VOD service ShowMax add download feature

ShowMax, an online VOD streaming service, has implemented a new feature that will allow its user-base to download and watch movies and series while offline.

According to the company, this development is of immediate benefit to commuters and people looking for entertainment while travelling, but it also has the potential to have a much wider impact. The company reveals that those without access to a suitable internet connection at home, which is a significant barrier to the adoption of streaming video services in Africa, will now be able to store content using Wi-Fi hotspots or other out-of-home connectivity options and then watch at a later point.

Speaking about this development, John Kotsaftis, General Manager of ShowMax South Africa said: “Adding downloads is a bigger deal than it might appear at first glance. Yes, it’s a great way to keep people entertained while travelling to their hometown or to the coast for the summer holidays, but we think the potential impact is much wider.

“Many South Africans are still internet have-nots, and have been excluded from using services like ShowMax. While there may not be suitable internet access at home, more and more public Wi-Fi services and other connectivity options are popping up. By adding download functionality we’re enabling people to take advantage of these connections and fill up on some great shows to watch later.”

Up to 25 TV shows and movies in total can be stored at any one point using the app on Android tablets and smartphones, depending on the available storage capacity on the device. The content will be visible for 30 days and once viewing of a particular show or movie has started, it will be available for completion over the next 48 hours. The same content can be downloaded again if needed.

The addition of downloads also gives consumers a way to use data allocated for night-time usage, which is often discounted or given away free with the purchase of data bundles.
“South Africa isn’t the USA or Europe – we have our own unique needs. I’m proud that we’ve developed a home-grown solution that caters for the connectivity challenges in this country. Importantly, I think this is a case that local developments have the potential to open up access to other African markets where internet connectivity is also an issue,” concludes Kotsaftis.

ShowMax is also adding download capability to its iOS apps. This is due for release early next year.

Merger a Boost For Salesforce in SA

Merger a Boost For Salesforce in SA

The merger of two of South Africa's independent Salesforce partners – CloudSmiths and Ideas Incorporated – creates a strong reseller for Salesforce in Africa.

This is good news for Salesforce customers on the continent, says Stephen Bradford, VP for alliances and channels for EMEA at Salesforce.
"This merger creates a strong reseller for Salesforce in Africa and thus supports our strategy of having a local partner ecosystem in rapidly growing emerging markets," says Bradford.

Kim Fletterman, founder and CEO of Ideas Incorporated, and CloudSmiths' CEO Derek Hughes believe the merger will provide an additional boost to Salesforce development and adoption in Southern Africa.

"We've seen increasing demand for regional systems integrators able to deliver transformative projects that empower organisations to connect to their customers in new ways," adds Bradford.

CloudSmiths and Ideas Incorporated are both Gold Salesforce Consulting Partners and together offer organisations from across the economic spectrum skills and experience across all aspects of Salesforce clouds.

The companies believe the merger will help drive the adoption of cloud computing and CRM technology in the country.

MTN Opens New ITC and Life Skill Center in Khayelitsha

MTN SA Foundation has today opened the new state-of-the-art ICT and life skills center in the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy, in Khayelitsha, following the sod-turning ceremony which was held in July this year.

The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy boasts of state of the art equipment which comprises of modern workstations, a multi-functional printer, desk-top computers linked to the Internet through wireless (Wi-Fi) subsidized connectivity.  The equipments will provide all learners and users with access to educational content and learning materials. The academy promotes education, transformation & the development of safe cycling in Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape. MTN SA Foundation and the academy aim to uplift the surrounding communities by leveraging on the advantages of ICT in education and availing the resources to those in need. The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy goes to great lengths to encourage young children and the youth to focus on academic achievement by making ICT resources accessible to them thereby enhancing their learning.

The addition of the ICT and Life Skills Centre will greatly enhance the education and development of talent of the young cyclists of Khayelitsha, Langa and other surrounding townships, and other informal settlement areas in Cape Town.

“The academy has produced amazing cyclists who have gone on to create careers for themselves. Our involvement in the reconstruction of the center is our way of making sure that many more cyclists can be discovered, keeping in mind that many of the children in the area come from previously disadvantage backgrounds,” Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager for MTN SA Foundation said.

“Initiatives such as Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy supports our strategic intent of creating sustainable value for our stakeholders as good corporate citizenship is key especially in communities that we operate in,” she said.

In July, MTN and its partners upgraded the existing structure of the center by cleaning the surroundings of the Velokhaya facility, preparing the BMX Racing track for the next training session – allowing Velokhaya’s aspiring cyclists to showcase their skills on the track. They cleaned and painted the walls of the refurbished container particularly the clubhouse and hosted a celebratory braai with members, dignitaries, guests and other sponsors for good day’s work done. This spirit of celebration and sharing will definitely continue at the opening.

Bad News For Cable Thieves

President Jacob Zuma, last Monday, signed the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 2015 into law. The presidency said, the move spells bad news for cable and scrap metal thieves. The Act amends the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977, and introduces harsher sentences for the destruction of essential infrastructure and more stringent bail conditions and applications for perpetrators.

“The amendments provide for changes to the law pertaining to infrastructure-related offences by making stricter provisions for the granting of bail, the sentencing of offenders and creating a new offence to criminalize damage to, tampering with or destruction of essential infrastructure which may interfere with the provision of basic services to the public,” presidency spokesman, Bongani Majola, said in a statement.

The Act also created a new offence relating to essential infrastructure as well as amending the Prevention of Organized Crime Act of 1998. The Bill was debated in the National Assembly in October where it  received massive support from of parties, with the exception of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Zuma also signed the Defense Laws Repeal and Amendment Act 2015 and the Disaster Management Amendment Act 2015 into law on Monday.

The Defense Laws Repeal and Amendment Act sought to repeal certain obsolete or redundant laws administered by the minister of defense & military veterans, Majola said.
The Acts to be repealed were the Defense Endowment Property and Account Amendment Act 1929, the Defense Amendment Act 1954, the Defense Special Account Amendment Act 1981 and the Civil Defense Amendment Act 1969.

The Disaster Management Amendment Act sought to clarify the policy focus on rehabilitation and functioning of disaster management centers.
It would also align the functions of the National Disaster Management Advisory Forum to accommodate the South African National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and provide for the South African National Defense Force, South African Police Service and any other organ of state to assist the disaster management structures, and strengthen the disaster risk reporting system in order to improve the country’s ability to manage potential disasters.