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Funding for IT skills in SA

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WeThinkCode_, a new peer-to-peer institution dedicated to eliminating the IT skills gap, has been launched in South Africa with a three-year founding sponsorship from First National Bank, BBD and Derivco.  

WeThinkCode_ “identifies and trains brilliant young minds to become world-class programmers in a peer-to-peer problem solving learning environment”, says the company. In partnership with Ecole 42 in France (www.42.fr), WeThinkCode_ will open its first campus in January 2016 in Johannesburg. Tuition-free, the organisation partners with companies to sponsor the two-year course and ensure a sustainable business model.

As Founding Sponsors; FNB, BBD and Derivco will provide financial support for the launch of the programme and will play a role in ensuring the curriculum stays relevant to the industry. Students will also be able to interact with sponsors through internship opportunities and projects throughout their coursework.

The three founding sponsorships add to a number of South African and international companies who have joined WeThinkCode_ as corporate sponsors, ensuring the opening of the Johannesburg campus for the first 100 students in January 2016.

A WeThinkCode_ statement this week said: “The breadth of support we are receiving is a testament to the need for a new education model to source and train highly skilled software engineers in South Africa. There are 3.4 million unemployed youth in South Africa, and we believe that within this pool, there is immense talent and aptitude to become world-class developers.”

Marcel Klaassen, Head of Growth at FNB Business, explained the company’s purpose in the sponsorship: “This partnership supports FNB’s market leading ecosystem of innovative banking products, services, value adds and high growth entrepreneurial businesses. The unique coding education model also offers new job opportunities for aspiring IT experts, regardless of financial means or background. We look forward to working with the dynamic team at WeThinkCode_ and investing in the future of tech education in South Africa.”

Peter Searle, BBD CEO echoed these thoughts: “At BBD we know that the aptitude to be a programmer is not necessarily aligned to formal computer science training, and hence WeThinkCode’s unique and disruptive approach to identifying and training talent is for BBD a compelling proposition to support our efforts to develop programming as a key skill in South Africa. BBD’s sponsorship of WeThinkCode is aligned to our own strategic need for additional programming skills and to our ongoing community based efforts to develop IT skills in South Africa.”

“Derivco is honoured to be part of a programme that is rooted in the power of education and aimed at the betterment of South Africans,” said Dion Hatton, Derivco CEO. “The dynamic partnership with WeThinkCode_ has given us an invaluable opportunity to pursue our passion of developing people. The software development industry is rapidly expanding in South Africa and it is an exciting place to be.”

Created by four young entrepreneurs, WeThinkCode_ is designed to respond to the desperate IT skills shortage and lack of education opportunities in South Africa. The programme is free and open to all talented and resilient candidates aged 17 to 35, regardless of previous education, socio-economic background or financial means. Student applications open on 1 October 2015, to apply sign up on www.borntocode.co.za

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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