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African solutions take telco honours

The 6th annual AfricaCom awards this week highlighted telecoms solutions tailor-made for Africa, with SEACOM taking the award for Best Pan African Initiative.

Solutions tailor-made for African clients and conditions dominated the 6th annual AfricaCom awards, where the ICT, Telecommunications and Media industries came together to celebrate and acknowledge some of the industry’s best achievements that have taken place across the African continent over the past 12 months.

The winners are:

Best Pan African Initiative

Best Cost Efficiency Solution for Africa

Liquid Telecom Liquid Telecom – the longest fibre links in Africa Connecting the continent and ensuring that millions of people now have access to communication that is also affordable as Liquid Telecom have also worked hard to keep costs down.

Rural Telecoms Award

Safaricom limited VUMA online – Affording off-grid customers the ability to have lighting and charging for their mobile phones while paying through the easy mobile payment system of M-PESA.

Best Connectivity Solution for Africa

Seacom Remote Peering – Enabling pan-African connectivity for small to medium operators whose growth to date has been constrained by capital expenditure and lack of infrastructure

Best Marketing Campaign

Orange Orange African Cup of Nations 2013 – Using the continent’s love of the game to reach more people and in the process build a strong association to this sport helping to entrench the brand.

Best Mobile Marketing Campaign

Mobitainment The Excella’nt Competition – Using a mobile competition to generate a permission based consumer database for Wilmar Continental Oil to talk to on an ongoing basis, increase sales and build an image of excellence.

Best Digital Music Initiative

Spice VAS Africa Pte Ltd MOD360 – An on demand music service with a customized music solution which offers music through multiple storefronts bearer agnostic. Since the launch of this product with various Telecom Operators in sub-Saharan African, the subscriber base using this service has grown exponentially and today there are more than 3 million active users.

Best Mobile Money Service

Mahindra Comviva Ecocash – Since the launch of this product with various Telecom Operators in sub-Saharan African, the subscriber base using this service has grown exponentially and today there are more than 3 million active users

Best App for Africa

Prezence Bid or Buy BidorBuy – is South Africa’s largest online marketplace. The idea of the app was to create an interactive and convenient mobile shopping experience for mobile users which includes all the great features of the website, bringing buyers and sellers together to trade almost anything through online auctions and fixed price sales.

Most Innovative Service

MTN Swaziland MTN XtraTime – A collaboration between MTN Swaziland and its implementation partners, Mobile Decisioning Holdings. It is a service that enables pre-qualified customers to request airtime in advance without using physical recharge cards or Uyibizemoyeni (virtual top-up) to top up their airtime balance.

Industry Personality of the Year

WIOCC Chris Wood – Chris Wood has led WIOCC since start-up, building it into a profitable, award-winning business with a unique, pan-African network, international client base and the #1 supplier of diversity-rich, high-capacity, end-to end managed circuits into and out of Africa. WIOCC has experienced continuous growth in a competitive market with a number of Tier-1 national telecoms operators, global carriers and international ISPs having signed up with WIOCC during 2013.

Changing Lives Award

Open Idea Medigraf – Medigraf is a web platform for remote medical assistance and training that makes available general or specialized medical services to any part of the globe. Health professionals and practitioners can perform remote medical acts or medical training on any medical specialty from any location to any location in the globe, with mobility, flexibility and at low operating costs, remotely covering areas previously without general or specialized medical services.

Best Network Improvement

Huawei Technologies Huawei FMC Solution – Huawei’s partnership with Telkom which saw a fixed line and mobile switch solution to bring Telkom up to speed in South Africa allowing it to offer fixed voice and broadband services to its customers.

Best Quality User Experience Ericsson Ericsson Multiscreen Self-care – This enables communication service providers to put the user in full control of their multi-screen experience and empowers the user to take charge of and maximize their user experience. The portal makes it quick and simple for subscribers to make purchases and monitor spending. It enables them to buy credit, access new services and watch spending.

Two other and very special awards that are singled out each year are:

Out of 455 submitted projects, the Orange African Social Venture Prize team selected 12 projects as finalists. The three prize-winners for this year have been selected by the official jury after careful and thorough analysis.

The first prize was awarded to QuickDo-BookBox, a startup founded in 2011 by a French-Cameroonian, that provides African readers access to books (in digital format, limited price), providing a complete ecosystem and developed by QuickDo-BookBox and its partners (device, reading lamp, network). Built in a responsible and sustainable approach, it provides an all-in-one for local publishers, readers, and places of learning. With its first subsidiary in Cameroon, QuickDo wants to develop quickly its offer in other countries of West Africa and Maghreb.

The IVOIRE JOB project was awarded second prize. The project aims to facilitate access to employment opportunities in C√¥te d’Ivoire through a web platform and mobile SMS system. The web platform will provide a space for exchange and sharing of experiences between young job seekers and workers.

The third prize was awarded to CHIFCO which is a technology company focused on energy and telecommunications through the notion of smart city and smart urban networks (Smart Grids, city 2.0). This business offers a domestic energy management system offering the best balance between comfort and economical and environmental costs.

In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries as well as expert advice from business and telecoms professionals. New in 2013: the first prize is offered a patent in the country of deployment by the Orange team.

Etisalat prize for innovation

The Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation seeks to promote the uptake, use and availability of mobile broadband in Africa. In its second year, The Etisalat Pan- African Prize for Innovation celebrates and awards valuable innovation across the African continent and will reward 2 categories of innovation. The first prize of $25,000 will go to the most innovative product or service launched in the last 18 months and the second prize, $10,000 is presented to the most innovative concept (currently not commercially available) along with business mentoring and access to mobile telecoms experts.

Etisalat believes innovation should go beyond improvements in existing products and services, but in addition, have real valuable social or economic impact.

Winner most innovative idea – The EFIWE mobile application concept is a Social Education Network: an artificial intelligence driven application with the motto ‚”Explore, Learn and Develop‚”. EFIWE aims to present a world of resources and opportunities to African youth to leverage the wealth of possibilities presented by the internet and unleash their creativity. It provides a simulated learning environment with in-depth resources in every field and subject of study. The integration of artificial intelligence, application programming, multimedia and social networking makes learning engaging and stimulating. EFIWE mobile application aims to impact the development of education in Africa: the concept promotes a strong belief that education should not be limited by the walls of a school but expanded to accommodate the Internet offering greater opportunities to a wider, more diverse group globally.

EFIWE will enable youths with similar ideas and dreams to act on their inspiration and not be limited in their ambitions. This concept will drive technological and entrepreneurial innovations which will, in turn, drive economic growth.

Winner most innovative product – Genii Games, Asa, meaning “culture”” in Yoruba (a prominent Nigerian language) is a growing collection of interactive, cultural, teaching mobile Apps for Children (2-12 years) and is geared towards addressing the declining interest & knowledge of African culture. These Apps include ‚””Yoruba101‚””, ‚””aHausa‚”” ‚””Igbo101‚”” and ‚””African Folk Tales‚”” etc focusing on African language, etiquette and culture are enriched with features such as animation, voice, text, sound, graphics and games to stimulate the interests of children. Asa is available in iOS (iPad & iPhone), Android and BlackBerry platforms.

Content drawn from indigenous cultures provides social benefits to those cultures while also promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Africa. The content development requires multiple skills and so, by the use of local talent in the creative space such as illustrators, voice-over artists, linguists, programmers and historians, the social and economic benefit, job creation, is also achieved.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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