South African Startup looking to disrupt workplace collaboration market in Africa

Connect-2-Me (C2Me) is a South African start-up founded in 2016 by Gary Swale, Ray Hayes, Eugene Theron and Lloyd Thompson – who were the previous owners of Knowledge Dimension, a company now own by IBM.

According to Gary Swale, the startup is a cloud-based business collaboration platform setup to removes barriers in work-space so that members of the workforce are engaged, empowered and in the process helping to transform the business.

“It creates an ecosystem that enables organisations to deliver meaningful and compelling value to people in and outside the organisation, through addressing gaps in communication, supporting responsiveness and driving innovation,”

“Many businesses continue to operate in silos, which compounds existing barriers to communication. Add to this, the disconnect in organisations between employees who are ‘online’ and those who aren’t, and an even larger rift in communication, productivity and efficiency is caused.”

Read: What is Cloud Computing?

“We are at a stage where we have proven the concept, both in terms of technology and customer acceptance, and would be open to holding discussions with parties who could assist with developing and growing the business from both a funding perspective as well as being able to open doors in terms of access to markets and customers,” says Gary.

Gary believes this could be an opportunity to create another South African success story.

The C2Me was developed in, and hosted in, IBM Bluemix, a cloud platform for developers to build and run modern apps and services. Hamilton Ratshefola, country GM for IBM SA, says Bluemix enables developers to launch quickly, iterate continuously and scale with success. he added that C2Me is a business partner to IBM and has a viable business model.

“However, before we brought them onto our Enterprise Development Programme, they did not have adequately skilled staff to enable them to scale up their business and elicit big deals,” Ratshefola points out.

Garry adds “We have successfully integrated selected IBM Watson services into the C2Me platform. So this is a South African world-class solution using state-of-the-art technologies.”

Watson is IBM’s artificially intelligent computer system is capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Watson wowed Tv viewers by beating the two best human contestants of a game in the Jeopardy show.

Read: Watson’s Sister Lucy is Growing Up With the Help of IBM’s Research Team

Source: ITWeb

Facebook Reaches 16 Million Users in South Africa

Facebook has passed 16 million users in South Africa, according to regional director for Facebook Africa, Nunu Ntshingila.

Speaking to the SABC, Ntshingila said that the Facebook Africa branch was currently focused on a number of areas including new policies and products, as well as “looking after” a number of businesses in South Africa that make use of the platform “At the end of the day, this office is the centre of innovation,” she said.

“We always have our clients, businesses, and community owners here just to sit down with them and make sure that we are responding to some important issues – and we are learning from them.”

The 16 million represents a major increase – over 4 million more users since the 12 million recorded in September 2016 according to a  WorldWideWorx report.

The report highlighted that while Facebook’s numbers continued to grow, the platform was also seeing increasing engagement. Over the course of 2016, the average number of likes per post grew from 80 to 108.

The average number of comments per post increased from 10 to 12, and, on average, posts are also shared more – growing from 6 to 11 shares per post.

Originally published in BusinessTech

Archives Reveal Why Africa Should not Depend on Monsanto for GMOs

New innovations in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry must pass through trials to find out the effectiveness and side effects. The innovation is given a Go, if the benefits way outweighs the side effects, if not it is taken back to the lab for more research.

While Food biotechnology may be the solution to food insecurity in Africa through GMOs, Africa must research, develop, produce the GMOs themselves. African nations must understand the innovation enough to be able to decide whether it should be adopted or modified to benefit  their citizens.

Read: Biotechnology – Solving Nigeria’s Food Insecurity Challenges

The health and well-being of Africans cannot be left in the hands of profit-at-all-cost multinationals who may want to use Africans as guinea pigs for new innovations. As much as trials are a big part of research and development (R&D), African countries must carry it out themselves for themselves.

Read: Genome Editing – An Opportunity for Crop Improvement in Africa

It is time for African countries to build their own biotech industry, not only because the future will depend on it, but mainly because multinationals like  Monsanto cannot be trusted as  investigation has shown that the food biotech company based in the United State has endangered people’s health just for profit. The Guardian reported that Monsanto sold banned chemicals for years despite known health risks, archives reveal.

Read: Africa Must Produce its Own Technology

It was reported that Monsanto continued to produce and sell toxic industrial chemicals known as PCBs for eight years after learning that they posed hazards to public health and the environment, according to legal analysis of documents put online in a vast searchable archive.

According to The Guardian, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are long-lived pollutants that were mass-produced by Monsanto between 1935 and 1977 for use as coolants and lubricators in electrical equipment such as transformers and capacitors.

By 1979, they had been completely banned in the US and elsewhere, after a weight of evidence linking them to health ailments that ranged from chloracne and Yusho (rice oil disease) to cancer, and to environmental harm.

Yet a decade earlier, one Monsanto pollution abatement plan in the archive from October 1969, singled out by Sherman, suggests that Monsanto was even then aware of the risks posed by PCB use.

More than 20,000 internal memos, minuted meetings, letters and other documents have been published in the new archive revealed, many for the first time.

Read: Is Genetically Engineered Food Good For You

Most were obtained from legal discovery and access to documents requests digitized by the Poison Papers Project, which was launched by the Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy. Chiron Return contributed some documents to the library.

Bill Sherman, the assistant attorney general for the US state of Washington – which is suing Monsanto for PCB clean-up costs potentially worth billions of dollars – said the archive contained damning evidence the state had previously been unaware of.

He told the Guardian: “If authentic, these records confirm that Monsanto knew that their PCBs were harmful and pervasive in the environment, and kept selling them in spite of that fact. They knew the dangers, but hid them from the public in order to profit.”

He told the Guardian: “More than 40 years ago, the former Monsanto voluntarily stopped production and sale of PCBs prior to any federal requirement to do so. At the time Monsanto manufactured PCBs, they were a legal and approved product used in many useful applications. Monsanto has no liability for pollution caused by those who used or discharged PCBs into the environment.”

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