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Funding for IT skills in SA

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WeThinkCode_, a new peer-to-peer institution dedicated to eliminating the IT skills gap, has been launched in South Africa with a three-year founding sponsorship from First National Bank, BBD and Derivco.  

WeThinkCode_ “identifies and trains brilliant young minds to become world-class programmers in a peer-to-peer problem solving learning environment”, says the company. In partnership with Ecole 42 in France (www.42.fr), WeThinkCode_ will open its first campus in January 2016 in Johannesburg. Tuition-free, the organisation partners with companies to sponsor the two-year course and ensure a sustainable business model.

As Founding Sponsors; FNB, BBD and Derivco will provide financial support for the launch of the programme and will play a role in ensuring the curriculum stays relevant to the industry. Students will also be able to interact with sponsors through internship opportunities and projects throughout their coursework.

The three founding sponsorships add to a number of South African and international companies who have joined WeThinkCode_ as corporate sponsors, ensuring the opening of the Johannesburg campus for the first 100 students in January 2016.

A WeThinkCode_ statement this week said: “The breadth of support we are receiving is a testament to the need for a new education model to source and train highly skilled software engineers in South Africa. There are 3.4 million unemployed youth in South Africa, and we believe that within this pool, there is immense talent and aptitude to become world-class developers.”

Marcel Klaassen, Head of Growth at FNB Business, explained the company’s purpose in the sponsorship: “This partnership supports FNB’s market leading ecosystem of innovative banking products, services, value adds and high growth entrepreneurial businesses. The unique coding education model also offers new job opportunities for aspiring IT experts, regardless of financial means or background. We look forward to working with the dynamic team at WeThinkCode_ and investing in the future of tech education in South Africa.”

Peter Searle, BBD CEO echoed these thoughts: “At BBD we know that the aptitude to be a programmer is not necessarily aligned to formal computer science training, and hence WeThinkCode’s unique and disruptive approach to identifying and training talent is for BBD a compelling proposition to support our efforts to develop programming as a key skill in South Africa. BBD’s sponsorship of WeThinkCode is aligned to our own strategic need for additional programming skills and to our ongoing community based efforts to develop IT skills in South Africa.”

“Derivco is honoured to be part of a programme that is rooted in the power of education and aimed at the betterment of South Africans,” said Dion Hatton, Derivco CEO. “The dynamic partnership with WeThinkCode_ has given us an invaluable opportunity to pursue our passion of developing people. The software development industry is rapidly expanding in South Africa and it is an exciting place to be.”

Created by four young entrepreneurs, WeThinkCode_ is designed to respond to the desperate IT skills shortage and lack of education opportunities in South Africa. The programme is free and open to all talented and resilient candidates aged 17 to 35, regardless of previous education, socio-economic background or financial means. Student applications open on 1 October 2015, to apply sign up on www.borntocode.co.za

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How to take on IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.

Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.

Unlocking IoT

The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.

Processing at the edge

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.

The work of wearables

The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.

Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.

The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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