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Vox pumps R550m into fibre

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Vox Telecom is to invest R550m in three key areas of the business, namely extending the Vox fibre rollout through its wholly owned subsidiary Frogfoot Networks, bolstering job creation and improving efficiencies through enhanced automation.

“The capital injection into our operations endorses our conversion strategy,” says Jacques du Toit, CEO of Vox. “We are moving away from being just an Internet service provider (ISP) into a Telco that provides connectivity and integrated services. We are laying the foundation to secure market share and growth in key geographic precincts around South Africa.”

Vox will deploy the bulk of the investment to fast-track its fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-business programme. In the past 18 months, the company says, it has secured 86,000 fibre-to-the-home and just over 10,000 fibre-to-the-business opportunities.

“We now have more than 300 coverage areas where we are able to provide fibre related services,” says Du Toit.

Vox will also invest in growing its sales force across the country from 280 to 450 people in the next 18 months. Over the last 24 months Vox has invested R50m into the first phase of its sales expansion programme.

“This programme has proven to be extremely successful and we will continue with this approach.  We have broadened our horizons and don’t necessarily focus on individuals from the ICT industry, but passion for technology, ambition and personal commitment to success are amongst the key attributes we are looking for.

“This means we will have the largest direct sales force in the South African telecommunications sector and will continue to take market share from the incumbents.  To further bolster our sales strategy, we have embarked on an extremely aggressive drive to recruit channel partners, which includes, agents, resellers and wholesale partners.”

Du Toit says that the company is acutely aware of the massive ICT skills shortage locally and has seen the sector grow faster than people can be developed and upskilled.

“With the planned increase in the sales force, we know that a large amount of money needs to be allocated to train field engineers so that from a technical perspective they are able to deal with everything from a copper installation all the way through to fibre installation and maintenance.”

To demonstrate its commitment to transformation, Vox says, it has identified 24 previously disadvantaged individuals who will be invited to participate in its 14 month executive management development programme.

“We believe these building blocks will go a long way to not only guaranteeing growth for the business, but in showing our commitment to the future of the industry and South Africa.”

Vox will continue to focus on the automation of its internal processes.  This includes the migration to a new OSS/BSS platform that has been developed over the last two years.

“This investment comes at a critical time for us, especially when you consider the current South African economy and as such, it demonstrates that our shareholders believe in what we are doing and how we are doing it and it also shows that investing in fibre is the right thing to do.”

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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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