Seacom, the company behind the undersea cable of the same name, has launched a new company, called Pamoja, to offer small and medium-sized enterprises the ability to provide cloud computing-based services to their customers without the capital outlay such services usually require.
Pamoja is the Swahili word for “together” and is Seacom’s effort to increase the use of such services in Africa. Seacom founder Brian Herlihy and technology entrepreneur Stafford Masie established Pamoja to provide wholesale cloud computing services by way of Internet service providers and telecommunications operators in Southern Africa and East Africa.
Mark Simpson, who heads both Seacom and Pamoja, says the company’s core subsea network has been upgraded and its capacity increased. Africa, and particularly South Africa, now has a glut of undersea capacity that provides opportunities for African companies wishing to offer cloud-based services, he says.
Pamoja’s cloud services will be provided using Seacom’s own network of data centres and submarine infrastructure. Its first cloud platform is running at the Mtunzini cable landing station near Richards Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. The second such facility is planned for Kenya. Thereafter, new platforms will be rolled out according to demand.
Pamoja GM Albie Bester says all of Seacom’s customers are potential Pamoja customers because of its wholesale model. He says cloud computing supports business agility, promotes global competitiveness and accelerates development goals. “The cloud is not simply about saving money,” he says.
“Pamoja is allowing organisations in Africa to be able to compete globally, on a global scale,” Bester says. “It’s not only about moving an IT cost from an asset register to somewhere else.”
Pamoja has three channel partners in South Africa to sell its services and another three in Kenya. It’s in discussions with others in Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.
Bester says the Pamoja will “continuously identify new cloud services opportunities”. He says pricing is competitive – in line with the fees of companies such as Rackspace and Google in the US, with the added benefits of low latency because of local data centres. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media