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CT to put R185m in broadband

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The City of Cape Town plans to spend R185 million in the current financial year on its broadband initiative.

The City and Province have additional funding to support digital initiatives from the Western Cape Government of R11.8 million for broadband infrastructure and R23.7 million for their Digital Inclusion Project (wi-fi). 180 new Wi-Fi access points were introduced in 2014/15 and a further 120 points will follow by year-end. “Our network is now robust and extensive enough to be leveraged by the private sector for inclusive growth and economic development,” said Andre Stelzner, CIO of the City of Cape Town, to members of Accelerate Cape Town (ACT), at a forum on Digital Cape Town: Creating a Smart City on Friday, 16 October 2015.

Ryan Ravens, CEO of ACT – a business leadership organisation that represents the largest corporates in the Western Cape – said: “Cape Town, with its population of 3.7 million, is growing at 2.6% per annum. As such, we are the city with the highest urbanisation rate in SA. In order to create a stable and conducive business environment, we need to find creative ways of accelerating inclusive growth and to work more carefully with our resources. The case for business to become involved is compelling and, from a socio-economic perspective, we also know that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can generate 1.3% growth in GDP.

“By putting the broadband infrastructure in place, the City has optimised the environment for private sector involvement by providing the backbone infrastructure. And by extending this invitation to business to become involved in the provision of related products and services to citizens, we are presented with an excellent opportunity to help transform Cape Town into a smart city.”

Talent

To facilitate this process, Ravens and his team are also addressing key inhibitors of which the skills shortage is considered the greatest. “The private sector remains constrained by a dearth of relevant skills in general and, in the case of Digital Cape Town, of software engineers, data scientists, and JAVA and .Net developers in particular. We are engaging with the region’s universities and educational institutions to raise awareness, ensure collaboration with the private sector, and address this issue at foundational level.” Ravens said.

Further to a free Wi-Fi service, the organisation’s members identified open data, smart (online)

systems (for the settlement of bills, fault logging, etc.), and IT infrastructure access for educational institutions, as the smart city initiatives to be prioritised.

About 30 000 residents currently access the City’s Wi-Fi network and a tender for the provision of Wi-Fi on MyCiti buses, has recently closed. According to Stelzner, this is a highly specialised area. He says: “The construction of dedicated wireless data transmission infrastructure along bus routes is very expensive and can at best be justified along very high occupancy routes. The alternative is dependent on good LTE mobile data services from mobile operators. It is this mobile data service that will then be used for transmission between a moving bus and a terrestrial base station.”

Collaboration

Large multinational organisations, with their research and development capabilities and ready access to global best practice, are often well placed to help find viable solutions to complex technical challenges. In summarising his presentation at the event, Damien Callaghan – Senior Director for Solution Development at the Internet of Things Group at Intel – told the audience: “There is no clear definition of a smart city yet. This means that you have an opportunity to define – and realise – it in Cape Town. When doing so, start on projects that present the least resistance. Always be clear on who “owns” the data and who can license the use of it. Articulate the Rand value – and “soft” – returns upfront and, perhaps most importantly, understand that you cannot do this alone. Create a small group of eco-system partners who align with you on this journey.”

A collaborative approach will be central to unlocking the full potential of the City’s fibre network, Ravens, agreed. “This was our first forum in a series aimed at facilitating engagement between business and the City as we work to transform Cape Town into the progressive, smart and inclusive city it has every potential to be. Our next session will be smaller and focused on generating ideas on how the private sector can help.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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