Eskom secures $500m AfDB loan

first_img“The foundation for this relationship is all the more entrenched due to the two institutions’ critical developmental mandate both in South Africa and the region.” Fostering growth In a statement this week, AfDB vice president Mandla Gantsho underscored the importance of the development bank’s commitment to assisting its regional member states in improving their electricity capacity. “By supporting Eskom’s expansion programme, the AfDB will seek to address not only the energy problem in South Africa, but also the whole sub-region, as Eskom is expected to play an important role in some key regional programmes,” he said. SAinfo reporter In October, Eskom released a list of 23 national and international developers to be unconditionally pre-qualified to produce electricity under the utility’s multi-site base load independent power producer programme. Eskom is spending billions on rehabilitating South Africa’s electricity network and doubling generation capacity to support economic growth in the country and region. In September, Eskom began construction on the Kusile coal-fired base load power station near Witbank in Mpumalanga province, while work on the Medupi coal-fired base load power station near Lephalale in Limpopo province began in April. “The extent and timing of the AfDB loan reinforces the extent to which institutions based on the continent can provide support which fosters growth,” said Eskom finance director Bongani Nqwababa. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material 11 November 2008 The first of Medupi’s six generating units will be commissioned by early 2011, with the last unit scheduled for commissioning by January 2015. The first of Kusile’s six generating units is scheduled for completion by 2013, followed by the completion on an additional unit after every eight months. State power company Eskom has secured a 20-year loan for US$500-million (about R5.08-billion) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to fund a capital expansion programme that seeks to increase South Africa’s electricity generation capacity and strengthen the country’s transmission and distribution grid. To date, AfDB has approved a total of nine private sector operations amounting to approximately $1.2-billion in South Africa, and two regional projects amounting to $105-million. The loan agreement, which was signed in Johannesburg this week, is the largest ever granted by the AfDB’s private sector operations division.last_img read more

SaaS: Oracle Virtualization Challenges Multi-Tenancy

first_imgOracle is beginning to go after the On-Demand market. But their approach is different. They are directly challenging the the SaaS leader Salesforce and the Salesforce multi-tenancy approach to SaaS applications. One big reason is security, another is customizability.Multi-tenancy means all customer data is managed within a single database instance. In general there isn’t a problem with the approach, but a single breach to the system leaves all customer data vulnerable, not just that of a single customer. But a malicious security breach is usually not when the problem happens. The real problem happens when defects in the application software cause problems that inadvertantly expose data from one customer to another customer. Many SaaS vendor software applications, like Salesforce’s, are evolving on nearly a daily basis. Rather than a twelve-month or 18-month release cycle like traditional software, hosted software can be updated easily and frequently. There are a lot of advantages to a frequent update cycle. Frequent updates eliminate the problem associated with big-bang rollouts of new software, but it means that QA testing may not be as rigorous with each update release.Oracle is instead pushing isolated tenancy, but is adding an element of On-Demand scalability by making use of Grid computing and virtualization. Oracle has announced the beginning of construction of a huge data center in West Jordan, Utah. The center will be one of four “super cells” for Oracle, each cell representing about 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of hardware space.All the Oracle centers are based on grid computing. The grid is a cluster of loosely coupled commodity x86 server computers networked together to effectively create a supercomputer. Key to the grid is Oracle’s use of virtualization. Instead of standard processor utilization of around 7%, each processor is running at 73%. For on-demand, a single customer will have a ‘template configuration’ that conists of their own virtualized Web Server, middleware and database. The template then gets deployed to the grid and assigned resources as they are needed.Oracle’s gird is for the most part running with Red Hat Linux, a product supported by Oracle, and BEA middleware, also software recently acquired by Oracle.last_img read more

Blockchain: China Leads in Developing Blockchain Intellectual Property

first_imgWhile blockchain may not be living up to the hype, many think that the idea behind it has extreme potential.  Surprisingly, one of the biggest proponents of blockchain is China.  The Chinese are dominating research being devoted to the technology.Alex Batteson, an editor in the IP & IT practice area at Thomson Reuters Practical Law, said that “blockchain is seen as the next frontier of financial services technology architecture – an area that swallows up vast amounts of capital expenditure every year. Companies are keen to stake out their territory as the technology rapidly advances.”In 2017, 56 percent of global blockchain patents were filed by China, compared to 22 percent being filed by the US.  10 percent of the patents were filed by Alibaba alone. Tencent and Baidu also have a significant number of patents filed. It’s a technology race where the US may be lagging.Alibaba terms its development of blockchain as BASIC (Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Security, Internet of Things and Cloud Computing).David Li, the founder of Trinity, said that “for the Chinese who are working on blockchain projects, the price of the underlying project means nothing to them — since they can’t own it. The main focus is on technology.”last_img read more

From School to Startup: Bain’s StartUp Academy Matches College Students With Portfolio Companies

first_imgMitt Romney is growing his own. Well, sort of. His old firm, Bain Capital, is taking on the problem of hiring talented tech workers by training them itself. Bain’s StartUp Academy, launched by the company’s VC arm Bain Capital Ventures, recruits students from top universities and plants them in positions at the tech companies it funds.StartUp Academy’s current class consists of 21 students culled from 779 applicants from schools like Duke, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and USC. They’ll spend nine months in full-time or intern-level jobs at companies in the Bain Capital Ventures portfolio, taking time out to attend events and meet startup founders. Proselytizing for the 2013 class begins in the fall.StartUp Academy is the brainchild of Ajay Agarwal, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. “I spent eight years at a startup in Austin, Texas, called Trilogy,” he tells ReadWriteWeb. “Trilogy grew from zero to 2,000 people and $300 million largely on the back of college recruiting. The CEO was a huge believer in hiring people only from college. He felt that the risk-taking and out-of-the-box thinking and the feeling that you can do anything – that trumped the fact that they had less experience.”Missionary ZealWhile the strategy worked for Trilogy, Agarwal notes that for most startups, serious college recruiting is cost-prohibitive. A startup might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on aiplane flights, on-site interviews, career fairs – and end up with just one whiz kid from one campus. Then it would have to pay him an immense salary to pry him away from the gravitational pull of big competitors like Google and Facebook.“So we said, why don’t we run the program? We can go to these campuses across the country on behalf of our portfolio, find great kids and match them up with our companies.”The recruitment process is intense, almost missionary in its zeal. “We spend two weeks on each campus to really understand who are the best students, what classes are they taking, who are the profs and TAs, where are they hanging out. We really take the time to get to know these kids individually and understand what they are looking to do next and what is the right startup for them.”Ideally, Agarwal says, StartUp Academy graduates will help recruit future classes and “become evangelists for the program.”A Window Into Smaller SchoolsStartUp Academy isn’t targeted only at institutions like MIT and Cal Tech. It also hopes to find smart students at smaller schools who might once have ended up running a database at the local Allstate office. “If you go to the University of Waterloo in Canada, how do you find a startup in Silicon Valley to join?” Agarwal asks. “That is an impossible challenge. So those kids end up going to a big tech company or consulting or banking or some other path, because those are the companies that recruit on campus. StartUp Academy is creating opportunity for these kids to go directly into a startup.”It’s not a philanthropic enterprise, of course. And Agarwal is candid about the returns for StartUp Academy. Luring talented young workers will boost the strength of its current portfolio companies and may convince hot startups now in the market for investment that they should work Bain Capital Ventures because it can help them find good employees.“Third, these kids in StartUp Academy will go on to start companies and this gives us an opportunity to build a relationship with them earlier in their career. Over time that will yield fruit for us.” Related Posts How to Get Started in China and Have Success Tags:#start#Venture Funding How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culturecenter_img China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… tim devaney and tom steinlast_img read more

10 Core Foundations for a Great Customer Experience

first_imgVinod JanapalaProduct Marketing Manager Vinod is Senior Product Marketing Manager at piHappiness – Customer Feedback App & Survey Software. piHappiness is a top customer feedback software designed to collect customer feedback on Web, iPad & Android tablets. Vinod is keen on such topics as marketing, SaaS challenges, and Personal Growth. Customers in today’s marketplace have high expectations whenever they engage with a business. Time is a commodity in today’s world, and if anyone spends this commodity by engaging with your venture, their satisfaction, and providing them with a good experience becomes the utmost priority. Customer experience software is becoming an essential possession for every enterprise. Incorporating the core foundations of serving your customers for excellent customer experience, is hence, what makes or breaks the success of your venture.Here are the 10 core foundations you need to incorporate in your process to provide an excellent customer experience: AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Reflecting Customers IdentityCustomers prefer to engage with brands, businesses, or ventures that reflect their identities or beliefs. Taking the extra step of showing awareness to the customers’ identities and reflecting them when they are engaging with you not only reinforces their confidence with you but also makes them a loyal customer.Aiming for Higher ObjectivesAs Theodore Levitt once said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole in the wall.” Understanding the end-game of the reason the customer is engaging with you will help you serve them better. This functionality can be improved by taking feedbacks from the customers through a customer feedback app, which can tell you if you succeeded in helping them attain what they were aiming for by engaging with you.Say No to ChancesPrioritizing a handful of important or high-level customers over the regular customers, and leaving the regular customers’ journey to chance won’t help you grow in your field. Looking beyond serving only the high-level customers, a lot of doors open for you to serve and delight your regular customers, the trajectory of which can be recorded through a customer feedback software.Setting and Meeting ExpectationsUse advertisements, slogans, and marketing to set expectations of your customers. Meeting those expectations is, now, the most crucial part of your venture. Through a customer experience app, you can actively record if the customers are facing any issues which you can heed to, or if their expectations are being met.Seeing Time as a CommodityYes, the customers are investing their valuable time with their engagement, but so are you. Being precise and improving the convenience of the customers by incorporating digital services like AR can significantly assist you and your customers, hence, enhancing their customer experience.Being Crystal ClearThe one thing that every customer hates is getting stressed out due to their engagement with any venture. Avoid these stressful situations by making the customers’ choices easy, keeping them informed about their journey and options, and attending to them whenever they seem confused or are dissatisfied with your services. Dissatisfaction can be tracked through good customer experience software.Indulging Customers’ Primary SensesThe main reason why customers engage with your venture is that they seek satisfaction. This satisfaction is sensory, and only comes in when they have an engaging and fulfilling experience that satiates any of their five primary senses. The senses can be calculated and assessed by taking feedback from customers through a customer feedback app, which can help you chart out good plans for enhancing the customer experience.EngagementCultivating personal relationships with the customers and making them feel welcomed and needed is often overlooked by ventures. Engaging with the customers and being friendly encourages them to return to your venture. This aspect increases customer loyalty and improves your brand image.Autonomy and ControlAutonomy and control is a psychological aspect of every human being. Feeling free and in control makes the customers feel a sense of grandeur, and increases their satisfaction. Letting them decide what products they buy, how much they spend, and how much they need the product enables them to be in their happy zone. The “happy zone” or comfort will ultimately improve your customers’ experience.Validating Customers EmotionsCustomers are often very willing to give their feedback after their engagement with a business, especially if they are satisfied or disappointed. Through customer feedback software, you can track which customers were not satisfied with your services, and work out why they faced issues with validating their feedback. When you validate your customer, they will not only return, but they’ll feel their emotions were considered and worked upon, improving your brand image.ConclusionEnhancing the customer experience has become essential in today’s market. But these foundations don’t incorporate themselves. A good customer experience software should be engaging, modernized, and rewarding. The growing use of customer feedback software in this regard is noteworthy as it provides a direct and personalized link with the customers. Related Posts AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culturelast_img read more

Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Service Agreements

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is the most significant advance in data privacy in history, but little about the actual end-user experience of data privacy has changed. Here’s why tech companies need simpler terms of service agreements.Terms of service agreements are too long and too complicated for the average user, tech-savvy or not. Most of us click “OK” without ever reading them, and in doing so, we give up all kinds of data. Back in 2014, the European government agency Europol even got a handful of people to surrender their first-born children in exchange for free Wi-Fi.Every minute, Google answers almost 5 million search requests, and bloggers post 12,000 new articles. And according to researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, all that content is shortening our attention spans and causing trends to come and go even more quickly.Because of the overwhelming amount of information available, users’ time and attention are hard to get. People are now skimmers. We want to know, and we want to know now. It’s why we don’t read the fine print even when we know we should.That’s precisely why companies — tech companies, in particular — need to rethink their terms of service agreements. How? With a focus on plain language.The benefits of simple languagePeople ignore the fine print because it’s confusing and time-consuming (and, yeah, boring). And even those users who do read their agreements often struggle to understand the information. A survey of 400 people found that average users could answer only 40% of the questions about an agreement they were given to study.Signing up to a service or platform shouldn’t give users a headache. And it definitely shouldn’t come with a pang of worry or guilt as they skip past a five-page document and click “agree” without reading a word.But some counterexamples show us agreements don’t have to belong or they are difficult to understand. DuckDuckGo’s is only 10 words. That’s the kind of agreement that differentiates a company from the rest of the field.Making data agreements understandable to a layperson shows how much you care for your users.It’s a way to imprint your brand personality and build trust between your company and the customer. It’s an opportunity to win hearts and minds and earn those lifelong diehards.How to write a comprehensible data agreementEvery business or platform with a term of service agreement should aim for clear and concise writing. Ten words might be too ambitious, but you can ensure your users don’t go cross-eyed or miss any important details.1. Use plain language principlesLong, complex sentences are for literature. They have no place in a legal agreement meant for laypeople to read. Aim for a maximum of 25 words per sentence, and never put more than five sentences in a paragraph. Break up content with headers and lists, summarize key points at the beginning of each section, and cut out the jargon.Consistency in voice and tone helps readers accustom themselves to a text. Each section should flow logically from the last, and spelling and punctuation patterns shouldn’t change from paragraph to paragraph. Using active voice keeps things clear.And plain language isn’t just about the words on the page. It’s also about the white space between them. Two columns of text for PDFs boost readability and makes them less burdensome.If you’re doing all this and you’re still unsure whether an agreement is actually easy to understand, test it with users to see how they respond.While copy might seem straightforward to your team members, it could be impenetrable for those on the outside. In practice, using plain language can turn a sentence like this:Any user who is classified as a minor (in general, a person who is under the age of 18) is not permitted to create a profile or register for Company services on the Company website.Into one like this:If you’re younger than 18, you cannot sign up to use our website.2. Make it super scannableLong, unbroken blocks of text are difficult to follow. It’s especially hard when a variety of styles is used to mark important points. Don’t use all-caps, bold, and italics at different points in an agreement when a single format change will do.Using subheadings to break up a piece of content makes reading much easier. They should be simple and descriptive so that users know what each section is about. If a reader wants to refer back to something he’s already read, then a clear subheading will make finding it again simple.Using lists allows you to share the exact same information while also breaking down overwhelming paragraphs.It takes a long sentence like this:By using the Company’s service, users agree to provide updated and accurate registration information, a valid and up-to-date payment method, and any other information Company may request to effectively manage a user’s account.And makes it digestible:By using our Company’s service, users agree to provide:Updated and accurate registration informationA valid and up-to-date payment methodOther information the Company may request to effectively manage a user’s account Related Posts May Habib May HabibCo-Founder and CEO of Qordoba Tags:#terms of service#terms of use Follow the Puckcenter_img AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage May Habib is co-founder and CEO of Qordoba, a content intelligence platform that helps everyone at a company write with the same style, terminology, and brand voice. Also, visualized data is faster for humans to process than written content. Don’t tie your brand down to text alone; try charts, graphics, or illustrations to help get important points across. The right diagram or image will make an agreement simpler to scan.3. Maintain the brand voiceSo many service agreements are written in bland legalese, but a touch of brand personality can go a long way. Your in-house style guide is relevant to all the content you create, not just blog posts or memos.Think about your brand’s identity before writing a term of service agreement. Is it formal or informal? Reserved or emotional? Lively or calm?Adopting the same voice for a term of service agreement as the one used across your platform or website helps users recognize you and your care for them in the content. It lends credibility to the agreement and helps to build trust.Users will see the work you’ve put into making your terms of service legible as an extension of the brand they know and love.Let’s say that your product includes this sentence:In order to utilize the Company’s service, the user must first agree to the terms of service. If a user does not agree with the terms, the user cannot use the Company’s service.If your brand voice is more conversational, you can rewrite that exact sentiment while showing your friendly, informal personality:We’re happy to have you here! Before you get started, we need you to agree to our terms of service.4. Keep the lawyers in the loopEarlier this year, smart television manufacturer Vizio announced it would settle a privacy lawsuit for $17 million. The company had failed to disclose that it was gathering viewing data from users. This kind of oversight can be costly, and it’s why lawyers need to be involved in drafting agreements to ensure they’re airtight.No matter the tone, a term of service agreement is still a legal document, and your lawyers will need to review it. It must tell users what information will be collected, why it’s being collected, who will see it, and how it’s being protected. Full disclosure is fundamental to ensure user trust. Simplifying language cannot come at the expense of cutting the legal details.One strategy for including legal terminology is to follow it with a section that uses plain language to explain what the jargon means. This shows that your brand isn’t trying to hide and that you care about helping users truly understand the fine print.For example, you could try something like this:There may occasionally be information on Company’s website that contains spelling errors, omissions, or other inaccuracies related to the Company’s product or service. Company’s reserve the right to correct that information without prior notice.In other words, we might make typos, but we’ll fix them!It shouldn’t take a doctorate in computer science and a law degree to understand a tech company’s user agreement.Plain language, clear subheadings, a consistent brand voice, and legal clarity will ease users’ headaches and give them the confidence to believe in a company’s data strategy. Nobody should be afraid they might accidentally agree to give up a child in exchange for Wi-Fi. How Data Analytics Can Save Liveslast_img read more

UAAP volleyball: La Salle back on winning track, hammers UE

first_imgPH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Cheng and reigning MVP Mary Joy Baron had 13 points apiece to lead the Lady Spikers while Aduke Ogunsanya added 12.Mary Ann Mendrez led UE with 12 points with Shaya Adorador pitching in 11.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Arum open to Pacquiao-Matthysse but not in April Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games La Salle had a comfortable 23-17 lead after UE committed two straight errors, but the Lady Warriors were able to trim the lead down to four, 23-19, after a miscue on the Lady Spikers’ side as Arianne Layug hit the net.Desiree Cheng eventually finished things off for the defending champions and scored the Lady Spikers’ two final points, an off-the-block kill and a crosscourt hit that landed on the bottom-right corner of UE’s side of the floor.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAlthough La Salle was able to trump UE in just three sets, head coach Ramil De Jesus wanted more from his team.“The result is important but as for the performance, I’m quite dissatisfied because I couldn’t see the aggressiveness on the court,” said De Jesus in Filipino. “When they saw that we had a bid lead and the win was within reach they became quite complacent.” View comments MOST READ Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe La Salle Lady Spikers vs UE Lady Warriors. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter having its winning run snapped, De La Salle vented its frustrations on woeful University of the East, 25-18,25-17, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Spikers lost to National University in five sets last Sunday, but have returned to form to improve to 4-1 while the Lady Warriors are still seeking for their first win in five games.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusiveslast_img read more

Seven Stars Resort Spa recognized with Conde Nast Travelers 2016 Readers Choice

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, October 20, 2016 – Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 29th annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Seven Stars Resort & Spa recognized as the #6 Top Resort in the Atlantic.“It is such an honor to be recognized once again by a top travel industry resource such as Conde Nast Traveler” said Ken Patterson, CEO of Seven Stars Resort & Spa. “Prestigious awards and rankings continue to serve as a firm validation that we are achieving our goals to lead the region as one of the most sought-after destination resorts in the Caribbean.”“The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prominent recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best” of travel,” said Grant Noble, General Manager of Seven Stars Resort & Spa.Seven Stars Resort & Spa’s recognition comes on the heels of several notable recent accolades from prominent industry outlets in 2016.  Seven Stars recently received a Silver Magellan award from Travel Weekly in the Hospitality- Beach Resort/Hotel category.  The Resort was also honored by World Travel Awards as the leading Turks & Caicos hotel and once again named to TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards list of the ‘Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean.’ Seven Stars achieved a number 19 ranking – six spots higher than it’s ranking in 2015.  The resort also earned a coveted spot on U.S News & World Report’s Best Caribbean Hotels list taking the number 17 spot, progressing 25th on the same list in 2015.Seven Stars Resort & Spa lives up to its recent accolades by offering guests top-notch service and well-appointed luxury suites that are among the Island’s most spacious.  Seven Stars is home to the Island’s only heated salt-water pool and offers guests private pool deck cabanas for lounging, beach butler service, on-site spa and wellness services and award-winning top gourmet dining options.  For more information on Seven Stars Resort & Spa visit www.SevenStarsGraceBay.comThe Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prominent recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.”  Under Editor in Chief Pilar Guzmán, the Readers’ Choice Awards have become more selective and specific to the passions that inspire today’s travelers. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more