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Why training needs cloud

Despite the fact that Africa’s e-learning market doubled from 2011 to 2016, reaching $513 million, the continent’s three biggest economies, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, are not yet moving their training applications to the cloud en masse, says MATTHEW BARKER, divisional sales manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at F5 Networks.

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This was one of the key findings from Cloud Africa 2018, a research project conducted by World Wide Worx and F5 Networks, across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa earlier this year, where we asked decision-makers at 300 medium and large organisations about their cloud computing usage, benefits, and intentions.

Lagging behind

While all markets were on par in terms of their use of business apps in the cloud, and while organisations in Kenya and Nigeria were more likely to host service apps in the cloud than those in South Africa, it was interesting to note that training and legal apps were the lowest on the priority list when it came to cloud-hosted applications, across all markets.

The global e-learning market is expected to be worth $200 billion by 2024, driven by emerging corporate trends and the escalating popularity of online or Internet-based learning programs.

Yet, only 14% of South African organisations said they hosted training apps in the cloud, dropping to just 2% of organisations in both Kenya and Nigeria.

Democratising knowledge

The cloud is the ideal platform to make education more accessible to more people, especially in Africa, where inequality and a lack of access to infrastructure, connectivity, and locally relevant content have resulted in a largely uneducated and under-skilled workforce.

At the foundational phase, online learning allows children in rural areas to access the same quality content, delivered by highly qualified educators, as children in more developed urban areas. It democratises education, providing knowledge transfer and equal opportunities for all.

Extended to the university level, e-learning not only opens new revenue streams for universities but also solves the problem of overcrowding and not being able to meet the demand. The result is that more students can register for courses, resulting in more employable graduates and, hopefully, reduced unemployment rates.

Universities are often criticised for not evolving their outdated curriculums in line with industry trends and requirements, and therefore producing graduates who are not adequately prepared for the world of work. Cloud-based training apps can be adapted on the fly, giving universities the edge by allowing them to provide the most relevant, up to date course material.

In education, as in industry and business, change is the only constant. Education cannot end at school or university. It must be a lifelong commitment for any professional, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Cloud computing is the only solution if enterprises want to keep up with the change.

Educating the enterprise

IT and business are always changing and while the requirement for apps is to be fast, highly available and secure won’t ever change, what has changed is the speed of deployment. Users and customers want everything delivered immediately, a dynamic that’s driving the DevOps methodology and automation.

Businesses that want to keep up with the pace of their customers need to empower their teams with the skills and expertise to respond to change in new ways. Often, this means bypassing traditional, task-based operations, which are painfully slow and can’t keep up with business requirements and user demands.

Cloud computing and training apps offer an opportunity to upskill professionals in any industry. F5’s Super-NetOps training programme is a perfect example. Designed to teach network professionals the foundational skills required to effectively automate their infrastructure – for free – our goal is to help the industry adapt to change, through education, so that it can continue to improve the user experience and drive new functionality.

Advantages

Facilitating learning through cloud-based training apps is better suited to Millennials and Generation Z, who want to consume content on the go. Just as everything else is evolving to cater to our shortening attention spans, so too must education. Training apps allow schools, universities, and enterprises to offer more dynamic education material, including video and gamification, that brings the material to life and allows users to learn at their own pace.

There businesses advantages cannot be denied. Online training helps teams to stay on top of their changing job requirements and, therefore, improves job satisfaction and loyalty. It aids succession planning by equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to progress in their careers. It helps businesses keep control of training budgets and reduces costs associated with recruitment and onboarding. In addition, it helps businesses to stay relevant and competitive by empowering teams to experiment and innovate as identified by all three markets in our research for being the biggest business impact of cloud computing.

We can no longer be selfish with the learning experience. We need as many skilled and knowledgeable professionals as possible to help us all survive the future of work and the onslaught of machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of everything.

Businesses in Africa need to start shifting their priorities and to share their knowledge and expertise so that we can all become more agile and comfortable with change.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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