From building websites to mobile apps, you need it one way or another to launch a successful business today. But understanding tech jargon and trying to communicate with IT managers can be challenging for many business owners.
Understanding common tech terms can help you recruit IT employees, know how their decisions can affect the business and ask them the right questions. Here’s a list of 10 must-know tech terms and phrases, translated for the non-tech whiz:
1. Wireframe: This is a visual guide that represents the blueprint of a web page and shows you what a page does, not just what it looks like. A wireframe contains the layout of the content, page elements and website navigation system, and shows how they work together.
You can draw wireframe layouts using PowerPoint or more sophisticated layout tools such as Balsamiq or Omnigraffle. If you need help, you can hire a wireframing expert, also known as a user experience designer, to guide you through this process.
2. Prototype: These are interactive demos of a website. Prototypes are often used to gather feedback from users before the project goes into final development.
A prototype can be anything from a paper sketch to a clickable demo. You can create clickable prototypes in PowerPoint or Word, or as PDF documents. There are also more advanced prototyping tools such as Axure and Mockingbird.
3. UI/UX: UX design, also known as user experience design, gives insights into how site visitors think, act and react when using the site or an application. UI design, also known as user interface design, teaches designers how to build layouts so users can easily interact with the page.
4. Minimal Viable Product (MVP): This is an iterative process of idea generation, prototyping, presentation, data collection, analysis and learning, so you can build web and mobile applications that help solve your customer’s problems. You launch your web or mobile app as fast as you can with as few features as possible, so you can collect feedback from users, determine how they are interacting and improve the product based on what you learn.
5. Agile Project Management: This is an approach to planning and guiding a project. An agile project is completed in small sections called iterations or sprints. Each iteration is reviewed and critiqued by the project team, and insights gained from the critiques are used to determine what the next step should be in the project.
Typically, each iteration is scheduled to be completed within two weeks. The main benefit of agile project management is the ability to respond to issues as they arise throughout the course of the project. Making a necessary change to a project at the right time can save resources, and ultimately, help deliver a successful project on time and within budget.
6. Modular Programming: This allows you to write computer programmes that are readable and reliable, and can be easily maintained or modified. Instead of having a large collection of code in one file, you divide the code into logical groups called modules. Each module performs one or two tasks, then passes control to another module. By breaking up the code into “bite-sized chunks,” you can better control and maintain large software systems.
7. Scope Creep: In project management, scope creep refers to changes or additional features that expand the size of a project beyond what was originally planned. This usually occurs when the scope of a project is not properly defined at the outset.
8. Version Control: This is a combination of technologies and practices for tracking and controlling changes to a project’s files: source code, documentation, web pages and more. This is necessary when you have multiple people working on the same files to ensure that they don’t overwrite each other’s changes.
9. Content Management System (CMS): A password-protected software system that provides tools to create and manage website content and doesn’t require any knowledge of programming languages. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are examples of CMS.
10. Scaling Horizontally and Vertically: Scaling out applications horizontally means they run across multiple servers so that a single server or data centre outage won’t bring them down. Scaling up an application vertically means that your application works on one server. To scale up the application, you will add more memory and processing power to that server.
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
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