MTN, Eseye and AnyNet Federation partner to deliver globally connected IoT cloud solution

Eseye, a global provider of IoT services has announced a partnership with MTN, the leading Africa Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to deliver globally connected IoT cloud solution.

MTN have joined forces with Eseye and the AnyNet Federation, a new association of MNOs established specifically to meet the complex management and enhanced resilience requirements of the rapidly expanding global M2M IoT customer base.

The AnyNet Federation will initially focus on delivering significant global growth of cellular services onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. It aims to make the complex global landscape for IoT easier for AWS customers, by delivering a single cellular M2M solution that can be deployed seamlessly across major world markets.

‘This is a ground-breaking global collaboration. The AnyNet Secure is already the most feature rich and integrated connectivity solution for AWS, and the AnyNet Federation as a key way of delivering simplified connectivity on a global scale, whilst allowing customers buy and manage their connectivity from within AWS”  Nick Earle Eseye Chairman and CEO said:

“MTN is delighted to bring their networks across 12 markets to the support the objectives of the AnyNet Federation. We believe that through collaboration we can speed up the deployment of our customers’ global IoT and enhance their global business opportunities’’ MTN Group Enterprise Executive Oliver Fortuin added.

Using Eseye’s next generation, fully eUICC compliant AnyNet Secure for AWS SIM card, AnyNet Federation member customers will experience “out of the box” connectivity that integrates onto AWS IoT Core and is globally scalable. Cellular traffic destined for AWS is passed between different

AnyNet Federation partners based on the geographic location of IoT devices that are automatically provisioned and certified over-the-air. Regardless of which AnyNet Federation partner is delivering the data, the customer is billed through their account by AWS, and the MNO is paid for the services it delivers.

The launch of the AnyNet Federation and its initial AWS market focus comes as Gartner forecast the Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to total $206.2B, up from $175.8B in 2018; and Statista state that 80% of enterprises are both running apps on or experimenting with AWS as their preferred cloud platform.

www.Eseye.com

www.MTN.com

www.AnyNetFederation.com

[Column] Mariam Abdullahi: Building the Intelligent Telco Enterprise -growth opportunities for African telecoms operators

While the telco industry may have seen its traditional revenue streams decline further in 2018, thanks in part to the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp that offer low-cost alternatives to messaging and voice calling, the industry is still set for growth. According to the Africa Digital Outlook 2019 report by Ovum, mobile revenue in Africa is set to grow from $54.9-billion in 2017to $68-billion in 2022. While voice revenues are predictably declining as cheaper OTT services continue to gain popularity among cost-conscious consumers, mobile broadband and digital services revenue are set to more than double over the same period (from $13.1-billion in 2017 to $32.1-billion in 2022).

The pressures on traditional revenue streams has initiated an industry-wide goldrush for new innovations that can leverage the extensive infrastructure and data sets most telcos have access to. Modern consumers are demanding greater convenience and improved experiences from the brands and companies they support at a time when those same consumers are permitting brands to become more intimate with them through increasingly sophisticated omni-channel marketing initiatives. 

However, without a well thought-out and future-focused digital strategy in place, Telcos will struggle to adapt to their changing consumer and business landscape. In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that, unless Telcos can move fast to drive operational efficiencies, modernise and update their business models, we may very well see some of those slower on the uptake exit the market soon.

For African Telcos that have the correct digital tools and strategies in place, there are immense growth opportunities. In 2019 we will see more focus in four key areas, namely Digital Experience Management, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Analytics, and Cloud.

Digital Experience Management 

Customer experience will play a leading role in shaping the 21st century Experience Economy. Walker research even found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiators by 2020. 

To meet the modern customer’s expectations regarding customer experience, Telcos should integrate the back-office with the front office and deploy the technology tools that will enable them to marry experiential data with operational data. In 2019, Telcos need to ensure they have a holistic view of their customers across the marketing, sales and service departments, and develop a deeper understanding of individual and B2B customers, their needs and expectations. 

Measuring end-to-end experiential data is an emerging discipline, with new innovative tools giving organisations unprecedented access to measurable experiential data. Qualtrics, which was acquired by SAP in 2018, is an experience management platform that enables the integration of operational and experiential data to give organisations real-time feedback from customers on key activities. Callidus Cloud’s DataHug, a forecasting and pipeline management solution that provides data insights into the likelihood of success in a sales cycle, also tracks the engagement levels of prospects to give sales teams actionable intelligence about how and where they can optimise sales activities.

Artificial Intelligence

The world witnessed an acceleration in artificial intelligence capabilities in 2018 as the much-hyped technology finally entered the mainstream. With AI now widely available and its maturity levels making it suitable for a range of industries, organisations are now faced with the task of determining where AI can add the most value, how to deploy and integrate it, and how to build toward a long-term horizon. To truly harness the power of AI, organisations need to set goals and objectives as well as continuously measuring effectiveness rigorously. 

In the telco industry, AI is useful in areas such as network optimisation (using AI to analyse the network status and implement predictive maintenance when needed); customer service (AI-enabled chatbots such as those on the SAP Conversational AI platform easing operational pressures by assisting customers with a range of well-defined interactions); and customer experience (an exciting and emerging application of AI, which can assist with integrating front-office and back-office records, pulling in external data sets, and developing offers – such as device or contract upgrades – tailored specifically to an individual customer’s preferences). 

AI can also point the way to new, non-traditional revenue streams. Kenya’s Safaricom has started setting itself up as a platform for a range of consumer and business services, for example by launching a new ride-hailing service called Little Cab that offers free Wi-Fi for passengers and offering M-Pesa users to access credit lines via Fuliza, an overdraft facility in partnership with banks which reported a borrowing of 6.2B Kenyan Shillings in just one month. By leveraging customer data and behaviour, the telco can introduce a broad range of non-traditional telco services that add value and convenience to the customer experience.

Big Data and Analytics

Mobile handsets are arguably the greatest sources of individual customer data available today. And Telcos are at the forefront of Big Data custodianship as subscribers use an array of data-generating apps and services all linked to their mobile phone. These present huge opportunities to Telcos who can quickly analyse vast amounts of individual customer data, build complex and multidimensional customer profiles, and develop individualised customer offers and experiences to deepen brand affinity and increase share of wallet. 

The Vodafone Group is a great example of a telco taking advantage of its Big Data opportunities following a recent partnership with SAP to co-innovate in a Big Data Margin Assurance project. By using value proposition, customer usage data and analytics, Vodafone operating companies are now able to identify margin leakages on products and services and optimise margin instead of following the older ‘Average Revenue Per User’ metric. 

However, it is worth noting the importance of trust. If Telcos are to take advantage of their Big Data opportunities, they must give customers assurance that they fully appreciate the responsibility of being custodian to customers’ most personal habits and preferences and take the necessary measures to protect and manage their data.

Cloud Computing

Cloud market giants had phenomenal 2018s, with Amazon cloud revenue up 49% in Q2 2018, slightly lagging market-leader Microsoft. This year looks no less exciting: Gartner predicts the global public cloud services market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to reach $206.2 billion. Organisations are accessing more SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and other as-a-service offerings than ever before as they shift away from capital expenditure and reorder their IT spend as operational expenditure to enjoy cloud’s cost containment and convenience benefits. 

One of the key challenges of cloud adoption in Africa is related to the matter of data residency vs data sovereignty; in other words, who owns that data, and where is it allowed to be stored? This has made it critical that cloud services providers have in-depth in-country experience of the data sovereignty and residency laws of various African countries and regions. 

Telcos have a mandate to provide near-100% uptime, have extensive infrastructure and understanding of the various regulatory aspects that could impact cloud services. There is immense potential for Telcos to become private-managed cloud providers for data that is bound by data residency and sovereignty laws and enable Africa’s high-growth businesses to more easily scale to new markets or geographies without transgressing any local laws.


Mariam Abdullahi is the telco industry Lead at SAP Africa


[Column] Christian Mahnke: Migration is no longer about adopting a cloud-first approach

The cloud first approach made popular in 2018 is no longer hailed as the answer to cloud domination. Instead, migration in 2019 will be more carefully considered and measured.

The cloud first approach made popular in 2018 is no longer hailed as the answer to cloud domination. Instead, migration in 2019 will be more carefully considered and measured.

 A forced approach towards cloud is not ideal. While insight into cloud has improved and uptake is on the rise, lessons have already been learnt and the approach for 2019 is to only migrate what is suited to the public cloud. A hybrid approach will also continue to drive cloud adoption throughout 2019. 

The benefit of legacy application migration is to not only increase agility, but more importantly, it must provide both business and operational efficiency. If migration doesn’t make financial sense, then it shouldn’t happen. Furthermore, migration should ensure the infrastructure is reliable and has greater scalability, resulting in an improvement in overall agility as well. 

While many enterprises are realising these benefits as opposed to a cloud-first gamble, the question still remains in terms of legacy applications and what to do? Is moving them more beneficial than them staying on premise? 

While new applications, or those developed with the cloud in mind, can benefit from cloud technology and will perform better in a cloud environment, the same cannot be said for legacy applications. 

There are four main factors affecting the success of legacy application migrations:

Lift and shift approach: in some cases, legacy applications may just “lift and shift” into the cloud without much effort. Even if the legacy application performs no better in the cloud, a cloud hosted legacy application might fit well into the organisation’s cloud strategy, which wants to host all their applications – old and new – in the cloud.                                                                                               

Refactoring: this involves a more advanced process of re-architecting, and recoding, certain parts of an existing application to take advantage of cloud native functionality. In this way, organisations can take full advantage of cloud-native features to maximise operational costs in the cloud. This is probably the most time-consuming and resource intensive option but ensures the lowest monthly spend of all migration options.

Break-up and re-assemble: in some cases, the migration of monolithic legacy applications into much smaller micro services could be seen as a challenge on its own. Applications might have to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks and then re-assembled for cloud use, a process which is obviously fraught with all sorts of integration/migration/assembly challenges, but what other option is there when faced with migrating a large legacy application.

Leave it alone: this is not a migration strategy, but rather “best to leave it alone option”. Not all legacy applications should be migrated into the cloud or stuck into containers or micro services. We should remember that some legacy applications are more than 10 to 20 years old, they were developed in a pre-cloud era, they were developed using COBOL and FORTRAN, and they were not developed to benefit from cloud native frameworks or functionality. Many were huge applications, developed over years and enhanced many times over, some losing its sophisticated coding standards and slipping into the world of spaghetti code, deeply entwined with their databases or operating system, with many external interfaces, or licensing restrictions, that they cannot be moved anywhere, never mind into the cloud. 

Some organisations assume that moving applications into the cloud will automatically increase performance but have then been disappointed when this did not happen. Latency issues can occur when applications and data are split, or hosted in separate environments, and response times can be affected because some applications require excessively high I/Os which may not be available in the cloud. Some legacy applications simply won’t function better in the cloud. 

Migrating legacy applications into the cloud is no easy task. There are many options and partnering with the right company to ensure your approach is a success is vital.

Christian Mahncke is Business Development Manager at Routed, Cape Town, South Africa.

Utimaco and Astel sign distribution partnership for HSMs in the Africa region

Astel, a leading provider for IT infrastructure and office automation solutions on the African continent, and Utimaco, the global number two in Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), have announced a distribution partnership for the Africa region.

HSMs by Utimaco provide the ‘Root of Trust’ to a wide range of industries, encompassing financial and payment services, the automotive industry as well as cloud and IT services in the public sector.

Over the last 35 years, Germany-based Utimaco has built its market leading position through highest quality products and support, a comprehensive partner network and a steady focus on compliance.

This is reflected in numerous certifications, including the recently achieved Common Criteria (CC) EAL4+ certification for its CryptoServer CP5 HSM, FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and Physical Security Level 4.

Yuvraj Jobanputra, CEO of Astel, said: “For African organizations, digital information and electronic transactions play an increasingly significant role in their daily business operations. This development goes hand in hand with strict data security regulations looking to minimize the risk of cyberattacks. Utimaco’s flexible and cost effective HSMs provide our customers with both the needed hardware security and extensive regulatory compliance. With this new partnership, we further strengthen our position as a leading distributor for IT infrastructure and office automation solutions on the African continent.”

Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Utimaco adds: “This partnership marks an important step into the region for Utimaco, bringing us another step closer to our local customers in order to be able to cater for their needs in an even more efficient manner. It is a great match and complementary for both organizations. Astel’s reach across Africa allows us to further expand our global footprint, arming customers in the area with leading state-of-the-art hardware security to better protect themselves. We look forward to the unique opportunities this cooperation will bring.”

www.astel-africa.com

www.utimaco.com

NetFoundry and BalanceOn Partner to bring connectivity and cloud solutions to Africa and The Middle East

Their focus on providing game-changing, smart connectivity solutions that is instant, simple, secure, cost-sensitive, and performant for their customers to become cloud-native and digital.

NetFoundry, the leader of Application-Specific Networking, has announced a new partnership with BalanceOn the specialized Managed Services Provider (MSP) to bring networking and cloud solutions in support of businesses in Africa and the Middle East.

Their focus on providing game-changing, smart connectivity solutions that is instant, simple, secure, cost-sensitive, and performant for their customers to become cloud-native and digital.

BalanceOn says that it has found that many customers face business challenges due to connectivity and connecting distributed apps synonymous with digital transformation – e.g. multi, hybrid and cloud-native apps, internet-distributed apps (IoT) and B2B or connected supply chain. The problem is that while legacy networking is fine for legacy use cases, it was not built to effectively deliver these “agile” applications across “hybrid” topologies. Legacy WAN and internet for distributed apps blocks innovation and the business benefits from a variety of issues including long timelines to implement, proprietory hardware, complex and error-prone architectures, compromised performance, increased ‘attack surfaces’ and risk, incompatible with DevOps and “infrastructure as code” as well as potentially higher than expected costs.

BalanceOn says it is committed to answer their customers’ business needs via their partnership with NetFoundry. The combination of BalanceOn and NetFoundry pairs a leader in the design and delivery of connectivity and managed services with the leader in app-specific, connectivity-as-code. This enables BalanceOn’s existing and future customers to benefit from being able to instantly spin up software-only overlay connectivity on existing Internet access which is cloud-nativehighly secure, and meets enterprise performance requirements by optimising traffic through the NetFoundry fabric which comes via 3 offerings; AnyCloudOn, AnyIoTOn, & AnyBusinessOn.

“BalanceOn immediately saw that changing application paradigm was a great opportunity to develop smart-connectivity services, using NetFoundry, which are compatible to the cloud journeys their customers are taking while enabling these businesses to be highly secure and deliver the enterprise performance their apps require – which can be a challenge in the territories that they operate. Together we are bringing a leap in connectivity, security and technology across the Middle East and Africa” Michael Kochanik, Global Head of Revenue and Alliances at NetFoundry.

“We believe NetFoundry is a game-changing when it comes to how secure network connectivity is built, managed and operated; it is the only technology that can enable the customer to immediately and programmatically put together a complex network which delviers to their business use case across any device, cloud, site or end user across the globe. We are committed to bringing value to our region by bringing this technology to fundamentally change their business for the better” Hani Iskandarani, Managing Director for BalanceOn.

www.netfoundry.io

www.balanceon.com

[South Africa] MTN selects Oracle Cloud Applications to drive digital transformation

MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations.

South Africa based mobile telecommunications major; MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations. The implementation will help MTN drive efficiency, scale operations and integration across its local and regional operations.

“MTN and Oracle partnered in 2018 to complete the design of the Oracle Cloud Applications. 2019 focuses on finalising the build and deploying across our markets,”  said Belinda O’ Neil, Executive Boost, MTN.

The Oracle suite of cloud applications will also help MTN improve working capital through efficiencies in inventory management and reduce obsolescence. The implementation will drive further productivity through automation, self-service, IoT and mobile application capabilities; besides also enhancing management visibility across all business operations for real time performance measurement.

“With clear signs of economic recovery across key African markets, MTN’s decision to undertake large scale digital transformation will be instrumental in achieving strategic business objectives,” said Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle. “We are confident that the deployment of the Oracle Cloud enabled digital core will help MTN deliver value for all stakeholders and create differentiation needed to achieve market leadership.”

Under this initiative, MTN will implement Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); Supply Chain Management (SCM); Enterprise Performance Management (EPM); Customer Experience (CX); Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Oracle Service Cloud solutions. 

www.mtn.com

www.oracle.com 

[Uganda] Raxio signs Hamilton Cloud Services as first customer

Hamilton Cloud Services (HCS), Uganda’s first local cloud service provider and a subsidiary of Hamilton Telecom, has finalized an agreement to colocate their servers in Raxio Data Centre’s state-of-the-art, always-on data centre at the Kampala Industrial and Business Park, Namanve.

 Raxio announced its plans to construct Uganda’s first tier 3, carrier-neutral and cloud-neutral data centre in July 2018. Since the announcement, Raxio has completed feasibility studies, land acquisition and design works and is now in the process of finalizing earthworks, contractor procurements and the relevant regulatory approvals.

With the announcement HCS becomes Raxio’s first officially signed customer for service when Raxio opens its doors in October 2019.

Construction is set to start later this quarter. Raxio’s General Manager James Byaruhanga and Paul Nalikka, Director, Hamilton Telecom, flanked by Ahura Vianne Allan the CFO, signed for their respective organisations, at Raxio’s offices at Rwenzori Towers, Nakasero, Kampala.

“Today is an exciting day for Raxio. Not only are we proud to announce Hamilton as our first officially signed customer- but Hamilton is also a uniquely strategic kind of partner that will give other Raxio customers and opportunity to enjoy a seamlessly integrated data centre and local cloud service experience under one roof,” said Byaruhanga.

 “HCS will now operate their infrastructure in a failsafe, always-on environment provided by Raxio, protecting their business and that of their customers and supporting their growth ambitions. Among other services, the HCS cloud computing and backup service model uses cloud resources to protect applications and data from disruption caused by disasters on a payas-you-grow model that allows customers to stay ahead with access to cutting-edge hardware and/or software solutions.,” said Byaruhanga.

He added that the agreement with Hamilton, is proof of a “win-win model” that “enables especially start-ups, SMES and mid-sized businesses to overcome the obstacle of upfront capital investments and to reduce total cost of ownership on software, storage and backup infrastructure, into manageable monthly operational expenses that are scalable and on demand, thus avoiding costs associated with over-capacity.

“This is very exciting for us and the market and we couldn’t be any happier to have Hamilton on board,” he said. Local cloud service in a tier 3 data centre environment.

Commenting about the deal, Derrick Sebbaale, Chief Operating Officer, Hamilton Cloud Services, said the deal will make HCS, “pioneers in providing the biggest local cloud service in a tier 3 data centre environment in Uganda.”

“Our vision is to revolutionize businesses in Uganda by providing affordable cutting-edge technology solutions, which enable them to thrive and prosper in a globally competitive economy. Our services are delivered via hyper-converged cloud infrastructure; delivered, sold, and supported by DELL EMC, which will enable customers to run and host applications across private, public, dedicated and hybrid cloud environments. By hosting our equipment in Raxio’s data centre, we will be able to quickly scale up our services, without the high capex costs on infrastructure; which savings will be passed on to our customers,” he said.

He added the agreement with Raxio will not only reduce on the high costs as well as risks of hosting and storing data overseas but, it will also provide a 24/7 secure, accessible and dedicated platform to HCS clients.

Pay as you grow model is a game changer Sebbaale, called upon business owners, government decision makers and regulators to support the shift to cloud computing as “it is a game-changer with real and proven return on investment, manifested through new efficiencies, enhanced customer experiences and new business models, leading to accelerated revenue and productivity growth.”

Quoting a 2017/18 study by the National Informational Technology Authority (NITA), Sebbaale said that while 86.4% of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) had reported that cloud computing significantly reduces ICT related costs, to date, only 28.6% of all MDAs reported using cloud computing services.

 The study also reported that 80.5% of MDAs and 66.7% of Local Governments relied on local in-house capacity to host their applications and databases- only 48.1% of MDAs and 38.1% of Local Government reported keeping backups offsite.

“This landmark agreement between Raxio and Hamilton is a paradigm shift and answers all these issues- we are giving businesses in Uganda a reliable and secure pay-as-you-grow local cloud service, housed in a world-class tier 3 data centre under local laws, with local customerservice,” said Sebbaale. 25% discounts on early-bird offer Byaruhanga said that Raxio was offering an early-bird offer that offers up to 40% discount on core co-location fees to customers who sign between now and the end of February 2019.

“Any customer signing up between now and the end of February is entitled to a 25% discount and they will be able to carry this price on for the duration of their contract. For customers that take up more than 5 racks, they will be eligible for an additional 15% discount, meaning that customers can save up to 40% on the price they will have to pay when we open for business in September 2019,” he said.

www.raxio.co.ug

www.hamiltoniot.com

[Column] Andrew Sordam: Cloud computing unlocking rapid innovation in Africa

Digitalisation is permeating every industry, with cloud computing rapidly becoming an essential component of business transformation.

Africa is a continent pulsating with energy and this carries over from its beautiful cultures to business and innovation. Digitalisation is permeating every industry, with cloud computing rapidly becoming an essential component of business transformation.

Powered by the energy so infused on the continent, there is a focus on consolidation and a persistence as organisations drive digital transformation forward and improve the quality of ICT services. The speed of development in each region of sub-Saharan Africa is astounding.

Oracle has been present in Africa for the last thirty years and has been investing heavily in the continent from the very beginning. We believe in investing in the human capital of the countries where we do business in order to address the growing ICT skills gap.

This places Oracle in an exciting position. We are able to contribute meaningfully towards the roadmaps of innovation and transformation. Organisations across the continent are embarking on innovative digital transformation initiatives which is incredibly exciting, being able to participate in projects that are driving the continent forward in ways we can only imagine.

ICT is a large contributor to African society, with mobile connectivity enabling many enterprises to reach their customers like never before. Mobile and digital capabilities have given companies across the board new tactical strategies, such as fintechs using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to get a leg-up on traditional banks.

Companies in Africa can emerge from a situation where they have had more rudimentary applications and business processes to where they have unleashed the power of cloud technologies which makes it easier and far more efficient to automate services.

According to the IDC, overall spending on ICT in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) is set to grow 2.5% year on year in 2019 to reach $213 billion. Group vice president and regional managing director for the META region, Jyoti Lalchandani, adds that progressively more organisations experiment with emerging technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things to drive innovation and improve their customer experience. He says that the most important task facing the region’s decision makers is the development of an effective digital transformation platform that can sustain and scale business operations. 

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have the cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing full well that without automation they will either be out of business, or be steering an organisation with flawed reporting. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness.

Business leaders are seeing first-hand how the cloud is an enabler for innovation. Although we are progressively seeing an increase in movement to the cloud, a smart bet would be on many organisations going the route of cloud at customer. Oracle Cloud at Customer is designed to enable organisations to remove one of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption—data privacy concerns related to where the data is stored.

In our experience, while organisations are eager to move their enterprise workloads to the public cloud, many have been constrained by business, legislative and regulatory requirements that have prevented them from being able to adopt the technology. Oracle Cloud at Customer provides organisations with choice regarding where their data and applications reside and a natural path to eventually, and easily, move business critical applications to the public cloud.

On the continent there is no illusion about the importance of putting in place foundational infrastructure, and various industries are consolidating in order to tap into the power of automation, AI, machine learning and more. A traditional brick-and-mortar operation can transform into a customer-focused, smart, reactive, relevant enterprise.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) partnered with Oracle in order to solve problems that had hampered the country’s revenue collection. A cumbersome and painful tax filing system meant the compliance rate was terribly low. The KRA’s vision is commitment to the concept of customer centricity. The implementation and rollout of iTax powered by Oracle Service Cloud, Policy Automation, Social Cloud and Marketing Cloud has brought the authority that much closer to achieving this. The end result is collecting more revenue to drive the development of the country, while also empowering its staff to serve customers in a digital era.

Digital transformation has meant there needs to be a coordinated approach to addressing the skills shortage as well as the risks that technological disruption is causing, such as cyber security. We have put in place numerous initiatives to help address this challenge, with programmes across sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and more.

In 2017, Oracle Academy and The Global Peace Foundation of Kenya signed an agreement that will allow our academy to support 24 public high schools in Kenya. As part of this, Oracle will train 180 teachers over three years to start teaching our Oracle Academy Java and Database courses. Driving the focus towards closing the skills gap is vital for big technology companies such as Oracle.

A similar example is found in Nigeria, where Oracle Academy has announced a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education in that country, where the ministry will introduce our Oracle Academy computer science curriculum across 10,000 academic institutions, reaching 1,5-million students. To complement this, the Academy will facilitate the upskilling of 4,000 educators.

In South Africa, our Oracle Graduate Leadership Programme, launched in 2014, helps youth develop specialised IT skills required to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution. The programme has delivered eighty-four graduates to date and creates a future skills pipeline for our company and our partner community in the region.

There must be action behind rhetoric. Companies must put their visions and strategy into action and together we will unleash the immense potential of this continent. There used to be a saying about dreamers: “their head is in the clouds”. How appropriate that the dream of a technologically competitive Africa, which is unfolding at a rapid pace and is not fantasy but proven reality, also resides in the cloud.

Andrew Sordam is the Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle

SDN cloud connectivity provider IX Reach expands into Africa via Djibouti Data Center

IX Reach, the leading provider of SDN cloud connectivity, remote peering and Ethernet services to more than 170 global locations is proud to announce its network expansion into East Africa in partnership with the award-winning Djibouti Data Center.

Djibouti Data Center (DDC) has been selected as the strategic hub for IX Reach’s African expansion owing to its excellent reputation and unique position as the first and only Tier 3 carrier neutral ecosystem in east Africa with direct access to all major international and regional cable systems connecting Africa to Europe, Middle Eastern, and Asian markets.

“We are delighted to call Djibouti Data Center a new Point of Presence (PoP) on our network”, said Simon Vye, CEO at IX Reach. He continued, “IX Reach is dedicated to increasing connectivity, collaboration and innovation as well as improving the range of services we provide to our customers. This new partnership with DDC is key in continuing our vision of making our full portfolio of solutions including cloud connectivity just one cross connect away on the IX Reach network.”

DDC tenants will be able to connect directly onto IX Reach’s global network giving access via a single port to over 50 Internet Exchanges and Direct Connect into the industry’s leading Cloud Service Providers. Given the geographical importance of Djibouti, IX Reach will also be able to address markets in other African countries improving global connectivity and reach.

“We are very excited to have IX Reach join the carrier neutral DDC ecosystem, and to be enhancing the DDC’s available network footprint for our global customer base as well as Africa’s growing and emerging markets,” said Anthony Voscarides, CEO of the Djibouti Data Center.

“In addition to the DDC’s market leading access in east Africa to international and regional fiber cable systems, the new IX Reach PoP will further enhance connectivity options to a diverse network of major Internet Exchange Points, cloud service providers, and data centers across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific regions.”

The expansion into a new continent continues to highlight IX Reach’s global ambitions and increased investment into its network and services demonstrating its dedication to meeting the global challenges of increased data use driven by the growth of video streaming, content delivery, IoT, big data and AI technology.

www.ixreach.com

[Kenya] icolo.io starts construction of its Nairobi Data Center

icolo.io, a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation services in Africa has commenced the construction of its new data centre in Kenya. The new Data Center called NBO1 is located in Karen Nairobi and will be second data centre from the company following the construction of the first data center in Mombasa.

Construction of the data centre started in November 2018 and is expected to be complete in August 2019. This new site will host more than 250 racks and accommodate IT power of 825kW.

“With the announcement of the build of our second data centre in Kenya, we reaffirm our resolution of making Kenya a major convergence point in data communication in Africa. With this sizeable investment, NBO1 will be Nairobi’s first true carrier and vendor-neutral data centre with scale,” said Ranjith Cherickel, Founder and CEO of icolo.io.

NBO1 will have over 624m2 of rack space with a 99.999% guaranteed power uptime. The architectural design of the data centre sits on a 4,400m2 area ensuring redundant power complete with back-up generators which are DCC certified, N+2 high precision cooling and pre-cabled interconnects. The entire infrastructure will be concurrently maintainable.

This data centre will serve major businesses in the East African region ranging from internet service providers, financial services institutions, enterprise customers, medical facilities among others.

“NBO1 will be at the centre of Silicon Savannah and it’s a fantastic opportunity for our talented ICT professionals to build scalable infrastructure in and around the region. This places Kenya at the heart of Digital Africa” added Mr. Cherickel.

The building will be supported on drilled concrete piles with reinforced concrete columns, beams, and hollow-core concrete slabs, as well as raised floors in the data centre to enhance the flow of cold air in all the white space and technical rooms. The building will have two dedicated Meet-Me Rooms that will serve as two diverse entry points for all fibres coming into the building thus providing redundancy for our connectivity partners.

www.icolo.io