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Bringing Wi-Fi to Africa

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Yesterday marked the inaugural World Wi-Fi Day – a day celebrated around the globe to recognise the significant role Wi-Fi has played in getting the world connected. RIAAN GRAHAM, sales director for Ruckus Networks sub-Saharan Africa, takes a look at why Africa should widely adopt Wi-Fi.

Some industry pundits see a dim future for Wi-Fi. They cite the rise of “unlimited” LTE cellular data plans and competition from technologies, like LTE-U. However, if you take an in-depth look at these new developments, you will understand why Wi-Fi is actually experiencing an upsurge.

Let’s take a look at why Africa should widely adopt Wi-Fi.

Unlimited mobile data plans and easy-to-access communications with no passwords are what consumers want. However, “unlimited” is never, truly, “unlimited.” If you look closely, you’ll discover that full-speed service may be guaranteed only during the billing period and up to a certain data capacity. After that capacity, has been exceeded, which happens quickly on multi-user family plans, customers experience throttling—the method where bandwidth is reduced and performance slows down noticeably.

The promise of high-performance access to unlimited data is also an unsustainable business model for carriers. As demand grows, carriers find that they need to expand their networks. Building a single LTE cell tower can cost millions. While these towers provide great coverage, capacity is limited, not making it a viable solution. Wi-Fi, a cost-effective and widely adopted solution, becomes the technology of choice in these situations.

In fact, it is anticipated that over 20 billion Wi-Fi chipsets will ship between 2016 and 2021. Wi-Fi devices are also more cost effective to develop because chipsets require less silicon, in higher volumes. Additionally, chipsets for LTE devices can cost 5 to 10 times more, with licensing fees added on top of the development costs.

Riaan Graham

Riaan Graham

Even more, enterprises in various sectors depend on Wi-Fi for their local area networks (LANs). Wi-Fi is designed to service LANs, while LTE is best used in wide-area networks (WANs). Additionally, with the advent of 802.11ac Wave 2 and 802.11ax, Wi-Fi is making rapid improvements in performance, security, seamless hotspot connections, and the ability to handle more users in high-density environments.

According to market research, the world Wi-Fi market size is expected1 to grow to $33.6 billion by 2020, with an estimated CAGR of 17.8% from 2015. This statistic makes South Africa (SA) and Africa an optimal region to adopt Wi-Fi at a more rapid pace. Currently in SA, there is 1 hotspot for every 6160 people. The global average is 1 hotspot for every 150. As Wi-Fi continues to be one of the most viable and cost-effective connectivity solutions to meet Africa’s increasing bandwidth demands, there are initiatives to increase the adoption of Wi-Fi in the region.

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Africa is already using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) investment to power its economy to reap more benefits. In fact, government and private sectors are taking bold steps to fast track the process. There are also direct foreign investments into key ICT initiatives across Africa. Additionally, home-grown innovation and new disruptive models, fueled by Wi-Fi and connectivity, are opening new opportunities.

Demands are changing. Expectations are shifting. The time for Wi-Fi time is now.

Happy World Wi-Fi Day!

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to three readers.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers. To enter, first follow Gadget and Gammatek on Twitter. Then click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite), mention @GadgetZA and the link to this article (bit.ly/FPFortnite) to be considered valid.

Click here to see the Funko Fortnite characters and to select the one you want to tweet.

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CES: ThirdEye X2 mixed-reality glasses

The X2 mixed reality (MR) glasses, unveiled at CES last week, are the smallest mixed reality devices yet. They boast a 42-degree field of view, HD resolution, and run on the Android platform. The glasses are not connected to wires or tethered packs, and boast a built-in VisionEye Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) system for accurate environment tracking. The UI allows the user to wear it while completing tasks indoors and outdoors.

Click through to read how the software makes these glasses a reality.

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Nick Cherukuri, founder of ThirdEye, said: “The goal of the X2 was to integrate SLAM into a small glasses form factor – that is the future of making MR Glasses mass produced.”

ThirdEye has also partnered with a major manufacturer, which will enable the X2 to be shipped in mass scale, which is currently a significant hurdle for many startups.

The glasses have built-in software like the ThirdEye App Suite, which provides a full MR software platform built into the units. The App Suite includes live audio and video streaming, AR data communication between remote users in the form of a “see what I see” application, and 3D scanning capabilities.  The glasses run on Android 8.0, creating a platform for a worldwide community of developers to submit AR, VR, and MR applications to the ThirdEye App Store. 

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