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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Universities are often criticised for not evolving their outdated curriculums in line with industry trends and requirements, and therefore producing graduates who are not adequately prepared for the world of work.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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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, which features a built-in virtual private network service.

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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