Neotel introduces consumer services

first_img6 April 2008South African second landline operator Neotel has introduced its first set of products and services for individuals, with the company’s NeoConnect Prime bundle being introduced to its employees residing in parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria following a successful pilot phase.The company initially intends to address those consumers who had already approached Neotel and had registered for services during the pilot phase, though a formal announcement, with a wider range of bundle options, will be made during the course of this month.In a statement released last week, Neotel said that the bundle, which had undergone commercial testing since March, was designed after conducting in-depth consumer research.“We picked up a number of pain points for consumers during this research process, including the issues relating to the perceived speed and capacities for internet access, lack of voice quality and reliability, the complexity associated with obtaining and setting-up services and a lack of true value for the customer,” said Neotel MD Ajay Pandey.“We believe that we have addressed these points in the design of our offering to consumers.”The NeoConnect bundle uses a CDMA2000 EVDO network to handle a number of different tasks such as internet access, voice and SMS over a single connection and service, providing customers with high-speed internet access and combining the best of fixed-line and mobile technologies.The current peak speed offered is 2.4 megabits per second and Neotel expects an average user experience ranging between 300 to 700 kilobits per second, with future upgrades ensuring even faster speeds brought to the market.“A key differentiator in our product is its ease of use – it will take you next to no time to install and start using the service”, said Pandey.This first bundle introduced by Neotel includes 1 000 Neotel to Neotel voice minutes, 50 Neotel to Neotel SMS’s, an email account and free internet access up to 10 gigabytes of data for a monthly charge of R599, inclusive of all monthly fees such as device charges and service rentals, as well as VAT.The only charges that consumers will have to pay in addition to the monthly fee will be the out of bundle usage charges which are summarised in the table below.“This is just the first of a number of packages we will bring to the market and we believe that customers will not only find value in what we offer, but will be able to choose a package that best meets their needs,” said Pandey. “There will be packages that address lower usage and are therefore lower in price, and then of course there will be those packages that directly speak to high-end consumers.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Exhibition traces migrant workers’ journey

first_imgSouth Africa was built on mining, and its mines were built on migrant workers. Millions of black men across southern Africa were forced by economic circumstance and taxes to travel to the city of gold, leaving their families at home. (Images: WAM) • Fiona Rankin-Smith Curator Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys Wits Art Museum +27 11 717 1365 [email protected] • Benin gallery keeps African art in Africa • Exhibition exposes apartheid, celebrates South African photography • Soweto: from struggle to suburbia • Historic Soweto township turns 80 • Africanis – the dog of AfricaMelissa Jane CookAs the country emerges from a volatile five-month long strike in the platinum mining sector, the Wits Art Museum (WAM) opens an extraordinary exhibition focusing on migrant workers in South Africa. Migrant labour is fundamental to the making of modern South Africa and the exhibition tells the stories of these men.Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys is rich and diverse, and spans many years of collective heritage. Items on display include contemporary artwork, archival documents, photographs, films, music, artefacts from ethnographic collections, and interviews. It glaringly highlights that 20 years into democracy, there are still numerous, unresolved problems associated with the system of migrant labour.The elaborate art, dress, dance, music and song that migrants crafted to assert and express their humanity feature prominently. Life was and continues to be difficult for migrant workers. Performance and song played a vital role in passing on oral histories, for social commentary and artistic expression. These creative outputs show an ability to survive with dignity despite the daily hardships they faced.Like the migrants, visitors to the exhibition participate in a physical journey through the museum. They walk the road alongside early migrants to the cities, who mainly sought work on the mines. Overcoming hostility, harsh living conditions, violence, dispossession and loss are the recurrent themes at the exhibition – yet there are also themes of resilience and creativity.The glitter of goldSouth African society changed greatly when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886. This discovery was central to South Africa’s industrial development and to the politics of segregation. Here, on the goldfields of the Rand, the lives of many people intersected. Within a decade, Johannesburg had developed into the largest city in South Africa, populated by tens of thousands. Prospectors, labourers, fortune hunters, shop keepers and immigrants from all over the world flocked to the city. Residential areas were hastily constructed and in the poorer sections slums developed.As the mines went deeper underground, the demand for cheap labour intensified. The Chamber of Mines asked the government to provide a cheap labour supply. Over time, the state introduced a number of measures to force more black men to work in the mines. These included introducing taxes such as the hut tax and the poll tax – they had to leave their land to work in the city to earn money to pay the taxes.For its part, the Chamber of Mines preferred to use migrant labour because they could be paid very low wages. The industry justified the low wages by claiming that the migrants’ families earned an additional income in the reserves. Because migrants were supposedly only part-time workers, the mine owners did not have to provide them with any kind of social security. Mine owners also preferred migrant labour because the workers could be controlled more easily. The men had to sign employment contracts. If they broke their contracts by deserting, which many did, they were arrested and got a criminal record. The migrants were also housed in closed compounds, or hostels, which were tightly controlled.Conditions on the mines were very bad in the early decades. Workers often laboured 14 hours a day. Deaths from major accidents, pneumonia, tuberculosis, silicosis and malnutrition were extremely high.Tracing the journeyTracing the journey from rural areas to the city, the interactive exhibition includes personal objects such as hut tax receipts and a stamped passbook. There are envelopes decorated by self-taught artist Tito Zungu. Using pencil, ballpoint pens and coloured pens, the envelopes were decorated with images of boats, aeroplanes and transistor radios. Moving between time and space, these envelopes made the journey from work to home, linking the migrants’ different worlds. They spent long periods of time away from their families and letter writing was the only means of communication.Personal objects such as walking sticks, snuff bags and pipes that the workers carried with them were powerful reminders of the homes and families they left behind. These objects can be thought of as symbols of the personal journey that they made.Single-sex compounds with concrete bunk beds and cold, bare walls were constructed to house migrant mine workers. Some of these mining compounds, or hostels, are still in use today, although the city of Johannesburg is renovating them and turning them into family units. Photographs and other remarkable objects on display provide insight into the living conditions and hardships encountered in hostels. But there are also extraordinarily creative everyday objects, music and performances that transcended the daily struggle. There are envelopes decorated by self-taught artist Tito Zungu. Using pencil, ballpoint pens and coloured pens, the envelopes were decorated with images of boats, aeroplanes and transistor radios. Kentridge filmA short film by artist William Kentridge is part of Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys. It is a dramatization of the inequality and oppression of life on the mines. Set in the over-exploited, scorched industrial and mining landscape around Johannesburg, it represents the legacy of a time of abuse and injustice.Kentridge develops the analogy between the landscape and the mind. A journey into the mines provides a visual representation of a journey into the conscience of the main character, Soho Eckstein, the white South African property owner who exploits the resources of land and black human labour which are under his domain. Throughout the film the imagery shifts between the geological landscape underground inhabited by innumerable black miners and Soho’s world of white luxury above ground. Soho sits at his desk in his customary pin-stripe suit and punches adding machines and cash registers, creating a flow of gold bars, exhausted miners, blasted landscapes and blocks of uniform housing. Soho sits at his desk in his customary pin-stripe suit and punches adding machines and cash registers, creating a flow of gold bars, exhausted miners, blasted landscapes and blocks of uniform housing.The issues surrounding migrants that are addressed in this exhibition are part of a history that continues to profoundly affect South African society. The difficult lives of migrant workers and their families, xenophobic violence and recent upheavals in the mining sector – culminating in the Marikana massacre and this year’s devastating strike in the platinum sector – are just a few of the headlines that confront contemporary South Africa.A book entitled A Long Way Home: Migrant Worker Worlds 1800 – 2014 has been published to accompany the exhibition and includes essays by leading local and international academics.Guardian of the exhibitionThe exhibition was curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith, veteran WAM curator and the force behind important exhibitions such as Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa (2005) and Halakasha, the football exhibition mounted to coincide with the 2010 World Cup.For Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys, she collaborated with Peter Delius, the history professor and widely published author from Wits University. “South Africa is internationally infamous as the site of a systematic and pervasive system of racial discrimination. What is less well known, though, is how uniquely fundamental migrant labour was to the making of modern South Africa,” Delius explains.Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys is on display at the Wits Art Museum until 20 July 2014.last_img read more

Facebook’s Lifestream: Nothing to See Here

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Product Reviews#web And by “done well,” we mean not only allowing the 3rd party info to feed into the stream, but allowing users to pull the entire stream out of Facebook, too. Two of the most valuable sources for information about the activity on Facebook – the mini-feed and the news feed – still don’t offer RSS feeds for users to subscribe to, and it’s looking like this much desired feature may never arrive. Instead Facebook’s data feeds only include the status updates of your friends, posted items of friends, and notifications for any user. The omission of the two most critical feeds is, (according to this twitterer) “ironic given they support data portability.”While not everyone is a fan of FriendFeed’s  increasingly “destination-like” service (says another twitterer: “Facebook’s lifestream FTW… FriendFeed wants you to add friends, yet again”), FriendFeed at least offers a wide selection of lifestreaming services – 35 at the moment, including the ability to import a “blog” feed, which essentially allows you to import any RSS feeds into the stream.Additionally, FriendFeed allows export of their stream via RSS or even via a FriendFeed Facebook app, which begs the question (as this twitterer poses): why not allow FriendFeed users to just import their stream into Facebook’s feed, then?On the AllFacebook blog, Nick is decidedly much more optimistic about the new service’s potential, saying “If Facebook opens up the API for the mini-feed importing feature, Facebook will immediately become the largest competitor to FriendFeed and most likely displace it.”Additionally, he thinks that Facebook could be only one step away from adding a commenting feature to both the news feed and the mini-feed. While that would be great, with Facebook’s reticence to even open up those activity streams via RSS, it’s hard to picture a time when they become open services as opposed to what they are today: tools designed to get you to visit the site and play in the Facebook sandbox. However, all that being said, it’s important to also take a look at this offering from a viewpoint outside the focus of the social-media-addicted tech community – something that MG does quite well on his VentureBeat post, “Facebook is kinda competing with FriendFeed, like it kinda competes with Twitter.”Just as Facebook’s status updates are no comparison to Twitter, this lifestreaming feature is no comparison to FriendFeed, but it may be enough for the average user. Says MG: It may be that Facebook users will be satisfied enough with Facebook’s overlapping feature being released today, that they won’t feel the need to also use Friendfeed. It doesn’t mean Friendfeed is doomed, it just might reduce its potential to grow big.The idea of what’s good enough for the average user may leave us techies scratching our heads, watching as so many great ideas coming out of our community – like Twitter, lifestreaming, etc –  get sucked up by big sites like MySpace and Facebook, offering these large communities pale imitations of the services we know and love. However, that very well may be enough for the average user. How sad. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… A new post on the Facebook blog announces the arrival of “a new way to share with friends” – that is, they’re offering a way for you to import content from non-Facebook sites into your Facebook Mini-Feed and into your friends’ News Feeds. This new option is being touted on the blogosphere as Facebook’s “new lifestreaming feature.” That is, by far, a grand overstatement of the service, which currently pales in comparison with its competitors. This new import feature, which is, at the moment, offering the import of Flickr, Picasa, Yelp, and del.icio.us info into your mini-feed cannot even be called “a good first start” at this point. Despite promises of Digg integration in the future as well as “other sites,” the limited amount of supported services only highlights what a great service this could be if done well. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting sarah perezlast_img read more

WATCH: Deputy and K-9 Take Down Suspected Thief

first_imgA K-9 Deputy and his K-9 took down a Marion County, Florida, man suspected of stealing from a Lowe’s store. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says that on Tuesday, multiple units responded to the Lowe’s on Southwest State Road 200 in reference to a theft in progress. Upon arrival, the suspect, who was identified as 31-year-old Terrance Blocker, walked out of the store with $1,156 worth of merchandise that he did not pay for. He ran from Deputy Gernert and a chase began.They say that Deputy Gernert chased the suspect to the woods behind the medical complex that is just east of the store. Deputy Gernert set up a perimeter and waited for K-9 to arrive on scene. K-9 Deputy Matthew Bowers and his K-9 OTOW were said to have arrived and immediately tracked in the woods and apprehended Blocker. Blocker was treated for minor injuries in relation to the dog bite. He was then transported to the Marion County Jail.   [Source: Fox35 Orlando] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Strategy Roundtable: 5 Cloud Computing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

first_imgTags:#start#StartUp 101 At today?’s roundtable, I started with a presentation on blue sky opportunities in cloud computing based on our Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing (TLCC) research. I took the audience through five cloud-based business ideas, discussed why they are relevant and pointed them to the sources I derived those ideas from.For you, readers, here they are:1. Cloud-based collaboration among bio-medical researchers around large volumes of data Dr. Marcos Athanasoulis, CTO of Harvard Medical School discussed this idea with me recently. There is a tremendous amount of data sitting at various pockets that bio-medical researchers are trying to collaborate around. The data needs modeling, processing, visualization, etc. – all activities in the domain of computer science, not bio-medical sciences. There is also need for researchers at various institutes to collaborate around this data and models, all problems that point towards a cloud-based solution. An entrepreneur should pick this one up ASAP. From cancer research to genomics, wide arrays of research areas are looking forward to your innovation.2. Cloud-based legal records management, digitization, archival, retrieval Michael Aginsky, CTO of Gibbons P.C. pointed me to the vast masses of paper archives sitting at law firms, waiting to be digitized, and archived in meaningful ways along with efficient retrieval capabilities. Law firms are looking for cloud solutions that include security, disaster recovery, and other goodies.3. Charge-back accounting solution for large enterprises deploying cloud technologiesRic Telford, VP of cloud services, IBM pointed me to the rather significant move towards rolling out private clouds at large enterprises, a move that IBM is spearheading by providing full stacks of infrastructure technologies. Now, let us say you are an enterprise that has rolled out a rather extensive private cloud, and all your divisions and business units are using it freely. How do you keep track of who is using how much of the resources? How do you account for the charge backs to the business units or functional areas? This is an open opportunity for an entrepreneur to build a custom solution. 4. Cloud-based flexible pricing solution for telecom vendorsJim Dunlap, CIO of Alaska Telecom discussed with me the increasingly serious problem that telecom vendors are facing due to bandwidth consumption skyrocketing. Today, the telecom industry charges customers based on fixed price business models for data services. But to keep up with the rate at which bandwidth consumption is scaling, telecom vendors almost certainly will need to adopt a variable pricing model, such that they can charge based on consumption, just as they charge for voice services. The utility industry charges based on how much energy or water is consumed, but the telecom industry assumes unlimited data usage for a fixed fee. Jim?’s interview with me (coming shortly) sheds light on why this will change, and how the infrastructure needs to adapt.5. Cloud integration services around specific vendorsJosé Almandoz, CIO of Novell, and several others have brought up how complex the integration issues are around the cloud. With 600-800 vendors with their own specific integration requirements, there is a plethora of opportunities to build integration services companies around specific vendors or specific domains. Appirio is one such company that jumped on this trend way back in 2007 and has now built a significant company in that space. Sequoia has financed them. In fact, using their expertise, they have also successfully productized various connectors and adapters to build unique value.Anyway, those are just a few blue sky ideas for you to go after. There will be others as you dig deeper!First up was Ambal Ramachandran with SurgeForth, a talent management SaaS company that we first saw last November. SurgeForth has since graduated to paying customers, and is making good progress. We discussed a variety of product strategy issues, including where to focus and how to avoid spray and pray.Then Zubair Ansari with CionSystems pitched a new IT provisioning and de-provisioning system that aims to handle the growing complexity of cloud adoption. Cion has 18 customers and is considering funding. I pointed Zubair to a couple of case studies of bootstrapping using services to get more of his core product built; in parallel, I will help him pursue institutional funding.Next, Rajeev Pareek discussed his rural BPO idea. Rajeev wants to build a BPO firm in a place called Bolpur in West Bengal, India. Bolpur is home to the Viswabharati university, as well as several other small engineering and professional colleges. Rajeev came with a list of commodity services like transcription, digitization, etc. But when I found out that Rajeev is a computer engineer, I suggested to him to build a cost-effective SEO services firm, which would be more interesting. I have a variety of contacts for Rajiv to get his business off the ground. Bolpur Shantiniketan is close to my heart (we have a house there), and in my opinion is a splendid rural BPO location.Next week, we will delve once again into e-commerce businesses and explore how niche e-commerce is transitioning into Web 3.0. I started doing my free Online Strategy Roundtables for entrepreneurs in the fall of 2008. These roundtables are the cornerstone programming of a global initiative that I have started called One Million by One Million (1M/1M). Its mission is to help a million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond, build $1 trillion in sustainable global GDP, and create 10 million jobs. In 1M/1M, I teach the EJ Methodology which is based on my Entrepreneur Journeys research, and emphasize bootstrapping, idea validation, and crisp positioning as some of the core principles of building strong fundamentals in early stage ventures. In addition, we are offering entrepreneurs access to investors and customers through our recently launched our 1M/1M Incubation Radar series. You can pitch to be featured on my blog following these instructions. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for the next roundtable here. All three of today’s roundtable companies will soon be featured on Incubation Radar.Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for the next roundtable here.Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies, writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy, and runs the 1M/1M initiative. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her Entrepreneur Journeys book series, Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To MarketInnovation: Need Of The Hour, as well as Vision India 2020, are all available from Amazon. Photo by thesaint Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… sramana mitra 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more