Improving growth and the competitiveness of the South African economy will require businesses and governments to be digitally adept and supported by digitally skilled workers, says Cathy Smith, Cisco’s MD for Southern Africa. From 5 to 7 March, 2017, Cisco South Africa will host Cisco Connect South Africa 2017, sponsored by Intel, to showcase leading technologies and innovations to support and guide organisations on digital transformation.
In South Africa, Cisco sees an urgent need for:
- The “real economy” and industrialisation plans to be closely linked to digitalisation (including complementary digital skills development) to boost competitiveness, empower entrepreneurs, and enable government departments to extend the reach and impact of public services.
- Web-based collaboration technologies to improve distance education, enable businesses, and facilitate virtual connections to improve learning and productivity.
- The integration of technologies and IT expertise for cities to better manage and deliver essential services, reduce costs and address socio-economic challenges.
“The competitiveness of the South African economy — from mining to education to retail to financial services — depends on being digitally enabled in order to increase GDP, reduce spending on outdated analogue systems, and to create jobs,” says Smith. “The Digital Era is here. It is a real and present opportunity for companies, countries and workers.”
According to the Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index, released in February, it is forecast that by 2021:
- There will be nearly 12 billion mobile-connected devices (1.5 mobile devices per person).
- Mobile data traffic will represent 20% of the world’s IP traffic (up from 8% in 2016).
- Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections will represent 29% (3.3 billion) of total mobile connection (up from 5% in 2016).