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TalkCentral: Ep 266 - 'Fibre for smart masses'

In the podcast this week, Duncan McLeod and Duncan McLeod talk about Vumatel's plans to roll out fibre broadband in Mitchell's Plain and Alexandra. Can fibre be delivered to lower-income and even poor areas profitably?
Also this week, drama at EOH; Netflix posts a horrid quarter; and Red Dead Redemption is coming to PC.
Listen to the show to find out who's been picked as winner and loser of the week.
Regardt's pick this week is Toggl, while Duncan has chosen FaceApp.
Remember, you can WhatsApp the show on 0719991111. Join us live on YouTube on Sundays at 1pm when we record live:

Interview: Vumatel CEO Dietlof Mare

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod interviews Vumatel CEO Dietlof Mare about the fibre-to-the-home provider's roll-out of fibre to Mitchell's Plain on the Cape Flats and the company's plan to deploy fibre infrastructure in Johannesburg's Alexandra.
He talks about providing fibre broadband in areas that fibre providers were never expected to go and why he believes there is a huge market opportunity in doing so.
In the podcast, Mare also talks about the recent acquisition of Vumatel by CIVH and what it means, and what consumers can expect from the company in future.
Don't miss it!

Interview: Steve Briggs on Seacom's big brand refresh

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral is joined by Seacom chief commercial officer Steve Briggs for a discussion on the company's big brand overhaul.
Coinciding with Seacom's 10th anniversary, the refresh was done to showcase the company's evolution from solely a provider of subsea bandwidth in its early years into becoming a major data connectivity service provider in Africa.
Credited with bringing high-quality and affordable Internet bandwidth to the continent through its launch of Africa’s first private high-speed subsea cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009, the company today provides a full suite of solutions for service providers directly to businesses.
It has also recently made several acquisitions that have strengthened its service offerings, its geographic network reach and broadened its market position.
In the podcast, Briggs explains how the new look reflects its changed positioning in the ICT market as well as what was involved in executing a brand refresh of this magnitude, which included a complete redesign of its website.

Interview: VMware lead technologist Ian Jansen van Rensburg

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral interviews VMware sub-Saharan Africa lead technologist Ian Jansen van Rensburg about the challenges and opportunities facing companies and chief information officers.
With cloud and digital transformation foremost in the minds of South African technology and business executives, Jansen van Rensburg talks about how the conversations with CIOs have changed in recent years and how business strategy, rather than technology, is at the forefront of these discussions.
He explains why this has happened, and why cloud is changing companies' approaches to technology.
The role of the CIO has shifted, too, with these executives increasingly expected to not only be masters of technology but also business and even regulatory and legal experts. This is driving significant shifts inside organisations. Jansen van Rensburg shares his views on what the CIO of the future will look like, and how they should be preparing themselves and their organisations for that world.

Interview: PPS CTO Avsharn Bachoo

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral interviews Avsharn Bachoo, chief technology officer at mutual financial services provider PPS, about the company’s massive digital transformation project and how and why it chose to migrate its IT systems into the cloud.
Founded in 1941, PPS is the only mutual financial services company in South Africa that focuses exclusively on graduate professionals, providing tailor-made insurance, investment and healthcare solutions to its members.
In the podcast, Bachoo explains why PPS embarked on the project, why it chose Google and Microsoft as its cloud partners, and the lessons the company learnt along the way.
What exactly was involved in preparing for and then managing a project of this magnitude? Bachoo talks about why PPS embarked on this journey and what other companies should be considering before they embark on similar digital transformation projects.
The project has allowed PPS to be more flexible and innovative, allowing it to implement advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to better serve its members.
Bachoo walks through what was involved from a process and cultural perspective in effecting enormous technological change.
It’s a great listen, with many learnings for corporate South Africa. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Suse country manager Grant Bennett

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral talks to Suse country manager Grant Bennett about the enterprise open-source software company’s partnership with SAP and how South African companies are increasingly realising the benefits of moving to cloud services.
Bennett talks about the history of Suse, which was founded 27 years ago, and its path to becoming a major player in cloud and enterprise software, including last year’s US$2.5-billion acquisition by EQT Partners and how the company plans to use that capital injection to fuel its growth plans.
The conversation then turns to the recent SAP Saphila conference at Sun City and Suse’s relationship with the software giant in deploying SAP Hana in-memory solutions into corporate South Africa.
Bennett talks about how South African businesses have begun to embrace cloud computing. A few years ago, the conversations that were taking place were very different, with most companies today actively developing cloud strategies and moving workloads onto cloud platforms, be their on-premise, public or hybrid clouds.
What impact will this shift have on corporate IT department, specifically from a skills perspective – will it lead to job losses, how should companies go about reskilling their employees and what does it mean ultimately for enterprise IT?
Bennett answers these questions and more in this fascinating discussion. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Rifqa Carr of new Uber rival inDriver

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod is joined by Rifqa Carr of ride-hailing service inDriver, which is newly launched in South Africa.
InDriver, which was started in Russia and which now has 24 million users around the world, was launched in Cape Town in February and in Johannesburg last month.
Unlike bigger rivals Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify), inDriver allows riders and drivers to bargain with each other over fares. This, Carr said, has reduced the cost of ride-hailing for users by about 40% relative to its rivals.
In the podcast, Carr explains how the service works, why the company has introduced a base fee for riders in Johannesburg and talks about the company’s plan to expand to other South African cities in time.
She also talks about how inDriver vets its drivers and handles security for both drivers and riders, especially in light of sometimes violent pushback by the metered taxi industry.

Interview: CEO Farzam Ehsani on the future of crypto money

In this episode of the podcast, co-founder and CEO Farzam Ehsani returns to the show for a wide-ranging discussion on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Ehsani talks about why he quit corporate South Africa – he was blockchain lead at RMB – to strike out on his own with, a cryptocurrency exchange backed by heavy-hitter investors, including Michael Jordaan. He talks about the imminent launch, next week, of rand/bitcoin trading on VALR and what this will mean for local crypto investors.
The conversation then turns to the recent sharp rally in cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, and what Ehsani believes has been driving them higher. How much of an impact will next year’s bitcoin block return halving having on the market – not much, yet, he says – and what is the prognosis for crypto assets?
Other questions Ehsani tackles include:
Can the unbanked – seen a target market for cryptos – ever hope to comprehend cryptocurrencies given the playing field is dominated by developers and geeks?
Does it matter that bitcoin is not (yet) being used widely as a currency for day-to-day transactions?
Should regulators become much more actively involved in the space to protect consumers?
Could bitcoin ever be worth US$1-million?
It’s a fascinating discussion about the future of money. Don’t miss the interview.

Interview: Seacom chief development officer Suveer Ramdhani

In the latest in a series of promoted podcasts with Seacom, TechCentral’s Duncan McLeod talks to Seacom chief development officer Suveer Ramdhani about the changes sweeping the telecommunications industry.
Ramdhani talks about the consolidation that has started to take shape in the South African telecoms sector - some of it driven by Seacom - as well as what's driving this change and what's likely to happen next.
The conversation turns to the role of regulators such as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa and the Competition Commission and whether the way they regulate the sector is optimal or could be tweaked to support industry growth.
As bandwidth increasingly becomes a commodity, with prices falling relentlessly - driven by new players that are upending the traditional telecoms model - how is the industry going to transform, and what does it mean for the big incumbent operators - and the challengers, for that matter? Ramdhani shares his views on who will win, and who won't, as these disruptive changes begin to manifest themselves.
New technologies, including the Internet of things, software-defined networking and network function virtualisation, artificial intelligence, and 5G, also present big opportunities - and big risks. Ramdhani talks about how these technologies will, in time, transform the sector.
It's a great discussion. Don't miss it!

Interview: Intergreatme CEO Luke Warner

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Intergreatme co-founder and CEO Luke Warner about how the technology start-up managed a R32-million fundraising round using crowdfunding platform Uprise Africa.
Described as an “emergent regtech player”, Intergreatme wants to create a world where consumers no longer have to fill out forms. The company, which has already secured deals with local banks and telecommunications operators, hopes to remove the pain for processes such as Fica in financial services and Rica in telecoms.
In the podcast, Warner talks about some of the implementations it’s been involved in, how it secures consumers’ private information and its expansion plans after the successful crowdfunding exercise.
He explains how the company went about the crowdfunding to ensure it was successful and offers advice to other start-ups wanting to use this mechanism to raise capital instead of traditional venture capital or private equity.
Integreatme attracted over 400 investors through Uprise Africa, though it also received five R5-million investments, making up the bulk of the R32-million raised. Many of those that invested were black women, raising the company’s black economic empowerment profile, something Warner hopes will help it work more closely with the public sector.
Don’t miss the discussion!

Interview: Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Telkom Group CEO Sipho Maseko on the group’s 2019 financial results.
The discussion kicks off with Maseko explaining whether Telkom can keep up the astonishing growth in its mobile business, where it almost doubled its number of subscribers in the past year. He talks about the impact this could have on the group’s capital expenditure in order to sustain the robust performance into the future.
Maseko then turns to consolidation in the broader mobile industry, whether Telkom is still interested in acquiring Cell C (it’s not) and how consolidation, if it happens, might play out.
He then turns to Telkom’s roaming and infrastructure sharing deal with Vodacom and the impact that it likely to have, with implementation of the roaming component expected to be concluded by the end of June.
He talks about Telkom’s plans to monetise Gyro, its property management business, and reflects on the enormous job losses that have happened at Telkom and whether more cuts are in the offing.
Lastly, Maseko explains Telkom’s strategy around Huawei given the geopolitical tensions between the US and China and how the company is attempting to mitigate the risk associated with developments in the past week.
Don’t miss the discussion!

Interview: Jolla (Sailfish OS) CEO Sami Pienimäki

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod is joined by Jolla CEO Sami Pienimäki to talk about the implications for the world of smartphone operating systems of the US government’s decision to force Google to hang up on Huawei.
In the podcast, Pienimäki discusses the impact the decision could have on Jolla’s Sailfish OS, an open-source smartphone operating system tailored for business users and governments around the world. Jolla, Pienimäki says, has received enormous interest from Chinese smartphone makers in Sailfish OS in the wake of the US government’s directive to Google.
Could Sailfish OS, which has its origins in the Linux-based MeeGo OS – previously developed by Finland’s Nokia and US chip giant Intel – potentially be an alternative operating system to Android for Chinese device makers that fear being cut off by Google? Pienimäki explains why he thinks this is the case.
Sailfish OS, which runs Android apps, can be installed by users on a range of handsets, with the software actively being developed and ported by a large community of open-source developers.
Pienimäki explains why Jolla pivoted from the consumer market – at one time it developed its own smartphone and tablet devices – and into the corporate and public sector markets, and why he believes the US government’s moves against Huawei will shake the foundations of the mobile industry.
He talks about Android’s dominance – it’s installed on about 90% of active smartphones – and whether this dominance is poised to be broken by the developments around Huawei. Could a third major smartphone operating system platform now emerge?
He provides his views on Huawei’s new Hongmeng OS, and its chances of success, and talks about why he thinks previous attempts to tackle Android’s dominance with projects such as Ubuntu Touch and the Firefox OS failed.
It’s a great discussion. Don’t miss it!

195 episodes

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