Welcome to the Com World Series Blog. As producers of the leading telecoms, media and ICT events for developing markets, we focus on news & views that affect everyone operating in the telecoms ecosystem in Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia.

9 Jul 2014

Alliance for Affordable Internet shed light on their objectives ahead of Nigeria Com

Sonia JorgeWe are pleased to have partnered with the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) this year to support NigeriaCom. A4AI partner with the Nigeiran government (and several other governments around Africa for that matter) to strengthen the delivery of affordable internet to the public. Executive Director, Sonia Jorge, who will be speaking at NigeriaCom, took a moment to shed light on the alliance and their objectives and innovations:

Com World Series: How is your organisation positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Sonia Jorge: The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is working directly with the Government of Nigeria to strengthen its efforts towards the delivery of affordable Internet to Nigerian citizens. Nigeria publicly committed to develop and implement the policy and regulatory changes needed to drive down the cost of broadband access when it formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alliance in October 2013, becoming the first country to take this progressive step. It has since been followed by Ghana and Mozambique. 

As a key element of this work, A4AI has brought together a wide range of actors, including representatives from the Nigerian government, private sector and civil society, to identify policy and regulatory barriers to affordable Internet in the country, and to put into place a plan to overcome these obstacles. A national coalition has been formed, and is actively working to produce concrete solutions to the challenges. Through this multi-stakeholder process, A4AI hopes to help Nigeria increase its Internet penetration rate to 30% by 2017, as set out in the country’s National Broadband Plan.

Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your work in the region in 2014?
  1. Technological innovation: The rapid emergence of new and innovative technologies has the power to drive down the cost of broadband access, when combined with an updated regulatory and policy framework.
  2. Spirit of collaboration: As sectors with seemingly divergent interests recognise the shared economic and social benefits of pursuing increased access to affordable Internet, the region has seen improved collaboration and a rise in effective partnerships.
  3. Shared infrastructure access and development: The increased willingness of government and private telecommunications companies to enter into partnerships is leading to more opportunities for the development of open and shared infrastructure (e.g., fibre optic lines, base stations) on both a national and regional level. Resource sharing through these partnerships will allow the government, network operators, and other infrastructure providers to reduce and share capital and operational risks, which will, in turn, reduce the cost for consumers to come online.

Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues? 

Sonia Jorge: New and innovative technological solutions to broadband affordability challenges—including innovative uses of spectrum, urban WiFi zones and data centres— are constantly emerging. While these technologies have shown promising early results in their ability to bring down the cost of Internet, all too often outdated and ill-conceived policies and regulations prevent the benefits of these technologies from being fully unlocked across the African continent. By working directly with national governments and a wide range of key stakeholders, A4AI aims to bring outdated policy and regulatory frameworks into the digital age, and to help to realise the UN Broadband Commission goal of entry-level broadband services priced at less than 5% of average monthly income.

Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Sonia Jorge: The diminishing cost of new technologies has caused a substantial uptake in the use of smart mobile technology in Nigeria, where currently around 25 percent of over 105 million mobile telephone subscribers use smartphones (TNS Global, 2012). The use of these devices and the number of people using them to connect to the Internet is expected to grow as more businesses based in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, use smartphones and tablets to link to the global economy and to efficiently conduct business. While the adoption of smartphones is increasing, the high cost of a mobile broadband connection, which hovers around 13% of average income, is restricting the ability of citizens throughout Nigeria to connect to and take advantage of information found on the Web. Only when the cost to connect to mobile broadband on these devices drops to a level that the average Nigerian can afford will the true impact of the use of these technologies be felt.

Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies, governments and other players are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them? 

Sonia Jorge: A number of companies working in Nigeria and throughout the continent are using modern technologies to bring more people online—Google’s Project Link is providing faster, more reliable Internet to underserved urban areas like Kampala, Uganda, by connecting local Internet service providers (ISPs) to existing long-distance fibre lines; Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative is working to bring affordable broadband to rural communities via TV white spaces (i.e., vacant radio frequencies available for unlicensed use); and West African telecommunications company, Main One, has been working to construct and roll out a metro high-speed fibre network and data centre in Lagos, with the aim of reducing ICT costs and enhancing business profitability. Meanwhile, Research ICT Africa has consistently been delivering robust, high-quality research into communications issues across the region which helps to drive informed decision-making and debate.
Looking at national initiatives around the continent, Morocco emerges as a positive example of government innovation in the ICT sector. The country was ranked as the top developing country in A4AI’s 2013 Affordability Report, and is implementing a number of innovative policies in order to increase Internet penetration. These policies are encapsulated in “2013 Digital Morocco”, a plan aimed at intensifying usage through a focus on affordability of both devices and access. However, with mobile broadband prices sitting at around 20 percent of per capita monthly incomes, and about 80 percent of monthly incomes for those living in poverty (less than $2 per day), Morocco’s government has much work to do. As well as working to drive prices down, the country plans to equip all schools in Morocco with broadband access and ICT training, and establish PPPs to offer devices to marginalised sub-segments of the population.

Sonia Jorge will be speaking on the first day at Nigeria Com to hear her insights REGISTER TODAY.

4 Jul 2014

African Insurers Urged to Review Mobile Strategies

Written By Emma Okonji, All Africa.

A recent report by Juergen Weiss, based on the Gartner 2013 Global survey, has predicted that by 2015 at least 40 per cent of the currently existing insurance-related, customer-facing mobile applications will be abandoned due to lack of demand.

The reason for this, the report said, is due to the fact that insurers have not designed their applications in a way that makes consumers want to use them and secondly, that consumers are simply not aware when new software applications are available.

The report therefore warned insurers to review their mobile strategies, in order to gain customers' confidence.

However, developing customer-facing mobile applications remains the third most important technology priority for insurers.

Head of African Operations for SSP, Rhys Collins, a major online firm in South Africa, said: "In Africa this would be second or first priority. There is a definite correlation between the growing download of apps in Europe with wider smartphone adoption".

"The percentage of users using a cellphone now far outweighs those using the internet. It is predicted that by 2017, 79 per cent of users will have adopted smartphones as opposed to just 49 per cent in 2013."

Users want to interact with service providers via their mobile device wherever possible. This has been driven by the wide adoption of social media, Collins added.

He said this raises three key issues for insurers namely: how insurance customers embrace mobile insurance (the demand view); what insurers should expect from mobile applications (the supply view) and finally, what are the best practices for a better mobile insurance experience.

According to the report, there are numerous reasons for the lack of mobile adoption by insurance customers. Collins asserts there are very few opportunities for interaction between customers and insurers.

He said the potential for interaction would continue to exist, but that to engage customers with these new interaction points, insurers need to overcome preferences like phoning a contact centre.

He explained that since the primary reason consumers select an insurance policy is price, if apps do not create or highlight any monetary incentive or benefit for customers there will be limited appeal.

Weiss recommends insurers avoid investing in the design of mobile apps without first having a detailed value analysis. Only then should they develop a holistic app strategy that allows customers to seamlessly use the app, one that is integrated into the entire insurance value chain.

"While the absolute number of mobile users in Africa looking to interact with service providers is far less than Europe, the opportunity still exists in certain market segments for one or two insurers to steal an advantage" Collins said. He insisted the insurance industry in Africa has not identified a 'killer app' that will dramatically increase customer adoption.

1st Speaker interview for Ngiera Com 2014 with Tom Allen, COO, Smile Communications

tom allenThe ComWorld Series team engaged with Tom Allen, COO, Smile communications ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September. We found out a little more about the activities of Smile as a new LTE player in embracing the Nigerian market. Here are some insights from Tom ahead of the event.

ComWorld Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?

Tom Allen: Smile is planning to be the Broadband provider of choice and at the end of this year we aim to be in 12 cities. 

ComWorld Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2014? 

Tom Allen: The demand for data services, OTT challenging the Telcos from voice to video, Capacity on networks are the major limiting factor.

ComWorld Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues? 

Tom Allen: Capacity is an issue, manifested by poor quality; Quality of service beacons will emerge such as Smile with much better networks. With the lack of fixed infrastructure then only 4G LTE services can provide the quality and capacity needed.

ComWorld Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?

Tom Allen:The wave is just starting, capacity is self limiting these. Smile will bring these to life with much better quality and speeds. Tablets (or large format Smartphones) will become dominant with these can already providing local personal hot-spots for wider usage. Simple OTT offerings will start to emerge and will dominate.

ComWorld Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them? 

Tom Allen: The issue is making more capacity available – poor networks stifle innovation. Smile is a challenger.

Find out more at www.comworldseries.com/nigeria. Tom Allen will be speaking on Day 1 at 12:15 on the session “LTE Showcase: Breakthrough and impacts of 4G/LTE for Nigeria"

30 Jun 2014

Tier 1 African Mobile Operator Selects Mobile-Technologies’ SIM and Number Management Solution

As a leader in the provision of advanced telecom solutions, Mobile-Technologies has been chosen by a tier 1 mobile operator in southern Africa to deliver a fully automated SIM and number management solution to manage their entire SIM supply chain more effectively.

The Intelligent SIM Manager (iSM) is a highly sought after SIM and number management system that deals with all the aspects of the SIM lifecycle. It helps the sourcing of SIM-cards by automating the collection of all data required pre-production, secures data transportation, handles warehousing and distribution, and finally the SIM provisioning and activation from a single web-interface.

“Many network operators use in-house manual processes or outdated solutions exposing themselves to costly production and inventory mistakes, loss of data integrity across multiple infrastructure components and the potential duplication of SIM card records. Our iSM solution completely eliminates these challenges while bringing in more efficiencies and cost savings.” Says Eli Hem Jensen, CEO, Mobile-Technologies.

Eli continues, “Access to new mobile number ranges from regulators is often restricted and very costly. This makes optimal number recycling business-critical. The iSM solution is the perfect solution to deal with these challenges.”

The iSM solution is part of our ISL framework which enables the operator to embrace new opportunities and capabilities including offering number selection, customer registration (KYC - Know Your Customer) and dealer management in a progressive and cost efficient manner. For more information: www.mobile-technologies.com

About Mobile Technologies Co., Ltd

Mobile-Technologies provide advanced services and solutions for wireless operators across the globe. Our leading-edge technology is based on many years of experience in telecommunications and we are proud of the value our innovative solutions bring to our worldwide clients. Our products and solutions are tailored for Mobile Operators. We cumulate years of experience in SIM lifecycle management, customer registration, SIM provisioning and activation, prepaid vouchers management and dealers management.

Important information

Issuance, publication or distribution of this press release in certain jurisdictions could be subject to restrictions. The recipient of this press release is responsible for using this press release and the constituent information in accordance with the rules and regulations prevailing in the particular jurisdiction. This press release does not constitute an offer or an offering to acquire or subscribe for any of the company’s securities in any jurisdiction.

27 Jun 2014

Is Car to Car Communication the Future of Road Safety?

It’s fair to say that in the last couple of decades there have seen major advances in the automobile world. From intuitive satellite navigation systems, to hybrid, super energy efficient cars, and of course more recently, Google among others have explored the vast and powerful possibilities of driverless cars with inbuilt car to car communication systems.

These completely responsive cars have already been endorsed by major governments throughout the world, including Google’s home in the USA. The basic premise is that through V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication, hazards could be intuitively avoided and traffic conditions anticipated. With reports stating that all cars could be fitted with this technology by 2020, it’s time to get familiarised with the notion of driving a much more intelligent motor car.

With extensive testing happening now in the USA, the next two years will prove vital to the future of V2V technology. Major parties involved in the project include the US Department of Transportation plus almost all the major car manufacturers across the globe, from Volkswagen to Ford. The idea is to literally road test the technology along major arterial routes in the US to determine its potential benefits and pitfalls.

The power of communication
Through a short-range wireless network and using standard GPRS data, these cars will effectively talk to each via a network of nodes on traffic signals, stationary roadside units and the cars themselves. This technology will provide accurate and up-to-the-minute reports on the road up to 1000 meters ahead.

Not only this, the idea is that everything within these cars would be interlinked, with a series of warning lights and receptors transmitting signals to neighbouring vehicles. This would prompt them to react accordingly in the event of a crash or incident. The technology works round blind bends, sudden stops, it can even anticipate dangers of changing lanes. 

Now, it’s worth stressing at this point that the first V2V communication cars will allow the driver a large degree of control, with the option to switch it off entirely if required. The intention is to provide a warning system for drivers rather than taking the wheel from them entirely.

Despite this, the possibilities V2V communication present, naturally reveal unprecedented benefits ranging from scenarios such as running late for that early morning business meeting, or en route to catch a flight. It has also been hailed as fast-track to dramatically improving road safety, allowing drivers a significantly increased amount of time to react to traffic conditions.

A controversial solution

In Africa traffic incidents remain a major cause for concern. Experts have explained that the potential such technology has to reduce accidents due to negligence or driving under the influence is massive. In South Africa alone alcohol and substance abuse accounts for the vast majority of collisions. With such hard facts, there is little wonder why a communication system such as this is a hot topic.
On the other hand, a critic may argue that treating the root cause of symptomatic problems like alcoholism and drug taking should be a primary focus, rather than employing the benefits of V2V communication to absolve ourselves of responsibility.

Relying on technology like this blindly also carries its own risk. Following the instructions of a system without critical appraisal of the information provided, rather than using instinct and initiative can open up a whole host of hazards. Not only that, with a limited reach, V2V communication cannot be fully effective. The ideal scenario is for every car to be fitted with the ability to communicate with each other. There is also the question mark hanging over privacy issues. What’s to stop someone for example, sitting by the side of the road and transmitting a false message?

The other query raised has been over the idea of insurance. Specifically because the basis of such agreements would certainly have to be revisited since the idea of comprehensively insuring a driver would no longer apply.

The game-changer V2V communication instigates is both deep and far reaching. Its invention is certainly a landmark in communication technology, even in its early stages. But it could be said that its possibilities are matched by the questions it raises. It seems that there are many hurdles to overcome and questions to answer before this becomes the way our roads are travelled. 

Contributed by reader Emma Pickles

26 Jun 2014

Mobile Money services, Mobile Music, Social Networks and Apps all covered on the last day of VAS Africa

It was standing room only at the start of the second day of VAS Africa, with an inspirational keynote speech by 18 year old entrepreneur Nadav Ossendryver.  Outlining the ideas behind Latest Sightings, an innovative app tracking wildlife in the Kruger, Nadav detailed his use of social media for building his community and developing activities around the app.

The youth market was a focus of the panel discussion featuring Cell C and Orange as they detailed their strategies for targeting the 16 – 21 year old segment.  What services will they pay for and what is truly relevant to them?
The conference went on to discuss Mobile Money services, Mobile Music, and Social Networks  and Apps in Africa. 

Speakers detailed clear trends on the need for higher speed, top quality networks to deliver the new, innovative content and apps, as well as the requirement for fair and accessible data pricing.  Strong partnerships are paramount, and win-win business models essential.

Arnauld Blondet, Innovation Director for AMEA at Orange, commented on the success of this year’s VAS Africa, and the growth and development on previous years “VAS Africa is definitely the great opportunity for mobile telcos to look at their growth, understand new trends, listen to vendors and seek new business models.  This is the great recipe of VAS Africa.  I am impressed with the bigger agenda, bigger number of people and quality of presentations.  VAS is clearly a big subject”.

We look forward to returning with an even bigger and better VAS Africa on 24th-25th June 2015 in Johannesburg.

24 Jun 2014

Strategic insights and content viewpoints from Huawei, TA Telecom, Virgin Mobile, Smile and 2Go on Day 1 of VAS Africa

For the first time this year VAS Africa was co-located with MVNOs Africa, and more than 250 delegates from the two events joined the opening keynote session on June 24th at the Maslow Sandton in Johannesburg.  

With strategic insight from Huawei and TA Telecom, together with operator and content viewpoints from Virgin Mobile, Smile and 2Go, the keynote session set the scene for a day discussing innovation in both technology and marketing strategies.

Panellists and speakers assessed the role of operators in the expanding digital ecosystem – dumb pipe/data channel or innovator, with emphasis placed this year on the importance of the role of pipe/channel.  The conference went on to discuss the opportunities available from partnerships with OTT players and content providers.  Operators should consider aligning their strategies with the likes of skype, viber and whatsapp – to maximise what these players are doing within the operators’ own strategies.  Alignment and partnership were deemed to be the way forward, not competition.

Focus on the customer is key.  Is the customer educated on the cost of data consumption?  Is the app/service easy to use?  Is the content relevant and local to the customer?  What services will create stickiness?  Where is the consumer and how do they prefer to receive the content/services?  Also important to remember is that while 154 million African customers use a smartphone, still 931 million use the feature hone.

The first day concluded with the Mobile Marketing and Advertising session, bringing case studies of new ways to target the consumer via mobile.  At the heart of the day was the reminder that the operator knows the customer best and thus retains a pivotal role in the expanding digital ecosystem.

Together with the key content take-aways, delegates enjoyed extensive networking opportunities across the VAS and MVNOs events - speed networking, one-to-one introductions and an informal drinks reception at the close of the day.  Join us for day two and a focus on Mobile Money, Mobile Music, Social Networking, and Key VAS for the African market.

 Join us for day two of VAS Africa to hear from MTN, Cell C, Safaricom, Nokia and many more.

12 Jun 2014

Operators and their partners discuss profitability and efficiency in data networks at Connecting West Africa

After a first conference day discussing operators' data strategies, the Connecting West Africa audience re-convened today in Dakar. The day's sessions covered in more details how to improve profitability thanks to better cost-efficiency and attractive services.

The second day started with a panel and interactive round tables on how to manage costs without reducing quality of service. The participants highlighted the importance of balancing capex and opex, outsourcing and energy strategies. The role of regulators was also mentioned as crucial to support operators in offering affordable communications services to end-users.

The audience represented stakeholders from the telecommunications sector across the region: MNOs, regulators, OTT players, satellite operators, vendors and more from countries as varied as Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Niger, Mali, Benin, Chad, Ghana, Congo, Cape Verde and more.

Events in the Com World Series -  which Connecting West Africa is part of - will continue looking at how Africa can embrace data networks and services to serve the continent's needs.

Glowing feedback from 2014 attendees:

"I enjoyed Connecting West Africa 2014 because this seminar allowed me to meet many partners all at once. It is well organized and supported the participants immediately. I enjoyed it greatly!”

Sophie Kouma
International Carriers Account Manager
Orange Cote D'Ivoire

“Great Opportunity to meet industry players in the sub-region. Meeting peers and partners is always an enriching experience and opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities. Thank you Informa”

Amer Atwi
Comium Gambia

“The Connecting West Africa forum is a excellent place to meet people from the industry and exchange ideas, through Speed Networking. The presentations were very informative and educative for the challenges which operators are facing.”

Ndiaye Ousseynou
Interconnect Manager
Airtel Congo

“Very well organized but would suggest to make it at the Kind Fahd Palace next year.”
Fabienne Sane
Responsible Communication
Sonatel Orange

Save the date: Connecting West Africa is back next year on the 9th - 10th June 2015. 

10 Jun 2014

It’s all about data at Connecting West Africa in Dakar

The 11th Annual Connecting West Africa event opened in Dakar, Senegal today. A full conference room with delegates from across the region gathered to listen to presentations and debates with operators and suppliers on how to prepare networks for the growing data demand.

Maty Sene of host operator Sonatel gave a presentation on operators’ strategies to develop profitable data-ready networks. He predicted that the proportion of data revenue will go from 10% to 40% by 2018, making it crucial for operators to embrace innovation in order to maximise those revenues. Mark Pritchard from Microsoft said West Africa was ‘blessed in terms of submarine cable landings”, making “broadband internet connectivity at super fast speed a reality”. Samba Sene of the Orange Technocentre in Abidjan and Yann Le Guen of Yoomee Cote d’Ivoire addressed the LTE opportunity for the region. Dominique Baron of Horus Telecom looked at how to serve rural areas more effectively and Lare Atcha of Intelsat looked at new satellite technologies. The debates covered commercial strategies, cost-efficiency, quality of service challenges, LTE deployments and technologies to ensure operators maximise the revenue opportunity from data.

The event was of course focused on networking and sharing experiences, with a busy exhibition, a speed networking session and networking drinks.

The second day of the event will include more interactive sessions to discuss various aspects of cost-efficiency (power management, infrastructure sharing, outsourcing), the role of regulators and governments in promoting broadband access in the region, and value-added services.Thank you to our sponsors (Intelsat, Horus Telecom & Utilities), our host operator Sonatel and all exhibitors.

2 Jun 2014

Is Google’s Project Loon Really the Future of the Wireless Internet?

Is Google’s Project Loon Really the Future of the Wireless Internet?
The future of the internet, and particularly how it will be offered to those parts of the world with less access to technology, has always been a favoured topic on our blog. One company that is known the world over for trying things that others haven’t is Google, and this has never been truer than with an initiative they launched in June 2013. Known as Project Loon, the top-level concept is that this project will supply wireless internet to places that don’t have ready access through the use of balloons floating 18 kilometres above the earth. It’s an amazing idea and almost seems too good to be true – so we thought we’d look into it more closely, and discover whether or not it really is the future of the wireless internet.

How Project Loon works
The core concept of Project Loon works as described above: balloons floating in the stratosphere direct wireless broadband signals to houses on the surface – but there is a little more to it than that. The balloons work in tandem with receivers which will need to be attached to the outside of a house, office or other building on the ground. These look like blue orbs, and are connected to a regular router within the building, which then transmits the signals like a standard Wi-Fi network. The reason this is so innovative is that the process requires no wires at all, so even in the middle of Africa where there are no underground or overground telecoms cables, having access to wireless internet becomes a possibility. On top of that, Google engineers can also actively move the balloons using wind currents. This means that they can direct the balloons to places where internet access is most needed at the time.

Accessing the Project Loon network
Of course, even with a Wi-Fi network in place, not everyone has access to devices that can connect to the internet. More specifically, desktop computers and even laptops are relatively scarce in many areas of Africa. This is where devices such as low-cost tablet computers can come in very useful. With more widespread access to these devices, being able to use the internet will become something that anyone can do. Many cities in Africa already sell low-cost tablet computers, along with any relevant comprehensive cover for such devices that may be necessary. Naturally, in any built up area, a policy that offers all-encompassing cover is usually essential. In large cities within Africa, it is not uncommon to see laptops and desktop computers, which is why insurance cover is so vital – especially when these computers are used in a professional setting. We wouldn’t be surprised that, with the help of Google’s Project Loon, the use of tablet devices becomes much more widespread in Africa – even in remote areas (where, of course, gadget and other electronic device insurance becomes a bit less important).

The impact on the developing world
Since the rise of the internet, there has been somewhat of a growing imbalance between developed countries and those that are still developing. This gap has been growing wider due to the adoption of the internet at the centre of modern life in developed countries, when many others have limited access. With Project Loon, it’s easy to envision a world in which all countries have equal access to the web, so that even those who have thus far been cut off from global communication have the chance to reach others across the world with ease. It could also open many doors and lines of dialogue that have been impossible until now. The fact that Project Loon can easily be moved through the stratosphere means that it could benefit people in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Eurasia. Of course, if there is a reluctance to this change, there are no requirements for participation – it’s really meant for those who want to get online but can’t… yet.

The next steps for Project Loon
Following the pilot launch in 2013, many wondered when Project Loon would be brought to the masses. One issue that Google has faced is the fact that it’s sometimes difficult to license the relevant bands they need to transmit the wireless signals. These spectrums, in the 2.4 and 5.8 ghz bands, require long drawn-out discussions with the current owners in order to arrange proper licensing deals. All in all, this means that Project Loon has slowed down a little. However, just recently there was some good news about the future of the project, and it seems that momentum is once again taking the project skyward. Our fingers are crossed!

Contributed by reader Emma Pickles