27 August 2020

Five opportunities for growth within the ICT sector

A strong and stable ICT sector is one of the key drivers of economic success in South Africa. Within this sector, innovation and access continue to increase and businesses are adapting accordingly to become as technologically advanced as possible. During his speech at the State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said "Revolutionary advances in technology are reshaping the way people work and live. They are transforming the way people relate to each other, the way societies function and the way they are governed".

Technological evolution has always gone hand-in-hand with the advancement of business models, whether it is the arrival of the production line assembly that heralded the industrial age or the PC and Internet that created the information era. In the digital era, however, this delicate dance is out of sync because the pace of technological development has increased so rapidly that businesses cannot keep up. Moreover, that rapid pace of technological development has led to a paradigm shift in customer and employee behaviour, values, and expectations.

ICT plays a vital role in economic and societal development. Advances in technology have empowered people to exchange knowledge, become entrepreneurs and perform previously cumbersome activities efficiently and cost-effectively. This in turn, makes ICT an essential driver of economic growth not just in South Africa but worldwide.

Here, Tony Walt, Chief Solutions and Operating Officer at Internet Solutions, explains what this really means in practice. "Within the ICT sector there is no question that we will continue to see growth. There are a number of underlying factors that are likely to not only remain in place but also increase significantly", says Walt. Here are five areas that are worth considering as significant drivers to the growth we will see over the next five to 10 years.

  1. The insatiable appetite for on-demand content, significantly higher resolution and anywhere and anytime access.
  2. The impact of "Software Defined" as it relates to traditional businesses is only starting to be felt. This is bringing Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and self-healing, self-aware and self-optimising network ecosystems to reality.
  3. The "digital divide". Whilst we have a very high penetration of cellular devices across the country, the penetration of affordable fixed Internet access at homes, schools and many places of work are low.
  4. The immaturity of the South African marketplace. This presents growth opportunities as many organisations seek to expand, consolidate and imprint their mark in this reasonably immature market.
  5. Welcoming the "Cloud hyperscalers" to South Africa. This year sees some incredibly exciting entrants to our shores and this is most likely to drive adoption of cloud services significantly. As such, this opens up many opportunities in the ICT sector.

According to the 2018 ICT Skills Survey, skills in information and cyber security remain a critical need in the industry. "While we always want to ensure that entrants into the ICT sector are well versed in cyber security, we also need to start thinking ahead and developing our workforce's skills in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and payment systems in order to realise the growth potential of the industry.

Internet Solution's (IS) focus remains on providing organisations with the elements required for digital transformation, such as secure connectivity. Along the way IS continuously interrogates the cyber resilience landscape ensuring all security measures are in place and works to seek out alternative technologies that can help ensure companies keep up with the accelerating demands of digital transformation.

If South African businesses take advantage of the opportunities that currently exist within the ICT sector, they will be well positioned to enter the next decade with the advantages needed to participate in the next wave of technological advancements"

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