Remaining relevant means organisations have to embrace evolving into digital businesses. Driving this are several technology trends that have the potential to disrupt. Several local industry leaders provide insight into some of these drivers for change.
Wireless connectivity and mobile devices
Bruce Pitso, regional manager for South Africa at Ruckus Wireless, believes that the increase in affordable personal computing devices is resulting in changing expectations around connectivity and how information is accessed. “Already, we are seeing devices being launched that only support Wi-Fi. This is pushing wireless adoption in public spaces like restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping centres. It also means many properties are being developed with Wi-Fi as a requisite. Couple that with the integration between home automation solutions and mobile apps, and then you have an environment conducive for significant growth.”
In South Africa, there is likely to be a concerted push towards more wireless hotspots. This will not be limited to retail environments and hospitality, but extend into the corporate, recreational, warehousing and educational sectors. According to Pitso, brands will invest in Wi-Fi and leverage the connectivity it brings for various marketing opportunities.
The connectivity discussion will also encourage the partnership of Internet Service Providers and allow business to realise their return on investment (ROI) in the Unified Communications and Cloud Investments.
Adding on from this, Armandè Kruger, regional sales director of the PBT Group, says mobile devices in this changing environment should no longer be viewed as tools, but rather as an extension of the individual.
“Mobile is becoming more personal. In a sense, it is the electronic fingerprint of people. Going forward, we will see mobile devices used for verification, tracking, commerce, classification, identification, and so much more,” says Kruger.
For Frank Rizzo, data analytics leader at KPMG, the dominance of mobility in the digital world will see industry players shift their focus from traditional to mobile computing. “A significant change is on the horizon. The rising focus on the mobile platform is affecting a number of business aspects, including ecommerce spending and online advertising. And then there is augmented reality that is also growing rapidly thanks to mobility. Against the backdrop of steadily increasing processing power, the future holds significant potential for this as can be seen with the development around wearable computing.”
Looking beyond wireless and the associated devices, there is enormous opportunity for a dominant messaging platform to displace SMS, says Grant Theis, co-founder of ttrumpet. “Messaging underpins everything people do in the digital world and yet we are still to scratch the surface of its capabilities. For me, the next wave of killer apps will be built on top of messaging and become an indispensable function of our connected existence.”
Theis says the development of these apps will enable people to solve a range of business challenges, consume content more easily, play games, and conduct financial transactions, amongst others. “Many consumer businesses are being built on top of messaging platforms. This is ushering in an age of more hyper-local development. It is no longer good enough for global platforms to adopt a cookie cutter approach to solve business problems in countries, provinces, municipalities, and even local neighbourhoods. Solutions have to be customisable and meet the needs of the user communities it serves.”
Data and the cloud
According to KPMG’s Rizzo, the breakneck pace at which technology is moving sees it becoming one of the greatest agents of change in the modern world. “Social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and the Internet of Things have become driving forces behind the rapid evolution of digital businesses. These technologies will only be more amplified as we usher in 2016.”
He says that data and analytics are likely to become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer experience by 2020.
PBT’s Kruger agrees. “Thanks to the hype around big data, analytics will continue to receive interest and adoption next year. Software developers will likely focus their efforts on developing algorithms for data that will automate up to 80% of all daily decisions people have to make.”
Rizzo adds that the cloud computing model is still very relevant with no other trend impacting the world of IT as significantly in the past decade. “Underpinned by both technology and economic disruptions, the cloud will fundamentally change the way technology providers engage with business customers and individual users as it is a key driver for mobility and data analytics.”
Kruger expects the cloud to introduce bold movements in the organisation in 2016. “Previous barriers like security, bandwidth, and privacy are also becoming either a non-event or are in the process of being properly addressed,” he says.
Embedded computing and wearables
Rizzo also says the move towards embedded systems is an interesting one to take note of. “With technology erasing the boundaries between hardware and software, embedded systems are expected to bring the new wave of change.”
The increasing use of data generated by wearables, bring your own device, and social media platforms, are also leading to more pre-emptive analytics of data.
“These analytics are likely to encompass automated application responses based on inputs received from analytical models. Due to advances in technology, faster and more real-time analytics will be possible through in-memory analytics and in-memory processing. Next year could be the one where these aspects gain considerable momentum in organisations,” concludes Kruger.
Source : The SA Leader