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ABT Leading Education on Digital Migration


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ABT is an electronics company specializing in the manufacture of home entertainment devices, receivers and decoders of various types and technologies. A black-owned and controlled company, ABT is managed by a team of young, highly qualified individuals who are focused at driving the company towards benefitting profitably from the digital switch-over in South Africa, the SADC region and the continent at large.

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ABT Leading Education on Digital Migration

  1. 1. An ABT Presentation toThe Portfolio Committee on Communications “ABT’s State of Readiness for the DTT Migration” Committee Room V454, Old Assembly Building, Parliament Wednesday, 21 September 2011
  2. 2. Discussion Points1. Who is ABT?2. B-BBEE Roadmap3. From RRC 06 to 20104. 2011 Highlights5. Are we ready yet?6. ABT Plans, preparations and achievements7. Conclusion and Recommendations
  3. 3. Who is ABT? Our ProfileThe company was started off doing importing electronic devices in 2002. Takingadvantage of RRC06 the business model was adapted in 2006. Management andownership changes were effected to strengthen our BEE credentials and refocusour business for the African market. Today, ABT is a fully-fledged set-top-boxdesign, sales, manufacturing and distributions company with local presence inKenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
  4. 4. Who is ABT?• Strive For Perfection Our Daily Ethos• Be Innovative• Do Something Unique• Be Accountable• Tough Times call for Tough Minds• Be Positive
  5. 5. The ABT Core ValuesWe mean digital 1. Quality 2. Passion 3. Integrity 4. Respect 5. Collaboration
  6. 6. Our Stakeholders Internal • Our employees • Our ShareholdersStakeholders • The board and management & • Government : DOC, the DTI, DS&T, etc. External • Our (end-user) customersStakeholders • The suppliers: technology vendors • The operators : SABC, etv, Mnet, etc.
  7. 7. ABT: A Corporate CitizenBona fide African Electronics An Instrument A Proud product Manufacture of of Perfection BEE Laws A Protagonist for all-round African value A Proponent A Pool of Engineering beacon of of ExcellenceA Promoter of transformation Hope Women Pioneering A Protector of YouthEmpowerment Pals Employment Human Rights
  8. 8. Who is ABT?A good corporate citizen isan instrument of perfection. Try Us!
  9. 9. B-BBEE Roadmap 1998 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Mar – Dec: Cut off for Feb: BEE Jan : Collation and public Codes of VerificationCommission BEE Act comments on comment Good Practice Manualestablished BEE gazetted Phase 1. on Phase 2. gazetted Commissions DTI released report Drafting of Collation of BEE released Phase 2 began. Comments on Strategy phase 2. Document April : 2nd draft Drafting discussed with Simplified Of Phase 1 key private Codes of Codes Stakeholders. prepared for began Cabinet. Cabinet Dec: approved Release Phase 1 in Phase 1 – Ownership and Management. principle. Drafting COGP - 3 main stakeholders – of first draft of Phase 1 • Government Phase 2 – Employment Equity, Skills Development, Release of for public • Business Preferential Procurement, Enterprise Development, comment 1st draft of • and Legal. Socio-Economic Development. Phase 1. Release of draft Of Phase 2.
  10. 10. B-BBEE: What does it mean? Definition of B-BBEE by Commission A strategy aimed at substantially increasing black participation at all levels of the economy. Objectives of the StrategyRedress the imbalances of the past by transferring more ownership, management and control of South Africa’s financial and economic resources to the majority of its citizens. Ensure broader and meaningful participation in the economy by black people.
  11. 11. From RRC 06 to 20102002 : The DBAB recommended the DVB family of standardsJun 2006 : South Africa signs the ITU’s RRC06Nov 2006 : DMWG recommends DVB-T to Min of Communications2006 : ABT founded as importers of STBs (under different ownership)2006 : ABT remodeled to take advantage of RRC06 benefitsSept 2008 : DBM Policy published by MinisterOct 2008 : ABT Partnered with a Korean technology companyNov 2008 : DTT trials started2008 : ABT Participated at all industry-DOC Policy draft meetings2008 : Cabinet approved the DMB Policy
  12. 12. ABT in 2011 : Highlights2011 : Firmed up ABT’s grip on (some) African markets2011 : Developed non-DTT (STB) business in SA and parts of Africa2011 : ABT offloads Korean partners; rearranged a suite of technologiesJune 2011 : “ABT DTT Migration Educational Campaign” launched2011 : Lined up the licensed technologies and IP ownership strategy2011 : Ensured a successful conclusion of the TC742011 : Reworked the ABT business plan2011 : Revamped ABT shareholder structure2011 : Reviewed all our supplier contracts2011 : Secured two prospective funders
  13. 13. Are Manufacturers ready for DTT?Despite the delays and changes since 2009…Feb 2010 : Digital Migration Regulations were publishedMar 2010 : DTI organized the manufacturers into formal a structureApr 2010 : DOC held a 2-day DTT standards symposiumAug 2010 : ABT set-top-box passed conformance tests with SABC and eTV17 Jul 2010 : Presented to the Portfolio Committee meeting in Randburg2010 : ABT participated fully at TC74 to date2010 : DVB-T versus ISDBT farce wasted 9 months or 3 FYQs2010 : Local delays… Africa here we come!
  14. 14. Yes, ABT is readyMaking hay while the sun shines • All the key contracts are in place • World-class production facility in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng • Skilled personnel: design and electronics engineers • Retail and Distribution plans • Appropriate funding arrangements in place • Installations and after service plan completed • Public Education and Awareness Campaign running
  15. 15. ABT Product Roadmap MULTIMEDIAIntegrated HOMEIP STB GATEWAY IP STB Integrated STBHD MPEG4 H.264 HD PVRPVR Multi-Room Open TV MHEG 5 Bluetooth ACAP/OCAPFTA/CI/CAS STB FTA/CI CAS Pocket 1-SEGMobile TV P-VOD Multimedia DMB DAB/MP3 Center 2009/10 2011/12 2012/13
  16. 16. Cutting-edge TechnologiesABT chooses STMicroelectronicsas a chip vendorand a technical partner
  17. 17. ABT Procures STIt’s about technology… • ST Microelectronics is the market leader for STB solution in the EMEA region • ST has publically announced that it will support emerging markets • ST has the highest integration using the very latest technology • The only chip vendor with a single chip T2 solution today • ST provides good service from their regional and divisional departments • A 10 Billion dollar international company …and the best support
  18. 18. STB design ProcessABT is committed to localize the design of our T2 DTT box offering.This requires various steps in collaboration with the chip vendor – ST and software partners 1. Sign agreements between ABT & ST including a development license agreement (STAPI License) 2. Get technical information and advise on the latest technology applicable to the DVB-T2 market 3. Purchase a DVB-T2 development platform + programming equipment from ST (+/- US$100 00.00) 4. Procure engineers/skills locally to start working on the localized T2 PCB 5. Produce, populate and test prototype PCB’s 6. Start testing/debugging with software (middleware) company 7. Re-spin the PCB if any peripherals (USB, memory, video, audio etc.) do not work 8. Continue testing and debugging the hardware with the software/middleware partner
  19. 19. STB Trial ProcedureOnce a working proto-type exists, testing the box starts on the T2 trial network.Testing includes the following steps:1. Monitoring the box for reliable operation 24 hours per day2. Ensuring that the box conforms to the local specification3. Once the UI specs are known to ABT, we test the functionality and compliance of the UI4. Many collaboration sessions take place between hardware and software engineers5. Various versions of software are downloaded, flashed into the STB and tested 3 to 6 months
  20. 20. In Preparation for Production• It must be noted that the procedures and project phases use an “open” chip. That means the proto-type chips get supplied by ST without any security and with all codecs enables for testing purposes. ST will supply a maximum of 20 sample chips to ABT.• ABT then moves into the pre-production phase and complies with the following steps:1. Reply to ST’s Silicon Request Form (SIRF – see PDF example attached).2. This request form is necessary as the chips supplied to ABT will be specific to ABT and cannot be sold to any other company3. ST uses the SIRF form to confirm that ABT’s local manufacturers are indeed licensed to use the features (Adobe, Dolby, MHEG5 etc.) requested by ABT. The license verification procedure is a legal procedure between ST and the various license supplier companies.
  21. 21. In Preparation for Production Cont.At this stage it is ABSOLUTELY VITAL that ABT are in the possession of the following:• Complete specification for the South African DVB-T2 box.• Complete specification of any security (STB control, Conditional Access etc.) scheme that the DOC requires.If ABT does not have this information available at this time, the chip set manufacturer (ST) cannotcommence to produce chips.• Please be advised the standard lead time for DVB-T2 chip are currently 20 weeks.
  22. 22. Production PhaseOnce the National trial commences ABT will supply the required quota of ourboxes to this process for testing and evaluationAt this stage it is highly unlikely that any hardware changes are needed. However,ABT will collaborate within the trial framework and effect any changes needed –hardware or software to ensure complete compliance.
  23. 23. ST’s EMEA Market EMEA market share in excess of 50%!
  24. 24. Adverse Impact of Indecisions Three years ago this month, a spanner was thrown in the Policy works of the Migration• Confusion at home• Contradicted the Cabinet decision• Rendered our integrity questionable• Eroded established leadership in our quest for African markets• Cost jobs• Put companies out of business• Allowed Chinese inroads in what should have been South Africa’s “slice of the pie”
  25. 25. The STB Manufacturing StrategySTB Manufacturing Strategy stipulates that:• The BDM Policy seeks to ensure that STBs are manufactured locally• There’s a need to revive SA’s electronics industry, leading to: 1. Job creation 2. Skills generation 3. Electronics sector transformation• Capacitate local manufacturers to 1. export to African countries 2. introduce new players 3. reinforce the value chain (installations, logistics, retail, call-centre, etc.)
  26. 26. The Case of Elprom• Elprom Electronic Product Manufacturers was founded in 1991 in Stellenbosch• Employed over 350 people• Donated to Boland Colleges Strand Campus electronic components to the value of over R25 000 on Friday, 13 August 2010.• In August 2011 it was liquidated; 350 jobs lost
  27. 27. A trend to be reversed• The electronics manufacturing bled since mid-1990s• Many factories closed over the last 10 years, including: – Becker Radio – Tedelex (from 1969 to June 2010) – Eltron – Elprom• Since 2000, employment has more than halved• Hence, DTI, Industrial Policy Plan specifically focus on uplifting the electronics manufacturing sector.
  28. 28. Losing more than jobs• More than 350 Jobs wiped out• Government revenues lost (VAT, rates & taxes, etc.)• Socio-economic evils creep in (crime, ill-health, etc.)• Global competitiveness impeded
  29. 29. The threats and the threatened The STB Control System! Scheme for Ownership Support The very noble objectives of the STB StrategyCoordination of functions, processes, agencies, etc
  30. 30. Conclusion and RecommendationsHarmonize efforts, coordinate tasks to save time and moneyEnsure continuity of programmes to stimulate certaintyIncorporate lessons from jurisdictions that have migrated ahead of usCommunicate, communicate and communicate again to instill trust
  31. 31. Are We Ready? ABT is ready Our competitors are readyThe electronics industry at large is ready
  32. 32. Inkomu Enkosi
  33. 33. Are We Ready? Yes, we Yes, we are! are! Yes, we Yes, we are! are! Yes, wePrepared and Presented by: are!Muzi Makhaye