How analytics can unlock the true value of IoT

How analytics can unlock the true value of IoT

Neil Herbert, Director: Business Analytics at SAP Africa.

With analysts estimating that up to 80 billion devices and sensors will be in the market by 2020, the need for real-time processing and analytics has escalated as companies work to realise the up to $8.9 trillion in additional revenue predicted to be unlocked by IoT. This is also leading to the development of more than 200 000 new apps and services as companies aim to take advantage of the potential benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by exploring new business models, optimisations, and revenue streams. However, business leaders are quickly learning that IoT is simply a tool, not a silver bullet: to extract the optimum value from IoT projects, business leaders still need clarity on its role in driving digital transformation – and bottom-line results.

While some businesses are running multiple IoT implementations across various lines of business but still struggle to realise true commercial benefits, industries such as insurance, retail, supply chain, and agriculture are experiencing exponential benefits as their IoT initiatives deliver transformative business value. In the supply chain, for example, companies are using IoT for intelligent supply chain execution, logistics, and supply chain planning for near-real-time replenishment, smart warehousing, intelligent transportation optimisation, and real-time track and trace.

In a range of other industries, recent use cases are inspiring confidence in the business value of IoT to reduce risk and optimise processes.

IoT delivering business value across industries
The insurance industry is one of the first to deploy large-scale IoT implementations to drive innovation and improve the customer experience. As sensors become more commonplace in the home, at work, and society, insurers will have exponentially growing pools of structured and unstructured data that could provide the foundation of better customer insights, more accurate situational awareness, and improved business processes. Those that prioritise digital transformation have already shown how the combination of data sets from IoT, their own systems, social media, partners, and suppliers can drive innovation and unlock new business models, greater efficiency, and increased competitiveness.

In another example, a company managing large sports stadiums in Germany uses data sets from weather, traffic systems, supply chain, social media, sensors embedded in turnstiles, and retail outlets to monitor operational needs in real time during large events. If, for example, a specific player is performing extraordinarily well on field, their system could inform the retail outlet to increase its stock of jerseys sporting that player’s name, as there’s likely to be increased demand following the end of the match. Similarly, if weather patterns indicate unusually hot temperatures, the system could alert suppliers to dispatch additional stock of drinks and bottled water to meet heightened demand.

Here in Africa, the farming industry – which by some accounts provides income for up to 60% of African citizens – is seeing how IoT and analytics can improve livelihoods by making small but important improvements to farming processes. Farming in Africa mostly involves small-scale farmers, wherein developed countries farming is done at a grand scale by large corporations. In a recent rural agricultural project involving an IoT solution, sugar cane farmers gained valuable insights from sensors guiding the optimal harvest and processing times. Sugarcane farmers have a limited window of opportunity to process cut sugar cane; up to 50% of the yield can be degraded if it is not taken for processing within 48 hours of harvest. By using IoT sensors combined with a cloud-based analytics platform that incorporates external data sets such as weather data, African sugar cane farmers that were part of the project received timely information regarding the optimal harvest and processing timelines for their crops, helping them improve their yield and increase their revenue while minimising waste.

Cloud platform enables innovation
With the exponential growth of data, companies need to consider ways to leverage technology to reach and support employees, customers, partners, and suppliers across the world. Here, a cloud platform powered by an in-memory computing platform proves essential, as it not only connects disparate data sources and technologies, but enables innovation at a grand scale.

Globally, companies are leveraging the SAP Leonardo suite of innovation tools, including IoT, to unlock business value and transform their operations, business models, and revenue streams. The most successful implementations include a design thinking element that brings together a broad mix of people within the business to help uncover areas of high-potential IoT innovation. By partnering with a global leader in IoT innovation that can provide a platform, intelligence, insight and support, companies are now able to realise the true transformative benefits of IoT and its associated commercial applications.

By Neil Herbert, Director: Business Analytics at SAP Africa

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South Africa: Biometrics firm aims to curb identity theft

South Africa: Biometrics firm aims to curb identity theft

SA biometrics firm aims to curb identity theft.

Ideco, a South African biometrics company, has unveiled its identity assurance ecosystem – which according to the company – aims to deliver fraud-proof trusted identity authentication, confirmed with a digital certificate of authenticity in seconds.

Ideco’s new Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) ecosystem was officially launched at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Africa conference and exhibition in Sandton this week.

With fraud costing South African organisations billions annually, and losses of up to R15 billion per annum in the medical sector alone, identity fraud is possibly the single biggest governance, risk and compliance challenges facing South African organisations today.

Manie van Schalkwyk, Executive Director of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, said the SAFPS maintains a database of confirmed identity fraud cases and offers protective registration for individuals whose identification documents or personal data were lost or stolen.

“Our service has saved the big four banks over R1.7 billion in potential fraud. This year alone, our data has contributed to over R936 million in savings across the banks and client companies. The number of new listings rose 56% this year and the number of victims listed rose by 55%. Clearly, fraud is not under control in South Africa.”

Ideco CEO Marius Coetzee says: “Building on Ideco’s ground-breaking biometrics and authentication solutions, including the Identity 4.0TM three-way digital key sharing system, we have developed an ecosystem designed to offer trusted identity assurance in real-time, eliminating the complexity and risk associated with traditional verification processes.”

The new Ideco IDaaS ecosystem essentially delivers identity verification as a service to organisations requiring FICA or RICA compliance, managing large financial transactions, or otherwise requiring identity verification to secure banking services, communications, healthcare, education and social protection.

Ideco IDaaS enables organisations to capture the credentials and biometric data of the consumer at the point of contact. The data, photo and fingerprints are captured in a customisable template defined in the API, and communicated securely to Ideco’s cloud-based backend service for processing. The IDaaS ecosystem validates the data in real time against multiple trusted national databases, including the Home Affairs data, and when full trust is established, the system generates a seal of authenticity which both verifies the customer identity and digitally signs the certificate in compliance with the ECT Act. “The seal of authenticity is unique in South Africa, in that it delivers irrefutable proof of identity that holds up in a court of law,” said Coetzee. This certification meets all regulatory requirements and is powered by the National Centre for Certified Identities. The commercial service is hosted securely in the cloud, with the APIs delivered through the MuleSoft ESB.

The Ideco IDaaS ecosystem, first released toward the end of 2016, has been piloted by a major South African enterprise, in part to assess customer acceptance. “There was a high level of acceptance, once customers understood the value of the process and the benefits to them in owning their identity through the use of the nuID mobile app linked to the ecosystem,” said Coetzee.

The nuID app is hosted securely in the cloud and access to their identity data is enabled by the owner of the data – the consumer being identified – via a mobile phone. Citizens will in future maintain their credentials on the new dedicated and secure portal.

“For the consumer, having access to their secure and irrefutable proof of identity via their mobile phone, will eliminate the risk of identity fraud. This means they no longer have to submit certified copies of their identity documents, which gives them control and visibility over the verification process and builds trust in their transactions with service providers,” said Coetzee. “Although the service is made available to clients as a shared service, we guarantee full protection of information. Personal information is secured using Customer Centric Cryptography, which makes the system fully compliant to the POPI Act. Through the use of the service APIs, the service can, therefore, be embedded in any customer facing transaction or point of sale, to eliminate the risk of Identity-related fraud.”

The Ideco IDaaS ecosystem and the nuID app also paves the way for a future in which trusted digital identification via a mobile device unlocks all services and transactions. “In future the mobile phone will be the bearer of your identity, and we expect to see the private sector driving this revolution in response to the need to clamp down on identity fraud.”

“As the first foolproof next-generation identity verification ecosystem in South Africa, we believe Ideco’s IDaaS delivers unprecedented levels of authentication and full trust in identity for the first time,” Coetzee concludes.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Facebook to host  developers’ conference October 4

Facebook to host developers’ conference October 4

Software engineers and product managers would share their expertise on Facebook’s Platform Product tools to drive acquisition, retention, engagement, personalisation, measurement and monetisation. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

Facebook and Ingressive will be co-hosting this year’s Facebook for Developers Conference in Lagos on Wednesday, October 4 from 9am to 6pm.

The conference is designed for Facebook’s priority partners and local technology leaders where Facebook Product, Platform Partnerships and Engineering teams, as well as local investors will provide hands-on advice and resources around building successful businesses in Africa.

Software engineers and product managers would share their expertise on Facebook’s Platform Product tools to drive acquisition, retention, engagement, personalisation, measurement and monetisation.

It promises to be a great opportunity to share knowledge and learn from industry leaders. Registration is free but invitation is compulsory.

All applications for entries should be sent in before the end of today. Further details will be sent upon confirmation of registration. Interested applicants can contact for more information.

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Improved security strategies required for ePlatforms uptakes, says ITSSP

Improved security strategies required for ePlatforms uptakes, says ITSSP

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Nigeria requires adequate cyber security measures to sustain the growth of service deliveries through e-Platforms, said information security experts.

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Prof. Sodiya said, ‎”Cybercrime is a global challenge; and the recent attacks in Nigeria have been affecting critical areas of our activities. That is why this group is concerned about the development of solutions to tackle the menace. We have to continue to discourse the way forward in terms of our national cyber development”‎

He said that, ‎as a country, professionals must be engaged to develop the cyber defence strategies. “Many countries have gone ahead with the development of defence mechanisms in the cyber space; Nigeria must not be left behind. We have not gotten there.‎

“Why do we need to be more serious about cyber space? There is a popular saying today that the next world war will happen at the cyber space.

“As at now, many countries are gathering information about other countries. They are peeping into other countries’ activities, which calls for us to develop our cyber security strategies to monitor inflow and outflow of data”.

Mr. ‎Aderogba Adeoye, former president of ITSSP also told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that increase in these e-platforms calls for improved cyber security awareness.‎

“Everybody is talking about e-platforms. If we are to run the e-platforms, it entails a need to develop capacities for security. Your data or information can be wiped off in a twinkle of an eye. As far as the e-commerce platforms are concerned, the intention is to make profit.‎

“For us to continue reaping benefits in e-services applications the capacity development of the human capital must be taken very serious. This is what the conference tends to address.‎

“We are not relenting. ITSSP is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); it is important to us to advocate for focus on issues related to cyber security”, he said.‎‎

He added that recent advocacies have yielded results with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for instance, introduced information security departments.

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Zinox continues ‘Future Visions’ project with GTX notebook

Zinox continues ‘Future Visions’ project with GTX notebook

Zinox Technologies Warehouse

Zinox Technologies Ltd., Nigerian leading original equipment manufacturing (OEM) in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) space, has officially launched the GTX Notebook and Kids Legacy Tab.

The latest tech products under Zinox’s ‘Future Visions’ roadmap were unveiled at a well-attended event in Lagos on Tuesday September 19th, 2017 hosted simultaneously at the company’s branches in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Ghana via telepresence.

The event, which held at the corporate headquarters of the company in Gbagada, Lagos, had in attendance teachers and students from over 10 schools in Lagos, while students from schools in other locations such as Port Harcourt, Abuja and Ghana also participated in the launch through the telepresence technology deployed.

Further spicing up the event was the band of Southfield Academy which thrilled attendees by playing in tune to the rendition of the national anthem.

Also in attendance were Chief Executives and representatives of partners, dealers and stakeholders in the ICT sector including Jumia, Konga, SLOT, Yudala, Fine Brothers, Digital Direct, Micro Station Communication, SPAR Nigeria, Callus Miller and the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among others.

Designed in partnership with foreign tech firms – Intel Corp., Ashour Corporation, Tecsync Technology Co. Ltd. and Microsoft; the Kids Legacy Tab and ultra-slim GTX Notebooks are cutting-edge devices from Zinox, both of which have been widely embraced by users and recording huge sales in the market.

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e.Stream networks boost internet connectivity at MAN forum

e.Stream networks boost internet connectivity at MAN forum

e.Stream Networks is a leading broadband communications provider with over 11 years of providing best-in-class connectivity solutions and round the clock proactive customer service support for businesses.

e.STREAM has partnered Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to provide internet connectivity at its forum. As the official internet provider, the company recently provided internet connectivity at the just concluded 45th Annual General Meeting/Exhibition of MAN, which was held in Lagos.

The AGM/Exhibition is an annual gathering of manufacturers in the country where members of the association deliberated on its annual report and other key manufacturing developmental issues.

As the official internet provider, members of the association, invited guests and exhibitors were given free internet access to aid their participation at the event and enable them have experience of e.Stream Networks’ service.

e.Stream Networks is a leading broadband communications provider with over 11 years of providing best-in-class connectivity solutions and round the clock proactive customer service support for businesses.

Leveraging on a variety of up-to-date technologies, e.Stream is committed to providing seamless broadband connectivity to enhance the operations of manufacturers and its clients in general.

In attendance at the 2 day event were top government functionaries including the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed who represented President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, a former President of United Republic of Tanzania, Benjamin Nkapa; President of MAN, Frank UdembaJacobs; President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, including captains of industries and manufacturing stakeholders.

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Dutch eLearning specialist aNewSpring launches in South Africa

Dutch eLearning specialist aNewSpring launches in South Africa

Dutch eLearning specialist launches in South Africa.

ANewSpring, a dutch-based learning technology company announced on Thursday 21 September 2017 that the company has opened a Johannesburg-based office with exclusive distributor, New Leaf Technologies. The announcement was made at the E-learning Insights 2017 conference in Johannesburg and Cape Town where aNewSpring co-owner, Rene Persoon, highlighted the platform as ideal to unveil plans of the launch of aNewSpring Africa.

“We have been working with New Leaf Technologies for over a year. The company has been instrumental in the success of aNewSpring in Africa and we thought the timing was perfect to open a local office,” said Persoon.

ANewSpring is an online learning platforms that is ranked among the world’s top 50 learning platforms. Since it launched in 2003, aNewSpring has successfully focused on offering training providers tools to create inspiring learning journeys within the cloud.

“This is really good news for the South African industry,” said Paul Hanly, newly appointed Managing Director of aNewSpring Africa: “aNewSpring is an innovative company with a really inspiring product and I am delighted that they have the confidence to invest in the African market. We can now build long-lasting relationships with clients as we’re able to provide local support, local onboarding as well as localised pricing. We’re not just another faceless cloud-based software solution. We are on the ground with a really good understanding of the African market.”

Persoon, who spent two weeks in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, is excited about the possibilities that Africa has to offer: “Africa is such an interesting place. I have met a vast number of people and there is so much potential. Our learning platform is ideal for this market where low bandwidth and high data costs are a reality. We deliver training providers and corporate academies in Africa the technology to build inspiring and effective learning journeys without having to use data-intensive solutions. We look forward to our clients using our platform to reach more people to upskill and cross skill. There is a definite need and with cutting edge functionality like adaptivity, personalisation, collaborative and blended learning with knowledge retention, aNewSpring can really make a difference.”

The aNewSpring learning platform has already been fully integrated with Sage X3 People, a leading HR management tool. The open Application Programme Interface (API) makes integration across a wide range of other HR and ERP systems very practical and relatively simple.

By Dean Workman
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Vampyr has been delayed to 2018

Vampyr has been delayed to 2018

Vampyr has been delayed to 2018.

Dontnod Entertainment’s upcoming action role-playing video game “Vampyr” has been delayed. The upcoming title has now been pushed back to Autumn 2018, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Oskar Guilbert, CEO of DontNod Entertainment, explained that: “Delaying the release of a project you hold dear is always a tough decision. However, we believe that meeting a deadline should never compromise quality. We were still convinced just a few weeks ago that we would be able to release Vampyr this year. Unfortunately, a technical issue – now solved – has set our teams’ schedule back at the end of the development.”

“This delay allows us enough time for all the polishing and balancing phase, much needed for a game of Vampyr’s scope, with its ambitious, semi-open world, its complex narrative and deep RPG mechanics that give players a real impact on the world,” added Guilbert.

“We want to thank our publisher Focus Home Interactive for giving us the means and time necessary to provide players a memorable experience… especially since so many of you are eagerly waiting for it,” concluded Guilbert.

By: Darryl Linington
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The data governance opportunity in South Africa

The data governance opportunity in South Africa

The data governance opportunity in South Africa.

When Tim Berners-Lee declared data to be the “new raw material of the 21st century” back in 2011, he was perfectly describing the direction many economies were heading in – from industry to insights and intelligence.

But in the six years since, data has defied the economic principles that many commodities adhere to: unlike other raw materials, the more plentiful the data the more valuable it becomes. It is coveted like precious metals and valued accordingly for its power to drive the insights that help transform businesses.

The data a company owns can help it to cut costs, open up new markets and identify new business; it can make the difference between taking the lead or seeing rivals overtake it. As such, data has a value that shouldn’t just be acknowledged but recorded and accounted for.

Data-rich businesses are being acquired not for what they do, but for what they know, while exchanges trading in data have become profitable businesses in their own right, in the same way as exchanges that trade in metals, currencies and more.

Just as a business’s finances are carefully recorded, detailed, audited and regulated, the recognition of data is reaching a similar point of maturity. The financial good governance of a business is inextricably linked to its value, and the same can be said of data governance.

Now, the uses of data have reached such a level of value to businesses that it is becoming subject to more stringent standards and controls to safeguard its value and availability, which also ensures its responsible usage.

Personal data: responsibility lies with the business
In South Africa, the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) enshrines the constitutional right to privacy by safeguarding personal information through regulating the way in which it is processed, and providing individuals with recourse should their personal information not be processed in accordance with the regulation.

Section 19 of the Act, which deals with security safeguards, states that organisations must take appropriate measures to protect personal information against unlawful access or processing, as well as loss, damage, or unauthorised destruction. Companies must further take measures to identify risks, maintain safeguards against such risks, and ensure that these safeguards are continually updated in response to new risks.

Businesses are further responsible for keeping their security and data protection up to date and to make sure anybody who handles data on their behalf – whether internal employees or external suppliers – does the same.

Data-driven opportunities for growth
The crafting of such regulation in South Africa – and across many countries around the world – are in response to a growing digital economy, where personal data is moving faster, further and more freely than ever.

Furthermore, rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning are giving businesses the ability to automate processes across the organisation and extract even greater value from the data that they have.

This is made possible through the maturation of cloud computing at the infrastructure, platform and software level, giving businesses the ability to extract, collate and analyse data at incredible volumes and speed – even from across previously disparate systems – and fully explore the potential and value of their data.

Companies should view PoPI as an opportunity to better align their organisations; data protection regulation is likely to continue evolving, and a clear view of how data moves across the business will be critical to staying on top of change.

While it may be enough for companies to merely comply with the regulations, taking a long-term view can help them work more efficiently and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market.

By Dragan Petkovic, Security Product Leader ECEMEA Oracle South Africa

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Gartner Symposium 2017: Brian Burke identifies the top 10 strategic tech trends

Gartner Symposium 2017: Brian Burke identifies the top 10 strategic tech trends

Brian Burke, vice president and research head at Gartner.

IT News Africa spoke to Brian Burke, Vice President and Research Head at Gartner, at the 2017 Gartner Symposium held at the Cape Town International Convention Center in South Africa. In the interview, Brian highlighted the top 10 strategic technology trends that will impact businesses in the coming years.

Brian is an analyst for Gartner, specialising in gamification and enterprise architecture. He is a prominent researcher and speaker who has been at Gartner since April 2005. Prior to that, he held senior management positions with responsibility for the development of IT strategy and architecture and the implementation of emerging technologies.

In the interview, Brian broke down the trends, identifying which trends will have an impact in Africa, which industries they will impact and if African businesses are taking these trends seriously enough.

Watch the full interview below:

By Dean Workman
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