Economy needs a culture of sustainable energy

South Africa’s economy is set for yet another blow following Eskom’s announcement to hike the cost of two of its biggest new power stations by almost R83bn, thereby adding to the utility’s rising multibillion-rand debt. Now more than ever, the investment into sustainable sources of energy is necessary to pave the way forward and to create a culture of sustainable energy in the country.
Cala van der Westhuizen
Cala van der Westhuizen

Affordable, accessible energy

This is according to Cala van der Westhuizen, of Energy Partners, who says that South Africa has seen a 200% increase in electricity tariffs since 2008 and could be looking at 1,000% increase between 2002 and 2020.

“These additional price hikes are likely to result in above-inflation increases in energy prices, making it imperative for South African households and businesses to reduce dependence on the utility.”

He says that with energy technologies becoming more affordable and accessible in the country, business- and homeowners must explore the option of alternative energy.

Financing options available

“Understandably, for most businesses and households excess funds are not available at the moment to invest in energy solutions, but there are many financing options available that could result in a return on investment much sooner than expected.”

Van der Westhuizen says that when selecting and financing a sustainable energy solution, businesses and homeowners must focus on two main aspects. “Firstly, the immediate benefits of this investment, such as uninterrupted power supply – and secondly, the long term benefits – such as financial return on investment.”

Lessening dependency on the grid

People do not always realise that a good sustainable energy solution does not only save money indirectly by allowing an uninterrupted power supply, but should also yield direct financial returns, he explains.

Furthermore, there are home solutions available that can save a household up to 75% on an existing household electricity bill and yield a return on investment of more than 16% once paid off, he says.

“The biggest mistake a company or household can make is to do nothing when there are low-risk solutions available that can be funded creatively and yield financial returns, while lessoning the entity’s dependence on the national energy grid,” concludes Van der Westhuizen

Tellumat merges ICT division, forms new business unit

Tellumat has merged its ICT infrastructure assets in a new business unit, Tellumat Integrated Solutions (TIS). The amalgamation of Tellumat Professional Services (TPS), the group’s infrastructure consulting and services arm, with two newly acquired companies, CK Solutions (CK) and Structured Connectivity Solutions (SCS), has been a real boon for the group, says Ettiene Visser, MD of the new TIS unit.
btphotosbduk via
btphotosbduk via Wikimedia Commons
Visser says the merger was motivated by external market forces and the pursuit of internal efficiencies and synergies. The growing local strength of Chinese vendors, including ZTE and Huawei, has dramatically changed the landscape in the communications network infrastructure market. These and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Ericsson and Nokia offer what local companies cannot in terms of funding, volume discounts and full turnkey capabilities.

Direct engagement

As a result, telco operators are engaging directly with the above-mentioned OEMs, procuring full turnkey solutions and managed services. Since the OEMs also have global agreements with commodity manufacturers of IT infrastructure (fibre optic cabling, batteries, shelters, etc.), this has posed a threat to the local supply of such products.

To combat the slipping position of local channel suppliers, CK invested in becoming a group-approved supplier to a leading multinational telco operator in South Africa two years ago. This paid off when the operator embarked on a multi-billion network upgrade and compelled its OEMs to procure certain approved components from CK.

Authorisation entrenched CK with the operator’s OEM suppliers to such an extent that its subsequent approval with other operators went very smoothly as a result. The merger was another master stroke. CK, TPS and SCS have realised key benefits from this. An obvious example is TIS’s scale – which in turn increases its appetite for dealing with OEMs. OEMs typically have long payment cycles and complex dealings, which smaller suppliers find hard to absorb.

Synergies unlocked

In addition, the merger has unlocked significant synergies, consolidating CK, TPS and SCS’s marketing efforts and bolstering the leaner combined entity with CK’s engineering and integration expertise and TPS’s professional services capacity.

TIS has further sought to beef up its value proposition by fundamentally rethinking its offering. “Our growth will come from focusing on our vertically integrated solutions, including building our professional services, and a more complete end-to-end offering,” says Visser.

TIS is already homing in on offering a full turnkey proposition – with business development outside of telecoms; product development; project management; supply chain management; implementation; fibre reticulation and managed services. As an example, it could offer customers a full turnkey fibre-to-the-home solution deploying the latest technologies in micro trenching. This is despite not having a fibre product division anymore.

Other divisions closed

TIS also closed some of its other commodity divisions that were underperforming because of the OEMs’ superior economies of scale. In addition to the fibre product division, this included its battery division and SIM card manufacturing arm. In all three cases, this has proved wise.

TIS has also set its sights on penetrating still deeper into the value chain, with a solutions-orientated innovation, skills and quality service.

Visser notes an instance where TIS has developed a complete LTE ‘lamp post site’ – implementing sophisticated computer-assisted drawings and simulations. “We sold the principle without actually building anything.” Product innovation continues in the areas of cooling, power and site construction solutions.

Gartner: competition to be IoT Home Gateway increasing

According to Gartner, Inc the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) in the home is growing rapidly as the battle for IoT gateway in the connected home gets underway.
Gartner: competition to be IoT Home Gateway increasing
©My Make OU via 123RF
“The numerous IoT applications for the home include smart stoves, which tell you how to cook a meal and provide recipes; and smart washers and dryers, which help you determine the optimum time to run a load of laundry,” said Paul O’Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Add to that smart lighting, which can be operated remotely and programmed to dim or turn on or off at specific times; thermostats, which can have your living space at the desired temperature when you walk in the door; and entertainment devices, which can stream programming to your display whenever you want to watch it.”

The gateway is becoming the “centre” for connecting

As home appliances have increased in smartness, cellular and cable connections improved, and pricing declined, the desire or ability to monitor and control the home as a holistic platform of devices and appliances has emerged.

“Many IoT applications are triggered by sensors and need data management, but there is no single IoT gateway to the home,” said O’Donovan. “As internet-connected homes become increasingly smarter, the gateway is becoming the “centre” for connecting the different devices and home appliances to make the management of the ecosystem happen.”

The home IoT gateway market is expanding rapidly. The number of smart connected homes is expected to grow from between 100 million and 200 million homes now to between 500 million and 700 million homes by 2020.

The lack of a good business model or the immaturity of home IoT products has not stopped gateway makers from trying to develop the market to grab share in the home IoT opportunity. Cable companies, internet companies, alarm companies and mobile phone operating system providers are actively creating platforms and ecosystems in an attempt to break into the market.

Creating an ecosystem of smart home things

Gartner predicts that the most successful home gateway provider will develop a system that seamlessly integrates with nearly any vendor’s IoT application and is relatively painless to the homeowner. A system that locks homeowners into one specific operating system limits their opportunity, as consumers will want to exercise their preference in terms of the IoT products they choose.

Multiple home platforms have emerged, designed to capitalise on or create an ecosystem of smart home things that the gateway must connect to. Some of the platforms are beginning to open up, or at least work with the others to minimise the different number of platforms that the consumer and the gateway must deal with. Some smart home solutions are even taking advantage of this void and creating hubs that act as a central command system for the smart home devices, using multiple communication protocols to connect to all of the smart devices in the home and communicate to the world through the IoT gateway.

“As the IoT gateway market emerges, ISPs will be the early winners in the battle for the home gateway, provided they develop solutions or partner with hub manufacturers. The mobile phone providers will gain a smaller part of this market, but ultimately the cellular model will not have enough bandwidth to compete with the ISP solution. Longer term, there will need to be an integrated device, whereby the gateway is also the hub, or integrated hub and gateway solutions will be needed,” said O’Donovan.

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Contact A Professional Home Builder For Reliable Solution

British Columbia has many residential communities, which attract people from all corners of the globe. There are many home builders across British Columbia, which offer reliable solution to the customers. Modular homes have become popular across the globe as these are cost-effective. To construct a modular home, one must contact a professional home builder. These homes are manufactured inside the factory and the parts are shifted to the client’s site. Further, the parts are assembled by skilled workers.

In the construction process of modular home, less amount of labors are required as most activities can be performed with the help of machines. As the construction process of modular homes takes place inside the factory, there is less pollution. Non toxic materials are used for the modular homes, which can also be recycled further. Steel is the most widely used material for pre-fabricated buildings as it is highly durable. Apart from homes, modular structures are also used as hospitals, restaurants and warehouse. Entrepreneurs, who have temporary projects lined up, can use modular structures.

Construction process of the modular homes is not affected by adverse weather condition. The construction work can be completed within the stipulated period of time. It proves useful for those who want prompt and reliable home solution. The home builder first understands the requirements of the clients and starts the construction process. Different types of design solutions are provided by these builders. Some builders also show catalog or work samples to the clients from which selection can be made. Community design, site planning and consulting services are also provided by a home builder.As the construction process of modular homes takes place inside the factory, there is less pollution. Non toxic materials are used for the modular homes, which can also be recycled further. Steel is the most widely used material for pre-fabricated buildings as it is highly durable.

Most retirees are making their way to British Columbia, owing to the beauty of the geographical destination. The residential communities across the region have all types of facilities, which are required for a comfortable and secured life. Presence of various hospitals, clinics, markets and restaurants provides convenience to the old age people. Modular homes can be purchased at cost-effective rates and the builders provide different types of facility to the buyers.

The construction work can be completed within the stipulated period of time. It proves useful for those who want prompt and reliable home solution. The home builder first understands the requirements of the clients and starts the construction process. Different types of design solutions are provided by these builders. Some builders also show catalog or work samples to the clients from which selection can be made.

There are various banks in the region, which provide loan facility to the customers. Loans can be availed at lower interest rates with minimum formalities. British Columbia welcomes people from all corners of the globe to settle in the region. The property acquisition norm is quite simple compared to other countries. Hence, many peoples have started migrating to British Columbia to spend rest of their life amidst nature.

How To Resell A Used Boat

For taking home the best resale value present the boat to the potential buyer in the best possible shape. A bit of extra work would ensure a good value for your boat.

Boats, like vehicles depreciate with time. So if you have decided to sell your vessel, bring the buyer to view it when it is in the best possible condition. Proper homework before presenting the boat would increase its resale value. It could cost you a few bucks refurbishing the boat but the investment would be worth it. Those bucks would return to you with many extra ones when you resell.

Know Your Boat

Before you try to sell your boat, it is imperative to know it well yourself. Prepare a list which must comprise all important specifications of your boat, including the year, model, make, power, engine capacity, equipment and other information. Make the list as large as possible so that nothing is left unanswered. The exercise makes your task quite easy later on. When a prospective buyer asks such details about a boat, you just have to hand over the list to him.

Condition of Boat

It is important to keep the yacht in good condition. Well-kept boats always command higher prices. A newer boat in poor condition will bring less than an older one in good condition. When speaking of condition, I comprise cosmetic as well as structural issues involving tanks, rudder posts, blisters, etc. If the boat is properly upgraded and maintained, it is more likely to pay more to the owner.

Proper Cleaning

Clean your boat thoroughly before bringing your potential buyers to view it. Begin by removing all dust and grit from every surface of the boat. You can use brooms and brushes for cleaning the dust. Use a home-made solution of soap and water to clean the deck and sides. After applying the solution, wait a while before you start to scrub. Giving the cleaning product a bit of time to set in and start working before you begin scrubbing will produce better results. Hard dirt and grime begin to dissolve after a few minutes of applying the cleaning solution, so get your rubber gloves on to keep on the cleaning job.

Before you begin cleaning the vessel, ensure that you have the proper equipment including brushes, adaptors, rags and towels. If you find yourself short of time or will to clean your own vessel, hire professional cleaners for the task.

Imparting New Look

Implementing a few tips while cleaning your boat will ensure that you impart it a totally new looks and increase the resale value.

* For cleaning the canvas, use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide with laundry detergent. Apply the mixture to the canvas, wait for 30 minutes and then brush off. If necessary, repeat the process.

* Avoid using bleach as it is harmful for the environment and the canvas on your boat.

* To clean the windows, mix a cup of white vinegar with a quart of water. Scrub all windows with the solution. See the result yourself.

* For cleaning vinyl tile and linoleum floors, use the mixture of a cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water. Scuff marks can be done away with by applying toothpaste and scrubbing with a bristled brush.

* Clean chrome with apple cider vinegar. Polished chrome will make your boat shine.

* Instead of using chemical cleaners on the wood in your boat, polish it with almond, walnut or olive oil.

Some investment prior to selling of the vessel would help you increase your used boat values. Though it might cost a few dollars, the investment is totally worthwhile.

Are Model Homes Misleading?

In today’s world where scammers are frequent and petty crimes can take place anywhere from your grocery store to your Facebook page, it never hurts to be cautious. In fact, when it comes to buying a new home–likely the largest investment of your life–you should absolutely be cautious. Some people believe that Realtors might try to sell damaged homes at appealingly-low prices and hide the scary truth about them, while other people believe that landowners will try to reach out to tenants by claiming that their repair responsibilities make your monthly rent a better investment than a purchase. Still another facet of the home-selling market that makes people wary is the idea of a model home. Many builders of low-quality and high-quality new and repossessed homes will show you a pristine version of what you will likely be getting.

However, this does not necessarily mean that you should not trust model homes in Washington County, Florida, at all. Caution is certainly important, but being overly concerned or even paranoid will lead you to miss out on a great new home. The solution, then, is to be wary in the right ways and know how to sift through the sales pitches and find the truth. Here are 9 tips for determining what you will actually get while you are visiting a model home:

1. Try to look past the decor. Model homes are staged to sell. It is your responsibility to be inspired by this decor but not be fooled by it.

2. Look past finishing details, like paint and unique lighting. These things are also added to sell to you; remember that these details might not even be in your home.

3. Ask about features that are present in the home, like molding, archways, special ceilings, and more. The company representative should offer details about these features, as they are selling points.

4. Look everywhere! Look inside the closets, in the cabinets, under the countertops to get the details behind the showmanship.

5. Ask how much older the model home is than the homes that are for sale. There is a chance that a model home might be much newer than the homes that are actually for sale. Get numbers; they tell you a lot about a property.

6. Ask if a new home can be built exactly like the one you are visiting. This will reveal if the builder has added features to the model home that they cannot create in yours or will add to yours for an extra charge. More importantly, this will reveal if your home will have the same materials as the model. Many model homes that have granite countertops will be used to sell homes with granite-like vinyl.

7. Try to work in your own customization preferences; is the company representative you are speaking with responsive to you potentially requesting changes? Some builders are not able to make significant changes to the homes they build and will instead work off an existing floor plan, which is just fine. However, having the freedom to customize your floor plan for your exact needs is essential. What if you love the model home but need to work in an extra bedroom?

8. How are the homes constructed? You need to ask this question. You do not see the upkeep that goes into maintaining model homes. What if the walls are extremely weak? What if the roof is flimsy? On what kind of foundation will the home be constructed? Get as many details about this as possible. If builders have nothing to hide, they will willingly offer extensive detail about their homes’ construction.

9. Do not rely on photographs! Photographs of new homes are frequently altered to be more appealing to buyers. Some “photographs” can be retouched to remove flaws, and even have computerized alterations, like grass with the green hues turned up or kitchen counters that are given artificial shine. Always see a model home you can examine for yourself.

When you take this knowledge and these tips with you, visiting model homes in Washington County, Florida, can actually be a positive experience! If you see honesty and integrity behind sales pitches–virtues that are certainly out there among builders in the housing market–you can successfully find a beautiful, comfortable, spacious, and–best of all–affordable home that is right for you, your family, and your pets.

Tips On Best Home Automation Systems

When it comes to high-end whole house systems, they generally cost from $5,000 to $250,000. This price usually does not include installation fees, so take a good look at what the dealer is offering before agreeing to anything! When choosing to buy a high-end home automation system for your house you need to ensure it will be properly configured and installed, as these two areas can sometimes cost more than the system itself. There is no limit in what these systems can do, because, besides security and lighting, they can integrate any climate control, audio, video and entertainment systems your heart may desire. You can even get sprinkler and pool/spa control systems, so that your house becomes the most comfortable place on earth for you.

The various features and functions that high-end systems usually include need a rather complicated interface to the users. Otherwise, the control would be very complicated. Because a touch screen can have the buttons specially designed for each and every house, the best solution for the control of high-end systems is choosing the more expensive LCD technology the touch screens offer. The advantage is a plus in comfort to the users and to the programmers too. Other types of interfaces that have recently entered the market include keypad stations with built-in temperature sensors and intercoms. Interesting option I might add, as most of the manufacturers will soon choose to introduce this on a wide scale.

There are some types of high-end systems that come directly with sophisticated lighting control subsystems. Additionally to that, you will get all the key components for a complete home automation system that you can customize according to your needs and wishes. Other types of home automation systems are less expensive, but the truth of the matter is that the only thing you will get for such a small amount of money you invested is a security, lighting and temperature control package. You will have to add the other modules on your own expenses. It is very much like a Do-It-Yourself toolkit that you can play around with. Not to speak about the integrated control of audio and video gear! This may cost a small fortune, if you asked me.The fact is that not all people are fans of these DIY things. People are much more interested in pre-programmed or plug-and-play systems.

Therefore, before deciding upon a certain high-end system for your home, you must absolutely study the market in order to choose the solution that will best fit your house automation needs.

Fleas On Dogs – Five Most Effective Home Remedies For Fleas

Think of anything in the world that there is you can’t imagine any positive thing to say. Perhaps you will say pests. Pests are very much unwelcome. They are harmful to humans and animals. One of the most hated pests are fleas. The favorite prey of fleas are dogs and cats. However, they can infest people as well. Providentially, there are strategies to eliminate these displeasing little creatures. You can choose to use commercial anti fleas products or household regimens. Both are effective, although the former can be more pricey. Cited below are some of the best anti fleas regimens that you can try at home.

Liquid Soaps
Liquid soaps are particularly used in the kitchen as it can remove hard to wash grease and soils. Does it occur to you that liquid soaps can also be effective in eliminating fleas? Truly, liquid soaps like Dawn Lemon Scented Liquid Soap is a fantastic flea repellent. To use as flea killer, mix up the soap in a basin of warm water. Soak your canine friend. Ensure that you don clean gloves before you wash your pet to guard yourself from fleas.

Flea Free Diet
Preventing fleas is important. One way to prevent fleas from infesting your dog is to sprinkle garlic to your pet’s meals. Mixing Sulphur to their diet at least once a week can greatly help as well. Black Walnut Hulls are also beneficial for pets because it help repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. You can buy Black Walnut Hulls in capsule form. They are available in several health food stores and even online.

Herbal Shampoos
There are herbs that are very powerful in fighting fleas. Some of the most effective herbs to get rid of fleas are rosemary, lavender, pine cedar, eucalypus and geranium. Find a commercial shampoo that contain these herbs in your local grocery or explore online.

Always wear clean gloves when washing your dog. Pour a smal amount of shampoo unto your hands and create a foam. This is important to note. When the shampoo gets in contact with your dog’s fur, expect the fleas to escape. The lathered border will trap and eradicate the fleas that are trying to get out. So after creating a soapy lather, proceed to washing your pet. Pay special attention to the neck and head area. To achieve its maximum effect, be sure that you leave the shampoo for at least fifteen minutes prior to rinsing. Rinse your dog carefully and dry well especially when it is frosty and cold to prevent draft.

Vinegar
Vinegar is a common kitchen ingredient. Add vinegar to your pet’s bath and you’ll see that the flea count is greatly reduced.

Use Avon’s Skin So Soft
According to researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Avon’s Skin So Soft is a marvelous flea repellant. Avon’s Skin So Soft is available in the leading groceries and online stores. Make a wash solution. Carefully mix 1 ½ ounces of Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil to a gallon of water. Soak your dog in this special bath. Based on the study, a considerable 40 percent drop in the flea count was observed after using this remedy in just one day.

Be a responsible pet owner. Definitely, fleas are difficult to eliminate. Still, don’t belittle them because they are dangerous. Consider the home remedies above and learn which one works best for your pet. Cheers.

Home Remedies For Hemorrhoids – Natural Hemorrhoid Cures That Really Work

Surprisingly enough there are countless people who suffer from the hemorrhoids condition. Studies have shown that over 40 percent of adults will experience hemorrhoids in their lives. Medical doctors have suggested a variety of methods for relief from this irritating problem. However, by using natural home remedies for hemorrhoids many can experience instant cures in a 48 hour time frame. Below includes a list of treatments that will help with efficient hemorrhoids relief as well as help to aid natural hemorrhoid cures.

Apply the pulp of an Aloe Vera plant to the affected area for soothing and even healing abilities.
Take a 15-20 minute sitz bath on a regular daily basis.
Applying witch hazel on the affected area will provide one of the best solutions to home remedies for hemorrhoids.
The usage of fish oil will help alleviate painful symptoms. Benefits come from the omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Taking vitamin C to boost the immune system and to stop inflammation.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Use a doughnut cushion to help avoid direct contact on hemorrhoids.
Increase fiber rich foods and fluids in your diet. These include oats, whole grains, fruits, and fresh vegetables.
Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to promote healing and wash out the system.

Chemical creams are often recommended but can have harmful effects on the body and may not even provide a great cure for hemorrhoids. Another practice has been to remove them through surgery which also does not necessary act as a complete solution and is not one of the better hemorrhoids cures. Nonetheless it can be an excruciating pain to be living with hemorrhoids and natural methods can solve the root of the problem if used correctly.