24 May 2012

Connect. Secure. Deliver QoS. Cloud Africa 2012 Conference & Exhibition closes after 2 days of knowledge sharing & consensus about the path to the Cloud for African Telcos & Enterprise

Day 2 of the Cloud Africa 2012 conference and exhibition has closed after a successful 48 hours of learning, knowledge sharing and networking. This inaugural event has provided an invaluable platform for the telecoms and IT industries, bringing them together to hear from top quality thought leaders, with unrivalled networking opportunities and therefore the perfect forum for building business partnerships and driving forward the progress of Cloud in Africa.
Telecoms operators and African Enterprise CIOs alike have pressed the message that planning for investments and planning business partnerships to successfully deliver cloud services is key, with day 2 opening presentations from Felix Martin-Aguillar, Strategy Executive & Head of Business Services from Cell C, Douglas Reed, CEO of Vox Telecom, and a panel discussion between MTN Business, Google premier partners – Grove Group, and Cell C.
The mid-morning session moved on to talk about the importance of app delivery in the cloud to boost access via mobile – probably the key area of potential for cloud services in Africa.  Kim Andersen of CxO Advisors and Ovum started, followed by Award Winner Emerging Markets Communications’ Vice President, Video Services, and Johann Van Der Westhuizen, CIO/CEO at e-Logistics.
The afternoon was tied up with a focus on security and what the future holds for Cloud in Africa, with presentations from George Sibiya from the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and Tammy Bortz, Director at Werksmans Attorneys, finally leading into the Analyst Crystal Ball Panel with Informa Telecoms & Media, Ovum and IDC analysts.

The inaugural Cloud Africa conference and exhibition, organised by the Com World Series, has been hailed by attendees and sponsors as an all round success. The Managing Director of Gabon’s Ministry of Digital Economy, Armand Lichambany, said it was the “greatest event, strongly focusing on cloud issues in the region.” Thomas Luketich, Emerging Markets Communications’ Vice President, Video Services, commented that it was a “very informative event with key players present from the African market place. The format worked well and I look forward to working with Informa on Cloud events in Africa, and other markets.”
Informa’s Com World Series team will deliver more opportunities to learn about cloud, and network with the leading executives in the industry, at the Enterprise ICT Africa event, taking place in Cape Town on the 14th to 15th November 2012 – collocated with AfricaCom, the continent’s leading ICT and media event. www.enterprise-ICTafrica.com

Plus, Cloud Africa will return for 2013, in a new venue, the Hilton Sandton – so put the dates in your diary now to ensure you don’t miss it – 21-22 May 2013. For full details see the website: www.cloudafricasummit.com to hear more about what’s gone on at Cloud Africa 2012 check out #CloudAfricaCWS on Twitter

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on this year’s Cloud Africa

Tweet about your experience using #CloudAfricaCWS @allaboutcom on twitter!

Thank you to all the Sponsors of Cloud Africa:

- Safaricom
– Huawei
– Business Connexion
– Grove Group
– Google
– Emerging Markets Communications
– Parallels
– Microsoft

See You Next Year!
Cloud Africa
21-22 May 2013
Hilton Sandton
Johannesburg, SA

Access, Speed and Agility: "Cloud is Ready for Take-Off in Africa" decides Cloud Africa 2012

Day 1 of Cloud Africa 2012 took place in the Midrand Convention Centre, Johannesburg, yesterday.  500 Operators,  Enterprise CIOs & Telecoms Professionals have gathered to attend with over 49% of those registered are CxO/Director level; 198 of them representing large African enterprises and 205 coming from the telecoms players. Bright and early the conference hall was packed ready for the opening discussions - including the opening keynote from sponsor Safaricom's representative Sylvia Mulinge, General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit, which made a strong message about Kenya's readiness for cloud. In Safaricom's view the next hurdle is educating consumers so that they can consume cloud as voraciously as they do internet.

The day 1 message was clear - cloud is a dream business model for African customers, there is just a need in the industry need to share best practice for cloud, and then the next stage will be customer awareness campaigns.

Alongside this key message the plethora of expert speakers and the 2 focus tracks, ensured that the day 1 conference covered a great deal of ground. This included demands on infrastructure for telcos wishing to become cloud service providers (MTN Business), Cloud apps for working in the future today (Grove & Google), driving collaboration (Microsoft), managing cloud services (Safaricom), government strategies for funding cloud (Africa CIO Forum), how to meet expectations on quality of service (Metro Ethernet Forum), and more....

Organiser's Com World Series' Conference Manager, Emily Martyr, said "we're delighted with the first day of the event, the quality of delegates has been commented on by many of the sponsors, our speakers have given extremely informative presentations, and for a launch event in Africa we are thrilled to receive such support from operators, enterprise CIOs and vendors - today has gone extremely well."

Networking and experience sharing were an integral part of day 1, with the Speed Networking a huge success for participants.  And especially the Cloud Africa Awards Ceremony - sponsored by Safaricom Business. Alongside the drinks and nibbles there were four exclusive categories, with a great deal of applause for the winners: Huawei, IMIMobile, Grove Group/Google and EMC.

Day 2 takes place on Thursday 24th May, with the promise of more great speakers, and informative panel discussions, including; Felix Martin-Aguilar, Strategy Executive & Head of Business Services at Cell C, Douglas Reed, CEO at Vox Telecom, Thomas Luketich, VP of Strategic Marketing at EMC to name just a few.

Thank you to all the Sponsors of Cloud Africa:
- Safaricom
- Huawei
- Business Connexion
- Grove Group
- Google
- Parallels
- Microsoft

For full details see the website: www.cloudafricasummit.com to hear what's gone on in more detail check out #CloudAfricaCWS on Twitter

22 May 2012

Mxit CEO Alan Knott-Craig gives his opinion on the South African VAS market, and says there needs to be a viable alternative to operator customer billing solutions...

Alan is founder of World of Avatar and CEO of Mxit, Africa’s largest social network. World of Avatar is a holding company for a number of mobile web companies focused on Africa. The biggest company is Mxit, Africa's largest social network without over 50million registered users.  The Com World Series team sat him down to gain a few insights into the South African services, content and apps market, ahead of his participation as a VIP speaker at VAS Africa. 
CWS: What does VAS mean to you?
AK-C: Products sold via the mobile operators, usually billed on premium rated SMS
CWS: How would you describe the growth of Value Added Services in Africa over the past year?
AK-C: In South Africa it has been stagnant. Outside of SA the revenue shares are simply too small for 3rd parties to make any money.
CWS: How important do you think cost-efficiency is for the delivery of VAS and why?
AK-C: Most of African mobile usage is via prepaid airtime and users are very sensitive to cost. Any costs in the process of delivering services hinders take-up, so a primary aim is always to reduce the cost of service delivery.
CWS: Who do you think are the major players in the African market affecting the VAS industry?
AK-C: Still the operators (MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, etc.)
CWS: What do you think are the 3 key areas VAS providers need to focus on in order to succeed in the African market?
AK-C: Usability across all handsets, (including WP7, Blackberry, iOS, Android and feature phones), exploring new ways of marketing, and finding alternatives to mobile operators for billing consumers.
CWS: Which key message do you want to highlight during your participation at VAS Africa in Johannesburg later this year? 
AK-C: The rest of the world is starting to awaken to the opportunities in Africa. The time to move is now, and our target market is not smartphone users. It is feature phone users.

Alan is founder of World of Avatar, and between 2003 and 2006 co-founded five companies in the mobile telecoms sector. In 2006 Alan was appointed managing director of iBurst, a wireless broadband network operator in South Africa. In April 2008 published Don’t Panic, a bestselling book aimed at persuading emigrant South Africans to return home. In June 2008 he founded The Trust, an NGO focused on assisting charities access skills and capital. In 2009 Alan was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Alan is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

VAS Africa is the continent’s most exciting value added services, content & apps event, and when it launched last year it was hailed as a massive success. Participants praised the quality of the speakers, the depth of conference content, the breadth of discussion and the targeted networking with VAS decision-makers from across Africa.  Therefore the 2nd year promises to be even bigger and better. Sign up today to be part of Africa’s only dedictaed value added services conference and exhibition.  Sign up to for the 2012 agenda and event updates,  find out more about joining in the speaker line-up and apply today to sponsor or exhibit.

#VASAfrica @allaboutcom

New speakers confirmed at West & Central Africa Com: MTN, BICS, Tellabs

The West & Central Africa Com congress will take place in Dakar, Senegal next month. The programme will include some of the region's most dynamic leasders to discuss challenges and opportunities in the digital ecosystem. New speakers have recently confirmed their participation to this exciting event. MTN Group Following the group's restructuring of its leadership team, Wim Vanhelleputte has now taken the role of Vice President for the West & Central Africa region in addition to heading the Cote d'Ivoire operation. He will give a keynote presentation focusing on introducing new data capability across the West & Central Africa region. Tellabs A new sponsor of the event, Tellabs will be represented by Adrien Joseph, director of solution sales and channel development for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region at Tellabs. In this role, he is responsible for driving the positioning and development of Tellabs’ solution strategies for EMEA. Adrien will present on delivery and transport of superior mobile services. BICS ClĂ©mentine Fournier is Regional Vice President Africa at BICS and will share her expertise on outsourcing strategies for operators in the region. She has more than 13 years of experience in the Telecom business. She is today responsible with her team for some 6 billion minutes of international voice traffic and more than 150 data contracts with mobile operators across Africa. For more information on the conference programme please visit our website.