African Consumers In The Spotlight At Consumer Electronics Show 2017 In Las Vegas

By Dana Sanchez Published: January 6, 2017, 2:41 pm
Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las VegasWWF uses thermal sensing infrared technology from FLIR to combat poaching in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Conservancy park. Photo: James Morgan/WWF-US/xtechnews.com

Thermal cameras that help protect African elephants from poachers are on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES2017), underway Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Entrepreneurs from Swaziland are in Las Vegas drumming up support for the Swazi Bridge Project, which seeks to improve connectivity and access in “unplugged” Swaziland.

And Sweden-based Ericsson is at the show, predicting that 5G will dominate mobile subscriptions in Africa by 2022. It’s one of several companies trying to connect the dots between the latest technology innovations and their dependence on infrastructure, IT Web Africa reported.

If this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is any indication, 2017 will be the year that investments in 5G technologies explode, according to Tech Republic. Qualcomm, Ericsson, and AT&T have joined forces to collaborate on new trials that could boost the development of large-scale 5G deployments.

Supported by a $5 million grant from Google, World Wildlife Fund has been working on how tech can end wildlife crime, and at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show they’re showing guests how thermal imaging is helping to protect elephants and other African animals, Africa Times reported.

Eric Becker is showing visitors how FLIR thermal imaging products detect heat of animals and humans. The firm is putting thermal imaging technology tools in the hands of law enforcement via cameras, drones and digital tracking systems. They are being used in Namibia, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The Namibian government agreed in 2012 to collaborate with WWF to test wildlife protection technologies. In 2015, after testing drone surveillance for rhinos and elephants and live video streaming waterholes, WWF field tested FLIR’s thermal imaging cameras in Namibia.

The systems are designed to identify humans and send automatic alerts to rangers. Since March, the thermal cameras have been used by Kenya Wildlife Service and the Mara Conservancy to help catch dozens of poachers, according to Africa Times.

The Swazi Bridge Project is a tech company using white space bandwidth to deliver high-speed internet to people in Swaziland, according to its website. By establishing a network similar to netBlazer in Boston, The Swazi Bridge Project says it delivers data speeds at a fifth of the cost of running fiber lines. It uses directional antennas to overcome geographic challenges such as mountains. “Fixed point communication actually allows us to utilize the Swazi landscape as an average rather than an obstacle,” the company says.

Thousands of guests and vendors from 150 countries will potentially be exposed to the entrepreneurs from Swaziland at CES 2017.

Ericsson predicts 5G will hold a considerable share of mobile subscriptions in Africa by 2022, IT Web Africa reported. Attendees at CES 2017 will learn more about the support 5G can give to entertainment, industrial efficiency and future smart cities.

Ericsson is demonstrating some of the latest 5G capabilities including higher bandwidth, lower latency, greater density, lower energy requirements, increased security, network slicing and cellular for Internet of Things technologies at CES 2017.

The company has predicted that the Middle East and Africa will shift from a majority of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions 80 percent of subscriptions being WCDMA/HSPA, LTE and 5G. Coverage by 5G will start in urban areas, according to Ericsson.

Mobile data traffic is expected to grow by 55 percent a year in Africa in the six years leading up to 2022, according to Ericsson’s sub-Saharan Africa mobility report, issued in November 2016.

“Mobile traffic growth in sub-Saharan africa will remain strong in the next few years, driven by increasing mobile subscriptions, wider network coverage and the continued reduction in prices of both devices and services offered,” according to the report.

Other attendees this year’s Consumer Electronics Show include the following, according to Africa Times:

  • WeCashUp, a fintech startup first launched in Cameroon.
  • A Digital Africa delegation from Nigeria.
  • Representatives of Africa Tech Now, a pan-African initiative planning an African Tech Village at the 2018 CES show.

 

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