[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming healthcare in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many healthcare organizations do not have the necessary agility and business continuity programs or technologies to support them during crises. It is forcing businesses to act on cloud and digital transformation strategies that they had been delaying until now.

In healthcare, cloud computing is applied to overcome two major industry challenges: increasing cost-effectiveness and building a self-sufficient health ecosystem.

Cloud computing, along with increasingly ubiquitous digital tools for collection, aggregation, and analysis of health data, according to Christopher A. LeGrand, CEO, BroadReach Group, offers substantial potential to help the African continent leapfrog many more mature systems in transforming healthcare and improving health outcomes. 

Findings from a study on Leveraging cloud computing for improved health service delivery conducted in Kisumu County in Kenya revealed that cloud computing had been adopted by 42 (53%) while Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service implementations were at 100%, 0% and 5% among adopters, respectively.

‘’Overall, those who had adopted cloud computing realized a significantly higher number of benefits to health service delivery compared to those who had not’’ the study notes.

Cloud computing has enabled the development of various e-healthcare platforms. The best examples, Kevin Rombosia, a healthcare leader and geospatial epidemiologist, says in an article published on Business Daily are the development of applications that enable a patient using a smartphone to access clinic consultation, laboratory services, diagnostics, and pharmacy services from the comfort of their homes. ‘’These platforms enable the storage of patient’s medical records such as past medical histories in the cloud and can be retrieved on demand. This is critical for the continuity of clinical care.’’ He says.

The continent has one of the greatest healthcare challenges in the world. Integrating cloud technology in current health care strategies, therefore, provides new ways of healthcare in Africa. This facilitates and engages the system, the health care professionals, and the patients.

According to a recent report by market research solution Reportlinker, the revenue of the global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to reach $52.30 billion by 2026 up from $11.59 billion in 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.5 percent during the period. The main growth factors till 2026 the report says include increased adoption of Software as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud service, with a market share of 63.7% in 2020, owing to the increasing number of providers and payors migrating toward more SaaS healthcare computing services to manage the growth inpatient data.

The bottom line, the cloud is more critical than ever in helping healthcare providers respond to the pandemic and prepare for future disruptions.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

[Column] James Bayhack: How mobile service cloud can transform customer experience

Service, service, service. That’s been the call for businesses that want to keep their clients happy and turn one-time customers into lifelong fans. Now, however, the focus has moved to brilliant customer experience. But what does this mean? And why are we seeing the shift?  

Think about how you do business today compared to just a few years ago. Customer service was measured by metrics like how many rings there were before your service department answered. In addition, were your retail staff smiling and pleasant, and did your team respond to a customer email timeously? While customer service is still crucial, there’s a lot more to it in today’s multilayered, omnichannel world of business. 

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company or brand.  

From navigating the website to contacting customer service and receiving the product that they ordered, customer experience is the sum of every interaction the customer has with your company. It impacts their feelings and emotions, encompassing their entire customer journey. It also determines whether or not they come back. 

A recent report by integrated customer experience company Ajua found that 81% of Kenyan companies with strong capabilities for delivering customer experience are outperforming their competition. By contrast, 91% of customers will not do business with a company a second time if their first experience is negative.

Findings also suggested that certain industries have upped their CX game and are experiencing growth even in a pandemic. These include banking, insurance, retail, and food and beverage. In the Telco space, Safaricom ranked top in terms of customer experience.

So, some companies are getting it right. Now, the question is, how can you do the same? With such a broad range of expectations, how can you narrow down the most critical factors and eliminate friction where it matters most? You’ll be thrilled to know we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and the easiest solution lies in mobile service cloud.

Here’s how this smart technology helps to solve the most common customer issues.

Creating bulletproof CX in 6 key steps

Omnichannel Inbox

In a single, convenient inbox, you can manage conversations from all channels. This solves the issue of long wait times when customers have a problem or question as it places all communication in one place for easy reference and super-fast response.

It’s common for many customers to conduct research before purchasing something from your company, and checking different platforms is one way of doing this. Whether they trust you or not depends on the quality of information they find and your responses along the way. 

An omnichannel inbox allows you to deliver a brilliant customer experience on all channels. Don’t you agree that it looks unprofessional if you respond quickly via live chat but not at all via Facebook? When customers receive excellent service, they will tell their colleagues and friends about it.

Communication Stream

It’s important to communicate with customers wherever they feel comfortable and wherever they are likely to be. 

Remember, CX is built on the somewhat fickle foundation of customer perception. What makes one person irate may not bother another, so it makes sense to cover all bases. Communication can make or break your CX. Lengthy delays, inefficient processes, or insufficient access to information will have your customers rolling their eyes in frustration. 

Customer experience is about strengthening relationships with customers and building bonds through the use of technology.

Chatbots

It used to be considered bad form to chat with a customer via text or any automated platform, but today it’s the norm. In fact, it’s expected. 

Streamline repetitive tasks by automating them. Our system allows you to create your own chatbot to automate conversations and implement quick replies. Your team can serve customers better and more efficiently if you make service easier and faster for them, without weighing them down with unnecessary and unproductive conversations.

Chatbots can reflect the personality of your brand, answer FAQs, and direct customers to where they need to be. Fast. A super-efficient addition to your customer service team, they don’t require sleep so they’re even more perfect for those after-hours shoppers. Your customers will benefit from swift response times for quick questions or enjoy assistance from stress-free and focused staff.

Team Collaboration

The problem of disjointed communication between internal and external teams ends here, as do many customer frustrations.

Remote employees, global time differences, and communication with external parties can get messy and negatively impact your SLAs. And really, your internal communication choices shouldn’t impact your customer’s experience, should they?

Mobile service cloud alleviates this problem by bringing all players together in one place, allowing conversations to be automatically assigned based on skills, or snoozing conversations as needed. It’s like putting everyone in the same room at the same time, relegating forgotten messages or misplaced communication to a thing of the past.

Customer Profile

Develop customer profiles based on data from your CRM or Customer Data Platform. The integration of systems enables you to provide customers with a quicker, more personal service experience.

Data can be displayed right next to the customer’s questions, so there’s no need to search across multiple systems. Improve customer profiles by including all available data and getting more insights about customer impact.

This key area grants your team the information they need to assist a customer, no matter what platform they come from. All data is immediately available to all employees no matter where they are, which, let’s face it, makes you look good!

Statistics

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. This is why corporations are concentrating on how to develop new business and, importantly, retain existing customers. However, if you don’t know where a problem lies, you won’t know how to fix it. 

Identifying and addressing customer issues can be prevented by using reporting tools that uncover metrics that directly impact your business. Other vital statistics such as ‘response time’ or ‘availability’ highlight how your team is coping with their responsibilities and where improvements can be made. The data in these reports is invaluable to improving customer experience and deep-diving into customer experience metrics.

As effective as your management team may be, they can’t be omnipresent. But having real-time access to your channels, your team, business partners, and any other stakeholders you care to track gives you information worth its weight in gold. 

Boost customer service today!

Businesses that adopt a customer experience strategy enjoy success in key areas: their churn rates are reduced, they increase brand loyalty, and revenues are increased. Surely those advantages are worth exploring?

Ultimately, good customer experiences are the most effective form of marketing with the highest ROI. Successful businesses are simply those with happy customers.

ames Bayhack is the Director of sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Data centres are a growing investment opportunity in Africa

Last week, Global software giant Oracle announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre. Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

This announcement came at a time when the demand for data centers in Africa continues to rise.  According to Gartner, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) data centre market, which includes cloud services, will see spending reach US$5.4 billion in 2022, driven by Digital Transformation initiatives across the region as well as growth in Internet penetration. In addition, industry leaders. believe that projected investment growth in data centre projects is influenced by a growing demand for higher-performance networks, increased management efficiency and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, as we have highlighted in a previous column,  Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peersCloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

BitTitan, a provider of cloud migrations and managed services automation solutions, has also noted that there is a massive migration to the cloud by organisations in the Middle East and Africa.

“We have seen a growing trend in mergers and divestments as a result of the changing business dynamics brought about by the pandemic. Our data on migration project types in Americas and Europe have shown that this leads to increased activity and the trend is only growing. This will be a regular scenario soon in the Middle East as migrations do not stop after clients have been moved to the cloud,” said Antti Ålander, Channel Manager – EMEA, BitTitan said in an article published by Intelligent CIO.

Last week, US group Vantage Data Centres also announced that it is investing more than 15 billion rand ($1 billion) in its first African campus in Johannesburg.  Vantage’s carrier‐neutral 80 megawatts-capacity facility will include 60,000 square metres of data space across three facilities in Johannesburg once fully developed, making it the largest in Africa, the company said in a statement.

Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, recently also announced the completion of Phase 1 of CT2, its new hyperscale data centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town – the largest data centre in the Western Cape.

These increased investments in data centers in Africa is a clear indication that cloud adoption in the region has reached new heights.  In 2020, IT spending was hit hard by the pandemic and declined by 4.9% in the META region, according to IDC. The crisis caused by the pandemic, though, appears to have accelerated plans for digital transformation and related projects such as migration to cloud technology.

According to Knight Frank, Africa currently boasts just 140,000 sq m of data centre space, the same as Switzerland. However, rapid digitisation and the roll-out of 4G and 5G infrastructure across the continent means this is set to grow by 50% over the next five years.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[South Africa] Oracle To Build Its First African Data Centre In Joburg

Global software giant Oracle has announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre.

Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia. Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile.  Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider. 

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base.  OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. 

“We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud.  With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates.  The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle says its strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it.  Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] Google Cloud and Cybereason Join Forces to Drive XDR Innovation

Cybereason, a leader in operation-centric cyber attack protection, and Google Cloud have announced a joint collaboration between the two companies to create and bring to market unprecedented Extended Detection and Response (XDR) across endpoints, networks, cloud and workspaces at record-setting speed.
 
Cybereason delivers the most comprehensive protection available on the market today, analysing more than 23 trillion security-related events per week — five times the volume of any other solution in the market. Using its patented Malicious Operations (MalOps™) engine, Cybereason reveals the full attack story across every device, user identity, application and cloud deployment.
 
Meanwhile Google Cloud’s cybersecurity analytics platform Chronicle ingests, normalises, and analyses petabytes of data from the complete IT environment on planetary-scale infrastructure.
 
The combination of these capabilities delivers a cloud-native XDR solution, Cybereason XDR powered by Chronicle, that automates prevention for common attacks, guides analysts through security operations and incident response, and enables threat hunting with precision at a pace never before achieved.
 
“Google Cloud’s ability to hunt through petabytes of data at the speed of search, combined with Cybereason’s revolutionary correlation capabilities and behavior-based detections delivers unparalleled speed and accuracy in the prevention, detection, and response of advanced attacks,” said Cybereason CEO and co-founder Lior Div.
 
“We founded Cybereason with a mission to reverse the attacker’s advantage and return the high ground to the defender, and we are excited to have Google Cloud partner with us in furthering the success of this mission.”
 
Cybereason has succeeded in protecting customers and experienced impressive growth over the last year, being recognised as a leading innovator by respected third-party organisations.

Where many solutions failed, Cybereason protected customers from headline-making attacks like SolarWinds, the Microsoft Exchange Server attacks, and crippling ransomware attacks from DarkSide, REvil and other ransomware gangs.
 
That level of protection is why Cybereason was recognised on the CNBC 2021 Disruptor 50 list, and received top scores across every aspect of testing in the MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations.
 
“Google Cloud is dedicated to delivering the industry’s most trusted cloud to accelerate customers’ digital transformation efforts with security products that meet them wherever they are. Cybereason continues to disrupt the market and deliver on their vision for a future-ready extended detection and response defense platform,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud.
 
“We’re excited to partner with Cybereason to help customers quickly secure their hybrid and cloud environments with the combined capabilities of Google Cloud and Cybereason’s XDR services.”

www.cybereason.com

Oracle expands global cloud footprint to meet continued triple-digit growth

Oracle has announced plans to expand its cloud region footprint to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services worldwide.

Over the next year, Oracle will open 14 cloud regions with new locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia.

 Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile. Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base. OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud. With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates. The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

High Availability, Disaster Protection, and Dual Region Cloud Strategy

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures. Some regions (Ashburn, Phoenix, Frankfurt, and London) provide further resilience to entire data centers through multiple availability domains (ADs), which each contain three fault domains.

For business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations—without having sensitive data leave the country. To help customers plan data center deployments to meet application requirements and optimize their cloud infrastructure, OCI’s provides a no cost inter-region latency dashboard that provides insights into real-time and historical latency for Oracle Cloud regions around the globe.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Several Oracle Cloud regions, including regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.

As part of its renewable energy clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services—providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in eight regions (Ashburn, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Jose, Vinhedo and Frankfurt), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture.

They can also migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming the education sector in Africa

In our last Africa cloud review column, we highlighted how cloud can help power smart cities in Africa. Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything.  

Other than smart cities, the education sector in Africa is also poised to benefit from cloud. 

In an interview with IT News Africa back in 2019, head of E-Learning at the University of Pretoria, Dolf Jordaan noted that the cloud is transforming teaching and learning as we know it, while fast-tracking education improvement from primary school to university. ‘’It allows educators the ability to collaborate on content, share information, and even asses projects,’’ he says.

Cloud computing helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. It allows students access to homework wherever there’s an internet connection, teachers to instantly upload learning materials, and administrators to easily collaborate with one another and save money on data storage. 

When the pandemic most African schools decided to take their learning online. Virtual learning finally became a reality. In Kenya, the government introduced a new digital learning model to 24,000 public schools so that virtual learning in Kenya is accessible to all children. Using cloud, schools were able to save money on licenses, hardware, power, and support. Additionally, schools were able to access online editions of textbooks which saved money and ensured students are learning from the most recent books.

The benefits of cloud in education are massive. The safety, stability, and ease of use of cloud computing in education in Africa is resulting in widespread adoption in educational institutions of all sizes and types.

From 3-4 November 202, Google cloud will also be hosting a government and education summit. You can read all about this online event and how to register here

In the news

Oracle announced that it has selected Johannesburg for its first African Cloud region. Microsoft added Availability Zones to Cloud regions in South Africa and South Korea, while seemingly de-listed a second region in South Africa. Maher Al-Khaiyat, the regional business applications director for Microsoft MEA in a column published on Kenya’s Business Daily also highlighted how cloud-based IT solutions can help firms manage change

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Column] Jaco du Plooy: Creating sustainable data centres through energy-efficient solutions

With the large-scale migration of business data and IT services to the cloud – particularly in light of the global pandemic driving a 35 percent increase in online traffic – there has been a notable rise in global data centre construction.

However, while data centres remain the backbone of the internet and cloud-computing processes, they are also some of the world’s greatest energy guzzlers. The cooling systems that data centres use to maintain a temperature-controlled environment and prevent servers from overheating, for instance, use nearly 40 percent of energy 24 hours a day.

To add to this, estimates suggest data centres are responsible for up to five percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, contributing immensely to the challenge of global warming. For this reason, it is imperative that data centre operators take accountability and actively work towards finding energy efficient solutions towards a greener future for data centres.

“The demand for data centre infrastructure continues to soar because of the exponential growth of big data. Despite its known negative environmental impact, the data centre industry can and should play an active role in helping to cut the global IT carbon footprint, by employing sustainable and efficient solutions to power, cool and maintain data centres,” says Jaco du Plooy, Product Manager at Eaton South Africa.

Energy optimisation solutions and strategies

A strategic approach to energy management can contribute considerably to not boosting data centre efficiency, but can bring an immediate and long-term power cost saving, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the load on South Africa’s already constrained national power utility, Eskom.

Most hyperscale data centres could cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 88 percent by switching to efficient equipment and improving energy management.

Cooling equipment and systems are crucial in maintaining temperature-controlled data centre environments and ensuring stable operation of hardware. Installing energy-efficient cooling systems is the first and most important step data centre operators can take towards cutting energy consumption. Systems that use a continuously variable speed fan, for instance, will result in a considerable energy saving.

It’s also a good idea to re-evaluate the operating temperatures maintained in data centres. Studies have shown that data centres can run higher than the conventional operating temperatures of between 20 to 22 degrees Celsius, without compromising the system’s reliability of optimal efficiency. This would result in power savings as chillers would not have to work as hard.

Adding renewable power to the mix can also help reduce a data centre’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 98 percent, when used with other energy efficient strategies.

Look into how much energy the UPS systems in data centres use to convert power too. Using high-efficiency UPS systems that don’t require transformers will also boost energy efficiency by reducing consumed raw materials and lowering freight costs with a substantially smaller footprint. 

A typical day in a data centre will see varied server loads. A data centre’s servers running at full capacity when workloads and utilisation are operating at far less is a massive energy waste. Data centre facilities can boost energy management by using intelligent hardware that provides data collection, measurement, and monitoring capabilities. This will ensure optimal use of resources, while helping to identify and diagnose equipment issues that need repair or maintenance before equipment failure occurs and costs become much greater, as a result of downtime or the need to replace the equipment.

“A sustainable and greener future for the data centre industry is certainly within reach. There are many strategies and solutions organisations can employ to optimise the energy usage in data centres and ensure a reduced carbon footprint. This will prepare the industry at large for the energy transition on the horizon – the next step in the global sustainability journey,” concludes Du Plooy.

Jaco du Plooy is the Product Manager, Eaton South Africa.

[South Africa] Teraco completes its Cape Town hyperscale data centre campus expansion

Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s largest vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, has announced the completion of Phase 1 of CT2, its new hyperscale data centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town – the largest data centre in the Western Cape. The new facility supports the growing demand by enterprises and cloud providers for data centre capacity. CT2 offers highly resilient and secure colocation facilities in line with Teraco’s long-term vision of enabling digital transformation across Africa.

Cape Town, as one of Africa’s most digitally connected cities, is a logical destination for Teraco’s continued investment into data centre infrastructure on the continent. Home to thriving digitally connected enterprises including telecommunications, financial services, e-commerce, logistics, and retail; Cape Town benefits from its enviable location at the southern tip of Africa, and the landing of many major subsea cable systems such as ACE, WACS, SAT-3 and SAFE. The abundance of subsea cable connectivity is set to continue with Google’s Equiano and the 2AFRICA cable system developments.

CT2 represents a strategic addition to Platform Teraco, offering enterprises a scalable platform for IT infrastructure deployment while sustaining performance, reliability, security, and the most comprehensive network choice. The first phase of CT2 comprises 25000sqm of building structure, 8000sqm of data hall space, and 18MW of critical power load. Teraco has secured adjacent land and power for future expansion and brings the total critical power load to 36MW at end state. 

As part of Teraco’s broader Cape Town campus, both the CT1 and CT2 data centres  provide enterprises with direct access to Platform Teraco; a rich ecosystem of over 250 network providers, global cloud on-ramps, subsea cable systems, access to over 50 managed service providers, and direct peering at NAPAfrica, Africa’s largest Internet exchange point. Clients deployed in either of these facilities can connect to AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute directly or via Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange. 

This multi-billion-rand data centre facility dramatically extends Platform Teraco’s capacity in the Western Cape, according to Jan Hnizdo, CEO, Teraco: “Forming a vital part of the African IT landscape, Platform Teraco is an essential part of the modern enterprise’s digital transformation strategy with its diverse industry ecosystems and open interconnection marketplace.” CT2 is connected to all the other Teraco data centres through the diverse ecosystem of network operators in the facility, making it ideal for the distributed interconnection defined architecture of the modern enterprise.

Hnizdo says that the majority of enterprise organisations are accelerating their digital transformation strategies and placing a greater focus on cloud adoption strategies: “Enterprises are looking for the ability to scale as network strategies evolve, and in a world where fast and secure interconnection with strategic business partners is a priority, this is a source of competitive advantage.”

Platform Teraco provides the lowest latency interconnection points to both cloud and content. With a direct private connection to all leading cloud providers, enterprises can deploy in the most latency efficient, secure and resilient manner possible. Enterprises use Teraco to scale their IT infrastructure, adopt hybrid and multi-cloud architectures and interconnect with strategic business partners within the Teraco ecosystem. 

Since its inception in 2008, Teraco has focused on building highly resilient vendor-neutral data centres. “Over the last few years, we have taken our ever-expanding ecosystems and network-dense interconnection hubs, and moved beyond simple colocation. Teraco is the enterprise infrastructure platform for growth and innovation,” concludes Hnizdo.

www.teraco.co.za

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud can help power smart cities in Africa

The term Smart City is not a new one and, while some examples already exist on the African continent, it is not as widespread as it should be. From Accra to Cape Town to Nairobi, turning Africa’s megacities into tech and data hubs of the future.

Like Smart City initiatives across the world, cities in Africa are initiating tech and data-driven solutions to overpopulation issues caused by drastically increasing urbanization. What role is cloud playing in this?

According to Clive Charlton, Head of Solution Architecture for Sub-Saharan Africa at Amazon Web Services (AWS), connectivity, public policy and cloud skills are among the key challenges facing African cities as they move to become smart cities. The deployment of Smart Cities heavily relies on the advances achieved in cloud technologies. To speed up their sustainable development, these cities need to be on the cloud.

Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything. PCs and server files, web page meta-data, images and video and data created by machine-to-machine communication will all be housed in the cloud.

As it stands, African cities already have the opportunity to go smart, thanks to high cloud adoption.

Countries like South Africa already have a wide range of domestic fibre network providers, with new fibre network providers like Vuma providing an open access fibre network resold to a number of retail service providers, with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (the highest in Africa).

There are also five key international subsea cable systems connecting South Africa. The country has seen a rapid introduction of new CSPs, with Microsoft Azure Cloud and AWS entering the market as a gateway for the rest of Africa. Amongst new CPS is Alibaba Cloud which said it intended to enter the South African market but as yet has not entered.

South Africa has 12 DC providers with over 40 Data Centre Facilities. There has been new Data Centre build announcements with one of them being Global Data Centers, a subsidiary of NTT Ltd, announcing at the of September 2020 the build of a new Data Centre facility at the Central Point Innovation District in Johannesburg called Johannesburg-1.

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes. And as we mentioned in a previous column, the continent is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers. This will in turn accelerate the growth of smart cities in the region.

If we explore the applications of cloud computing, there are multiple benefits as to why smart cities should opt for it.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.