Tag Archives: south Africa

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

Google Has launched Street View, Launchpad Space and YouTube Go in Nigeria

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, first visit to Nigeria, was to attend a #GoogleForNigeria event in Lagos yesterday (July 27) as the company launched a range of new products, including YouTube Go, an “offline first” version of the video sharing platform for users with slow internet connections.

YouTube Go will allow users preview and download videos, rather than stream, and essentially save on data costs. Nigerian video content, led by the burgeoning Nollywood film industry and ‘Afrobeats’ pop stars, is extremely popular, but with slow and expensive internet access, some Nigerians limit their online viewing to the workplace where connections might be better according to executives at online video companies like IrokoTV.

It’s certainly not lacking in potential. Even though Nigeria’s internet subscriber base has shrunk over the past year due to a regulatory clampdown on unregistered sim cards, the country still has over 91 million mobile internet users, according to regulators. However, that vast user base is largely undermined by unreliable connections across the country. Nigeria has some of the slowest internet speeds of the major economies in Africa.

Google is betting on its new data-friendly version of YouTube to help local users navigate that problem. Nigeria will become the second country where the app been launched after a beta launch later this year. YouTube Go was first launched in India in April. For the last few years there has been plenty of hype about the possible impact of internet access throughout Africa, particularly as mobile phone usage, and then smartphone use, grew rapidly. But it is only in the last two years that the world’s biggest tech leaders have visited to see the potential for themselves.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella launched Windows 10 in Nairobi in July 2015, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had high profile visits to Lagos and Nairobi last year. Last week, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma touched down in Nairobi and Kigali. Local startup founders and investors will hope these high profile visits will help drive interest in their tech ecosystems beyond being seen as experimental or just for social impact enterprises.

Read: Alibaba, PayPal, Google, Facebook Battling to Dominate African Tech Industry

Google is also deepening its product offering in Nigeria including improving its Maps service which has seen Nigerian user numbers double in the past year. As an added feature for Maps, Google announced the launch of its Street View product in Lagos which allows users to virtually view “10,000 kilometers of imagery” across the city.

Pichai said his company is also trying to plug the crucial funding and skills gap on the continent. Google has committed $20 million in grants to “high impact non-profits” in Africa over the next few years. Google will also provide $3 million in equity-free funding to African entrepreneurs and open its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos this year. In addition, Pichai said, Google will train over 100,000 software developers across the continent, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The training sessions will also be offered in local languages including Swahili, Hausa and Zulu and 40% of trainees will be women.