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Ask Jannie van Zyl anything about innovation, computer restoration & home automation

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rpm

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#1
Jannie van Zyl is well-known as one of the pioneers behind Vodacom’s 3G launch in December 2004, the former iBurst CEO, and the current head of innovation at Vodacom.

Jannie also has one of the largest private computer restoration operations in South Africa, and his house has been named as one of the best automated homes in the world.

We are giving you an opportunity to ask Jannie anything about innovation, computer restoration, and home automation.

He will select the best questions to answer, and the top question will win a Google Chromecast.

There are some basic Ask Anything rules. A summary:

  • One question per post. If you have multiple questions, use multiple posts.
  • No personal attacks
  • No support questions (like “My online shopping package got lost …”)
  • No unsavoury questions
  • No trolling
  • No “Why don’t you answer my question?” posts
  • Keep it clean and civil, and ensure the discussion is constructive

Please post your questions in this thread. Jannie will select and start to answer your questions at 18:00 on Wednesday 11 July.

Important: No questions about Vodacom please. General questions about innovation are allowed, but not "Why does Vodacom..." etc.
 
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rpm

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#2
Knowing what you know now, will you build an automated house again? Did it turn out as you expected, and does it add enough benefits to justify the additional costs and trouble to build such a house?
 

rpm

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#3
Looking back at all the computers which you have restored, there must be one that stands out. Which one is it, and why? (No PR answer that all your children are special, please :D ).
 

rpm

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#4
Innovation question: Why was Vodacom able to launch 3G well ahead of its competitors in December 2004. Why was it able to innovate while its competitors struggled to do the same?
 

Newsfeed

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#5
What is the best "starter package" or platform for home automation for a complete novice, and what aspects of your home would you recommended starting with? (Eg: lights, taps, appliances, etc)
 

wizardofid

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#6
I am finding it extremely frustrating that technology implementation in rural areas only trickle down several years later or not at all, this seems a world wide trend however looking as stats, the overall penetration is still better then most.Quite often the poorest of the poor live in rural areas, which makes mobile data extremely expensive in general.What innovative and cost effective measures can vodacom and network providers in general deploy to improve rural broadband penetration...
 

R13...

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#7
Looking back on your own home automation project would you recommend custom development or commercial off the shelf as far as possible with a bit of development where needed?
 

The_Librarian

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#8
Consider magnetic bubble memory and all the other derivative types of memory that was developed for temporary storage for programs etc, which type was the best and most useful?

And now consider storage for data and programs - which storage unit from the past was the best in its class? (I'm not talking about the ZX Microdrive, that was a disaster in its own making :D )
 

Napalm2880

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#9
I often find it difficult to dedicate time to "cool" personal projects. How often do you work on yours and usually at what time? (are you an early morning person or more of a night-owl)
 

wizardofid

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#10
While I definitely impressed with home automation in general, and find the topic quite interesting.There is however a line I draw on what should be automated, any thing that saves me money, like for example better water management in the house and out in the garden I am fine with. Any thing intrusive, like a smart fridge that can add stuff to your shopping list or appliances that has access to personal information like shopping habits or specific brands I not particularly fond of, any thing that make me seem lazy, or things that generally don't require a lot of effort to begin with also gets a no from me.

When planning your house did you decide beforehand on what should and what shouldn't be automated, how did this affect feelings about personal privacy and required transparency needed having personal information accessible by the home.?
 

wizardofid

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#11
Second question regarding the above post of mine, what would you consider home automation taken too far ?
 

Foxhound5366

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#12
How close are we to seeing a tipping point for Virtual Reality, taking it from the incredibly niche product it currently is to something that every modern home has (like a television), and what are the major factors currently restraining it from reaching that phase?
 

snoozee

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#13
What's the best way to keep track of passwords yet not reuse passwords across countless sites/appliances nowadays?
 

bigboy529

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#19
Jannie, by your success in business, your home automation and computer hobby, you come across as someone who works very hard but also play hard.
How do you find the time to balance everything,,, are you one of those people who literally diarise every minute of the day putting aside time for work, family and hobbies, or are you more chilled about managing your time but somehow still get to spend quality time everywhere?
 
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