Fibre key in 5G rollout says FTTx Council CEO - EngineerIT

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Fibre key in 5G rollout says FTTx Council CEO - EngineerIT
EngineerIT March 2020 combined:Layout 1 2020/03/19 11:17 AM Page 1

                                                                                                                      MARCH 2020
                                             Automation and Control | Electronics | Measurement and instrumentation | Technology and IoT

       Fibre key in 5G rollout says
       FTTx Council CEO
       The critical role for
       satellite in 5G

       Emerging technology:
       Perovskite solar cells

       Solar storms linked to
       beaching of whales

       Coronavirus: get more
       people to work from
       home, online

       Design a powerful
       signal generator
       output stage

       ISSN 1991-5047
Fibre key in 5G rollout says FTTx Council CEO - EngineerIT
4IR starts here
Fibre key in 5G rollout says FTTx Council CEO - EngineerIT
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                                          FROM THE EDITOR
                                   elcome to our second edition of the “new”              make use of these pages to inform our readers, your

                       W           EngineerIT. I trust that you enjoyed our
                                   February edition. If you missed it, it is
                       available online at I also invite
                                                                                          clients and prospective clients.
                                                                                              Technology is on a fast track and we invite you
                                                                                          to send us technical articles, share new
                       you to comment on what you liked, what you disliked,               developments, experimental projects and case
                       as well as suggestions and ideas. Your opinion                     studies with our readers.
                       matters to me and the team.                                            EngineerIT is also an important platform for
                           We talk about the “new” because EngineerIT is                  advertising and promoting companies and their
                       published by a new media house, ADP (Pty) Ltd, a                   products. Our editorial content is aimed at informing
                       wholly owned subsidiary in the Now Media group, and                the industry of the latest technologies and
                       I am the new editor. Actually we are the same                      developments, keeping readers abreast of
                       magazine you have been reading for the past 10                     happenings in their industry and the business
                       years, we have just modernised the way the articles                environment at large. Your advertisements will carry
                       are presented and have added additional benefits by                that extra weight to promote your company and
                       keeping you in the know with regular news stories on               products in a technical environment.
              and two weekly email                              A large US business once commented: “I don’t
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                       click on the heading that interests you most.                      don’t know your product so why should I waste my
                           EngineerIT is a technology magazine to promote                 time talking with you?” The whole point is to create
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                       engineers, technologists and technicians in the                    team, be it face to face or online, are welcomed,
                       following fields: ICT, measurement and                             knowing that it is worth dealing with them, your
                       instrumentation, automation, control and electronics.              company and its products or services.
                       These professionals specify their applications,                        Merinda Lottering will gladly assist you with
                       develop new products and consult in industry.                      your advertising and promotion requirements
                           ICT covers many aspects and today has a much                   and can be contacted by email at
                       wider application than the original acronym for           or telephone
                       information, communication and technology. ICT                     011 327 4062
                       covers every aspect of industry and business today.                    When it comes to content, I am your person.
                       As South Africa is fast moving into the fourth                     Email or call me. With your support we can grow
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                           We have adopted an editorial mix with articles                 products and services that lead in the world.
                       and information that will be of interest to very
                       technically inclined readers, but also to a wider                  Yours sincerely
                       sphere of management.                                              Hans van de Groenendaal
                           Industry news, updates from industry associations              012 991 4662 / 082 781 4631
                       and information about new and interesting products       
                       are also covered in our editorial mix. We invite you to  

                                                                EngineerIT | March 2020 | 1
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                                                                   MARCH 2020

                           Automation and Control | Electronics | Measurement and instrumentation | Technology and IoT

                                                                                                    Hans van de Groenendaal -
                                                                                                    MIng Honoris Causa (Stellenbosch)
                                                                                                    Tel: 012 991 4662
                                                                                                    Cell: 082 781 4631

                          According to the new Cisco Annual Internet Report, 5G will support        ADVERTISING
                          more than 10% of the world’s mobile connections by 2023. The average      Merinda Lottering
                                                                                                    Cell: 071 765 5702
                          5G speed will be 575 megabits per second, or 13 times faster than the
                          average mobile connection. With advanced performance capabilities,
                          5G will deliver more dynamic mobile infrastructures for AI and emerging   DESIGNER
                          IoT applications including autonomous cars, smart cities, connected       Adéle Gouws
                          health, immersive video and more.
                                                                                                    PUBLISHED BY
                                                                                                    African Destination
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                                                               EngineerIT | March 2020 | 2
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                                            28 20                                                 24

                                          11                                                  23 6
       FROM THE EDITOR                                                                        1    Copyright
                                                                                                   Copyright of all material appearing in EngineerIT
                                                                                                   is vested in African Destination Publishing (Pty)
       NEWS                                                                                   4    Ltd. In submitting any article for publication, the
                                                                                                   authors confirm that they own the copyright to
                                                                                                   the said article, which is ceded to African
       NEW PRODUCTS                                                                           8
                                                                                                   Destination Publishing (Pty) Ltd for publication.
                                                                                                   The editor reserves the right to edit or shorten
       ICT 5G                                                                                      articles submitted for publication. Editing and/or
                                                                                                   shortening is done with due dilligence, where
       Optic fibre will be a key element in the roll out of 5G                               10    necessary in conjuction with the author(s).
       New antenna technology developments to support 5G                                     11          No part of this publication may be
       The critical role for satellite in a 5G environment                                   12    reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or
                                                                                                   transmitted in any form, or by any means,
       Rapid data: fast decision-making with the right data at the right time                14    except as described below, without the written
                                                                                                   permission of African Destination Publishing
       MEASUREMENT                                                                                 (Pty) Ltd. Copying of articles is not permitted
                                                                                                   except for personal and internal use, to the
       Radar the new development in measurement                                              17    extent permitted by South African law.
       Design of a powerful signal generator output stage                                    18    Permission is not required to make abstracts, on
       Small torque, an essential ingredient for developing the next generation of                 condition that a full reference to the source is
                                                                                                   shown. Requests for permission for other kinds
       engineering systems                                                                   20    of copying should be addressed to African
       5G requires many more sites, more exposure to the elements, new challenges            22    Destination Publishing (Pty) Ltd.

       AUTOMATION                                                                                  Articles published in EngineerIT do not
       Siemens supports VW to develop digitised electric car production                      23    necessarily reflect the views of African
                                                                                                   Destination Publishing (Pty) Ltd or the editor. In
                                                                                                   addition, views expressed by the editor do not
       ELECTRONICS                                                                                 necessarily reflect the views of African
       Emerging technology: Perovskite solar cells more efficient than silicon               24    Destination Publishing (Pty) Ltd or any other
                                                                                                   person or organisation associated with
       Nanotechnology, a new industry taking off                                             26    EngineerIT.
                                                                                                        It is a condition of publishing material in
       SPACE SCIENCES                                                                              EngineerIT that African Destination Publishing
                                                                                                   (Pty) Ltd shall not be liable for any
       Solar storms linked to beaching of whales                                             28    consequential or other damages arising from the
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       AMATEUR RADIO                                                                               advertisement, picture, comment, view or
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       Troubling mains noise: radio amateurs craft their own solutions                       30    publish, late publishing or incorrectly publishing
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       COMMENT                                                                                          It is acknowledged that errors in transcript,
       How will the soon-to-be-implemented Employment Equity Amendment Bill                        human and technical errors can and do occur,
       affect your business?                                                                 32    but that reasonable effort will be made to
                                                                                                   minimise their occurence, and to acknowledge
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       Get organised now. Even if South Africa is dealing with the coronavirus,                    to the attention of African Destination Publishing
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       Africa Automation Technology Fair 2021
       aims at bringing the African Continent
       to South Africa
                 eadlined as a new immersive             of Reed Exhibitions’ technology and            major African countries will be selected,

       H         industrial automation and
                 technology experience, the 2021
       Africa Automation and Technology Fair
                                                         business events said the company is
                                                         planning several new innovations for
                                                         2021. “With the fourth industrial revolution
                                                                                                        with buying power as a key element, and
                                                                                                        invited as VIPs to the fair. They will be
                                                                                                        matched with South Africa companies to
       will be focusing on bringing industrialists       (4IR) having taken hold in South Africa, we    discuss export potential for South African
       and entrepreneurs from African countries          believe that there was a gap in the show’s     products and services.
       to South Africa. The exhibition will be held      offering which has prompted us to add               The fair will offer three different
       at the Ticktetpro Dome in Northgate,              technology and communication to the            workshops and has created a technology
       Johannesburg from 18 to 20 May 2021.              event. We have appropriately renamed the       demonstration zone and a business
            The exhibition and associated                fair African Automation Technology Fair.”      connection zone. It supports several
       workshops have for the past few years                  As part of bringing the continent to      initiatives to bring exhibitors and current
       shown wide acceptance and support from            the event, a Hosted Africa Buyer               and future customers, both local and
       industry and have grown year-on-year in           Programme has been introduced.                 African, together.                          n
       size and attendance. The project manager          Industrialists and entrepreneurs from          For information call 011 549 8300

         VMware Announces Expanded Portfolio of                                                              New focus
         Products and Services to Help Customers                                                             on Unified
         Modernise Applications and Infrastructure                                                        Communications
                Mware is introducing the newly
                                                                                                         as 5G edges closer
         V      expanded VMware Tanzu portfolio for
                modern applications, and VMware
         Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu, the
                                                                                                                 he last decade has seen the
                                                                                                                 unified communications and
                                                                                                                 collaboration (UCC) market
         automated, turnkey hybrid cloud platform that
                                                                                                         evolve, transforming the way
         now supports both traditional VM-based and
                                                                                                         businesses communicate. Coupled to
         container-based applications. These feature
                                                                                                         the advent of 5G technology, the
         the new VMware Cloud Foundation Services
                                                                                                         unified communications (UC) market
         using Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and the new
                                                                                                         is expected to expand at a faster
         VMware vSphere 7 to drive developer productivity. With the most comprehensive
                                                                                                         pace. Acknowledging this growth
         software stack for modern applications — spanning application to infrastructure —
                                                                                                         trajectory, local UC provider,
         VMware is uniquely positioned to enable and guide customers to develop new
                                                                                                         BuzzBox, has announced a
         modern applications as well as modernise existing applications and infrastructure. n
                                                                                                         collaboration with Kathea, a leading
                                                                                                         value-added distributor of voice and
                                                                                                         video systems.
                                  New UPS for coalmines                                                       Jini Guru co-founder and
                                                                                                         developer of BuzzBox, Jason Penton,
                                          ecker Mining South Africa has developed an                     says that the partnership brings an

                                  B       uninterruptable power supply (UPS) back-up
                                          system to protect plc systems which control critical
                                  functions at mines.
                                                                                                         all-encompassing UC solution to the
                                                                                                         local market, backed by concrete
                                                                                                         communications technology skills:
                                       “These operations include all conveyer belt safety                “The solution will address all
                                  systems installed, such as gas monitoring and speed,                   business, functional and device
                                  slippage and load control instrumentation,” explains Nico de           requirements, ensuring that the
                                  Lange, Vice President: Operations & Systems, Becker                    necessary hardware required is also
                                  Mining South Africa. “In the event of a power outage, the              addressed. Kathea is a gold certified
                                  PLC would not be able to function without the back-up of a             partner in the Buzzbox technology
                                  reliable UPS system. The interruption of belt system and               and provides a holistic solution that
                                  sensor monitoring would prevent normal operations and                  caters for all aspects of the
                                  lead to costly downtime and could also become a major                  communication in the fields of both
                                  safety issue.”                                               n         business and personal use.”           n

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                                                                                   with the EU post-GDPR.”
       By 2023 Artificial Intelligence will                                            Privacy leaders are under pressure to ensure that all
                                                                                   personal data processed is brought in scope and under
       make up 40% of technology to                                                control, which is difficult and expensive to manage without
                                                                                   the aid of technology. This is where the use of AI-powered
       manage privacy compliance                                                   applications that reduce administrative burdens and manual
                                                                                   workloads come in.
                                                                                       At the forefront of a positive privacy user experience
                  ver 40% of privacy

                                                                                   (UX) is the ability of an organisation to promptly handle
                  compliance                                                       subject rights requests (SRRs). SRRs cover a defined set of
                  technology will rely on                                          rights, where individuals have the power to make requests
       artificial intelligence (AI) by                                             regarding their data, and organisations must respond to
       2023, up by 5% on the current                                               them within a defined time frame.
       35% level. This is according to                                                 According to the 2019 Gartner Security and Risk Survey,
       predictions by Gartner’s                                                    many organisations are not capable of delivering swift and
       research vice president, Bart                                               precise answers to the SRRs they receive. Two-thirds of
       Willemsen.                                                                  respondents indicated it takes them two or more weeks to
            “Privacy laws, such as                                                 respond to a single SRR. Often done manually as well, the
       General Data Protection                                                     average costs of these workflows are roughly $1,400, which
       Regulation (GDPR), present a                                                pile up over time.
       compelling business case for                                                    “The speed and consistency with which AI-powered tools
       privacy compliance and is                                                   can help address large volumes of SRRs not only saves an
       inspiring many other                                                        organisation excessive spend, but also repairs customer
       jurisdictions worldwide to                                                  trust,” said Willemsen. “With the loss of customers serving as
                                          Bart Willemsen
       follow. More than 60                                                        privacy leaders’ second highest concern, such tools will
       jurisdictions around the world                                              ensure that their privacy demands are met.”
       have proposed or are drafting postmodern privacy and data                       The privacy-driven technology market is still emerging.
       protection laws as a result. Canada, for example, is looking to             What is certain is that privacy, as a conscious and deliberate
       modernise their Personal Information Protection and Electronic              discipline, will play a considerable role in how and why
       Documents Act (PIPEDA), in part to maintain the adequacy standing           vendors develop their products.                              n

       Vodacom drops data cost by 30% and zero rates access to
       educational and job application portals
                he recent agreement between           on reducing data costs aligns with their common interest and mandate of affordable

       T        Vodacom and the Competition
                Commission to reduce data prices
       at the retail level of the market is
                                                      communication for all South Africans.
                                                           This agreement comes at an opportune time as ICASA is currently undertaking two
                                                      critical regulatory processes that have a bearing on the pricing of data services in the
       welcomed. Vodacom beats the other              medium term i.e. the licensing of the International Mobile Telephony (IMT), also known
       mobile service providers who, according        as high demand spectrum, as well as an inquiry into mobile broadband service markets.
       to the Competition Commission, are still            “The reduction in the cost of data will stimulate demand. This means that network
       in discussions.                                operators will need more capacity and/or spectrum to meet the increased data traffic
            Vodacom has also agreed to expand         and facilitate the consumption of the free offerings and/or zero-rated data services.
       its zero-rated services through a prepaid           “The announcement by the Competition Commission is an important milestone in our
       tariff plan called Connect U. These            quest to ensure that data prices are affordable for the majority of South Africans as this
       include free access to education, health       is a key driver for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In July 2019, we issued the Policy on
       and various government websites,               High Demand Spectrum which culminated in ICASA kick-starting the licensing process,”
       including Wikipedia. In addition,              Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told the media.
       Vodacom will allow customers to apply               “It is our concerted view as a regulator that the licensing of high demand spectrum is
       for job opportunities on seven zero-rated      one of the critical components that will facilitate deployment of digital infrastructure as
       job portals.                                   well as building an inclusive digital society, with the goal of ensuring that all South
            The Ministry of Communications and        Africans participate meaningfully in the opportunities emanating from the Fourth
       Digital Technologies and the                   Industrial Revolution”, said ICASA Acting Chairperson, Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng.
       Independent Communications Authority                The spectrum auction will take place by no later than the end of the year (2020) as
       of South Africa (ICASA) said that the          announced by the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA). However, the
       agreement reached between the                  licensing of the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) will be concluded in 2021. ICASA
       Competition Commission and Vodacom             said the authority is committed to the time lines agreed upon for spectrum licensing.       n

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       Exciting update to electrical catalogue                                                    brake chopper, RS-485 (Modbus), and support for
                                                                                                  both induction motors (IM) and permanent
               lectroMechanica (EM), a specialised importer and

                                                                                                           magnet (PM) motors.
               wholesale distributor of products for energy                                                     The CPT PSM series of surge
               management, automation and switchgear, launched                                              protection devices monitors the earthing
       the latest edition of its biannual product catalogue recently.                                       system from within the surge protection
       The company introduced an Internet-based service which                                               device and gives an indication of the
       enables customers to place their orders online and monitor                                           status of the earth loop via multi-state
       the progress from order placement to delivery in real-time.                                          LEDs, confirming that the device is
       The company plans to open this service to the                                                        installed properly, and how effective the
       public in the coming months.                                                                                surge protection is. The new
           The latest brands in the 2020 catalogue                                                                 Socomec A40 panel-mounted
       include Chauvin Arnoux, a European                                                                           power-monitoring device has
       manufacturer of portable test and measurement                                                                       been designed for
       instruments. New products include an upgraded                                                                       measuring, monitoring,
       Lovato contactor range, and the introduction of                                                                      and reporting electrical
       a new frame size. The Delta ME300 drives are                                                                          energy, and can be
       a range of economic, compact, vector-                                                                                    used with both
       controlled drives which offer essential built-in                                                                           single- and three-
       functionality, including multi-pump control, built-in                                                                        phase loads.     n

               trange but true! A University of
                                                          “Raar maar waar!” World's smelliest fruit
       S       Sydney researcher has developed
               a new method using the world's
       most repulsive smelling fruit. Turning
                                                          could charge your mobile phone
       durian waste into super-capacitors could
       "substantially reduce" the cost of energy                                                                “The durian and jackfruit super-
       storage and charge devices very quickly.                                                             capacitors perform much better than
           Imagine if we could use naturally grown                                                          the materials currently in use and
       products such as plants and fruit to store                                                           are comparable, if not better, than
       the electricity that charges commonly used                                                           the expensive and exotic graphene-
       electronics such as mobile phones,                                                                   based materials.
       tablets, laptops or even electric cars?                                                                  “Durian waste, as a zero-cost
           Researchers from the University of                                                               substance that the community wants
       Sydney have done just that and have                                           Credit: Pixabay        to get rid of urgently due to its
       developed a method that uses durian and                                                              repulsive, nauseous smell, is a
       jackfruit waste to create energy stores for         What are super-capacitors?                       sustainable source that can transform
       rapid electricity charging.                         “Super-capacitors are like energy                the waste into a product to
                                                           reservoirs that dole out energy smoothly.        substantially reduce the cost of
       How does it work?                                   They can quickly store large amounts of          energy storage through our chemical-
       “Using durian and jackfruit, we converted           energy within a small battery-sized device       free, green synthesis protocol.”
       the fruits’ waste portions (biomass) into           and then supply energy to charge
       super-capacitors that can be used to                electronic devices, such as mobile phones,       What could this technology be
       store electricity efficiently,” said Associate      tablets and laptops, within a few seconds,"      used for?
       Professor Vincent Gomes.                            said Associate Professor Gomes.                  “We have reached a point where we
           “Using a non-toxic and non-                         “Compared to batteries, super-               must urgently discover and produce
       hazardous green engineering method                  capacitors are not only able to charge           ways to create and store energy using
       that used heating in water and freeze               devices very quickly but can handle more         sustainably sourced materials that do
       drying of the fruits’ biomass, the durian           charging cycles than conventional devices.       not contribute to global warming,” said
       and jackfruit were transformed into stable              "The current super-capacitors are            Associate Professor Gomes.
       carbon aerogels — an extremely light and            made from activated carbon which are                  “Confronted with this and the
       porous synthetic material used for a                nowhere near as efficient as the ones            world’s rapidly depleting supplies of
       range of applications.                              prepared during this project."                   fossil fuels, naturally derived super-
           “Carbon aerogels make great super-                                                               capacitors are leading the way for
       capacitors because they are highly                  Why durian and jackfruit?                        developing high efficiency energy
       porous. We then used the fruit-derived              “Durian waste was selected based on the          storage devices,” he said.
       aerogels to make electrodes which we                excellent template nature provides for                Although considered by some to be
       tested for their energy storage properties,         making porous aerogels,” said Associate          a delicacy, durian fruit is infamous for
       which we found to be exceptional.”                  Professor Gomes.                                 its repulsive odour.                     n

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                                                      Invitation to apply to the
                WS ZA is inviting qualifying 100

       A        percent black-owned exempted
                micro enterprises (EMEs) and
       qualifying small enterprises (QSEs)
       within the ICT sector to apply to be part
       of the Amazon Web Services Equity
       Equivalent Investment Programme (AWS
       EEIP). The AWS EEIP was announced in
                                                      AWS Equity Equivalent
       2019 and will see over R365 million
       invested over a seven-year period in the
       development and growth of black-owned
                                                      Investment Programme
       small businesses in South Africa. This
       will help entrepreneurs and business
       owners develop and enhance their skills        through AWS Academy and AWS Educate.
       in advanced technologies such as cloud         Hundreds of students in South Africa are
       computing, Internet of Things (IoT),           benefitting from the AWS Academy programme,
       Machine Learning (ML), mobile                  an introductory course that provides a detailed
       technologies and more.                         overview of cloud concepts, AWS core
            The announcement follows AWS’s            services, architecture, security and support.
       attainment of Broad-Based Black                The course also prepares students to pursue
       Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Level            an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
       1 status. As part of the B-BBEE Level 1        certification, one of the most popular technical
       status, AWS ZA achieved maximum                certifications in the world today. In addition,
       points for enterprise development,             AWS ZA has provided cloud skills development
       supplier development and ownership             to youths from previously disadvantaged
       elements of the scorecard, upon first          communities and townships, via the the AWS
       verification. AWS ZA’s other initiatives,      eKasi programme. Through AWS eKasi,                                 Prabashni Naidoo,
       contributing to its Level 1 status, include    students complete an intensive one-year                            Director at Amazon
       funding for small businesses, the              training course, which provides fundamental                              Web Services
                                                                                                                                 South Africa
       Amazon Web Services Equity Equivalent          understanding of software development and
       Investment Programme (AWS EEIP), and           cloud computing technologies, giving them skills for the jobs of the future.
       skills development programmes delivered
       through AWS Academy and AWS                    Build a new business
       Educate.                                       The AWS EEIP will enable entrepreneurs and technical professionals in South Africa to
            “We are thrilled to attain a B-BBEE       build businesses that will play a key role in the country’s digital transformation. Successful
       Level 1 status,” said Prabashni Naidoo,        applicants will undergo an 18 to 24-month enterprise development and incubation
       Director at Amazon Web Services, South         programme, where they will receive technical training and support from AWS ZA; this will
       Africa. “This is a continuation of our         result in AWS EEIP members becoming AWS Certified Developers and Solutions
       commitment to support the                      Architects. These businesses will also receive business enablement support such as
       transformation and economic                    coaching, mentorship and funding to help take their business to the next stage of growth.
       development of South Africa. Our               As these businesses complete their training and gain AWS competencies, they can
       Enterprise and Supplier Development            become Select Amazon Partner Network members and move up a tier in the Amazon
       programmes will enable small businesses        Partner Network (APN), becoming an advanced partner, to further strengthen their
       to flourish. As these businesses grow,         business. Upon completion of the programme, these businesses will have access to AWS’s
       AWS cloud services will help transform         ecosystem of millions of active customers, of every size, across virtually every industry. n
       their operations and allow them to
       compete on a global scale. In addition,        Eligible EMEs and QSEs can visit
       our skills development programs will help for more information
       grow the next generation of highly skilled     and to submit their applications, by 10 April 2020.
       South African developers and engineers.”
            A priority element in the B-BBEE
       scorecard is skills development, which is        About Amazon Web Services
       helping to increase youth skills and
       employability across the country. For over       For almost 14 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and
       two years, AWS ZA has been working               broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 175 fully featured services for compute,
       with education institutions such as the          storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence
       Durban University of Technology,                 (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and
       Stellenbosch University, University of           AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 69 availability
       Cape Town and many more to help train            zones covering 22 geographic regions, there are plans for 16 more availability zones and five
       the next generation of cloud professionals       more AWS regions in Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Africa, and Spain.                           n

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       Traco Power reinforced, chassis
       mount solutions

              raco Power announced new models of encapsulated DC/DC
              power solutions under the TMDC family. The TMDC family of
              compact 6-60 Watt DC/DC chassis mount modules are
       designed with reinforced isolation for industrial applications in      New device offers more security for
       harsh environments. The units are fully encapsulated and are
       available in chassis mount module configuration.                       GNSS applications
            The units have high input voltage ranges of 80-160 VDC and
       the reinforced I/O-isolation is up to 3’000 VAC. The internal

                                                                                      NSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is used to
       filters limit conducted and radiated emissions (EN 55032 class A)
                                                                                      pinpoint the geographic location of a user's receiver
       but also increase the module’s EMC immunity (EN 55035).
                                                                                      anywhere in the world. Three GNSS systems are currently
       The modules come in fully encapsulated plastic packages
                                                                              in operation: the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS),
       and feature a high temperature
                                                                              the Russian Federation's Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite
       range from –40° up to 85°C
                                                                              System (GLONASS) and Europe's Galileo. Each of the GNSS
       without derating. n
                                                                              systems employs a constellation of orbiting satellites working in
                                                                              conjunction with a network of ground stations.
                                                                                  U blox (SIX:UBXN) has extended its SARA R4 family of LTE
                                                                              M/NB IoT and EGPRS cellular modules to include variants with
                                                                              the hardware and software features necessary to enable end
                                                                              to end security features and services for Internet of Things (IoT)
                                                                              data, devices and ecosystems.
                                                                                  The new SARA R422 product series offers superior security
                                                                              protection, industrial output power to grant best coverage even
                                                                              in weak signal conditions, and wherever locations use state of
                                                                              the art u blox GNSS technology. These represent valuable
                                                                              functionalities tailored specifically to the Low Power Wide Area
                                                                              network (LPWA) IoT market. U blox is represented in South
                                                                              Africa by RF Design.                                              n

       Indigo Broadband brings Carlson
       Wireless TV White Spaces
       network systems to SA

          ndigo Broadband has been appointed the authorised
          sub-Saharan distributor of TV White Spaces (TVWS)
          network systems developed by Carlson Wireless of
       Eureka, California.
            Broadband networks operating in “Television White
       Spaces” allow cost-effective connectivity for communities
       not serviced by the current market offerings that are
       either not available or unaffordable to them.
            Carlson Wireless Technologies achieved the CE
       mark certification in April 2019, indicating that the
       Carlson Generation 3 RuralConnect base stations and
       customer premises equipment (CPEs) meets European                   The product range includes the Carlson Wireless Gen3 and Gen3
       Union standards for telecommunications systems                  Mini RuralConnect products. The big brother in the range is a three-
       certified by ETSI, the European Telecommunications              radio/three-sector base station, providing an aggregate capacity of
       Standards Institute.                                            up to 96Mbps.
            Indigo Broadband worked extensively with the                   The long-range capabilities under difficult terrain makes the
       Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to        TVWS systems from Carlson ideally suited to rural or underserviced
       ensure these systems also meet ICASA requirements               areas. Other radio technologies have limited or no range in a “near-
       for interaction with the required reference Geo-                line-of-sight application”, making their deployment cost-prohibitive
       Location Database (the GLDB or GDB).                            in many applications.                                                n

                                                             EngineerIT | March 2020 | 8
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                                                                                                                          NEW PRODUCTS

                                                                                                            The VEGAPULS instrument series are
       Radar is the better ultrasonic!                                                                  compact devices, but they are
       Introducing VEGAPULS                                                                             complemented by the optional VEGAMET
                                                                                                        controllers. These feature a large graphic
                                                                                                        display that can be used to visualise all

              EGA adds to its portfolio of level sensors with a new non-                                measured values. They have also been
              contact radar instrument series for standard measuring tasks                              particularly designed to meet the special
              and price-sensitive applications.                                                         requirements of the water/wastewater
            A new era in radar level measurement began a few years ago                                  industry. VEGAMET controllers allow
       when VEGAPULS sensors based on 80 GHz technology were introduced.                                simple implementation of pump control,
       Thanks to the more precise focusing of the radar beam, the sensor                                flow measurement in open channels and
       virtually eliminates any unwanted or interfering reflections – the level                         overfill protection according to WHG.
       measurement therefore becomes much easier and more reliable. Many                                These are designed for operation in
       difficult measuring tasks for ultrasonic sensors are now becoming                                outdoor environments, and are supplied
       standard practice with radar technology.                                                         in a weather-resistant housing.
            VEGA has added a new compact 80 GHz instrument series to its portfolio of radar
       sensors. It is especially suitable for price-sensitive applications, such as those found in      Simple setup thanks to wireless
       the water/wastewater industry or in auxiliary process loops in process automation.               operation
       VEGA designed a new radar microchip especially for this purpose, which is                        Both the sensors and the controllers can
       characterised by its extremely small size, fast start up time and low energy                     be operated easily via Bluetooth with a
       consumption. The result is a particularly compact and versatile radar sensor.                    smartphone or tablet. This makes setup,
                                                                                                        display and diagnostics considerably
       Robust, unaffected and weatherproof                                                              easier, especially in harsh environments
       The new VEGAPULS instruments are ideal for both liquids and bulk solids. They are                or hazardous areas. The new VEGAPULS
       available both as a compact version with cable connection housing and as a standard              radar instrument series offers many
       version with a fixed IP68 cable connection. The radar sensors maintain steady, accurate          advantages over current ultrasonic level
       measurements without effect or loss of echo from external influences such as solar               measurement technologies.               n
       gain, air temperature fluctuations, weather conditions, vapours, build-up or
       condensation. Users can choose from 4 ... 20 mA, HART, SDI-12 or Modbus as the direct            More information available at
       output signal. ATEX versions are also available.                                       

              OMTEST has introduced the
              Tektronix Inc.’s expansion of its
                                                        Comtest -Tektronix expands performance
              scalable DPO70000SX series                oscilloscopes with new 13 GHz and 16 GHz models
       performance oscilloscope to include
       new 13 GHz and 16 GHz models. The
       new offerings allow engineers to take
       advantage of the high sample rate and
       low noise floor of Tektronix’ highest
       performance family of oscilloscopes at
       lower bandwidth levels and more
       affordable price points.
           The DPO70000SX series
       oscilloscopes were initially developed to
       test the highest performance, highest
       speed serial and optical interface
       standards. With this platform extension,
       Tektronix is bringing these high-end                 The new 13 GHz and 16 GHz models offer four 50 GS/s sample rate input channels
       capabilities to lower speed interfaces           with the unique ability to synchronise up to four scopes for a total of 16 input channels.
       such as USB, Display Port, HDMI, LPDDR,          The UltraSync architecture provides precise data synchronisation and convenient
       MIPI C-PHY and D-PHY plus legacy                 operation across multi-unit systems to support applications that require more than four
       server storage applications such as PCI          channels. The low-profile size fits in a single 3U rackmount space, or two oscilloscopes
       Express Gen 3 and SATA that are widely           can be stacked in the same space as a single standard bench.                              n
       used in consumer, automotive and
       military/aerospace applications.                  For more information:

                 NEW PRODUCTS: Send your new products releases with a high resolution illustration to

                                                                EngineerIT | March 2020 | 9
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       ICT 5G

       Optic fibre will be a key element
       in the roll out of 5G
           n the hype surrounding 5G, the role that optic                                                Our mission is to see the adoption of

       I   fibre plays is seldom written about, yet without a
           solid fibre backbone, 5G will not take off. There
       are other alternatives, such as wireless millimetre
                                                                                                     fibre deployments by all broadband
                                                                                                     stakeholders, thereby enhancing the
                                                                                                     lives of all people living on the continent.
       wave point-to-point systems, but from an efficiency
       and cost point of view there is nothing that comes                                            The wayleave problem
       as close as optic fibre.                                                                      While the main metros are well supplied
            However, when fibre is mentioned many people                                             with fibre, the focus is now shifting to
       conjure up the vision of roads being dug up. That is                                          more outlying suburbs and smaller
       an unlikely scenario as major cities are well                                                 towns. They will benefit from the
       served by underground and overhead fibre cable.                                               experience gained over the past decade,
       There are two good reasons why no new trenching                                               with streamlined trenching using
       will likely be required for 5G in metro areas,                                                machinery that will trench a small
       says Juanita Clark, CEO of the FTTX Council, an                                               channel, lay the sleeves and rehabilitate
       organisation that represents the fibre industry.             Juanita Clark                    the road or pavements at the same time.
       “Many more wavelengths can be fired up on existing                                            There is however one major problem,
       fibre infrastructure; also more fibres can be blown into existing ducts.”                     wayleaves! Municipalities are not always
            The FTTx Council Africa is an independent, not for profit organisation and is            co-operative, delaying the issuing of
       focussed on the fibre industry and all stakeholders affected by the industry,                 wayleaves, at times for as long as nine
       including national and local governments, private companies, regulating bodies and            months, creating unnecessary
       industry organisations.                                                                       paperwork and charging excessive fees.
            “Established in 2010 as the FTTH (Fibre to the Home) Council, it was later changed       Government, on several occasions, has
       to FTTx (fibre to anywhere)”, Clark said.                                                     talked about a rapid deployment policy
            The FTTx Council Africa is one of five separate but closely co-operating                 and regulation which would ease the
       organisations representing the fibre to the home industry in regions across the world.        wayleave burden. It made it as far as the
            “Our four sister organisations promote fibre to the home in Europe, the Americas, the    draft Electronic Communications Act
       Middle East, North Africa, and Asia-Pacific. We are an active member of the Fibre             (ACA) Amendment Bill which after two
       Council Global Alliance (FCGA). FCGA meets regularly to collaborate on general topics         revisions, was scrapped.
       of interest within the fibre community, including publishing a Global Definition of Terms”.   “The FTTx Council is continually working
            FTTx Council Africa members sign a code of conduct and pledge that they will pay         on resolving the situation. On the one
       respect to the quality of their services, products and operations with a reputation for       hand, government wants all South
       honesty, fairness, respect, responsibility, integrity, trust and sound business judgment.     Africans to be broadband-empowered
            “We believe that the development and deployment of fibre based broadband access          but on the other, it fails to create a
       networks will enhance the quality of life for citizens in South Africa and Africa as a        conducive environment for industry to
       whole, providing African countries with an infrastructure which will increase their           make it happen at a reasonable cost.
       effectiveness and competitiveness within the global marketplace”, Clark said.                      “While there are many issues around
            “The council’s charter is to educate African governments, policy makers and political    5G that still need to be clarified,
       leaders on why and how high-speed fibre connectivity can be delivered to citizens within      spectrum that needs to be made
       the coming years. Through consultation with all major stakeholders and understanding          available and licensing regulations that
       their strategies and concerns, we endeavour to be the voice of the industry and to help       need to be finalised, I am confident that
       create a better future for all involved. In turn we support government with issues such as    our members are ready to support the
       policy and regulation, best practice and minimum standards through an independent             roll-out of 5G”, Clark said.
       voice. Member engagement is encouraged on all levels and participants are kept                     The FTTx Council Africa celebrates
       informed on industry trends and success stories. We offer members an opportunity to           its tenth anniversary in September this
       network, collaborate and discuss best practise frameworks that are in the best interests      year and is planning to celebrate its
       of all.” Clark said.                                                                          support and collaboration with the telco
            “We encourage dialogue between government and the private sector from a platform         industry at its annual conference which
       that is independent and product-agnostic. We do not subscribe to any set of products          will be held at the Cape Town
       and will often engage with our international counterparts for advice on policy and            International Conference Centre from
       regulation issues, using international best practise as the basis for our approach.           29 September - 1 October 2020.           n

                                                              EngineerIT | March 2020 | 10
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                                                                                                                                          ICT 5G

                                                                                                                    For several years, antennas
                                                                                                                with MIMO and carrier aggregation
                                                                                                                (CA) capabilities have been fielded
                                                                                                                providing, most commonly, 2×2

       New antenna technology                                                                                   MIMO. This required two antenna
                                                                                                                elements for transmit and two for
                                                                                                                receive at the base station, as well

       developments to
                                                                                                                as two antenna pairs on the user
                                                                                                                equipment. Using spatial
                                                                                                                multiplexing, users are able to
                                                                                                                experience a boost in throughput

       support 5G
                                                                                                                from data transfers through two
                                                                                                                spatial streams. In this case, these
                                                                                                                2×2 MIMO antennas typically just
                                                                                                                involved antennas with multiple
                                                                                                                coaxial feeds to the base
                                                                                                                transceiver station (BTS), or later
                ccording to the new Cisco Annual               to a digitised version of the BTS, the digital unit (DU), and a remote radio head

       A        Internet Report, 5G will support more
                than 10% of the world’s mobile
       connections by 2023. The average 5G speed
                                                               (RRH). Typically, these types of antennas used cross-polarised elements. For
                                                               later 4×4 MIMO installations, the DU was typically connected to two RRHs that
                                                               fed two 2×2 MIMO antenna systems.
       will be 575 megabits per second, or 13 times                 Continuing this trend would require 32 RRHs and complex interconnect to
       faster than the average mobile connection.              feed each RRH and 2×2 MIMO antenna to feature 64×64 MIMO established in
       With advanced performance capabilities, 5G              3GPP Release 15. Hence, a new antenna and MIMO approach has been under
       will deliver more dynamic mobile infrastructures        development with some early releases for the initial, largely experimental,
       for AI and emerging IoT applications including          5G deployments. The result is antenna systems with integrated radios and
       autonomous cars, smart cities, connected                other active elements, including digital control and signal processing
       health, immersive video and more.                       technology. These so-called active antenna systems (AAS) have been regarded
            For the past 50 years, each decade                 as the most likely method of producing high order MIMO antennas economically
       introduced a new mobile technology with                 and within the constraints of practical installation on already crowded antenna
       cutting-edge innovations. Mobile bandwidth              towers and platforms. In this latest generation of cellular antennas for
       requirements have evolved from voice calls              infrastructure, the digital processing for MIMO, modulation and demodulation
       and texting to ultra-high definition (UHD) video        are integrated into the antenna systems, along with the signal distribution and
       and a variety of augmented reality/virtual reality      RFFE hardware. These components often include power combiners/dividers,
       (AR/VR) applications. Consumers and                     mixers/upconverters/downconverters, analogue -to-digital converters/digital-to-
       business users worldwide continue to create             analogue converters (ADCs/DACs), switches, filters, power amplifiers (PAs),
       new demands and expectations for mobile                 low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), circulators/isolators, attenuators, tuning elements
       networking. This is also driving continuous             and a myriad of RF and digital interconnect. These AAS also include a high
       innovation at all levels of the infrastructure.         density of antenna elements, up to 128 if separate antenna elements are used
            With the advent of the later 4G LTE releases       for transmit and receive. However, some modern AAS divide the elements into
       (3GPP Release 13 and 14) and the latest 5G              sub-arrays only requiring transmit/receive modules (TRMs) for each sub-array,
       standard (3GPP Release 15), antennas for                instead of each transmit/receive pair. To produce full 64×64 MIMO, some of
       wireless telecommunications have begun to               these AAS may be split into several modular sub-systems, such as 8×8, 16×16,
       change substantially. Beyond the addition of            or 32×32 that can be assembled into a full 64×64 MIMO system.
       sub-6 GHz frequencies for 5G, there are other                The next generation of MIMO may be what is called massive MIMO. This could
       technologies for enabling 5G use cases that are         result in extremely complex and dense AAS. Massive MIMO systems may need to
       being developed that generate substantial               be integrated into a single complete module with all the necessary RF, signal
       changes for current and future antenna.                 processing, and even networking hardware built in. As this type of system is likely
            Earlier standards released for 4G LTE              to be for dense urban and suburban areas, they may also need to be much more
       allowed for multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO)       compact than typical AAS used today, which would allow for their placement on
       antenna structures to take advantage of spatial         metropolitan infrastructure such as street lighting, traffic light poles, etc.
       multiplexing and enhance throughput and                      The result of high density AAS is the need for RF/microwave hardware that
       capacity for cellular installations. With the latest    is much more compact and power efficient than previous cellular technology.
       release there are advances to MIMO technology           Part of these requirements is derived from the need to maintain relatively similar
       that are transforming antennas from the                 cell tower footprints for AAS. Testing such systems is also an emerging
       traditional passive design to active devices;           challenge within the industry, which may be addressed in future systems that
       these are highly integrated with both RF front-         include extensive self-diagnostics and other built-in-self-test (BIST) features. n
       end (RFFE) hardware and configurable digital
       hardware designed to adapt to the latest                More information about 5G antenna development by
       complex MIMO and network requirements.                  Pasternack visit

                                                              EngineerIT | March 2020 | 11
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       ICT 5G

       The critical role for satellite in a
       5G environment
       By Dawie de Wet, CEO Q-KON

                    hy even mention satellite in      Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)

       W            a 5G context? VSAT is slow,
                    expensive and has a
       latency problem – right? Maybe not.
                                                      Satellites already provide high bandwidth distribution for HD and UHD television
                                                      networks and this will be further expanded with the planned mega-GEO satellites with
                                                      1Tbps capabilities and augmented with the LEO constellation.
       If you still remember the satellite               Current satellite internet distribution networks are a proven solution for distribution
       networks of the 1980’s and 1990’s              and are servicing the existing mobile backhaul networks in many parts of the world for
       then that was true, however today this         2G/3G. This will be expanded with the new high-throughput GEO satellites that will
       is just a myth and no longer valid.            support 4G and 5G mobile networks.
       Extensive and fundamental
       developments in space networks and             Massive Machine-Type Communication (mMTC)
       ground equipment have changed the              With their known high reliability and truly anywhere connectivity strengths, satellite
       landscape completely. Satellites               networks are already providing winning SCADA and global control network solutions
       available over Africa will soon be             which can readily be scaled to the planned future machine-to-machine and Internet-of-
       capable of 1Tbps capacity and LEO              things applications.
       constellations will deliver connectivity           This will further be strengthened and multiplied when the LEO microsatellite
       at less than 40msec latencies.                 constellations and technologies from companies such as Hiber, SpaceQuest and
            In the 5G ecosystem, satellite            HawkEye are supported by developments in smaller, lower cost, electronically
       broadband and satellite networks will          steerable systems to grow into mainstream applications in the 5G “network-of-
       have a key role to play. As a reference        networks” ecosystem.
       we will consider the ITU definition of
       the key elements i.e. enhanced mobile          Ultra-Reliable Communications (URLLC)
       broadband, massive machine type                Current satellite broadband customers, government network operators, broadcasters,
       communication and ultra-reliable low-          mobile network operators and all other satellite users acknowledge the ultra-reliable
       latency (
EngineerIT March 2020 Final:Layout 1 2020/03/19 7:26 AM Page 13

                                                                                                                                         ICT 5G

                                                                                                       the low latency requirement for 5G
                                                                                                       network is a big ally in this vertical for
                                                                                                       satcom, as many new locations for
                                                                                                       content servers will be required. In the
                                                                                                       transition to 5G, content needs to be
                                                                                                       moved to the edge and many new
                                                                                                       locations will be required, densifying
                                                                                                       content delivering networks (CDN) and
                                                                                                       making satellite multicast a viable option.”

                                                                                                       In the planned global “connected future”,
                                                                                                       the 5G “network of networks”
                                                                                                       architecture will continue to develop and
                                                                                                       grow with the initial successes
                                                                                                       spearheaded by mobile network
                                                                                                       operators. As the requirements expand
                                                                                                       to more fully address the key 5G
       Source: SES
                                                                                                       elements i.e. enhanced mobile
                                                                                                       broadband (eMBB), massive machine
       Satellites for Sub -1msec Latency                                                               type communication (mMTC) and ultra-
       The 5G requirement for sub-1msec latency is a challenge for even mobile networks.               reliable low-latency (
EngineerIT March 2020 Final:Layout 1 2020/03/19 7:26 AM Page 14

       ICT 5G

                                                                                                  linked to top-notch service and
                                                                                                  accessibility, so it’s vital to ensure your
                                                                                                  processes aren't cumbersome.
                                                                                                      “People remember the experiences
                                                                                                  they’ve had. They may not complain or
                                                                                                  stop doing business with you
                                                                                                  immediately when they’ve had a bad
                                                                                                  experience; they will simply not give you
                                                                                                  their repeat business in future,” said
                                                                                                  Priven Moodley, head of consulting at
                                                                                                  TransUnion. “Customers want faster
                                                                                                  transactions and less friction – and

       Rapid data:                                                                                here’s where real-time, high-quality
                                                                                                  becomes the key ingredient.”
                                                                                                      Aside from the benefits that can
                                                                                                  come from using real-time data, such

       fast decision-making                                                                       as fostering customer loyalty, the fact is
                                                                                                  that immediate service has become the
                                                                                                  new norm.
                                                                                                      E-commerce platforms like Takealot

       with the right data                                                                        and Amazon ensure that people have
                                                                                                  their goods delivered within a few days
                                                                                                  of ordering. In the case of some items,

       at the right time
                                                                                                  such as books, there is no longer any
                                                                                                  need to wait for them to be delivered
                                                                                                  unless you want a physical copy. You
                                                                                                  can simply buy an audiobook or ebook
                                                                                                  and start reading it immediately.
           n a world where people are demanding instantaneous service and next-day delivery,

                                                                                                      Services like Uber and Netflix have
           the concept of rapid or real-time data is becoming crucial. Synthesis, SEACOM and      cemented this expectation of immediacy.
           TransUnion recently hosted an event in Johannesburg where experts from various         Uber is also an example of giving the
       industries deliberated this crucial topic.                                                 customer constant, real-time feedback
            Real-time data refers to the idea of having information instantaneously available -   on the status of the service they
       this can help a business and its clients make decisions faster. “It’s a decision            requested.
       I can make without having to ask anyone anything,” said Tom Wells, the
       chief disruption officer at Synthesis. “As soon as I have to go and query                       The value of rapid data
       some system in order to make a decision, that’s no longer real-time.”                              To build a real-time data system,
            Whether in retail businesses, financial services, or logistics and                            Wells said that event-driven
       supply chain management, the basic idea with real-time data is to give                             architectures work well.
       customers what they want as quickly as possible.                                                       “You break your system down
                                                                                                         and model it as a stream of events
       Fast is the new cheap                                                                             that occurs over time. When
       “Fast is the new cheap,” said the global head of product at SEACOM,                             someone makes a payment, takes
       Robert Marston.                                                                                out a mortgage, or steers left on a
           “That’s a saying that you heard in the telecommunications                                car — whatever it is, those things are
       industry a few years ago,” Marston said. “We are living in a world                         just events,” he said.
       where the average revenue from each user is dropping the                                        You then build all your software to
       whole time. Thanks to technologies evolving, there is                                       consume and interpret those events as
       always someone doing it faster and cheaper.”                                                  they occur.
           The revelation was that rather than trying to                                                   In addition to enabling rapid
       be the cheapest option on the market the whole                                                   decision making, real-time data that
       time, what people actually wanted was speed.                                                    has been gathered can be used to
           “Instant gratification. That’s the new norm in                                              gain greater insights into customer
       the digital age,” Marston said. “As a consumer                                                   needs.
       you want something to happen right now. You                                                          The data may also be used to
       don’t want to wait.”                                                                           train and invoke machine learning
           As a recent TransUnion study shows,                                                        models. These could be used to make
       today’s consumers demand a seamless                                                          rapid decisions more accurately in
       onboarding experience and fast,                      Tom Wells, Chief Disruption Officer     future or provide new ways to analyse
       personalised service. Loyalty is directly            at Synthesis                             and respond to customer behaviour.

                                                               EngineerIT | March 2020 | 14
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                                                                                                                                             ICT 5G

       Decentralised data                             change or need to be assessed but is merely made available for consumption.
       To process data in real-time and               Examples of this would be ID numbers, models and risk scores.
       allow a customer or employee to                    The second type of data is real-time data, which is data coming into a system,
       make rapid decisions, systems need             being immediately assessed and being sent out again, with minimal time spent
       to be decentralised.                           assessing that data. An example of real-time data is income, card usage or
           “There is a shift to turn Big Data         weather. The rules, the process and the decision making occur within a very short
       systems into real-time predictive              time frame.
       systems,” said Tom Wells, the Chief
       Disruption Officer at Synthesis. “That         Privacy and security of decentralised data
       means taking those centralised Big             Adopting a technology architecture designed for real-time data does come with different
       Data architectures and trying to               privacy and security concerns.
       distribute them, making them more                  If personal data is being used to build a profile for someone to assess their
       decentralised.”                                creditworthiness or combat fraud, you must comply with relevant regulations such as the
           There are several reasons that             National Credit and POPI Acts in South Africa, GDPR in Europe, or CCPA in California.
       real-time data requires systems to be              An organisation will also have to think differently about information security if it
       distributed. The first is if you need your     wants to use real-time data.
       application to work even when you                  One major consideration is the fact that to make data available rapidly, it needs to be
       have slow or unreliable connectivity.          physically close to the place where you will be using it. This could mean that data may
       Bank and credit cards are an example           be downloaded onto a user’s smartphone, or any other device that is physically near to
       of this. Depending on how a shop has           where the data needs to be used.
       set up its point-of-sale systems, clients          The challenge is how to deal with highly personal data, which is essential for
       can still pay with their cards even when       businesses like banks to be able to provide financial services. To ensure you keep
       a connection to the bank’s network is          clients’ personal information safe, you cannot send out raw data: it has to be
       not available.                                 transformed into information and aggregated insights that can then be used to make
           The second major reason is the             decisions, said Moodley.
       physical limitation of how fast data can
       travel through computer networks.              Right place, right time, right channel
           “It’s almost mind boggling that you        One way that real-time data may be used is to communicate offers and useful
       can move data from one side of the             information to clients. For this to work, timing and context is everything.
       globe to the other in under a second. In             Real-time data lets a business send out messages that are personalised for clients.
       the time it takes to say ‘one’, you can        These messages should be delivered to customers when it is relevant to them, rather
       send a packet of data from Hawaii to a         than simply spamming them with offers.
       data centre Johannesburg,” said                      Banks say that the most predictive data they have about clients is the behaviour on
       SEACOM’s Marston.                              their transactional account and credit card, and their payment profiles at information and
           However, there are many factors on         insight providers like TransUnion. Wells said that this data may be used to drive
       the Internet that you can’t control,           behaviour instead of just predicting it.
       ranging from network congestion to                   The bank should be able to detect that you shop at a specific place at certain times.
       cable faults.                                  Shortly before you usually leave work, the bank can send you a message to inform you
           “The closer the data is to the person      of convenient alternatives where you may earn more loyalty points for buying the same
       using that data, the better,” said Marston.    products or services.
       “That’s why we’re seeing AWS (Amazon)                “Imagine the bank notices that I regularly stop at a specific petrol station every week
       and Azure (Microsoft) setting up data          or so. It can make an educated guess that I stop there because it is conveniently located
       centres locally.”                              on my route between home and work,” said Wells.
                                                            If the bank has a different petrol station chain signed up to its rewards programme,
       Data quality — finding the                     it can look for one that is close to the one you regularly visit and recommend that you
       nuggets                                        fill up there instead, helping you to easily increase the rewards you earn every month.
       One of the challenges of gathering real-             “If the bank demonstrates to me that it understands me as a consumer, understands
       time data is making sure that the quality      my lifestyle, and wants to promote better rewards — that is awesome,” Wells said, “That’s
       of the data does not degrade, compared         why people use services like Google Assistant.”
       to more traditional systems.                         The ability to rapidly access high quality, real-time data dramatically changes
           “Our business is focused on                the way people interact with companies and services, and how businesses
       providing solutions to business problems       respond to customers.
       using the highest quality of data. As part           Rapid, real-time data can offer significant value, but only if it is delivered to the right
       of our journey we are well along the path      place, at the right time, and through the right channel.                                         n
       of speed of delivery of that data, without
       compromising its quality,” said
       TransUnion’s Moodley.                           Synthesis, a South African software company, together with SEACOM and TransUnion,
           There are two types of data. Static         recently hosted an event in Johannesburg where experts from various industries
       data, or data at rest, is transactioned in      deliberated the topic. Representatives from Synthesis, TransUnion, SEACOM, Standard
       real time. This means the data doesn’t          Bank and Imperial Logistics participated in the discussion.                         n

                                                             EngineerIT | March 2020 | 15
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