CIO SA tech news round-up: WhatsApp outage, MTN's metaverse concert, WIT 2022 honoring women tech entrepreneurs, and overspending on project collaboration software

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WhatsApp outage reported across the world

WhatsApp, the popular messaging app, stopped working today for many users around the world, with users in India, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Asia reporting problems sending and receiving texts and videos.

“We’re aware that some people are currently experiencing difficulties sending messages, and we’re working hard to restore WhatsApp for everyone as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for WhatsApp parent company Meta Platforms said on Monday.

According to Downdetector, an online platform that provides users with real-time information about the status of various websites and services,more than 11,000 users in India had reported an outage, while 68,000 in the United Kingdom and 19,000 in Singapore had reported outages as of around 9.50am SAST.

Back up and running: WhatsApp came back online around 10.45am and dropped again, but only briefly. It appeared to be stable and fully operational again by 11am on Tuesday.

MTN will host Africa’s first metaverse virtual concert

MTN Group has announced that it will host an Africa-first virtual concert in Ubuntuland, the continent’s metaverse.

MTN Group became the first African company to purchase land in Ubuntuland in February of this year, with the goal of creating dedicated environments for creating unique immersive experiences for its customers.

“The MTN Group’s presence in the African metaverse will be known as altMTN. altMTN allows us to further support our ambition to lead digital platforms and support African innovation, and will, over time feature live events, shopping, gaming and learning,” says Bernice Samuels, executive: group marketing at MTN Group.

“To welcome everyone to altMTN we will leverage our partnership with The Mic: Africa, to host Africa’s first virtual music concert in the metaverse to drive awareness and adoption of this new space.”

According to the Analysis Group, the Metaverse could contribute $40 billion (R740 billion) to sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP by 2031. The Metaverse will provide significant opportunities for African brands to tell unique stories in engaging ways.

Companies are overpaying for project collaboration software

More than 90 percent of enterprises overpay for these tools, according to a Vertice research report, a SaaS purchasing platform.

According to a Grand View Research report, the project collaboration software market is expected to reach $27 billion (R500 billion) by the end of 2022, up from $22 billion (R407 billion) in 2021. The growth is attributed to factors such as workplace evolution and the growing need to incorporate effective means of team collaboration across different geographies in an enterprise due to the pandemic.

Gartner, on the other hand, revealed a 44 percent increase in the use of SaaS-based project collaboration tools between 2019 and 2021.

According to the Vertice report, the biggest challenge for enterprises when purchasing project collaboration software appears to be a lack of transparency in pricing, resulting in overpayment.

According to the report, only 14 percent of project collaboration software vendors list prices on their website or through third parties.

Non-disclosure of pricing poses another significant challenge for enterprises because it prevents them from comparing pricing across a variety of vendors, and that most project collaboration vendors require a consultation with their sales teams before they quote a price.

Long-term commitments or multiyear contracts may be the only option for an enterprise looking for discounts when purchasing project collaboration tools, according to Vertice.

According to the report, 89 percent of project collaboration vendors currently offer discounts based on term length.

Furthermore, Vertice stated that auto renewal clauses in software contracts contribute to price increases, noting that 91 percent of vendors have auto renewal clauses in their contracts and nearly 72 percent of project collaboration vendors have clauses that allow them to change their pricing at any time.

Innovator Trust recognises women tech entrepreneurs

The sixth annual Innovator Trust Women In Tech (WIT) Appreciation Experience, which will take place on 6 November 2022, aims to recognise female tech entrepreneurs from across the country for their outstanding achievements in leading their businesses.

“Tech holds immense power and possibility for movement and progress. According to Statista, currently, a third of South Africa’s population make use of a smartphone,” says Tashline Jooste, CEO of Innovator Trust.

According to Tashline, access to technology will help bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots, lowering barriers to access opportunities for marginalised communities.

“Ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens have access to a smartphone could ensure that we reduce the barriers to participation in society for marginalised communities, such as physical distance, time and lack of resources, by providing connectivity, access to information and education, and thus, in turn, access to opportunities that previously would’ve been non-existent or hard to come,” she adds.

The Women In Tech event is an annual celebration hosted by the Innovator Trust, a business incubation training facilitator founded in 2014 to support the growth of small black-owned Information and Communications Technology (ICT) businesses in South Africa.

“There are a number of challenges facing women in tech, the first of them being representation there just isn’t enough women operating in the tech space in South Africa.
According to an article by Venture Burn, less than 25 percent of tech jobs in South Africa are held by women. The issue of representation is no different when it comes to female entrepreneurs in the tech space,” Tashline concludes.

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