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Free Wi-Fi brings out citizens

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Project Isizwe, a non-profit organisation that aims to bring the internet to people across South Africa, says that citizen journalism using video news is rapidly growing in the City of Tshwane on the back of free Wi-Fi.

Citizen journalism is provided through Wi-Fi TV, a video-on-demand service of relevant and engaging video content distributed over the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network that the City of Tshwane has provided for its citizens.

The Wi-Fi TV service offers 5 channels and hosts content created by young film makers living in the various areas of the City of Tshwane providing the local communities with a voice and informing them about what is happening within their communities.

Driven by the need to tell their stories, Wi-Fi TV in the City of Tshwane reached  306 000 unique views in January 2015, pushing total views to 640 000 since the service was launched on the 3rd of November 2014. On the “My City” channel alone, 320 000 views have been logged so far.

“It seems hard to believe that not too long ago, the general public in the City of Tshwane had no real access to free Wi-Fi. Today they are setting records with high-quality videos that are streamed via Wi-Fi TV to be viewed by everyone,” said Alan Knott-Craig Jr, Founder and CEO of Project Isizwe.

Wi-Fi TV is a hyper localized video-on-demand solution enabled for unlimited access to users of the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi service.

To continue to interact with all the stakeholders of the City of Tshwane, Wi-Fi TV through the “My City” channel will be asking the citizens of the city to put forward one question to the Executive Mayor, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. These questions will be answered by the Executive Mayor on Wi-Fi TV.

“We are proud of Wi-Fi TV and can only thank the City of Tshwane for making it easy for its citizens to access free Wi-Fi. We believe Wi-Fi TV is engaging, educating and empowering the citizens of the City of Tshwane. We  hope that this will contribute in bridging the digital divide and making the lives of  people better and  providing entertainment to  communities.” says Alan Knott-Craig Jr.

Wi-Fi TV enables the City of Tshwane to get further insight into the lives of its citizens and communicate directly with them via video without being restricted by the data costs traditionally involved in video delivery.

Access to the bouquet is zero-rated on the free Wi-Fi network developed by Project Isizwe and via the initiative’s Tobetsa online portal.

The Wi-Fi TV service was initially launched with 4 channels: Att’ville, CBD, Mams and Sosh. Later, a 5th channel, “My City” was included featuring news and information from the City. In the future, additional channels will be added to Wi-Fi TV offering additional relevant content to people.

“We believe Wi-Fi TV is adding more value to the citizens of Tshwane and we will continue to support them,” concludes Knott-Craig Jr.

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SqwidNet challenges students to dream up IoT solutions

SqwidNet has a technology competition for university students across South Africa to come up with innovative Internet of Things projects. Entries will be accepted until 25 July 2018.

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This nationwide competition has been designed to challenge students to develop and create innovative projects focused on solutions that use SqwidNet / SIGFOX technology.  SqwidNet is the licensed SIGFOX IoT network operator in South Africa.

Applications of IoT have been seen in a number of industries and SqwidNet says it would like to see young South African minds using this technology to address African socio-economic problems.

“Statistics show that the IoT market opportunity for the Middle East and Africa region is poised to grow by 10% a year from $85.1 billion in 2017 to $114.4 billion by 2020,” says Phathizwe Malinga, acting CEO of SqwidNet. This means the market is ripe with opportunities and these young students and graduates from across the country are welcome to submit ideas for projects focusing on environmental and animal protection, energy, health, transportation, and any other areas of sustainable development.”

All qualifying entries will have the opportunity of their designs being seen by SqwidNet partners, with the possibility of commercialising successful solutions. In addition, SqwidNet will offer participants access to their entrepreneurship programme, (IOT)E. The participants will also be given the opportunity to register as SIGFOX University Partners, which will give them access to dedicated content.

Winners will be announced on 1 August 2018, with the winning entry standing to win cash prizes for their team and institution faculty. The winners will also get a chance to present their design in IoT Valley in Toulouse, France. All participants will be provided with hardware and software development kits, free access to SqwidNet’s IoT network and API access, and mentoring /support both from SqwidNet’s South African team, in relation with the Sigfox Adoption & Evangelisation team.

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OLX sets new security standard 

OLX has blocked nearly 200 000 scammers from its site, writes COLETTE VAN MONTFORT, User Centricity Manager for OLX South Africa.

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OLX’s investment in tech innovation and skilled recruits have set a new standard in user safety.

We have raised the bar last year in the level of user support we provide to our community by introducing a fraud hotline and a dedicated fraud team – both are the first of their kind in South Africa. Those efforts have paid off. Since June, the fraud team has blocked nearly 200 000 scammers from our site, and we still reached the highest number of unique ads in the past two years in the last quarter.

Aside from building a skilful team of fraud specialists, OLX has invested heavily in the platform’s security.

Globally, we noticed that the number of chats far exceeded the number of calls in OLX. The feedback we received is that chats are non-intrusive and familiar while keeping personal information private. So, we wanted to increase the safety within chat by introducing contextual safety tips that follow current scam trends. For example, if a user is asked to pay for an item via PayPal before seeing it, a warning will be sent to the user with a safety tip. Additionally, an automatic alert is sent to users when they are chatting with someone who has been detected as suspicious.

Because OLX sees the value of building a loyal community of users and employees, they rallied their users (with the online campaign #StaySharp) and the local team (from business development manager to intern) to help in the fight against scamming that has decreased fraud incidents in the past 6 months by 44% whilst other global classified players have become a breeding ground for scammers as reported by NBC2 Investigators recently.

The OLX team encourage anyone who comes across any fraudulent activity on the app or website to call the fraud hotline: 021 406 3900 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. The fraud specialists are always happy to help.

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