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The EU executive asked the US for clarification on the secret court order served to Yahoo. 12 Jan 2017 - by Reuters US explanation of Yahoo e-mail scanning not enough
US explanation of Yahoo e-mail scanning not enough
The EU executive asked the US for clarification on the secret court order served to Yahoo.

The US has not satisfied the EU's concerns about Yahoo's scanning of all customers' incoming e-mails for US intelligence purposes.

Some 80 000 tweets worldwide were stamped with the #TrumpPressConference tag during the hour-long session. 12 Jan 2017 - by Reuters Trump news conference sets social media afire
Trump news conference sets social media afire
Some 80 000 tweets worldwide were stamped with the #TrumpPressConference tag during the hour-long session.

The president-elect set social media ablaze with remarks that included criticism of the press and a defence of his goal to improve ties with Russia.

Jeanetha Brink, owner of Jeanetha Brink Consulting, says cybercrime is not only financially motivated. 11 Jan 2017 - by Charmaine Shangase Good governance and cybercrime in the digital age
Good governance and cybercrime in the digital age
Jeanetha Brink, owner of Jeanetha Brink Consulting, says cybercrime is not only financially motivated.

Digitalisation has brought with it various cybercrime opportunities that are not only financially motivated, but can still pose a big threat for corporates.

From January to December 2016, Eskom purchased 6TWh of renewable energy from solar PV and wind sources. 11 Jan 2017 - by Admire Moyo Renewable energy posts R9bn net loss
Renewable energy posts R9bn net loss
From January to December 2016, Eskom purchased 6TWh of renewable energy from solar PV and wind sources.

In a period of surplus capacity, Eskom says green energy cost the South African economy billions in 2016.

Critics say the government is rushing the move and many people may miss warnings on emergencies that have until now been broadcast via the radio. 6 Jan 2017 - by Reuters Norway to pioneer FM radio network switch-off
Norway to pioneer FM radio network switch-off
Critics say the government is rushing the move and many people may miss warnings on emergencies that have until now been broadcast via the radio.

The country is set to become the first to start switching off its frequency modulation radio network next week.

The world's biggest cyber threats in 2016 were related to money and a desire to disrupt, says Kaspersky Lab. 5 Jan 2017 - by Sibahle Malinga Kaspersky looks at 2016's biggest cyber threats
Kaspersky looks at 2016's biggest cyber threats
The world's biggest cyber threats in 2016 were related to money and a desire to disrupt, says Kaspersky Lab.

The underground trade of tens of thousands of compromised server credentials, hijacked ATM systems, ransomware and mobile banking malware topped the list.

The pass rate for maths: 51.1%, up from 49.1% in 2015. 5 Jan 2017 - by Admire Moyo Class of 2016 marginally improves maths, science results
Class of 2016 marginally improves maths, science results
The pass rate for maths: 51.1%, up from 49.1% in 2015.

The pass rate for maths: 51.1%, up from 49.1% in 2015.

The performance of matriculants in mathematics and physical science improved marginally, from 49.1% in 2015 to 51.1% in 2016 in mathematics; and from 58.6% to 62% in physical science.

This was announced yesterday, in Midrand, by minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, presenting the results of the matric class of 2016.

With over 800 000 pupils sitting for the exams across the country, the National Senior Certificate (NSC) class achieved a pass rate of 72.5% – up from the 70.7% in 2015.

With regards to maths and science, two critical subjects for the advancement of the country's ICT sector, a total of 8 070 pupils bagged distinctions in maths, with 7 043 in physical science.

Motshekga said performances in mathematics and physical science, which are gateway subjects, have also shown an increase in the number of passes.

The number of learners achieving 30% and above in mathematics has increased from 129 481 in 2015 to 136 011 in 2016, while the number of learners achieving 40% and above in mathematics increased from 84 297 in 2015 to 89 119 in 2016.

The number of learners achieving 30% and above in physical science increased from 113 121 in 2015 to 119 467 in 2016, while the number of learners achieving 40% and above in physical science increased from 69 699 in 2015 to 76 044 in 2016.

The marginal improvement comes on the heels of a recent report, noting SA ranks among the lowest performing countries in terms of mathematics and science achievement scale scores.

Welcome improvement

There have been mixed reactions to the results, with commentators unsure whether the improvement has been as a result of lower standards.

Moira de Roche, independent learning specialist and director of the Institute of IT Professionals SA, says any improvement is welcomed.

However, she adds: "The cynic in me must wonder if it's just due to lowered standards, but on the other hand, I think better marks might have the effect of encouraging more kids to take maths and science. I think learners are often discouraged from doing these subjects because it seems too great a hurdle."

Maths and science, considered gateway subjects, have shown an increase in the number of passes, says minister of basic education Angie Motshekga.

There is a slight increase in the number of passes from last year in the subjects critical to the advancement of SA's ICT sector.

Simphiwe Mayisela, group information security officer at IS. 4 Jan 2017 - by Kirsten Doyle No digital transformation without sacrificing privacy
No digital transformation without sacrificing privacy
Simphiwe Mayisela, group information security officer at IS.

In exchange for the products and services offered by companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Uber, we are giving away our digital lives, says IS.

The price of one bitcoin reached its strongest level since January 2014, with experts linking its rise with this year's steady depreciation of the Chinese yuan. 23 Dec 2016 - by Reuters Bitcoin's total value hits record high
Bitcoin's total value hits record high
The price of one bitcoin reached its strongest level since January 2014, with experts linking its rise with this year's steady depreciation of the Chinese yuan.

The total value of all bitcoins in circulation is now above $14 billion, as the cryptocurrency jumped 5% to its highest levels in three years.

Volkswagen says it wants to strengthen its presence in emerging markets - which is why Africa ranks high on its agenda. 23 Dec 2016 - by Reuters VW to launch ride hailing in Rwanda
VW to launch ride hailing in Rwanda
Volkswagen says it wants to strengthen its presence in emerging markets - which is why Africa ranks high on its agenda.

Volkswagen plans to start producing cars in Kenya and Rwanda and start a ride-hailing service in Kigali, boosting its African operations.

Facebook faces a $179 million fine if found guilty of providing misleading information during its takeover of WhatsApp. 21 Dec 2016 - by Reuters EU questions Facebook's WhatsApp takeover
EU questions Facebook's WhatsApp takeover
Facebook faces a $179 million fine if found guilty of providing misleading information during its takeover of WhatsApp.

Accusations of misleading information being provided during the WhatsApp takeover could open Facebook up to a possible fine of 1% of its turnover.

Matimba Simango, an IT governance officer at PPC Cement, advises GRC practitioners to review all new regulations, standards and laws and incorporate them into their governance work to remain agile in the digital age. 9 Dec 2016 - by Charmaine Shangase Digitisation brings new risks for GRC practitioners
Digitisation brings new risks for GRC practitioners
Matimba Simango, an IT governance officer at PPC Cement, advises GRC practitioners to review all new regulations, standards and laws and incorporate them into their governance work to remain agile in the digital age.

The risks and threats that come with digitisation are real and every GRC practitioner should ensure they know and understand new regulations, standards and laws.

Minister Siyabonga Cwele is part of the South African delegation attending the 11th Internet Governance Forum in Mexico. 6 Dec 2016 - by Staff Writer Cwele in Mexico to talk Internet governance
Cwele in Mexico to talk Internet governance
Minister Siyabonga Cwele is part of the South African delegation attending the 11th Internet Governance Forum in Mexico.

Telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele attends the Internet Governance Forum in Mexico, which is licensing a wireless open access network.

6 Dec 2016 - by ITWeb The rise of consulting services at accounting firms
The rise of consulting services at accounting firms

Despite the trusted status of these firms, such activity may pose risks to audit quality and investor protection in days to come, says MIP Holdings.

Project managers spend a great deal of time writing status reports that no one reads, says Guy Jelley, Project Portfolio Office. 5 Dec 2016 - by Marilyn de Villiers #MinutesMustFall in project management
#MinutesMustFall in project management
Project managers spend a great deal of time writing status reports that no one reads, says Guy Jelley, Project Portfolio Office.

Project managers spend a great deal of time writing status reports (and minutes) that no-one reads, says Guy Jelley, Project Portfolio Office.

Matimba Simango, an IT governance officer at PPC Cement, says GRC practitioners should not lose focus and control when managing digitisation. 30 Nov 2016 - by Charmaine Shangase Governance in the digital age
Governance in the digital age
Matimba Simango, an IT governance officer at PPC Cement, says GRC practitioners should not lose focus and control when managing digitisation.

There is always a risk to be managed with the introduction of any new technology or service. The increase in advanced technology has created threats that are dynamic and are able to adapt to or overcome countermeasures, becoming more potent. Is your GRC team ready?

Three local start-ups in the InsureTech space have been shortlisted for possible mentorship in London. 30 Nov 2016 - by Lauren Kate Rawlins SA InsureTech start-ups impress
SA InsureTech start-ups impress
Three local start-ups in the InsureTech space have been shortlisted for possible mentorship in London.

Three local start-ups will take part in the Startupbootcamp InsurTech selection days in London next year.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse alleges Sanral has misled Parliament on its true financial situation. 30 Nov 2016 - by Admire Moyo Motorists owe Sanral R11bn in e-toll fees
Motorists owe Sanral R11bn in e-toll fees
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse alleges Sanral has misled Parliament on its true financial situation.

The agency recently appeared before Scopa to clarify R1.165 billion in "irregular, fruitless and wasteful" expenditure.

The global attacks were launched with software known as Mirai. 30 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Deutsche Telekom attack part of global routers campaign
Deutsche Telekom attack part of global routers campaign
The global attacks were launched with software known as Mirai.

The German government says a cyber attack that infected nearly 1 million routers used to access the Deutsche Telekom Internet service was part of a global campaign.

The ride-hailing app has come under attack from established taxi companies and EU countries. 30 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Uber defends business model
Uber defends business model
The ride-hailing app has come under attack from established taxi companies and EU countries.

The ride-hailing app has come under attack from established taxi companies and EU countries because it is not bound by strict local licensing rules.

Data compiled by Adobe Digital Insights shows Cyber Monday sales easily surpassed prior estimates. 30 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Cyber Monday makes US history
Cyber Monday makes US history
Data compiled by Adobe Digital Insights shows Cyber Monday sales easily surpassed prior estimates.

Data compiled by Adobe Digital Insights shows Cyber Monday sales easily surpassed prior estimates.

30 Nov 2016 - by Richard Vester Securing virtual desktop infrastructure
Securing virtual desktop infrastructure

Virtualisation-specific security optimises the shared resource environment that virtual desktops offer.

E-commerce offers Africa's entrepreneurs a way of bypassing its poor physical infrastructure, says the Global Entrepreneurship Index. 29 Nov 2016 - by Regina Pazvakavambwa Lack of infrastructure hinders African entrepreneurs
Lack of infrastructure hinders African entrepreneurs
E-commerce offers Africa's entrepreneurs a way of bypassing its poor physical infrastructure, says the Global Entrepreneurship Index.

As a whole, the African continent scores the lowest on the Infrastructure Pillar, says the global entrepreneurship index.

New telecoms DG Robert Nkuna sees SAPO as a strategic entity to drive implementation of the ICT White Paper. 29 Nov 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba Govt looks to breathe life into post office
Govt looks to breathe life into post office
New telecoms DG Robert Nkuna sees SAPO as a strategic entity to drive implementation of the ICT White Paper.

New telecoms DG Robert Nkuna sees SAPO as a strategic entity to drive implementation of the ICT White Paper.

Although many have given up on a tech-savvy post office network, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) wants to modernise the country's postal services.

This is the word from newly-appointed DTPS director-general (DG) Robert Nkuna, who says the department is looking to develop a modern roadmap that will benefit the postal services sector.

Government has also identified the SA Post Office (SAPO) as a strategic entity to ensure it extends digital government services and e-commerce, and promotes financial inclusion.

The SAPO has a large physical network of branches that can be used as access points to government services by communities, especially those in rural areas.

However, years of maladministration, industrial action, poor management and financial instability have dampened efforts to stabilise the country's largest postal operator.

The DTPS, whose mandate is to clean up and strengthen post office management, has been working to restructure the postal sector to contribute towards the provision of universal access, while at the same time continuing to provide quality and secure traditional postal services.

Nkuna says: "The postal services sector is very important in the successful implementation of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper. It is not a standalone policy. It is part of the comprehensive policy overhaul to modernise the ICT sector for the inclusion of all citizens."

According to the White Paper, SAPO lends itself as a strategic platform through which citizens and businesses can access ICT, including e-government, e-commerce, e-post, e-finance and general ICT services.

"This entails maximising the benefits and impact of the current infrastructure through the introduction of new ICT services and products."

Strong leadership 

Last year, the department appointed industry veteran Mark Barnes as CEO of SAPO. Barnes' appointment has been heralded as a step in the right direction to drive the growth and stability of the embattled company.

The DTPS also appointed a new board to guide operations and bring stability to SAPO.

SAPO group CIO Mthoko Mncwabe previously noted the post office is on a digital journey.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Service banks on a modernised, digitised postal network.

SA Taxi, the country's largest financier of minibus taxis, acquired Zebra Cabs metered taxis in 2015. 29 Nov 2016 - by Staff Writer Uber SA rival secures R300m war chest
Uber SA rival secures R300m war chest
SA Taxi, the country's largest financier of minibus taxis, acquired Zebra Cabs metered taxis in 2015.

SA Taxi gets funding from Futuregrowth which will be used to provide financing to the company's Zebra Cabs owner-driver scheme.

29 Nov 2016 - by Ilva Pieterse Time for change
Time for change
Piilo Group director Phil Lotter.

Cloud and other disruptive technologies are forcing the traditional role of enterprise architecture – and the enterprise architect – to evolve.

SA's .za domain administrator is an officially approved ICANN registrar. 29 Nov 2016 - by Staff Writer ZACR gets nod as registrar
ZACR gets nod as registrar
SA's .za domain administrator is an officially approved ICANN registrar.

SA's ZA Central Registry becomes an approved seller of generic top level domains.

Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfilment centre in California on Cyber Monday. 29 Nov 2016 - by Reuters US Cyber Monday sales surpass estimate
US Cyber Monday sales surpass estimate
Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfilment centre in California on Cyber Monday.

Online sales gained momentum on Cyber Monday and are set to exceed initial expectations by hitting a record $3.39 billion.

Samsung Electronics has hired advisers to help with the planning for a move analysts and investors have long seen as a logical step. 29 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Samsung mulls company structure shake-up
Samsung mulls company structure shake-up
Samsung Electronics has hired advisers to help with the planning for a move analysts and investors have long seen as a logical step.

The tech giant considers whether to transition to a holding company structure.

A $73 000 ransom was reportedly demanded. 29 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Ransomware hits San Francisco transit
Ransomware hits San Francisco transit
A $73 000 ransom was reportedly demanded.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency contained a cyber attack that disrupted its ticketing systems.

Before the mBirth initiative in Njombe and Iringa, only 8.5 and 11.7% of under-fives had birth certificates in each region. 29 Nov 2016 - by Reuters New system registers Tanzania's invisible children
New system registers Tanzania's invisible children
Before the mBirth initiative in Njombe and Iringa, only 8.5 and 11.7% of under-fives had birth certificates in each region.

The mBirth system marks a significant shift in accelerating birth registration in Tanzania after years of stagnation.

29 Nov 2016 - by ITWeb Dimension Data Publishes IT Predictions for 2017
Dimension Data Publishes IT Predictions for 2017

Dimension Data, the global ICT solutions and services provider, today published its top IT predictions for 2017, and the focus on digital is set to remain the key trend in the industry for the next 12 months.

As government backpedals on SA Connect, the industry believes the project is better left to the private sector. 28 Nov 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba Confusion looms in wake of cancelled SA Connect tender
Confusion looms in wake of cancelled SA Connect tender
As government backpedals on SA Connect, the industry believes the project is better left to the private sector.

As government backpedals on SA Connect, the industry believes the project is better left to the private sector.

The cancellation of the tender for the ambitious SA Connect broadband policy adds to the growing anxiety around government's ability to execute the project. 

Earlier this month, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) confirmed six companies responded to the request for bids for the SA Connect tender. These included Broadband Infraco, EOH, MTN, Neotel, Vodacom, and Tradepage & Galela Telecommunications as a joint venture.

It was said a service provider for phase one would be announced soon; however, SITA unexpectedly cancelled the tender. The cancellation was published on 18 November, in the Government Tender Bulletin.

According to the agency, "none of the six companies that responded to the bid had met all six technical mandatory requirements (bidders were expected to meet all six mandatory requirements) to enable them to proceed to the next phase of pricing evaluation".

George Kalebaila, IDC senior manager for telecoms, media and Internet of things in Africa, points out the criteria the bidders did not meet was "not well articulated".

Not up to the challenge

According to Kalebaila, SITA's decision adds to the industry's belief that such as a project is better left to the private sector. "The longer the project is delayed, the more it loses its shine and risks being overtaken by private initiatives, especially in urban areas."

Naila Govan-Vassen, ICT industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, says from the time SA Connect was published, there was confusion around the implementation and role of the lead agent.

"Cancelling the tender to implement phase one of SA Connect justifies government's uncertainty and to some extent the lack of understanding around the benefits of having a ‘connected' country."

Richard Hurst, director of enterprise research at Africa Analysis, believes SITA found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

"In this instance, the agency found itself in an uncertain environment as to how it would proceed to the next step. This is even though all the bidders would have probably been able to deliver on the initial objectives; perhaps it is the changing regulatory environment that prompted this sudden about-turn."

SITA explains

According to SITA, after it was approached by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) to appoint a suitable service provider for phase one, it worked closely with the department to develop and approve the specification. The DTPS is overseeing the national broadband project.

The approved specifications contained six mandatory requirements that all bidders needed to comply with, said SITA.

The agency explained it conducted the screening process in the presence of the independent auditor to determine if all the prospective bidders had submitted compliance documentation to proceed to the technical evaluation stage.

SITA said in a statement: "At the conclusion of the technical evaluation process, which was also subjected to probity by the independent auditor, none of the six companies that responded to the bid had met all six technical mandatory requirements (bidders were expected to meet ALL six mandatory requirements) to enable them to proceed to the next phase of pricing evaluation. As such, the bid had to be cancelled in terms of clause 32.4.1 (4) of the SITA Supply Chain Management Policy."

However, "realising and acknowledging the importance of SA Connect and its intended impact on the achievement of the National Development Plan milestones, SITA and the client will still meet to discuss and decide on a way forward and the public will be kept informed", it added.

Need for clarity

Soon after it was revealed the tender had been cancelled, Democratic Alliance MP and shadow minister for telecommunications and postal services, Marian Shinn, wrote to telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele.

The rapid provision of broadband Internet structure is critical, says the DA's Marian Shinn.

The cancellation of the tender adds to the growing anxiety around government's ability to execute the project.

Local online retailers are promoting deals on tech gadgets and digital products today. 28 Nov 2016 - by Lauren Kate Rawlins Tech takes centre-stage this Cyber Monday
Tech takes centre-stage this Cyber Monday
Local online retailers are promoting deals on tech gadgets and digital products today.

Local e-commerce sites use the last day of the first weekend of festive shopping to offer deals on gadgets and digital products.

Janine Van Niekerk, OMEM CST: IT Service Design and Transition, at Old Mutual Life Assurance Company. 25 Nov 2016 - by Kirsten Doyle User attitude can make or break you
User attitude can make or break you
Janine Van Niekerk, OMEM CST: IT Service Design and Transition, at Old Mutual Life Assurance Company.

Naive behaviour is a huge security threat as users tend to not fully understand the risk that they are exposing the organisation to, says Old Mutual.

The 2016 top cyber security trends are most likely to spill into next year, vendors say. 25 Nov 2016 - by Admire Moyo How the 2017 IT security landscape will play out
How the 2017 IT security landscape will play out
The 2016 top cyber security trends are most likely to spill into next year, vendors say.

The 2016 top cyber security trends are most likely to spill into next year, vendors say.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, ransomware and misdirection are the biggest techniques cyber criminals will use in 2017.

ITWeb interviewed several IT security vendors to gauge if the 2017 cyber security space will be any different from what we have witnessed this year.

The vendors were in unison that the 2016 top trends were most likely to spill into next year. However, the vendors say the defenders will not be left helpless as cyber threats continue to escalate.

In 2017, Kaspersky Lab expects to see the appearance of memory-resident malware that has no interest in surviving beyond the first reboot that will wipe the infection from the machine memory. Such malware, intended for general reconnaissance and the collection of credentials, is likely to be deployed in highly sensitive environments by stealthy attackers keen to avoid arousing suspicion or discovery.

Muddy waters

As cyber attacks come to play a greater role in international relations, Kaspersky Lab says attribution will become a central issue in determining a political course of action – such as retaliation.

It notes the pursuit of attribution could result in the risk of more criminals dumping infrastructure or proprietary tools on the open market, or opting for open source and commercial malware, not to mention the widespread use of misdirection, generally known as false flags, to muddy the waters of attribution.

In 2016, the world started to take seriously the dumping of hacked information for aggressive purposes, the security vendor notes.

Expect an increase in the incidence of DDOS attacks, anonymous transactions, ransomware and malware, says Fortinet's Paul Williams.

Expect an increase in the incidence of DDOS attacks, anonymous transactions, ransomware and malware, says Fortinet's Paul Williams.

Such attacks are likely to increase in 2017, and there is a risk that attackers will try to exploit people's willingness to accept such data as fact by manipulating or selectively disclosing information, the vendor says.

Kaspersky Lab also anticipates the continuing rise of ransomware, but with the unlikely trust relationship between the victim and their attacker – based on the assumption that payment will result in the return of data - damaged as a lesser grade of criminal decides to enter the space. This could be the turning point in people being prepared to pay up, it points out.

Cost of attacks

Paul Williams, Fortinet's country manager for SADC, says: "We can expect to see an increase in the incidence of DDOS attacks and with that, anonymous transactions, ransomware and malware.

He points out local companies are increasingly coming under these types of attacks, with ransomware demands ranging from $5 000 to $50 000. "While many simply write off the affected hardware or reformat it, these targeted ransomware attacks are a growing problem and the cost of these attacks, along with targeted blackmail attacks, will grow.

"We are seeing strong local uptake of our botnet and sandboxing solutions to deal with these growing threats, and internationally, companies are taking the increased risk seriously. We can also expect to see an increase in cyber-based corporate espionage and cyber warfare in future," Williams says.

He adds attackers appear to be becoming more methodical as well as more persistent and aggressive. They are profiling victims and their environments, carrying out pre-testing ahead of attacks, and even using artificial intelligence server environments to determine the best mode of attack, he explains.

Fortinet has found threats are increasingly able to operate autonomously. "In the coming year, we expect to see malware designed with adaptive, success-based learning, as well as cross-platform autonomous malware, or ‘transformers', designed to operate on and between a variety of devices.

"We are also seeing more attacks and breaches of Internet of things (IOT) devices, which may indicate attackers are testing the potential to use a broad range of connected devices for full-blown attacks."

There is a strong overlap with some of the predictions for 2016 and 2017, says Check Point's Doros Hadjizenonos.

As cyber threats continue to escalate, IT security experts reveal their worst fears for the coming year.

Sbu Shabalala, CEO of Adapt IT. 24 Nov 2016 - by Kirsten Doyle Sbu Shabalala scoops IT Personality of the Year 2016
Sbu Shabalala scoops IT Personality of the Year 2016
Sbu Shabalala, CEO of Adapt IT.

The Adapt IT CEO's passion and business savvy has driven the success of a truly empowered international business, says IITPSA.

Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba says birth certificates will be prioritised, with 5.8 million birth records to be digitised a year. 24 Nov 2016 - by Staff Writer Home Affairs to digitise 286m records
Home Affairs to digitise 286m records
Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba says birth certificates will be prioritised, with 5.8 million birth records to be digitised a year.

The department begins a digitisation project as it moves to become a digital department that is efficient, fast and secure.

Bantu Holomisa, a South African MP, talks about how the socio-political environment affects business. 23 Nov 2016 - by Charmaine Shangase Absorbing the impact of socio-political events
Absorbing the impact of socio-political events
Bantu Holomisa, a South African MP, talks about how the socio-political environment affects business.

As a GRC practitioner, it is your duty to ensure you are aware of all the risks and opportunities facing your organisation.

Nerushka Bowan, a technology and privacy lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, gives you a legal perspective why digital risk needs to take a seat on the board. 17 Nov 2016 - by Charmaine Shangase Is your board discussing digital risk?
Is your board discussing digital risk?
Nerushka Bowan, a technology and privacy lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, gives you a legal perspective why digital risk needs to take a seat on the board.

The digital age has come with many opportunities, but also with many risks. ITWeb's GRC conference will give you an update on the latest regulatory changes and the risks you need to guard against.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet in Brussels with EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. 17 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Google CEO to meet with EU anti-trust chief
Google CEO to meet with EU anti-trust chief
Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet in Brussels with EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Sundar Pichai and the European Union's anti-trust chief will meet following Google's formal rejection of a spate of charges.

Each year enterprises continue to encounter downtime, which currently costs an estimated $740 000 (R10.5 million) per outage, says Continuity Software. 16 Nov 2016 - by Regina Pazvakavambwa Downtime, security risks prevalent in private cloud
Downtime, security risks prevalent in private cloud
Each year enterprises continue to encounter downtime, which currently costs an estimated $740 000 (R10.5 million) per outage, says Continuity Software.

Companies running mission-critical systems in the cloud are less successful in meeting their service availability goals, says Continuity Software.

Gerrie van Gaalen, director at De Klerk & van Gend Inc. 15 Nov 2016 - by Nicole Broome Ensure compliance before leaping into the cloud
Ensure compliance before leaping into the cloud
Gerrie van Gaalen, director at De Klerk & van Gend Inc.

Accounting for compliance by design will help minimise unnecessary development costs and possible legal issues that may crop up as a result of non-compliance.

Google's move does not address the issue of fake news or hoaxes appearing in Google search results. 15 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Google, Facebook to restrict ads on fake news sites
Google, Facebook to restrict ads on fake news sites
Google's move does not address the issue of fake news or hoaxes appearing in Google search results.

New measures are aimed at halting the spread of fake news online by targeting how some purveyors of phony content make money.

Baybars Altuntas: It is highly risky to invest in a start-up as an individual. Through collaboration, angel investors reduce that risk. 14 Nov 2016 - by Linda Doke SA Business Angel Network boosts early-stage investing
SA Business Angel Network boosts early-stage investing
Baybars Altuntas: It is highly risky to invest in a start-up as an individual. Through collaboration, angel investors reduce that risk.

Baybars Altuntas: It is highly risky to invest in a start-up as an individual. Through collaboration, angel investors reduce that risk.

There is light ahead on the tough, dark road faced by local entrepreneurs, with the launch of the South African Business Angel Network (SABAN), a professional association for the early stage investor community.

SABAN is part of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), a pan-African non-profit organisation founded to encourage and support the development of early stage investor networks across Africa.

Following the Johannesburg debut in August, SABAN launched in Cape Town last week. 

The creation of an angel investment ecosystem relies on successful networking.

SABAN co-founder Chris Campbell said the organisation aims to provide a link between the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and investors, and grow a body of investors that can benefit from the strength of networking and collaboration.

Campbell is an SA-based entrepreneur who decided to replicate the work of EBAN (European Business Angel Network) in South Africa.

"The association will be set up as a trust, registered as a non-profit organisation. It will be an industry body which aims to galvanise and grow angel investment in South Africa. The keyword is collaboration – the creation of an angel investment ecosystem relies on successful networking," he said.

Angel investors vs venture capitalists

Speaking at the Cape Town launch event, World Business Angel Investment Forum chairman Baybars Altuntas said business angels use private money to invest, while venture capitalists use the funds of the organisation they represent.

Mvi Hlophe: In South Africa, more money is chasing fewer deals.

Mvi Hlophe: In South Africa, more money is chasing fewer deals.

"There is strength to be gained in working together, particularly through a collaboration of minds and experience. It is highly risky to invest in a start-up as an individual. Through collaboration, angel investors reduce that risk," said Altuntas.

"Knowledge, mentorship and networks differentiate business angels from other investors – they contribute their know-how, provide mentorship, and share their own networks to give the start-up the injection it needs. Angel investors are not just providing money, they supply smart finance."

Altuntas referred to business angels as the leaders of the world's early-stage investment market.

"In 2015 alone, about 300 000 angel investors in the US invested more than $25 billion in start-ups and SMEs. In Europe, it was €6 billion for that same period. It is estimated that the global market worth of angel investment already exceeds US$50 billion annually," said Altuntas.

Connecting talent and money

Private equity investor Mvi Hlophe said increasingly in South Africa, more money is chasing fewer deals.

"South Africa doesn't have the pipeline of quality entrepreneurs being funded at the seed capital stage. Angel investment bridges that funding gap," said Hlophe.

Vuyisa Qabak: Talent should never have to look for money.

The organisation provides a link between the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and investors.

Regulators want standardised digital transaction reports from banks to spot potential fraud more reliably and with fewer staff. 14 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Financial firms seek 'regtech'
Financial firms seek 'regtech'
Regulators want standardised digital transaction reports from banks to spot potential fraud more reliably and with fewer staff.

Regulatory technology is expected to create a niche tech market that is estimated to grow to around $120 billion by 2020.

14 Nov 2016 - by ITWeb ISACA Finds African Enterprises Are Cautious About Augmented Reality, Despite Business Benefits
ISACA Finds African Enterprises Are Cautious About Augmented Reality, Despite Business Benefits

With this year's release of Pokémon Go, awareness of augmented reality (AR) applications soared among organizations and consumers.

It is with regret that the State of Capture report was prepared in haste, says outgoing Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe. 11 Nov 2016 - by Admire Moyo Eskom CEO Molefe calls it quits
Eskom CEO Molefe calls it quits
It is with regret that the State of Capture report was prepared in haste, says outgoing Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe.

The controversial Brian Molefe will leave employ at the power utility on 1 January 2017.

The reason organisations are disrupted by other organisations is because they did not disrupt their own business model to get ahead, said Accenture's Lee Naik.

11 Nov 2016 - by Sibahle Malinga Digitisation of everything driving digital leadership
Digitisation of everything driving digital leadership
The reason organisations are disrupted by other organisations is because they did not disrupt their own business model to get ahead, said Accenture's Lee Naik.

The three trends which will help organisations decide on a leap change are 'digitisation of everything', 'liquid expectations', and 'trapped intelligence', says Accenture's Lee Naik.

Government dedicates the majority of its national ICT budget to the justice cluster, according to Brian Neilson, director at BMI-T. 11 Nov 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba Govt spends big bucks on ICT
Govt spends big bucks on ICT
Government dedicates the majority of its national ICT budget to the justice cluster, according to Brian Neilson, director at BMI-T.

Government spent R14 billion on ICT during the 2015/2016 financial year, according to a BMI-T report on national and provincial ICT spend.

As a director of Samsung Electronics', Jay Y Lee will have to stand for re-election in three years, making him accountable to shareholders. 10 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Samsung Electronics gets more board power
Samsung Electronics gets more board power
As a director of Samsung Electronics', Jay Y Lee will have to stand for re-election in three years, making him accountable to shareholders.

Head of South Korea's Samsung Group Jay Y Lee will take a board seat at Samsung Electronics, partly because of investor pressure to improve governance.

8 Nov 2016 - by Charmaine Shangase Good governance facilitating service delivery
Good governance facilitating service delivery

Monelo Nxozi of the Road Accident Fund speaks about the challenges facing GRC practitioners in the public sector.

Vodacom is currently 18.7% black-owned and it continues \ 8 Nov 2016 - by Paula Gilbert Vodacom interested in boosting black ownership
Vodacom interested in boosting black ownership
Vodacom is currently 18.7% black-owned and it continues \

The telecoms giant says it would be "beneficial" if the PIC chose to sell its shares in the company to black investors.

Overseas critics of the law say it threatens to shut foreign tech companies out of various \ 8 Nov 2016 - by Reuters China adopts cyber security law despite opposition
China adopts cyber security law despite opposition
Overseas critics of the law say it threatens to shut foreign tech companies out of various \

The country adopts a controversial cyber security law, triggering concerns among foreign business and rights groups.

8 Nov 2016 - by Ben Kelly A data-driven world
A data-driven world
Suren Govender, MD, Accenture Analytics.

Suren Govender, MD, Accenture Analytics.

It is becoming common cause that any business that does not put its data at the heart of its strategy risks falling foul of the ever-changing shifts in the modern market. However, South African businesses outside the large corporates are not able to take advantage of what modern data analytics offers for a number of reasons. A recent Brainstorm roundtable on the growth and deployment of data analytics in South Africa highlighted a number of issues that local companies are facing when it comes to this technology.

Data analytics encompasses a vast array of tools and techniques, from simple analysis on a spreadsheet to basic business intelligence systems, all the way through to big data and AI. However, the rate of adoption varies massively, with the individual companies, the specific sectors and the size and culture of the organisation all playing a part.

While opinions differ on the state of the market, the one consensus is that data analytics, embedded into the core of any company's business process, has the potential to transform organisations into an engine for innovation by speeding up decision-making and delivering actionable intelligence.

Shubna Harilal, acting vice president: Systems Integration, T-Systems South Africa.

Shubna Harilal, acting vice president: Systems Integration, T-Systems South Africa.

Suren Govender, MD, Accenture Analytics, says that while companies are aware that data analytics presents real value, they are still grappling with how to extract it. "In typical South African fashion, companies are treading quite carefully. Even though there is a strong push from proponents to get them to see the value it presents, they remain in the discovery phase trying to learning from others and looking for good case studies. One of the reasons for this is that companies are fixated on the risks associated with this kind of project rather than the opportunity it presents. In this regard, companies are planning to lose small rather than win big with their investments. However, analytics gives organisations the opportunity to leapfrog the competition and provide better service to the customer and they need to see that and be bold."

Desan Naidoo, regional director, Sub-Saharan Africa at SAS, adds that even though adoption remains slow, there has been a shift away from companies asking why they should invest in data analytics to a situation where they are examining how they should embark on the journey. "Every organisation we are engaging with right now understands this and is looking for the correct use cases. At the same time, some of the larger corporate customers have a very advanced programme, especially when you look specifically at South Africa. In the rest of Africa, there is still a lot of education that needs to be done."

Change management

Sham Moodliar, CEO, Datonomy Solutions.

Sham Moodliar, CEO, Datonomy Solutions.

Shubna Harilal, acting vice president: Systems Integration at T-Systems South Africa, says that much of the power in analytics is found in its ability to speed up the decision-making process. "By integrating data from across industries into the analytics, it is possible for companies to act at the most appropriate time. For a company, there is real power in being able to know when the best time to take an action is and that is part of the power of analytics. It's not about working with historical data, but rather about driving real-time operational decisions."

Masindi Mabogo, director of PBT Group, comments that there is a tendency to push back against findings that come from data analytics systems, specifically when it conflicts with established wisdom within an organisation. "In some organisations we have worked with, where analytics has been put to use, the outcomes are rejected because it discredits the way things have been done in the past. So even once you have the programme up and running, you may have to spend another six months trying to justify the conclusion that was reached. The net effect of this is that business opportunities that may have existed have passed."

Masindi Mabogo, director, PBT Group.

Masindi Mabogo, director, PBT Group.

Naidoo agrees that it's sometimes difficult for organisations to deal with the disruption that analytics can have when properly implemented. "You have to think about how disruptive it is when you embed analytics into an organisation that may be 100 or 150 years old. Because analytics exposes trends and information that may challenge the status quo in the business, companies almost need to look at themselves as startups rather than fall prey to the ‘we have always done it this way' mentality."

Amanda Cromhout, founder and CEO of Truth, says that because of the fundamental changes unlocked by analytics, specialists in this field often end up being more change specialists than consultants. "Even though this is not our area of expertise, we have built up significant practical experience in change management and because of the fundamental change that analytics is bringing, this practical experience is invaluable. It's incredible how something so basic (analytics) is driving such a fundamental change," she says. "It's the move from being product-led to being customer-led and it's not the technology that is causing the complexity in this instance, it's how people are behaving around it."

User resistance

Gustav Piater, sales director, Yellowfin SA.

Gustav Piater, sales director, Yellowfin SA.

Sham Moodliar, CEO of Datonomy Solutions, points out that blaming the end-user for the slow uptake and resistance to data analytics rollouts is not entirely fair as part of the problem lies with the complexity introduced by the analytics professionals themselves. "We often talk about going back to basics and being a startup, but we articulate these things in such complex ways that business doesn't necessarily understand. Business users have a specific way of looking at the world, focused on issues such as winning customers, reducing costs and eliminating risk, so if you want to be taken seriously, you need to frame the discussion in those terms. Businesses have targets and while providing insight into the performance of the business in relation to those targets may not be very fancy, it's often the basic approach that will get the business on board."

Companies are planning to lose small rather than win big with their investments.

Ensuring that the implementation of data analytics is successful is, as with so many technology projects, the direct result of having the right level of executive sponsorship. Accenture's Govender points out that when there is buy-in from the top of the organisation, many of the issues that could hamper adoption simply go away, especially issues around disputing the validity of the data from the system.

Geoffrey Francis, Solutions Consulting director, Oracle South Africa & SADC.

Geoffrey Francis, Solutions Consulting director, Oracle South Africa & SADC.

"Our most successful projects were done in a top-down fashion, with the top executive invested in the project. As soon as they insist that the only answer that counts will be the one coming out of the analytics system, all other arguments become moot and the data suddenly takes centre-stage. However, once you have moved beyond leadership sponsorship, there needs to be a shift from within the business from simply keeping the lights on to one where value creation is prioritised," he says. "That is the startup mentality; it's not so much about deconstructing your business, but, rather, about creating a new pipeline inside the organisation that has data running in it and getting people to believe in the value that this can create." He adds that in order to get the data analytics ball rolling, it is necessary to find a single use case and focus on that, even when there are massive opportunities across the organisation.

Moodliar comments that in order to establish the credibility of the intelligence coming from the data analytics systems, he has seen situations where the CEO has gone to the head of business intelligence and said, ‘Your version of the truth is my version of the truth', simply to short-circuit arguments inside the organisation that were diverting attention from the primary goal of delivering value for the organisation."

Desan Naidoo, SAS.

Desan Naidoo, SAS.

He adds that it helps to differentiate between internal and external analytics. "Internally, we speak about analytics when what we should be talking about is performance management. Externally-focused analytics can give us decision support, but decision support doesn't mean that the correct decision are being mad."

Maturity

The maturity of the South African market is something of a recurring theme, with organisations in the financial services sector and key players in retail highlighted as the leaders in the field.

T-System's Harilal believes the financial services sector, including banking and many of the telecoms operators, are ahead of the curve in terms of using analytics to capture their market and push into new markets, but if you look at healthcare, the industry is lagging and this is holding the country back.

David Coleman, head of Analytics, Experian South Africa.

David Coleman, head of Analytics, Experian South Africa.

Cromhout, who worked at Woolworths prior to starting Truth, adds that in the retail space, credit and marketing analytics is extremely advanced, but she says that what is seriously missing is the understanding of how analytics can change the entire business model.

"We work with our clients to build a customer-centric retailing approach. By using data, you can change the way you recruit your staff, how you get the right products on the shelf, ensuring that the product mix is right and the categories are right. I know that Woolworths is well down the road in customer-centric retailing and although some of the other credit retailers are advanced in the use of analytics for credit retailing, they don't use it for anything else and this is a missed opportunity."

You have to think about how disruptive it is when you embed analytics into an organisation that may be 100 or 150 years old.

Gustav Piater, sales director of Yellowfin SA, says that when looking at the issue of maturity, the South African market is two to four years behind the US and European markets. "There are those big companies that have access to the technology, but also to the necessary skills and people needed; however, when you talk of delivering BI to the masses, this is simply not happening yet. In terms of specific sectors, we have seen that companies that have structured data and that are used to working with it, such as those in the financial services sector and logistics, have a good adoption rate, while those that are involved in more price-sensitive industries such as retail have been slower."

Amanda Cromhout, founder and CEO, Truth.

South African companies still have a long way to go to realise the real benefits of data analytics.

8 Nov 2016 - by Heidi Ziegelmeier Embracing agile
Embracing agile

What can a business do to ensure agile adoption runs smoothly?

Facebook is pursuing a video-first strategy across its entire family of apps, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 3 Nov 2016 - by Reuters Facebook sees slow growth, shares dip
Facebook sees slow growth, shares dip
Facebook is pursuing a video-first strategy across its entire family of apps, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The social media network warns revenue growth will slow this quarter, causing its shares to tumble 7% in after-hours trading yesterday.

Broadcom is one of the chip sector's most prolific acquirers. 2 Nov 2016 - by Reuters UPDATE: Broadcom to buy Brocade for $5.5bn
UPDATE: Broadcom to buy Brocade for $5.5bn
Broadcom is one of the chip sector's most prolific acquirers.

The chipmaker will buy the network gear maker for $5.5 billion in cash, to expand its fibre channel and data storage businesses.

With a data protection strategy that integrates data loss prevention, IT is in complete control of data, says Cibecs' Ilze Dewing. 1 Nov 2016 - by Regina Pazvakavambwa Data loss a risk to business productivity
Data loss a risk to business productivity
With a data protection strategy that integrates data loss prevention, IT is in complete control of data, says Cibecs' Ilze Dewing.

ITWeb, in partnership with Cibecs, is conducting an online Data Loss Survey during October.

1 Nov 2016 - by Heidi Ziegelmeier Invading the future
Invading the future

Getting the elephant in the room into training for a lean and agile future.

Mobile operator MTN has appointed Ralph Mupita as group chief financial officer. 31 Oct 2016 - by Staff Writer MTN names Mupita new group CFO
MTN names Mupita new group CFO
Mobile operator MTN has appointed Ralph Mupita as group chief financial officer.

The current chief executive of Old Mutual Emerging Markets will assume his role at the telco in April next year.

The explosion on the launch site of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. 31 Oct 2016 - by Reuters SpaceX probe focuses on fuelling system flaw
SpaceX probe focuses on fuelling system flaw
The explosion on the launch site of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The company believes a fuelling system problem is the most likely cause of the launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket.

Graphic recorder James Durno illustrated how bureaucracy often stifles innovation, at the World Caf'e event this week. 27 Oct 2016 - by Lauren Kate Rawlins World Café event scrutinises SA innovation
World Café event scrutinises SA innovation
Graphic recorder James Durno illustrated how bureaucracy often stifles innovation, at the World Caf'e event this week.

Government representatives, agencies, start-ups and other stakeholders discussed the way forward for innovation in the country.

The Java post-matric programme provides Western Cape students with business and professional skills. 27 Oct 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba ICT skills boost for WCape youth
ICT skills boost for WCape youth
The Java post-matric programme provides Western Cape students with business and professional skills.

The Western Cape's Java post-matric programme fast-tracks employment for young people looking to enter the job market.

National Treasury's new initiative allows members of the public to view and engage with municipal financial data.
26 Oct 2016 - by Staff Writer Public gets a glimpse of municipal finances
Public gets a glimpse of municipal finances
National Treasury's new initiative allows members of the public to view and engage with municipal financial data.

National Treasury launches data portal to give citizens access to the financial data of each municipality.

The 2010 IRP stipulates that independent power producers will generate energy for Eskom until a time when a new policy is proposed, said National Treasury DG, Lungisa Fuzile. 26 Oct 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba Treasury throws weight behind IPPs
Treasury throws weight behind IPPs
The 2010 IRP stipulates that independent power producers will generate energy for Eskom until a time when a new policy is proposed, said National Treasury DG, Lungisa Fuzile.

Eskom will continue to receive energy from independent power producers, according to Treasury's Lungisa Fuzile.

26 Oct 2016 - by Godfrey Kutumela App development: Build secure
App development: Build secure

Security needs to be integrated into the way apps are developed. Here's how.

The energy contribution of independent power producers is expected to grow to approximately 7 000MW, says energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. 25 Oct 2016 - by Admire Moyo SA to export successful energy programme
SA to export successful energy programme
The energy contribution of independent power producers is expected to grow to approximately 7 000MW, says energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The Department of Energy looks to transfer its independent power producer renewable energy programme to other governments.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek explain how they remotely hacked into a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. 25 Oct 2016 - by Reuters Automakers must prioritise cyber security
Automakers must prioritise cyber security
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek explain how they remotely hacked into a 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

US regulators believe automakers should make shielding the electronic and computer systems of vehicles from hackers a priority.

MTN group subscribers grew by 0.9% in the third quarter to 234.7 million, as Nigeria's numbers recovered and SA's dropped. 24 Oct 2016 - by Paula Gilbert MTN SA revenue grows, Nigeria sees recovery
MTN SA revenue grows, Nigeria sees recovery
MTN group subscribers grew by 0.9% in the third quarter to 234.7 million, as Nigeria's numbers recovered and SA's dropped.

MTN group subscribers grew by 0.9% in the third quarter to 234.7 million, as Nigeria's numbers recovered and SA's dropped.

MTN South Africa saw an improvement in revenue for the third quarter of the year despite subscriber numbers falling slightly.

Meanwhile, Nigeria reported a smaller revenue decline in the quarter ended 30 September, as subscriber numbers continued to recover in the West African country and ticked up for the group in general.

"Despite a tough operating environment as a result of weaker macro-economic conditions, particularly in oil-dependent economies, as well as the regulatory challenges experienced, we are confident the fundamental changes implemented over the past year position the group well to participate efficiently and effectively in the data evolution and ensure sound stakeholder relationships and governance processes," MTN Group executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko says in a statement.

MTN South Africa's revenue grew by over 3.6% quarter-on-quarter, while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin expanded by over 2% quarter-on-quarter. MTN South Africa expects to maintain this improvement in EBITDA margin in the fourth quarter.  

Meanwhile, after reporting a year-on-year decline in revenue in the first and second quarters of 2016 of 6.2% and 3.3% respectively, in the third quarter MTN Nigeria's revenue decline was limited to 1.2% year-on-year. The group says it is confident MTN Nigeria will deliver positive year-on-year revenue metrics in the fourth quarter. In Nigeria, constant currency data revenue increased by 6.7% and contributed 20.4% to total revenue.

"This is largely the result of a weaker macro-economic environment negatively impacting consumers, a decline in the effective data tariff because of competition and regulatory requirements impacting out-of-bundle billing."

In SA, data revenue increased by 15.1% year-on-year and contributed 34.4% to total revenue.

The number of smartphones on the SA network also increased by 9.3% year-on-year, to 9.2 million. Average revenue per user increased by 10.4% quarter-on-quarter.

Nigerian data traffic increased by almost 44% year-on-year and the MTN Nigeria network saw the number of smartphones on the network increase by over 59% to 19.2 million year-on-year.

Nhleko says MTN is pleased to report it has commenced the repatriation of cash from MTN Irancell to the group and expects to conclude the process over the next six months.

The changes implemented over the past year position MTN to participate efficiently in the data evolution, says MTN Group executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko.

The mobile operator's Q3 revenue grew in SA as the Nigerian business reported a smaller revenue decline and group subscriber numbers ticked up.

UAV Industries says it is now the only on the continent to provide insured and legal flights using its pilots for various industries in SA. 24 Oct 2016 - by Admire Moyo SA firm gets drone operations certification
SA firm gets drone operations certification
UAV Industries says it is now the only on the continent to provide insured and legal flights using its pilots for various industries in SA.

UAV Industries becomes the first drone operator in Africa to be certified to train pilots and operate drones.

ICASA's functions remain uncertain as the ICT policy white paper proposes two entities to oversee regulation. 6 Oct 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba ICT policy proposes new regulatory functions
ICT policy proposes new regulatory functions
ICASA's functions remain uncertain as the ICT policy white paper proposes two entities to oversee regulation.

ICASA's future remains fuzzy, as the ICT white paper recommends different entities to oversee regulation.

6 Oct 2016 - by Mervyn Mooi Down to the bone
Down to the bone

Human error can be the undoing of the best data security measures, so the most effective place to secure data is at its most basic level.

Google believes the world is moving from mobile-first to artificially intelligent-first, says CEO Sundar Pichai. 5 Oct 2016 - by Lauren Kate Rawlins Google imagines an AI-first world
Google imagines an AI-first world
Google believes the world is moving from mobile-first to artificially intelligent-first, says CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google believes the world is moving from mobile-first to artificially intelligent-first, says CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google predicts in the trajectory of computing, we are moving from a mobile-first to an artificially intelligent (AI)-first world. This was claimed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the #MadeByGoogle event yesterday in San Francisco.

A host of hardware products, including a new smartphone, virtual reality (VR) headset and WiFi router, were unveiled at the event. The devices all have one thing in common – Google Assistant integration.

"When I look at where computing is heading, I see how machine learning and AI are unlocking capabilities that were unthinkable only a few years ago," said Pichai.

"This means that the power of the software − the ‘smarts' − really matter for hardware more than ever before. The last 10 years have been about building a world that is mobile-first, turning our phones into remote controls for our lives.

"But in the next 10 years, we will shift to a world that is AI-first, a world where computing becomes universally available − be it at home, at work, in the car, or on the go − and interacting with all of these surfaces becomes much more natural and intuitive, and above all, more intelligent."

He says this is why Google Assistant was built – the smart AI-driven platform that allows users to have natural conversations with it.

Julie Ask, Forrester VP and principal analyst, says: "The ‘Holy Grail' of becoming a consumer's virtual assistant will be hard for Google to obtain, but holds unprecedented business value if Google achieves this goal."

Human-level interaction

Google Assistant is similar to Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Alexa – a voice-activated smart personal assistant.

The company says its technology is differentiated from others because it envisions talking to the assistant as a two-way conversation, a natural dialogue between its users and Google.

Google says it created its own hardware because the next innovation will come from where hardware and software intersect, with AI at the centre.

The Alphabet-owned tech giant says we are moving from a mobile-first to an artificially intelligent-first world, and its latest product range aligns with this vision.

The Gauteng provincial government will host the first Gauteng eKasi ICT Summit on Thursday. 4 Oct 2016 - by Staff Writer Gauteng encourages tech thinking
Gauteng encourages tech thinking
The Gauteng provincial government will host the first Gauteng eKasi ICT Summit on Thursday.

The province will host an ICT summit to empower entrepreneurs with knowledge on the benefits of technology for business.

4 Oct 2016 - by Julian Thomas Elevating business intelligence
Elevating business intelligence

There are critical success factors on the road to the cloud for business intelligence.

Cabinet has approved the long-awaited National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper. 30 Sep 2016 - by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba Industry awaits ICT policy implications
Industry awaits ICT policy implications
Cabinet has approved the long-awaited National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.

Cabinet has approved the long-awaited National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.

Cabinet's stamp of approval of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper comes as welcome relief for the sector that has been plagued by sluggish movement and poor governance.

However, it is still unclear as to what exactly the white paper means for the market.

This week, Cabinet finally approved SA's new ICT policy, which has been three years in the making.

According to Richard Hurst, research director at Market Monitor, SA's ICT sector needs this policy to determine paths for major issues, such as spectrum.

Government has described the ICT policy as one that will ensure the sector fulfils its potential to facilitate inclusive social and economic transformation. The policy is also touted to outline government's plans for the rollout of broadband services across the country and direct the allocation of spectrum.

Minister in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe yesterday announced during a media briefing that the new ICT policy will replace the separate white papers on telecommunication (1996) and postal services (1998). 

Radebe said Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) minister Siyabonga Cwele will later convene a separate media briefing to further unpack this policy.

One step forward

Marian Shinn, Democratic Alliance (DA) member of Parliament and telecommunications and postal services shadow minister, says while she can't say much about the ICT policy white paper yet, she is pleased it will soon be in the public domain.

"I presume it will be in today's Government Gazette, so the ICT sector can learn what policies around a wholesale network prompted the Independent Communications Authority of SA to push ahead for the spectrum auction, and has so alarmed the mobile network operators.

"This white paper has been three-and-a-half years in the making and, under previous minister of communications Yunus Carrim, was extensively debated by the sector. The review report, published in March last year, was generally favourably received. We wait to see how much it has changed since then."

Industry reactions

Hurst says any positive step initiated by the government in terms of furthering development and embracing a converged ICT environment should be welcomed.

The ICT industry will have to wait to see how the white paper has changed since the review report, says DA member of Parliament Marian Shinn.

The telecoms department has yet to unpack the full extent of the impact the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper will have on the ICT sector.

Recent hacks have undermined confidence in SWIFT. 30 Sep 2016 - by Reuters Banks tighten SWIFT system security
Banks tighten SWIFT system security
Recent hacks have undermined confidence in SWIFT.

Financial institutions up the security of their SWIFT networks after revelations that hackers are increasingly able to access the system.

Gartner fellow David Willis predicts a massive backlog for developers as business users request new mobile applications. 28 Sep 2016 - by Matthew Burbidge App developers not building what business needs
App developers not building what business needs
Gartner fellow David Willis predicts a massive backlog for developers as business users request new mobile applications.

We're delivering a lot less functionality than we did in the enterprise computing world even though the demands are much higher, says Gartner fellow David Willis.

27 Sep 2016 - by Ilva Pieterse Is enough being done?
Is enough being done?
AJ Hartenberg, T-Systems

There are mixed opinions regarding the state of risk-based security in the public sector.

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