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Interview: Seacom chief commercial officer Steve Briggs

In the second of a series of promoted podcasts with Seacom, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod talks to chief commercial officer Steve Briggs about how technology is reshaping society.
The conversation touches the digital divide - especially in the South African context - and what can be done to address it. This divide is not only about access to the Internet, but also to work opportunities and growth in an environment where technology skills are increasingly prized by business.
Automation and digital processes are transforming businesses, and Briggs believes this could ultimately have a very real social impact. Are we rushing blindly into this future without giving sufficient thought to the potential consequences?
Briggs talks about how the concept of work is changing, how new skills will be needed as business transforms for the digital era and the impact this will have on employment and employability.
The conversation touches on the concept of a universal basic income grant and whether it has to a role to play in avoiding social unrest and other problems that might emerge as the world moves to the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution.
Briggs talks about the impact of social media, why it's not necessarily a force for good, the impact on democracy and the role of government regulation. He explains why he believes it's ultimately up to ordinary citizens to escape the echo chambers that social media platforms tend to reinforce.

Interview: ZimboCash's Philip Haslam

In this episode of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod speaks to Philip Haslam, one of the people behind ZimboCash, a company that is building an alternative national currency for the troubled Zimbabwean economy.
Built on a blockchain, the idea behind the cryptocurrency is to help ordinary Zimbabweans escape the clutches of hyperinflation, which is once again menacing the country’s economy.
Haslam, who has co-authored a book on the Zimbabwean economic meltdown with economist Russell Lamberti called When Money Destroys Nations, speaks about why and how Zimbabwe got itself into trouble and the recent developments that once again threaten the impoverished Southern African nation.
How does ZimboCash work, how is the company working to ensure it become trusted and used by ordinary Zimbabweans, and what impact could it have on the country if it takes off as expected?
It’s a fascinating discussion about concepts such as quantitative easing, hyperinflation, money printing, blockchain, crypto and the future of money. Don’t miss it!

Interview: Ari Kahn speaks out on the 'please call me' saga

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod is joined by Ari Kahn, the former MTN contractor who invented and patented the "Callme" service while working at the mobile operator.
Kahn, who Vodacom recently admitted came up with the idea on which its own "please call me" service is based, provides an in-depth overview of how he conceived of and developed Callme, why and how he patented it, how MTN implemented it, and why Vodacom's rival "please call me" offering, launch soon after Callme, was basically a clone of the MTN service.
He sets out the timeline of events that led to the MTN launch and speculates about why the operator didn't enforce its patent after Vodacom's launch of "please call me". MTN eventually allowed the patent to lapse, which Kahn describes in the podcast as "shocking" and an "almost wilful destruction of property".
Kahn, who now lives in California, says the concept that former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate came up with and presented to his bosses was very different to the MTN offering and not what Vodacom eventually implemented. He explains why he doesn't believe Makate is entitled to compensation for "please call me" and advises him to take Vodacom's "overwhelmingly generous" offer - said to be R49-million - because if he continues to pursue the case in the courts, he "stands to lose everything".

Interview: BCX chief sales officer Werner Lindemann

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews newly appointed BCX chief sales officer Werner Lindemann about the challenges facing companies as they grapple with digital transformation and the move to cloud.
Lindemann, a veteran of South Africa's ICT industry - he has worked for, among others, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Kagiso Media - talks about how the conversations with corporate South Africa have changed markedly in recent years, how IT is no longer simply a cost centre for many companies but has become integral to their growth, and how different industries are tackling digital transformation in different ways.
Don't miss the discussion.

Interview: Seacom CEO Byron Clatterbuck

In the first of a series of promoted podcasts with Seacom, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod talks to CEO Byron Clatterbuck about the origin of the business, how he became involved, the launch of Seacom Business and where the company is going.
Clatterbuck talks about the launch nine years ago of the Seacom submarine cable system that connects countries along Africa's east coast with India and Europe, how the cable project came about and what was involved in building it.
He then turns his attention to how Seacom has grown since then, the decision to launch Seacom Business, providing connectivity to enterprises in South Africa and later Kenya, and the company's acquisition strategy.
Clatterbuck explains the rationale behind the acquisition of national fibre operator FibreCo - currently awaiting regulatory approval by the competition authorities - and how he sees the telecommunications landscape evolving in South Africa and the broader region in the years ahead, and the role he sees Seacom playing as the industry continues to develop.
Don't miss it!

Promoted | Exploring Huawei's network energy solutions, with Pinnacle

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral interviews Huawei and Pinnacle executives on Huawei’s IT networking energy portfolio.
Fred Saayman, Huawei Business Unit executive at Pinnacle, and John Davidson, senior product manager at Huawei, talk about the Chinese ICT giant’s range of product offerings in the networked energy space, which makes for a particularly interesting discussion in light of the energy-supply challenges South Africa is currently facing.
From UPSes to hybrid power solutions and solar inverters, Davidson walks through the portfolio and talks about some of the key challenges that corporate buyers are facing in South Africa. He also looks at how the conversations with business have changed in recent years as load shedding became a reality.
Saayman also spends a few minutes talking to Huawei's partner structure in South Africa and how this works, with particular reference to the reseller channel.

Promoted | Exploring Huawei's IT solutions, with Pinnacle

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral interviews Huawei and Pinnacle executives on Huawei's IT solutions portfolio, from servers to storage and everything in between.
Fred Saayman, Huawei Business Unit executive at Pinnacle, and Morgan Malyon, executive product director in the South Africa enterprise solutions sales department at Huawei, talk about the Chinese ICT giant's range of product offerings in the IT space.
Saayman talks at a high level about the Huawei Enterprise Group's IT portfolio, while Malyon delves into specific product areas, including its server and storage solutions, its all-flash Dorado offerings and its products for the SAP Hana in-memory database technology.
Malyon talks about how Huawei is positioned in the IT solutions market and how the company is gaining market share in key areas.

Interview: CEO Farzam Ehsani

Former Rand Merchant Bank blockchain lead Farzam Ehsani returns to the TechCentral podcast to talk about his latest venture, cryptocurrency exchange
In the podcast, Ehsani explains why he left RMB to start VALR, what the start-up does, who it's targeted it and who's backing it.
He explains why VALR has partnered with US company Bittrex, why he believes the company's fee structure and access to a large number of cryptocurrencies gives it an edge over rivals, and its expansion plans.
VALR uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning for identity validation, and Ehsani explains how this works.
He also provides his views on the cryptocurrency bear market of 2018 and where the market might be going next.
It's a fascinating discussion. Be sure not to miss it!

Interview: Monero's Riccardo Spagni returns

Monero lead maintainer and Tari co-founder Riccardo Spagni returns to the TechCentral podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about the great cryptocurrency crash of 2018 and the importance of privacy in the digital age.
In the podcast with TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod, Spagni -- also known as "fluffypony" -- chats about the progress that Tari, a decentralised assets protocol, has made since it was announced earlier this year.
Spagni then gives his views on the collapse in the value of cryptocurrencies this year and whether he thinks the bear market is near the bottom (spoiler alert: he does).
He then delves into the subject of privacy in the modern world and the role of monero as an anonymous cryptocurrency, and talks about whether governments have overreached in the digital age.
There's plenty more, too. Don't miss this discussion with a fascinating South African.

Interview: Hello Group CEO Nadir Khamissa

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod sits down with Hello Group co-founder and CEO Nadir Khamissa for an update on the company's growth in the past few years and its ambitions in the financial services market.
Founded about 13 years ago by Khamissa and his brother Shaazim, Hello Group has built itself up into a major player in the telecommunications and financial services market by serving mainly migrant workers looking for an affordable way to communicate and do cross-border money transfers.
Khamissa, an actuary and former MD of global equity/derivatives trading at Deutsche Bank, worked on several major projects, including listing Telkom on the Johannesburg and New York stock exchanges in 2003 in his time there.
In the past three years, Hello Group has expanded across emerging markets in Africa and Asia and now employs about a thousand people - up from 300 three years ago.
It was the first company in South Africa to receive an independent money transfer operator licence from the Reserve Bank. It now has big plans to expand its financial services offerings in South Africa next year.
In the podcast, Khamissa explains why he thinks the financial services sector in South Africa is "ripe of re-energisation" and the role he sees Hello Group playing in this regard, particularly in the informal segment.

Interview: What3words country manager Lyndsey Duff

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Lyndsey Duff, South Africa country manager at What3words, a company that has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique three-word address.
The idea is that instead of having to share a long address or difficult-to-remember GPS co-ordinates, businesses and consumers can quickly share their location using three words such as coffee.fever.cans, no matter where they happen to be.
So, for instance, when checking out at an online store, a customer could provide their delivery location using a unique What3words identifier instead of providing their address details. This, Duff says, has particular application in the developing world, where formal addresses are often nonexistent.
In the podcast, Duff explains why the idea has application far beyond logistics. She explains how governments, for example, could use it for service delivery.
Already available in several indigenous South African languages, What3words has divided the world in 57 trillion data points, all of which can be looked up without an Internet connection using the company's Android and iPhone apps.
Duff talks about how What3words got its start, its internationalisation, its revenue model and its plans for South Africa.

The great e-tolls debate: Wayne Duvenage vs Coenie Vermaak

In this special episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod moderates a lively and fiery debate between Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) CEO Coenie Vermaak on Gauteng's e-tolls system.
Listen as Duvenage attacks the system, explaining why he believes it has failed, with the majority of motorists refusing to pay their e-tolls. Vermaak, who previously also boycotted the system, explains why he changed his mind about e-tolls, and why he thinks you should, too.
In the podcast, Duvenage explains why he thinks roads agency Sanral failed to consult adequately on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and why there were (and are) far better (and cheaper) ways to fund road improvements. Vermaak, meanwhile, cautions that civil disobedience of the kind advocated by Outa is dangerous and could lead to unintended consequences.
The two talk about the history of the project, why non-compliance is so high and what the solutions might be to resolve the impasse.
Who is ultimately right, Duvenage or Vermaak? Listen to the podcast and make up your own mind on this complex subject.
A video version of the debate will be made available on TechCentral later this week.

173 episodes

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