After a successful pilot with three schools, Vumatel will roll out free uncapped open access fibre optic infrastructure to every school they pass during the deployment of their network.
Each school will be provided with a dedicated 1 Gigabit per second line and will be able to choose from a variety of internet service providers for free uncapped internet connectivity. The Internet Service Providers currently on board with the project include Cell C, Cool Ideas and Vox Telecoms with others soon to join the initiative.
VUMA piloted this initiative with Greenside High, Hoërskool Linden and Parkhurst Primary. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Pieter Hugo, parent and tech specialist on the governing body at Hoërskool Linden, beams with pride and excitement as he speaks about how the introduction of fibre has benefitted his school, “the bandwidth provided by Vuma is making a big difference. It is an enabler.”
The new and improved connectivity means the school can migrate away from locally hosted services and move their systems into the cloud. They have plans to increase the reach of connectivity beyond their computer centres and have introduced an e-learning tablet system to the grade 8 class.
Hugo says that the financial impact is also significant. “Schools are financially constrained and cannot afford computer-trained IT professionals, infrastructure maintenance and hardware costs. Cloud migration will save time, effort and money, and these savings are made possible because we have fibre.”
Schools are lagging behind in the digital age because the cost of bandwidth has traditionally been so prohibitive. The systems in place at these schools will seem archaic to those in business who take connectivity for granted. It is ironic that in these educational facilities where access could make such an impact, it is so lacking. Niel Schoeman, CEO of Vumatel, argues that “our children are the future and it is vital that we connect them to the information age. We challenge other broadband providers to follow our lead and work together as the private sector in addressing one of South Africa’s key challenges. The incremental cost for telcos to do this for schools are negligible when compared to the potential and fundamental impact it can have.”
Sanjeev Maharaj, the Principal of Parkhurst Primary, speaks of the massive impact that VUMA fibre has had in his school. In 2014, The Click Foundation introduced the Reading Eggs e-learning literacy programme to the school at a time when the school only had access to an ADSL connection. Due to the extensive lag on the connection, instruction lacked flow, resulting in learners getting distracted and not enjoying the full benefit of the programme.
“Since introducing the fibre connection we have found that the learners are getting through a greater number of lessons, much quicker than previously experienced on ADSL,” notes Maharaj.
As a result of the success of the programme at Parkhurst Primary due to improved connectivity, the Click Foundation have donated an additional 20 computers to the school and are currently using Parkhurst Primary as a flagship site to demonstrate the benefits of their literacy programme.
“Without adequate connectivity,” says Maharaj, “none of this would be possible.”
This programme contributes to the enrichment of learning English at the school. Most of the learners do not speak English at home and are only exposed to it at school. The majority of the learners are from Alexandra and Soweto with the remaining children coming from the inner city and surrounding suburbs. The ability for the learners to access this literacy platform is extremely enriching in terms of their English language education. The Click Foundation has also found that when comparing children of the same level and demographics, those attending Parkhurst Primary are able to get through their lessons faster and more seamlessly.
“The introduction of this e-learning tool has also changed the way children learn computer skills,” says Maharaj. “Previously, the focus was on computer literacy, while now the focus is on learning, and computer literacy comes naturally as a byproduct.”
Vumatel has already started introducing fibre to additional schools and aims to provide free high speed connectivity to approximately 80 schools this year, positively affecting around 65,000 learners. The telecoms company is committed to moving South Africa forward and contributing to the objectives of the national broadband strategy – SA Connect. Providing broadband connectivity to schools is one way in which the company is giving back to the communities in which they deploy their network; and they encourage other telecoms companies to do the same.
Future of TV in 4 letters
Television technology has come a long way, transforming not just the way we consume our entertainment, but also the formats in which media is broadcasted or streamed. Today, TVs can do a lot more than just display our favourite shows, says DEAN DAFFUE, GTM manager at LG Electronics SA.
Today, consumers demand TVs that are not just slim, but so thin that they are like paintings on walls. TVs have become an element of décor that can seamlessly integrate into the design of a home, and render the clearest, sharpest images, with the deepest blacks and crispest whites without compromising on resolution. Home cinema is not just about the picture anymore. Consumers are eyeing TVs that would be able to learn usage patterns and automatically suggest entertainment based on individual preferences. The switch from LCD to LED transformed TV design, allowing for lighter, thinner and easily wall-mountable frames, housing even more sophisticated display tech. The picture quality also dramatically improved with new contrast ratios rendering more vivid colours, deeper blacks and crisper whites. But they were still more functional than aesthetic.
As larger segments of the population embraced internet connectivity and streaming content, the TV became smarter, integrating content-streaming apps for a more seamless viewing experience. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) upgraded their infrastructures to accommodate the growth in streaming services, TV manufacturers also upgraded their TVs’ ability to tap into different types of content.
In the future, TVs with built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to learn usage patterns and automatically switch modes based on user preference, and even take instructions from multiple users as TVs become increasingly connected to digital home assistant systems.
Six years on, and we see the evolution that continues to lead in the OLED TV market, LG is racking up awards and accolades for its innovative OLED TVs. This pioneering effort in the design and manufacturing of OLED TVs has culminated in complete dominance of the OLED market, leaving the pinnacle challenge of innovation in display technology, redefining the TV viewing experience, and its place in your home. Great efforts have been made on OLED technology being affordable and accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a better-quality television experience than before. No TV is a greater testament to this than last year’s award-winning LG SIGNATURE W7 – also known as wallpaper.
As South Africans are continuously looking for ‘an experience that amazes’, OLED TVs are considered by industry experts to offer the most advanced display technology. As each pixel on the display can be individually switched on and off, OLED offers enhanced picture quality without image degradation. This results in the highest quality image rendering with the purest blacks. With its myriad advantages, OLED panels have become the most desired display technology today and it has become a leading force in making this technology even more ubiquitous and accessible.
With support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, LG OLED TV is the first of its kind to offer a premium cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It also features Active HDR technology, which optimises HDR picture quality scene-by-scene, rendering brighter scenes and greater shadow detail for a life-like viewing experience.
Despite the market dominance, the development of newer, more innovative technologies does not stop. This year a staggering number of innovative display technologies were unveiled, such as future display technology like roll-able OLED screens and large format curved displays that will become the future of wall art.
AI is also set to make an appearance. There is a unique and personalised AI services built on the deep learning-based DeepThinQ technology, in cooperation with other AI service providers such as Google, giving AI TVs the ability to automatically adjust the settings to Game Mode, or Sports Mode based on whether a user is currently playing Xbox or watching a football match. Ultimately, AI TV will provide care and comfort to users’ mind and body by learning more about its users’ viewing habits.
What does this all mean for consumers? With continued innovation and development of display technologies, as well as advanced design, AI, premium audio integration and support for the latest resolutions, colour and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards, the TV will no longer be a display, but a complete home viewing experience. This is what new ranges of OLED TVs will bring to fruition in the coming months, making it the ideal time to upgrade your TV to the ultimate home entertainment experience.
Game of screens
When it comes to the ultimate home entertainment experience, what you watch is just as important as how you watch it. With streaming services like Netflix keeping people glued to their screens people are paying a lot more attention to the overall home viewing experience.
Flat panel TV screens have long been favoured as the most cost-efficient and appropriate option for everyday home entertainment. However, more and more people are investing in projectors and fully kitted-out home theatre systems to enhance the experience, as proven by the 28% global market growth of home-used projectors over the past five years. However, choosing between the myriad of options on the market today can be challenging.
When it comes to affordability, TVs are certainly becoming more accessible than ever. Where plasma screens were once the talk of the town, and features like HD quality and larger screen size only added more zeroes to the price, today’s LED and OLED models are far more accessible and affordable for everyone – despite offering even more technologically advanced features, which is the biggest reason why people generally opt for TVs.
However, projectors have become more affordable too, and are just as easy to use. The cutting-edge models available now are a far cry from the clunky ones with poor display quality of the previous tech era. For instance, the full HD Epson TW-600 series offers everything you would expect from high-end projectors – three-times brighter, crystal clear display thanks to 3LCD technology, built-in Wi-Fi, 11 years of lamp life and a great warranty offer – at a much more attractive price point compared to other projectors on the market. Unlike TVs, however, the projectors offer an immersive, real-life experience that TVs simply can’t match.
Screen size and quality
While the cost is almost always the first factor that people consider when purchasing a home entertainment system, factors like quality and screen size are often a close second and third.
On the one hand, LED TVs are great all-rounders for sport, movies, normal TV and gaming, and offer pretty much all the average person needs in terms of a home viewing experience that ranges from adequate to impressive. There are a variety of LED TV models currently on the market that offer great resolutions and good contrast ratios, but TV screens are still limited in terms of size, which impacts the overall viewing experience.
Projectors offer all the benefits of an LED TV with the added benefit of a huge, movie-theatre like screen to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Projectors are also capable of projecting high definition content onto a surface of anywhere from 30 inches right up to 300 inches, allowing you to choose your screen size depending on your requirements.
In terms of quality, 3LCD technology, as offered by world-leading technology brand Epson, is the most popular projector technology available on the market making up more than 69% of all projectors sold worldwide. This technology offers a clearer, crisper image, showing more detail while allowing for smoother motion on-screen and more vibrant, differentiated colours.
Choosing the best screen option for your dream home theatre setup is a decision that’s best made after careful consideration of the options that are currently available. And while the average flat panel TV screen display has certainly improved over the years in terms of technology and affordability, projection technology is cutting edge, and these nifty devices are now more accessible and desirable than ever.