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Human cloud raining jobs

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When many think of “the cloud”, they think of the Internet or data storage. But the cloud is evolving into a human resource  – the “human cloud” – and changing the way we work, writes ANDRE HUGO, Co-founder and Chief Jammer at M4JAM.

Thanks to mobile technology, workers are no longer bound to their desks, offices, countries or even full-time jobs. Instead, they can work within the human cloud on any connected device. This gives them the power to choose what work to do and when to do it. Simultaneously, the human cloud allows your brand or business to access staff on demand, creating the flexibility to manage your workforce in accordance with client demand. It’s a win-win as we take a step beyond cloud-based businesses to cloud-based workforces.

At its core, this cloud-based workforce links to the idea of crowdsourcing. It’s about connecting brands and businesses to a community of willing workers (rather than employees) who could be anywhere in the world, provided they have an internet connection, and who are rewarded solely for their output.

Globally, there are several crowdsourcing businesses tapping into the human cloud model to fulfill a range of client requirements. Upwork (previously Elance) connects its four million clients with 10 million freelancers around the world to complete three million tasks annually, ranging from writing to programming. Kaggle brings together a community of data scientists from over 100 countries who compete with one another to solve complex data science problems for industries ranging from financial services to energy and retail. Similarly, 10EQS connects clients with global top talent in a structured, online collaboration environment to get answers to business questions quickly and inexpensively.

For businesses, that’s one of the biggest drawcards of the human cloud: quick results from real people, without breaking the bank. It’s this vision that we had in mind when launching M4JAM – a “microjobbing” platform that has racked up a community of more than 100 000 active “jobbers” in just over a year, who complete tasks ranging from surveys to point of interest validation and mystery shopping. The real differentiator for M4JAM is that the majority of our jobbers come from developing markets across Africa, which presents clients wanting to expand into the continent with real-time insights into these markets.

With this in mind, there is also potential for the human cloud to expand in other developing markets like India, Brazil and Mexico. Not only are they fertile breeding ground to grow your business or brand when you have the right insights, but there is also an untapped pool of resources ready to complete your business tasks as and when you need them.

Beyond gaining insights from these markets, the human cloud also provides you with the opportunity to address the potential skills shortage that exists when your permanent, paid employees simply don’t have the time or experience to do the work required. You’re no longer constrained by a bricks-and-mortar workspace – you can get the work you need from the cloud-based workforce.

This is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that need the manpower and real-time insights to keep up with their biggest competitors, but lack the funds to hire a substantial permanent workforce. The ability to draw from a pool of international workers, along with the flexibility and all-round cost savings, make it a “no-brainer” that SMEs should be going the human cloud route.

Those who have already seen the power of the human cloud can advocate for its power to eliminate skills shortages, ease unemployment and change the way work and business is done. There is no doubt the need to navigate this new way of doing things to fully harness this power for both the employer and the new workforce. However, there is also no doubt that as businesses and brands continue this new model, the human workforce will become the driving force.

It’s another way the cloud is making it rain for employers and workers alike.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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