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IBM opens cloud data centre in Jhb

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IBM, in collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom has announced that it is opening a Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg.

IBM has announced that it is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.  IBM will provide clients with a complete portfolio of cloud services for running enterprise and as a service workloads.

The new IBM Cloud Data Center has the ability to run and manage SAP applications and workloads in the cloud and underscores IBM’s growing cloud footprint, which now includes 46 cloud data centers across six continents.

“We’re working to drive cloud adoption that best leverages a customer’s existing IT investments,” said Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM Country General Manager in South Africa. “Our new Cloud Data Center gives customers a local onramp to IBM Cloud services including moving mission critical SAP workloads to the cloud with ease. It also gives customers the added flexibility of keeping data within country which is a key differentiator for IBM.”

The IBM Cloud Data Center will provide SAP enterprise customers in South Africa and Africa with access to IBM’s global network of Cloud Data Centers and services expertise. This will enable businesses to run critical applications on the cloud, providing access to a broad array of services for building in-country cloud solutions, while offering faster network speeds to improve performance and reach end users even faster.

“The increase of enterprise cloud computing on the continent is being driven by large enterprise and multinational organisations expanding their presence and IT requirements across Africa,” said Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer of Vodacom Business. “CIO’s are looking to gain efficiencies and cut cost by moving more of their IT infrastructure, applications and processes into the Cloud. Vodacom’s extensive Fixed and Mobile network infrastructure, Pan African and global footprint and its investment in data center infrastructure provides the ideal platform and environment to deliver cloud services to large and multinational enterprises.“

Today’s news showcases IBM’s global reach and broad portfolio of cloud services capable of supporting very large enterprises like big retailers and financial institutions. Vodacom is committed to delivering enterprise grade cloud solutions and this partnership with IBM delivers on that scale and will position Vodacom Business as a leader in total IT solutions across the continent.

“Gijima as a 100 percent black owned South African company, is proud to be the cloud partner of choice for these unique IBM services,” said Eileen Wilton, CEO of Gijima. The partnership with IBM and Vodacom is an extension of Gijima’s hybrid cloud strategy and is the culmination of two years of hard work as part of our turnaround strategy. Gijima is the ideal partner for this service as we already have the system and SAP integration skills as part of our existing solutions offering.

Bringing together Vodacom’s network and Africa footprint, Gijima’s SAP enterprise expertise and IBM’s cloud platforms will create a powerhouse in cloud services, resolving data latency and in-country regulatory issues through the protection of data in-country and potentially also offset data networking costs. Gijima and Vodacom will both resell IBM’s Cloud Managed Services to the SAP enterprise customer base in the region.

IBM Cloud delivers fast, easy and automated access to public, private and hybrid cloud services to help clients digitally transform. IBM Cloud is a growing collection of services including analytics, mobile, networking, storage, Internet of Things and cognitive computing. With more than 46 global cloud data centers, IBM helps companies securely manage and gain insight into their data no matter where it resides.

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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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