ACT 2005 - SCENE AND HEARD IN JOHANNESBURG

Digital Content

* Call centre consultant Rod Jones told us that Botswana now has 8 call centres with 256 seats and has got to the point of having sufficient capacity to be an interesting call centre market.

* Terry Sanderson from VoIP manufacturer Verso told delegates:"SIP will become king. Everybody's using SIP for everything." He also spoke about using IVR streaming to create services with VoIP. Apparently Panama has a service which you can ring up and order an automatic call that will sing Happy Birthday to the person celebrating.

* According to Lanraye Ajayi of Nigerian ISP Pinet in one session:"Cyber-cafes are closing down on a daily basis. He claimed that numbers had gone from 5,000 to 2,600. A Nigerian cyber-café owner with several cafes told us he had been hit by the crackdown on fraudsters who had been heavy users. His current users were now school kids and university students who do not have much money. And the fraudsters? They have gone off to other West African countries.

* Dr Sam Gulube of South Africa's Universal Service Agency said that 40% of public internet access points were profit-making and 60% were subsidised.

* Word reaches of a case where an incumbent telco is suing an equipment manufacturer for selling it analogue equipment. The complaint against the manufacturer? That there was no upgrade path and that the manufacturer was going to discontinue selling the equipment.

* Florence Etta of IDRC gave some interesting insights into the Kenyan ICT policy process. She said it was important that the policy process to "remove lethargy at the middle level, change attitudes and overcome the fear of redundancies". It took 9 months to get agreement on presenting the ICT policy process to Cabinet because of the need to get consensus across different ministries. Apparently:"It is said that the Kenyan ICT policy has been 12 years in the making." It's a good job that no-one decided to wait for it before doing anything.