At Home

The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, which will enable the implementation of e-tolling in Gauteng, is now at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), as it moves closer to becoming law. However, there is no indication as to when the Bill, which allows for the collection of e-tolls, will become law, as there are several steps that need to be taken first. – ITWeb

Broadlink has managed to restore connectivity to the bulk of its network, after the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) recently confi scated core switches in Gauteng. Broadlink, a subsidiary of Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), relies on its parent company for connectivity to supply its more than 1 000 clients with broadband. However, WBS and ICASA have been in a long-running dispute over licence fees. – ITWeb

Global computing company Fujitsu has sold a 25% and one share stake in its local subsidiary, Fujitsu Services Infrastructure Holdings, to Thuthukani Investment Consortium. Fujitsu says the deal supports the Department of Trade and Industry’s strategy and policy to advance economic transformation, and it will bring a transfer of skills and expertise to the consortium member businesses. – ITWeb

Grant Hodgkinson, MimecastGrant Hodgkinson, Mimecast

According to Grant Hodgkinson, product director for unified e-mail management at Mimecast, cloud computing has disrupted traditional on-premises e-mail archiving, paving the way for interactive archiving. He said e-mail is still the dominant form of communication in businesses today. “The interactive archive is a technology platform that fulfils two important business objectives.” – ITWeb

A South African domain portfolio is up for sale, including the domain names fly.co.za and music.co.za. Owned by Stephen Gorman, CEO of Pushdigital.co.za, music.co.za and fly.co.za are expected to sell for around $200 000 each. Gorman says initially the portfolio was focused on travel. The first domain name purchased was fly.co.za. He said fly.co.za is the highest broadcast domain in the portfolio. – ITWeb

Stephen Gorman, Pushdigital.co.zaStephen Gorman, Pushdigital.co.za

To commemorate World Water Day on 22 March, IBM and the City of Tshwane launched “Water- Watchers”, a mobile app that can be used to report water-related issues. Roughly R11 billion in municipal revenue is lost due to water leaks and burst pipes across SA. “This project is about analysing use, predicting demand and managing the future of our country’s water,” says IBM SA Smarter Planet executive Ahmed Simjee. – ITWeb

Vodacom has launched an SMS offer for hearingimpaired customers, which doubles their monthly SMS bundles. The new service is available to Vodacom Contract, Top Up and Prepaid customers. “Customers with hearing impairments use SMS as their preferred channel of communication, and Vodacom has decided to offer these customers more value to help them stay connected,” said Vodacom. – ITWeb

First National Bank’s online service experienced problems, leaving many customers frustrated as financial responsibilities had to be dealt with at month-end. FNB online CEO Lee-Anne van Zyl said the problem was caused by the bank’s core systems responding slower than normal. “We moved into our backup system to isolate the problem.” – ITWeb

The latest electricity price increase has put additional pressure on businesses and on IT departments in particular. Since 2008, electricity prices in SA have increased by more than 170%. “The Eskom crisis will force data centre operators to revise their models in order to stay afl oat,” says Guy Willner, founder of the International Data Centre Group and Teraco Data Environments board member. – ITWeb

Into Africa

Zambia’s government plans to install fibre-optic connected cameras along the country’s roads in a bid to better enforce traffic laws. Zambia’s minister of works, supply, communications and transport Christopher Yaluma has said the installation of cameras along the nation’s roads is intended to become effective once the country’s Road Transport and Safety Agency has put in place a solid database to identify owners of vehicles. – ITWeb Africa

Pfungwa Serima, SAP AfricaPfungwa Serima, SAP Africa

Enterprise application software company SAP has ‘reaffirmed its commitment’ to develop the role that technology can play in West African nation Nigeria. Pfungwa Serima, SAP Africa CEO, has said that through strategic partnerships both in the private and public sphere, technology could help develop the Nigerian economy. “With abundant natural resources, Nigeria clearly offers attractive investment opportunities,” said Serima. – ITWeb Africa

A newly built data centre has been launched in Zambia that is planned to cater to the country’s banking sector and key institutions. The facility, dubbed ‘N Data centre’, is located in the capital city Lusaka, and is a subsidiary of Asian technology company NetOne IT. The centre is further planned to provide data recovery services to banks and other institutions in the country, in case of a disaster. – ITWeb Africa

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has launched its new Web site which officials say is planned to help investors access detailed information about trade on the country’s equities market. The old ZSE Web site www.zse.co.zw has been down after it was hacked in 2011. However, a new Web site http://www.zimbabwe-stockexchange.com has now gone live. – ITWeb Africa

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, African Union CommissionDr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, African Union Commission

Unnamed “hackers” have been accused of “masquerading” as the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on social media. This is according to a statement by the African Union. “The AUC would like to make it absolutely clear that the AU Commission chairperson is currently not holding any accounts with social media platforms,” says the statement. – ITWeb Africa

Botswana Insurance Company (BIC) has transformed most of its physical documents into electronic format. Komissa Burzlaff, BIC strategy development and marketing manager, has said over 89 000 documents have been successfully converted into e-documents. “The organisation is working on creating a green e-environment for all its processes with the client in mind.” – ITWeb Africa

Mobile service provider Orange Kenya has reintroduced a call-back service that enables subscribers to reverse call charges to the person they expect to communicate with. Dubbed ‘Nisort’, the service is available on Orange to Orange calls and targets subscribers who need to make urgent calls, but who are not near a credit recharge facility or do not have money to buy airtime. – ITWeb Africa

Telecommunications firm Celtel Zambia, trading as Airtel Zambia, has recorded a profit of about $31 million for the financial year ending 31 December 2012. Airtel Zambia chairperson George Sokota said the telecoms company made the profit for the period under review. According to the financial report for the year ended 31 December 2012, the company received roaming revenue amounting to $79 000 during the period under review. – ITWeb Africa

Botswana has set up a new regulator for the country’s communications industry. Dubbed Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority, the regulator is expected to be operational this month and it is to replace the Botswana Telecommunications Authority and National Broadcasting Board. The new regulator plans to monitor telecommunications, Internet communications, broadcasts, postal services and related matters. – ITWeb Africa

Abroad

Facebook unveiled its most ambitious attempt yet to enter mobile computing without a phone of its own, introducing a new app that replaces the home screen on some Android smartphones. Called “Home”, the new software lets users modify Android to prominently display their Facebook newsfeed and messages on the home screens of a wide range of devices – while hiding other apps. – Reuters

Google will launch a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor around July, as the software giant pushes deeper into the cut-price mobile hardware market. Google is aiming to ship as many as eight million of the Asustek-made tablets in the second half of the year. – Reuters

Data analytics software maker Splunk expects to break even on an adjusted basis and is looking to increase its customer base by about 40%, or 2 000 customers, this year, its chief executive said. “Our investors are encouraging us to continue to run at a breakeven pace so that we can capture fast-moving market opportunities,” CEO Godfrey Sullivan noted. – Reuters

Google has sold the Frommers’ line of travel-guidebooks, acquired just eight months ago from John Wiley & Sons to strengthen its trove of local content and reviews, to founder Arthur Frommer. Google had intended to use the popular brand to beef up its own local content, listings and reviews, executives said at the time. – Reuters

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