Over 60% of millennials us social media as main source of information

Over 60% of millennials us social media as main source of information

57% of African Millennials say they sometimes use their smartphone while watching TV.

A recent survey by Geopoll found that dependency on technology and a mobile first approach is being driven by African Millennials.

Millennials across the world are defined by their uptake of technology. Affinity to technology by millennials world-wide and specifically so in the west is a study that is currently ongoing and continues to be a fascinating undertaking especially in regards to the African Millennials.

Despite lack of access to smartphones and reliable internet connectivity, the level of uptake and penetration in Africa has hit major milestones in the last 5 years. Among Sub-Sahara African countries, South Africa has the highest number of smartphone subscribers at 34% followed by Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya.

African millennials are increasingly using download sites to access video entertainment and social media sites as tools for communication and a source of news and information. Mobile data continues to be the most used means through which African millennials access the internet. Social network platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and twitter have become an integral part of everyday life with over 60% using social media as their primary source of information. Television comes a distant 2nd at 25% with newspapers being the least important source 6%.

57% of African Millennials say they sometimes use their smartphone while watching TV, 35% said they are always on their phone. This can be attributed to data costs which are still relatively high in many African countries compared to the rest of the world as well as changing preference among this group on choice of entertainment.

More millennials in Africa are accessing their movies and TV series entertainment through online downloads. Subscriptions to online video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Showmax are still relatively low with a majority indicating that they do not use these services. Out of those who indicated that they are using it, Netflix is the most popular.

Kenyan and Tanzanian Millennials prefer texting (62%) & (54%) whilst Nigerians and Ghanaians prefer calling through the mobile operator (58%) & (51%). Mobile data calls through WhatsApp and Facebook messenger are still not as widely used. WhatsApp and Facebook rank among the platforms with the most usage. 56% have created and are most active on WhatsApp , while 31% are active on Facebook. Not only do African millennials spend more time on their smartphones than on any other gadget on a daily basis, but they are also more likely to be on WhatsApp chatting. A majority (46%) are actively engaged daily in at least 1-3 WhatsApp groups.

For the full report click HERE

Staff Writer

Powered by WPeMatico

SpaceX to send two tourists around Moon in 2018

SpaceX to send two tourists around Moon in 2018

This still image taken from NASA TV, shows the the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a Dragon cargo capsule, launching from the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A in Florida on February 19, 2017. The current resupply mission is the 10th of up to 20 planned trips to the International Space Station. The unmanned cargo capsule is packed with more than 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilograms) of food, gear and science experiments. Launchpad 39A was used for the Apollo and space shuttle launches.<br />HO / NASA / AFP

SpaceX said Monday two private citizens have paid money to be sent around the Moon in what would mark the farthest humans have ever traveled to deep space.

The United States has not sent astronauts to the Moon since NASA’s Apollo missions of the 1960s and ’70s.

“We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year,” said a statement by CEO Elon Musk.

“This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them.”

The tourists, who were not named, “have already paid a significant deposit,” Musk’s statement added. Health tests and training are to begin this year.

“Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results,” Musk said.

The tourists will ride aboard the California-based company’s Crew Dragon capsule, which is scheduled for its first unmanned test flight later this year. It is based on the design currently used to send cargo to the International Space Station, with upgrades to allow for human transport.

The capsule will launch atop SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which is scheduled for its first test flight this summer. The rocket “will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket,” Musk said.

“At five million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.”

– Commercial space race –
Musk — who co-founded PayPal and also heads Tesla Motors — is seen as the emerging leader of the modern commercial space industry, after becoming the first to send a private cargo carrier to the International Space Station in 2010.

The 45-year-old native of South Africa is a long-time space enthusiast, who is also outspoken about his vision to colonize Mars.

Last September he unveiled ambitious plans to establish a colony on the Red Planet by sending 100 humans at a time — starting in 2024.

SpaceX also plans to send an unmanned Dragon cargo capsule as early as 2018.

In the same month Blue Origin, founded by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, unveiled plans to build a massive rocket called New Glenn to launch people to space, but the company’s president said going to Mars could take decades.

And on the space tourism front, Virgin Galactic, led by British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, has set a goal of taking people to the edge of space, more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth.

Despite the hefty $250,000 price tag, more than 600 would-be astronauts have already signed up, including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.

Meanwhile, if all goes as planned, lift-off for Musk’s two moon tourists will occur next year from the same launch pad near Cape Canaveral that the Apollo program used for its lunar missions.

Musk posted the company’s announcement on Twitter by stating: “Fly me to the moon … Ok.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Questions for Swiss Ringier Africa’s GM

Questions for Swiss Ringier Africa’s GM

Leonard Stiegeler has been the General Manager of Swiss Ringier Africa AG since 2016 – leading the company’s operations in classifieds, e-commerce, content and its digital agency on the continent. Brands belonging to the group are among others Pulse, Jobberman, Cheki, DealDey, Brighter Monday, Private Property and Rupu and it is active in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Yesterday, he delivered a paper on ‘The Future of Digital Publishing; What Africa’s investors are looking for in Digital Media,’ at The Guardian-hosted session of Social Media Week Lagos 2017.

Nigeria has been listed, alongside Kenya and South Africa, as a top destination for tech investors. What is the attraction to Africa and why now?
The African continent is highly diverse and so are its various national technology eco-systems.

One common factor I look out for however, is the chance technology has to leapfrog long and tedious development in many sectors on the continent – to catapult African markets to the cutting edge in each field. This does not only drive business growth but supports development in general.

This trend has been seen in the past. Mobile phones enabled near ubiquitous communication and connectivity in the 1990s and 2000s, in many African markets without the earlier build-up of expensive, less flexible landlines. Those landlines will not be built any more, as they are no longer required: A Nigerian small business owner now communicates with his suppliers the same way an American small business owner does – via mobile phone on the go. And now, with the rise of smartphones, falling internet cost and the rising connectivity through social networks, more and more sectors have a critical mass of demand to be attractive for large scale technological advancement in Africa.

Combined with the underlying positive long-term macro-economic trends in Africa, this makes for a proposition to seriously consider for investors.

What precisely do you look out for in an African startup that helps you decide to invest?
Companies that have value propositions addressing the opportunities unique to Africa mentioned above are top of my mind.

For example in publishing, where Ringier’s new media publisher in Africa – Pulse – is reaching tens of millions of readers through distributed content. Or in marketing, where Ringier’s complete digital partner in Africa – RDM – is working with SMEs and large companies to harness the unique distribution power of the internet to win.

And then there is of course the factor that is true for any start-up to become successful globally: a great, dedicated founder and team with the staying power to make it through tough times.

What is most important in a startup/investor partnership – what terms or goals should be clearly defined?
There needs to be a clear understanding of the financial terms on both sides. It helps nobody if either side feels they did not get a correct and fair deal later on. Therefore I would always advise specifically the start-up to do another round of advice-seeking with an independent legal and financial advisor.

With that set up, I think it is important to be able to talk openly and communicate well even in difficult situations. This avoids frustration on the side of the investor based on lack of insight and also helps the startup utilize the experience of the investor to the maximum.

How do you judge your success as an investor? At what point should one evaluate a partnership?
While in Africa the funding cycles may be longer and liquidity mechanisms different, in the end the judgement needs to be on financial return for financial investors.

To get there may be quite different though: with technology eco-systems that are simply still earlier in their maturity than say in the United States, a more active interaction and approach by investors can lead to better and more fruitful partnerships.

How does a project like Social Media Week Lagos contribute to the digital conversation and startups in general?
The Nigerian and broader African digital story, is larger than one person or one company. Therefore, collaboration is crucial. Events like SMW help like-minded people to meet and exchange – with the potential to build long-term relationships. Startups should use this to their advantage and also not be too shy to address their possible future investors.

What are the 3 most important skills critical for a startup CEO?
Perseverance, Imagination & Leadership

What are the common mistakes these CEOs make and how can these errors be avoided?
I think CEOs should be less hesitant to learn from what other people have already tried and failed at. Not every possibility needs to half-hazardly be tried by yourself. Great American investor Warren Buffett said it well:
‘It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.’

Why will an investment fail? What are the red flags?
The very definition of ‘venture capital’ says that it involves risk. This risk is varied and may often have nothing to do with the skill or hard work of an entrepreneur. An early-stage business is vulnerable to a huge amount of potential issues that can let it fail. So while there isn’t a clear cut path to success or failure, the previously described values and opportunities can go a long way to increasing the probability of success.

Powered by WPeMatico

MTN, Lumous target one million Nigerians with electricity solution

MTN, Lumous target one million Nigerians with electricity solution

The mobile electricity solution is a unique innovation that combines the efficiency of the mobile revolution with reliable solar energy to provide modern electricity to Nigerians through an affordable pay-per-use functionality and simple installation.

Information and Communications Technology firm, MTN and Lumous Mobile Electricity Services have developed an innovation targeted at solving the electricity challenge of about one million residents of Nigeria this year.

The mobile electricity solution is a unique innovation that combines the efficiency of the mobile revolution with reliable solar energy to provide modern electricity to Nigerians through an affordable pay-per-use functionality and simple installation.

Speaking on the rationale behind the partnership, MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, said the MTN and Lumos partnership was poised to scale clean and affordable, off-grid power across Nigeria.

“With the backing of OPIC and Power Africa, MTN and Lumous plan to bring electricity to over one million Nigerians this year. The solar technology of Lumous and the easy payment process with MTN airtime provides a seamless customer experience for Nigerians looking for modern clean electricity.

“We have always ensured that our subscribers constantly enjoy our innovative products and services, as we continue to engage them at their passion points with life-enriching experiences. Now everyone can enjoy 24/7 access to noise-free, fume-free reliable electricity, every day for as low as NGN150 per day”. We believe that this solution will help to improve the lives of our subscribers especially because it empowers them to do more for less with electricity at their convenience and pace”

To the CEO and Co-Founder, Lumous Global, Davidi Vortman, the firm is excited about this major milestone, which will accelerate growth in Nigeria and improve the lives of millions.

Vortman said: “Having the backing of institutions such as OPIC and Power Africa provides a vote of confidence in our plans and helps spread our service across Nigeria”

Explaining how the Lumous Mobile Electricity Service powered by MTN works, CEO at Lumous Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum said, “This electricity is generated by home-size solar power systems installed in our customers’ homes andor businesses. It comes in a new type of solar panel and indoor unit that allows customers to purchase electricity as a service on demand using their MTN mobile phone. Upon deployment, the subscriber loads airtime onto the SIM (embedded on the system) to activate the platform and enjoys uninterrupted power supply”.

The MTN-Lumous solar solution uses a large solar panel linked to an indoor storage unit that allows customers to access significant amounts of power on demand day or night. The service is provided on a lease to own basis and the cost is spread over a five year term, payable in affordable instalments via mobile phone from an MTN account. Customers receive a full product repair service during the lease period providing peace of mind and quality assurance.

Existing users include small businesses, residential users, small businesses schools, healthcare facilities, community buildings among others.

Powered by WPeMatico

Customer-centric customer service tech for SMEs

Customer-centric customer service tech for SMEs

Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business solutions provide.

SMEs make up 40 per cent of businesses operating in South Africa, and, as many are business owners, they’re even more acutely aware of the need to provide engagement that meets customer expectations. Customer-driven businesses must operate on principles that are not just cost-effective, but also drive efficiencies that truly have a positive impact on the customer experience.

Agility matters more than size
Big companies invest in long-term business solutions that suit their needs, all with a view to optimising how their business is conducted. A large contact centre suits the volumes of interactions necessary for a business operating with a large volume of customers. The costs associated to running a large contact centre enterprise are more easily borne by big business. An SME, however, may have only a smaller contact centre environment or a support department. This presents an opportunity to introduce business solutions in ways that suit your business.
The cost factor is a consideration, smaller operations seek to keep operating costs to a minimum to ensure liquidity and reduce risk. A customer service solution aimed specifically at SMEs needs to take this into account – there should be low upfront costs as well as affordable monthly fees.
Well-managed customer engagement
A support department could consist of one centralised email address with which customers must conduct business. They may only use social media, or chat, or another channel, or a combination of these, so the goal is to ensure that no matter what form of communication is being used, all the customer communication is well-managed. This should ideally take place without intensive skills development being necessary or the need for additional IT resources.
No time to waste
Business continuity is vital for businesses of any size. Any customer service solution must be able to be rapidly deployed with minimal disruption to ongoing business. It must also be flexible and scalable to easily cope with business growth.
Out-of-the-box templates can also help to quickly define and deploy a customer service strategy, so you can be up and servicing customers within a matter of hours. An organisation can start with one channel such as voice, for example, and then add digital, mobile and self-service channels as needs change.
A focus on Customer Experience
Personalisation plays an important role in shaping the customer experience. In a customer service environment, this could take on the form of implementing advanced or skill-based customer routing.
In a support department or contact centre, it’s possible to route customer inquiries to the employee who is best qualified to handle them. Routing can be based on communication channel, agent expertise, or even past experiences with a customer or situation. Self-service options can also enable customers to serve themselves, which can lead to higher levels of satisfaction and a marked decrease in employee workloads.
Managing expectations
Customers have high expectations from large companies when it comes to getting the service they want, and the same perception is true of a smaller or medium-sized company – customers may even have higher expectations about personalised service from smaller operators.
Technology and commercial models have changed – SMEs now have access to cost-effective world-class customer service strategies that put them in the big league. Delivering service excellence that is focused, fast and, consequently, customer-centric is no longer a want, or a need – it’s a requirement to stay competitive.

By Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business solutions provider.

Powered by WPeMatico

Telecoms trends for 2017 – the year IoT comes into its own

Telecoms trends for 2017 – the year IoT comes into its own

Eckart Zollner, Head of New Business Development at New Telco SA

2017 promises to be an exciting year in the field of IT and telecommunication as projects and technologies that have been unable to get out of the starting blocks for the last two to three years, take off. The big story for 2017 is going to be the push to get the Internet of Things (IoT) off the ground, but there also lots of growth in FTTX, cloud and satellite. Unfortunately, the digital divide looks like it is going to grow but, on the up side, we can look forward to more over-the-top (OTT) disruption.

Here are my top trends for 2017:

IoT networks

2017 is going to see the start of the first mass rollouts of (IoT) networks and solutions. New narrowband technologies such as SIGFOX and LoRa will reach their first significant market penetration while new technologies such as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-defined NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) solutions driven by mobile vendors and mobile operators will be deployed on the back of existing 4G networks. It is early days for NB-IoT, with the first network infrastructure being deployed and the first chipsets being released, so we are likely to see early trails and concept demonstration of such technology driven by early technology adoption in the security and vehicle/asset tracking sector. However, development of an effective ecosystem for NB-IoT as well as effective network coverage is expected to take between 18 and 24 months, so only relatively low-volume deployments for this technology are predicted.

OTT players collaborate with network providers

In a climate of declining data prices, conventional network operators are struggling to invest in substantial network upgrades to keep up with technology advances on their own. In 2017, this will result in more OTT players collaborating with network providers to invest in substantial infrastructure projects that can overcome the service delivery and customer experience challenges that result from slow routes and outdated transmission technology.

FTTX

2017 will see a continuation of the aggressive push for the deployment of FTTX infrastructure across emerging markets. Driven by consumer demand, the deployments started in 2016 will continue as demand for fibre services grows among enterprises, affluent home owners and aspiring small businesses.

Global subsea fibre projects

2017 will also see the start, and continuation of many new global subsea fibre projects. They will provide additional routes, improving network redundancy and resilience, as well as open new direct communication links. Users will also benefit from new technology, namely ultra-low latency high-capacity solutions. These new routes will improve traffic between Asia and Europe, Asia and the eastern United States, Asia and Africa, and Africa and Latin America.

Satellite

The satellite industry is poised to see new investments. These will gain impetus through 2017, especially across Africa. Fibre is creating appetite for broadband connectivity but geographically difficult terrain can delay rollouts. Satellite is able to quickly meet basic demand. With increased and more effective competition, price levels have reduced substantially, bringing this technology within reach of more businesses. Satellite also remains an effective backup solution where there is high reliance on new single route fibre deployments and redundancy is required for the transport layer.

5G trials

During 2017, we will see additional trials and demonstrations of 5G technology. There will be less 5G action in the commercial sector, but many vendors will be testing advances in air interface technology as well as software-defined networking to build core networks compliant with the design principles behind 5G technology.

The rise and rise of new tech – cloud, digital and social-visual

Legacy technologies such as copper networks, DSL technology and conventional voice-based solutions will continue to decline and be replaced by social media messaging and VoIP-based platform technologies. Cloud services will continue to enjoy increased adoption, driving demand for greater corporate connectivity. Digital media and content services will continue to see increased investment from content owners who wish to broaden their distribution footprint. Social media will continue to be dominated by increased adoption of image and video services and will drive data consumption per capita higher than ever.

Digital divide will grow

The gap between the connected society in affluent urban areas and the unconnected in rural and remote areas will continue to widen. We have not yet seen the right level of initiatives by government and regulators to build and focus effective policy on the provision off services into the less lucrative market sectors.

Cheap phones, but data still too expensive

New brands of smartphones available at retail prices below USD $100 will continue their entry into markets that currently cannot afford to participate in the digital economy. However, in many less developed markets, high data prices and a lack of new innovative data price plans will hamper real growth in the number of previously unconnected customers who wish to participate in the digital economy.

Technology build-outs broaden the opportunity in 2017 to connect – with all that implies for personal productivity and entertainment, and business and customer engagement. However, real long-term growth for South Africa will require broader economic growth. We have a responsibility to push for policies that will help close the digital divide – it’s going to be very good for business.

By Eckart Zollner, Head of New Business Development at New Telco SA

Powered by WPeMatico

Service Providers urged to bolster defences against evolving IoT threats

Service Providers urged to bolster defences against evolving IoT threats

Martin Walshaw, Senior Engineer at F5 Networks.

Application security company F5 Network encouraged EMEA service providers to step up their defences against large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) hijacks.

The call to arms comes in the wake of the recent Mirai botnet, which infected hundreds of thousands of IoT devices, including security cameras, to launch an unprecedented 620+ Gbps DDoS attack.

“Few expected DVRs or connected cameras become weapons. Looking ahead, the fix has to come from the network and, more precisely, service provider networks as they host these devices and are closer to the source of the attacks,” said Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks, speaking ahead of this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“IoT devices are very attractive from a DDoS perspective as they don’t require additional expenses, social engineering attacks, email infection campaigns, exploit kits or fresh zero-days. They also tend to have poor security standards.”

The importance of IoT-ready security solutions is set to take centre stage at this year’s MWC as the proliferation, power and influence of connected devices continues to grow exponentially.

IDC predicts that the IoT market will grow to $1.29 trillion at a CAGR of 15.6% by 20201, a year by which Frost & Sullivan estimates that people will own 5.1 connected devices2.

IoT is also forcing itself to the top of the strategic agenda in boardrooms worldwide. A recent report3 by the Internet of Things Institute noted that 65% of 1,000 surveyed global business executives agreed that organisations leveraging the IoT will have a significant advantage.

The shift is dramatic and will put significant strain on service provider networks, particularly as the challenge of harnessing and optimising 5G networks comes into play.

“The industry simply needs better weapons against attacks,” said Walshaw. “Processing power is key, and we need more intelligent ways of dealing with threats. SSL offloading helps to prevent evasion through encryption whereas behavioural analysis enables us to detect new attacks, automate the generation of signatures and share these with the broader community, locally or globally.”

Indicative of the surge in IoT activity, F5 is witnessing a strong global uptick in demand for security and optimisation services in the service provider sector.

“The landscape for service providers is shifting at lightning pace and the opportunities and pitfalls of IoT are forcing them to rethink how they operate,” added Walshaw.

“This is reflected in a strong surge in organisations coming to us to make sense of it all, whether it is S/Gi firewall solutions to protect both their infrastructure and their subscribers from attacks, safeguarding the data centre perimeter or protecting IoT-based applications and protocols.”

Staff Writer

Powered by WPeMatico

Nokia's Snake makes a comeback

Nokia's Snake makes a comeback

A revamped version of Snake will also be pre-installed on the new Nokia 3310.

Nokia’s most popular game, Snake is back. HMD Global, a company that was founded to create new generation Nokia-branded smartphones, feature phones and tablets, announced that the new version of Snake will be part of Facebook’s Instant Games cross platform experience. The game is designed to be played by groups unlike the old version which only allowed for one player.

HMD Global invites the world to unite through the free game and challenge friends to play, using Facebook’s Instant Games platform. The Instant Games platform is still only available in 30 countries.

In keeping with the original game, players will move the snake around the screen, eating apples and bugs along the way to score points. The more the snake eats, the longer it grows, making it more challenging to control. There are six levels to enjoy, each with a different layout and snake skin. Gamers can choose from three speeds; the higher the speed, the higher the score. In addition, friends either one-on-one, or as a group can see who has the highest score on the leaderboard adding an element of friendly competition.

Pekka Rantala, Chief Marketing Officer of HMD Global said: “The Snake game was the most popular game in the history of Nokia phones, in fact the true origin of mobile gaming can be traced back to a Nokia handset released in 1997. To this day it has remained hugely popular, not only because it carries a strong sense of nostalgia but because this was the first ever mobile gaming experience for many consumers. The opportunity to partner with Facebook, the social media platform that has single-handedly defined the social media landscape, is an incredible opportunity. We were truly excited to work with them to bring back Snake in a modern format to a global audience. We hope in its new format it unites people across the world and brings as much joy to players as it did the first time around.”

Nokia-Splash_Image.M2Laurens Rutten, Founder and CEO of CoolGames, the developers of Snake on Instant Games, said: “It was a big honour that our Studio could contribute to a new release of such an iconic IP that has shaped the mobile games industry.”

A revamped version of Snake will also be pre-installed on the new Nokia 3310, a head turning modern twist on one of the best-selling phones of all time, making the Snake comeback even more exciting.

Staff Writer

Powered by WPeMatico

New Partnership for Vodafone Zambia and Shoprite

New Partnership for Vodafone Zambia and Shoprite

Internet provider rolls out shop-in-shop stores in selected Shoprite outlets.

Vodafone Zambia has announced a partnership with South African food retail chain Shoprite, that allows the 4G internet provider to set up shop-in-shop stores at various Shoprite outlets. The move is a part of the company’s latest attempt to reach out to its customers in different localities all while increasing convenience.

Vodafone Zambia CEO Lars Stork at the announcement of the partnership said he was extremely pleased that Vodafone had partnered with Shoprite to provide customers with a unique shopping experience at three Shoprite outlets namely Manda hill and Twin palm in Lusaka and Mukuba Mall in Kitwe as part of the first phase of the partnership.

“We are delighted to partner with Shoprite in offering this service that offers customers the convenience and flexibility to access our products and services within their preferred food retail outlet. Our strategy is anchored on constantly providing innovative and superior products and services, because our customers are at the center of everything we do. As such, we want to ensure that we consistently provide our customers with a brand new shopping experience that is based around convenience, transparency, simplicity and speed.”

Vodafone Zambia launched its 4G TD-LTE high-speed data services on June 9, 2016. With an initial investment of approximately US$40 million in the deployment of its network, Vodafone Zambia has committed to making customer experience the heart of its business and will continue to focus on expanding its coverage base within Lusaka and Copperbelt as part of Phase 1 of its operations.

Staff Writer

Powered by WPeMatico