BlackBerry apps lab opened to support local developers
Research In Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry, has launched the Blackberry Apps Laboratory at the University of Pretoria.
The resource is equipped with PCs, the Internet and powered by BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, and has been established to help learners, educators, app developers and entrepreneurs acquire eSkills and apply research & development.
The Lab is the result of collaboration between RIM and education partners, including the University of Pretoria and the Department of Communication.
It is viewed as being an important contribution to the further rollout of the broader eSkills strategy, in alliance with the eSkills Institute, in order to reinforce South Africa’s global competitiveness.
Prof. Stephanie Burton, Vice Principal, Research and Postgraduate studies at theUniversityofPretoriasaid, “We are excited to be partnering with RIM to bring the BlackBerry apps lab to our campus. One of our key objectives at the University of Pretoria is to empower our students to develop industry relevant skills that will accelerate mobile application development inSouth Africaand help create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space. Our partnership with RIM, and the collaboration with the DOC’s e-Skills Institute, will allow us to deliver on this promise.”
The University has in the region of 50 000 learners, 20 000 of whom rely on technology for distance education. Professor Burton says the lab will be used for academic research, application of learning and as platform for the development of apps to enrich the growing mobile market.
Bob Bose, Managing Director for Africa at RIM said, “RIM is committed to supporting mobile software development in Africa and future digital entrepreneurs. The growth of smartphones and the appetite for mobile apps presents a huge opportunity for developers, and we’re pleased to work with the Department of Communications and the University of Pretoria to share resources and ideas that will help and inspire innovative minds to make the most of that opportunity. South Africa is a key innovation hub and by working together, we aim to build a community that will create locally relevant apps for BlackBerry customers, new skills and job opportunities for graduates and new revenue streams for developers.”
The BlackBerry apps lab is part of RIM’s extensive developer programme that spans Africa and includes key innovation hubs such as Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt.
Brose said the launch of the laboratory is an investment in key service areas of local society, including health and commerce.