Implementation of Africa’s first independent power producer floating solar photovoltaic (FPV) project is continuing in the Seychelles. The project, launched by the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the Seychelles Energy Commission, will be the first utility-scale, private-sector funded floating solar project in Africa, and aims to support the country’s transition to renewable energy.
The project is being implemented by the Government of Seychelles and the Public Utilities Corporation with the support of the African Legal Support Facility and the Clinton Foundation, with Trinity International LLP and Multiconsult Norge AS serving as the transaction and tender advisers. The floating solar power plant will be located in Providence lagoon on Mahé Island and will have an estimated capacity between 3.5 – 4 MWAC.
This month, the request for proposals process was launched to a group of pre-qualified bidders and joint ventures who were selected last year as part of the first phase of procurement. With this process opening, this clean energy project moves another step closer to full implementation. Bidders are required to submit their full technical and financial proposals in September 2019, with an expected tender award in November 2019. Construction is expected to start soon thereafter, with the project becoming operational in 2020.
Fiona Wilson, senior regional manager at Clinton Climate Initiative, said: “We at the Clinton Climate Initiative are thrilled to support this innovative project, which represents a groundbreaking step forward for island nations and other regions with limited land available for solar development. Floating solar photovoltaic energy holds immense potential for islands, and our partners in Seychelles are demonstrating true leadership in addressing the global climate and energy crisis.”
“This will be a landmark project for Seychelles,” said Tony Imaduwa, CEO of Seychelles Energy Commission. “The project not only injects green energy into the grid but also exemplifies the country’s commitment and will in transforming its energy sector to a low-carbon one.”
Last week the Government of Seychelles hosted a pre-bid meeting and site visit for pre-qualified bidders to brief them on the tender process, site and build area. The pre-qualified bidders were able to view the lagoon and related sites in person, network with local contractors, and pose questions for clarification to the project team. Photos from this meeting can be accessed here.
During the next phase of the project, the bidders will prepare technical and financial proposals. These pre-qualified bidders include Building Energy South Africa Ltd, Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA, Générale du Solaire and Total Eren, GreenYellow SAS and Voltas Ecobiotech Ltd, Masdar, Quadran (Seychelles) Ltd and Vetiver Tech, Scatec Solar ASA, and Solar Philippines and Corex Solar.
Bidders will have more than three months to prepare their full proposals in line with the requirements of the request for proposals. The proposals will be evaluated against a set of technical and financial criteria, and the best-evaluated bidder will be selected to finance, design, build, own, and operate the plant. Electricity generated from the plant will be sold to the Public Utilities Corporation at a fixed tariff under a power purchase agreement with a 25-year duration.
When fully constructed and operational, this innovative project will be the first utility-scale, private-sector funded floating solar plant in Africa, and Seychelles’ first independent power producer, drawing international expertise and capital to both transfer knowledge to the local energy sector and accelerate Seychelles’ transition to renewable energy. The plant will also be the first utility-scale floating solar project in a marine environment worldwide, paving the way for further marine projects, a crucial opportunity for island nations and other land-scarce energy systems.
Hearables are the new wearables
Earworn devices were among the fastest growing categories of wearable in the last quarter, capturing almost half of the market
Global wearable device shipments grew 85.2% in the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19) as shipments totaled 67.7 million units according to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker. Earworn devices (hearables) were among the fastest growing categories, capturing 46.9% of the overall wearables market during the quarter, up from 24.8% a year ago. Driving that growth was a slew of new products and consumers who purchased their second wearable, a hearable, to use in parallel with existing watches or wrist bands.
“The growing popularity of the hearables segment is forcing existing brands to reconsider past designs when launching new products, as evident in Samsung’s popular Galaxy Buds, while also attracting new brands to market,” said Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “And though it’s still early days, the market is showing signs of emerging subsegments such as hearables dedicated to sports from the likes of Jabra, premium hearables from companies such as Bose, and ones dedicated to hearing loss such as those from Nuheara.”
“What has been driving the hearables market is the experience,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research director, Wearables. “Quality audio is still the hallmark of hearables, but additional features – ranging from adjusting audio to smart assistants and health and fitness – increase their value and utility. As prices come down and more features come on board, this next generation of hearables will become the new normal for earphones.”
Hearable Company Highlights
Apple led the market for hearables by capturing 50.2% share during the quarter. New products such as the refreshed AirPods and the latest from the Beats lineup helped the company grow 218.2% compared to last year. With the iPhone business facing challenges, Apple’s wearables business, particularly the popularity of the AirPods, is helping the company once again become the de facto standard though this time it’s for hearables.
Samsung, thanks to its self-branded devices and the JBL brand, captured the second position during the quarter. The highly publicized Galaxy Buds were one of the company’s most popular pair of hearables as the pair was bundled with the purchase of Samsung’s latest smartphone. Additionally, the JBL Tune 500BT managed to capture a large share as the low price and wide availability helped move a lot of volume.
Xiaomi’s AirDots (amongst other models) helped the company capture the third position. Though the company primarily sells its hearables in China, Xiaomi has already started to make inroads in other markets such as Europe and the Middle East with its smartphones and wrist bands. IDC expects Xiaomi to follow suit with its hearables.
Bose, a company with a long history of headphones and other audio products, ranked fourth in this market. The company’s long lineage in audio and premium offering has helped set the company apart from the remainder of the pack. The QC35ii and the SoundSport Free were two of its most popular products during the quarter. The latest Headphones 700 and upcoming Earbuds 500 should help the company maintain momentum in the upcoming quarters.
ReSound, the parent company of Jabra, rounded out the top 5 with 5.1% share and 132.9% growth. Jabra’s Elite Active 65t have been extremely popular as an alternative to Apple’s AirPods and have also been promoted heavily on Amazon’s store, allowing the company to pitch itself as a strong consumer brand in addition to its preexisting headset business that is targeted at office workers. At IFA 2019, Jabra announced the next version of the Elite Active series, which helps modernize the hearables and should provide healthy competition for others on the list.
Top 5 Wearable Companies, Hearable Devices only, by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2 2019 (shipments in millions)
|2Q19 Market |
|2Q18 Market |
|Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearables Tracker, September 9, 2019|
Note: IDC defines Earwear/Hearables as the wearables that hang on or plug into the ear. The device must operate wirelessly and provide stereo sound while also including at least one of the following features:
- Track health/fitness (e.g., Samsung Gear IconX).
- Modify audio, and not just noise reduction (e.g., Nuheara IQbuds).
- Provide language translation on the device (e.g., Waverly Labs).
- Enable smart assistants at the touch of a button or through hotword detection even if the assistant is running on another device such as a smartphone (e.g., Apple’s AirPods and Google’s Pixel Buds).
Phishing attacks hook into iOS
The number of phishing attacks targeting users of Mac computers, iOS-based mobile devices, and the associated web services ecosystem to lure them into fraudulent schemes has reached 1.6 million in the first half of 2019 (H1-19) – proving that the growing number of users of popular digital devices is clearly attracting more and more cybercriminals!
While the volume of malicious software threatening users of macOS and the iOS mobile platform is much lower than those threating users of Windows and Android platforms, when it comes to phishing – a platform agnostic cyberthreat – things are quite different.
Phishing attacks rely on social engineering, which means most have nothing to do with software. In fact, Kaspersky’s recent Threats to Mac Users research highlighted that the number of cases where users faced fraudulent web pages utilising the Apple brand, as a decoy, has increased significantly in the first six-months of the year, reaching 1.6 million. This figure is around 9% greater than attacks experienced during the whole of 2018, when Kaspersky security solutions prevented more than 1.49 million attempts to access Apple-themed phishing pages.
What’s more, some regions had more macOS users hit by phishing than others, for instance, Brazil leads this list with 30.9% of users attacked, followed by India with 22.1% – and while not as prominent as other regions (and in proportion to the number of Apple device users), South Africa still sits at 17.5%.
The research is based on threat statistics voluntarily shared by users of Kaspersky Security Network – a global cloud infrastructure designed for immediate response to emerging cyberthreats.
Among the most frequent fraud schemes are those designed to resemble the iCloud service interface, aimed at stealing credentials to Apple ID accounts. Links to such services usually come from spam emails posed as emails from technical support. They often threaten to block user accounts should they not click the link.
Another widespread scheme is the use of scaremongering pages that try to convince the user that their computer is under serious security threat and it will only take a couple of clicks and a few dollars to solve those issues.
“While technically these fraud schemes are nothing new, we believe they pose an even greater danger to Apple users than similar schemes against users of other platforms – such as Windows or Android. This is because the ecosystem around Macs and other Apple devices is generally considered a far safer environment. Therefore, users might be less cautious when they encounter fake websites. Meanwhile the successful theft of iCloud account credentials could lead to serious consequences – an iPhone or iPad could be remotely blocked or wiped by a malicious user, for example. We urge users of Apple devices to pay more attention to any emails they receive, especially those claiming to be from technical support and requesting the user’s details or asking the user to visit a link,” said Tatyana Sidorina, security researcher at Kaspersky.
In addition to a rise in phishing, thereport also revealed other types of threats to users of macOS-based devices. The results have demonstrated some relatively positive tendencies: the most common threats for Mac users proved not to be critically dangerous malware, like banking Trojans, but instead AdWare threats, which are not-necessarily fatal and defined as ‘potentially unwanted programs’. Most are threatening users by overloading their devices with unrequested advertisements, yet some of these programs might, in fact, turn out to be a disguise for more serious threats.
Other findings of the report include:
- The total number of phishing attacks detected in the first half of 2019 (H1-19) on Mac computers protected by Kaspersky solutions was almost 6 million. The whole of 2018 saw 7.3 million hits.
- 39.95% of the detected attacks were aimed at stealing users’ financial data. That is 10%more than in the first half of 2018 (H1-18).
- Some regions had more macOS users hit by phishing than others: Brazil leads this list with 30.9% of users attacked, followed by India with 22.1% and South Africa with 17.5%.
- The most active malware to hit macOS users were variations of the Shlayer family, that succeeded in distribution by disguising itself as Adobe Flash Player updates.
To keep your devices safe, Kaspersky recommends:
- Keeping macOS and all your apps and programs up to date
- Using only legitimate software, downloaded from official webpages or installed from the Mac App Store
- Starting to use a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Internet Security that delivers advanced protection on Mac, as well as on PC and mobile devices.