Technology and innovation is moving at a faster pace now more than ever. This will have a strong bearing on how we do business now and in future. We look at some of the latest news around business. Our focus is on technology, research, innovation, education and start-ups.
Eggs with anti-cancer drugs
This is interesting. Researchers have discovered ways to make genetically modified chickens lay eggs that contain drugs for arthritis and some cancers. The drugs are 100 times cheaper than those manufactured the normal way. The cost of building chicken shelters is much cheaper than sophisticated factories. For those in the know, many diseases are caused because the body does not produce enough of a certain chemical or protein. Such diseases have to be controlled with drugs that contain the deficient protein. In this research, a gene that normally produces the protein in humans was inserted into part of the chicken’s DNA involved with producing the white part of eggs. When the chickens laid eggs, the egg white was discovered to contain relatively large quantities of the protein. But wait a minute. It will still take 10 to 20 more years to fully test this and meet regulatory requirements before the drugs can be produced in commercial quantities.
Alibaba opens future hotel in China
At US$205 a night, you can check into the future hotel that Alibaba has opened in China. It is called Flyzoo Hotel. Use of the latest technology is at its best here. It starts with human-less check in and facial scans. Opening your room door or elevator does not need a key card. The door or elevator will recognise your face and unlock for you. Robots bring you fresh towels and food in your room. Room service at the highest level. Robots also man the restaurant and bar, with abilities to mix certain cocktails. The idea is to reduce human interface and cut on human labour costs. Unlike humans who are sometimes not in the mood for work, robots will always be in the mood.
African tech start-ups raise a record US$334.5 million
A total of 210 tech start-ups in Africa raised a whopping US$334.5 million in funding in 2018. This is according to the 4th Annual Africa Tech Start-ups Funding Report 2018 released by Disrupt Africa. After years of playing second fiddle to South Africa, Nigeria attracted the most funding totalling US$94 912 000 among 58 start-ups. South Africa was second with 40 start-ups raising US$59 971 000. Kenya was third. Egypt is a notable tech country. They raised US$58.9 million. Zimbabweans continue to left behind and this is worrisome.
Nigerian start-up using analytics in education
Nigerian education start-up, Studylab is using its feedback system and analytics to report on and improve a student’s performance. Put simply, students work on questions provided by the Studylab system. The system collects data on their work and produces visualised reports across topics. With this information, teachers, parents and students themselves can make decisions on what needs to be done. Studylab offers catch up videos for those students found lacking on particular topics. That way, teaching is more focussed on weak areas rather than being generalised for all students.
Online O Level results
Back home, Zimsec has announced that the O Level results which just came out this week will be available online. Although these results are “read only” and cannot be printed, online access of results is a step in the right direction. You still need to visit your school to collect the actual results slip. Hopefully, the system will not be riddled with technical glitches like we saw with eMap. EMap is used for applying for Form 1 boarding places. We need a lot more innovations across all industries to make our lives easier.
What a time to be alive. More and more disruptive innovations continue to be churned out. As funding opportunities increase across Africa, Zimbabwean start-ups should strive for a seat at the high table. It would be refreshing to get game changing innovations coming out of Zimbabwe and effecting the whole world.