[Nigeria] Treten Networks announced cloud partnership with Africa Data Centres

Treten Networks, an ICT solutions and Enterprise security services business, has partnered with Africa Data Centres to allow customers access to the cloud and infrastructure they need to realise their digital transformation goals.

Treten Networks offers specialist business advisory services that provide advanced network and security solutions, helping its customers in both the private and public sectors do business more securely and efficiently. In addition to its existing services, Treten will now leverage Africa Data Centres’ physical infrastructure and ecosystem of connectivity partners to support cloud deployments for its customers.

Both organisations aim to solve customer’s business challenges with this partnership by providing sustainable game-changing technologies and solutions. Operating the continent’s largest carrier-neutral data centres, the Africa Data Centre has access to tens of thousands of connections to cloud, content, and network providers from Africa and across the globe. As a result, Treten’s customers will reap the benefits of connecting directly with secure, low latency connections to key providers and business partners.

“The last two years have proven that access to cloud infrastructure is imperative to ensuring that African businesses grow their revenue and can compete with companies in the European and US markets. In addition to benefits like low latency and compliance with data storage laws, the proliferation of data centres on the continent is a vital ingredient to ensure the easy availability of cloud services locally,” said Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres.

Treten’s customers in every industry have accelerated their journeys to the cloud, and as they have done so, they have accepted the reality that hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies are here to stay. Together, Africa Data Centres and Treten can provide organisations with secure private infrastructure and access to hyperscale cloud providers through numerous interconnections and exchanges.

“Africa Data Centres is unquestionably the largest network of interconnected, carrier and cloud-neutral data centre facilities on the continent, and furthermore provides expert quality and next-level service crucial to our datacenter needs,” said Karo Esemitodje, Head of Cloud Services from Treten Networks. “From the reliable uptime on facility, cooling, state-of-the-art monitoring, and expert level security in the LOS-1 DC facility, Africa Data Centres is the industry leader by leaps and bounds. “The amount of detail they deliver daily in all areas is why Treten Networks chose Africa Data Centres as our partner for our digital future. As a result, all our data centre needs have been addressed.”

Treten Networks is rapidly expanding its footprint with its bespoke cloud service offerings, including compute, storage, networking, backup and recovery, and so much more. “We already boast of an extremely low latency and the fastest cloud service in Nigeria, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Africa Data Centres”.

Karo said that through the partnership with Africa Data Centres his organisation will meet and surpass the expectations of its clients. “As the leading cloud service provider in Nigeria, our vision is to be the premiere customer-centric cloud provider of choice, enabling enterprises to meet their business goals”.

tretennetworks.com

www.africadatacentres.com

Microsoft and Liquid Cloud launch initiative to support African businesses with hybrid cloud infrastructure

As the demand for cloud-based services grows across Africa due to the adoption of hybrid work, Microsoft has announced a partnership with Liquid Cloud through its Africa Transformation Office (ATO) to provide cloud services to businesses across the continent.

Liquid Cloud and the ATO will collaborate to deliver resilient cloud in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to meet regulatory and data residency requirements, address low latency workloads, strengthen resilience, and enable business continuity.

“We witnessed an accelerated adoption of cloud technologies in Africa, and businesses are now reaping the benefits of their investment. Our customers are increasingly moving to hybrid work culture, meaning the demand for cloud-based services will only grow. Our partnership will enable us to build comprehensive and edge-based cloud capabilities that meet customer regulatory requirements and ensure that they deliver value to their customers,” said David Behr, CEO of Liquid Cloud and Cyber Security. 

The hybrid cloud environment extends Azure capabilities enabling customers to create cloud-native applications faster with Azure platform and data services such as App Service, Functions, Logic Apps, Azure SQL Managed Instance, PostgreSQL database, and Azure machine learning. As a result, customers will be able to innovate anywhere and use the Azure platform to bring new solutions to life that solves today’s challenges, while creating the future.

On his part, Wael Elkabbany, General Manager Africa Regional Cluster, Microsoft said: “Critical infrastructure enablers are neededto provide access to the cloud to accelerate digital transformation and the adoption of digital technologies. Working with Liquid Cloud, access to the local cloud will be available to more organizations and highly regulated industries across the continent. In addition, hybrid cloud provides in-country resources that address data residency, latency, and storage requirements,” 

liquidcloud.africa

www.microsoft.com

[Column] Eiji Ota: Cloud services can bring the benefits of automation to every print business

It’s frustrating for small business owners to hear about great solutions that boost productivity, streamline processes and remove unseen costs, only to find that the products in question are really targeted at larger operations, involving high upfront software costs, complex technology integrations and expensive ongoing maintenance.

Historically, production workflow automation has tended to fall into this category. It’s been embraced enthusiastically by larger commercial print houses, who are driven to scrutinise their workflows and squeeze out every operational inefficiency. Large scale online print businesses in particular have a relentless focus on automation, because it’s critical to their high-volume/low-price business model.

For smaller businesses, sites with perhaps one or two mid-range digital production devices, the truth is that automation can feel intimidating and out of reach. But it’s precisely these businesses who need to make every employee as productive as possible, to maximise the value that each individual can contribute. They don’t have the luxury of carrying extra ‘bandwidth’ for eventualities. Staffing is lean, everybody does a bit of everything and pleasing the customer is the primary driver.

The commercial reality is that even small print businesses need to look at what can be automated in their operations – not necessarily because they should be pursuing the low-cost production models of their big online rivals, but because it’s a way of improving productivity, minimising errors and waste and saving costs. 

There’s no getting away from the fact that most print businesses are now experiencing – or have already tried to absorb – a dramatic shift in order patterns. They’re having to manage many more small orders, compared with the larger runs of the analogue past. And most of these are coming in via email, creating a massive burden in pre-production, piling up the admin and prepress tasks required to bring in and check each job, get it on press and move it smoothly through to finishing and dispatch.

When margins are skinny, it’s vital not to spend valuable time on things that don’t add any value for the customer. Automating routine tasks frees up expert resources to focus on what is really going to drive the business forward – that is, doing a great job for customers and offering creative ideas and solutions to briefs.

Jo Lloyd, a Canon Ascent Programme mentor, works with PSPs across EMEA on business improvement programmes. She’s convinced there’s no business that can’t benefit from workflow automation, because even seemingly insignificant efficiency gains free up time and allow savings to be invested back into the business. 

The key, according to Jo, is to begin by seeking out ways to streamline small, time-consuming tasks and eliminate mistakes, for example with pre-flight checking software which frees your artworkers to do chargeable creative work. And if your order history tells you that reprints are cutting into your margins, then it’s not hard to see how a solution that reduces the scope for error could soon pay for itself.

So, what’s holding smaller PSPs back from reaping the benefits of automation? Talking to this type of print customer, as well as smaller in-house print departments, my impression is that resistance to automation falls into two camps – those who think they don’t need it and those who would like it but think it’s just too complicated.

Let’s start by tackling the idea that automation is difficult to implement. Without a doubt, the perception exists that automation is complex and expensive and that IT expertise is needed to integrate it successfully and make it work day-to-day. The good news is that there’s now a growing range of cloud-based workflow solutions that printers can access on a subscription model, with no fixed cost commitments and no worries about upgrades and updates, maintenance or management. For SMEs, the other advantage of cloud services is that they’re scalable, so they can grow with the business. And they don’t need any on-site technical expertise to set up configure and maintain. 

Canon customers, for example, have access to a new SaaS (software as a service) product called PRISMAprepare Go, which effectively gives them a virtual pre-production assistant, automatically onboarding jobs that the print buyer has submitted via an online portal, checking print files for errors or missing elements and processing them for print. 

Then there are the customers who feel that automation is something they don’t need. They’re comfortable with the status quo, perhaps feeling complacent that, as long as work is coming in and going out, there’s no need for it. The danger with this mindset is that they’re missing opportunities to make it easier for customers – existing and new – to do business with them. Over time, there’s a real risk that this attitude will prompt business to move elsewhere, and certainly that it will be a barrier to new business. 

More and more end customers want the convenience of ordering and submitting jobs online, for example, and suppliers who don’t offer a simple web-to-print facility will begin to look out of step. My strong advice to these businesses would be, rather than focusing only on the situation today, consider where you’re going and what buyers are likely to want from you in the future. 

With cloud services, automation is now accessible and affordable for every business, not just the online giants. Without adding headcount or other fixed overheads, PSPs can do more, cut costs, gain headspace, and free up time to deliver the best possible service to customers and develop profitable new relationships. 

Automation isn’t just about process efficiency – it’s a tool that builds bridges to customers and enables growth. With these potential gains, I’d say to any print business of any size: don’t wait to automate.

Eiji Ota is a Business Unit Director, at Canon Central and North Africa. 

[South Africa] Teraco helps VMware cloud providers drive carbon neutrality

Teraco Data Environments has announced an initiative to enable VMware Cloud Verified partners using Teraco data centre facilities achieve VMware Zero Carbon Committed status and badging.

This will help enterprise clients and cloud providers in Sub-Saharan Africa transition to zero-carbon clouds and pursue sustainability and supply chain decarbonisation strategies.

As a provider of colocation data centres and interconnection platforms in Africa, Teraco made significant strides in building a sustainable future for its business and its clients, with activities spanning the environment, social governance, and community upliftment. Despite challenging regulations and legislation around the generation and supply of renewable energy in South Africa, Teraco is committed to accelerating the shift to renewable energy and offering its clients, including cloud providers, a route to reduce their carbon footprint.

Teraco has committed to powering its data centre colocation facilities with 50% renewable energy by 2027 and 100% by 2035. It will also maximise its combined rooftop solar footprint across its facilities to 6MW by 2023. VMware Cloud Verified Providers who host their cloud platforms at the Teraco data centre facilities have an opportunity to leverage Teraco’s sustainability commitment to attain Zero Carbon Committed status.

“At Teraco, we understand that our success lies in tandem with that of our clients. This is why sustainability is a business imperative; it goes beyond just renewable energy and our environmental impact, extending to our people’s well-being and development, how we support and uplift our communities and making sure we continue to grow our business in the right way,” said Bryce Allan, Head of Sustainability, Teraco Data Environments.

“Teraco’s sustainability goals extend to investing in our rooftop and utility-scale solar energy programme as well as partnering or working with 3rd party renewable energy providers and stakeholders across the private and public sector to deliver renewable energy to our facilities. Working with VMware Cloud Providers, this initiative is the perfect catalyst to assist VMware Cloud Verified partners and their clients who want to move to the cloud and pursue their sustainability goals,” added Allan.

This initiative has been met with resounding support from Teraco’s clients and the South African-based VMware Cloud Verified Partner community, many of which use Teraco’s data centre facilities. Five of these partners have just recently achieved VMware Zero Carbon Committed status.

“Teraco has set ambitious targets and is pioneering the shift to carbon neutrality within the African data centre industry. Its Environmental, Social and Governance goals and commitments are closely aligned to VMware’s 2030 Agenda. This collaboration provides VMware Cloud Verified Providers with an invaluable and timely opportunity to jump-start their transition to zero-carbon clouds and, in turn, enable their clients to decarbonise their digital footprints,” said Sumeeth Singh, Cloud Provider Business Head, VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

Teraco is dedicated to protecting, connecting, and growing the enterprises and ecosystems shaping Africa’s digital future sustainably and responsibly. In line with this objective, Teraco recently underwent an independent ESG sustainability rating through EcoVadis and obtained a silver rating. The rating scores the ESG performance of a company across several themes, including Environment, Labour and Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement. 

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with VMware; their focus on carbon neutrality resonates with that of Teraco, as we have an open access platform philosophy offering connections to all the cloud onramps, both public and private,” said Michele McCann, Head Interconnection & Peering, Teraco Data Environments.

www.teraco.co.za

www.vmware.com

[Column] Andrew Cruise: How cloud technology can boost economic development in Africa

The African continent represents 60 percent of the world’s arable lands and 30 percent of the earth’s mineral reserves – making it a rich continent in many ways. Yet it contributes only 2 percent of the world’s research output and lags behind in several key technological sectors. For the continent to achieve its potential and escape the unsustainable colonial development model of resource extraction, investment in digital competencies is crucial. In certain areas, the continent is faring reasonably well in this regard. Mobile penetration, for example, is skyrocketing – 615 million users in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to subscribe to mobile services by 2025.

But the bigger picture remains disconcerting. According to the World Economic Forum, African Union member countries pledged to contribute 1 percent of their gross domestic product to research and development (R&D) in 2006, yet only four countries reach this figure in their annual budgets. The continent holds just 0.1 percent of the world’s patents, produces 2 percent of the world’s research output, and there are around 198 researchers per million people in Africa – compared to over 4000 in the United Kingdom and United States.

How cloud and other tech can help

Cloud computing has the potential to boost economic development. Not only does it improve mobile productivity and big data, but it allows small businesses to scale without a large capital investment – a possible boon for the SMEs that represent 98 percent of South Africa’s business force, for example.

Effective cloud applications allow smaller businesses to have the same technology at their fingertips that large corporations pay millions for – on a scale and budget that suits their needs. It significantly reduces upfront ICT infrastructure costs, diminishes the burden of IT maintenance, and allows for more efficient updates. It also provides cost-effective security and improves remote work capabilities. 

Cloud essentially allows businesses to ‘rent’ infrastructure, so that the technical hardware is always of the highest standard, there’s guaranteed uptime for system availability, and scaling becomes as simple as renting more processing power and storage. Cross-border expansion is also much simpler, as it eliminates the costs and complexities of setting up new infrastructure elsewhere. 

According to a paper by the International Monetary Fund, SMEs’ growth prospects can be significantly boosted by digital technologies such as cloud. “Going online enables SMEs to reach new clients and markets at low cost and to reduce communication costs. (Technology such as cloud computing) improves efficiencies, reduces capital expenditure and operational costs, and speeds up cross-border transactions – (helping) firms scale up faster, increasing employment and boosting output growth,” say the researchers. 

Of course, cloud would be one aspect of a broader technological economic upliftment picture. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and the internet of things (IoT) all require major investment on the continent. And before such advanced technologies can truly be successful, more pervasive technologies first need to thrive. One Harvard study looked at the most important technological enablers of economic growth in six African countries and identified digital money, promotion of job-creating digital businesses, better technological infrastructure and fewer disruptions of such infrastructure as key elements required for technological growth across the board. 

The hurdle

There is a glaring obstacle in the way of Africa’s cloud and other technological adoption and resultant potential for economic growth: expensive, unreliable, slow internet. World Data Lab’s Internet Poverty Index paints a dismal picture. It adjusts the actual cost of internet services in every country to estimate what a standard mobile internet package of 1 GB at 10 MB/second would cost in that country. It then extrapolates how many people in the country could afford such a package. If the cost of the package is above 10 percent of a person’s total spending, the person is considered internet poor. 

Nigeria tops the Internet Poverty list and, of the ‘top’ 20 countries, 11 are in Africa. South Africa, the highest-ranked African country in terms of infrastructure integration, is tenth on the list and has over 38 million internet-poor citizens in its 60-odd million population. To put this in context, the country with the closest population size on the list, Italy (58 million people), has just over 800,000 internet-poor residents. 

Though the World Bank hopes to help the continent achieve universal connectivity by 2030, its estimates suggest that Africa will require an investment of USD$100 billion to plug every citizen into the internet by 2030. Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank’s vice president for Eastern and Southern Africa, said on the bank’s website that “no single actor will be able to meet Africa’s 2030 target and carry the burden of a USD$100 billion investment funding requirement alone”.

And the most important condition for cloud to be successful in any country is cheap, reliable, and fast internet. This is normally provided by fibre – a norm in rich countries in Europe, for example. But in African countries where infrastructure is lacking, wireless and satellite technologies hold sway and provide expensive, slow, unreliable connectivity. Some North African countries are faring better because of their proximity to the UAE, but those in the sub-Saharan region mostly rely on cabling from Europe – an expensive endeavour. 

There are other hurdles preventing even internet-rich businesses from making the switch to cloud. It’s expensive to move to the cloud initially; some businesses do still require on-premises solutions, albeit fewer; and understanding of the technology is sometimes lacking, especially when organisations opt for a complex multi-cloud environment.

But it all starts with better internet. The internet itself is commonly held to be a driver of economic prosperity. It enables sharing of information, sharing of expertise, sharing of knowledge, and education. It opens doors for people to drive new ideas and improve their business offerings. It is as important as basic services like water and electricity and should be regarded as such. ICT elements of economic growth must revolve around the internet.

What needs to change?

Currently, much of the innovation, R&D and communication in the African tech sphere is being driven by large international corporates connecting global communities – the likes of Google, AWS, Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix have an increasing foothold on the continent. Should governments get more involved, this culture could grow at a community level. 

Of course, all of this requires major resources. The capital investment to purchase equipment, the time to upskill workers, and the effort to find ways to divert other resources to such endeavours. According to the World Economic Forum, three things need to happen at a state level for technology to push Africa’s economic growth.

First, language needs to be digitised to improve literacy, and in turn, digital literacy. Communication is at the core of development and interactions within and between communities impact the continent’s economic, social, and cultural welfare. With over 2000 languages spoken in Africa, governments must invest in indigenous languages to improve literacy rates, particularly on digital channels, to unlock critical understanding and improve communication abilities among diverse people.

Secondly, African governments should prioritise R&D investments at higher education institutions, focusing on producing and commercialising scientific knowledge. And, thirdly, Africa’s culture of innovation needs to be extended to the digital sphere. Though the continent shows creative innovation at a community level through projects such as farming cooperatives, digital innovation is not as much part of the continent’s culture – yet.

I would also add a fourth requirement: increasing labour rates. Where labour is cheap, technology doesn’t thrive. Low labour rates create a tendency to use manual labour instead of investing in the efficiencies that technology can bring. In countries where labour is more expensive, technological advances are more likely to happen. Cheap labour is not only holding the continent’s technological advances back but holding its people hostage.

When people value humans more, they’re more inclined to invest in technology. In turn, economies flourish, security grows, and communities thrive.

Andrew Cruiseis the managing director at Routed.

AWS provides $14M in cloud services to help advance equal access to health care globally

In its first year, the AWS Health Equity Initiative distributed $14 million in cloud credits and technical expertise to support health equity innovations globally.

The global need for health equity is receiving increased attention as new evidence reinforces the stark contrast in health outcomes from countries with varying levels of resources. 

Findings from the World Health Organization’s research on Social Determinants of Health noted a 19-year difference in life expectancy between developed countries and resource-constrained ones. The reasons for life expectancy differences are complex, transcending genetics, socioeconomic status, education, environmental conditions, and many other factors—and that’s why health equity is not something that any one government or organization can tackle alone. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) says is committed to helping, and we see potential for cloud computing technologies to make a substantial impact in this area. In 2021, the company launched the AWS Health Equity Initiative, a three-year, $40 million commitment to support organizations globally that are inventing and scaling new ways to promote equal access to health care and address social determinants of health. In the initiative’s first year, AWS awarded $14 million in cloud credits—credits for AWS’s cloud services—and technical expertise to help nearly 90 organizations around the world—ranging from startups to nonprofits and large enterprises—to address this challenge.

“Closing the health equity gap will require new, better approaches to providing care—and our customers are doing just that. We’re seeing organizations build innovative solutions tapping into the power of the cloud to deliver better health outcomes across the world,” says Max Peterson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS. 

“Innovations range from a mobile technology-based taxi service for women in labor needing emergency care in Tanzania and Lesotho to genomic sequencing technology that is making it easier to address COVID-19 and other diseases in Africa. The creativity of our customers, paired with AWS technology, has unlimited potential to substantially increase health equity, and we’re excited to see how much we can accomplish together.” Max says 

Promoting equity through better diagnostics

AWS is now expanding the Health Equity Initiative to include a new focus area—diagnostics. Despite their critical role in treatment, diagnostics are consistently overlooked and underfunded, particularly in addressing primary health care concerns, including diabetes and hypertension. Noncommunicable medical conditions account for 70% of deaths globally, with a disproportionate amount of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

Over the past two years, spurred by the pandemic, AWS has supported organizations using the cloud to power new diagnostic technologies to tackle COVID-19. Looking beyond the pandemic, sustained diagnostic innovation is needed across a wide range of diseases, and the new diagnostics focus area is designed to address that. 

Hyrax Biosciences is an excellent example of a company using the cloud to bring diagnostic treatments to low- and middle-income countries. The South Africa-based bioinformatics software company is enabling the analysis of the COVID-19 genome to better understand and track progress of the virus in Africa. This allows national and international health authorities to monitor infections, quickly identify and understand new variants, and take rapid action. Now with support from the Health Equity Initiative, Hyrax is scaling their genomic sequencing technology to address other diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria—diseases that disproportionately affect individuals in developing countries.

“Next-generation sequencing data is both large scale and computation heavy. AWS allows us to process large amounts of raw genomic data in hours, not days or weeks. The faster we can identify the COVID-19 variants spreading in Africa, the more quickly we can understand the diversity of the disease across the continent and provide the right care to as many people as possible,” said Dr. Simon Travers, CEO of Hyrax Biosciences.

The new diagnostics pillar will be the Health Equity Initiative’s fourth area of focus. The other three focus areas are increasing access to health services, addressing social determinants of health, and using data to promote equitable and inclusive systems of care.

Democratizing access to care

Beyond diagnostics, we’ve also seen big steps forward in tackling inequalities in treatment and care. For example, Seattle-based startup Hurone AI is democratizing access to high-quality cancer prevention and care. The company is building artificial intelligence (AI)-powered applications derived from data sources and algorithms from people of African descent to bridge the gaps of cancer care outcomes.

In Africa, oncologists are scarce. Estimates suggest that 10–20 oncologists in Rwanda serve a population of nearly 13 million. Hurone AI’s Gukiza app enables oncologists to provide remote patient monitoring and teleoncology throughout the country. Powered by AWS, the Gukiza app allows oncologists to communicate with patients using digital devices and text messages, increasing the ability to provide care to more patients in more places.

“AWS is helping us safely and securely expand access to cancer care in Rwanda. Using the cloud, we are able to scale the Gukiza app, address the African cancer data gap, and better support patients throughout their cancer treatment journey. By increasing treatment compliance and completion through Gukiza, we reduce costs from side effects-related hospitalizations and increase survival rates,” said Dr. Kingsley Ndoh, founder and chief strategist at Hurone AI.

Difficulties with accessing health services extend to primary medical care, as well. Emergency response personnel are frequently asked to provide support for nonurgent cases when a patient lacks transport or easy access to primary care. Arizona-based eVisit is helping emergency personnel offer telehealth services, giving underserved populations access to the care they need without requiring an emergency visit to the hospital. 

Access to the eVisit Virtual Care platform is available with a few taps on tablets carried by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to facilitate live, on-site, telehealth visits between patients who call 911 and emergency medicine physicians. 

“The cost and the ability to get to a point-of-care facility can be real challenges for vulnerable and underserved groups, and telehealth can play a critical role in bridging that gap. Our Virtual Care platform is designed to make it easy for emergency personnel to get patients the help they need and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital,” explains Juli Stover, chief strategy officer at eVisit. “Running our solution on AWS and the support from the Health Equity Initiative program have allowed us to scale, helping us to get more people the help they need, when they need it.”

It’s still day one

Great work is underway, but more work must be done to close the health equity gap. AWS says it will continue to support customers using the power of the cloud to tackle this important global challenge.

aws.amazon.com

Monogoto partners with Workz for eSIM cloud as it gears up for IoT growth

Monogoto, the global connectivity provider, has partnered with global eSIM provider, Workz, to establish a cloud platform to manage both consumer and M2M eSIM devices for its client base across 180 countries. The agreement comes as part of the company’s continued growth strategy.

Embedded SIM (eSIM) technology, a key driver for the Internet of Things (IoT), is expected to be used in six billion devices such as smartphones, consumer electronics, health monitoring, transport, and smart energy by 2025. Monogoto uses eSIM technology to provide connectivity services for devices such as point of sales, ATMs, wearables, smart lights, fleets of cars and packages. The partnership between the two companies will allow Monogoto’s customers flexibility in changing network profiles and installing SIMs in QR code supported devices.

According to the GSMA, eSIM services have grown 500% in the last three years with more than 230 network providers in 80 countries catering for the next-generation SIM technology. Last year, Workz became the first provider to launch a cloud-based eSIM management platform for networks which is certified by the GSMA, and this May was identified as one of the top five eSIM platform providers in the world for the second year running despite a two-fold increase in market competition.

Itamar Kunik, Monogoto CEO said, “We are proud to partner with Workz and offer our customers a new platform for eSIM.  Moving over to Workz’s eSIM cloud was easier and a lot quicker than expected. The move gives Monogoto the agility to address the evolving connectivity needs of our customers and partners as they arise”.

Tor Malmros, CEO of Workz said, “eSIM adoption is rising rapidly as the opportunity for operators across consumer and M2M verticals expands – developments such as the first eSIM-only iPhone launched this month will only heighten this. Our cloud-based solution is designed to enable innovative connectivity providers like Monogoto to scale up quickly in this new market allowing them to move fast, grow, and achieve a tangible return on investment.”

www.workz.com

Liquid Cloud brings Amazon Web Service Direct Connect to business customers across Africa

Liquid Cloud has announced that it has been approved by Amazon Web Service (AWS) as a Direct Connect Delivery Partner.

This prestigious certification secured by Liquid Cloud, a business of Cassava Technologies, ensures that it is one of only four partners in Africa to secure this achievement after undergoing an extensive and rigorous technical and business review by AWS.

Available to customers in all countries with Liquid operations, existing and potential AWS customers can access their Direct Connect services straight. Additionally, through this partnership, they can now reduce admin overheads by managing the end-to-end process and non-differentiated tasks on behalf of customers.

“Liquid has over 100,000kms of fibre coverage across the continent, and we leverage our fibre infrastructure to enable customers to connect directly to the AWS cloud without a middleman. This relationship with AWS marks a vital step in our strategy to support our enterprise customers’ needs in many of our African markets,” said Winston Ritson, Chief Operating Officer, Liquid Cloud and Cyber Security.

This partnership will bring significant benefits to Liquid Cloud’s multinational and large enterprise customers as, through AWS Direct Connect, customers can connect to the AWS cloud bypassing the public internet via a dedicated connection.  In addition to Liquid Cloud customers having access to a range of services which already include Microsoft and Oracle, they will also experience a more consistent, reliable, and stable performance.

“With Liquid Cloud, our customers are getting access to international-standard offering via a service provider that has extensive expertise in bringing seamless cloud services to African businesses of all sizes,” says Ritson.

Liquid Cloud is committed to working with businesses and assisting them in every step of their digital transformation. “We are continually investing in ensuring local businesses have access to the highest standards of tech that provides a seamless experience for their customers and can compete with businesses in other developed economies. Africa is ripe for international investments, and cloud technologies are a critical element for assured success,” he says.

Customers can reach out to Liquid for their Direct Connect needs through their AWS Partner Solution Finder profile.

[Column] Dumisani Moyo: How to use the cloud to supercharge your SME’s growth

As global economic growth slows down and many developed and emerging economies face severe pressure, the SME sector is again taking centre stage as a catalyst for job creation and growth throughout the African continent.

Small and medium enterprises are the future of Africa’s economic development. SMEs can create more jobs more quickly than their larger counterparts, can stimulate innovation, and make a significant impact on their local and regional economies. And when supported by a strong digital strategy enabled by the cloud, there is virtually no limit to SMEs’ growth and innovation potential.”

The World Bank estimates that SMEs employ more than 50% of the workforce and contributes up to 40% of GDP in emerging economies. However, SMEs typically lack the financial and human resources of their enterprise counterparts, leaving them potentially more vulnerable to changing market conditions and other disruptive events, such as the pandemic.

Cloud and other technologies enable greater innovation, which is essential to the success and even survival of SMEs. Between 1955 and 2011, it took Fortune500 companies an average of 20 years to reach a billion-dollar valuation. Today’s digitally transformed startups can reach milestone that in a mere four years.”

He adds that since 2000, more than half of companies on the Fortune500 have gone out of business, with a lack of agility cited as a key reason. 

Companies that have developed their business models and processes with technology as an enabler typically enjoy greater efficiency, improved innovation capabilities, and can more easily adapt to new challenges or opportunities in their operating environment. This improves their chances at building successful, sustainable business models that can support the business strategy in the long term while still delivering to revenue targets in the short term.”

Why SMEs take to the cloud

African SMEs seek out cloud solutions to boost revenue growth, become more efficient, open up new markets, and adapt to changes in their working environment, for example, adopting cloud-based collaboration tools to enable remote working during the pandemic.

Every SME can benefit from leveraging cloud solutions to enable their digital transformation. Companies that use the cloud effectively enjoy greater flexibility and agility, and can more readily build competitive and sustainable business models that meet changing customer demands and employee expectations.

He cites the example of SMEs leveraging templates during their digital transformation efforts to reduce complexity and lower costs while still unlocking a broad range of benefits. 

One of the major advantages of working with a global cloud provider with experience across multiple industries is that SMEs gain access to best-practice templates that have been proven effective in similar industries or markets. This can significantly cut down the time to value for new technology deployments and help ensure companies enjoy the full range of benefits of their new tech.

Tips for SME cloud adoption

SMEs have several distinct advantages over larger companies when embarking on cloud adoption or digital transformation initiatives. SMEs are by nature smaller, more nimble and can therefore move quicker and adapt more easily. However, the road to cloud adoption is not always clear, and SME leaders need to be aware of key factors that may influence the outcomes of their cloud efforts.

Based on SAP’s experience with supporting SMEs across the globe with their cloud, technology and digital transformation needs, Moyo provides the following tips to SMEs:

Identify and prioritise high-value areas for cloud

One of the most important aspects of any cloud adoption strategy is to first identify where cloud can provide the most value to the business. If your biggest challenge is managing your hybrid workforce, then choosing cloud solutions that can track and enable better productivity can deliver the highest returns in the short term.”

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to realising the value of any cloud deployment is a lack of adoption within the organisation. 

Any investment into new cloud capabilities need to be supported with a strong change management program that is driven by top leadership throughout the organisation. When employees see the value of the new capabilities and can follow the example of senior role models – especially company leadership – they are more likely to use the tools themselves. This ensures the deployment realises optimum business value and has a transformative effect on how the business operates.

Empower your teams

One of the biggest disruptors to SMEs’ business models is the pandemic, which has upended many traditional notions of work and employment. 

Today, more employees work remotely some or most of the time than ever before,” says Moyo. “This has forced companies to reengineer their employee engagement and talent retention models to suit this new world of work.

Powerful cloud tools for tracking employee sentiment, for example, can empower companies with greater insight into employee expectations and help keep the pulse of their workforce. “With so many employees working remotely, it has never been more important to use technology to support employees and help ensure the smooth running of the business.

Find and develop critical skills

Africa’s youth dividend is widely published, but the continent still struggles at times to nurture and develop sufficient tech talent to power its digital economy. 

SMEs work with other partners in the public and private sector to improve digital skills development outcomes and help ensure they have access to the requisite talent pool.

Initiatives such as SAP’s Young Professionals Program give talented graduates a streamlined entry into working in SAP-enabled tech environments, and ensures our partners have access to the skills they need.”

Africa’s young population offers enormous potential for economic growth and innovation, but they need to be supported with suitable skills development and work opportunities. “With the correct investment into skills, African SMEs can help mobilise the largest youth population on Earth to drive and support the continent’s growth ambitions for decades to come.”

[Column] Richard Muthua: Kenya and Africa are ready to join the future of Cloud

It is sometimes too easy for the world to wrongfully assume that Africa lags too far behind the global cloud innovation revolution happening. That is a fundamentally flawed outlook. 

As of 2021, our continent accounted only for USD 1.2 billion of the global public cloud market, it has more than doubled in the past three years and continues to grow exponentially year on year. Soon, Africa will be among the world’s leading cloud innovators, and countries like Kenya will be at the forefront. 

It has been inspiring to witness first-hand the continued growth of Kenya’s tech sector. Ongoing expansion and improvement of data infrastructure are playing a critical role in pushing national economic growth beyond expectations. 

As of March 2022, total data and internet subscriptions in Kenya surpassed 46 million, according to a recent Communications Authority of Kenya report. This equates to 93.9 per cent of the Kenyan population compared to 31.4 per cent that were connected in 2013. The pandemic only intensified this growth as many businesses adopted remote working methods – calling for more adept cloud adoption strategies.    

In addition to cloud, the digital revolution also led to the creation of new skills in the fields of artificial intelligence, big data and mobile robotics. 

It would not be surprising to see 2022 become the year many African industries experience a massive surge in cloud solutions. This is already driven by the impetus of digital transformation strategies across the board and a need to gain a competitive advantage in a new normal. 

The reality of Africa’s historical low economic growth is the very reason that the continent is ideally suited for the speedy adoption of cloud technology. As Kenya, and the rest of Africa, look towards economic recovery and growth, cloud is the answer to cutting costs and increasing efficiencies as businesses move away from the requirement of hardware and installation. 

But this doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen alone. 

Liquid’s cloud ambition lies in partnerships

At Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid), we have proudly built Africa’s largest independently owned fibre network. While that is a fantastic achievement, our ambition also lies in the cloud. We are part of a mission to build Africa’s largest-ever data centre in Lagos, Nigeria, which is being spearheaded by Africa Data Centres, another organisation under the Cassava Technologies House of Brands. This development will spur cloud innovation that has never been seen before on African soil. However, this will require some key players.  

As Liquid continues to make headway with the East-West fibre lines across the continent, especially through areas like the Congo, more interest will be generated from these multinational tech giants – adding to the exponential growth curve.

Cloud is the best cybersecurity on the market

One of the biggest deterrents of cloud adoption lies in the belief that a migration to the cloud will lead to more cyber-attacks. While this could be true, it is also true that the advancement and rising complexity of the average cybercriminal syndicate means that businesses need to invest more in protecting their cyber assets. With cloud, the benefit of economies of scale and availability of skill within a cloud service provider environment makes it easier to secure your cyber assets with the most up-to-date technologies at par with the threats. This could otherwise be too expensive and technically unachievable for an organisation using the on-premises option.

This will need accredited and capable partners to bring this to life. Liquid’s offering is designed to protect customers at every intersection of their digitally transformed business including network, people, and systems, revolutionising how cyber security is approached.  Our approach provides small and large business owners, enterprises, and government entities with secure cloud services that help them get an edge of their competitors on the continent and beyond. 

Cloud is the pathway to start-up success 

The last two years have emphasised the need to leverage digital channels to deliver on value propositions. Cloud allows businesses, especially those who are young and ready to grow, a pathway that is ready to scale at a moment’s notice. 

Since latency is such a widespread issue in Africa, serving a customer as quickly as possible is the key to competitive advantage, which is life or death in a start-up landscape. Nobody wants to see loading screens and unnecessary buffers when trying to access mission-critical systems. As soon as the customer experience is interrupted, the customer is already thinking of the competitor. 

However, none of this would be possible without a key player in the market who understands the need for resilient and scalable infrastructure—those being infrastructure providers like Liquid. 

For example, in May 2022, Liquid partnered with PEACE Cable Company to introduce 800Gbps of additional subsea capacity in Mombasa on the highly-anticipated global submarine cable. This will increase the availability of high-performance and reliable Internet connectivity access across Africa, leveraging Liquid’s 100,000km of terrestrial fibre across 12 countries.

The continent needs more proud enablers of cloud success. Through the right partnerships, programmes and events, we can continue to provide a platform for businesses and entrepreneurs alike to succeed in a digital economy and do so through the cloud – one of the most significant enablers of the fourth industrial revolution. 

Richard Muthua is the Executive Head, Cloud and Cyber Security at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Kenya