Experts and leaders within the renewable energy industry believe the time to champion renewable energy is now – as South Africa’s energy mix is currently being decided and debated.
There is also an urgency to convert a general awareness and understanding about renewable energy into tangible action.
These were some of the key issues teased out and discussed at the U.S. Embassy Pretoria’s Energy21: Exchange Hub on telling the renewable energy story differently, which wrapped today.
The event, which drew over 60 people working in the renewable energy sector, focused on tactics for telling the renewable energy story differently in South Africa. Participants considered how to best reach, touch, inform and convert new audiences, which is especially relevant following the announcement of South Africa’s updated Integrated Resource Plan 2020-2030 and the resounding success of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPPP).
“South Africa is at the beginning of a very important renewable energy journey,” said Elizabeth McKay, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy. “Finding new champions of renewable energy and encouraging more action will require us to shift the renewable energy narrative,” she added.
Driving this message home at Energy21: Exchange Hub – a partnership between the U.S. Embassy South Africa, World Bank’s Connect4Climate and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – were communications, climate change and renewables experts, including the World Bank’s Max Edkins, Green Cape’s Aman Baboolal, FirstRand Limited’s Madeleine Ronquest and Intellidex’s Colin Anthony.
“South Africa’s renewables story is truly inspirational. We are transitioning towards a renewable future, which opens up opportunities. By communicating more, we strengthen the possibility of a renewables-focused future. It’s also the most pressing challenge of our time and our generation’s time,” said Edkins, Climate Change and Communications Expert at the World Bank’s Connect4Climate programme.
David Shelby, Director of Public Engagement at the U.S. State Department, said: “In the last five years South Africa has made tremendous headway for renewables – as evidenced by the highly successful REIPPP programme roll-out. This, in turn, has played an important part in building the economy and job creation. Now is the time to start telling this story and to communicate the benefits.”
Energy21: Exchange Hub saw communications experts paired with current and future leaders in the private sector, non-government organizations, and government who work on renewable energy policy and promotion to partake in strategic discussions and training.
Through discussing tactics – ranging from strategies for creating compelling, sticky content, reaching rural communities, designing communications campaigns to data visualization – influential industry minds explored new solutions for achieving greater awareness and public support for the renewable energy movement.
One of the main messages about renewable energy: it is no longer as expensive as people think.
Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz, Manager of CSIR’s Energy Centre, said solar and wind energy cost competitiveness studies build a strong economic case and sound positioning for renewables.
This is especially important at a time when the Department of Energy’s updated Integrated Resource Plan will be discussed to determine the country’s energy mix structure. “Building new energy capacity from wind and solar is less costly than coal. Additionally, these also offer CO2 and water reductions,” said Bischof-Niemz.
“While educating the public on renewables must be grounded in science, there is also the need to work together to create public awareness on renewables, to stimulate community interest – in both urban and rural areas – and engage meaningfully.”
This sentiment was echoed by Edkins who believes that success lies in developing strong partnerships to drive a focused message on renewables. Connect4Climate is already testimony of what can be achieved.
Established partnerships with stakeholders, ranging from non-governmental organisations to the United Nations, have helped to harness Connect4Climate’s mandate of combating climate change through actions driven by solutions.
The conversations and outcomes from Energy21: Exchange Hub will continue with the intention of creating a strong and connected network within the renewable energy and communications industry. Participants acknowledged their shared passion for and commitment to telling the renewable energy story differently, leading the way in creating narratives that touches the hearts and minds of all South Africans.
An agreed Action Plan by all Energy21: Exchange Hub participants will continue its momentum throughout 2017.
However, change really begins with each participant and their will to drive home change in their renewables environment. “For us, success is for each person within the renewables industry to go home and implement one idea from Energy21 in their respective environments,” said Shelby.
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.
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.
Cross-channel chat launched
Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.
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.”