Author: My Office News

How WhatsApp is killing calls in SA

A recent article by MyBroadband explored how the popularity of VoIP services like WhatsApp has impacted voice income for South African major mobile networks: Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C.

  • Vodacom has experienced a “slight decrease in the consumption of traditional voice minutes”, but said the advantages of traditional GSM calls still make it a good option for consumers.
  • MTN told MyBroadband that it has “experienced a decrease in traditional calls and an increase in VoIP usage to match”.
  • Cell C admitted they had noticed a decrease in the amount of traditional call minutes being used, but said that it had stabilised.
  • Telkom told MyBroadband that it had “not seen a decrease in the average minutes of use per user for both on and off-network calling”.

However, according to We are Social, “WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app … in South Africa. We have 38-million unique mobile users, which grew by two million between 2017 and 2018. ”

The high costs of data in South Africa prevent many users from using WhatsApp’s full capabilities.

ACSA to spend R1.2bn digitising SA airports

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has set aside R1.2 billion to digitise the country’s airports, according to a recent article in ITWeb.

The announcement was made as the company released its financial results to 31 March.

Highlights include:

  • Profit fell by 58%, largely due to a 50% increase in security costs
  • R287-million was spent on data centre and network upgrades in 2018/19
  • The organisation says it has embarked on a five-year IT upgrade programme
  • The board has set aside R1.2-billion in capital expenditure to spend on IT infrastructure
  • Upgrades will focus on digitising local airports
  • R301-million will be spent on IT network optimisation
  • R142-million will go towards IT backup and storage solutions
  • R240-million will be spent on improving and upgrading the company’s physical IT infrastructure
  • Legacy equipment will be replaced
  • Paperless travel will require it to tightly integrate its passenger processing systems with databases residing with the Department of Home Affairs and Department of Transport, as well as with other airlines
  • Faster passenger processing will allow the retail component of the airport to generate more non-aeronautical revenue
  • A new mobile application will allow customers and passengers to interact with airports remotely

Image credit: ACSA

Why WeWork doesn’t work

Source: The Economist

With its stylish shared workspaces and chic occupants, lubricated by fruit-infused water and nitro coffee on tap, WeWork, a firm that rents out temporary offices, had seemed to be riding the wave of a new trend in managing desk-jockey life. But the nine-year-old private company has suffered a setback, announcing on September 16th that it would postpone an initial public offering (IPO) that had been expected to raise $3bn-4bn. Investors, it seems, cannot decide what the firm is worth.

They have four main worries. The first, and most glaring, is WeWork’s lack of profits. The firm argues that this is explained by the huge investments needed to secure economies of scale. It says that mature locations are profitable—revenues doubled during the first half of 2019 over the same period in 2018, to $1.5bn. But its net losses also rose, if more modestly, to $905m. A second concern is how the company would fare in a recession. It has taken on $47bn in lease payments but has only $4bn in committed future revenues from customers. A third bugbear is corporate governance. WeWork will issue multiple classes of shares that give its flamboyant founder, Adam Neumann, control with a minority stake.

The final concern is the company’s valuation. When it raised money in January, with funding led by Japan’s SoftBank, the firm was valued at a heady $47bn. Critics point to IWG, which offers shared offices under the Regus and Spaces brands worldwide, and has a market capitalisation of just $4.5bn (see chart). Already WeWork seemed willing to accept a much lower price tag for its flotation, seeking a relatively modest valuation of $15bn or less from its IPO. Even that seems out of reach and the company has, for now, dropped the attempt.

Mr Neumann’s claim that his firm will “elevate the world’s consciousness” is plainly silly. Even so, it is not fair to equate WeWork with the more conventional Regus. CBRE, a property-management firm, estimates that the flexible-work niche experienced “meteoric growth” of 25% in America’s top ten markets in 2018, with similar figures in big cities worldwide. WeWork’s innovations in work-place facilities have dramatically enlarged the size of the market for temporary offices. But investors need more certainty that it knows how to make money from it.

They will also be all too well aware that the shares of some stars of the new economy have disappointed of late.Uber, a ride-hailing firm, listed its shares at $45 in May on the New York Stock Exchange. Today they were trading at about $34.50. In March its rival, Lyft, had sold its shares on the Nasdaq exchange at $72; today they are worth about $48. Slack, a corporate-messaging service whose shares started trading on the NYSE in June at an opening price of $38.50, is now valued at about $26 a share. Unicorns are going a little cheaper these days.

SAPS launches free app to fight crime

Published by Kirsten Jacobs for Cape Town Etc

An app for citizens to use in the fight against crime has been launched by the South African Police Service (SAPS). Called My SAPS, the app was developed by Vodacom and will be available on both Apple and Android devices.

The app is described on the App Store as a way of “enabling everyone to contribute towards building a more crime free society”.

“My SAPS is a free application available for iPhones and other smartphones, provided by the South African Police Services,” it says on the App Store. “My SAPS will allow you to submit crime tip-offs (anonymously) to the Crime Stop Centre and send updates.”

The app allows users to submit anonymous tip-offs and call crime stop.

“It also allows you easy access to all SAPS Stations information using the SAPS Station finder, as well as all SAPS Social Media platforms.”

Users can find their closest police station using the app.

Download it for Android: https://tinyurl.com/y5s8z3u9

Download it for iOS: https://tinyurl.com/y5orqtou

Are SA retailers staring into the abyss?

According to a recent article in Business Day, South Africa’s once blue-chip retail giants are reeling in tandem with the economy as the glory days of retail fade.

  • The latest megamall is Fourways Mall. It cost R9-billion to revamp, has 450 stores and is the size of 20 rugby fields
  • Fourways Mall is now bigger than Midrand’s Mall of Africa
  • This is bad timing in a country with economic growth rate of 0,9%
  • South Africa’s unemployment rate stands at 29% – meaning few people have income to spare
  • Welfare payments to SA’s 18-million beneficiaries are set to grow by less than inflation
  • Online shopping trends also pose a threat to retail
  • The share prices of the largest SA retailers are down
  • Mr Price is down 24% over the past year
  • Grocery pin-up stock Shoprite is down 45%
  • Massmart, which owns Game and Makro, is 61% lower
  • Truworths is down 41%
  • TFG, which owns Foschini, is down 17%
  • Dis-Chem is down 34% over 12 months
  • Pick n Pay is down 21%
  • Both national and international retailers are faced with downsizing (such as Edgars) or closing (such as Toys ‘R’ Us)

 

Saudi oil attacks cause price wobble

Source: CNN

Investigators from Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have determined “with very high probability” that the weekend attack on the Saudi oil industry was launched from an Iranian base in Iran close to the border with Iraq.

What happened?
Ten drones performed co-ordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities knocked out half of the country’s oil capacity — more than 5-million barrels a day. This amounts to about 5% of the world’s supply. Saudi and US investigators have determined “with very high probability” that the attack came from an Iranian base, according to a source.

Who’s behind this?
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they’re responsible for the attacks, but a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said that Iranian weapons were used in the oil field attack.

Where the US stands
President Trump said it looks like Iran was behind the attack but suggested it was too early to say for sure. Trump also insisted that he does not want war with Iran.

How it’s affecting oil
On Monday, US oil prices spiked by more than 14%. It was the biggest spike since January 2009.
Oil prices dropped sharply Tuesday, following Monday’s surge that sent shock waves around the world.

US oil futures dropped 4.6% to $59.98 per barrel, following a Reuters report that Saudi Arabian oil production would return to normal within two to three weeks. Investors took that as a positive sign about the impact of the weekend’s attacks on global oil supply.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, is down 5.8% at $64.99 a barrel.

How it could affect South Africans
According to Fin24, a strong rand rally over the past week put the petrol price on track for a cut in the first week of October. This would mean petrol price cuts of between 11c an 24c a litre.

The Automobile Association spokesperson Layton Beard says the massive increase in the global oil price will likely cancel out the forecast price cut.

Sign Africa print expo a success

The Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, held last week at Gallagher Convention Centre, attracted 6 850 visitors in total, with 5 923 unique visitors and 927 revisits. Roland was the event’s Platinum sponsor.

Visitors could take part in a range of educational features, including Screen printing with Charlie Taublieb, who has been in the screen printing industry since 1976, on the Rexx Screen & Digital Supplies stand; a Textile print experience with free demonstrations by local experts on T-shirts an

d textile items with speciality printing techniques; CorelDRAW workshops, the Speed Wrap Challenge and hot new product tours, which showed expo visitors product highlights on various stands.

Exhibitors had positive feedback about the event:

“The show was fantastic! We had an amazing response with the launch of our 3D Fusion letter printer, and swissQprint Karibu roll to roll at 200 square meters an hour – both a game changer – as well as R50 million worth of sales. Printing with our UV P ink, which was also showcased, has revolutionised printing on uncoated textiles, vinyl, PVC, paper, ABS, Correx, Dibond and much more,” said Adrian Wolman, Sign-Tronic.

Niki Long from Graphix Supply World said, “It was a great show for us with loads of enquires and over R20 million in sales. The expo definitely exceeded our expectations.”

William Gibson from Falcon SA said, “We really enjoyed the expo, it was a good show. I especially liked the hot new product tour.”

 

Jithoo Daya from Maxsigns said, “We had much better engagement with visitors this year, who liked our new products.”

Nardus Mouton from Gencotech said, “It was a very good show for us with lots of positive leads. The visitors were particularly interested in our new products. The expo is always a positive experience for us.”

Vic Anderson from Clip-Tite said, “The show was a good opportunity to make contact with existing customers.”

Source: Sign Africa
Images: My Office News

New paternity leave law looms

By Qama Qukula for Cape Talk

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a landmark law that provides new fathers with 10 days consecutive paid leave after the birth of their child.

But many questions remain about the amendments, what they mean, and when they come into effect.

According to Business Tech, labour minister Thulas Nxesi referred the amendments and the corresponding regulations to the Unemployment Insurance Board for consultation. The next steps will see the amendments gazetted for public comments before the legislation is finalised.

Employment law expert Anli Bezuidenhout tackled some frequently asked questions about parental leave and how it will apply to fathers.

Who pays?
Paternity leave will be paid out of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), it will not be the employer’s responsibility.

How much?
Employees will be given a partial payout. It can be up to 66% of the father’s salary.

Can dads bargain?
Employees can negotiate some kind of co-payment with their employer to pay the balance of their salary and establish a work back contract for when they return to work.

When must the leave be taken?
The leave may commence when the child is born. Bezuidenhout says the Act provides the scope for fathers to negotiate with their employers.

What must employers do?
Employers need to amend their employment contracts to make them compliant with this new law.

What happens to family responsibility leave?
The three days of family responsibility leave will still exist and remains separate from parental leave.

However, it cannot be used when a child is born. It can be used in cases when a child falls sick or passes away.

ISP Cool Ideas hit in DDoS attack

Internet service provider Cool Ideas yesterday suffered a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which affected all customers on their network.

The attack lasted almost four hours. Customers experienced intermittent connectivity loss and degraded performance during this time.

In a statement issued last night, the company did not have an exact time to resolution. By this morning, however, the issue affecting the Cool Ideas network has been mitigated.

What is a DDoS attack?
Accoding to CloudFlare, a DDoS attack is defined in the following way:

“A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like a traffic jam clogging up with highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its desired destination.”

 

Naspers just created Europe’s largest tech company

By Elizabeth Schulze for CNBC

Prosus, a spinoff of South African consumer Internet group Naspers valued at $100 billion, listed on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange Wednesday.

The group’s best-known investment is a 31% stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent.

The addition of Prosus to the Amsterdam exchange shakes up Europe’s tech landscape, with the company instantly becoming the continent’s second-biggest tech company.

Prosus, a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world, starts trading through a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam.

Europe has lamented its lack of big internet technology companies capable of competing with U.S. and Chinese giants like Google, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent.

Overnight, the continent’s fortunes changed in the form of a $100 billion consumer internet company that listed publicly Wednesday in Amsterdam.

The company is called Prosus, and it’s a spinoff of South African consumer internet conglomerate Naspers. Prosus said its market capitalization on its first day of trading is roughly $100 billion, making it one of the 10 biggest consumer internet groups in the world.

“The listing of Prosus is an exciting step forwards for the group, giving global technology investors direct access to our unique and attractive portfolio of international consumer internet businesses,” Naspers and Prosus Group CEO Bob van Dijk said in a press release Wednesday.

Prosus is not a consumer internet business itself, meaning it doesn’t offer digital services under its own brand like Facebook or Alibaba, for example. Instead, it invests in a portfolio of global internet firms in sectors ranging from payments and fintech (financial technology) to food delivery.

The group’s best-known investment is a 31% stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent, a gaming titan and owner of the hugely popular messaging app WeChat. Naspers made a $32 million investment in Tencent in 2001, a bet now worth $130 billion.

Under the new structure, Prosus will hold Nasper’s Tencent stake, as well as positions in other firms like Russian social media company Mail.ru Group and German food delivery service Delivery Hero. Naspers will remain a majority owner of the new company.

Europe playing catch-up
The addition of Prosus to the Amsterdam exchange shakes up Europe’s tech landscape, with the company instantly becoming one of the biggest tech entities in the region. According to data compiled by Reuters, it is only outmatched in size by German software firm SAP, which is valued at roughly $135 billion.

Europe has lagged behind the U.S. and China as a home for big tech companies. Of the 20 biggest internet companies by value in 2018, none were headquartered in Europe, according to data from the World Economic Forum. Last month, reports emerged that the EU had drafted a plan for a sovereign wealth fund to invest in “high-potential European companies” that could compete with U.S. and Chinese big tech firms.

“Naspers believes that the choice of Euronext Amsterdam is, and will be, beneficial to the company as Euronext markets are some of the largest, most integrated and proven capital markets in Europe,” the company said in its prospectus.

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