnets. Since July 2015, telecommunication providers have been required to inform their customers of suspicious activity that could indicate malware attacks on their users’ systems. They must also suggest “appropriate, effective and accessible” technical means of detecting and ideally blocking these malicious attacks.

With its IoT Anti-Bot Package, Secucloud enables telcos to meet the Federal Network Agency’s requirements and protect customers effectively from botnets. To achieve this, the company’s high-performance OEM Cloud Framework uses tools like IDS and IPS systems within its packet analyser module in the Intelligent Algorithm Based Steering Engine (IABS Engine) to detect and immediately block botnet activity. The on-premise cloud system includes highly elastic scaling that can protect large numbers of users – up to 100 million – effectively. A director node (DiNO) load balancer forms part of the network and automatically distributes traffic directed to it across a sufficient number of filter nodes (SAN). This is controlled by an overarching management instance, the Secucloud Cloud Operations Controller (CLOC). The framework can be optimally integrated into providers’ networks using the Secucloud system’s APIs.

Efficient security in the cloud

Secucloud specialises in providing security for the internet of things. It offers a comprehensive, completely cloud-based enterprise-class security system for telcos and mobile phone operators that they can install directly into their network infrastructure. This enables them to protect their customers from all cyber-threats on the internet in a centralised way. Customers do not need to install any software on their devices, so no setup or maintenance is required. The Secucloud solution scales elastically and can protect up to 100 million users effectively and in real time.

Staff Writer

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Bytes Managed Solutions appoints new Operations Executive

Bytes Managed Solutions appoints new Operations Executive

Joe Barbosa appointed as the new Operations Executive for Managed Services.

Bytes Managed Solutions has announced the appointment of Joe Barbosa as the new Operations Executive for Managed Services.

Bytes has expressed the appointment of a suitable candidate who has this high impact and strategically critical position as a priority.

Barbosa will be responsible for the following areas: Incident Management Centre, Supply Chain Services, Supply Chain Operations, Logistics Operations, Technical Services, Operational Excellence and Field Operation activities.

According to Barbosa, he will pay particular attention to ensuring stability whilst continuing to drive the organisation’s strategic objectives of customer service, focused solutions, and quality service delivery.

“It’s critical that our efforts are focused on driving high availability of client services and equipment to support our clients to enable customer service interactions whilst maximizing their trading opportunities. Therefore, our emphasis will be on SLAs and scheduled work delivery, while we continue to focus on the cost effectiveness of service delivery. Furthermore, we will continue with our emphasis on skills development to ensure that we are correctly and pro-actively aligned with the strategic diversification objectives of the organisation,” he said.

Barbosa has more than 28 years of IR service management experience and has been working for Bytes Managed Solutions for more than 11 years. His exposure to various areas within the business has enabled him to gain in-depth knowledge of the diverse aspects of the business. With his absolute focus on service quality and his customer centric approach, Barbosa places great emphasis on an in-depth understanding of customer needs and aligning exceptional service delivery to these needs.

Fourie Van Der Merwe, Managing Director of Bytes MS, had the following to say of Barbosa’s appointment: “We are pleased to announce this appointment as it aligns itself to our strategy of retaining and growing our people and unlocking their value though our ongoing development programs. I am confident that Joe will take our service delivery, in line with our diversification program, to the next level to provide our clients with new services as required by the changes in technology as we move into the area of self-service enabled by the digitization of our solution sets.”

Staff Writer

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South Africa: TshWi-Fi takes award for Affordable Connectivity

South Africa: TshWi-Fi takes award for Affordable Connectivity

TshWi-Fi was presented with the global award for bringing data to the people of Tshwane.

Tshwane’s Free Wi-Fi project won the Wi-Fi NOW award for Affordable Connectivity. TshWi-Fi is a project made possible by Project Isizwe is among the leading lights in the international Wi-Fi industry. At a prestigious ceremony in London last night, TshWi-Fi was presented with the global award for bringing data to the people of Tshwane.

Exceptionally high data costs have meant that many South Africans have limited access to the internet, creating a disempowering cycle that furthers inequality in our cities. By recognising and addressing this, the City of Tshwane and Project Isizwe have begun to bridge the digital divide by bringing internet access to those who need it most.

TshWi-Fi is the biggest deployment of its kind on the African continent with over 1000 Wi-Fi hotspots – known as TshWi-Fi Free Internet Zones – deployed across Tshwane. It delivers Free Wi-Fi to more than 2 million citizens in South Africa’s capital city.

By creating the largest free to the public Wi-Fi service in Africa, TshWi-Fi has positioned Tshwane as the most connected city on the continent. Since launch, the project has facilitated over 2.2 million unique connections and over 133 million sessions, using a massive 2.6 petabytes of data. An incredible 310,000 connections have been recorded on a single day, showing just how popular TshWi-Fi is with the people of Tshwane.

The vision behind TshWi-Fi has been to enable Wi-Fi within walking distance of every citizen, and to better the lives of South Africans by digitally empowering learners, thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators to improve economic development, enhance educational outcomes and increase social cohesion in our communities.

The Free Wi-Fi has made a real impact on people’s lives: “TshWi-Fi gives the youth the opportunity to expand their minds,” says Lenah Mashiya, a local radio station presenter and TshWi-Fi Champion, who encourages young people to use the internet in all areas of their lives.

Solomon Skhosana, a candidate from the WiFi Jobs programme shares his success story: “Through browsing the internet on Tshwane Free WiFi, I came across an opportunity that has resulted in me getting a job.”

“Without TshWi-Fi, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Adam Komape, who has grown his local business as a result of the opportunities he has accessed through Tshwane Free WiFi.

Thabiso Mosima, who is a producer for TshWi-Fi TV – Tshwane’s video-on-demand, short-format video service – has grown his skills and developed his career goals thanks to the initiative: “Thank you Solly Wifi!”

This award is more than just praise for an incredible project; it is acknowledgement that local challenges can be met and overcome with a uniquely South African approach to technology and innovation.

Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, has recognised the award and dedicates its celebration to the officials of the City who have worked on this project to make it possible in partnership with the Project Isizwe team.

Staff Writer

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Digital encode founders receive georgia honorary award

Digital encode founders receive georgia honorary award

L-r) Dr. Ken Giami, Publisher, African Leadership Magazine, Oluseyi Akindeinde, chief technical officer, Digital Encode, Obadare Adewale, chief operating officer, Digital Encode, and Dee Dawkins-Haigler, chairman of the Georgia Legislative black Caucasus, during the conferment of Honorary Georgia Citizen on Digital Encode founders held in Georgia, USA, recently.

The duo of Oluseyi Akindeinde and Obadare Peter Adewale founders of Digital Encode, a leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures, have been conferred with “Honorary Georgia Citizen” as well received the Keys to the cities of Georgia state by the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, USA.

Presenting the certificates, Dee Dawkins-Haigler, chairman of the Georgia Legislative black Caucasus, said that the award was given Digital Encode founders in recognition of their outstanding entrepreneurship contributions and leadership towards the growth and development of Information and communications technology sector, free enterprise and the private sector as agents of social change in Nigeria, and their passion towards economic empowerment of the citizenry.

Digital Encode is recognized in the industry for its vendor independent perspective, the firm’s expertise lies in solving multifaceted, complex enterprise network security and audit problems.

This informed the company’s appointment by Central Bank of Nigeria as the sole technical partner to the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), an initiative set up for the identification, mitigation, prevention and prosecution of all electronic fraud-related acts perpetrated in the country.

Oluseyi Akindeinde, chief technical officer, Digital Encode, said that the award is really a statement of their commitment to fostering technology entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

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Communications ministry to partner agencies in curbing cybercrimes

Communications ministry to partner agencies in curbing cybercrimes

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication

Barrister Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, has expressed the readiness of the Ministry to partner with agencies to catalyze and develop world-class human and institutional capacity in cyber security for the country.

He said the Ministry is living up to expectation of sensitizing, raising awareness and impact skills on cyber protection by creating the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to handle computer security incidents and examining the implementation framework of the Cybersecurity Act with amendments where necessary in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The Minister in a keynote address delivered at the National Computer Science Conference on Cyber Security & the Emerging African Economies at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State earlier, said there is the need for other frameworks across all strata of public and private sectors to arrest the spreading crime.

‘’The need for other frameworks like cyber security awareness across business and members of the public; cooperative arrangements between law enforcement and communication service provider across the nation and a criminal justice system that facilitate the efficient prosecution of cases of cybercrime are very germane”, he said.

The minister who noted that Nigeria currently loses about N78 billion annually to the activities of cyber criminals who target financial institutions, and government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as their affiliates, emphasized the need for the enactment and enforcement of policies to ensure cyber security within the ICT and financial institutions.

He said such policies should address the framework of cyber risk management, enforcing security through a ‘defense in-depth’ strategy as well as enforcing vigilance through early detection and signaling system.

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