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R400m for local data centre

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Teraco Data Environments, a vendor neutral colocation data centre operator and Internet exchange point (IXP) has announced that it has increased the size of its medium term funding facility to R400m, secured from Barclays Africa.

“This is a further significant milestone for Teraco. This facility, together with internally generated funds are earmarked for continuing our large scale investments into Data Centre Infrastructure roll-outs,” says Jan Hnizdo, Teraco’s Chief Financial Officer.

Teraco builds and operates colocation data centre facilities that enable clients to deploy telecommunications equipment and other key IT infrastructure in a scalable way. Teraco further provides clients with a secure environment where they are able to easily connect to submarine cable systems, local terrestrial networks, most major African IP backbones and key content aggregation hubs.

“Teraco’s premium data centre services are in high demand, and the demand is set to continue underpinned by strong growth in the Internet and increased cloud adoption,” says Lex van Wyk, CEO of Teraco.

Teraco has seen a rapid expansion in its footprint over the last three years to include three state-of-the-art data centres located in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, which combined, comprise 10 MVA of power plant, powering over 6,000m2 of data centre space. Teraco is also home to NAPAfrica, Africa’s largest neutral layer-two Internet exchange point (IXP), a home to more than 180 peers across sub-Saharan Africa.

Hnizdo says the Barclays Africa funding facility will allow for the construction of a large new data centre in Johannesburg to meet continued client demand. The initial phases in the construction of the JB2 facility are projected to commence in 2015.

“Barclays Africa has been an integral partner to the continued success of Teraco, they have been supportive and flexible with regards to our growth ambitions and understand our unique business model associated infrastructure funding requirements,” concludes Hnizdo.

“This is an exciting sector right now. We are delighted to assist Teraco again in the funding of their new data centre to meet continued client demand and to help them in delivering on their client proposition” says Jason Abt, Head of Leveraged Finance and Corporate Debt, from Barclays Africa.

“Telecommunications is an exciting industry to be in right now – it is at the heart of the explosive innovation and growth centred around the Internet – and Teraco has rapidly evolved into being the internet exchange point (IXP) and connectivity hub for sub- Saharan Africa. The securing of the additional Barclays Capital funding will allow Teraco to remain a significant contributor in the industry,” van Wyk concludes.

 

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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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