I managed to talk with Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President, Gaming during the launch of the $100 Million Development Center. This is an initiative the company is setting up in Africa to work with local partners, governments, and to also hire engineers for its platforms. The initial centers are setup in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya. Which are two cities the company believes present a strategic opportunity to better understand the young continent that is rapidly adopting cloud technology with massive innovations.
We talked mostly about his department; gaming. Where he said he was super excited about the gaming space in the continent given that most of the population is made up of young people who they want to really tap in to; both in development of new games, and in partaking of their existing offerings.
In their official statement, Microsoft says they believe Africa is ready for innovation at the intelligent edge, and they plan to hire engineering talent across the continent that’ll contribute to their Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Mixed Reality innovations. They already have some engineers working on some of their plans, but they plan on recruiting 100 full-time engineers by the end of 2019, and expanding to 500 across Nairobi and Lagos by 2023.
“The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.” said Phil Spencer, in the official statement.
Project xCloud and African Plans:
In our conversation, he showed me something exciting that’s yet to launch but is planned for Africa and Asia: PROJECT XCLOUD – a vision for game-streaming technology that will complement Microsoft’s console hardware and give gamers more choices in how and where they play.
Here’s a demo of the app from the VP playing #Crackdown on his Galaxy S9+.Loading...
— Tech-ish.com (@TechishKenya) May 14, 2019
Basically he was playing a full title XBox game on the smartphone. Project xCloud is a Netflix style idea that aims to bring the XBox experience to devices we currently use. The VP confirmed trials for this new service will be live before the end of the year, but wouldn’t give me any specific timeline.
He said this service was targeting mostly the Sub-Saharan market and that they want the app to be able to run on any phones with decent specs, and a stable internet connection either through 3G/4G or WiFi.
The business model is yet to be worked on but he said if it was to be subscription based, then locally people would be able to pay using M-Pesa. He also talked of a sort of rewards system where people would be able to redeem the points and play games – which is still vague.
On the setting up of Microsoft shops in Kenya to make it easier to buy consoles, he said the company is in talks with the Kenyan government to find a way for this to be done. So I presume taxes, importation etc. But he couldn’t answer me on the possibility of Surface products (including the Surface Go – which I believe would sell well here) being officially brought to the Kenyan market. Instead he said he believes the Surface Team is working on expanding their stores.
Back to the ADC, Microsoft says they’re already empowering many innovators through partners like InterSwitch, SunCulture and M-Kopa. They intend to invest in more cutting-edge solutions suitable for Kenya, Nigeria and the rest of the world. If you’re interested, check out the ADC website.
It is a unique time for Africa as many Cloud technology companies are planning to expand in Africa. Microsoft recently opened data centers in South Africa, Amazon is opening a new cloud center in Africa in 2020, and Huawei also has more plans of expanding their business in the continent.
Catch Taxi Kenya, with Ethiopian roots, wants to be East Africa’s super app
Catch Taxi Kenya is a new entrant into the African ride-hailing industry that prioritizes safety, comfort, and efficiency.
Catch Taxi Kenya, launching to take on Uber, Bolt, MaraMoja Transport, Safeways, Cabby, Ride, Jayride among others, is operated and owned by Africans for Africans and brings local creativity and insights to get improving the experience of riders and drivers.
Founded by Nafie Omar, Catch Taxi’s vision is to make an app that captures all local African needs into one super App from ride-hailing to complete ecosystem services.
“Nairobi is Africa’s technological hub. In terms of ride-hailing, Nairobi is a more mature market compared to most cities in Africa. Our goal at Catch Taxi is to be able to create a footing in all African markets-both young and mature markets,” said Omar. “We will also be expanding into Sudan next year and West Africa and other Southern African countries later.”
Catch Taxi knows there are several other platforms in the market but says its disruptive entry to market ensures strong earnings for its driver partners. It’s also introducing an affiliate programme to allow third party drivers, influencers and ordinary individuals to make passive income.
Its business model is simple. Catch Taxi will get you where you want to go at the best prices, safely and comfortably. It charges its drivers a 15% commission from every trip. The firm has raised an undisclosed amount of seed capital and is not afraid to take on giant Uber and Bolt which just raised €100m from London-based Naya Capital Management.
However, the ongoing pandemic has been a huge blow to how Catch Taxi would have wanted to grow. COVID-19 slowed down its efforts both in Addis Ababa this April and Nairobi. Just 2 weeks after its launch in Addis Ababa, it had to redirect its efforts to compensating its drivers by giving them incentives.
Benard Gavana, Catch’s VP Growth and Expansion told TechMoran.com that the Kenyan startup decided to start operations from Ethiopia because of its huge population and attractive market but its whole executive team is Kenyan and is based at its HQ in Nairobi, Kenya.
The firm said it also provided free trips to essential workers and gave huge discounts to its riders. As the economies open up, Catch Taxi is focused on growing its market share in Africa through local recruitments, marketing, and fine-tuning its product.
The 38 person-team spread across operations, developers, customer service, marketing, and data analysis aims to be an everyday app that incorporates all consumer needs from ride-hailing, E-commerce, financial services, travel, hotel booking to delivery services in Africa.
After its Ethiopia and Kenya launch, Catch is looking to expand across East Africa and then into entire Sub-Saharan Africa banking on neural networks and ML algorithms to understand user patterns and be able to target them appropriately.
KCB temporarily closes Mvita Branch after staff tests positive for COVID-19
KCB Bank Kenya has temporarily closed its Mvita branch after one of the staff tested positive for COVID-19. The affected staff who were working with him at the time of testing have been informed and are currently undergoing counselling and screening to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
The Branch has since been temporarily closed for three days with the approval of the Central Bank of Kenya to enable immediate cleaning and disinfection of the premises. Regulation by the Kenya Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007, mandates an employer to ensure that a workplace is healthy and safe for visitors, clients and employees at the workplace.
In the present circumstances, employers are encouraged to take reasonable measures at the workplace to protect employees from COVID-19 and ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
“Our priority remains to safeguard the safety and well-being of all our staff, customers and other stakeholders during these difficult times,” said KCB Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director Joshua Oigara.
“As the fight against this pandemic continues, we have taken several precautionary measures internally, in line with the guidelines issued by government agencies. We continue to provide support to staff and their families during this period of the pandemic” he added.
KCB Mvita branch customers who access the bank on regular basis have been encouraged to use the Banks digital channels including: Mobile banking, KCB-MPESA, Vooma and Internet Banking or other alternative banking touchpoints such as KCB Mtaani agents, Cash recyclers, ATMs, Cash Deposit Machines.
In addition, Mvita Branch customers can visit nearby branches and agents for assistance.
Best Online Video Editors Without Watermarks
These are the best online video editors without watermarks.
There’s nothing more frustrating than editing videos then seeing a huge watermark on your video. The watermarks make it look unprofessional and reduces the quality of your work. However, if you’re looking for other option we compiled a few for you that you can try. In this article, you will get to know the best online video editors without a watermark to create and edit videos that attract thousands of views.
It’s compatible with android and iOS mobiles, Chromebook, Mac and windows without downloading it. Upload any file format, edit and share it on social media and web while on the go. To save your storage space, it has a cloud-based storage system that offers unlimited media storage space.
The greatest advantages of using Movie Maker Online are no registration requirements, free to use and edited videos have no watermarks and site labels. Imagine uploading all kinds of photos and images for free with only one click! And to make it the best, the number of royalty-free music videos can take you months to edit.
This is no doubt the most used online video editor no watermark no download software due to its simplicity and above all, free. The Clipchamp library is overstocked with all genres of videos and music. Its best features include creating and editing original videos, collecting videos from websites, recording, compressing and converting videos. There is a video template for every kind of video you want to create.
With VSCD Free Video Editor, there are no free trials, no ads and no watermarks. Just download this software and start editing your videos for free. It works exceptionally well with all types of audio, video and image formats. The video effects are superb. You can alter the shape and position of images in the video quite easily.
OpenShot is a free online video editor without watermark software that’s compatible with mac, windows, and Linux. There are over ten features to ensuring the edited videos meet the desired specifications. They include trim and slice, drop and drag, slow motion and time effects, and audio editors. There are over 400 video transitions and effects to make your videos as stunning as possible.
How about using a video editor online free with effects no watermark developed by Microsoft? Surely, this makes you feel more confident when editing videos. This Windows Essential Software Suite is designed purposely for Window users to create, edit and share videos. Other features include video trimming, video splitter, title, and caption templates. Add transitions and effects and animations to make videos more thrilling.
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