Mmegi Online :: Celebrating the IT revolution
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Last Updated
Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
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Celebrating the IT revolution

FRANCISTOWN: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) has been commemorated in Francistown as people from all walks of life reflected on how the world has changed since the explosion of the Information Technology age.
By EDWARD BULE
Correspondent
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Celebrating the IT revolution








The show, held at the stadium offered a rare opportunity for the people of Francistown to know more about the latest communication technology.

Companies and departments that set up stalls at the stadium include Botswana Police, Ministry of Health as well as Botswana's four service providers in communication, namely Botswana Post, Mascom, Orange and Botswana Telecommunication corporation represented by be-Mobile and Botsnet.

The e-phone was one of the products showcased by Orange, a touch-screen phone without buttons that apparently belongs to the third generation (3G) network complete with internet. Mascom was keen on promoting My Zone, a product where customers can make calls at a significant discount.

The cell phone's versatility has made it one of the most universal and convenient modes of communication, a fact highlighted at this show. Besides making and receiving calls one can chat, access time, date, the calculator, the calendar, the radio, music, games the internet as well as send or receive short message services (SMS).

Vincent Magwaza, the Botswana Telecommunications Regional Manager based in Francistown, refuses to admit that more and more people forego the landline in favour of the cell phone rendering the former redundant. He however, reveals that BTC, a group of companies, now has three portfolios, namely BTC, Botsnet, an internet service provider and beMobile, which competes with the other network providers in Botswana.  He says that BTC, wholly-owned by the Botswana government, has assured its future in the market by constantly modernizing its infrastructure.

The Head of Communications, Botswana Post, Lebogang Bok admits that the sending of personal letters between friends and acquaintances locally has been reduced significantly because of the options of calling and sending text messages provided by the cell phone. She adds, however, that people still use letters to communicate with friends abroad.

"Botswana Post provides bulk mail solutions for institutions such as banks and utility corporations because they handle high volumes of mail. We package, stamp and deliver statements and invoices for these companies. More and more people send money through the post office because it is fast and safe," said Bok. The hybrid mail solution is another modern technology used by Botswana Post as a way of diversifying their services. A customer who brings his information on soft copy can have it printed, packaged in a stamped envelope and mailed.

Dr

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Abdul Mohideen of Jubilee Hospital in Francistown believes modern technology such as lazer technology has not only saved lives but relieved people from unnecessary pain during surgery. It is now possible to print out x-ray pictures and discuss them with the patient. Dr P K Sayana says that new medical equipment has made it possible for tests such as HIV or pregnancy to be accomplished within minutes. It is also possible to detect whether the unborn child is male or female or whether it is alive and even whether it has got deformities or not.

Because of modern technology, it is possible to make business deals by e-mail or video conferencing, send messages from any where at any time without waiting to get to the office. The expansion of technology has not only created employment for hundreds of people but has given the scores of specialists involved a lot of intellectual satisfaction.

A project in Scotland may soon make it possible for the police to have a CCTV camera hidden in their uniform.This way, they will, with the use of these body cameras, be able to take pictures of unsuspecting criminals without their cameras being smashed. In the event that the policeman is assaulted, the evidence will be recorded and later used against the culprit.

All the positives notwithstanding, technology has got a lot of disadvantages. Instead of personal letters, it is now common to communicate by sms. To mitigate this rather negative development, the Universal Postal Union, a regulatory body under which Botswana Post falls, has introduced letter- riting competitions among the school-going youth.

They have, in addition, introduced a project of stamp collection, especially among the youth. Young artists are also being encouraged to design stamps. Further, TV games, for instance become an alternative to the normal conversations between parents and their children undermining the bond between the two.

Yet, technology is a double-edged sword. For instance, criminals use it to communicate their plans. Armies, particularly of the First World countries, have launched a modern day arms race as they seek to outsmart each other with respect to the development of the most technologically advanced weapons of mass slaughter. Spy agents in repressive states, use modern technology in the form of secret listening devices to spy on unsuspecting citizens.

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