This initiative is also aimed at start-ups and incubators that wish to take their solution to market in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a statement by the company.
David Ives, a Microsoft’s director, said the company would increase its offering at the Microsoft Innovation Centre housed in the JCSE, with the addition of hardware, software and training courses targeted at small to medium enterprises (SMEs). “We will be putting in a high-end Dell server which will enable companies to run proof-of-concepts.
The focus will be on testing software designed for a multi-core environment and how to take full advantage of the capacity delivered by a next generation server like the one provided by Dell,” he said.
Microsoft would also launch an IP incubation programme in conjunction with the JCSE. Ives said as part of the programme, Microsoft will provide selected SMEs with a software and technical support bundle worth over R65 000 each.
This will enable SMEs to utilise the latest software and receive the technical support needed to develop new solutions for the market.
JCSE CEO Prof Barry Dwolatzky said the JCSE plans to invite SMEs to put forward proposals describing their concept in detail and a business plan for the roll out of the software once it has been developed.
Potential projects will include solutions for the financial, health, mining and government sectors.
The key focus for the incubation programme will be to provide SMEs with consulting and technical input into their businesses.
“Too many incubation programmes focus on only providing business skills and infrastructure support to start ups. However, given the complex nature of the software development environment, the technical support and consulting which Microsoft and the JCSE will provide will be vital for the chosen development companies to have the best shot at success,” he said.
An industry panel comprising the JCSE, Microsoft and two or three JCSE partners will assess applications from SMEs and start ups for their viability, Dwolatzky said.
Ives said the Innovation Centre would also be used as a training facility for both Microsoft and the JCSE.
“Microsoft will also bring some of its clients into the lab to run architectural design sessions. These designs will then be moved into a proof of concept phase which will be conducted in the Centre,” he said.
The Innovation Centre would also house a reference library, with training material and webcasts being made available on the PCs, according to the statement.