South Africans nominated for Innovation Prize for Africa


first_imgFour South African innovations have made it on to this year’s list of 10 nominees for the Innovation Prize for Africa. Its aim is to encourage local solutions to challenges and inspire continued growth on the continent. The winner will be announced in a ceremony in June in Botswana. This year’s Innovation Prize for Africa takes place in June in Botswana. Four South Africans are in the running. (Image: African Press Organisation)• Girls in space! Africa’s first private satellite – designed by schoolgirls• How can digital technology boost growth in Africa?• Busting the myth that Africa doesn’t produce scientific innovators• African scientists make headway in grasping persistent TB bacteria• Robotic gliders boost for ocean research• Meet the global leaders heading WEF Africa 2016 Priya PitamberFour South Africans have been included in the list of 10 nominees announced for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Run by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) and now in its fifth year, this year’s theme is “Made in Africa”. The aim is to create home-grown solutions for Africa to spur growth and prosperity on the continent.“As Africans, we have the talent, potential and clout to solve our own problems with ingenuity too, and IPA is testimony of this,” said IAP director Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl. “In the past five years, I’ve seen innovation grow from a mere buzzword to a sturdy path for African growth in multidisciplinary industries across the continent.”There has been tremendous growth in applications and keen interest from innovators and innovation enablers since the inception of the awards. “IPA 2016 attracted a record 3 600-plus innovators and received 985 successful submissions from 46 African countries,” it said in a statement. To date, it has attracted more than 6 000 innovators from 50 African countries.The nominees and their inventionsThis year, the nominees include breakthrough innovations in malaria and other public health burdens, smart solutions for farmers and dynamic energy initiatives.Tackling malaria and other public health concernsDr Eddy Agbo, Nigeria: Urine Test for MalariaUrine Test for Malaria (UMT) is a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device that is able diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes. Africa is still in the process of eradicating malaria. Diagnosis of the disease can take a long time, and if the patient is not treated quickly enough, it can lead to kidney failure, lung fluid build-up, and even death.The technology in the UMT detects malaria parasite proteins in the patient’s urine. The UMT is simple and affordable, and a potential game changer in managing malaria across Africa.Valentin Agon, Benin: Api-PaluApi-Palu is an anti-malaria drug treatment developed out of natural plant extract. It is significantly cheaper than available anti-malarial drugs, and has great inhibitory effects on 3D7 strains of plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria.The drug is available in tablets, capsules or syrup. It has been approved in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Central Africa Republic because of its therapeutic and non-toxic effects.Dr Imogen Wright, South Africa: ExatypeExatype is a software solution that enables health care workers to determine the responsiveness of HIV-positive patients to antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment. A growing number of people are increasingly resistant to ARVs. Exatype processes the highly complex data produced by advanced “next-generation” DNA sequencing of the HIV DNA in a patient’s blood. Through a simple report, it detects drugs that are resistant to the patient, then highlights the need to avoid these to ensure successful treatment.It has the potential to contribute towards effectively managing HIV/Aids in Africa, and also holds promise in helping to detect drug resistance for other diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria.Dr Kit Vaughan, South Africa: AcesoAceso improves breast cancer detection by using imaging technology that is capable of performing full-field digital mammography and automated breast ultrasound at the same time.If diagnosed early enough, the cancer can be treated successfully. However, because 40% of women have dense tissue, their cancers cannot be seen on X-ray. Furthermore, a false negative finding can have devastating consequences. This world first system is protected by international patents and has been successfully tested in two separate clinical trials with 120 women.IF you could do one innovative thing to show your LOVE for #Africa, what would it be? #MadeinAfrica #IPA2016 pic.twitter.com/DwGVy5EkQS— IPA Prize (@IPAprize) May 3, 2016Design architecture and learning platformsDr Youssef Rashed, Egypt: The Plate PackageThe Plate Package (PLPAK) is a software solution that assesses the architecture of building plans or technical drawings, determining structural integrity of the end design. PLPAK applies the boundary element based method to analyse and view practical design of building foundations and slabs.It enables engineers to represent building slabs over sophisticated foundation models easily, building information modelling techniques and eliminating human error. With the rapid growth of African cities, there is increased demand for infrastructural developments to support the growing population.Godwin Benson, Nigeria: TuteriaTuteria is an innovative peer-to-peer learning online platform that allows people who want to learn any skill, whether formal or informal, to connect with anyone else near them who is offering that skill. For instance, a student needing maths skills can connect online with someone in their vicinity offering remedial classes in mathematics.Tutors and learners form an online community that connects them, and once a fit is established, they meet offline for practical exchange. Both tutors and learners are thoroughly vetted to ensure safety, accountability and a quality learning experience.Smart farming solutionsOlufemi Odeleye, Nigeria: the TryctorThe Tryctor is a mini tractor modelled on the motorcycle. By attaching various farming implements, it can carry out similar operations as a conventional tractor, but on a smaller scale.Through inspired alterations to a motorcycle’s engine, gearing system and chassis, this innovation has made it possible to mechanise agriculture in Africa for small-scale farmers in a way that was previously not possible.Additionally, the Tryctor is easy to use and cheaper to maintain as 60% of its parts and components are locally sourced.Samuel Rigu, Kenya: Safi Sarvi OrganicsSafi Sarvi Organics is a low-cost fertiliser made from purely organic products and waste from farm harvests, designed to improve yields for farmers by up to 30%.Safi Sarvi costs the same as traditional fertilisers, can reverse farmers’ soil degradation and lead to improved yield and income. The product uses biochar-based fertiliser that can counteract soil acidity, retaining nutrients and moisture in the soil.The carbon-rich fertiliser also removes carbon from the atmosphere by at least 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per acre of farm per year. The nominees for this year’s Innovation Prize for come from all over the continent. (Image: IPA, Facebook)Dynamic energy initiativesAndre Nel, South Africa: Green TowerGreen Tower is an off-grid water heating and air conditioning solution based on solar power that uses advanced thermos-dynamics to create up to 90% savings in electricity consumption.The Green Tower improves efficiency of a solar heat pump with solar thermal collectors, low pressure storage tanks and heat exchangers.With Africa’s middle class rapidly growing and demand for energy outstripping supply, this initiative has the potential for large-scale roll out. Green Tower can conserve limited energy resources, diverting them from heating and cooling systems to more productive industries.Johan Theron, South Africa: PowerGuardPowerGuard enables consumers to determine the maximum amount of power supply required for daily operations. Consumers can thus reduce their power demand, especially during peak times, leading to a more efficient power supply, and helping to reduce power cuts.Consumers are able to set their own maximum peak power usage needs. This technology substantially reduces load shedding and power rationing, diverting power to more productive industries.The existence of a smart grid can help to reduce the pressure on existing infrastructure while moving the continent slowly towards renewable energy.The big nightThe winner will be announced at a gala ceremony on 23 June at the Gaborone International Conference Centre in Botswana.Watch this:There is a grand share prize of $150 000 (about R2.3-million).last_img read more

Five points about the future of innovation in South Africa


first_imgA view of Cape Town with Table Mountain behind it from the V&A Waterfront. (Image: Brand South Africa)Ngozi OnuohaThis spring, I had the honour of joining seven journalists from the UK, US, China and South Africa on a tour of Johannesburg and Cape Town.Accompanied by guides from Brand South Africa, we met with leaders in technology, science and business to learn about initiatives aimed at boosting innovation in South Africa and possibly setting the stage for the country to become a future global leader in these sectors.While on my trip, the country was also preparing to celebrate 20 years of democracy. It would be a bittersweet yet eventful year with the first independence celebration without Madiba, the first presidential election with born-free voters, and the country’s dethroning from their spot as Africa’s top economy.Despite the change in its economic standing, South Africa is repositioning itself for a return to the top.How? Well, one way is through science, design and technology innovation.Here are five ways South Africa could compete.5. People come in all shapes and sizes, and according to SKA, satellites do tooFascinated by space technology? The employees at Square Kilometer Array (SKA) in South Africa love it too. We visited their offices in Cape Town to learn more about their research and engineering projects.During his presentation in the SKA labs, digital backend sub-systems specialist Francois Kapp explained the organisation’s biggest achievements: KAT-7, the world’s first dish made of fibre glass, and MeerKAT, an under-construction telescope set to be the world’s most sensitive radio telescope.One of KAT-7 Satellites. (Image: SKA South Africa)The project is set to be completed in 2017 and could make history (and lots of investment money) for the country.4. Design in Cape Town will be sustained far beyond 2014(Image: Cape Town World Design Capital)In 2011, Cape Town won its bid to become the World Design Capital for 2014. This year, Cape Town and the country have celebrated the honour by bringing to life some of the concepts brainstormed in hopes of creating social change. During our visit to the World Design Capital offices, we viewed a presentation which highlighted of some of the projects and events in the works. Each project draws from the overarching theme, “Live Design, Transform Life.” They also fall into four categories:1. African Innovation. Global Conversation.2. Bridging the Divide.3. Today for Tomorrow.4. Beautiful Space. Beautiful Things.“The vision of the year is to transform Cape Town, through design, into a sustainable productive Africa city. Our mission is to identify those projects which provide tangible evidence of this transformative design in action.” – Nicky Swartz, a Cape Town Design Team LeaderA standout project that took place this year was led by a group, called Yenza. The collective – comprising architects, a stylist and an art director – help communities look at the resources around them to create low-cost, redesigned products.3. Silicon Savannah? No, Silicon Cape(Image: Bandwidth Barn, Facebook)One of our first stops in Cape Town was a visit to the Woodstock-based tech incubator Bandwith Barn.The warehouse-turned-work space is just one of a growing number of iHubs sprouting across the coastal town in partnership with an initiative called Silicon Cape. Similar to Kenya’s Silicon Savannah, Silicon Cape hopes to make the Western Cape an attractive destination for investors and tech entrepreneurs. Bandwidth Barn, the space first started out of a need for affordable access to bandwidth, now houses innovators working with companies such as Blackberry. It also has a development programme for tech innovators that offers mentorship, access to investors and, of course, work space.(Oh, and don’t worry, there’s no competition between the two Silicons. They’re partners.)2. Shooting your film in Hollywood? That was so last year.(Image: Cape Town Film Studios)Welcome to Cape Town Film Studios, the newest hotspot for Hollywood’s big-budget filmmakers.The film lot, located in Faure and just a few miles away from Stellenbosch, has seen a significant increase in the interest of movie houses such as Paramount and 20th Century Fox within the last year. Among its growing list of credits since its opening close to four years ago, Cape Town Studios has been a location for movies such as Dredd (2012), Safe House (2012) and Chronicles (2012). Most recently, the highly-anticipated film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) was shot entirely on the property. The set included a complete replica of Vilakazi Street, the area where the Mandelas, Tutus and other families lived in Soweto.“When I started, it was one of those projects that, I would say, 90 percent..95 percent of people said a low cost studio wouldn’t work here. Why would anybody in their right mind travel all the way here?…but I felt it would if you can create the right magic for people.” – Nico Dekker, CEO of Cape Town Studios1. Women in leadership are taking centre stageIn each of the places we visited, it seemed there were women confidently articulating their research, aspirations and responsibilities as leaders in companies dominated by men. During a visit to the Mobile Intelligent Autonomous Systems department of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), we met a small team of engineers responsible for researching and implementing the technology used to build robots. Their presentation was led by Natasha Govender, a 32-year-old PhD student at Oxford Brookes University who served as the group’s team leader. Govender described the research her team was doing could improve field robotics and help make robots strong, durable companions for miners. The robots could observe conditions deemed unsafe for miner exploration and cut down the number of deaths.Natasha Govender, a 32-year-old PhD student at Oxford Brookes University.The next day, we met Anele Nzama. Nzama is a junior technician at SKA South Africa, and she is in charge of controlling telescopes at the satellite technology company. The 26-year-old recent college graduate shared her excitement in holding a position at SKA SA, but also expressed a desire for more women to take part in science and technology innovation.Anele Nzama, a junior technician at SKA South Africa.Ngozi Onuoha has a masters degree from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and also holds a BA in English from the City College of New York (CUNY). Before attending Columbia, Onuoha was a contributing writer and event coordinator for a number of emerging Africa-centric organizations based in New York City. As a member of the diaspora’s creative community, she aims to continue coverage of arts, culture and development in Africa.last_img read more

The most important question to ask a potential IoT development partner


first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Devops#Internet of Things#IoT Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck In the race to innovate in the IoT market space, successful companies are realizing that their success depends not only on what they can do, but also on the innovation, abilities, connections, and insights provided by partnering with others.Outsourcing part, or all, of your IoT product development can offer wonderful benefits and a strategic advantage. And, there is no shortage of engineering services providers who can help you. According to Technavio, a market trends researcher, the global outsourced engineering services market will grow by up to 27% by 2019. See also: Microsoft unveils IoT Central to speed development effortsWhen talent, funds, and time are tight in a fast moving IoT market, working with a full-service design, engineering, and manufacturing services partner is a strategy you should explore for your company.But, with so much at stake, how do you find the right development partner? While each company’s abilities and approach to IoT is different, the information they seek is often very similar when evaluating potential developAre you experienced?For example, you will probably ask “Does the development firm have experience relevant to your specific project?” And, you will likely find that most development firms have not created a product exactly like yours, especially If your planned product is leading-edge, as most are in the current IoT market. But, they should have done similar or relevant work in a different industry or application. A competent, creative firm who has successfully designed products using similar technology in a different category or industry vertical with good results, is more likely to offer you greater innovation since they have a wider range of experience, with ideas and perspectives from other industries.It is also important to verify that the potential partner’s product development process is sound and mature. A successful product development company constantly hones their process to create the best recipe for delivering great products for their clients. Their approach should prioritize full integration between design, engineering, and manufacturing so that each function can contribute to each phase of the process, and drive efficiencies and quality throughout development and production. They should be able to explain that process in context with your project and identify any potential risks and mitigations that might be needed.And, it is telling whether the potential partner brags about their specific capabilities and key expertise within their development team. A potential partner should openly showcase their people and talents – they are their value! While the specific engineers who work on a project may vary, you should know who the core team of direct employees is and their qualifications and experience. Better results are achieved by a team who consistently works and communicates together seamlessly, than by a disconnected group of contractors who don’t know each other and were engaged just for your project.Last, you’ll likely check references and confirm that the prospective development firm’s clients are happy and they continue to work with them over several projects, and not just a single project. While it is not possible to retain 100% of their customers, for a variety of reasons, at least 50% of a successful development firm’s clients will work with them repeatedly as a long-term partner. The best reference is a return customer.And the most important question…But, in the end, the most important question to ask a potential development partner is “Are they producing value, and not just deliverables?” A good development partner produces the device or application that you contracted for, in accordance with the contract. They have delivered on time and in budget, just as promised.And, a great development partner gives you more. They listen to you and learn all they can about your business, your market, your competition, and your ambitions. They work with you to think through goals and assumptions. They leverage their experience in different markets and different products to offer ideas and options you may not have considered. They find ways to add more value at every step of the design, development, manufacturing, and launch process. They help you explore all the ways the product or service can evolve to produce more revenue, reduce costs, or create new opportunities for you. They become an extension of your company and a vital part of your development, as they help you do things that have never been done before. And, their technology experts will help you innovate sooner and iterate more to create products and services your customers crave. Ultimately, as a true partner, they will be as proud as you are of the amazing products you create together.Gartner predicts that by 2021, $2.5 million will be spent every minute on IoT and 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour. In this very fast moving environment, finding the right development partner is often the critical factor between success or failure. And the most important value a great development partner can give you is to help you get to market first with the best product or service offering to take maximum advantage of the IoT tidal wave. The author is Senior Director Marketing and Business Development at Nytec. The firm is an award-winning, integrated consulting firm with over 40 years of success turning ideas into first-of-a-kind, consumer electronics and IoT products for Fortune 100 companies. To learn more, please visit us at www.nytec.com.center_img Charles Chang Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

10 months agoCardiff confident landing Liverpool fullback Clyne – thanks to Warnock


first_imgCardiff confident landing Liverpool fullback Clyne – thanks to Warnockby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City are chasing Liverpool fullback Nathaniel Clyne.The Mirror says Cardiff are confident of winning the race to sign Clyne on loan.The 27-year-old has been back on the scene at Anfield in recent weeks but will move down the pecking order again when Joe Gomez returns to fitness.Fulham and Leicester have also shown an interest in taking the right-back next month.But Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock is hopeful that his past association with Clyne — the pair worked together at Crystal Palace — will give him the edge. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more