SA Company To Use Artificial Intelligence To Predict Crime

SA Company To Use Artificial Intelligence To Predict Crime

Solution House Software director, Tiaan Janse van Rensburg.

Stop crime before it even happens? Sounds a bit far fetched due to the unpredictable nature of the beast but Cape-Town based software and solution developer, Solution House Software, may have just cracked the code.

Designed to predict and map potential crimes, Solution House Software has announced the launch of their new artificial intelligence (AI) module for Incident Desk.

Solution House Software director, Tiaan Janse van Rensburg, says the Incident Desk Predictive Analysis module will initially focus solely on crime, but future versions may be expanded to include other industries such as facility management and maintenance. The narrow focus according to Janse van Rensburg will “allows us to achieve better results and hone the AI engine even further to apply it to other incident management areas.”

Incident Desk uses a multi-tenant model which combines numerous customer areas, properties and buildings into one solution. This includes urban areas, central improvement districts, neighbourhood watch initiatives, estates, shopping malls and even schools.

“Because Incident Desk is built on a multi-tenant model, it allows us to develop this type of technology and make it available affordably across the user base,” he says. “The other advantage is that, because we’re multi-tenant at almost every site, we get to use many different data feeds that makes this type of technology much more predictable and accurate.

One of the biggest problems currently plaguing public safety and security are the ‘islands of data’ that are not being shared or centralised, which makes it difficult to data mine and analyse.

The Incident Desk Predictive Analysis module uses machine learning technology developed by Solution House together with aggregated data from multiple information sources to determine the likelihood of different types of criminal activity in the Incident Desk management area.

“With the module installed, Incident Desk generates 7 and 30-day forecasts as heat maps based on crime types and incident probabilities that managers can use to optimise their finite security resources,” says Janse van Rensburg.

“Crime is notoriously difficult to predict, but given that Incident Desk can access so many different types of data – including weather patterns and forecasts and historical data – the results are based on fairly accurate and proven trending algorithms,” her says.

“What’s more, the technology we developed is self-learning, which means Incident Desk continuously reviews, corrects and refines its predictions. That means that, over time, results will necessarily become more accurate, to the point where we hope that managers can resource themselves correctly and prevent or eliminate certain types of crime entirely from their areas.”

Incident Desk is a universal service request and incident mapping and management platform that provides facility, security and urban managers – along with their organisations, partners and customers – with real-time incident alerts. This allows for the recording and live reporting of incidents with a unique smartphone app that makes it one of the only fully mobile-enabled incident management systems on the market today.

According to Janse van Rensburg, an important distinction with regards the new Predictive Analysis module is that results will only ever be available to managers and their support staff.

“The type of information generated by the module is highly sensitive, and is therefore limited to restricted personnel,” he says. “Incident Desk will function normally – with residents in a managed area still able to report incidents by phoning their security service provider control room or through the smartphone app if they use it – but information like crime analysis and prediction will be strictly delivered to the relevant management personnel only.”

“The good news is that we’re planning to launch to all our current customers for free, on a trial basis, after which we’ll phase in a subscription model for long-term use.”

The Incident Desk Predictive Analysis module will be available to all current South African multi-tenant customers towards the end of May. Solution House will announce a release date for its UK customers later this year.

Staff Writer

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South African IT firms asked to disclose foreign trade

South African IT firms asked to disclose foreign trade

IT companies will have to reveal foreign trade to SARS.

In what is seen as a major development, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has tightened up its criteria for what multinational businesses are allowed to submit to the tax man. The new laws state that medium and large businesses in South Africa that are part of multinational companies have to disclose where their money goes.

Due to be signed into law very soon, SARS’ thinking is to avoid so-called “profit shifting”, where money made in South Africa could be moved to accounts in another country. If successful, this move by the tax authorities could help to recoup billions of Rand in lost revenue.

The IT sector in South Africa is among those most likely to be affected. Telecoms giant MTN, who operate in many other parts of the continent, will definitely have to comply with the new rules. The same applies to the local operations of Microsoft and SAP, who are both major employers in this country.

Tightening rules

South Africa-based businesses that have to comply with the new rules are expected to:

● Submit a ‘Master File’ that details the group’s total income, inclusive of any business done in other countries
● Submit a so-called ‘Local File’, detailing their business activity in South Africa only, ensuring that they pay the correct amount of income tax

Compiling all of the relevant paperwork will be a challenge. However, an even bigger obstacle to overcome is compliance with the tightened rules. Making sure all of the figures are accurate and that the correct amount of tax is paid is imperative to avoid the risk of being fined.

To stay within the law, companies are now required to take a forensic look at their finances in relation to business done exclusively in South Africa and overseas. Whilst the likes of MTN will have the resources to cope with the new laws, smaller IT companies will find it harder to deal with, needing to undertake double the amount of admin work needed.

Transparency needed

As part of SARS’ wider attempts to clamp down on tax evasion, transparency is advised by all IT businesses with foreign clients and operations. Businesses that are unclear about the new laws may need to hire tax auditors. Such a move may be taken by many enterprises to avoid the threat of being fined by SARS.

An audit will involve listing every single expenditure and movement of capital. It will also help companies to know how much, if anything, they are transferring from their South African operation to a part of a multinational in another country. This step alone can remove a lot of the work for businesses, but what of the future?

Impact on tech firms

Earlier this month, SARS’ annual performance plan revealed that targets for tax revenue had been missed. Among the revelations from the plan includes lowering rates of tax compliance amongst businesses and individuals and perceptions of how well that SARS have done their job.

Estimates suggest that last year, MTN employed over 22,000 people across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe. Thousands more work for the likes of Telkom, Vodacom, SAP and many smaller IT firms.

Should any of them fail to abide by the new rules and receive a hefty fine, some of those jobs could be at risk, as the companies try to meet the cost of a multi-Rand bill. The deadline for companies with multinational operations to disclose details of their foreign trade is December 31st 2017.

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When, Where and How Much? The Nokia 3310 set to Land in SA

When, Where and How Much? The Nokia 3310 set to Land in SA

The revamped Nokia 3310.

It has been announced that the iconic Nokia 3310 will be available, in its revamped form, in South Africa from the 29th of May. The company driving the release of Nokia’s latest range of smartphones, HMD Global, made the announcement while Shaun Durandt,  General Manager for HMD Global Southern Africa, highlighted their delight in bringing the phone to the country.

The new look device is likely to send waves of nostalgia through many South Africans who had the original device in the early 2000’s.

The 3310 will be available from Cell C  in the iconic Dark Blue, with a matte finish retailing at estimated price of R749 and will be available from the 29th of May.

The 3310 will come in three colours from MTN – Warm Red and Yellow, both with a gloss finish, and Dark Blue with a matte finish and will retail at estimated price of R699 and will be available from Mid-June from MTN partners.

The device will also be available from the following online outlets from Mid-June 2017:

  • Cellucity.co.za
  • Technomobi.co.za

Staff Writer

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MTN Nigeria gets N221 Million Waiver

MTN Nigeria gets N221 Million Waiver

The man who secured the waiver, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

Nigerian Communications Commission executive vice chairman, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has secured a permit fee waiver of an astonishing N221 million ($697 thousand) for MTN Nigeria in Kano State, this is according to reports from Nigerian Communications Week.

According to Daily Trust, this is not the first time that the NCC boss has intervened to a similar effect. Last year Danbatta secured a similar deal in Ogun State, which resulted in the unsealing of 47 base stations under lock and key, while the state governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, also reduced ground rent fee owed by IHS Towers from N370 million to N120 million.

A statement on Sunday by the NCC revealed that Huwawei staff, working on telecommunication infrastructure expansion in Kano state on behalf of the MTN Nigeria, were arrested by the officials of government’s agency, Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KANUPDA), a development which put a full stop to the project.

The situation could have adverse effects on Quality of Service experience among millions of service subscribers in the state and beyond before it was swiftly nipped in the bud. Danbatta as a result of the arrests, made an unscheduled visit to the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and the government magnanimously waived the permit fee of N221 Million for deployment of fibre infrastructure in that state.

Danbatta was said to have convinced the governor about the economic advantages that the state would gain from the deployment of more telecommunication infrastructure, as well the potential quality of service concern that millions of service subscribers would face if the work was further delayed.

In a letter signed by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Arch Bashir Mudi Adamu, and addressed to MTN, the agency, however, said the waiver of permit fees was granted in respect of two federal roads in the state: Zaria Road and Maiduguri Road.

 

Staff Writer

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Arbor named as clear DDoS leader in Quadrant Knowledge report

Arbor named as clear DDoS leader in Quadrant Knowledge report

Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Arbor Networks.

Arbor Networks’ clear leadership position in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation is once again confirmed – being named by Quadrant Knowledge Solutions as the 2017 Market and Technology Leader in the Global DDoS Mitigation Market.

Quadrant Knowledge, the global Market Research and Consulting Firm, placed clear daylight between Arbor and the rest of the pack, citing Arbor’s sophisticated mix of DDoS offerings that suit any size and type of business.

Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Arbor Networks, says the endorsement comes at an important time for the cyber-defence industry in Africa.

“For telcos, ISPs, hosting partners and many other types of business across Africa, we’re seeing an escalating threat landscape, with a greater number of destructive attacks being reported every month,” he notes.

Fin24 recently revealed that the most common cyber-attack on telcos across the continent are DDoS attacks – with Gilat Satcom, reporting that “ISPs, cellular companies, banks and IT companies in Africa are all under near-constant attack”.

Hamman adds that this points to an increasing trend: that attackers are shifting their focus away from mature economies, towards emerging economies where organisations may not have specialised prevention in place.

String of awards

Quadrant explains that its analysis was conducted in terms of both business performance and technology excellence.

In its findings, it notes that “Arbor Networks is recognised as the market and technology leader in the global DDoS mitigation market driven by its sophistication of technology platform, scalability, competitive strategy, industry impact, and high customer impact.”

The Quadrant acclaim follows a litany of recent global awards, from the likes of Security Product Guide’s Global Excellence Awards, the Info Security Products Guide’s Awards, and Network Products Guide’s Annual IT World Awards.

“It’s wonderful to be recognised for all the effort that’s gone into producing the most multi-layered and impenetrable DDoS solutions, as well as our unrivalled threat intelligence capabilities.

“With these kinds of industry accolades, we’re able to maintain our strong momentum, and continue entrenching Arbor as the one and only player in professional DDoS defence,” comments Hamman.

And as organisations across Africa come under increased threat, he adds that Arbor’s intelligence capabilities will continue to be localised, and the solution sets will be customised to suit local firms’ requirements.

Staff Writer

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NCC secures N221 million waiver for MTN in Kano

NCC secures N221 million waiver for MTN in Kano

It was gathered that Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, had to make an unscheduled visit to the State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and the government magnanimously waived the permit fee of N221million for the deployment of fibre infrastructure in that state.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, has secured a N221 million waiver permit for MTN from the Kano State government.The waiver, which came timely, is to help MTN complete a network infrastructure upgrade and fibre layout in the state.

According to information gathered yesterday, some staff of Huawei, working on the telecommunication infrastructure expansion in Kano on behalf of MTN, were arrested by the officials of the government’s agency, Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KANUPDA), a development which put a stop to the project.

The situation could have adverse effects on Quality of Service experienced among millions of service subscribers in the state and beyond, before it was swiftly nipped in the bud.

It was gathered that Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, had to make an unscheduled visit to the State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and the government magnanimously waived the permit fee of N221million for the deployment of fibre infrastructure in that state.

Danbatta was said to have convinced the Governor about the economic advantages that the state stands to gain from the deployment of more telecommunication infrastructure as well the potential quality of service issues that millions of service subscribers would face if the work was further delayed.

In a letter signed by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, KANUPDA, Bashir Mudi Adamu, and addressed to MTN, the agency, however, said the waiver of permit fees was granted in respect of two federal roads, Zaria Road and Maiduguri Road in the state.

Strategic collaboration and partnership with other relevant agencies and stakeholders is a key component of the eight Point Agenda the NCC boss unveiled last year.

Recall that a similar intervention by the NCC boss in Ogun State last year, resulted in the unsealing of 47 base stations under lock and key, while the Governor, IbikunleAmosun, also reduced the ground rent fee owed by IHS Towers from N370 million to N120 million.

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India tech giant warns Trump's 'radical shift' to hurt industry

India tech giant warns Trump's 'radical shift' to hurt industry

Tech Mahindra Ltd. said net income was 5.9 billion rupees ($91 million) in the fourth quarter, compared with the average analyst estimate of 7.8 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The vice chairman at one of India’s largest technology services companies warned that U.S. President Donald Trump’s visa policies will damage the industry as his company reported weak earnings and his stock fell the most in almost two years.

Tech Mahindra Ltd. said net income was 5.9 billion rupees ($91 million) in the fourth quarter, compared with the average analyst estimate of 7.8 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Shares fell as much as 17 percent and traded 12 percent lower at 1:18 p.m. local time, the largest intraday decline since May 2015.

The U.S. is tightening the criteria for visa programs that Tech Mahindra and other outsourcing companies use to bring skilled foreign workers into the country. Trump and other politicians have criticized the programs for hurting American workers and allowing companies to use cheaper employees from abroad.

“Trump’s America First agenda and focus on curbing the immigration, especially around H-1B visa policies, will hurt the IT sector,” Vice Chairman Vineet Nayyar said on a conference call. “The norms propose a radical shift in policies related to visa quotas and allotment, thereby, leading to a tougher application procedure and higher cost of Indian IT companies looking to bring talent to the United States.”

Trump, Tech Clash Over Visas for Skilled Immigrants: QuickTake

Several analysts cut their ratings and price targets for Tech Mahindra after it reported results, including those at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley. Vibhor Singhal of Phillip Securities Pte reduced shares to a sell rating and slashed the price target to 380 rupees.

Tech services companies, including Cognizant Technology Solutions, have been cutting positions in India. Some workers have blamed Trump for prompting the job losses and exacerbating problems in the industry.

Workers have begun debating whether to form the first industrywide IT union. Trade unions are common in India in manufacturing and transportation, but they never had much success in information technology because pay and benefits had historically been good.

“These are unsettling times in both in – on politics and economics of both Europe and U.S.,” said Nayyar. “However, the demand for technological services continues unabated. We do believe that as always, given our resilience, we will be able to see through – see our way through this current fog.”

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Japan's BITPoint to add Bitcoin payments to retail outlets

Japan's BITPoint to add Bitcoin payments to retail outlets

Genki Oda.Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

BITPoint Japan Co., the company behind Peach Aviation Ltd.’s move to let travelers use bitcoin to pay for tickets, is planning to give hundreds of thousands of Japanese retail outlets the ability to accept the digital currency.

“We’re holding discussions with a retail-related company,” Genki Oda, BITPoint’s president, said in a recent interview. “By going through a company providing payment terminal services to shops, we have the possibility of increasing its use at one stroke. It’s easier than talking to lots of individual retailers.”

BITPoint is joining a flurry of companies embracing regulations, enacted in Japan last month, that recognize digital currencies as a form of payment. That has helped to make yen trades one of the world’s largest transaction pools, exceeding China’s pole position at the end of 2016, according to Oda. Bic Camera Inc., one of the country’s biggest electronics retailers, began accepting bitcoin at two stores in Tokyo last month.

“We’re also talking to a big convenience store operator about using it,” said Oda, 36, who also runs BITPoint parent Remixpoint Co., which had a market value of about 21 billion yen ($189 million) on Friday. He said he’s aiming to make an announcement by early next year.

The shares of Remixpoint rose as much as 18 percent to their daily price limit. Last week, Remixpoint said it will convert debt issued to BITPoint into equity, raising its ownership in the subsidiary to 97.7 percent.

Bitcoin, which debuted eight years ago, is gaining wider use as a way to pay for goods and services, and lets people transact without oversight from governments, regulators or central banks. The virtual currency has been rallying against the dollar and other fiat currencies and was trading at $2,210 on Monday, near record highs.

While BITPoint operates as a bitcoin exchange, it’s pushing to promote the use of the cryptocurrency in stores and other retail outlets, instead of as a speculative instrument. The company currently has ties with tens of retailers and plans to expand that number, Oda said.

A change in Japanese law on April 1 formalized rules around anti-money laundering and put in place standards for security and audits. Restaurant booking site Gurunavi Inc. will start letting diners pay with bitcoin later this year, the Nikkei newspaper reported last month.

“It’s funny how the whole narrative of bitcoin being risky or dangerous has changed, and it is now seen as a form of pride to regulate and embrace it,” said Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Gatecoin.

Asked about the recent climb in bitcoin’s value, Oda said he’s wary of the sudden jump and doesn’t think it’s sustainable. At the same time, Japanese investors and day traders are taking a serious look at bitcoin as an asset class, thanks to the new regulations, he said, adding that several large foreign exchange brokerages will begin bitcoin trading in the coming months, boosting volumes.

Still, it’s unclear whether bitcoin payments can become more than a marketing gimmick. The biggest hurdles include long network confirmation times and high transaction fees. While many bitcoin community members rallied around a new proposal last week to fix the problem, deep differences within the group have led to several similar solutions falling through since 2015.

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Reps, stakeholders seek financial autonomy

Reps, stakeholders seek financial autonomy

House of Representatives and stakeholders in the communication sector yesterday proposed financial autonomy for Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) to meet international best practices.

At a public hearing on the bills to repeal the Nigerian postal service Act and to amend the stamp duties Act, conducted by the House Committee on Telecommunications, participants also seek to give NIPOST the enabling environment to measure up with the advanced postal administration.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Committee, Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, said with the passage of the bills, NIPOST would be well positioned for the realisation of the federal government financial inclusion programme, which seeks to provide access to the unbanked and under-banked rural communities as key to poverty alleviation.

He explained that the dwindling oil revenue and the current global recession necessitated the need for the nation to diversify its economy.He said: “The two (2) Bills seek to give NIPOST the enabling environment to measure up with the advanced postal administration in the deployment of its infrastructure and human resources as well as attainment of financial autonomy to meet international best practices.

“The dwindling oil revenue and the current global recession have necessitated the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy especially for the present administration to achieve its change agenda. And NIPOST is believed to be one of such key agency.”

Representing the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, the Post Master General of NIPOST, Barr. Bisi Adegbuyi noted that most of the laws regulating the agency were obsolete, adding that there were five core-challenging issues, which necessitated the amendment of the extant Act.

Asked if the use of an adhesive postage/electronic stamp to denote a document or receipt or registrable instrument, amount to the payment of stamp duty tax? The Minister said no, adding, “denoting a document or receipt or registrable instrument is not the payment of a stamp duty tax.”

He also said that the provision of adhesive postage/electronic stamps by NIPOST does not infringe on the powers of the Federal Inland Revenue Services or a State Inland Revenue Service to access, collect and receipt the payment of stamp duty tax.

The Minister pointed out that the punishment contained in the law were no longer relevant, adding, “of what use is a N20:00k fine or a N200:00k fine when the cost of prosecuting the offender is on the average N100,000:00k.”

Shittu said that amendment such as the internet and the Point of Sale (POS)) machine have been captured as receipting medium, whose electronically generated receipts are to be denoted, adding that financial penalties have been introduced for a first offender, a second offender and a third or subsequent offender.

He said: “The proposed amendments if approved and implemented will unlock the revenue potential of the stamping Protocol to generate huge revenue for the benefits of all the tiers of government.

“The suggested amendments will also end the interagency rivalry, which is militating against the effective implementation of the stamping protocol. The amendments are recommended for the consideration and approval in the overall interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Leader of the coalition of civil society in the communication sector, Comrade Razaq Olokeba also hailed the initiative, saying it would help in repositioning the service.

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Nigeria ranks 114 out of 128  in innovation index 2016

Nigeria ranks 114 out of 128 in innovation index 2016

The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 has ranked Nigeria 114th out of 128 countries globally surveyed and considered to be innovating and thinking ahead.The 423-page document obtained by The Guardian, yesterday, showed that about 19 countries including Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, among others in Africa are investing in innovation and are far ahead of Nigeria.

Painfully, Nigeria is placed slightly above countries including Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun, Zambia, Togo and Guinea in terms of innovation.

The report, which claimed that Nigeria was performing below its level of development, said Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda stand out for being innovation achievers at least four times in the past five years.

The GII puts Information and Communications Technology (ICT) access and use in Nigeria at 28.2 per cent and 18. 1 per cent respectively, with government’s online service and e-participation put at 30.7 per cent and 33.3 per cent respectively, which it described as low.

Indeed, innovation is important at all stages of development; specifically, the creation and diffusion of technologies are important for economic growth and welfare across all economies. The implication of not innovating and developing means that the country may remain a dumping ground for all forms of technologies from other countries.

Experts have however, blamed the slow pace of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) growth in Nigeria on poor and non-implementation of policies that can drive growth with a charge on both ministers of Communications and Science and Technology, Adebayo Shittu and Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, respectively to match policies with actions so that the country can be at par with other developed nations.

“I don’t see why we will have as a nation two important ministries, I mean Communications and Science and Technology and nothing developmental and innovating are happening,” said Kehinde Aluko, a telecoms expert.

The report ranked Switzerland first in the world with 66.3 per cent level of innovation with an efficiency ratio of 0.94 per cent against world’s 0.65 per cent. Sweden is second with 63.6 per cent and 0.86 per cent efficiency ratio; United Kingdom; United States of America; Finland ranked third, fourth and fifth with 61.93 per cent (0.83 per cent efficiency ratio); 61.40 per cent (0.79 per cent efficiency ratio) and 59.90 per cent (0.75 per cent efficiency ratio).

Nigeria, according to the GII, has an innovation index of 23.15 per cent and efficiency ratio of 0.57 per cent. Mauritius and South Africa, the two countries ranked highest in Africa have their GIIs put at 35.86 per cent (0.57 per cent efficiency ratio) and 35.85 per cent (0.55 per cent efficiency ratio) respectively.

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