20 August 2014A South African developed video streaming solution, specially designed to cater for the low-speed internet environment encountered in most parts of Africa, has been released as a free mobile application for Apple and Android phones.The platform, known as Adaptive Real-Time Internet Streaming Technology (Artist), makes unbroken video-streaming possible with the use of algorithms to adjust quality to available bandwidth – meaning that the rate at which a video streams varies depending on the available bandwidth at the time.Artist’s rate-adaptive technology makes buffering a thing of the past, by automatically adjusting picture quality to ensure that the video stream does not have to buffer or break. Users can increase video quality with a simple volume-like button, allowing them to control their own data costs.The platform was developed by a consortium of researchers and engineers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Cape Town and East Coast Access, and is now being commercialised by start-up company Tuluntulu (the Zulu word for “stream”).The mobile app, recently launched on the Apple iOS and Google Android App stores, delivers 10 unique “TV-type” channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The download of the app is free, but viewers do pay for the associated data costs.The new technology could have a major impact in Africa, where accessible bandwidth is still an issue.The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that fixed (in other words, high speed) broadband penetration is less than 1% in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to about 27.2% in developed nations.For mobile subscriptions, however, Africa isn’t nearly as far behind the rest of the world as it is with high-speed broadband. The ITU reports that per 100 inhabitants, Africa has around 63.5 mobile subscriptions, while Asian regions are at 88.7, Europe is at 126.5 and the Americas are at 109.4.“The app opens up new opportunities for content creators and advertisers across the African continent,” Tuluntulu CEO Pierre van der Hoven said in a statement last week.“Only two of the launch channels are established broadcast channels and the rest are new players in the market. There are now new voices, new content and new business models,” Van der Hoven said.“The reach offered by this medium can also have a quick and significant impact in areas such as education. Furthermore, with users able to control their own data costs, they can watch video content for as little as R5 an hour.”SAinfo reporter
A group of 131 academics, intellectuals, professionals and civil society leaders in Assam have sought rescheduling of hearings for National Register of Citizens applicants who have been issued notices to have their citizenship documents re-verified within a very short time.In an appeal to the Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the NRC updating exercise, the 131 signatories said the “sudden, suspicious and mischievous” notices have created panic among a section of the people who were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.“The people of Assam have been supporting the NRC updating process and participating in the hearings and verifications, sometimes even by paying huge costs in terms of time, energy and financial resources. Nevertheless, they are ready to go through any verification whenever required for the greater interest of an error-free and just NRC,” said the appeal to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi submitted to the court’s Registrar on Tuesday.‘Panicky situation’“However, we would like to draw your kind attention regarding the panicky situation created by suspicious and mischievous notices served to NRC applicants for reverification by the NRC authority in Assam. Now notices are being served to people and they are asked to go in far-flung areas with a short notice of one or two days,” the appeal reads.Also Read Protest against NRC reverification notices “The people of Assam in general and people living in riverine areas in particular have experienced one of the worst floods in recent years. They are struggling to cope with the losses and many of them are still living in temporary relief camps. Under such circumstances, if these people are asked to attend the NRC hearing giving them just one or two days and summoned to 500-600 km away from their homes, there is little doubt that a large number of them wouldn’t be able to attend the hearings,” the signatories said.‘At least a week’They asked the court to direct the NRC authority to reschedule the hearing either within the district or within adjoining districts and provide at least a week’s time so that the applicants could attend the hearing and complete the process within the August 31 deadline.“Kindly direct the NRC authority to make the notice available on the Internet along with the physical serving so that people living in other States can also access the same and attend the hearing accordingly,” the signatories said, also seeking instruction to the district administration to provide basic transport facilities in the greater interest of an error-free and fair NRC.