CeBIT 2013 – Day 1

Chancellor Merkel Opens Polish Pavilion at CeBIT 2013

by Prof Barry Dwolatzky

I’m back at CeBIT. I was last here in 2010 – and it’s really exciting to be back!

CeBIT is the largest international ICT trade fair in the world. It happens in Hanover, Germany, in March every year. Over the past few years the SA ICT Sector has been fortunate enough to have a South African National Pavilion at CeBIT – sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). Continue reading

Watts Humphrey – inspirational software engineer – 1927 to 2010

by Prof Barry Dwolatzky

Watts Humphrey

I’ve just received the really sad news that Watts Humphrey died today (Thursday 28th October) aged 83 years old. 

Watts Humphrey was one of the world’s most influential figures in the field of software engineering. In 1986, after retiring as the head of software at IBM, Humphrey joined the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh USA. For the next 24 years he drove the development of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), the Personal Software Process (PSP) and the Team Software Process (TSP). His work brought the concepts of process, measurement and continuing improvement to the software development industry. 

Watts Humphrey’s death came a few days after I unveiled my ambitious strategy to create 1,000’s of new jobs in the South African software sector. This strategy is largely based on Humphrey’s contributions to software engineering. The strategy began to take shape when I first met Watts in Mexico City in 2008, where I was leading a delegation from South Africa investigating TSP adoption. He was keenly interested in the South African software sector and its future prospects. 

Anyone who met Watts Humphrey could not fail to be inspired by his clear vision and boundless energy. His books are wonderful to read – they’re filled with the wisdom of his decades of experience and lots of common sense. 

I will always be inspired by Watts Humphrey. I remain determined to build, here in South Africa, on his wonderful work. I see his work as a tool and inspiration that will change the lives of those in our country who develop and use software.

I’ve found a 2010 ICT story – are there others?

by Prof Barry Dwolatzky

moses-mabhida-stadiumAbout 2 weeks ago I asked readers of the blog if they knew of any examples of AMAZING stuff that the South African ICT Sector would be show-casing at the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

I’ve just found a great 2010 ICT story: Yesterday the National Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, launched a new information security system, based on “quantum crytography”. The Quantum Security system, developed by researchers at the University of Zwazulu Natal (UKZN), will be used to secure communication between the Moses Mabhida Stadium (Durban’s FIFA World Cup venue) and the Joint Operations Centre [ for details click here ]

Does anyone know of other examples?

SA ICT sector impresses delegates at SEPG North America

by Prof Barry Dwolatzky

Panel 1

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University holds an annual conference in the USA. This year the conference, called “SEPG North America”, was held from March 22-25 in Savannah, Georgia. When I attended my first SEPG 5 years ago there were close to 2,000 delegates. This year there were just under 1,000 – a clear sign of the really tough economic times!! 

The South African ICT sector featured prominently at this year’s SEPG since I was asked to participate in the plenary session the opened the Conference. I was part of a panel of 3 speakers each talking about regional process improvement initiatives in our own country. The other panellists were Rafael Salazar from Mexico and Wan Peng Ng from Malaysia.  

I spoke about the “Bringing CMMI to South Africa” programme being run at the JCSE with support from the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti ). I also described the Team Software Process (TSP) Pilot programme that the JCSE and the SEI at Nedbank and Dariel Solutions. As part of my presentation I showed a 5 minute version of a new dti video that promotes the SA ICT sector. 

The panel session ended with a Q&A session during which Rafael, Wan Peng and I answered questions on the ICT sectors in each of our countries. 

I had really positive feedback both to my talk and to the video. Lots of delegates said that they liked my contribution very much; that they were “amazed” to hear about the IT industry in South Africa. Many said that they thought the video “is stunning”. 

Anyone that wants to hear more about SEPG, CMMI, the TSP Pilot or wants to see the dti  video should contact me.

Connected Worlds – can you share examples?

by Prof Barry Dwolatzky

Mrs Christina Marule at launch of CeBIT 2010 (photo: iWeek)

Mrs Christina Marule at launch of CeBIT 2010 (photo: iWeek)

The official opening of the 25th CeBIT Trade Show on 1st March 2010 in Hannover, Germany, had a strong South African flavour. Mrs Christina Marule, the owner of a tiny spaza shop in rural Limpopo, joined German Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel, and Spanish President, José Luis Zapatero, on stage at the launch of one of the world’s biggest ICT trade fairs. (see full story in iWeek at: )

 Mrs Marule has been part of a pilot programme being run in South Africa by the German-based IT giant, SAP. Using a mobile phone and specially developed software, Mrs Marule’s life as a small business owner has been transformed. No longer does she need to travel tens of kilometres every week in taxis to the nearest town to buy stock for her shop. She is now able to order stock directly from a supplier using a simple application on her cell phone. Standing on stage at the opening of CeBIT she described to an audience of hundreds of the world’s top ICT executives and practitioners how this simple application had completely transformed her business and her life. 

The theme of CeBIT 2010 was “Connected Worlds” – a concept perfectly demonstrated by the way Mrs Marule’s world is now connected via an application on her cell phone to the rest of the globally inter-connected world.

Sitting in the audience, I found myself wondering: What other examples are there in South Africa of “Connected Worlds”? We often hear about the “digital divide”, which seems to imply that the Information Age is leaving citizens of the third world far behind. We know, however, that there has been enormous growth of cell-phone adoption in many third world countries. Rather than a “digital divide”, are we not seeing a different road to digital inclusion? 

Do you have any examples of “Connected Worlds” that you can share?