Infraco is tasked to improve broadband connectivity across South Africa. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) David Smith, Infraco’s CEO, said they want to become a top broadband wholesaler. (Image: Broadband Infraco) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fahim Mohamed Company Secretary Broadband Infraco +27 11 235 1760 RELATED ARTICLES • Main One boosts Africa’s broadband • Eassy to go live soon • Broadband boost as Eassy hits SA • Wacs cable gets the green light Bongani NkosiBroadband Infraco, the state-owned ICT enterprise formed in 2006, will introduce its long-awaited internet services to the South African market in November 2010.“We’re launching our broadband capacity network,” said Infraco’s account manager Charmaine Fredericks in an interview on the sidelines of the My Broadband conference in Midrand on 20 October.The parastatal will now have access to an approximately 12 125km fibre-optic cable and other telecommunications infrastructure, which have been used exclusively by Neotel over the past four years.The infrastructure is owned by the government due to it being laid by state-owned enterprises Eskom and Transtel. It has since been transferred to Infraco, but Infraco couldn’t use it as Neotel was the sole licensee.“We’ve had the network for the last four years, but we couldn’t operate on it. We got our operational licence last year from Icasa,” said Fredericks.“Neotel’s role as the network’s sole custodian comes to an end soon and that’s why we’re launching. We can now go commercial and bring customers on board,” she added.Infraco has been improving the network’s infrastructure over the last four years, while Neotel has maintained the existing system, according to Fredericks.The infrastructure initially offered 2.5 gigabits per second bandwidth speed, but it’s been upgraded to offer 10 gigabits per second.The network’s services now also cover the border areas of South Africa. “The network is quite a lot bigger than what we had when Neotel started,” said Fredericks.A new connection ring has been included, meaning “when one ring fails, we connect to another so that traffic is not disturbed”.“There’s a lot that we’ve done in the past five years to prepare us for our day of launch,” Fredericks added.The Department of Public Enterprises owns 74% of the national broadband utility, while the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) owns the other 26%. The IDC is also a state entity.Open-access wholesalerAs a broadband wholesaler, Infraco will not offer services directly to end-user customers, but rather to internet service providers. “Our aim is to be the wholesale provider of choice to our customers,” CEO David Smith said at the My Broadband conference.It’s an open-access service provider which will enable the government to offer nation-wide connectivity at a lower cost and lead to investments in building the country’s long-distance fibre-optic networks.Infraco’s primary mandate is to get providers to cover areas in South Africa that are currently not served or underserved. “We want to become a carrier of carriers,” said Fredericks.It has set up a number of broadband Points of Presence (POPs) across the country, which are now connected to the national network. The POPs include various small towns and rural areas like Ermelo, Mahamba Border, Beit Bridge, Newcastle, Onseepkans and Zimbane.According to Fredericks, the government has identified 37 such places where connectivity must be fast-tracked. “We will provide connectivity from the closest POP in that underserved area.“Then we’ll be looking for partnerships with internet service providers, like Internet Solutions or iBurst, to service the areas,” Fredericks said.“We are trying to get as many providers as possible into the network, so that connectivity prices can come down,” she added.West African cable systemBroadband Infraco’s network services will receive a major boost when the West Africa Cable System (WACS) it has invested in comes on stream.WACS will land in Yzerfontein along the Western Cape coast and is expected to go live by July 2011.The much-anticipated marine cable will connect South Africa directly with the UK, and will have landing stations in Portugal and along the coastlines of various West African countries.“WACS will be massive. Major operators like MTN and Vodacom have also invested in WACS,” Fredericks said.
A lot has been said about the Internet of Things (IoT) — a broad development in various technologies across industries that is fundamentally changing the innovation cycle everywhere — but how much is real?“One of the things that we should grasp about the IoT is that we are currently in that stage when technology gets incredibly hyped,” says Jason Collins, Vice President of IoT Marketing at Nokia.Continuing further, he describes the hype by comparing the early days of the internet when static pages and hyperlinks did not ignite the full potential of the internet and the crazy boom and predictable bust over web-based businesses came and went. Still, the world was left with the valuable piece of network and services infrastructure we now call the Internet.“So the internet turned out to be kind of a big deal,” says Collins half-jokingly, before getting serious about how we can size the Internet of Things. Keeping that outcome in mind, what is the potential size of the Internet of Things and how do we value it?Valuing the Internet is tough. Today we are going online with our computers and smartphones and connecting billions of nodes; however, the value will extend well beyond that. “Members of our Bell Labs team analyzed this and determined that it will be 36x the value of today’s Internet,“ he says. “That potential value of the IoT is dependent upon the number of devices connected and users’ perceived and experienced value of IoT devices and applications.”If you think about that potential, we quickly recognize that we’re in the very early stages of how this connected technology can change the very fundamentals of digital transformation and business growth in the next decades.How can enterprises leverage this growth opportunity?Prior to the dawn of this new machine-type (M2M) connectivity, there were two main drivers of business — developing products and services and the sales of those products and services.But this approach is now getting a major upgrade thanks to IoT technology. Key to this pivotal transformation is the data being produced in torrents by the connected devices that are expanding rapidly across businesses.“But while this new connected world seems to be allowing enterprises and their customers alike to benefit from a huge pool of data, it’s not as simple as that,” says Marc Jadoul, Market Development Director in IoT at Nokia.Perhaps it’s best to think of this in terms of “analog to digital.” Machines and networks that learn about their effective behavior through gathering data, and analyzing how to use them. He explained further that we should think of the IoT beyond an environment of communicating things and instead as a “connective tissue” or a “global nervous system” that provides context, and – why not? – meaning. This is the first step towards getting value out of the IoT.Building upon that, the IoT then provides a “platform to solve problems” like the Internet once did via search and discovery. “Platforms like Google not only gave us access to the information but provided context,” says Jadoul. “In that same sense, Uber has provided a disruptive model for public transport and Airbnb a new platform for guest housing. They use connectivity and data to transform business models today and, eventually, you will see the IoT becoming an innovation platform in many other areas, like connected cars, digital healthcare, or smart homes.” The possibilities are endless because big data and new services will be driving the growth. Wireless sensor networks are evolving into analytics-enabled applications, making IoT into a “bigger and richer experience than the current M2M,” says Jadoul.However, digital transformation must go beyond the platform, the data, and the (still too often) siloed applications. It requires a shift in the culture and mindset of organizations in order to generate significant benefit from this technology. Who’s leading the growth within an enterprise?New innovation found in M2M often came from internally focused and driven cost savings and process optimization efforts, a.k.a. command and control. This is what we often call the Industrial IoT, or Industry 4.0.While the early days of the IIoT were focused on these drivers, a new emerging Enterprise IoT approach will enable greater growth through product and service innovation, and yet-unseen business models. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising that the early enthusiasts of this new technology are not only on the traditional IT side of the corporate “houses,” but also in their product management ranks, the people who face the customers and are looking for portfolio innovation, an enhanced customer experience, and of course new revenue opportunities. “The sooner that companies start seeing IoT as a catalyst for growth rather than a way for the IT guys to trim costs, the faster IoT will get off the ground in enterprises,” says Jadoul.Where is IoT headed?As connected technology matures and a shift in mindset occurs, IoT will create new value for its stakeholders.“Companies have to start looking at solving business problems and extend their thinking beyond vertical, point applications,” says Lee L’Esperance, Business Modeling Principal at Nokia.”If they remain strictly verticalized, its siloed and the value is limited.” But seeing the benefit across traditional business groups, products and services will unlock true value, he adds.IoT can be very impactful to business but it needs to be architected for creating a connective tissue rather establishing than point-to-point links. Motivating the ability to architect an IoT solution within a business context is about getting the business models right – and finding the sweet spots for creating value, growth, and RoI. We will explore developing business models in the next article and how you can create new value opportunities for your stakeholders.This article was produced in partnership wth Nokia. Follow the Puck How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#enterprise IoT#featured#IIoT#Industrial IoT#Internet of Things#IoT#top ReadWrite Sponsors Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts
The Janata Dal (U) reacted with some relief to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement to a television channel that his party would go into the Bihar Assembly polls in 2020 under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, ending all speculation that the BJP was mulling its options. Bihar Minister and JD(U) leader Sanjay Jha, said on Twitter: “I appreciate BJP president Amit Shah’s statement quelling rumours about the “rift” in our alliance. Together we are committed to continue to brighten Bihar.” Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan had publicly espoused his view that Mr Kumar should be replaced by a BJP candidate for chief minister, while others in the State unit had felt that if not a change in chief ministerial candidate, the BJP should demand an equal number of seats in the seat sharing arrangement. Senior sources in the party said that particular demand will still stand when seat adjustment is discussed closer to the polls. “Mr Shah’s statement makes it clear that the leadership question is settled. He is clear that he does not want a three-way fight in Bihar. The question of the number of seats each party will fight is still open,” say sources. Sources in the JD(U), however, feel the fact that Mr. Kumar will be the chief ministerial candidate for the alliance in Bihar, will prevent any reduction in its status in the alliance, unlike what happened to the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, with the party contesting fewer seats than the BJP in the State. “Nitish Kumar is the CM face, and, therefore, his party will be big brother,” said a source. BJP leaders may not exactly agree with the postulation as they feel that the political ground has shifted in their favour in Bihar because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The last time the two parties fought an Assembly poll in an alliance was in 2010, where the JD(U) got a lion’s share of the seats at 142, and the BJP fought on 101 seats in the 243 member House. “Certainly the seat adjustment will be more equitable than that,” said a senior leader from Bihar.