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Mini Maker Faire returns to CT

After a successful inaugural edition in 2015, the Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is back with an even bigger and better event this year.

Placing a spotlight on DIY and technology, this year’s Mini Maker Faire will bring techies, tinkerers, hackers, hobbyists, crafters, artists, tech gurus, authors and inventors together to engage with the public and exchange ideas at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory from 26 to 28 August 2016.

Described as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth”, the Mini Maker Faire is a space where people with a passion for learning, collaboration and creativity can connect. Part science fair, part trade fair, and part something entirely new, the event offers a great day out for people of all ages to interact with amazing creations and experience the exciting world of the Makers.

“Makers across the world are shaking up the way that we think and interact with our environment. They’re coming up with innovative solutions to help solve social problems, as well as some really fun and creative projects – and that’s why we are returning for another year of the Cape Town Mini Maker Faire,” says Alayne Reesberg, Programme Director and Producer of Cape Town Mini Maker Faire, and former CEO of World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.

“Leading on from World Design Capital, we wanted to continue demonstrating and celebrating all of these wonderful projects,” she continues, “allowing people to meet the Makers and learn from them. We enjoy seeing this spark conversations and further action around the Maker Movement in Cape Town.”

The global Maker Movement has its roots in engineering, industrial design, manufacturing and education. It’s DIY on a whole new level, fusing technology and creative ideas with traditional craftsmanship to create and market products, and influence a new wave of manufacturing innovation. The movement empowers people to create, imagine and solve problems differently, calling for collaboration and peer-to-peer idea sharing or a “do it with others” (DIWO) approach.

The Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is based on the model of the original Maker Faire, which launched in San Francisco in 2006, and is a licensed member of what is now a global family with Maker Faires being held around the world. Globally, the event caters to the growing legions of aspiring Makers wanting to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills. “We want to offer lots of opportunities for hands-on DIY interactions for adults as well as kids,” adds Reesberg. “We want to create an open and inclusive event, which encourages these values beyond the event, and expands the connectedness of the community of creatives.”

More than 60 exciting local Makers will be on show, as well as installations by the Faire’s knowledge partners: PriceWaterhouseCoopers Western Cape, Stellenbosch University’s Launch Lab, the Cape Innovation and Technology Institute and the University of the Western Cape. Exhibits will range from home-grown drones to robotics and Arduino projects, space projects and kit makers to 3D printers, rockets and RC toys, radios to gaming and electric vehicles, as well as a host of handmade craft and fashion projects and some exciting installations of “art cars” straight from the Afrika Burn festival.

In addition, an enclosed drone zone will let visitors test their flying skills, while the PPC Imaginarium, South Africa’s most supportive art and design competition for emerging creatives, will showcase industrial design, fashion, film, jewellery and sculpture all made from concrete. PPC Imaginarium will also host an interactive workshop, together with Cemcrete, where members of the public can learn how to make their own objects from quick-drying cement.

A popular attraction with both kids and their “kidults” at the 2015 Mini Maker Faire was the participative Maker Station, run by Felix Holm and his team at the Cape Town Maker Station based in Woodstock. Designed especially with children in mind, this feature returns again this year with another mountain of defunct appliances that can be upcycled into innovative creations.

Another highlight of this year’s event is a specially curated session presented by renowned style icon and fashion editor, Jackie Burger, now of Salon 58 fame. “Jackie & the Makers” will see Burger introduce and interact with leading fashion designers and artisans who will share their creative journeys and how they bring their uniquely crafted apparel to life. This stylish, sophisticated affair is designed for anyone with a flair for fashion

The second annual Cape Town Mini Maker Faire is sponsored by the City of Cape Town, PPC, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and Peninsula Beverage Company.  The event will take place between 26 to 28 August 2016 at the Cape Town Science Centre, 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town, one of the support partners of the event. Tickets can be purchased via quicket.co.za. Tickets for “Jackie & the Makers” will be sold as a separate item.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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