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Wits and Telkom launch new industry solutions lab

- Wits University

Telkom and Wits sign a partnership agreement to establish the new Telkom Industry Solutions Lab.

Telkom and the University of the Witwatersrand are joining forces to establish the new Telkom Industry Solutions Lab, a commercial research and development (R&D) facility dedicated to accelerating synergistic collaboration between industry and academia.

Bringing together multi-disciplinary teams from Wits, the Telkom Group, and beyond, this collaborative effort will pave the way for state-of-the-art innovations in telecommunications and the development of transformative digital solutions for various industries.

The new initiative formally came into being at a ceremony today where, on behalf of the Telkom Group, BCX CEO, Jonas Bogoshi and Wits University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi signed the agreement launching the venture.

Mr Jonas Bogoshi, BCX CEO (on behalf of the Telkom Group), and Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University

“We are excited to sign the strategic agreement that puts this partnership with Wits into effect,” said Bogoshi. “We see the Lab as a platform to translate academic research into commercially viable and socially impactful solutions.”

The Lab is the first industry solutions lab to join the newly established Wits Innovation Centre (WIC) where brilliant minds from various disciplines converge to ideate, research, collaborate, and support innovation, from the initial stages to entrepreneurship and commercialisation.

“The WIC is the epicentre of our innovation ecosystem at Wits where we harness a wellspring of diverse expertise and talent to solve complex, real-world problems. Collaboration in innovation is key and we are excited to see the cutting-edge solutions that will emerge from the Telkom Industry Solutions Lab,” said Vilakazi.

Group photo at the signing ceremony of the new Telkom Industry Solutions Lab

The Lab is a key strategic initiative aimed at supporting innovation within the Telkom Group. It is also the latest in Telkom’s longstanding tradition of forging partnerships with South African universities, says Telkom Group Executive for Innovation and Transformation, Dr Mmaki Jantjies. "Globally, many of the most transformative inventions have been developed through innovation partnerships between industry leaders in technology and research-intensive universities," she explains. "Similarly, this partnership with Wits aims to foster an ecosystem where creativity and collaboration will flourish - leveraging the combined expertise and resources of the Telkom Group and the University."

Projects will span industry products and solutions, applied research for specific industries, disruptive innovation driven by local challenges, advanced technology solutions, and industry-led fundamental science and engineering.

The Telkom Industry Solutions Lab will be led by a team of Telkom and Wits research and innovation leaders: Dr Maletsabisa Molapo, Executive for Research and Innovation at Telkom, and Letlotlo Phohole, Senior Programme Manager of the Wits Innovation Centre.

About Telkom

Telkom SA SOC Ltd is a leading information and communications technology services provider in South Africa. Our mission is to seamlessly connect people to a better life. We carry this through in all our brands, whether at the consumer, business, or wholesale level.  Telkom consists of the following business units: BCX, an end-to-end digital solutions provider; connectivity and wholesale division Openserve; Telkom Consumer and Small Business and property company Gyro.

About innovation at Wits

As Wits University celebrates its 100th anniversary, we remain dedicated to cultivating the next generation of researchers and innovators who are equipped to translate knowledge into meaningful solutions. We are committed to leveraging our knowledge to drive progress for good in our community, our city, country, continent, and the world at large. The new Wits Innovation Centre (WIC) is a dynamic hub of creativity and ingenuity that seeks to develop an ‘innovation mindset’ across all disciplines and boundaries, and strives to assist researchers and students to transform their ideas from research outputs to innovation and enterprise.