11 Oct 2013

Shortlist announced for 2013 AfricaCom Awards!

AfricaCom 2013 – Awards shortlist announced – See who’s making waves in the African Digi-sphere….

We are delighted to announce the AfricaCom Awards 2013 shortlist following a really exciting and popular campaign this year. Our expert panel of judges have done a fantastic job of reviewing the record number of entries received from all across Africa. Their professional and impartial views have resulted in a shortlist that we are proud to be offering this mark of quality and merit to.

Congratulations to all those shortlisted, we can’t wait to see you on the big night, November 13th at Granger’s Bay, Cape Town for a spectacular awards evening. Best of luck!

The short-listed nominees are:

Africa Com Awards 2013 – Official Shortlist

Best Network Improvement

Seacom – SEACOM’s African Ring

Orange – Internet for All

Tigo Tanzania – Network Improvement

SkyVision – Project Mauritius

Huawei Technologies – Huawei FMC Solution

Best Quality User Experience

Orange – My Orange

Deloitte Digital – Data Visualisation

Orange – My Orange Facebook

Orange – Internet Everywhere

Roamtech Solutions Ltd – Music Service

Ericsson – Ericsson Multiscreen Self-care

Citrix – T3100 Adaptive Traffic Manager

Best Cost Efficiency Solution for Africa

World Telecoms Lab – WTL’s 2nd Generation VoIP

Liquid Telecom – Liquid Telecom – the longest fibre links in Africa

Conduct Telecommunications – Open access, dark fibre infrastructure in the last mile

Astellia and Econet Wireless – Revenue Assurance

PeerApp – UltraBand transparent caching platform

TKM Maestro Limited

Rural Telecoms Award

Orange – Mobile Agricultural Info (Labaroun Kassoua)

Econet Solar International – HPS Home Power Station

Helios Towers Africa – Shared Telecoms Infrastructure

Safaricom limited – VUMA online

Vodacom Business Nigeria- Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Solutions

SkyVision – Project Rodrigues

Best Connectivity Solution for Africa

Orange – ACE Cable

Poynting Antennas (Pty) Ltd – Subterranean Cellular Base Station

Conduct Telecommunications – Open access, dark fibre infrastructure in the last mile

Bluwan – Bluwan’s BroadFusion access solution and the Access in Africa project

Liquid Telecom – Liquid’s fibre network

Seacom – Remote Peering

Best Marketing Campaign

OgilvyOne Africa – Marketing Campaign for Airtel Nigeria – Padi Na Good Thing O! – Half Dollar

Orange – Orange African Cup of Nations 2013

Liquid Telecom – ‘I Am’

MTN – Welcome to the World

Best Mobile Marketing Campaign

Orange – E-Recharge & Win -Botswana

OgilvyOne Africa – Mobile Marketing Campaign for Airtel Kenya – FREE Your Smartphone

Mobitainment – The Excella’nt Competition

Best Digital Music Initiative

OgilvyOne Africa – Online marketing campaign for Airtel FRNDZ Unlimited Offer

Mahindra Comviva – Digital Music Library

Spice VAS Africa Pte Ltd – MOD360

Roamtech Solutions Ltd – Bonyeza 699

Best Mobile Money Service

Mahindra Comviva – Ecocash

Orange Niger – Mobile Ticketing

Safaricom Limited – M-Shwari

Orange – Orange Money Visa Service

ORANGE – Orange Money International Transfer

Mer Group Telecom Division – Mobile FinaGate

Best App for Africa

Prezence – Bid or Buy

SatPack Travel- Africa: Live App

Orange – My Orange

Opera Software – Opera Mini

Prezence – Real Time Wine

ydangle apps (Pty) Ltd – Flick

Most Innovative Service 

Intersec – Loyalty Management Suite 5.0

Arabsat – Satellite communication services

TXT Ghana Ltd – Job 1917

Deloitte Digital – Data Visualiser

ORANGE – My Orange Facebook

Safaricom Limited – Cashless Payment Solution

MTN Swaziland – MTN XtraTime

Orange – Mobile Yellow Pages (User Generated Content Directory)

PCCW Global - PCCW Global: Delivering IPX in Africa

Best Pan African Initiative 

Tata Communications – Africa Connectivity and Collaboration Expansion

Orange – International Airtime Hub

Orange – Orange Regional Money Transfer

SkyVision – SkyVision South Africa

Seacom – SEACOM’s IP Network

PCCW Global -Landlocked But Not Locked Out

Industry Personality of the Year

Safaricom Limited – Betty Mwangi-Thuo

WIOCC – Chris Wood

Liquid Telecom – Nic Rudnick

Changing Lives Award

Orange – Mobile Agricultural Info (Labaroun Kassouwa)

Open Idea – Medigraf: Remote Medical Diagnostics

Orange – EDUCI

MTN Swaziland – MTN Schools’ Connectivity Project

YooMee Africa AG – Broadband internet access for students and faculty, University of Douala, Cameroon

About AfricaCom Awards

Now in their 6th year, the Africa Com Awards are recognised as the premier accolade for anyone operating in Africa’s digital market.  www.africacomawards.com

For more information on how to enter or any other aspect please contact Louisa Rogers, Marketing Director on Louisa.rogers@informa.com or +44 (0) 207 017 5157

About AfricaCom 2013

AfricaCom is Africa’s largest communications conference & exhibition.  Now in its 16th year, the conference features 350+ exhibitors and an astounding 8,000 senior decision-makers representing the entire communications ecosystem across Africa and beyond. The conference programme covers the most strategic issues affecting companies in Africa’s digital market – services, efficiency, profitability, customer experience, partnerships, policy and more – and features 6 co-located events: LTE, Digital Music, Mobile Money, AfricaCast, AfricApps, Cloud/Big Data. To register: www.comworldseries.com/africa

For further information or to request an interview with any of the shortlisted nominees, please contact:

Elize Engle or Kaz Henderson at Wired Communications

Tel: +27 21 461 6764

The Driving Force Behind Mobile Operator Profitability in Africa

By Brydon Pilkington, Regional Manager, Middle East and Africa, InfoVista

It’s no secret that Africa represents perhaps the largest growth opportunity in the world for the telecommunications industry. Every day, mobile operators are building bigger, better and stronger networks to keep up with the growing demand for voice and data services from the African population. It is an exciting time, but it is also very easy to get caught up in that excitement and buzzwords like “LTE” and lose sight of what must go into these networks if they are to stand the test of time. It’s not just about what they can do today, but what they’ll be able to do tomorrow, the next and the day after that.

Mobile operators have to consider the technologies of tomorrow when building today for the simple reason that they can’t afford to undertake massive overhaul projects every few years. They have to build in a certain level of flexibility, so their networks can evolve and grow along with the technologies and data services that their subscribers will come to expect. Simply put, they need better network planning, service assurance and optimization, so they are ready for the future.

Forrester Research recently announced the Mobile Mind Shift Index (MMSI). The idea here is that as mobile users gain access to new devices and applications and see what is possible, they will start to expect and then demand these services be readily available at their convenience. They will also judge communications service providers based on their ability to meet these demands, and take their business elsewhere if their current mobile operators cannot offer the quality of service (QoS) they desire. The MMSI measures the change in mobile users’ expectations in this regard. Additionally, earlier this year, IDC predicted that 2013 would be the year of the smartphone and mobile app in Africa. As they have indeed begun to overtake feature phones, measurement tools like the MMSI and the IDC research offer us a glimpse of both the opportunities in Africa and how easily they can pass you by if you’re not careful.

Perhaps the most critical factor in the successful expansion of the African telecommunications market and in driving the profitability of mobile operators is the ability to ensure unparalleled end-to-end QoS. At InfoVista, we have seen firsthand how efficient service assurance, network planning and optimization have enabled this. By making full use of the latest network technologies, while also preparing for the integration of tomorrow’s network innovations, they are better equipped to meet the growing expectations and demand from their subscribers. At the same time, mobile operators are able to minimize CAPEX and OPEX through this improved efficiency, in turn maximizing ROI and further enhancing their profitability.

Ultimately, it all comes down to being able to continually develop and offer high-quality services that retain customers and attract new business. Network planning and optimization, particularly in Africa, where eyes are constantly looking toward the future, should be approached like a game of chess — always thinking 10 moves ahead.

Visit InfoVista at AfricaCom 2013. Come and meet them at stand C04 by registering for your free ticket to AfricaCom Here

7 Oct 2013

The digital television, free and pay TV, to help the African audiovisual creation

By HervĂ© BOTREL, VP Product Department at Neotion 

Local creation and broadcasting of content is a key issue of African cultural independence and therefore of its growth.
The typical value chain of the audiovisual sector is as follows:

In Africa – North and Sub-Saharan regions -  this chain shows problems in many of its links. Only content creation ideas are running well. Their making, however, faces several obstacles that limit their realization.

On the one hand, copyright is not respected as confirmed by Ousmane William Baye, Art Director and Producer Senegalese, who said at the African Film Festival held in Angers last April: "In Africa, authors do not exist, televisions do not buy movies and theaters close. " and he adds," Our industry is a subsidized one ". On the same subject, the Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé adds "Our films are neither distributed nor viewed in Africa. The televisions do not buy our movies. In fact, we cannot even pretend to any rights in our country. "

To live from their art, filmmakers contract directly with foreign companies in countries where they are successful - such as in France where some of the African filmmakers are affiliated to the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), feeding a vicious circle from which African cinema struggling to emerge.
Another issue is with the distribution. Because of the lack of distribution networks, the financing of movies is often complicated. According to Claire Diao from Clapnoir (www.clapnoir.org) "without any sustainable business model, the production of a film remains an issue” Ousmane William Baye adds that "the only way to overcome the crisis of cinema in Africa, is to think television."

Indeed the audience is still very limited to festivals that represent the bulk of the distribution of local content. But television channels have a bad habit of charging writers and producers prior to distribute their works. Contributing thus a few to the investments required to grow the African audio-visual sector.

How then being released from the current deadlock and how the technology can positively contribute to the takeoff of the African cinema to, is the purpose of this paper.

Let’s have a look to what works
, particularly in Europe and namely in France. Beyond the term "cultural exception" promoted by France and recently excluded from the trade negotiations between the US and the Europe, there is an economic reality.

Firstly, the Culture is one of the few sectors that, despite the crisis, are doing well in Europe. Recent statistics indicate that the cultural and creative industries - from theater to architecture, music and design - represent 4.5% of EU GDP and 3.8% of its jobs (source FICDC September 2013).

This was made possible namely thanks to the obligations imposed to the broadcasters at contributing to the audiovisual creation rather than only "plunder" movies and series coming from the USA to feed their schedulers. Quotas were established fostering the local creation, and financial resources were provided. Not by the government but by the economic actors themselves impulse by laws.

In practice, this funding comes from the TV channels which still capture a significant share of the overall advertising investments ( 42% of the worldwide advertising market, value stabilized for years despite the advent of the Internet - source: Zenithopyimedia data) and divert their revenues in taxes destined to contribute to the audiovisual creation.

However the model works if and only if the number of TV channels is significant for keeping such contribution effort at an affordable level for each of them.

The digitization of the networks is in that respect a favorable factor which increases the network’s capacity and allows broadcasting more television channels. This should be positive for the local contents.

Pay TV influences positively the audiovisual creation too. Firstly because they trigger an air call for the local economy thanks to the improved delivery capabilities of TV channels looking for contents. Secondly, because they generate significant and steady income that could allow in return funds for local investment if regulations and decisions taken by the local governments are set specifically.

The equipment also has some role to play. Indeed, operators are facing significant operating expenses that they wish to reduce. This without compromising the security applied to protect their content, giving them access to premium ones and ensuring the sustainability of their revenues.
The booming of digital TV sets sales, offers operators a unique opportunity to grow the number of their subscribers. Indeed when those TVs are fitted with CI CAM Plus compliant with recognized standard – CI Plus – and deployed across Europe by almost all the Pay-TV operators, their service package are ready to be received easily. And they do not need any more STB which beyond their high cost, are generating substantial logistics investments for their deployment and maintenance.

The CI Plus CAM offers many advantages including, affordable cost of purchase and maintenance, shaped as small as a smartcard, easy to install and to operate and supporting the latest secured technology provided by conditional access companies.

To conclude, we think at NEOTION, that giving access to television to the largest population requires secured and value added content. This content shall offer a mix of international and local programs. And finally the operating costs for broadcasters and operators must remain limited to propose affordable and easy to access offers to the greatest number of people. The CI Plus CAM solutions developed by NEOTION suits perfectly with these objectives.

Visit Neotion at Africa Cast 2013. Come and meet them by registering for your free ticket to AfricaCom Here