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Siemon expands UltraMAXTM with 48-port patch panels, Turbo Tool, and pre-terminated cables, enhancing performance and streamlining network installations. (Image source: Siemon)

Siemon, a global leader in network infrastructure solutions, has announced the expansion of its UltraMAXTM copper connectivity system with innovative new products designed to enhance network performance and versatility

Following the successful initial launch of UltraMAX, the latest additions include UltraMAX 48-port patch panels in 1U flat and angled configurations, the UltraMAX Turbo Tool, and pre-terminated copper trunk cables. These new products promise to deliver exceptional connectivity and streamline the installation process.

UltraMAX is designed to surpass conventional limitations, boosting the performance of category 5e, 6, and 6A UTP systems. Combining ease of use, high quality, and top-tier performance within a sleek, modern design, UltraMAX meets today’s dynamic networking requirements. The system includes a comprehensive range of outlets, patch panels, and termination tools, allowing users to design, configure, and implement category 5e, 6, and 6A UTP network deployments with maximum flexibility. Featuring Siemon’s innovative linear punch-down technology, UltraMAX outlets guide and verify proper conductor placement, ensuring fast and easy terminations for users of all skill levels. This results in superior, consistent, and reliable terminations, reducing installation time and eliminating costly reworks.

The new UltraMAX 48-port patch panels are expertly engineered to maximise space and efficiency. Available in both flat and angled configurations, these panels allow users to optimise rack space while meeting stringent Category 6A Alien Crosstalk requirements. Constructed from high-strength steel with a scratch-resistant finish, these panels provide a durable foundation for critical network connections. Designed for significant space efficiency, they offer 48 ports in just 1U, minimising rack space usage while upholding strict Category 6A Alien Crosstalk standards. Features such as customisable labels, color-coded icons, and a magnified label holder simplify port identification and management. Removable rear cable managers help maintain organised cabling and optimal performance. These panels are available as empty, kitted, or pre-loaded with outlets.

The UltraMAX Turbo Tool is designed for user-friendly efficiency, drastically reducing termination time for category 5e, 6, and 6A UTP UltraMAX outlets. Unlike traditional single-conductor punch-down tools, the Turbo Tool terminates all 8 conductors in a single action, enhancing productivity and ensuring reliable high-performance connections. It features a rotatable tool head for flexible cable entry and compliance with bend radius requirements. Constructed from 16-gauge steel and high-impact resistant plastics, the tool is built to withstand job site conditions. Its ergonomic design includes a spring-loaded handle for comfortable one-handed operation, accelerating termination time by 15 percent compared to traditional tools. The integrated safety latch secures the handles for safe storage, and the replaceable cutting die extends the tool’s lifespan, ensuring flawless terminations across all category 5e, 6, and 6A UTP UltraMAX outlets. The tool supports terminations for UltraMAX hybrid, keystone, and panel-style outlets.

"UltraMAX signifies Siemon’s commitment to advancing copper connectivity solutions”, commented Kevin Stronkowsky, Siemon’s global copper product manager. "The expansion of UltraMAX with these new products underscores our dedication to innovation, providing intuitive, high-quality solutions that meet evolving customer needs. UltraMAX Reloaded introduces a new standard of efficiency and performance to UTP systems, enabling our clients to deploy networks swiftly and reliably."

The African Banking Digital Transformation Report by African Banker and Backbase offers vital insights into Africa's digital banking revolution. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The African Banking Digital Transformation Report, by African Banker and Backbase, provides key insights into the digital revolution in Africa's banking sector, highlighting trends, innovations, and financial inclusion efforts

The African Banking Digital Transformation Report, a collaboration between the pan-African publication African Banker and Backbase, the creators of The Engagement Banking Platform, stands as a pivotal resource in Africa's financial news sphere, providing comprehensive insights into the ongoing digital revolution within the continent's banking sector

Africa’s burgeoning population, projected to reach 2.49 billion by 2050, along with a remarkable surge in the usage of smartphones and tablets (with mobile phones accounting for 75% of web traffic), sets the stage for a significant expansion in digital banking. The advantages, including speed, convenience, and enhanced user data, enable banks to offer more personalised solutions for their clients. In 2021, the most recent year with complete data, 55.07% of the African population had a bank or mobile money account, a substantial increase from 23.33% in 2011.

Digital: The way forward

The 2024 edition of The African Banking Digital Transformation Report highlights that 76% of banks consider digital transformation as either their top priority or among their top three priorities, while the remaining 24% also regard it as crucial. With nearly half of the continent lacking access to any form of bank account, including around 60% of women, this result signifies the potential for banks to expand their customer base through inclusive digital offerings.

This year, cloud computing emerged as the most frequently mentioned technology being integrated into digitisation strategies, surpassing Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity & Resilience as the primary driver since our 2023 survey. This shift can be attributed to the increasing sophistication of AI solutions, which now extend into other technological areas, including Cybersecurity.

In an interview for the report, Ecobank group chief digital officer Nvalaye Kourouma stated, “I really see AI as a game-changer, both internally and externally” because AI-powered tools help overcome language barriers for engaging customers in different countries. “We now have the capability to build local natural languages into our AI interactions so that language and writing are no longer barriers. Speech and image can be used to communicate more effectively. AI opens the door for a different level of engagement with our customers, so it’s encouraging,” he added.

The 2024 edition of the Report draws on comprehensive survey data from over 150 banks across 35 countries, offering an in-depth analysis of current digital banking trends, key innovations, and progress in digital transformation. This publication underscores Backbase's dedication to advancing technology and promoting financial inclusion in Africa.

The demand for cloud services in Africa is robust, with the Infrastructure as a Service & Platform as a Service sectors projected to grow annually by 18% to reach US$13bn by 2028. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Orange Middle East & Africa (OMEA) and Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) have jointly announced their upcoming deployment of AWS Wavelength in Morocco and Senegal later this year

This collaboration aims to provide startups, enterprises, and public organisations with the opportunity to securely process and store data locally, utilise AWS services for digital innovation, and create low-latency applications. These zones mark the pioneering AWS Wavelength Zones accessible through both wireless and wireline connections, empowering any customer to deploy and operate applications locally on AWS infrastructure situated in Orange data centers. This initiative enables developers to cater to various use cases, particularly in highly regulated sectors such as telecom, finance, public services, and healthcare, as well as industries reliant on low-latency applications like gaming. By extending AWS services locally, customers can seamlessly integrate with their existing applications and access the full spectrum of cloud services available in an AWS Region, benefiting from the security, scalability, and reliability of AWS.

The demand for cloud services in Africa is robust, with the Infrastructure as a Service & Platform as a Service sectors projected to grow annually by 18% to reach US$13bn by 2028. McKinsey reports early indications of Africa's growing embrace of cloud services, indicating sustained momentum in this direction. The introduction of the new AWS Wavelength Zones will enable customers to harness cloud capabilities while meeting compliance standards for applications necessitating local data hosting.

Orange, a prominent global telecommunications operator with a customer base exceeding 298 million worldwide and a presence in 26 countries, including 18 in Africa and the Middle East, stands as a key partner in this endeavor. As an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner, Orange boasts a proven track record of supporting enterprises in their cloud adoption journeys. Leveraging the new local infrastructure, alongside existing AWS Regions, Orange is poised to drive cloud adoption in Africa. Additionally, Orange will serve as an anchor customer for the AWS Wavelength Zones, deploying some of its IT workloads locally to accelerate its digital transformation efforts.

Jérôme Hénique, CEO at Orange Middle East and Africa said, “The announcement of AWS Wavelength Zones for North & West Africa is a major achievement in our strategy to foster the cloud transformation of African businesses. We are providing the benefits of AWS to Moroccan and Senegalese organisations, from SMBs to MNCs, while ensuring data residency in secure Orange Datacenters in combination with our best-in-class connectivity solutions.”

Historically, AWS Wavelength Zones have existed in countries with AWS Regions. Today’s announcement showcases a new and evolved AWS Wavelength Zone design to help meet the needs of customers in these emerging geographies, providing the key benefit of bringing AWS services into countries without an AWS Region or AWS Local Zone. Customers can deploy their applications to AWS compute and storage located within Orange’s data centers in Morocco and Senegal, so application traffic only needs to travel from the device to the local AWS Wavelength Zone either via Orange’s network or the network of another mobile or internet service provider. With the new design, customers can deploy applications with low latency and granular data residency controls, providing further choice to help customers address stringent data residency requirements, such as in-country for regulatory, contractual, or security reasons. The work together will also strengthen local digital businesses and startups, by encouraging innovation and offering simplified access to cloud services and development tools.

“The deployment of AWS Wavelength Zones in North and West Africa, in collaboration with Orange, will further empower customers in growing geographies with local AWS services,” said Jan Hofmeyr, vice-president of EC2 Edge at AWS. “Customers of all sizes and all industries in Morocco and Senegal will be able to access local AWS compute and storage for data residency, low latency, and security needs for applications across real-time gaming and regulated industries, helping customers unlock new innovation and accelerate digital transformation.”

Swarmio is a telco-grade gaming technology provider that offers unparalleled solutions that elevate the gaming experience and drive revenue for both telcos and game publishers. “There is a dynamic and growing gamer community in Africa, including Morocco and Senegal, and we want to provide them with advanced gaming experiences but run into technical hurdles involving locally available cloud services,” said Vijai Karthigesu, CEO and Founder of Swarmio. “AWS Wavelength will help us transform the worldwide gaming landscape by combining the power of AWS with our Swarmio Edge platform to provide an unmatched, low-latency experience that allows creators to connect and delights global game publishers and developers.”

Raxio's Tier III facility boosts Mozambique's digital economy, sets new standards in data infrastructure. (Image source: Raxio Group)

Raxio Data Centres, a leader in carrier-neutral data centre operations with an extensive presence in Africa, has officially inaugurated Raxio Mozambique (Raxio MZ1)

As the first Tier III Uptime Certified data centre in Mozambique, Raxio MZ1 is set to be instrumental in driving the nation’s digital economy forward and supporting the Government’s digital transformation goals. This launch is a significant addition to Raxio’s expanding network of data centres across Africa, establishing a pan-African digital infrastructure.

“We are proud to be opening Mozambique’s first Tier III, hyper-scale ready data centre and are excited to be a critical cornerstone in supporting the growth of the country’s evolving digital economy, helping to accelerate the adoption for digital tools and services across industries,” said Robert Mullins, CEO of Raxio Group. “The flagship Raxio MZ1 facility is a hub of connectivity and digital exchange, with eight of the country’s top telecom operators and connectivity providers already signed up. Delivering this exceptional facility is testament of our capabilities and of our commitment to provide our customers in Mozambique with the world-class infrastructure their businesses require.”

Strategically located in Beluluane Industrial Park (MozParks), near Maputo, Raxio MZ1 is designed to cater to both primary and disaster recovery needs. The location offers robust power and connectivity infrastructure, ensuring a stable operating environment. With Maputo’s proximity to three subsea cable landings, including the high-capacity 2Africa cable, the facility provides excellent international connectivity and serves as a critical redundant route for the Southern African region.

“With this launch, Mozambique is finally set to benefit from having its own world-class data centre facility and Raxio’s dedicated operational experience to support the country’s continued development in this digital age,” commented Emidio Amadebai, Raxio’s general manager in Mozambique. “Mozambique’s location positions Raxio MZ1 ideally to accommodate the needs of both local customers and those in the wider Southern African region.”

Raxio MZ1 features advanced cooling technology, high security standards, and AC/DC power compatibility, ensuring an “always-on” uptime environment. The facility offers customers the ability to cross-connect with local and international carriers and other customers in specialised meet-me rooms. By co-locating in Raxio’s facility, customers can benefit from a shared infrastructure model, reducing operational and capital costs while enhancing application performance and flexibility. Combined with investments in terrestrial infrastructure, Raxio Mozambique aims to improve internet traffic flow among content providers, attract regional and international service providers, and enhance the internet experience for users in Mozambique and the surrounding region.

Sustainability is a core principle for Raxio, with over 80% of Mozambique’s electricity sourced from renewables. Raxio MZ1 will utilise a combination of hydro-generated grid power and local solar supply, reflecting Raxio’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The facility's energy-efficient design and technologies are tailored to local climatic conditions, achieving exceptional Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) ratios.

Raxio’s expansion across Africa continues with strong momentum. After opening data centres in Uganda and Ethiopia, the Mozambique launch will be followed by new facilities in Côte d’Ivoire and DRC in Q3 2024, and Angola by the end of the year, bringing the total to six operational centres.

“2024 is a huge year for Raxio and in many ways the culmination of multi-year effort. Our unmatched capability is due to a unique combination of secure financing, in-house technical and project delivery expertise, and the ability to pull together contractors, building teams and so much more,” added Robert Mullins. “As we continue to deliver on our promise to build a network of interconnected data centres, running world-class infrastructure, across underserved markets in Africa, we are convinced that the continent has an important role to play in the deployment of global AI capabilities as these are rolled out. We are excited to be a part of this future.”

OADC achieves Tier-III design certification from Uptime Institute for its Isando facility, reinforcing its commitment to top-tier data centre. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Open Access Data Centres (OADC), Africa’s fastest-growing data centre company, has announced the achievement of Tier-III design certification from the internationally acclaimed Uptime Institute for its hyperscale core facility in Isando, Johannesburg

This milestone significantly advances the company's mission to sustainably establish and operate world-class, client-focused data centre facilities in South Africa and throughout the continent.

Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of OADC, remarked, "This certification reflects our dedication to meeting and exceeding international standards in data centre operations. It reaffirms our commitment to deliver the highest level of reliability and uptime, suitable for mission-critical applications and services."

The Tier-III design certification indicates that OADC Isando has been designed for high availability and redundancy, featuring multiple distribution paths for power and cooling, as well as concurrently maintainable infrastructure.

Representing the Uptime Institute, Tarik Bahanniss, vice-president, Africa, stated, "We are pleased to award OADC Isando with the Tier III Certification of Design Documents, the first step toward the important Tier Certification of Constructed Facility award. This certification reflects OADC's dedication to global standards, beginning with the first set of design documents criteria set forth by Uptime Institute."

With over 3,000m² of technical space and a site load of 12MW, OADC Isando has become a formidable hub providing scalable solutions tailored to the evolving needs and performance requirements of clients. As a truly open-access and carrier-neutral facility, strategically located adjacent to major fibre routes, it offers a gateway to an extensive selection of onsite providers and metro connectivity to key data centres in the Johannesburg area.

"OADC Isando is not just a data centre; it is a comprehensive, vibrant interconnected digital ecosystem and a strategic partner for clients seeking reliable, secure and sustainable infrastructure and connectivity solutions," added Dr Coker. "We remain committed to providing our clients with services to support their business growth and success."

Digital infrastructure South Africa

OADC offers a unique core-to-edge proposition within South Africa, featuring four Tier-III facilities and 30 edge data centres. These facilities provide open access to over 20,000km of terrestrial fibre, 16 terabits-per-second (Tbps) capable national and metro networks, and to the eight subsea systems connecting South Africa over multiple routes to Europe and Asia. This infrastructure extends data storage, processing, and content delivery to the network edge, enhancing application performance and allowing critical data to be processed locally. The edge data centres, situated within major business and connectivity hubs, are carrier-neutral and open-access. With the best power rates in the industry, OADC is the fastest-growing data centre company in Africa.

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