Tshwane residents can look forward to making free calls as well as downloading blockbuster movies free of charge on the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network, making Tshwane the first city in the world that offers free access to movies in this way.
Kgosientso Ramokgopa, executive mayor of Tshwane, announced today that three new services, Wi-Fi Voice, Drive In and WiFi Chat will be added from today. Wi-Fi Chat is a web-based platform for information and feedback, as well as a new service delivery mechanism where users can log queries and complaints.
With Wi-Fi Voice users connected to the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network using the Wi-Fi Voice application, will be able to make unlimited free calls to each other and the city’s customer care line, while Wi-Fi Drive In will enable users to watch a selection of movies including some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, on their private devices in a Wi-Fi Drive Inn area.
“The high cost of voice calls creates a barrier to stimulating economic growth and creating opportunity for our youth. The City of Tshwane will effectively reduce the cost of doing business in and with the city through the Tshwane WiFi Voice app,” says Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe, the non-profit organisation driving the process of bringing free Wi-Fi to communities.
Wi-Fi Drive In will be available over weekends and offer family entertainment around thirty Hollywood blockbusters on personal devices, complemented by food kiosks, flea-market stalls and kids’ areas to offer a true family experience to enjoy content previously reserved for a privileged few. The first site will be the Fountains Valley Park and more sites will be enabled based on the model developed here.
“We envisage that this site will offer a secure environment where people can congregate and be entertained. It is important for the city to create environments for family entertainment where citizens can break away from their usual routine and engage in a unique, ground-breaking experience,” Khan says.
The Tshwane Free Wi-Fi service realises the City of Tshwane’s vision of enabling every citizen to be digitally included and part of the digital economy, regardless of personal circumstance. The value the service offers to citizens in a city where connectivity is available to everyone, has established Tshwane as a true global metropole. In addition, it ensures that the City is poised for the long-term benefits of increased GDP, productivity and efficiencies from a service delivery as well as a digital inclusion perspective.
The Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network has 700 live sites, in more than 95% of the wards in the city. So far the service has had more than 720,000 unique users. The network is available at sites at various schools, tertiary centres, libraries, health facilities, customer and municipal centres, tourism and heritage venues, as well as sites on buses, at stations and curb stops on the Areyeng Trunk Route.
Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist
Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.
The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.
“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time. We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”
The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba. It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.
Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.
“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”
This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.
Sports streaming takes off
Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.
England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.
According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.
Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.
The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.
“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”
With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.
“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”
The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.