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Orange awards social prize

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An Egyptian start-up that developed the idea of “click funding” has won the 2015 Orange African Social Venture Prize, presented during the AfricaCom Awards ceremony in Cape Town last week. 

For the fifth year in a row, the Orange Group recognised three innovative projects that could stimulate development in Africa. The prize aims to encourage entrepreneurs as they launch initiatives using technology to meet the needs of people living in Africa.

More than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2015, reflecting the potential of the telecommunications sector to support development in Africa in fields as diverse as healthcare, agriculture, education and energy. Eleven projects were selected by a panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development. The shortlisted projects were presented on Orange’s pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com. The three prize-winners received grants of 10,000, 15,000 and 25,000 euros, along with six months of support from Orange experts. The first prize will also be offered a patent registration.

The winning projects:

The first prize was awarded to Bassita (www.bassita.org), an Egyptian start-up that has developed the idea of “click funding”. The platform allows businesses to host their social, cultural or environmental projects and receive donations depending on whether the project reaches its objectives in terms of number of clicks or times shared on social networks.

The socially-responsible start-up upOwa (www.upowa.org) was awarded second prize. The Cameroon-based company has developed an intelligent solar-powered solution that aims to provide electricity to rural areas of Western and Central Africa that have not yet been connected to the national electricity grids.

The third prize was awarded to the Malian company myAgro / N’Ga Sene (www.myagro.org) that has developed a mobile application which enables farmers to buy high-quality seeds and fertilizer, and to benefit from a range of training programs. myAgro is set to play a role in improving agricultural productivity in Africa and facilitating working conditions.

Finally, a “favourite project” was also selected by web users on the StarAfrica portal.

Over 22,000 visitors voted for the Moroccan project Kezakoo (www.kezakoo.com), an e-learning platform that publishes free online educational material (school documents and videos) by allowing members to share their own content with the community.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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