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Apps reveal cloud differences across Africa

When it comes to hosting and accessing applications in the cloud, businesses in South Africa have very different priorities to those in Kenya and Nigeria, says MATTHEW BARKER, divisional sales manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at F5 Networks.

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An obvious statement perhaps, considering that these markets are vastly different in their technology adoption and usage. Yet an interesting finding from our recent Cloud Africa 2018 research was that South African businesses tend to be more inwardly focused in their cloud application usage – prioritising the staff experience – whereas Kenyan and Nigerian businesses are more outwardly focused – prioritising the customer experience.

Apps define markets

Our research, carried out in partnership with World Wide Worx, polled decision-makers at 300 medium and large organisations about their cloud computing usage, benefits, and intentions.

One of the key findings was that 68% of Nigerian organisations and 67% of Kenyan organisations ranked service apps as critical to their businesses, compared to just 40% of South African organisations.

This makes sense, considering the benefits of hosting service apps in the cloud: lower costs, enterprise mobility, higher reliability of services, and the ability to scale services up or down in line with business requirements. These benefits are especially attractive to organisations that are not hampered by legacy infrastructure investments, which is often the case in Kenya and Nigeria.

Inward focus

South African organisations, however, are more advanced in their adoption of cloud service apps and have now turned their focus inward, with the biggest priority being human resources. Some 43% of South African respondents said HR apps were critical to their business, compared to 19% in Kenya and 10% in Nigeria. South African businesses also reported increased use of training apps in the cloud, at 14%, compared to just 2% in Nigeria and Kenya.

We could argue that South African businesses have been reaping the benefits of service apps for some time and are now finding ways to improve their competitiveness using cloud computing. One way to do this is by attracting top talent, which is one benefit of hosting HR apps in the cloud. Others include reduced paperwork, employee self-service, faster onboarding and better management of performance, compensation, leave and employee data, all of which frees up time and resources to focus on increasing competitiveness, like expansion into new markets.

SA prioritises CloudOps

A further indication of the low emphasis on internal apps is the rating of operational apps, which are seen as critical by only 15% of respondents in Kenya and 10% in Nigeria. While still low in South Africa, at 30%, it was more than double the proportion of the other two countries combined.

Getting operations right is key to running a business effectively in the cloud. Ensuring peak performance and availability of apps with minimal downtime is crucial to meet the needs and expectations of users. Many South African organisations still manage this aspect of cloud computing themselves, whereas Kenyan and Nigerian organisations have largely outsourced this function to focus on better serving their customers through product and service innovation.

Business apps on par

One area where all markets are equal, however, is in business apps, with only small variations between the three countries measured. Nigerian respondents took them slightly more seriously than the rest, with 76% seeing them as critical, while 72% of South African companies and 67% of those in Kenya agreed.

Despite the greater emphasis on HR apps by South African businesses, there was a relatively even split across the countries in terms of finance, logistics, marketing, accounting, and procurement apps.

Running apps in the cloud used to be a strategic business decision. Yet, with more and more apps becoming cloud native and more businesses pursuing a cloud-first strategy, African organisations are now focusing on how they can leverage the cloud to increase competitiveness, better serve their customers and innovate in their products and services.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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