• Acting minister of communications and digital technologies, Jackson Mthembu, joined the world in observing World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly 51 years ago, on 17 May 1969, this day is aimed at raising awareness on the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
• In an effort to ensure that all South Africans have access to telecommunications services during COVID-19, the regulatory body ICASA has assigned temporary radio frequency spectrum to mobile network operators. This is to ensure that all citizens are able to access ICT services as well as government programmes in the fight against this pandemic. As part of the COVID-19 interventions, the communications and digital technologies, working with the departments of basic and higher education, and in partnership with mobile network operators and Internet service providers, have approved 471 local websites to be zero rated for educational purposes during COVID-19 in South Africa.
• Speculation linking 5G mobile telephony and data networks to a range of health threats has been rife. Some claims even go to the extent of attributing the current COVID-19 pandemic to the initial rollouts of 5G networks. According to the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), “Unfortunately, a lot of opinions aired do not come with a high degree of credibility and amount to no more than flights of fancy. Some of them even claim that there is no
virus and that all the health effects are caused by 5G.” In response, the CSIR has released a detailed report entitled ‘An assessment of claims regarding health effects of 5G mobile technology networks’, which can be accessed via the short URL www.dataweek.co.za/*may20-csir5g.
• Two projects to design and manufacture local ventilators to be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients have reached critical stages. The design and layout phases have been completed and simulation exercises to test the efficacy of the projects will start soon. Project Sabela is coordinated by the defence and technology group, Denel, in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and specialist companies in the private sector. Denel Dynamics, a global leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced missile and precision-guided weapon systems, has switched its focus to the production of medical ventilators to support patients who will be treated for the pandemic in public and private hospitals. In a parallel initiative, Denel Land Systems has joined forces with a leading university, engineering companies and a manufacturer of world-class domestic appliances to produce a full-function ventilator made from easy-to-source materials.
• Revenue for Sierra Wireless’ first quarter of 2020 was $157,6 million, compared to $173,8 million in the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of 9,3%. Revenue from IoT solutions was $78,8 million in the first quarter of 2020, a decrease of 16,4% compared to $94,3 million in the first quarter of 2019. Revenue from embedded broadband, at $78,8 million in the first quarter of 2020, was relatively flat compared to the first quarter of 2019.
• Microchip Technology has joined the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), a non-profit coalition of companies dedicated to the improvement of social, environmental and ethical conditions in their global supply chains. The RBA code of conduct is a set of social, environmental and ethical industry standards. The standards set out in the code of conduct reference international norms and standards including but not limited to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO International Labour Standards, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises plus ISO and SA standards.
• Every year, SourceToday, an online platform/search engine that engineers use to purchase electronic components from thousands of manufacturers and distributors, compiles and publishes the ‘Top 50 electronics distributors’ list. Arrow Electronics took first-place honours for the third year running on the 2020 list. The list is published annually and drawn from SourceToday’s analysis of financial results reported by each company, its business priorities and major concerns, as well as projected revenues for the next year.
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