Tag Archives: IBM

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

IBM is building an app to help a Kenyan city clear up garbage

The IBM Research Africa project could be launched in a year, as the city steps up garbage collection programme that costs an estimated Sh1 billion per month.

IBM researchers will collect data on the five million residents in Nairobi County, map garbage collection routes and connect them to a mobile application monitored from a main office server.

“This signifies how IBM as an American company is investing big in Africa with a focus on enterprise and job creation. The sectors we are assisting in the county are transport, technology and agriculture,” said IBM Research Africa Vice-President Dr Kamal Bhattacharya.

“When you drive around in the garbage collecting lorry with a mobile phone that has our application, it will automatically monitor and tell traffic and driver behaviour. Through the system, we detect speed bumps and potholes. We also check fuel usage,” said IBM researcher Aisha Walcott Bryant while demonstrating how the app works at the firm’s lab in the Catholic University of Eastern Africa last week.

The data collected by the laboratory could then be used by Nairobi County government to plan an efficient garbage collection schedule.

“We partnered with Nairobi County on (developing) the system. Currently we are monitoring 10 of the garbage collection vehicles with our smart devices. On the first attempt, we were able to tell when all the vehicles were in the garage,” said Ms Bryant.

Congested city

She said the system checks the dump sites in the county to see if they are full and/or not treated. It also captures how long a vehicle takes in traffic and the time the vehicles take to collect garbage.

Before embarking on the project, IBM conducted a research that revealed Nairobi as one of the most congested cities in the world. This is partly the reason why garbage collection has been a headache to the county.

Despite several initiatives, the county government has been unable to effectively deal with mounting garbage.

The population of the 32,000-square-kilometre city has grown from 325,000 fifty years ago to 3.1 million as per the 2009 census. The county government data shows that over five million people live in Nairobi currently.

Nairobi County Executive Committee Member for Environment Evans Ondieki, who is playing a key role in the roll-out of the new garbage collection plan, says the initiative will give the city a new, gleaming face.

“Our plan is to attract foreign direct investments through a clean, well organised city that knows how to manage solid waste and has proper planning,” said Mr Ondieki.

An attempt to organise the city’s garbage collection in 2010 through a Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) funding failed.

Legal framework

Jica, through the county survey, cited insufficient funds for the city’s failure to implement the clean-up plan. The agency also stressed the need for a legal framework for the public-private partnership investments.

Jica outlined what must be done to make Nairobi “as neat and functional as other global capitals”.

Source: Daily Nation

Meet ‘Cheetah’ the Fastest Supercomputer in Africa

With more speed and capacity for academic and private-sector research, the new Dell-built Lengau system offers one petaflop of power.

Dell says the supercomputer unveiled this week in South Africa is the fastest machine on the entire continent.

The 40,000-core one petaflop Lengau system, Setswana for ‘cheetah‘, at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Cape Town, is designed to open up new research avenues and stimulate private-sector projects.

The CSIR’s Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) previous system, Tsessebe or ‘antelope‘, initially had a peak performance of 24.9 teraflops/s and ranked 311 in the world’s top 500 list.

“When we started in 2007, we took inspiration from the fastest animals in the land and named our first high-performance computing system iQudu, Xhosa for kudu, which boasted 2.5 teraflops, which is 2.5 trillion operations per second,” CHPC director Dr Happy Sithole said in a statement.

“In 2009 there was increased demand for computational resources, and a new high-performance computing system, dubbed the Tsessebe, was launched. The system was later upgraded to 64.44 teraflops.”

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Despite being more powerful, Lengau takes up less space than its predecessor. The new 19-rack system has a total of 1,039 Dell PowerEdge Intel Xeon-based servers, mostly made up from PowerEdge C6320s with 24 R630s and five R930s.

With a total storage capacity of 5PB, Lengau uses 16 Dell PowerVault MD3460s, Dell Ethernet switches, Mellanox EDR InfiniBand with a maximum interconnect speed of 56GB/s, and Bright Cluster Management software.

According to Dell, the C6320 servers provide the CPU-based compute power for production HPC workloads, which range from computational fluid dynamics to genetics research. The PowerEdge R930s are used for memory-intensive workloads while the PowerVaults provide parallel storage, which in turn is supported by the R630s.

Jim Ganthier, VP of Dell engineered solutions, HPC, and cloud, said as well as driving new research, the new supercomputer will help the country’s economy.

“The most important benefit is that Lengau will enable new opportunities and avenues in research, the ability to help spur private-sector growth in South Africa,” he said.

To enable a phased rollout, Dell says it built the 14 compute racks before sending them to South Africa.

Source: ZDNet