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Regulation deters Internet investment

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Regulatory policy can inhibit investment in Internet companies – and governments wanting to drive growth in the digital economy need to ensure policy doesn’t unintentionally stifle this. This is according to the 2016 Fifth Era Report – The Impact of Internet Regulations on Investment.

Commissioned by Google and conducted by Fifth Era, the report shows that governments in developing countries need to ensure that regulatory policies do not inhibit investment in the ICT sector.

Fifth Era surveyed 475 investors in 15 countries in order to assess the degree to which the future legal environment might impact their investments in Internet companies. The research company surveyed thirteen countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East (Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam) representing a spectrum of more to less developed Internet economies. The UK and US were also added to the survey respondents provide a perspective on overseas investors.

Speaking at the launch event in Johannesburg, Fifth Era researcher Matthew C. Le Merle said that the digital economy will be the most significant driver of growth of GDP, jobs and well-being in the next five years.

Most national governments understand this, he stated, noting that most governments have an innovation strategy in their national and industrial plans.

“The notion of an innovation-based strategy always collapses down to the fact that we need entrepreneurs and venture capital and both are scarce,” Le Merle comments. Entrepreneurs have a choice of whether or not to build a business, and where to build a business. If you make it difficult for entrepreneurs to do business in your country they will choose to go elsewhere, he says.

31 investors in South Africa were assessed for the Fifth Era report, all of whom said that the current legislative / policy environment in the sector has a negative impact on their investment activities.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said that they are not comfortable investing in business models where the regulatory framework is ambiguous.

Eighty-four percent said the risk of secondary liability and exposure to large damages was of concern.

Conversely, 87% said they would likely increase their investment if South Africa adopted anti-piracy laws similar to those in the US.

Eighty-one percent of those surveyed would not be comfortable investing in Internet companies if South Africa applied tax rules that make Internet companies liable for double taxation.

Eighty-seven percent of investors surveyed said they would not be comfortable investing in internet businesses if intermediaries could be held liable for third party content or actions (for example internet service providers or user-uploaded content hosters).

Fifty-eight percent of investors said they would be uncomfortable investing in internet or mobile businesses if regulators apply traditional telecom regulations and tariffs to mobile messenger and free online content services such as Whatsapp or Viber. Conversely, 77% would be interested in investing more in internet businesses if South Africa adopts policies that reduce regulation in the mobile apps ecosystem.

Ninety percent said they would be less inclined to invest if country user data is retained and disclosed to law enforcement on request, unless international baseline standards are followed. Allowing security agencies to install their own equipment on ISP networks would deter 77% of investors.

Investors would invest more in Internet businesses if the government adopted policies that indicate it is supportive of new business models (e.g the sharing economy) and protect freedom of expression online, if government invests in education and digital skills, in internet and mobile infrastructure, enables policy that reduces taxes and fees for internet and mobile end users, promotes open data use, liberalises mobile payments, enables access to backhaul and spectrum, and releases transparent regulatory roadmaps and holds public consultations on all new internet/mobile-related legislation and regulation.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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