AfricaCom 2017: New digital health conference stream added to AfricaCom agenda

AfricaCom 2017: New digital health conference stream added to AfricaCom agenda

AfricaCom 2017 – New digital health conference stream added to AfricaCom agenda.

Mobile technology is without doubt the next great ‘enabler’ in healthcare in Africa. A mobile phone has become a biosensor, a laboratory, a scanner and a data processor and e-Health is rapidly proving its potential to improve workplace efficiencies, increase patient safety, better co-ordinate care, facilitate payments and engage patients.

The continent’s single largest and most ‘connected’ technology, media and telecommunications event, AfricaCom – now in its 20th year – will spotlight the rise of digital health and attendant technologies, with a brand new dedicated conference track.

“We have included several new tracks on the conference agenda this year, with e-Health a prominent addition” says Tom Cuthell, Portfolio Director at KNect365. “With more people finally having access to the immediacy and the information that the Internet brings, personal health management is becoming achievable and is set to be one of the fastest growing industry sectors over the next few years.

“This presents incredible opportunities for the entire health and wellness ecosystem and we look forward to hosting healthy and robust discussions on these topics and many others at this year’s event.”

Topics on the agenda for a full day of rigorous debate and healthy insight, on Tuesday 7th November 2017, include a look at the current digital health landscape and the opportunities that are available and what needs to be done to address the challenges of implementing these new ideas.

Ways in which digital transformation can improve healthcare access and service delivery in Africa will also be up for discussion, with themes that include how mobile, IoT, Big Data and the cloud, will impact healthcare in Africa; developing a digital health strategy for healthcare organisations; and integrating digital health into national healthcare systems (across the continent).

During the Connecting Africa Digital Week, (4-8 September), eHealth News, as well as the hearX Group and Vula Mobile, tracked the rise of Digital Health Clinics and showcased the e-Health technologies making this possible.

“e-Health development needs a combined approach, with numerous collaborators and contributors who are all aligned to solving a problem for an individual, a community, a region and eventually, an entire health system,” said Ophthalmology Registrar at Stellenbosch University and Founder of Vula Mobile, Dr William Mapham.

Mapham’s award-winning Vula e-Health App, plays an important role in providing health workers – particularly those in remote rural areas – with a tool that helps to get patients quick and efficient specialist care.

“Inefficient referral networks are a drain on resources. We’re hoping that by applying mobile technologies to this issue, Vula can play a part in improving the way referrals are made and creating more robust health systems,” explains Dr Mapham.

Future trends in healthcare delivery in Africa will be driven by access to e-Health technologies, to shape new models of care in driving innovative, affordable and accessible services. As demand for healthcare rises, the pressure to reduce cost and show value increases. Technology not only addresses key healthcare problems in developing economies, but adds value too.

Joining Mapham in discussion, are among others: Taryn Springhall, Editor, eHealth News, Professor De Wet Swanepoel, Professor, University of Pretoria, Founder & Scientific Advisor at hearX Group as well as Adama Kane, CEO of Jokko Santé.

The question of investment into digital healthcare solutions, the risks, who to partner with and what to expect for that return on investment, are critical points of order that will also be addressed through AfricaCom’s Digital Health Clinic.

Staff Writer

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A new IoT botnet storm is coming

A new IoT botnet storm is coming

A new IoT botnet storm is coming (image source: Flickr/ perspec_photo88)

New cyber-storm clouds are gathering. Check Point Researchers have discovered that Botnets are evolving and recruiting IoT devices at a far greater pace and with more potential damage than the Mirai botnet of 2016.

IoT Botnets are Internet-connected smart devices which have been infected by the same malware and are controlled by a threat actor from a remote location. They have been behind some of the most damaging cyber attacks against organisations worldwide, including hospitals, national transport links, communication companies and political movements.

While some technical aspects lead to suspect a possible connection to Mirai, this is an entirely new and far more sophisticated campaign that is rapidly spreading worldwide. It is too early to guess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but with previous Botnet DDoS attacks essentially taking down the Internet, it is vital that organisations make proper preparations and defence mechanisms are put in place before an attack strikes.

Ominous signs were first picked up via Check Point’s Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) in the last few days of September. An increasing number of attempts were being made by hackers to exploit a combination of vulnerabilities found in various IoT devices.

With each passing day, the malware was evolving to exploit an increasing number of vulnerabilities in Wireless IP Camera devices such as GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, AVTECH, NETGEAR, MikroTik, Linksys, Synology and others. It soon became apparent that the attempted attacks were coming from many different sources and a variety of IoT devices, meaning the attack was being spread by the IoT devices themselves.

So far it is estimated that over a million organisations have already been affected worldwide, including the US, Australia and everywhere in between, and the number is only increasing.

Upon further research, it was found that numerous devices were both being targeted and later sending out the infection. These attacks were coming from many different types of devices and many different countries, totalling approximately 60% of the corporate networks which are part of the ThreatCloud global network.

According to the research, we are now experiencing the calm before an even more powerful storm. The next cyber hurricane is about to come.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Nigeria: NCC reject Telcos plea to regulate OTT

Nigeria: NCC reject Telcos plea to regulate OTT

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed on Thursday 19 October 2017 that the organisation can’t regulate Over The Top Technology (OTT) for now, refusing the telecom operators’ call that the technology be regulated in the country.

The revelation came after telecommunications firms in Nigeria called on the NCC to regulate OTT operators such as Facebook, WhatsApp, 2go, Instagram and others who ride on social media to reach their audience.

Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) disclosed this information on 19 of October 2017 when a delegation from the United States (US) embassy paid a working visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

“The operators are saying we should do something about the OTT and that the OTT is riding on their infrastructure to make money. But it will be very difficult to regulate OTT,” Prof Danbatta said.

According to him, though NCC understands the operators’ “plight” the truth is that there is nothing we can do for now.

The NCC EVC, said he had interacted with heads of telecom industry’s regulatory agencies in the US and some other advanced economies and he was indirectly told that OTT couldn’t be regulated for now.

He also said that the NCC couldn’t regulate content in the social media space as this falls within the jurisdiction of its sister regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

He was also eager to emphasise to the US embassy delegation, which was led by Rachael Atwood Mendiola, to convince US investors to come and invest in Nigeria’s telecom industry as this is the best time to stake their money in the country.

“We want investors to come and invest in telecoms infrastructure across the country. I believe they will make their money in no time. Our investment environment is becoming friendlier, our security has improved greatly and the Federal Government had promised some number of incentives for would-be investors.”

“Plus we still have access gap. We still have about 200 locations across the country yet to have telecom services. This has cut off about 40million people, including people in my local government in Kano. So, investors can come in and take this opportunity,” added Danbatta.

The NCC head concluded by revealing that organisation is working to see the access gaps blocked in the next two years.

Edited By Dean Workman
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Top 5 most affordable laptops for the Kenyan student

Top 5 most affordable laptops for the Kenyan student

Top 5 most affordable laptops for the Kenyan student.

Every student needs a reliable laptop to complete school assignments, research papers, and essays. Getting a laptop that is capable of all the computing needs of a student is no longer a struggle.

Things to consider when buying a laptop as a student range from storage, performance, battery life and whether the device will be able to handle extracurricular activities, such as social networking, watching movies, listening to music, posting photos, gaming, and video chatting with friends.

Depending on your budget, some laptops offer a wide range of specifications including a selection of processors – for instance, you can choose one that maximises performance or one that favours battery life.

Students need to consider a full-size keyboard and comfortable touchpad for the excessive amount of typing that is involved when doing assignments, essays, and research papers. They also need to consider the size of the laptop. Always moving around campus requires a light sized device that is portable and can be carried around easily. This depends on your tolerance level for smaller display.

To assist students in Kenya, IT News Africa has compiled a list of the most affordable laptops for the Kenyan student.

ASUS X541NA-GQ171

1. ASUS X541SA Series
Price: KSh 24,999
The ASUS X541SA features include an efficient Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a vibrant 15.6-inch HD display. It also features an immersive SonicMaster soundcard as well as multiple USB Type C ports.

The 15.6-inch HD LED-backlight display comes standard with a resolution of 1376 x 768 and features ASUS Splendid Technology, which delivers vibrant colours and clear pictures in a 16:9 widescreen format. The display also features ASUS Eye Care technology in order to reduce blue light, which ultimately makes the screen more comfortable to view… especially when doing assignments late at night.

Specifications:
Processor: Intel Celeron N3060 Processor
Storage: 
500GB Hard Drive
Weight:
1.98kg
Memory Size: 
4GB
Operating System:
Windows

2. Dell Inspiron 3162
Price: KSh 21,999

The Dell Inspiron 3162 laptop has an 11.6-inch backlit screen and comes with Waves MaxxAudio, which will allow students to enjoy movies and music while taking a break from school work.

The Accurate touchpad makes pointing and gesture recognition precise. With the HDMI connection, you can connect your laptop to an external monitor or big-screen TV to view content in a FHD/1080p resolution. The USB 3.0 port transfers files up to 10x faster than USB 2.0 ports, saving students a lot of time when transferring large files to an external hard drive or network – which will ensure you move on the next assignment quickly.

Specifications:
Processor: Intel Celeron N3060
Storage: 32 GB SSD
Weight: 1.2 kg
Memory: 2GB RAM
Operating System: Windows 10
3. Yepo 737T
Price: KSh 17,99
The Yepo 737T features substantial high-bandwidth RAM to run your games, photos and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once. This could be the best feature for students studying multimedia.

The device provides 64GB storage capacity for students to store pictures, videos, music and school assignments. The Bluetooth 4.0 interface syncs with compatible devices so students can wirelessly transfer photos, music and other media between the computer and your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or MP3 player, or connect Bluetooth wireless accessories. The battery lasts up to 8 hours on a single charge.

Specifications:
Processor: Intel Core Duo
Storage: 2GB
Weight: 1.38KG(laptop), 1.9KG(full packing)
Operating System: Supports Windows 10

4. InnJoo A100 Leapbook
Price: KSh 17,999

The InnJoo LeapBook A100 combines a stylish design and a super-fast processor on a budget. The 14.1-inch display delivers images in hi-resolution which can be used for both work and multimedia. The InnJoo A100 sustains up to 10 hours normal use on a single charge.

The A100 also comes with enhanced gaming and speed with Gen 8 Intel HD Graphics and a 64-bit Instruction Set. The A100 adopts the new Windows 10 Desktop System. The device comes in two colour options silver and gold.

Specifications:
Processor: Intel Core Duo
Memory: 2GB Ram
Storage: 32 GB ROM
Weight: 1.27kg
Operating System: Windows 10

5. ZED AIR MINI – 10.6-inch Notebook
Price: KSh 12,999

At 0.9 kg, this flyweight laptop not only fits perfectly in your bag but is perfect for students who are always walking around campus. The Zed Air Mini is equipped with Intel Quad Core 1.8 GHz Processor – ideal for high performance and great energy efficiency. The battery life is up to 8 hours on a typical charge and lets you go all day without plugging in. The ZED AIR Mini has the latest wireless networking components allowing students to connect to the internet wherever they are.

Specifications:
Processor: Intel Quad Core 1.8 Ghz
Storage: 32GB
Weight: 0.9 kg
Operating System: Windows 10

By Fundisiwe Maseko
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Mining and manufacturing sectors are becoming vulnerable to cyberattack

Mining and manufacturing sectors are becoming vulnerable to cyberattack

Sean Duffy, Executive of Security Solutions for MEA at Dimension Data.

South Africa’s manufacturing sector is under growing threat of cyberattack, this is according to Sean Duffy, Executive of Security Solutions for MEA at Dimension Data.

The Dimension Data’s Global Threat Intelligence Report for 2017, revealed that the manufacturing sector was second only to the finance industry on the list of most attacked sectors in the Middle East and Africa region in 2016. In fact, manufacturing featured amongst the top three targets for five out of the six global regions. Sectors like mining and manufacturing are fast becoming a favourite with cybercriminals and it’s not difficult to see why. Most manufacturing systems today were made to be productive, with funds traditionally spent on upgrades for productivity rather than cybersecurity.

OT environments are at risk
Taking a closer look, mining and manufacturing plants are run by operational technology (OT) which controls the physical devices within the plant. These environments are generally operated by the engineering function, independent of the enterprise network run by IT in the organisation. This is problematic because historically manufacturers have not been security focused. To complicate matters further, most operational technology was introduced into our mines 20 or 30 years ago when there was little risk of a cyberattack. The result is that the necessary IT systems to prevent cyberattacks simply weren’t put in place. This includes failing to introduce measures to authenticate the traffic between the various devices contained in the plant and the logical security application of segmenting networks. This threat to the OT environment is being exacerbated by the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT). With digital transformation on the rise, organisations are deploying applications and devices that interact with business operations to enhance business outcomes.

For mining and manufacturing, this means connecting IT and OT systems securely into one enterprise network to enable boundless information flow for real-time, informed decisions. The move from isolated devices to internet-enabled platforms that can communicate with each other creates entirely new cybersecurity risks. Critical systems are now exposed and vulnerable to information attacks and Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

The consequences can be devastating
It is estimated that by 2020 there will be more than 40 billion devices connected to the internet. And particularly concerning for South Africa is that 21% of all IoT attacks originated in the MEA region in 2016, according to the Global Threat.

Intelligence Report
When connecting the digital and physical worlds, new data sources need to be considered as both a source and target of an attack. While in the past cyberattacks have been largely focused on targeting confidentiality of information, we are now seeing a shift towards the availability and security aspect of IT. This is particularly relevant in the OT environment, where an attack on the technology can bring an organisation to a standstill. Critical services are all controlled via automation and operational technologies, and the impact on their availability has an adverse effect on consumers of these services. For example, if the power grid should be made unavailable because of a cyberattack, electricity would become unavailable to all consumers, ultimately impacting the economy of the country. This requires a new approach to securing OT environments. A consultation process is needed to understand what the impact on the business would be should its OT environment come under attack as well as the cybersecurity requirements to prevent attacks.

These requirements include the discovery of elements that form part of the OT network, build and design based on security principles, controls for segregation, monitoring, access control and endpoint protection. Penetration tests should also be run to uncover cybersecurity gaps, allowing for advice on technical solutions to cover those gaps, and assisting manufacturers to implement controls to manage their entire IT security. It is critical that OT form part of an overall enterprise cybersecurity strategy. This will enable manufacturing organisations to take advantage of the benefits of the digital era, while still ensuring that they have invested in the required measures to protect their OT environment from becoming the soft target of a cybersecurity attack.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Report highlights organisations harnessing the cloud for innovation and success

Report highlights organisations harnessing the cloud for innovation and success

report highlights best organisations harnessing the cloud for innovation and success.

A report spearheaded by HotTopics.ht and sponsored by application security and cloud company F5 Networks, has revealed the top fifty EMEA businesses innovating in the cloud. The Top 50 EMEA Cloud Climbers Report is the first study of its kind explicitly dedicated to cloud computing’s transformational business impact.

The report features 50 companies from a wide range of industries, each assessed for excellence in strategic cohesion, market impact, operational performance and overall value. It also includes detailed case studies of selected Cloud Climbers, as well as pertinent cloud trend analysis.

The retail sector secured the most top 50 slots (12%), followed by financial services (8%), automotive (6%), sport (6%) and transport/logistics (4%). Marquee names in the report include Spotify (for continually evolving and optimising its massive music streaming service), Mercedes F1 (cloud-fuelled performance analytics) and Airbus (cloud and machine learning to store and process several hundred terabytes of satellite imagery annually).

Europe’s leading public-private cloud partnership – the Helix Nebula Initiative – is another notable inclusion and indicative of the technology’s immense reach and influence. A unique partnership between IT providers and Europe’s top research centres (CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC), the collective’s headline-grabbing work includes aiding the search for the Higgs Boson “God Particle”.

All organisations were subjected to a rigorous assessment process conducted by an eminent judging panel comprising David Linthincum (Cloud Technology Partners SVP and recently crowned world #1 cloud influencer), Mu Kenny Li (Cloud Spectator CEO), Rene Buest (Arago GMBH Directory of Technology) and Roy Illsley (Ovum Principal Analyst).

“I was highly impressed by the amount of innovation in EMEA. The region is no longer trailing the US, but is equal to, and in some cases, accelerating the use of cloud computing,” said David Linthincum, SVP, Cloud Technology Partners. “Cloud technology is disruptive to the market, and innovative companies are quickly learning that they can automate faster and change as business demands. It is encouraging that EMEA businesses are now leveraging cloud computing strategically and not just for tactical cost savings.”

The report comes at a time of significant cloud uptake. According to IDC, at least half of IT spending will be cloud-based by 2018, reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure, and 60–70% of all software, services, and technology spending by 2020.

“As more enterprises begin to recognise the benefits of cloud computing, we are seeing a significant shift to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies,” said Mu Kenny Li, CEO, Cloud Spectator. “The Cloud Climbers report clearly shows that EMEA is able and willing to take full advantage of those benefits. From industry leaders to growing start-ups, we believe that companies throughout the region will continue to adopt cloud in their effort to expand and innovate”.

Martin Walshaw, Senior Systems Engineer at F5 Networks, said, “The Cloud Climbers Report proves that with the right approach and a comprehensive multi-cloud solution, organisations will drive innovation and add significant customer value. An effective cloud architecture strategy increases business agility and provides flexibility to scale based on shifting hardware, software and on-demand requirements. Meanwhile, application control, access, and security ensure optimal service performance, availability and security.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Culture trumps technology when it comes to digital transformation

Culture trumps technology when it comes to digital transformation

Craig Mitchelmore, Head at Intervate (North), a T-Systems company.

Alongside buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence”, “Internet of Things” and “Cloud”, digital transformation is the catch-all umbrella term that covers anything that is considered “disruptive” enough to transform an industry.

Most organisations are rapidly exploring how to implement new and emerging technologies to digitally transform and become disruptors themselves. Some of them are succeeding. Many are not. The reasoning lies not in the implementation of technology, but the rationale behind it and the way in which these technologies are being implemented.

Digital transformation is important, and certainly necessary for evolving at the same rapid pace as both technology and the market is. Growth in a challenging economic climate is vital to retain market relevance and competitive edge. However, to avoid bland digital transformation, technology should not be the focal point but rather the tool used to enable the drivers for digital transformation.

The reason to disrupt
If you consider history though, the underlying principles of transformation have been around for thousands of years. The printing press disrupted the written word as people knew it. Microwave ovens disrupted the way households cooked. FM radio changed the way the world communicated. If you consider these technologies, most – if not all – were met with resistance before becoming adopted in the mainstream. Having said that, a great number of innovations that were poised to disrupt the industry have also failed.

What the printing press, microwave ovens and FM radio had in common was that they directly impacted lives, making the experience of the user far easier and more enjoyable. Today’s market, although considerably more tech-savvy and demanding of greater choice, is not entirely different: people want a better, richer experience.

Enterprises should be asking themselves why they are looking to transform digitally, and then identify the technologies that will answer their need. The motivation for market disruption should not be technology, but the customer and employee experience. This entails giving the customer what they want, while creating a work environment that enables a better working experience for the employee.

Engaging your “people”
Technologies come and go, or they evolve into newer, better technologies. The lifespan of a digital transformation strategy which is centred around technology is limited to the lifespan of that technology. The reason that the headline-making disruptors of industry are succeeding despite technological evolution is because they have created a culture which adapts to this evolution.

They have engaged with their customers and their employers, and have sought to understand their needs. With this understanding, they leveraged technology to innovate, giving their market – and employees – what they want, while enabling an agility to flex with these demands as they arise.

Engagement is an ongoing process. Customer and employee needs change frequently. This is particularly the case with the rise of mercurial, self-service oriented Millennials – and subsequent generational customer.

An adaptable and agile engagement strategy that can withstand the quickly changing technological landscape- creates an environment geared for constant transformation and disruption.

An environment geared for innovation
Organisations need to embrace innovation and innovative mindsets within their business to encourage agility. When an organisation encourages innovative thinking and creates an environment that is specifically geared towards innovation, accessing the right technology to digitally transform becomes a natural progression.

Employees who are equipped with the power to effect change will usually be the first to recommend technologies that will enable them to successfully complete their tasks. These technologies, implemented and integrated properly, will not only empower a workforce, but will also ensure enhanced customer satisfaction due to improved efficiencies and an evolving product and services.

Organisations also need to pay attention to their customers. Truly listen to what they are saying. It is the “age of the customer”, and customers are being increasingly vocal about what they want, how they want it and in which colour. Those businesses that are successfully disrupting their industries are the ones who are listening, and engaging with their customers to deliver a solution that works.

Many businesses may feel that they are perhaps too large or too entrenched in established practices to enable true agility. On the contrary, when considering some of the tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, it is evident that innovation inducing agility is a result of culture, and not of size or strategy.

It is often said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, and this is particularly true when considering a digital transformation strategy: create a culture that encourages innovation and that drives customer engagement, and you will escape bland digital transformation.

By Craig Mitchelmore, Head at Intervate (North), a T-Systems company

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Kenyan government launches e-trade portal

Kenyan government launches e-trade portal

Kenyan government launches e-trade portal.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives has launched an e-trade portal with the aim to help Kenyans interact with trade locally and internationally. The National Trade Negotiations Council (NTNC) will provide traders with rules and procedures regarding import and export formalities.

The e-trade portal will also advise government on possible options to pursue on addressing emerging trade disputes.

“The Trade Information Portal will be an online platform which provides a comprehensive, single-point access to up-to-date trade-related information mainly step-by-step guides to imports, exports and transit procedures. This will help current, potential traders and other stakeholders to access information that will assist them to make informed business decisions,” said State Department of Trade Principal Secretary Dr Chris Kiptoo.

According to the Ministry, the portal is an authoritative trade information platform designed to provide: information on import duties, target market abroad, trade in services opportunities, information on Kenya’s suppliers of various goods and services.

Kiptoo says that the enabling private sector investment in goods and services sector and creating immense opportunity for trade development at county level as some of the things the Kenya e-trade Portal will be able to improve on.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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South African startup Sun Exchange raises $1.6 million in seed investment

South African startup Sun Exchange raises $1.6 million in seed investment

Abraham Cambridge, CEO of Sun Exchange.

Sun Exchange, a South African startup which offers a peer-to-peer solar equipment leasing marketplace, announced on Friday 20 October 2017 that the company has raised $1.6 million in seed financing from several strategic partners to accelerate global access to solar power.

These partners include Network Society Ventures (New York City), Kalon Venture Partners (Johannesburg, South Africa) and three of the world’s leading technology accelerators, BoostVC (San Francisco Bay Area), Techstars (Boulder, Colorado) and Powerhouse (Oakland, California). This investment will boost Sun Exchange’s capacity to meet the demand for its pipeline of commercial-scale solar power projects, located in the sunniest regions of the planet.

Sun Exchange is the first marketplace of its kind and leverages blockchain technology to allow individuals to purchase solar cells in solar projects which are mostly situated in emerging markets that are solar-rich but power-poor. This makes solar panel ownership accessible to retail and institutional investors, worldwide, while giving businesses and communities in emerging markets access to fully-funded solar power plants to reduce running costs and drive sustainable development.

Sun Exchange has been in the African energy market since 2014, and has expanded globally with a United States headquarters in California and a regional operating office in Dubai.

Using its blockchain-based platform, Sun Exchange democratises the green economy by giving retail customers around the world the chance to lease solar cells bought on their platform to medium to large solar installations in emerging markets. Solar panels are sold by the single solar cell, reducing the cost of solar plant ownership to below $10.

“Solar power is the most promising technology to achieve a zero-carbon future,” said serial solar energy entrepreneur, Abraham Cambridge, CEO of Sun Exchange. “It’s the fastest growing source of energy, but billions of people don’t own their own roof or have the capital to get it. By breaking down solar panel ownership to a single cell we reduce the cost of going solar by two orders of magnitude and we’re utilising empty roof space in some of the sunniest cities on the planet, such as Dubai and Johannesburg. To super-charge the process we’ve combined our solar leases with another breakthrough technology – blockchain, namely Bitcoin. Putting the two together empowers anyone to go solar and be part of the global solar energy transformation with just a few taps on a screen.”

“At the intersection of the exponentially growing technologies of solar photovoltaics, crowdfunding and blockchain, Sun Exchange is uniquely positioned to become a leading force in the profound transformation that we will witness as we build a global 21st century civilization” added David Orban, Founder and Managing Partner of Network Society Ventures, and member of the Board of Directors of Sun Exchange.

Sun Exchange leverages blockchain and Bitcoin to increase transparency and reduce the costs of the cross-border transactions, both problems that inhibit the majority of commercial solar projects from accessing traditional funding options. By presenting a simple and accessible opportunity for anyone to join the solar economy, Sun Exchange unlocks the potential for the construction of environmentally sound and socially responsible projects that would otherwise not see the light of day.

By Dean Workman
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Silver Peak’s SD-WAN solution trumps torture test

Silver Peak’s SD-WAN solution trumps torture test

Derek Granath, vice president of product marketing at Silver Peak.

Silver Peak, the global leader in broadband and hybrid WAN solutions, has announced that the company’s flagship SD-WAN solution, Unity EdgeConnect, successfully endured a series of rigorous network packet-loss resilience tests.

Leading independent network test lab, Miercom, subjected the EdgeConnect solution to hands-on stress tests to validate the resiliency of multi-link bonded tunnels combined with path conditioning and dynamic path control. Results validated the solution’s ability to maintain peak network and application performance and availability through a series of real-world WAN transport congestion, brownout and blackout scenarios.

The EdgeConnect test methodology included using Unity Orchestrator to configure a business intent overlay with defined QoS parameters suitable for real-time voice and video applications. In each test scenario, real-time video streams were monitored for interruptions and image artefacts. Multiple scenarios were tested by injecting increasing levels of packet loss to simulate realistic WAN transport conditions across bonded links.

“While other SD-WAN vendors claim performance and resiliency, Silver Peak is effectively putting the industry on notice, challenging any vendor to submit their solution to a network torture test,” says Derek Granath, vice president of product marketing at Silver Peak. “Distributed enterprises will quickly find that, while others route around WAN service congestion and disruptions, only Silver Peak addresses underlying link performance issues to deliver a superior application experience, even under the most extreme packet-loss conditions.”

Key test findings (access full Miercom test report here):
– The high availability link bonding policy continued to ensure connectivity during a blackout condition of an underlay.
– Silver Peak high availability link bonding policy managed and adjusted to degrading link conditions and maintained application availability during a brownout condition.
– Even if packets are dropped, bonded links in the high availability mode with forward error correction assured that no application data packets were lost over the connection.
– Business intent overlays utilised tunnels, created by bonding multiple underlay links together to act as one, these overlays can perform micro-segmentation to apply security and QoS policies and to assist in meeting compliance requirements.

“Our testing proved that the Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution is exceptionally well-suited in maintaining network and application availability and performance through a range of real-world, challenging network scenarios,” says Miercom CEO, Rob Smithers. “EdgeConnect provides distributed enterprises the ability to connect users to applications with the flexibility, confidence and economies of using any combination of underlying WAN transport technologies.”

Staff Writer

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