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Copper is in a Fix

VoIP and mobile telephony and broadband threaten fixed lines.

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“The three biggest current trends in telephony are all related,” says Rob Lith, director of Connection Telecom. Along with the rise of mobile phones and mobile Voice over IP (VoIP), there is a related demise of landlines, with big implications for telephony (as well as broadband Internet). This is true around the world.

Global trends

  • In developed countries, landlines have decreased by almost 10% since 2001.
  • In developing countries, the trend is not as clear; with little teledensity to begin with in 2001, fixed line penetration first increased before dropping.
  • However, the worldwide trend reflects the truth – we’re back where we were 10 years ago in terms of copper in the ground, and the big winner is mobile, and to some degree networked voice (VoIP).

South Africa

According to a 2008 BMI-TechKnowledge study comparing South Africa’s telecoms and broadband performance (services and pricing) with five ‘peer’ countries (Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia and South Korea), South Africa’s fixed line situation is similarly challenged.

Along with Malaysia, we are the only country with fewer landlines in March 2008 (under 10% of citizens) than in December 2000 (around 12%). Is this a case of bowing to the inevitable sooner than most other countries, or simply the work of an underperforming fixed line operator? And what of the effect of a declining copper base on the growth of ADSL?

Telkom

Telkom’s financial results for the six months to September 2011 give a fairly clear indication of the answer. The numbers show a 13,7% increase in ADSL subscribers to 795 000 – 19,5% of the fixed line base (around 4 million). In other words, while fixed line penetration is waning, ADSL is growing in absolute numbers and as a percentage of fixed line installations.

ADSL growth is therefore clearly unsustainable, but to be fair to Telkom, the strategy is both predictable and reasonable, given the rise of mobile and the poor business case for copper in disadvantaged and rural areas. Where the install base of copper is mature, stable, and not under threat from thieves, ADSL can continue to grow. As for new installations and threatened areas, wireless (microwave over long distance and WiMAX over shorter distances) is the better broadband delivery model.

As for telephony, Telkom’s response to these market issues has been to launch low-cost mobile carrier 8ta, which will ultimately give the company a winning value proposition as the only carrier with a fixed-mobile converged offering.

The rest of the market

In short, Telkom is a microcosm for the SA market as a whole: For now, as regards Internet, copper-based broadband is growing, but its stagnation is not that far off. As for fixed telephony, it is already on the wane.

By and large, the gap will be filled by mobile and wireless solutions, but also by networked voice (VoIP) offerings from a plethora of alternative telcos. Again understandably, it is not in Telkom’s interests to play in the VoIP market, as it would cannibalise its traditional voice business. Nor is the company keen to share last-mile ADSL access with VoIP service providers or to improve the quality of service of ADSL – which often makes up at least some of the access component of a VoIP solution, whether hosted or on-site.

Nevertheless, VoIP is making increasing inroads, worldwide as well as in South Africa. The technology is strong in greenfields implementations (new companies or branches) and as replacements of end-of-life analogue systems.

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Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk) Returns, Seeking Digital Solutions To Local Healthcare Access Challenges

Despite major advances in modern medicine, universal access to healthcare remains the largest unmet medical need. Building on the inaugural Sandoz HACk, this year’s competition expands to seek broader digital solutions to local healthcare access challenges.

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Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, today announces the launch of the second Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk).

The Sandoz HACk is a global competition that invites entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of digital technology to submit inspirational ideas with the potential to complement – or even positively disrupt – established approaches to driving access to healthcare. Sandoz HACk opened for entries on Friday, 4th October, closing on November 30, 2018.

Universal access to healthcare is still arguably the largest unmet medical need and, while great strides continue to be made globally, access challenges vary hugely across geographies and communities. Therefore, a major step towards improving healthcare access globally is to identify and understand the specific needs of local communities.

“There are still two billion people in this world not getting the medicines they need. This is why we are launching Sandoz HACk as we aim to inspire and embrace the brave and innovative thinking of entrepreneurs and visionaries to improve access to healthcare around the world”, said Richard Francis, Division Head and CEO of Sandoz.

Francis added: “Building on the inaugural Sandoz HACk, this year we are broadening the competition to anyone, anywhere, with an idea that uses digital technology to help address a local healthcare access challenge. By collaborating, we hope to create ambitious-yet-practical digital solutions that, with scale, could have a significant impact on people’s lives.”

Related: How do I Start a Primary Healthcare Business?

Digital innovation promises cost-effective and practical solutions with the power to transform access. Last year, Sandoz HACk focused on m-health (mobile health). This year’s theme is ‘Leveraging Digital Technologies to Solve Healthcare Access Challenges’: Encouraging ideas that can drive patient access or help healthcare providers to reach more people.

Three shortlisted entrants, to be announced in January 2019, will receive support from Sandoz experts to develop their ideas and transform potential into real impact. Our three finalists will travel to the world’s leading forward-focused gathering of creative minds, South by Southwest (SXSW; Austin, Texas) in March 2019, to explore, network and discover the latest innovative trends. Following in-person selection, one winner will be chosen and awarded seed funding and support from Sandoz, to help bring their idea to life.

For more details on how to enter the competition and terms and conditions, see here.

For further details visit www.sandoz.com/makingaccesshappen

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #SandozHACk.

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How Kiran Rai Became A Global Brand Ambassador With Over 10.5 Million Facebook Followers At The Age Of 26

Kiran Rai has been featured in 600 international newspapers worldwide and has hosted 80 major events including 50 entertainment events and 23 major sport events. Find out how one of Britain’s most influential young people has made it to the top.

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Now, Kiran Rai is a global brand ambassador traveling the world promoting Social Box. He was also recently appointed as sponsorship director of the Cake Bake and Sweet Show currently running in Australia. But his life wasn’t always global travel and fancy titles, at 23 he stood outside Waterloo station for a month holding a sign saying, “please support me.” He managed to raise £15 000, which allowed him to follow his dreams and catapult himself into the entertainment industry. Find out how he did it:

Getting started

Kiran Rai started out very young, he realised early on in life that if he didn’t take his dream and himself seriously, nobody else would. His mindset developed out of what he learnt from his school life and his family, he also developed a thick skin from watching his mom and his aunt.

“The strategy I used was phoning people constantly and making sure that people heard me, it was a gruelling process.” He says that there were even times when he would bang on directors and casting agents’ doors and send them numerous emails and letters.

He exhausted every option in trying to achieve his dream. “I would do open mics late at the night hoping that maybe someone would spot me,” he says.

Related: Making Money From Your Baking Hobby

Lessons learnt

Kiran Rai learnt quickly the importance of standing on his own two feet. “I just want to keep proving to myself that I am good at what I do, and I kept pushing whether I succeeded or not,” says Rai.

He is constantly on the move and learning new things, he feels that being versatile and gaining experience will help him achieve his dream. “I have a very fierce mentality when it comes to learning that once I complete something I need to move on to something else straight away,” he says.

“I’ve also learnt to be humble – it’s the most important thing. Yes, there are times when you need to be confident to show people that you know what you’re doing but being arrogant puts people off,” says Kai. “I’ve learnt to keep pushing despite people telling me no, I’ve had so much rejection and I still get rejected, I just learn to handle it.”

Putting in the time and effort

“I’ve produced my own work for years, and I’ve put in the time and effort. I’ve learnt my craft and travelled across the world to make my dream happen. I am very grateful to everyone who helped me and for how far I’ve come,” he says.

“Working with Cake Bake has really improved my business mindset and thanks to Ralph and Binu Pillai and Aka Samara who have made this happen for me. I have great mentors around me, who motivate me to try harder.

There have been times when I’ve become demoralised as it’s difficult to see where my career is headed, but I just keep reminding myself that it will take time to realise my dream and improve myself.

Related: How To Start A Bakery Guide

What he’s up to now

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“I’m just a 26-year-old having fun, travelling the world and being able to achieve my dreams and work with great brands including Social Box, 3LT and of course being the sponsorship director of Cake Bake and Sweet Show in Australia,” says Rai.

“Currently, I’m leading a team of 8 and it’s incredible to work with a great company. I will be presenting on stage at the Cake and Bake Show happening in Sydney and Melbourne and I’m excited about it.”

Plans for the future

“My plans are to head to Mumbai and Los Angeles. I am targeting both cities as my dream is to become an established actor. I am also learning Hindi right now to improve my chances when auditioning for Bollywood projects. But I’ll also continue to keep pushing and never settle,” he says.

“The Cake Bake and Sweet Show is a great opportunity to learn. I’m learning how to work with people and work in a team, whereas previously I was very much on my own hustling every day and I haven’t worked closely with people for numerous of years,” says Rai. 

A word of advice

To the youth looking to follow their dreams he says: “Do whatever you can, don’t be scared and make your voice heard. Never let others keep you down.”

He continues to say that you should remember to focus on your education. “I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s important, and that I should haven listened to my parents and followed their advice.”

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South Africa Joins Global Impact Investing Body

South Africa will take another step toward meeting its development challenges this week when it becomes the first African country to join the Global Steering Group (GSG) for Impact Investing.

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A global body promoting investments that not only generate a financial return, but deliver positive environmental and social outcomes as well, the GSG currently comprises 21 countries, plus the European Union.

South Africa will be represented on this important global body by the National Task Force for Impact Investing – that was established recently to grow local support for the impact investment sector. The Task Force is made up of representatives from government, private capital and research institutions. The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) is acting as the secretariat for this new initiative.

“This is an amazing development, as it signifies South Africa’s leadership role in the area of impact investing,” says Elias Masilela, Executive Chairman of DNA Economics and Chair of the Impact Investing National Task Force. “South Africa’s entry into the GSG will usher in a new perspective in thinking about investing.”

According to the Global Impact Investing Network, the amount of money committed to impact investing around the world has doubled in the last year. From $114 billion in mid-2017, there is now $230 billion in funds targeting investments that not only generate a financial return, but deliver positive environmental and social outcomes as well.

This rapid growth has been largely due to a greater awareness of how private investment can contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Yet there is still a long way to go. It is estimated that the world needs $2.5 trillion per year to hit the UN’s targets.

Meeting these goals is crucial in South Africa, where poverty and inequality remain significant challenges. Attracting more private capital to support projects in fields such as education, housing and water is imperative.

Related: Investment Support For Black Business

According to Susan de Witt, Innovative Finance Lead at the Bertha Centre and head of the Impact Investing National Task Force Secretariat, being part of the GSG will give the movement in South Africa international credibility and allow the country to learn from the experiences of other countries.

“One of the major advantages of joining the GSG is that local representatives from the mainstream capital markets will be exposed to the global shifts in asset allocation,” says de Witt. “They will also be able to develop the appropriate contextual vehicles and tools to do this effectively spurred on by the efforts of major players such as Blackrock, Credit Suisse and UBS.

Giving Africa a voice in this forum is a crucial development, says Masilela. “With the strategic role that the country holds on the continent, as well as its representative voice on BRICS and other global fora, it is imperative that South Africa continues to drum up the need for this consciousness towards investment.”

Not only will the country benefit enormously from the learning opportunities, but it will be able to make a meaningful contribution to discussions as well. As many international impact investing projects are focused on Africa, there is a need for local insights to guide international investment allocations.

“Having sat in a number of these meetings, there a noticeable lack of African opinion,” says de Witt. “Working groups with an international strategy often focus on Africa, but there is rarely an African in the room.”

As a member of the GSG, South Africa will be a fully-fledged member of the global impact investing movement. This will unlock meaningful opportunities for the country.

“There is no better time than now,” Masilela says. “Done right, it will reverse many of the domestic and global imbalances we face. It is particularly important, with South Africa’s economy struggling to record a much needed turnaround.”

Along with South Africa, similar Advisory Boards in New Zealand and Bangladesh will also be admitted to the CSG this month.

“The impact revolution is a truly global movement, and its expansion to Bangladesh, New Zealand, and South Africa underscores that the pivot to risk, return, and impact is spreading to all corners of our world,” said Sir Ronald Cohen, founder and chair of the GSG.

The GSG’s Board of Trustees approved the new member countries amid preparations for the annual Impact Summit on 8-9 October in New Delhi, India. The Board also approved sites for its next two Impact Summits: Santiago, Chile on 7-8 November 2019, and Johannesburg, South Africa in 2020.

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