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MWC: Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, join forces for 5G routers

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Earlier this week, at the Mobile World Congress, Cisco announced that it will be collaborating with Ericsson and Intel to develop the industry’s first 5G router.

Cisco, Ericsson and Intel are also partnering with Verizon within an ecosystem to accelerate the pace of 5G innovations.

The companies expect the next-generation 5G router to enable business and residential customers to achieve significantly faster networking speeds, lower latency, and the ability to handle exponentially more Internet-connected devices.  This advancement is intended to help accommodate the expected explosion of the Internet of Everything, and the streaming of high-definition video content.

This collaboration will help to enable secure, ultra-high speed wireless bandwidth. The solution will offer Gigabit-per-second speeds by combining Cisco’s enterprise networking innovations with Ericsson’s advanced 5G mobile networking technology and Intel’s next-generation 5G silicon. The announcement reinforces how industry collaboration will foster innovation in 5G via end-to-end technology development and trials. It also advances the next-generation partnership between Ericsson and Cisco to create the networks of the future, which was announced in November 2015.  For this project, that partnership will be further enhanced by Intel’s contribution of 5G modem and device technology.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast (2015 to 2020), released earlier this month, the surge in mobile users, smart devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections is expected to increase mobile data traffic eight-fold over the next five years.  Mobile video will have the highest growth rate of any mobile application, according to the forecast.  A new generation of robust, high performance wireless networks will be critical in facilitating this growth, and 5G networks will be instrumental in helping the industry develop a new economic model for offering new services for digital business transformation – the rapid and escalating value derived from the interconnectivity of people, processes, data and things.

“Verizon continues to accelerate innovation around 5G technology by working closely with our partners,” said Ed Chan, Senior Vice President, Technology Strategy & Planning at Verizon. “We were the first to launch 4G nationwide. With 5G, we will again drive innovation across the technology landscape.”

“The announcement represents a major step forward in mobile technology that will have a tremendous impact on businesses and consumers,” said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s service provider products and solutions.  “Only technology leaders of this caliber, partnering with a mobile and 5G visionary like Verizon, are capable of laying the foundation of tomorrow’s mobile network.”

“Collaboration among industry leaders in mobile, computing, and networking is critical to drive innovation and make 5G a reality,” said Asha Keddy, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Next Generation and Standards Group. “This new collaboration is especially exciting because it combines Intel’s silicon and networking expertise with the deep radio access, core and distribution network expertise offered by Ericsson and Cisco.”

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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