Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘africa’ Category

Kenya’s Sidian Bank Will Use IBM Cloud, Cognitive to Accelerate Digital Transformation

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IBM has announced that Sidian Bank has turned to IBM Cloud and Cognitive solutions to fuel its digital transformation. This helps the bank provide its growing customer base of small and medium-sized businesses with faster access to existing services like debit and credit card processing, bank account opening, teller services and wealth management.

Sidian Bank, founded in 1984, was launched as a micro-finance bank before upgrading and becoming a commercial bank.

The bank needed a core banking system that would provide a competitive edge as it enhanced its services to better target the entrepreneur market segment. It was also looking to reduce unplanned system outages and to improve its core banking system performance.

Prior to engaging IBM, about 40 percent of a typical business day’s working hours at the bank was spent on problem isolation. Today, however, through infrastructure as a service and cognitive management, the system can learn from past incidents and resolve 56 percent of any difficulties with minimum human intervention.

This has enabled the bank realize 34 percent savings in capital expenses and a 60 percent improvement in transactional times across all ATMs and teller counters.

Also, the bank faced significant challenges with hardware capacity for memory, processing and storage which had a direct impact on applications availability. The core banking services ran on legacy hardware.

All applications were migrated to IBM infrastructure through a hybrid cloud model which is live and fully operational. Also, with the infrastructure managed services on IBM systems the availability, speed of access and expansion for applications has improved to 99 percent from an average of 84 percent on a given week.

“This is the first collaboration of its kind in this market. It not only cements our partnership with the IBM, but also creates new and unique partnerships that support our institution’s growth strategy and enhances the efficiency of our entire banking infrastructure.” said Titus Karanja, CEO, Sidian Bank.

With the IBM cognitive capabilities, the bank continues to drive fast response times to customer needs which are key to supporting its mostly small and medium-sized tier entrepreneurs. It additionally enables the bank to improve IT staff productivity by 30 percent, freeing its technology team to focus on their core business.

You can learn more about IBM Cloud solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

IBM Launches “Digital – Nation Africa,” Invests $70 Million to Bring Digital Skills to Africa with Free, Watson-Powered Skills Platform

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IBM is investing $70 million in building much-needed digital, cloud, and cognitive IT skills to help support a 21st century workforce in Africa.

The initiative, “IBM Digital – Nation Africa”, provides a cloud-based learning platform designed to provide free skills development programs for up to 25 million African youths over five years, enabling digital competence and nurturing innovation in Africa.

This is part of IBM’s global push to build the next generation of skills needed for “New Collar” careers. “New Collar” is a term used by IBM to describe new kinds of careers that do not always require a four-year college degree but rather sought-after skills in cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, and much more.

For the youth of Africa to be able to benefit from a cognitive future there needs to be a much higher level of digital literacy. At the top of the skills pyramid are developers, who need to know how to create solutions that can leverage the power of cognitive, and entrepreneurs who are aware of the potential.

IBM Digital – Nation Africa is designed to help raise overall digital literacy, increase the number of skilled developers able to tap into cognitive engines and enable entrepreneurs and would be entrepreneurs grow businesses around the new solutions.

Through a free, cloud-based online learning environment delivered on IBM Bluemix, the premier cloud platform for business, the initiative will provide a range of programs from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills including social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection.

Advanced users will be able to explore career-oriented IT topics including programming, cybersecurity, data science and agile methodologies, as well as important business skills like critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The initiative aims to empower African citizens, entrepreneurs, and communities with the knowledge and tools to design, develop, and launch their own digital solutions.

Based on Watson, the cognitive online system will adapt and learn. It will review the multiple interactions the education initiative will have with students, to help direct them to the right courses and help IBM refine the courses to better adapt the material for the needs of the users.

Watson will also create a depth of knowledge using anonymous information gathered from interactions with the students. This will help entrepreneurs and developers understand which current Bluemix solutions best meet their needs and refine their idea to help them design a solution that has greatest market potential.

Written by turbotodd

February 8, 2017 at 8:59 am

Research In Nairobi

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Over the past several years, you’ve probably noticed that IBM has become much more active on the African continent.

IBM’s newest research lab will be the first on the African continent, in Nairobi, where scientists will conduct basic and applied research to tackle some of East Africa’s toughest challenges, including smarter water systems and transportation congestion.

IBM’s continued investment in this emerging and important continent were expanded upon yesterday when IBM announced that Africa would be the next frontier for innovation in IBM Research.

IBM Research – Africa will have its first location, in Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration between the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) through the Kenya ICT board.

This new venture will conduct basic and applied research focused on solving problems relevant to African and contribute to the building of a science and technology base for the continent.

Key areas of research will include the following:

  • Next Generation Public Sector: Governments have a mission critical role to play in the growth and sustainable developments in Africa. With the right kind of ICT, including big data solutions, advanced analytics, and cloud technologies, government organizations can draw insights and benefit from the vast amounts of data held by any number of government agencies. This can help advance e-government capabilities such as helping to reduce the cost of social services, improving efficiency and productivity, deterring fraud and abuse, improving citizen access to services, and enabling digital interaction between citizens and the public sector.
  • Smarter Cities – with initial focus on water and transportation: Rates of urbanization in Africa are the highest in the world. The single biggest challenge facing African cities is improving access to and quality of city services such as water and transportation. IBM, in collaboration with government, industry and academia, plans to develop Intelligent Operation Centers for African cities – integrated command centers – that can encompass social and mobile computing, geo-spatial and visual analytics, and information models to enable smarter ways of managing city services. The initial focus will be on smarter water systems and traffic management solutions for the region.
  • Human Capacity Development: A skills shortage is hindering the leadership and innovation of new industry in Africa. The IBM Research – Africa lab, while carrying out research, will help to elevate the level of ICT and related scientific skills in Kenya by working in collaboration with select universities, government agencies and companies. Boosting the innovation culture in Kenya and engaging local entrepreneurs and innovators in developing solutions that matter to the people of Kenya and the region may also assist in accelerating economic development.

“In today’s world, innovation is the main lever for a competitive national economy, is a source of employment, and has the potential to improve lives,” said Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology. “The IBM research lab, will not only rubber stamp Kenya as Africa’s leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge based economy.”

Operations at IBM Research – Africa will commence immediately. Expansion into other parts of Africa may be considered in a second phase.

IBM Investment in Africa 

IBM is making a significant investment in Africa, ramping up its profile on the continent as part of its focus on emerging markets. The expansion program is part of a major business plan to increase IBM’s presence in growth markets and support global strategy. The company is present in more than 20 African countries and recognizes the huge potential of research and smarter systems in transforming business, government and society across the continent.

Alongside its day-to-day business of providing advanced technologies and services to clients in Africa, IBM has deployed an array of programs aimed at building economic capacity such as IBM’s employee volunteer program, Corporate Service Corps, which is modelled on the U.S. Peace Corps. For example, IBM is working with the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) to review the country’s changing economic landscape and develop a plan to deliver financial services to rural areas.

IBM Research – Africa will join existing labs in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States.

IBM Research laboratories are credited with the creation of many of the foundations of information technology, including the invention of the relational database, disk storage, DRAM memory and much more. IBM Research has been recognized with five Nobel Prize Laureates, and many leading scientific and technical medals and awards.

Recently IBM Research created a question-answering supercomputing system called Watson that defeated the champions of a major televised quiz show, showing its ability to match humans in answering a wide range of free text questions.

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