Devotra offers Smart Classrooms for Technical Vocational Education and Training in Rwanda

The Smart Classroom Concept was originally designed in 2010 as part of the Kenya-The Netherlands TVET Project: “Rehabilitation and Upgrading of KTTC and 9 Regional Centers of Excellence (phase 1)”. In 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Directorate Technical Education) has reviewed the concept together with Devotra and the Smart Classroom was fully updated based on the latest concepts and technologies available.

The Smart Classroom will provide Rwandan TVET students with world-class learning facilities without any equivalents in the world. The Smart Classroom introduces a unique TVET teaching and learning concept, combining state-of-the-art technologies, software, simulations, experiments and hands-on practical education, making the 10 Centres of Excellence future proof for Rwandan students.

The Smart Classroom acts as an incubator area for ideas based on industry and labour market requirements. It will change students and teachers mind-sets and will bring innovation, spur creative and catalytic thinking, triggers students’ exploration skills, enhance problem solving based learning, and provide the opportunity to teach and learn design, programming and production skills.

The Smart Classroom improves the traditional TVET teaching at the 10 Technical Training Institutes that are working with it now, through further introduction of student-centred learning, interdisciplinary work, Competence Based Education and Training (CBET).

www.smartclassroom.nl

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Businesses in Africa are increasing their cloud spending in 2021

In our previous Africa Cloud Review article, we highlighted how Cloud is driving change and accelerating digital transformation across multiple industries across the continent. 

This comes at a time when cloud spending among businesses continues to grow. In fact, according to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public IT cloud services market revenue for 2020 was at $312.4B – a 34% Increase from 2019.

In 2016, global spending on public IT cloud services was just under $100B. In 2021 that figure has ballooned to a healthy $312.4B after experiencing a 34% increase from 2019’s $233.4B revenue. In the 4 year period from 2016-2020 the data reveals that revenue from spending on cloud services grew at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.31%.

In countries like Kenya, businesses are also increasing their cloud expenditure. The “Africa in the Cloud 2020” study by World Wide Worx conducted among eight African countries released in November last year noted that Kenyan firms are set to increase their expenditure on cloud computing services by 68 per cent in 2021 up from 38 per cent in 2020. 63% of the companies interviewed in the study indicated their top reasons for cloud adoption as driving business efficiency followed by operational flexibility and customer service which averaged at 53 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Of the three main types of cloud services, the TradingPlatforms.com data shows that Software as a Service (SaaS) still accounts for the largest share of total revenue with a 63% share. In 2020 SaaS revenue amounted to $197.6B which is a 33% increase from 2019’s $148.5. S From 2016-2020 SaaS revenue grew at a CAGR of 34.1%.

In countries like South Africa, 51% of the public sector segment are already using cloud in production. This is according to a recent survey conducted by ITWeb and AWS on the state of cloud adoption in South Africa.

The future is in the cloud

As Patrick Ndegwa, the Business Sales Lead for SEACOM East Africa, cloud adoption is becoming increasingly important for both innovation and operational continuity.

‘’Businesses can take advantage of cloud-based applications or hosted servers for enhanced mobility, or enable remote teams to connect with each other more effectively through cloud communications. ‘’ Ndegwa says in an article published on Africa Business Communities. 

The best way for businesses to take advantage of cloud is by partnering with a reliable cloud and connectivity provider that can offer high-quality and scalable services to meet their unique business requirements. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

Facebook and leading Health Organizations form alliance for advancing health online

Facebook is partnering with leaders from the technology, healthcare, global development and academic sectors to establish the Alliance for Advancing Health Online. This new initiative aims to advance public understanding of how social media and behavioral sciences can be leveraged to improve the health of communities around the world. 

The partners of the Alliance include the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, the CDC Foundation, Facebook, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Merck, Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Merck and Facebook are each committing $20 million to this multi-year initiative, which will initially focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy and vaccine equity among underserved communities. 

“Social media is a powerful, constantly evolving tool that is shaping opinions and behaviors across the globe,” said Heidi Larson, PhD, head of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “The Alliance will help us build a deeper understanding of the dynamics of health communication online and how the global community can use social media to improve health.”

The Alliance has established the Vaccine Confidence Fund, an independent fund to support research on how social media and online platforms can best support confidence in and access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world, as well as routine immunizations impacted by the pandemic. The goal of this initial research is to produce timely, practical applications, focused on reaching historically underserved communities and those communities particularly at risk in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Fund will provide grants to researchers and organizations that are exploring how best to use behavioral science, social media and digital platforms to build confidence in and access to vaccines. Global Impact, which will manage this fund on behalf of the Alliance, has issued a request for proposals. Researchers who would like to participate in this effort can apply here

All of the findings generated through this research will be shared quickly, broadly and publicly. To this end, Facebook is awarding grants to the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Bay Area Global Health Alliance who will facilitate a series of community discussions over the coming months. 

Facebook together with partners, have seen promising results from their health work over the past few years. This highlights the Alliance’s opportunity to better understand what’s working, so it can be replicated and scaled.

“The Alliance for Advancing Health Online and the new Vaccine Confidence Fund are important steps forward in leveraging social media for health impact at scale. A recent collaboration between WHO and Facebook demonstrated what this can achieve. WHO’s Science Behind Vaccines campaign ran globally, resonating most among Spanish and Chinese speaking audiences who expressed an increased willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine by 2.8 and 2.9 percentage points, respectively, across more than 50 million people.” – Andy Pattison, Team Lead, Digital Channels, WHO.

At the same time, we recognize that more research and understanding is needed to replicate and scale the approaches that work, and to learn from those that do not. By bringing together public and private sector partners, we hope the Alliance will accelerate our collective ability to have a lasting positive impact on health behavior through leveraging the unique scale and personalization of digital channels.

www.about.fb.com

Dimension Data earns top cloud accreditation as an Azure Expert Managed Services Provider

NTT Ltd., a leading global technology services company, has earned the Azure Expert Managed Services Provider accreditation. Branded Dimension Data in the Middle East and Africa region, it has been recognised by Microsoft with the highest accolade for Azure Cloud experience, being named an Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP).

Microsoft’s highly selective programme helps customers identify top tier partners to enable and support hyper-scale cloud implementations, from mission-critical apps, entire data centre footprints, to hybrid environments.

As one of a handful of partners globally, the Azure Expert MSP status forms the fundamental foundation for Dimension Data’s success in the global arena of High Value Services and Managed Services on Azure.

“We are honoured to be recognised for our skills as an Azure Expert Managed Services Provider. There are very few companies around the world who have earned this accolade, and it is a testament to our talented technical teams and deep Microsoft skills and experience. Our current and future cloud clients can be assured that we meet the highest standard for service delivery, support and security.” Says Werner Kapp, Chief Executive Officer, Dimension Data.

This prestigious endorsement is based on Dimension Data’s proficiency across a breadth of capabilities and for its customer service delivery and technical knowledge. Having met the stringent skills and experience prerequisites, Dimension Data also completed a rigorous audit by an independent third party that evaluates its managed services offerings, technical teams, processes and technologies.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this programme,” says Fernando Navarro, Head of Product Management for Managed Services at NTT. “Azure Expert MSP is the highest accreditation as a managed services provider by our strategic partner, Microsoft. We have been able to prove our skills and know-how in the public cloud arena and look forward to helping our clients do great things with Microsoft Azure.”

With deep experience in Microsoft technology, Dimension Data offers full-stack services from networking and infrastructure that supports Azure, to cloud migrations and cloud applications. Backed by unrivalled security and comprehensive managed services, Dimension Data is leveraging Microsoft Azure to innovate and develop cutting edge solutions using data, AI, IoT and Machine Learning.

This achievement further strengthens Dimension Data’s strategic partnership with Microsoft, as the two companies are committed to driving digital transformation with their clients.

“In the last year, our partners have helped their customers to reimagine a new world of business, while at the same time, continuing to invest in specialised skills and capabilities.  Achieving the Azure Expert MSP accreditation is a hallmark of the commitment with which partners like Dimension Data are not only supporting their customers to become more digitally resilient, but also to how they are building new products and services for digital transformation,” says Lionel Moyal, Commercial Director at Microsoft South Africa.

With the widest reach across the Middle East and Africa and together with global parent company NTT, Dimension Data is solidifying its status as an industry leader in cloud managed services.

www.dimensiondata.com

Samsung introduces 8nm process to improve 5G RF chips

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduces its newest radio frequency (RF) technology based on 8-nanometer (nm) process.

This cutting-edge foundry technology is expected to provide a ‘one chip solution,’ specifically for 5G communications with support for multi-channel and multi-antenna chip designs. Samsung’s 8nm RF platform extension is expected to expand the company’s leadership in the 5G semiconductor market from sub-6GHz to mmWave applications.

Samsung’s 8nm RF process technology is the latest addition to an already broad portfolio of RF-related solutions, including 28nm- and 14nm-based RF. The company has established its RF market leadership through the shipping of more than 500 million mobile RF chips for premium smartphones since 2017.

“Through excellence in innovation and process manufacturing, we’ve reinforced our next-generation wireless communication offerings,” said Hyung Jin Lee, Master of Foundry Technology Development Team at Samsung Electronics. “As 5G mmWave expands, Samsung’s 8nm RF will be a great solution for customers looking for long battery life and excellent signal quality on compact mobile devices.”

With continued scaling to advanced nodes, digital circuits have improved significantly in performance, power consumption, and area (PPA), whereas the analog/RF blocks haven’t enjoyed such an improvement due to degenerative parasitics such as increased resistance from narrow line width. As a result, most communications chips tend to see degraded RF characteristics such as deteriorated amplification performance of reception frequency and increased power consumption.

To overcome the analog/RF scaling challenges, Samsung has developed a unique architecture exclusive to 8nm RF named RFextremeFET (RFeFET™) that can significantly improve RF characteristics while using less power. In comparison to 14nm RF, Samsung’s RFeFET™ supplements the digital PPA scaling and restores the analog/RF scaling at the same time, thereby enabling high-performance 5G platforms.

Samsung’s process optimization maximizes channel mobility while minimizing parasitics. As the performance of RFeFET™ is greatly improved, the total number of transistors of RF chips and the area of analog/RF blocks can be reduced.

Compared to 14nm RF, Samsung’s 8nm RF process technology provides up to a 35-percent increase in power efficiency with a 35-percent decrease in the RF chip area as a result of the RFeFET™ architectural innovation.

www.samsung.com

Cisco unveils Webex innovations that ensure equal opportunity and voice

As the world transitions to hybrid, organizations require solutions that are flexible, supportive and inclusive. Cisco unveiled an all-new Webex Suite with innovations to serve as the foundation for inclusive hybrid work and events, delivering unmatched levels of flexibility and personalization for everyone.

With 98 percent of future meetings expected to include at least one remote participant, this mixed mode of working (blending remote and in-person interactions) is fueling long-lasting implications on work culture, event engagement and technology. This requires investing more broadly – beyond the traditional conference room – to fundamentally reimagine the new requirements of hybrid events and a hybrid workforce. The way organizations worked pre-pandemic and during the pandemic will be starkly different in this next wave of work – where good enough is simply not enough.

“Cisco’s collaboration business is incredibly essential to our customers,” said Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco. “With all the integrations the team has added – 800 new features and devices since September – we truly have the most comprehensive meetings, calling, messaging, and event management solution on the market powering the future of hybrid work.”

“To be successful in the era of hybrid work, organizations need to make sure their solutions are flexible, inclusive, supportive, secure, and easily managed on the backend by IT,” said Jeetu Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Security and Collaboration. “The all-new Webex Suite ensures everyone in a hybrid workforce has equal opportunity and voice.”

Webex want to ensure their dedication to a simple, delightful user experience is clear in every interaction our customers have with us: our products that are used by millions of customers today, our website that reaches millions of readers, and the presentations we deliver to live and virtual audiences of all sizes.

They used their own products daily and rely on Webex to overcome distance gaps, time zones, and language barriers. My team of marketers spans multiple continents, languages, and time zones, but they feel like they live next door. We relentlessly focus on quality and simplicity, and we are passionate and proud of our journey and the story it continues to shape.

The Webex brand system is much more than logos or colors. It’s a reflection of our purpose. The new logo was inspired by their guiding design principle of inclusion, a core value that is at the heart of everything they do, Introducing Webex by Cisco.

The new logo – the “W” is a rotating double helix which showcases two hands coming together – the perfect metaphor for teams in flow, each member participating and contributing equally to create something wonderful.

www.webex.com

www.cisco.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is accelerating digital change across different industries

Cloud technology is driving change and accelerating digital transformation across multiple industries simultaneously. According to Marilyn Moodley, the South African Country Leader for SoftwareONENot only is cloud technology itself evolving at pace in Africa, but the way organisations buy and manage software is having to adapt as well. 

In our previous Africa cloud review article, we highlighted how cloud services have certainly revolutionized the way African enterprises conduct their businesses, offering various benefits such as cost-effective access to computing power, on-demand applications, and services among others.

Recent data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public IT cloud services market revenue for 2020 also shows how the cloud industry earned an estimated revenue of over $300 billion globally. To be precise, the revenue was at $312.4B – a 34% Increase from 2019.

In 2016, the data shows that global spending on public IT cloud services was just under $100B. In 2021 that figure has ballooned to a healthy $312.4B after experiencing a 34% increase from 2019’s $233.4B revenue. In the 4 year period from 2016-2020 revenue from spending on cloud services grew at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.31%.

The data shows how big the cloud market is. In continents like Africa for example, Hybrid cloud is providing enterprises with a trusted and capable foundation to adapt to changing market needs. As Tonny Tugee the MD at SEACOMEast Africa notes, today, businesses around the world are relying increasingly on connectivity for conducting business transactions and payments, running apps and services in cloud environments, marketing, or simply sharing information with each other.

This also explains why companies like Google are going big on cloud in Africa with Google cloud. With 24 regions and 73 zones in 17 countries, Google Cloud delivers high-performance, low-latency cloud services to customers with partners like Incentro Africa. A couple of weeks ago, Google announced it will be offering Android and cloud development scholarships to developers across  Africa. Last week, it also announced a new partnership with Shopify, a global commerce company to enable Shopify’s more than 1.7 million merchants to have access to Google Cloud’s technology across a broader set of regions.

With increasing connectivity and availability of reliable and cheap internet across Africa, it has changed the way people work. Cloud is a leapfrog technology, comparable to the introduction of the mobile phone and we are just at the beginning of it.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

A digital program to transform Rwanda’s digital economy and to provide more work opportunities

The Ministry of ICT and Innovation in Rwanda, Cenfri, and the Mastercard Foundation signed a tripartite MoU to kick-off an ambitious three-year digital transformation program in Rwanda aiming at harnessing Rwanda’s big data to enhance the Government’s digital capabilities and systems.

Building an inclusive digital economy has long been a core economic development objective of the Government of Rwanda. The Government charts an ambitious course for achieving rapid digital transformation and has embraced the digital economy as a lever for accelerating growth, improving services delivery, and enabling more work opportunities for Rwandans, especially young Rwandans.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked   the need for digitization and this partnership demonstrates Rwanda’s goal to not only keep up with the global trends, but also to become an example of digital leapfrogging in Africa.

“Data-driven policymaking is fundamental to our digital transformation journey”, said Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, and the Government Lead for the program, at the launch today. “During the Covid19 pandemic, we’ve seen digital payments grow more than tenfold and it’s these gains that we want to build on and unlock further growth and adoption of digital payments. To do so, we require data insights that will drive cashless policy decisions, unlock barriers to adoption of digital payment channels as well as track the response and impact of these interventions in driving the cashless agenda.”

“Unlocking significant, long-lasting efficiencies in financial inclusion and productivity for young men and women will help to increase their access to employment opportunities and entrepreneurship. It is important that we support the sustainability of that transition as well as other innovative interventions in the digital space,” said Rica Rwigamba, Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation.

The program, which will be implemented by Cenfri in partnership with Cape Town-based data science firm 71point4, is composed of a team of people who have worked with Rwandan agencies for the past few years to open up data for the Government to draw insights for policy. “We are excited to be embarking on this journey to leverage data to build towards a flourishing and inclusive digital economy. Over the last five years, our work in Rwanda as part of the insight2impact (i2i) program, highlighted the power of data to advance financial-sector development and improve economic and financial inclusion. This partnership presents an opportunity to build on our learnings and achieve real impact together over the coming years,” said Doubell Chamberlain, Managing Director and Founder of Cenfri.

The program ultimately aims to support the Government to realize its vision through a three-pronged approach: making data and trend analysis easily accessible; supporting the application of data to policy actions; and accompanying public sector staff to utilize data-driven approaches. An exciting byproduct of the program will be to make data available to local entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop ideas and strategies for new businesses. Modern innovation feeds on data and while these data resources exist, very little has been accessible in the public domain for Rwandan entrepreneurs to work on. This program will hopefully change that.

The program will initially focus on the Agriculture and Retail trade sectors, with other sectors to follow.  It will work closely with the National Bank of Rwanda, the Rwandan Utilities Regulatory Authority, and other regulatory agencies with important data resources. The program will also engage with private sector entities to explore access to data that can assist in achieving a cashless national economy.

www.minict.gov.rw

Rwanda Ministry of Education signs an MOU with Nanyang Technological University of Singapore

The Minister of Education Dr Valentine UWAMARIYA attended a Virtual signing ceremony of the MoU between the Government of Rwanda and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore on academic exchange.

The Minister of Education Dr Valentine Uwamariya signed the MoU on behalf of the Government of Rwanda while as Professor Ling San signed on behalf of the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed provides a framework to promote cooperation between the Government of Rwanda and NTU in the field of Training, Education, Scientific Research and Technology between both parties.

In her remarks, the Minister of Education reminded that the discussions on the possibility of a partnership originates in a conversation between His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Rwanda, with Prof Subra Suresh, NTU President, during the World Economic Forum held in Davos in 2019.

The Minister of Education noted that, despite the difficulties caused by the global pandemic, this MoU is the culmination of very detailed discussions between NTU Senior Management and the Ministry of Education Rwanda.

Noting that the discussions helped in ensuring the MoU focusses on areas of Strength of NTU against the priorities facing the Education Sector in Rwanda and in support of the Rwandan National Strategy for Transformation which targets to establish Rwanda as a “Globally Competitive Knowledge-based Economy”.

The Minister of Education further highlighted that this partnership will yield benefits for both parties to increase both international profile and visibility, and produce professionals and scholars contributing to the global human development agenda.

www.mineduc.gov.rw

Ericsson launches private 5G set to transform secure on-site connectivity

Ericsson launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting but not limited to manufacturing, mining and process industry, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.

Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).

It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.

Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.

Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.

Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.

Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, says: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.

Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”

Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, says: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market.  The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”

Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, says: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets – in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”

www.ericsson.com