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NAPAfrica's Andrew Owens on explosive Internet growth under lockdown

NAPAfrica, the Internet exchange point (IXP) operated by data centre operator Teraco, has seen a 50% spike in peak traffic volumes in the past five months to 1.5Tbit/s, driven by the lockdown and work-from-home measures.
In this episode of the podcast, Teraco technical lead for interconnection and peering Andrew Owens talks to TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod about the history of NAPAfrica and why Teraco decided to build it and allow companies to peer freely using the facilities.
He explains why IXPs like NAPAfrica are important components of Internet plumbing and why NAPAfrica in particular has had a big impact on the efficiency, speed and cost of accessing Internet services in South Africa and the broader sub-Saharan Africa region.
Owens then unpacks the traffic trends that have emerged since the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly how people are using the Internet differently today than they did before the lockdown.
Don't miss the discussion!

Siyabonga Mahlangu on why Telkom is taking on Vodacom and Rain

Telkom dropped a bombshell on South Africa's telecommunications industry this week when it said it was approaching the Competition Commission to object to Vodacom's roaming agreements with Rain. But why?
In this episode of the TechCentral podcast, Telkom group executive for regulatory affairs and government relations Siyabonga Mahlangu explains why the company has decided to fight an earlier decision by the Competition Commission and Icasa that the spectrum arrangements between Vodacom and Rain should not be considered a merger, and therefore not "notifiable" in terms of the Competition Act.
"The Competition Commission took a narrow interpretation of what's going on. In our view, they focused on the technical integration and they did not look at the economic incentives between the parties... We also believe there was no detailed review of all the ex ante incentives and the mechanics of these arrangements and how they impact on the market structure and the dynamics of competition in the mobile sector," Mahlangu said.
Asked why Telkom is approaching the tribunal now given that the commission and Icasa originally sanctioned the arrangement between Vodacom and Rain back in 2018, he said: "We have been engaging with both authorities without stopping since then... We have been pleading with them to reconsider this..."
Mahlangu said the issue is not whether Vodacom and Rain should be allowed to reach the agreements they have but rather whether they should be required to go through merger control regulations so the situation can be "clarified".
"This is Rain giving control of its spectrum and its radio-access network to a dominant operator. The only way in this country that kind of transaction would be regulated is through the Competition Act," he said.
"The effect of these contractual arrangements is that they have committed Rain's productive capacity to serve Vodacom's needs over an extended period with an impact on the...

Atvance Intellect's Brendon Ambrose on data privacy and the law [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral is joined by Brendon Ambrose, GM for data privacy, at technology company Atvance Intellect.
In the podcast, Ambrose focuses specifically on the data privacy side of Atvance Intellect's business and what companies need to know about new legislation and regulations governing the protection of customer data, including Europe's GDPR and South Africa's Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia).
With Popia coming into full force from next year, Ambrose explains what companies need to know about it and why he believes they shouldn't simply treat it as a compliance exercise but should rather use it as the basis for a full audit of their processes and systems to ensure they keep data privacy in mind in everything they do.
With data breaches becoming more commonplace, what should companies know if they're affected by one? What will Popia mean for them when this happens, and how should they manage the risk?
The conservation then turns to how companies, particularly larger ones, should manage data privacy as a function within the organisation, and who should the data protection officer report to and why?
How does data protection compare to other areas of compliance that companies must already deal with? And can privacy legislation actually benefit a business if it approaches it in the right way?
Ambrose answers all these questions and more in this podcast.

Introstat's William du Preez on the benefits of a managed print services partner [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, Introstat executive sales manager William du Preez talks about the benefits of businesses signing up with a managed print services partner.
He talks about how doing so can save companies significant costs and improve their efficiency.
Introstat was founded in 1989 and has about 160 employees at its offices in Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town.
Du Preez talks about some of the big print challenges companies typically face and the conversations he has with new clients about how they can improve their print environments, cut down on wastage and reduce total cost of ownership.
In the podcast, he explains how companies can achieve these benefits through, for example, the proactive servicing and maintenance of devices; device rationalisation and management; and the identification of paper-intensive processes.
Don't miss the discussion.
* This promoted content was paid for by the party concerned

South Africa’s new sockets and plugs: Everything you need to know

South Africa has a new standard for electrical sockets and plugs. Known as SANS 164-2, the standard, developed by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), replaces SANS 164-1 (the large, three-pin plugs used in the country for decades).
In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral is joined by Gianfranco Campetti, who has played an instrumental role at the SABS in helping define SANS 164-2, to discuss the implications of the standard, why it’s needed and what it means for consumers.
Campetti sets the scene by providing a history of socket and plug standards in South Africa and how they have evolved over the decades, why almost every country has its own standard, and why an attempt to create one global standard after World War 2 failed.
He touches on why German Schuko plugs became popular in South Africa – they’re illegal, but still widely used – and why cellphone and power tools manufacturers gave the SABS a headache by refusing to comply with local plug standards and how the bureau responded.
The conversation then turns to SANS 164-2, including a look at why it is a better and safer standard than SANS 164-1. How long will it take for South Africa to embrace the new standard, do appliance manufacturers need to do more to promote it, and what will happen to SANS 164-1 plugs?
We recommend you watch the video version of this podcast, though an audio version is also available.

Unpacking BBD's MServ cloud management solution [promoted]

As the cloud continues to become a standard workplace technology for companies across all sectors, internal IT departments may struggle to effectively monitor and maintain an effective cloud environment.
To alleviate this, BBD has launched a new, specialised cloud management service called MServ to help companies manage their cloud setups to ensure flexibility and cost effectiveness.
BBD offers three tailored packages that have additional add-ons, depending on the unique environment.
In this episode of the podcast, BBD's executive head of R&D, Tony van der Linden, and company executive Richard Kantor unpacked the challenges facing companies in an increasingly cloud-dominated IT environment and what the MServ offering brings to the table.
Kantor and Van der Linden take listeners through practical examples of the BBD solution in use as well as the three tailored solutions available to clients.

Ellies bets big on home solar as it eyes turnaround

Ellies Holdings is a 41-year-old JSE-listed company whose products, from television aerials to electrical cables and LED lighting, are well known to most South Africans.
What many people don't know is the company has been through enormous difficulty in recent years -- to the extent that its auditors raised a red flag around its 2020 annual financial results, saying there were "material concerns" about its ability to continue as a going concern.
But recently appointed CEO Shaun Prithivirajh said the big pain is already behind Ellies and he, and his management team, are focused on future growth opportunities after a big clean-up of the business last year.
Though the share price is still languishing at just 6c (from a peak of about R10 in 2013), Prithivirajh is convinced better days are ahead.
One of the key focus areas for Ellies is a planned launch, in the next six weeks, of solutions that will take it into the home solar market.
With a network of 3 500 installers who can be trained to help Ellies go to market with its solar solutions, and a South African household sector keen find to solutions to Eskom's ongoing power cuts, Prithivirajh believes this will prove to be a key pillar of the business in future.
Listen to the interview to find out more about Ellies' plans in this regard as well as the work that has done to clean up the legacy problems that have bedevilled the company.

South Africa's spectrum ITA, unpacked by top experts

In this special edition of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod chats to three top industry experts to unpack communications regulator Icasa’s invitations to apply for broadband spectrum and for the wholesale open-access network (Woan).
McLeod is joined by Steve Song, Kerron Edmunson and Mortimer Hope to discuss the ITAs in detail, including what they means for South Africa’s telecommunications industry and consumers.
Song, who has many hats, including as fellow in residence at the Mozilla Foundation, Hope, who runs a policy and regulatory consultancy and who is a former director for Africa at the GSMA, and Edmunson, an attorney who specialises in telecoms policy and regulation, start by giving their high-level views of the spectrum ITA. What’s good about it, what’s not so good about it, and what needs to be fixed?
The conversation then delves into greater detail, looking at the spectrum lots that Icasa has created for the auction and whether these make sense. Is Icasa trying to engineer a particular outcome? And if it is, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
The three panellists then unpack the reserve prices set by Icasa. Are they too high? Too low? Just right? Is an auction the best model to use to allocate spectrum in an emerging market like South Africa? What will be the impact on retail prices? Who can afford to bid? What will it mean for competition?
The discussion then turns to the digital dividend bands – 700MHz and 800MHz – still occupied by analogue television broadcasters. Should Icasa be licensing these bands at this stage? Will bidders be prepared to pay top dollar for access to bands they can’t fully utilise until at least 2022? Should South Africa give up on digital terrestrial television and free up all sub-1GHz spectrum for mobile?
The panellists also tackle the obligations attached to the spectrum licences – are they fair? Do they make sense? What about the requirements around mobile virtual network operators? Does the requirement to support MVN

DFA's Vino Govender on doing digital transformation right [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral speaks to Dark Fibre Africa executive for strategy, mergers & acquisitions Vino Govender about the digital transformation project the company embarked on and the lessons learnt.
Govender shares DFA's approach to digital transformation, why it made customer experience the centre of its strategy, how it scoped the project, and how it approached change management, ensuring its employees bought fully into the process.
In the podcast, he explains how the company went about measuring the success of project and what, with the benefit of hindsight, DFA would do differently if it were to tackle it again from the beginning.
There is plenty of food for thought here for other companies, especially those just starting down this road, so be sure not to miss the discussion!

South African digital bank Bettr nears launch: An interview with the founders

South Africa will soon have a new "digital bank" in the form of Bettr, a fintech start-up that has been working on building a "new challenger" in the country's finance sector that promises to offer a "better alternative".
In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod interviews Bettr co-founders Tobie van Zyl (CEO) and Andrzej Stempowski (chief technology officer) to find out more about their plans, how the idea to build the bank came about, why it's specifically targeting the youth (millennials and Generation Z) and how hyperscale cloud service providers have made launching a bank in 2020 to challenge the big incumbents much easier than in the past (Bettr is using Amazon Web Services).
Van Zyl and Stempowski explain what it is that Bettr will and won't offer, what consumers can expect and how the company plans to drive better financial decision making.
The bank will offer not only accounts tailored for individuals, but also for small and medium enterprises as it is hoping to attract entrepreneurially minded people and then grow with them as their needs adapt.
It's a fascinating discussion about a sector ripe for disruption and a company that hopes to do the disrupting. Don't miss the podcast!

How IT can help smaller enterprises thrive beyond lockdown [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Deshan Moodley and Pinnacle’s Jeremy Lichtenstein unpack the impact of the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown on mid-sized enterprises, and the small and medium business sector, and the role IT solutions can play in the recovery.
While the largest enterprises are often the best protected when hard times hit, smaller companies are typically the first to feel the full brunt of a downturn. Many are struggling, while others are hanging on for dear life, and although digital transformation has taken on renewed urgency because of Covid-19, it’s not often a top-of-mind issue among midmarket companies and SMEs.
Still, Moodley, who is HPE business development manager for the midmarket enterprise as well as worldwide TechPro lead in South Africa, and Lichtenstein, who is HPE solutions architect at Pinnacle, believe technology can play a significant role in helping these companies recover and eventually thrive again.
In the podcast, Moodley and Lichtenstein chat about why companies should care about their IT systems at a time like this and what technology can do to get them through to other side of the pandemic stronger than before.
The two then discuss in some detail the solutions that HPE offers this segment of the market, divided into four broad categories: growth with speed and efficiency; intelligent IT management; affordability and sustainability; and IT storage and predictability.
They also look at two customer case studies, one in Ghana and the other in the Eastern Cape.
Don’t miss the discussion!

4Sight Holdings' Willie Ackerman on Covid as digital accelerant [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, Willie Ackerman, chief sales and marketing officer at JSE-listed 4Sight Holdings, talks about how the Covid-19 lockdown has dramatically accelerated digital transformation.
Ackerman believes the world is already moving on from so-called "fourth Industrial Revolution" technologies to what he calls Enterprise 5.0. What is this, and why will it mean for businesses and the world of work?

He talks about the key areas he believes organisations need to get right to position themselves for success in a rapidly changing environment. And what questions should companies be asking before they rush headlong into overhauling their businesses for the future.
How should boards and company executives be thinking about digital transformation, and what conversations is 4Sight having with its clients?
Ackerman answers these questions and more in the podcast.

293 episodes

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