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How VoD can boost education

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Video on Demand (VOD) services are ideally positioned to expand the reach of quality education and even help subsidise the cost of education, says STEPHEN WATSON, MD of Discover Digital.

“On-demand is not just for entertainment,” says Stephen Watson, Managing Director of South African video on demand solutions provider, Discover Digital.

“Education is one of the most exciting opportunities of streamed content. The social upliftment that can result from broader access to education is huge. With live streaming and on-demand video content, every school could have access to the best maths teachers. And in tertiary institutions, live streaming and archived lecture videos would ensure that students who missed classes could catch up on their lectures.”

Watson notes that advanced video on demand platforms allow for customisation and revenue generation through subscriptions, sponsorship and advertising models, which could contribute to the cost of education. “We could build a white labelled VOD solution that would allow universities to combine archived content that could be accessed as part of a subscription or as part of the fee, including the ability to do live streaming that automatically gets archived as a VOD play. What’s more, we could use analytics to give feedback on exactly who watched that, so if part of the criteria was that you had to attend the lecture, attendance could be tracked.” Students could access the content using zero rated data or free wifi hotspots, potentially reducing the cost of attendance.

“Properly packaged, VOD could go a long way to reducing the cost of delivering education. We have designed our technology solutions, licensing and business operations to be able to offer very flexible models including opex and revenue share models,” says Watson.

As a full-service, on demand solutions provider, Discover Digital is looking to offer new content aggregation services and platforms that will allow public sector organisations, health services, sporting bodies, companies and individuals to manage and monetise their own content, for select or broad audiences.

“Corporates are also looking seriously at VOD and saying it’s not just a consumer play for access to entertainment. There are a huge number of corporate business opportunities to create more effective and personalised VOD solutions where corporates can offer their stakeholders an opportunity to catch up on market intelligence, the CEO’s results statements, speeches and other points of interest and then archive that content. We also see an opportunity to create an environment that allows corporates, artists, coaches and others to curate and monetise their own video content,” says Watson.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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