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Burkina Faso to connect public to the cloud

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Alcatel-Lucent will provide the government of Burkina Faso with cloud networking technology that will enable it to develop new digital public services, such as e-government, e-learning and e-health. 

Alcatel-Lucent will supply the West African nation with its NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), Cloudband and IP platforms, which will be integrated into the ‘G-Cloud’ infrastructure to being built around virtualised network resources from cloud nodes in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and five provinces.

Approximately 400 buildings in 13 regional urban centres will be connected through a 513Km fibre-optic IP/MPLS wide area network. Backhaul will be provided by an 800 km fibre-optic transmission system that will become part of Burkina Faso’s National Fibre Optics Backbone.

Alcatel-Lucent and the Ministry of Development of the Digital Economy and Posts as well as the National Agency for the Promotion of ICT (ANPTIC) in Burkina Faso, are celebrating the ‘G-Cloud’ project launching. Their excellencies, Mr. Yacouba Isaac ZIDA, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso; Dr. Nébila Amadou YARO, the Minister of Digital Economy and Post and Mr. Bo Jensen, the Danish Ambassador to Burkina Faso, were among the local and national dignitaries who attended a ceremony on 12 November  in Ouagadougou.

The project is part of an ambitious IT and telecommunications strategy being administered by the country’s Ministry for Digital Development (MDENP – Ministère du Développement de l’Économie Numérique et des Postes), and intends to enable connectivity between public departments and municipalities via an e-government platform – an integral element of Burkina Faso’s Economic and Social Development Strategy, SCADD (Stratégie pour une croissance accéléré et un développement durable).

The network will support the anticipated increase in future demand for digital services to the health, education, justice, immigration, parliament and other sectors in the coming years. Under the agreement with MDENP, Alcatel-Lucent will support network and infrastructure operations to be installed by 2017. Financing for the project is being facilitated by the Danish government through the Danida Business Finance agency, whose contribution to the project amounts to Eur 30 million (19.9 billion FCFA) with a direct grant subsidy of Eur 15.5 million (10 billion FCFA).

Key Facts:

•     Alcatel-Lucent is integrating its Cloudband Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform, with its IP/MPLS platforms.

•     Alcatel-Lucent will deploy a high-speed, high-capacity network with links between locations and data centres by using its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS). The 1830 PSS offers exceptional capacity, performance, agility and intelligence for the transport of very large amounts of data over long distances and can support a mixture of 10G, 40G and 100G channels on the same fiber pair, helping ensure support for future needs as demand grows and offers rapid deployment and necessary flexibility to spur economic development.

•     Alcatel-Lucent will ensure a seamless transfer of knowledge by its operational support to the teams of MDENP in order that they can take over the full network operation responsibility by the end of the contract.

•     Alcatel-Lucent also will provide a training and development program for more than 100 government employees.

Quotes:

H.E. Mr Nébila Amadou Yaro, Minister, Ministry of Development of the Digital Economy and Posts, said: “The G-Cloud network will allow the distribution of applications and resources at all times, wherever necessary, while providing consolidated cloud and network management. This will allow the system to be operated as a unique virtual environment. This project will have many positive impacts for Burkina Faso, including micro and macro-economic growth, and increasing the efficiency of health and education services.”

Alpin Verlet, Head of Alcatel-Lucent activities in West and Central Africa said: “Alcatel-Lucent is proud and happy to build this project, the first ‘Government Cloud’ in the region, for the Government of Burkina Faso. This project will soon become a very strong exemplary project, showing how a forward thinking government is using the Cloud technology to provide its citizens with access to government’s services.”

Bo Jensen, the Danish Ambassador to Burkina Faso, is excited about the project: “The objectives pursued by the project are in line with the national development strategy and sectoral strategies.  It is an innovative approach using state of the art technology to pursue poverty alleviation and good governance. It aims mainly at building up a more efficient and transparent public administration, reducing corruption through online service, contributing to enhancing business climate, thus stimulate economic growth and job creation, among others”. He also added: “We believe that this project will support the government decentralisation process and promote deconcentration of public services. In addition, we strongly believe that this project will lead to more transparency and improved public financial management. It is in line with Danida’s support over many years to the Ministry of Economy and Finance through budget support.”

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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