SA internet use skyrockets

first_imgEasy access to wireless, broadband- supported internet has helped boost the number of users in South Africa.Khanyi MagubaneA new survey by technology research consultancy World Wide Worx has revealed that internet users in South Africa have grown by 12.5 % to 4.5-million in the past year.This is the fastest growth since 2001 and is largely attributed to the growth of the country’s broadband services.The report, sponsored by Cisco Systems, indicates that growth could have accelerated even further if it wasn’t for a “highly restrictive” regulatory environment.World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck says they are excited with the results.“It is only the beginning of a dramatic turnaround, and is occurring despite numerous obstacles in the way of growth.”Reshaad Ahmed, senior manager of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions, says the evolution and changes in the telecommunications industry could not have come at a better time in South Africa.“We believe these changes will lead to sufficient levels of competition, increase access to internet usage and in turn, increase global competitiveness and economic diversity.“South Africa could, potentially, go from five major service providers to more than 300 overnight,” says Ahmed.The Internet Access in South Africa 2008 report also showed that a major factor in the increase was small businesses taking advantage of broadband offering by connecting their employees via ADSL, which accounted for half of the growth in the market.Increased sales of 3G cards and a dramatic shift from dial-up to broadband connections has also spiked to 50%.Ahmed believes the changes taking place in the telecommunications industry will soon have a positive spin-off.Changing the playing fieldCommunications minister Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburi’s recent decision not to challenge the court case of about 300 Value Added Network Service providers to build their own networks will also play a big role in further growth.“We are seeing a broadband culture emerging in South Africa, held back only by the restrictions still placed on data capacity,” says Goldstuck.“These should start becoming a non-issue from the middle of 2009, as the first of the major new undersea cables enters operation. At that point, dial-up will effectively be dead as a connectivity option; it is more expensive, and utterly inappropriate to the changing nature of the internet.”In mid-2009 Seacom, South Africa’s second transatlantic data cable, will go online. The increased bandwidth is expected to dramatically increase internet use. The cable, commissioned mainly by new market entrant Neotel, will increase South Africa’s international bandwidth 40-fold.This era is also set to mark what World Wide Worx described as a “seismic shift in the internet landscape in Africa”.“It spells the birth of an entirely new industry, and we are already seeing the market champing at the bit to become part of that industry,” says Goldstuck.Goldstuck believes that the industry has been waiting for this change for a while.A number of smaller semi-legal network operators that have appeared in the past year could well be on their way to obtaining full operating licences.Once this happens, along with the new market entrants, the market would become extremely competitive, which would drive further growth.Goldstuck says the emergence of several players in the market will be an advantage to the consumer, who will have more choice.“These findings … indicate a positive trend for economic growth.  We believe that pervasive broadband at the right price is a key enabler for economic prosperity.”But Cisco has warned that the expected change will not happen overnight.“Only some of the 300-plus contenders will be in a position to manage their own networks due to their ability to raise the necessary capital,” says Ahmed.“Those that do step up to the challenge must spend a significant amount of time building a business model that will be sustainable, innovative, and takes advantage of the strategic position with which a contender is faced, while employing the capabilities of existing service providers.”Research company Nielson/NetRatings released other statistics on internet usage in South Africa in July 2008.According to that research, the number of South African unique browsers is up 120% over the past two years and page impressions up 129%.In May 2007, there were 3.9-million active South African unique browsers compared to 1.8-million in May 2005.The research found that during the same period, page impressions grew from 91-million to 207-million.On the gender of internet users, the internet population was divided between 54% men (2.15-million people) and 45% women (1.79-million people).Most users – 36% of the online population – are aged between 25 and 34.English was found to be the most dominant language, with 52% of the internet population (2.1-million). Users who surf the internet in Afrikaans followed at 1.11-million, accounting for 28% of those online.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected] articlesBloggers to fight hunger in Africa Broadband centre launches in SA Positive outlook for IT in SA Google earth zooms in on SA  Useful linksCisco World Wide WorxDepartment of Communicationslast_img read more

SA, Indonesia look to increase trade

first_img17 October 2012 South Africa and Indonesia have agreed to step up their interactions in order to increase trade between the two countries, following the second meeting of the two countries’ Joint Trade Committee in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who co-chaired the meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Gita Wirjawan, said afterwards that it was important for emerging economies to seek each other. “It is through the strengthening of the relations between the emerging economies that we can actually realise the number of objectives which we are setting ourselves. These will enable us to develop our economies, create employment for our people, and raise their living standards,” Davies said in a statement issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Davies added that South Africa was committed to strengthening regional integration across different regional economic communities. SA an Africa ‘gateway, not gate keeper’ He said South Africa was a potential gateway for investment in the African continent, while adding: “We make a distinction between being gate keepers and gateway. We do not try to say that any other player has got to relate to other countries on the African continent through [South Africa]. The African continent is a continent of growth.” According to the DTI, the main issues discussed in Tuesday’s meeting were market access and import regulation. “The South Africa side raised concerns relating to the designation of ports of entry for imports of fresh produce agricultural products, and the introduction of an import licensing regime for imports of horticultural products,” the deparment said. The meeting also discussed sectoral cooperation, including trade promotion and capacity building for small businesses, “with particular interest in jewellery design and special economic zones”.New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnerships Indonesia proposed cooperation under the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnerships (NAASP) framework. “Under this framework, Indonesia will work together with South Africa in order to assist other countries in the African region as a form of attention and solidarity,” the DTI said. Indonesia is the largest economy in South-east Asia, with gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$1-trillion. According to the DTI, trade between South Africa and Indonesia grew between 2007 and 2011, with SA ranking 23rd as a destination for Indonesian exports, and Indonesia ranking 26th for imports from SA. South Africa’s exports to Indonesia “mainly consist of raw materials, and there is a need to diversify them to include value-added products,” the DTI said. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Lens Tips: Doing the Work of Four Lenses with Only Two

first_imgPrimes vs. zooms. Four lenses out of two. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when shopping for your first lenses.So, you come up against the great debate — prime or zoom lenses? Primes are sharp; zooms are convenient. Every first-time lens buyer faces this decision. So, what would you say if I told you that it’s possible to get four lenses out of two? Is it too good to be true or a brilliant, money-saving hack?First of all, if you’re new to this debate, a prime lens has a fixed focal length and usually opens up to an aperture of f/1.8 — on higher-end lenses, f/1.4 (even, at times, f/1.2). A zoom lens has a varying focal length — most have a widest aperture of f/2.8 (until recently with Canon’s new RF 28-70mm f/2 lens). Secondly, switching from full-frame to APS-C (Super 35) mode, depending on your camera, will usually multiply your focal length by a crop factor of 1.5. For example, if you’re shooting on a 35mm, the new focal length will be 52.5mm in crop mode.Image via Bhimaphotoworks.The problem with shooting in super 35 mode is that megapixels get essentially cut in half, so if your camera is 24 megapixels, every picture you take in crop mode will be 10.8 megapixels. If you want to figure out what your camera will be shooting at in crop mode, it’s simple: just take the megapixels and divide it by the crop factor squared, then that will equal the megapixel count for every picture you take in Super 35 mode.The main argument against primes is that they’re inconvenient, and in order to go from 35mm to 50mm, you have to change lenses. So, if you’re pressed for time, switching between the two might cause you to miss the shot.The problem with zoom lenses is that they can be massive and expensive — and if you’re a big bokeh fan, depending on the focal length, you won’t get the same creamy, soft bokeh that you would from a wide-open aperture like f/1.4. So, they both have their pros and cons.Image via dgkphotography.com.So, is there a solution?First, let me say that if you don’t have a camera capable of switching between Super 35 and full-frame, this technique won’t work for you. If you own a 35mm and an 85mm, you can cover focal lengths ranging from 35mm to an unusual 127.5mm, but you still get a wide range of focal length options. Essentially you can get a 50mm from a 35mm and a 127.5mm lens from an 85mm, so you get to cover 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 127.5mm. This technique is great for new photographers or videographers who want to buy new lenses but can’t always afford it.But how does a 35mm in crop mode compare to a native 50mm? Is it really a viable alternative to buying a 50mm or a 135mm? To answer this question, I went out and compared the two.35mm in crop mode:50mm:Looking at the two pictures, it’s hard to tell which is which. The two look almost identical, which was really surprising to me. You can see the differences when you layer them over each other and turn down the opacity for the top layer to around 50 percent. The 50mm compresses the image slightly more in certain areas, which causes it to wrap differently than the 35mm. I also noticed that the 35mm gave the image some more depth while maintaining the foreground just like the 50mm. It added an interesting look to the image.50mm:35mm in crop mode:When shooting portraits, bokeh and background compression between the two turned out considerably different. With the 35mm, the bokeh were not as large, but they were still pleasing to the eye and had a nice shape. The 50mm’s bokeh were a lot larger, and the background seemed much more compressed. In this case, the 50mm was better, but not by much.So, is using Super 35mm mode a good option if you’re trying to save money? It definitely is, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re pursuing photography as a career, I would recommend spending the extra money on higher-quality lenses at different focal lengths. I don’t see any problems with using this method professionally for architecture or interior photography, but for headshots or creative portraits, a native focal length would be a better option if you want to get maximum results. For beginners though, or even intermediate photographers, this is a great way to save money and invest the extra cash on more gear.Cover image via Djordje Novakov.Looking for more camera tips and tricks? Check out these articles.Video Tutorial: Improving Your Time-lapse Workflow for the GH5Are Quantum Image Sensors the Future for Video Recording?Video Gear: Is the Fuji X-T3 a Viable Option for Filmmakers?5 Things to Consider When Buying a New CameraHands-On Review: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4Klast_img read more