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ICANN To Open Istanbul Hub, Covering Africa

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Africa Business

Infrastructure, growing technology sector, proximity to Africa, Middle-East and Europe make Istanbul ideal location

About ICANN: ICANN’s mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN ( coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit:

ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer Fadi Chehadé today announced the organization will open its first hub office in Istanbul, Turkey.


ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer Fadi Chehadé


ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer Fadi Chehadé with Binali Yıldırım, Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications


The announcement marks a significant moment in the evolution of ICANN ( as it prepares to spread its operational functions across three global headquarters – Los Angeles (current location), Istanbul and Singapore.

“ICANN is becoming increasingly international in terms of our outlook, policies and the makeup of our staff. Now our global hub strategy will take our internationalism to an improved operational level,” said Chehadé. “These hub offices will become part of the core fabric of ICANN.”

The Istanbul hub office will be led by David Olive, ICANN’s Vice President for Policy Development. A number of current ICANN staff will relocate to Istanbul over the coming months and local staff also will be hired.

“We looked closely at a number of possible global locations,” said Fadi Chehadé. “We chose Istanbul because of the quality of its infrastructure, growing ICT sector, business-friendly environment and its close cultural and geographic proximity to Europe, the Middle-East and Africa.”

“ICANN provides efficient and considered management of the Internet’s Domain Name System, and today marks the latest step in the organization’s journey of extending its global influence,” said Binali Yıldırım, Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications. “The ICANN European HUB is being established in Istanbul to act as an epicenter that will help shape Internet policy to deliver a more connected community across Europe, Middle East and Africa.”

ICANN currently is overseeing the implementation of more than 1,400 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), representing one of the biggest changes to the Internet since its inception. The first wave of these domains will come online in the coming months. As a result of this massive expansion of the Domain Name System (DNS), ICANN too is expanding as it continues its mission to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet.



Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)


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“Africa is the second largest continent in the world, yet it is the least computerised.”

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Africa Business

Exclusive interview with Gideon van Niekerk, MaraMedia CEO.  MaraMedia is a gold sponsor at the upcoming African Education Week.

1)  What would you say the main challenges are to creating a more e-friendly learning environment in South African/African schools?
“Education in our country is suffering as the lack of suitable learning material seems to be that elephant in the room that everyone tries not to notice.” Africa is the second largest continent in the world, yet it is the least computerised.

South African / African Schools face a number of obstacles in their quest for quality education in a digital format. Certain prerequisites, such as reliable power supply to operate the computers, a well functioning telephone network to transmit data, financial ability to import the technology, and computer literate personnel, are necessary for successful use of IT remain inadequate in many African countries.

The last century has seen tremendous revolutions in all industries, except education. Learners need to be prepared for the demands that a future with new problems, opportunities and challenges will hold.

Knowledge is everywhere, available at the click of a button with Google as many educators’ first port of call. Content experts and great teachers set aside mandated learner manuals every day in favour of their own materials and those they have culled from the best resources available. Textbooks as we know them are an anachronism. However, the choosing, culling, and creation of appropriate course material is an arduous task – one that MaraMedia has taken on gladly.

2)  How will technology change the way learners are taught, do you think?
Learners are destined to evolve from passive recipients of knowledge to active participants in a life-long learning process. By taking charge of his/her own learning through a digital platform, any child can be the master of his/her learning. Exploring the global classroom is made possible through the marriage of great educational material with an intuitive technology interface in the form of mobile tablets. A migration to a more digital workspace must be effected at a pace that teachers and learners are comfortable with.  Using mobile learning devices like tablets enables learners to store assets, homework and other documents and facilitates collaborative learning through enhanced communication by forum. Using tablet computers, learners have easy access to knowledge. They use their devices as supportive educational tools. By using the MaraMedia IDMs, they now have access to embedded videos, photo galleries, diagrams, articles, essays and relevant academic information written for the South African market with reference to actual news events that can vastly improve their performance in the classroom.

Until now, most people relegated “education” to a finite time in their lives: entering school at around five years old and attending school institutions all the way to university. Education is getting increasingly interspersed with our daily activities. This necessitates an innovative new merging of e- and m-learning, and will most probably be one of the ways in which Information Communication. Not only do learners have access to their entire school curriculum on their mobile learning devices, but they now have access to industry experts too. Learners can read reviews and blogs by field experts. They can follow conferences and “webinars” and even have a chance to interact with professionals from their homes or classrooms.

3)  What is your vision for education?
High quality digital and mobile education in Africa may appear presumptive: in areas of drought or malnutrition it is hard to persuade some people that education is a venture that necessitates monetary investment. But education is about information, and information is needed to help cure illness and bring food, bolster production and build stable societies. Information is needed to allow Africa to find its own ways forward. Our vision is that digital education can put South Africa at the forefront of the African Renaissance in education. In order to create true 21st century learning environments, today’s schools will need to evolve beyond traditional methods of instruction. Digital learning allows for exactly that to happen. Using mobile tablet device technology to enhance the learning experience and to break down the school walls, paves the way for a gigantic shift of the traditional learning paradigm. In opposition to the rather rigid, culturally ‘neutral’ learning material MaraMedia’s educational solution has the flexibility to adapt to the pupil’s cultural environment and to his/her personal learning style.

Technology is to develop even further in the future. Mobile information and communication technologies are important enablers of the new social structure. One only needs to look at the growth of the social media industry (and I think here particularly of Facebook) to realise that today’s youth more often than not deal with real-time as well as virtual personas on a continuous basis.

It is therefore imperative that learners are reached through the same portals when we enter the sphere of education. Interactive activities support large-scale learning and allow learners to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Most educators note that each learner requires different pedagogies or strategies for learning. Through using mobile learning devices with proper relevant and comprehensive content learners are able to learn in their own way. They can now personalise and enjoy learning.

The digital age has created a new relationship between teachers and learners. Research conducted by the London School of Economics found that children are typically the Internet experts in the family, and described this situation as a “lasting reversal of the generation gap”. This also leads to a “flip classroom” scenario whereby learners can research topics related to the curriculum themselves. The always-available nature of mobile learning empowers learners to take the initiative and direct their own learning activities, while teachers can guide this process, instill proper research methodologies and help learners to gauge the relevance and accuracy of e-content. The ability of teachers to understand and respond to digital learning opportunities is vital. Maragon Private Schools’ teachers are interested and able to provide Maragon learners with excellent learning content, learning management and support. To support Maragon Private Schools’ teachers, MaraMedia has arranged for a series of training sessions and workshops to assist teachers in what would otherwise be a very daunting task.

The MaraMedia IDMs fits many diverse learning styles: reading text and graphics, video, animation, working through decision trees, listening to audio tracks, contributing to discussions, researching on the internet, choosing the correct answer, interacting with the screen through swiping, tapping, panning, zooming or rating skills on a diagnostic… are all processes for offering learning on mobile learning devices. This enables differentiation between the different types of learners, engaging auditory-, visual- and tactile learners alike.  MaraMedia demonstrates the need for and the availability of technology capable of supporting the evolution towards the e-learning world of tomorrow while taking into account the richness of the past by following a blended approach to learning.

4)  What surprises you about this sector?
The last true educational revolution was with the invention of the blackboard by James Pillans in the 1800’s – mankind invests billions into countless sectors, but the educational sector that serves as the driving force for all of these has hardly seen any innovation in more than two hundred years.

The idea of tackling the same educational problems with the same ineffective solutions and expecting a different (better) outcome is the very definition of insanity.

5)  What will be your message at African Education Week?
Africa’s richest resource is not its gold, silver, diamonds or platinum, but its human resources – its children. As one of the few continents with an overall population growth, it is imperative that Africa stands up and be noticed in the educational sphere – we owe it to our children and to their future. The distinguishing feature of our society at the beginning of the 21st Century is the rapid rate of technological and social change.  Smartphones and tablet computers have become commonplace in most households. These devices are fundamentally altering how we approach our shared knowledge sources by keeping us continually connected to near-infinite volumes of raw data, knowledge resources and communication.

6)  Why did you decide to become a gold sponsor at this event?
MaraMedia is passionate about education, about our great nation and the powerful impact that education has on our youth. We emulate the meaning of ex-president Nelson Mandela’s statement: “Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to shape our future”

7)  Anything you would like to add?
Without the help of imaginative, appreciative learners and teachers, textbooks are reduced to a jumble of words. There is no guarantee that a learner will interact with the subject content, moulding it into internalised knowledge. MaraMedia digital books provide the necessary resource to assist teachers in enlivening the content being taught.

Considering that the textbook is to the teacher what the hammer is to a carpenter or a knife to a chef, it is quite evident that the implementation of the latest possible technology as a fundamental classroom tool is essential.

The digital books allow for educators to ensure the maintenance of appropriate standards. Photo galleries, interactive mind-maps, high resolution colour images, embedded video footage, animations and sound clips take teaching and learning to a whole new level.
Content is enriched, augmented and enlivened by the integration of different media, bringing the world into the classroom.

Using a tablet device opens a legion of different teaching and learning opportunities. A scientific calculator, science lab, textbooks, workbooks and study notes for all subjects are all carried in a single device, smaller and lighter than a diary!

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Complete Protection for Mission-Critical Equipment. Tripp Lite Introduces New 3-Phase UPS Systems to African Market

Posted on 06 April 2013 by Africa Business

About Tripp Lite

Outstanding product reliability and exceptional service have been Tripp Lite trademarks for over 90 years. As the world’s leading manufacturer of power protection equipment, Tripp Lite’s innovati006Fns include the first UPS system designed specifically for personal computers and the world’s most trusted premium surge suppressor—the Isobar®—with more than 19 million in use. Tripp Lite maintains the highest level of ready-to-ship inventory in the industry with more than 2,500 different products, including UPS systems, surge suppressors, line conditioners, power inverters, cables, connectivity products and network management accessories. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Tripp Lite maintains a global presence with fully staffed offices worldwide. Tripp Lite’s vision is built on the bedrock of its values: unsurpassed reliability, enhanced service and the highest quality products available. Additional information, including a list of Tripp Lite sales offices and authorized reseller partners, can be found by calling Tripp Lite United Kingdom at (+44.01276.516838), by e-mailing ( or by visiting Tripp Lite’s website:



Chicago, IL  —Tripp Lite, a world-leading manufacturer of power protection equipment, has introduced a new line of high-capacity 3-phase UPS systems to the African market. The SU80KX2, SU100KX2 and SU120KX2 are designed to protect critical systems, eliminate downtime and lower costs in data centers and other high-density applications.


“The new line of UPS systems is an ideal solution for protection of mission-critical data center equipment,” said Paul Wampach, Tripp Lite Product Manager. “They are packed with features to ensure reliability and complete protection, like modular architecture, but also keep installation and operating costs lower than multiple smaller units or legacy systems.”


With advanced features like ideal power output, modular architecture and parallel capabilities, Tripp Lite’s new UPS systems  provide powerful, cost-effective protection for vital data center or server room equipment. Extreme efficiency and 1-to-1 generator sizing lower costs during installation and day-to-day operation, while scalable capacity and expandable battery runtime allow your UPS infrastructure to grow with your data center.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Up to 120kVA individual capacity, 480kVA in parallel
  • On-line, double-conversion operation delivers pure sine wave output and isolates equipment from power problems
  • Scalable, modular N+1 redundant architecture helps ensure 100% availability
  • Parallel capability (up to four units) allows expanded load capacity or provides fault redundancy
  • Up to 97% efficiency lowers power and cooling costs
  • High input power factor and IGBT rectifier with DSP control produce less than 4% THDi, enabling 1-to-1 generator sizing that eliminates over-sizing costs
  • Hot-swap internal power modules and expandable runtime with stand alone external battery packs
  • Built in DB9 communication port works with included PowerAlert software to provide remote monitoring and control




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ICANN President Announces Major Expansion in Africa

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Africa Business

Chehadé Calls for an Increase in African Registrars

About ICANN ( ICANN’s mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.



ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 12, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The President of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ( said he is moving ahead immediately with plans to have six new ICANN representatives on the African continent.

“ICANN used to say if you want to participate in Internet governance come to ICANN,” said Fadi Chehadé. “We’ve changed that, now ICANN is coming to the stakeholders. We’re not waiting for you to come. We’re coming to you.”

Chehadé made his comments during the Africa Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two-day meeting ended Friday after drawing Internet leaders from across the continent.

“We will have ICANN staff, at least one, in each of the 6 regions of Africa. North, South, East, West, Central and the Indian Ocean,” said Chehadé. “I want African on-ramps into the ICANN structures. I will give you the on-ramps, but you need to climb them.”

The ICANN leader also said he would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of accredited Domain Name Registrars on the African continent. Currently there are only five accredited Registrars in Africa among more than one thousand worldwide, but Chehadé said he wants to see that number increase five-fold in less than two years.

“This is about us moving the needle forward. Africa will not wait,” said Chehadé.

The two-day event in Addis Ababa was attended by some two hundred people, including Ministers and other government representatives, leaders from the African business community, civil society and from ICANN structures in Africa; AFTLD and AFRALO.

The multi-stakeholder IG event was co-organized by the African Union, ISOC-Africa, AFRINIC and the African IGF. It was preceded by a two-day workshop about the development of the DNS Industry in Africa.

During the event the implementation of an African Strategy for better engagement in Africa was discussed in detail. This strategy was prepared by representatives from the African community last summer and announced during the ICANN meeting in Toronto in October. Fadi Chehadé reiterated ICANN’s commitment to help implement the three-year strategy in coordination with our global and regional partners in Africa.

To hear an audio recording of Fadi’s Chehadé’s comments to the Africa Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Meeting, go here:

For more information please visit:


Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

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Software Piracy Costs Billions in Time, Money for Consumers and Businesses

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Africa Business

New Microsoft-commissioned study also highlights dangers for those that use counterfeit software.

REDMOND, Wash., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Although some computer users may actively seek pirated software in hopes of saving money, the chances of infection by unexpected malware are one in three for consumers and three in 10 for businesses, according to a new study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. and conducted by IDC. As a result of these infections, the research shows that consumers will spend 1.5 billion hours and US$22 billion identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of malware, while global enterprises will spend US$114 billion to deal with the impact of a malware-induced cyberattack.

The global study analyzed 270 websites and peer-to-peer networks, 108 software downloads, and 155 CDs or DVDs, and it interviewed 2,077 consumers and 258 IT managers or chief information officers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers found that of counterfeit software that does not come with the computer, 45 percent comes from the Internet, and 78 percent of this software downloaded from websites or peer-to-peer networks included some type of spyware, while 36 percent contained Trojans and adware.

“The cybercrime reality is that counterfeiters are tampering with the software code and lacing it with malware,” said David Finn , associate general counsel in the Microsoft Cybercrime Center. “Some of this malware records a person’s every keystroke — allowing cybercriminals to steal a victim’s personal and financial information — or remotely switches on an infected computer’s microphone and video camera, giving cybercriminals eyes and ears in boardrooms and living rooms. The best way to secure yourself and your property from these malware threats when you buy a computer is to demand genuine software.”

The IDC study, titled “The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software,” was released today as part of Microsoft’s “Play It Safe” campaign, a global initiative to bring awareness to issues related to software piracy.

“Our research is unequivocal: Inherent dangers lurk for consumers and businesses that take a chance on counterfeit software,” said John Gantz , chief researcher at IDC. “Some people choose counterfeit to save money, but this ‘ride-along’ malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users alike.”

The following are among the highlights from the consumer survey:

  • Sixty-four percent of the people respondents knew who had used counterfeit software experienced security issues.
  • Forty-five percent of the time, counterfeit software slowed their PCs, and the software had to be uninstalled.
  • Forty-eight percent of respondents noted that their greatest concern with using counterfeit software was data loss.
  • Twenty-nine percent were most concerned with identity theft.

Embedding counterfeit software with dangerous malware is a new method for criminals to prey on computer users who are unaware of the potential danger.

The IDC white paper also explored the surprising level of end-user software installations made on corporate computers, exposing another method for the introduction of unsecure software into the workplace ecosystem. Although 38 percent of IT managers acknowledge that it happens, 57 percent of workers admit they install personal software onto employer-owned computers. What is alarming is that respondents told IDC that only 30 percent of the software they installed on their work computers was problem-free. Sixty-five percent of IT managers agree that user-installed software increases an organization’s security risks. For many in the enterprise, user-installed software may be a blind spot in ensuring a secure network.

Customers are encouraged to visit to learn about malware and ensure their machines are not infected; if malware is present, the site offers tools to remove the infection. Customers shopping for new computers are encouraged to buy from a reputable source to ensure they are receiving genuine Microsoft software.

More information about the IDC study is available at the Microsoft Play It Safe website,, and newsroom,

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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SA: Education group, CTI, advances learning

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

CTI is the first to offer free tablet computers for study – the group says.

The groups also attests that this is the Digital learning revolution for CTI degree students.

CTI is one of South Africa’s leading private higher education institutions with students studying across 12 campuses, and awards degrees and diplomas to a growing market of full-time and part-time students in such subjects as business, information technology, law, psychology and counselling, graphic design and creative arts. The CTI group since 2006 has included partner Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI).

According to CTI, in a move that will revolutionize the way they study [students], CTI Education Group will become the first higher education institution in South Africa to offer its students tablet computers loaded with prescribed textbooks, at no extra cost.

Over two thousand students who will start their degree studies at CTI in January will receive the new ten-inch touch-screen Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, loaded with up to eight prescribed textbooks’ of course material, a note added.

The tablets will be supplied to first-year students commencing their Bachelor of Commerce and BSc in Computing Systems degrees at CTI’s twelve campuses across South Africa.

Darren Fox, chief executive of CTI Education Group, comments: “To succeed in their future careers, young South Africans will need to be IT-literate and fully fluent with the latest technology. We want to make our students’ learning experience as close as possible to the world of work they will be entering, and we’re very pleased to partner with Samsung, one of the world’s leading technology companies, to do that.”

A study conducted earlier this year by the Pearson Foundation of college students in the United States revealed that students believe tablets and other mobile devices will transform learning, with tablet ownership among college students having tripled in the last year.

The survey reveals that more students are reading digital books, and that a majority (63%) of college students believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks within the next five years.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the third most popular tablet among the students surveyed in the Pearson Foundation study.

Nearly all the students surveyed believed these devices are valuable for educational purposes, and around half of them say that they would be more likely to read textbooks on a tablet because of access to embedded interactive materials, access to social networks to share notes or ask questions, and access to instructors’ comments in the reading material.

CTI Education Group’s Fox added: “Our partnership with Samsung makes us the first higher education institution in South Africa to offer our students tablet computers loaded with all of their prescribed textbooks at no extra cost beyond their normal course fees.

“By putting cutting-edge technology into their hands while they study with us, we believe we can give our students the best possible education for the modern world and the industries in which they will work. CTI focuses on equipping our students with the skills and drive that they’ll need to find fulfilling careers and add value to the South African economy. That is why our graduates tend to find employment more quickly than most.”

Sibongile Malebane is studying for her Bachelor of Commerce at CTI’s Pretoria campus and took part in a pilot programme by CTI on tablet usage this year. She said: “The Samsung tablet has changed my view on electronic media. I used it in lectures and it has made it easier for me to have all my study guides in it.”

Allaster Le Goabe, studying the same course, said: “The tablet is fun to use. The applications available with the study guides make studying and making notes a whole lot easier.”

CTI students will access their textbooks through advanced e-text software, allowing them to read their textbooks on-screen. Course lecturers will be able to make notes and update texts throughout the academic year. These will automatically update to students’ tablet devices.

Students will be offered training in how to use their tablets, and will have access to additional loan tablets and e-learning support when they are on campus. Students will also be able to use their tablets to access Wi-Fi at all of CTI’s campuses, at no additional expense.

CTI has also secured insurance and warranties for all the tablets and will pay for this on behalf of the students.

CTI is part of Pearson, the world’s largest education company, a pioneer in the use of digital and mobile technologies to enhance learning.

Mark Cunnington, Managing Director for Higher Education at Pearson South Africa, said: “We are constantly seeking ways to use technology to give people access to a better education all over the world. Millions of students from the United States, Europe, Asia and now across Africa use Pearson’s digital learning tools to enhance their learning every day.
Thanks to this partnership, CTI students will now be part of the digital learning revolution which has the power to transform learning outcomes in South Africa.”

In 2010, CTI became a part of Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Pearson has over 100 years’ heritage in educational publishing and assessment, and works in more than seventy countries offering products and services that help people make progress in their lives through learning.
In South Africa, Pearson also publishes for schools and colleges under the Heinemann and Maskew Miller Longman imprints.

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Technology for Technicians: 2013 Trends

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Africa Business


By Dale Kyle, President, Handheld US

Dale Kyle is President of Handheld US. The Handheld Group is a worldwide supplier of rugged mobile computers, PDAs and smartphones. Mr. Kyle has more than 20 years of experience from rugged handheld devices and the field of GPS.


It is a great time to be a technician using technology. Work done in the field is getting easier, more efficient and more accurate as the tools we use get smaller, faster and more precise. And we can perform new functions in ways we might not have imagined five years ago. Asset tracking, inventory and cloud computing are three of the strongest application trends in 2013.


When it comes to technology, predicting very far into the future is a dicey proposition. But in the short term, it is possible to look into 2013 and see what is coming – and it is exciting stuff. Here is what I think will be some of the leading technological developments in the coming year.

The next level of applying technology

While there are holdouts in the working world still using pen and paper to work in the field, more and more organizations are already using mobile technology – and many of them are in their second or even third phase of deploying advanced levels. Initially they focused on the obvious gains technology provides – like field techs not having to do data-entry back in the office at the end of a shift – but now that they are comfortable with the tools and the technology, they are looking around for what else they can accomplish with it.


I think the biggest opportunity is the multi-functional capability of newer mobile devices. People started with simple handheld computers that let them jot notes or enter basic data; that is like learning to use a screwdriver. But now a single device offers an entire toolbox full of capability.


In 2013 users will explore what more they can do with that toolbox. Today you can easily find a handheld device that offers WiFi, GPS, barcode scanning, RFID and a really good camera. When people understand those functions and take some time thinking about how they can be used for their tasks, the horizon is going to get very wide.


Here are some examples that many leading companies have deployed and others will add soon:


  • Asset tracking – Techs take pictures of the condition of any asset, write up a maintenance or repair report and transmit the photos and report back to the main office instantly, using WiFi. Or a field tech can use RFID or a barcode scanner to identify the asset and then send an associated report.


  • Inventory – Real-time tracking is a huge advantage; when someone in the field consumes a part or other asset, a real-time report and inventory update can go back to the central office, which can react automatically by ordering a replacement.


  • GPS – Advanced GPS functionality can be used for exact location information of workers or equipment, or for efficiency improvements such as route optimization.


  • Wireless networks – Most devices are already solid in offering 3G-level wireless speed and access; when 4G modems come out, they will quickly be integrated into the mobile form factors. That will allow for faster transmission of bigger files in both directions. 4G is coming, and the leading products will have it.


Other developments to watch – Cloud computing (software as a service) lets users deploy new functions quickly and at a low initial cost, because there is no upfront expense of buying software. Machine-to-machine communication, where remote sensors on field assets can communicate with a field tech’s handheld device, will let a tech know what to expect in advance, offering all sorts of efficiency improvements. And for retail operations and other functions that involve payment processes, several mobile payment companies are making it easier to take credit card payments on the fly.


These are just a few of the advanced capabilities that are available now and will be adopted more in the year ahead.

Smartphones are the new computers


Another interesting development is that more people are doing their jobs with their cellphones. There is a generation of workers coming up that thinks nothing of running their lives on a little phone; their logic is, why not use it for their jobs, too? I see more and more demand for devices like small rugged handheld  devices or rugged smartphones. So besides seeing a move toward the larger tablet form, we may also see a surge at the opposite end – to devices even smaller than traditional handheld computers.


In the world of wireless, the capabilities that 4G networks make possible are going to change the way field techs work. The speed will let you do everything wireless faster, and the quantity of information you can send will be so much larger. Things that would have taken too long to send before – database files, schematic, maps, photos – now will not slow you down.

You can even extend this scenario to streaming video and other rich media – there is a wide variety of ways you can communicate to troubleshoot or solve a problem no matter how far it is between the problem and the answer.


The role of collaboration in workflow


Applications called enterprise-collaboration tools – essentially, social media within an organization – offer the ability to connect employees across all levels of an organization. These tools will be used much more widely in 2013. Field technicians could discuss problems with colleagues not only with words but also with photos, internet links, videos, chat functions etc.


In essence, these types of collaborative tools will capture the collective knowledge of every single person in your organization and make it available to everyone, virtually anytime. And their capabilities can extend beyond inter-organization communication. Smart outfits will find ways to use these applications to engage directly with customers – how do you think customers would react to real-time updates on appointment times?


Bringing it all together


One of the biggest challenges of all these new technological functions and capabilities will be to get all the pieces to work together effectively. What you will need is a combination of devices, networks, application and overall integration. The burden here will fall on your organization’s IT department to connect it all effectively.


From my point of view, the key here will be to choose your technology products wisely, keeping in mind this need to integrate everything effectively. With the complexity of today’s technology configurations, the cost of deployment and downtime is so high if something breaks down on you – that makes it all the more important that your upfront planning and product choices be forward-thinking. You want devices and applications that are rugged and reliable; buy good tough products the first time.


It is impossible to see too far into the future of technology. But I hope that I have been able to at least give you a glimpse of what to expect in 2013. Happy field work!



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Cost of hardware pales in comparison to cost of downtime: Purchase mobile computers wisely not to lose productivity

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Africa Business


by Jerker Hellström,

CEO, Handheld Group


Higher productivity, increased labor costs and a strong trends towards true mobility in the work place are all factors that have put the spotlight firmly on ‘total costs of ownership’ for computers and devices. Organizations will have to start spending more on durable and reliable mobile computers rather than looking for bargains, if they want to avoid losing valuable productive time.


20 years ago, a laptop could cost the equivalent of a month’s salary for the employee who was supposed to use it. Since then, prices of mobile computers have been slashed. Great news, isn’t it?! Let us just continue to buy the cheapest computers available. They are so cheap to replace!


Not so fast. Yes, mobile computers have become much more inexpensive, and much more advanced, in the last decade or two. But there has also been other major changes in the workplace.


One such is the trend towards true mobility. Smaller and better devices, better software solutions for mobile work, and increasing availability and affordability of wireless broadband have made people less confined to the traditional office environment. Traditional field workers and many white collar workers now spend much of their time out of the office and on the go. But consumer, or commercial, computers are simply too fragile to withstand mobile work even in moderately tough environments. They might last one year, or two at the most . Rugged computers, on the other hand, are more expensive but they are built for tough environments and can last five years or more. They also have much lower failure rates, simply because they are rugged.

Another strong development has been the steady rise in wages and productivity for e.g. professional field workers. A tablet or a smartphone now costs the equivalent of maybe only a few hours’ salary for an employee. In the old days it was important to get the best possible price for mobile devices. Today it is more important to not lose productivity. A field worker who sits idly for four hours because his or her computer is malfunctioning, has wasted the entire cost of the computer in lost productivity. Also, everything is connected these days – one broken computer can affect the work of many people.


It all boils down to the magic of total cost of ownership (TCO). The total cost of ownership includes all direct and indirect costs associated with the purchase of an asset over its entire lifecycle. A TCO analysis includes the total cost of acquisition and the subsequent operating costs. Acquisition costs are quite straightforward: they include the costs for computer hardware and programs, Installation and integration, and migration expenses.


Ofter overlooked are the subsequent operating expenses during the lifespan of the computers. They are usually much higher than the purchase costs and include downtime, outage and failure expenses, backup and recovery process, and replacement costs. Downtime is the most serious, and costly, of these expenses.


Independent research firm VDC  estimates that mobile workers lose an average of 75 minutes each time their mobile devices fail. In a study focused on rugged computers, VDC has performed TCO computations across four levels of computers, from non-rugged to fully rugged, across a number of common mobile applications. The total cost for each type of computer has been calculated over a five-year lifespan. The results show that using a commercial or non-rugged device will cost you about 65 per cent more per year than using a fully rugged device.

Generally speaking TCO studies show that over a 3-5 year period of use, the more rugged devices will carry a lower total cost of ownership, meaning that over that period they are actually cheaper than the less rugged devices, even though they are usually more expensive to purchase.


With the complexity of today’s technology configurations, the cost of deployment and downtime is high if something breaks down. The upfront cost of a piece of mobile technology pales in comparison to the potential cost of downtime and redeployment.  Organizations would be well advised to start increasing the costs for their mobile devices, in the name of productivity.

Jerker Hellström, CEO, Handheld Group


Jerker Hellström is a pioneer and industry veteran in the mobile rugged computer industry. In both entrepreneurial and managerial positions, he has 25 years of experience from developing, designing, manufacturing and marketing rugged computers globally.

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Development of B2C E-Commerce in Russia Varies by Region

Posted on 30 November 2012 by Africa Business

The “Russia B2C E-Commerce Report 2012” by Hamburg-based secondary market research company provides information on B2C E-Commerce in Russia. Aside from trends and revenue figures, the report also covers the share of B2C E-Commerce on total retail sales in Russia, as well as product categories, Internet users, online shoppers and leading B2C E-Commerce players in Russia.


Hamburg, Germany, November 30, 2012 –(– From 2011 to 2012, B2C E-Commerce in Russia grew by almost 30 percent and mobile Internet use still continues to increase more and more. However mobile shopping has not been very popular in 2012. In contrast, online group shopping continues to gather momentum in Russia.

High Growth Rate in Russian B2C E-Commerce until 2015
B2C E-Commerce continues to grow: by 2015, revenue is expected to be twice as high as in 2011. Between 2012 and 2015, the strongest growth factors for B2C E-Commerce in Russia are predicted to be an increasing number of Internet users and online shoppers, and a higher average income. In 2011, B2C E-Commerce accounted for less than two percent of total retail sales and only slightly more than one percent not taking services into account. The number of Internet users is expected to amount to nearly 60 million by 2012, 40 million of whom are projected to access the Internet daily. Working and learning were expected to be the main reasons for the Russian population to access the Internet in 2012, with more than ten percent of all Internet users using the Internet to submit orders. While in 2011, approximately one-fifth of the rural population shopped online, online shopper penetration in “Moscow and the surrounding Area” amounted to about 50 percent.

Consumers compare Prices and are worried that Products will not be delivered
In Russia, many online shops vie for shoppers’ attention. The market is so fragmented that in 2011, the top 30 online retailers accounted for only one third of all online sales. When searching for a suitable shop, Russians pay particular attention to the price, followed by the product range and the popularity of the shop. When submitting an order in 2012, Russians were mostly worried that their products would not be delivered as ordered and that a prepaid product would not be delivered at all.

Household Appliances are popular in Russian Online Shops
In 2011, leading online shops offered mostly apparel and accessories, as well as computers and electronics. The category with the highest revenues in 2011 was electronics and home appliances, followed by computers, notebooks and parts as well as shoes and clothing. Russians most frequently ordered household appliances, books and mobile phones. In 2011, half of all products that had been ordered online were delivered by courier services, with large online retailers developing their own solutions.

Online Supermarket is shifting all of its business to Online Sales
Online supermarket aims to shift all business activities to online sales starting in 2013, closing all of its supermarkets and pick-up stations. Comparing sales figures, in 2011, was the leading online shop in Russia, followed by and shipped almost 2.5 million orders in 2011. In 2010, this figure was only 2 million. Most customers ordered books and consumer electronics there. Svyaznoy has also been a successful seller of consumer electronics. 75 percent of products sold by the computer and consumer electronics giant were mobile devices. In 2011, generated online revenues of almost four million Rubles and became one of the largest online retailers through selling office supplies.

The “Russia B2C E-Commerce Report 2012” by shows that Russian B2C E-Commerce continues to develop further and is especially popular in the consumer electronics sector.

For more information, please visit:

Press Contact: GmbH & Co. KG
Behringstraße 28a, D-22765 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0)40 – 39 90 68 50
Fax: +49 (0)40 – 39 90 68 51


About has been committed to research up-to-date, objective and demand-based data on markets and competitors for top managers from various industries since 2005. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, the firm has a strong international focus and is specialized in secondary market research. In addition to offering reports on markets and competitors, also carries out client-specific research. Clients include leading global enterprises from various industries including B2C E-Commerce, electronic payment systems, mail order and direct marketing, logistics, as well as banking and consulting.

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Tripp Lite & MITSUMI IT Distribution Enter into a Strategic Distribution Agreement

Posted on 22 November 2012 by Africa Business

Tripp Lite & MITSUMI IT Distribution Enter into a Strategic Distribution Agreement

Partnership to leverage Tripp Lite’s leading UPS systems through MITSUMI’s widespread distribution throughout East and West Africa

Chicago, IL (November 22nd 2012 )– Tripp Lite, a world leading manufacturer of power protection, connectivity, and infrastructure equipment has entered into a strategic distribution agreement with MITSUMI Distribution, one of the Africa’s largest IT distributors. The move is part of Tripp Lite’s continuing efforts to position itself across the rapidly developing IT markets in East and West Africa while also establishing itself as a leading brand offering  a large selection of  UPS systems. Under the terms of the partnership, MITSUMI Distribution will distribute a wide range of Tripp Lite products, with a focus on single phase UPS systems (up to 20KVA) for small to medium businesses.

Tripp Lite products and solutions promote significant savings from operational costs, seamless connectivity and a marked increase in productivity and efficiencies. The partnership will now allow MITSUMI Distribution to leverage Tripp Lite solutions along with other leading brands such as HP, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, Western Digital, Lenovo, Samsung, Microsoft and Benq.

“Our new strategic partnership with  MITSUMI Distribution ably positions Tripp Lite as a key provider of UPS systems” said Vipin Sharma, Vice President Middle East, Africa and CIS Sales, Tripp Lite. “MITSUMI Distribution’s relationship with more than 1000+ resellers across East and West Africa is the perfect vehicle for providing all sizes of businesses with top of the line Tripp Lite solutions that can help them achieve their growth goals.”

On the desktop, in the data center, or wherever power and information flow, products and services that solve customers’ problems and meet their highest expectations are the hallmarks of a Tripp Lite solution.The company boasts a portfolio of over 2,500 products that allows its customers to organize, connect, control and protect IT and electronic equipment that are essential to their day-to-day operations. According to Tripp Lite senior executives, the decision to name MITSUMI Distribution as its distributor was based on the company’s excellent reputation in the IT market.

Mr. Mitesh Shah (Managing Director)

Mitesh Shah, Managing Director, MITSUMI Distribution said “We are looking to onboard the entire VAD portfolio by close of this year and Tripplite is a strategic partnership that will aid us in our mission of bringing appropriate and cost effective solutions to Africa.”


About Tripp Lite

Outstanding product reliability and exceptional service have been Tripp Lite trademarks for 90 years. As the world’s leading manufacturer of power protection equipment, Tripp Lite’s innovations include the first UPS system designed specifically for personal computers and the world’s most trusted premium surge suppressor—the Isobar®—with more than 16 million in use. Tripp Lite maintains the highest level of ready-to-ship inventory in the industry with more than 2,500 different products, including UPS systems, surge suppressors, line conditioners, power inverters, cables, connectivity products and network management accessories. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Tripp Lite maintains a global presence with fully staffed offices worldwide. Tripp Lite’s vision is built on the bedrock of its values: unsurpassed reliability, enhanced service and the highest quality products available. Additional information, including a list of Tripp Lite sales offices and authorized reseller partners, can be found by by visiting Tripp Lite’s website:

About MITSUMI IT Distribution:

MITSUMI Computer Garage Ltd. was formed in Nairobi, Kenya in the year 1996 with the aim of introducing appropriate and affordable technologies to Africa and now 16 years on, we are a Pan Africa Distributor.

We are authorized distributors for leading global IT hardware & software brands. Our growing brand portfolio includes HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, Samsung, Western Digital, Tripplite, BenQ and Microsoft.

As one of the Africa’s largest IT distributors, MITSUMI is the conduit through which the power of technology flows to 19 Countries in Africa.

MITSUMI is a leading and fast growing technology distributor in Africa because of its Pan Africa distribution strategy/vision, aggressive expansion, regional geographical coverage and extensive customer base. MITSUMI has its head office in Kenya and presence in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Mauritius and Madagascar including strategic mother hub in Jebel Ali (U.A.E).

MITSUMI has 15 warehouses and 8 service centers in Africa. These capabilities help us reduce turnaround time in distributing products to the African markets. MITSUMI’s credit facilities to partners also consolidated its leadership advantage in Africa.

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