In many respects, Africa is on the cusp of a new dawn. Never in the history of the continent has technology and society had such a close relationship as we see it today, as the activities of citizens, companies and governments continue to generate information and data at a rate unforeseen in human history.
Data is poised to be the next most valuable natural resource, and from all indications, Africa is not prepared to be left behind in the emerging data-driven global economy. The combination of data and the mobile culture will be a key competitive advantage for citizens, companies, national and sub-national governments in Africa, fueling vast economic growth and societal progress.
Recent studies show reveal that 80% of all the data in the world was created in past three years. This is one of the reasons why two-thirds of IBM’s technology research’s work is now devoted to data, analytics and cognitive computing.
There will also be a three-fold increase in data-transmitting transistors per human by 2017. Humanity currently generates about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data from a variety of sources daily – from emails, blogs and climate information to posts on social media sites, and purchase transaction records to healthcare medical images. Africa’s share of this global data mix is bound to be significant, especially as mobile communications adoption and internet usage on the continent continues to grow.
Close to 70 per cent of Africa’s population now comprises of millennials – many of whom have grown up seeing mobile devices as a normal part of everyday life. As the region’s future decision-makers, customers, and constituents, these millennials will be major stakeholders in the success of both Africa’s businesses and governments – from hiring top talent to ensuring satisfaction with public services.
The millennial generation in Africa and elsewhere have much to contribute when it comes to moving enterprise organizations along the path toward greater mobility – but only if it is empowered to do so. More than 30 percent of millennials globally view work/life flexibility as essential to being engaged at work, according to a recent study by the IBM Institute of Business Values.
Businesses however looking to mobilize their workforce can no longer rely on a top-down approach. Instead, they must enlist the help of their tech-savvy millennial employees and tap into the generation’s inherent understanding of what it means to be truly mobile. In the enterprise space, this manifests itself in two ways – ensuring that millennial employees are armed with the right tools to provide the best possible experience for customers and encouraging their feedback on and involvement with new mobile developments.
Mobility is an enabler for business transformation and a catalyst for innovation. African enterprises which effectively harness the power of mobility will begin to uncover valuable hidden insights that lead to new products and services, gain a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ needs, and benefit from faster transformation and results. The implementation, however, can be an uphill battle for many organizations.
Beyond these peculiar infrastructure challenges in the African environment, employees may also lack the necessary skills and many businesses have yet to implement an effective mobile strategy that ensures accessibility without compromising security. Along with growing security concerns, consumer expectations of mobile offerings also continue to rise, and the pressure is building on organizations to derive and action on the real-time information generated by mobile devices. Millennial employees, however, can help bridge the gap. As organizations explore new ways to leverage the feedback cycle between mobile services and end-users, millennials can assist businesses in creating increasingly targeted experiences to maintain the attention of young consumers.
As the future leaders of change, millennials have a vested interest in the mobility of their employers. And with more millennials flooding the workforce pool, they will continue to prioritize working on mobile devices. In fact, millennials in the Middle East and Africa region are optimistic about their abilities – a recent survey from Telefonica found that 81 percent of the region’s millennials believe they are on the cutting-edge of technology, compared with 75 percent worldwide.
Businesses in Africa can seize this unique opportunity as a way of improving customer interactions. As younger employees are more likely to be on the front line of an organization – perhaps, working as customer service representations, or managing and providing content for brand social media channels. By empowering the employees with direct access to customers – with streamlined access to real-time information – organizations can ensure a better experience for their customers.
We are increasingly living in the era of the Mobile Mentor. When we think of the word ‘mentor’, most people tend to picture a veteran with decades of experience. However, when it comes to embracing mobility, it is the up-and-comers who have the advice to offer. Corporations and governments in Africa can benefit from direct input by millennial employees. By encouraging the feedback of younger employees, businesses can find out exactly what millennials workers and consumers are expecting from new mobile services and gain deeper insight into ways to streamline functionality.
Citibank is an example of a company which has successfully implemented this practice. Its reverse mentoring program pairs senior executives with undergraduates to work together on projects, helping the company stay one step ahead of the top technology trends and laying a foundation for improved recruiting and new talent cultivation and generation.
IBM is also encouraging its millennial employees to join the wider business conversation. Through its Emerging Leaders program, millennials were able to join more than 1500 C-level executives in discussing how to use enabling technologies including mobile, cloud, and Big Data analytics as a competitive advantage. By tapping into the digital wisdom of millennials, organizations can unlock new ways to solve business challenges, enhance productivity and better define the needs and strategic interests of the corporation in the future of the marketplace.
Otiti is Country General Manager, IBM West Africa
Cloud Market Poised for Adoption in Nigeria
COVID-19 has exposed Nigeria’s market to the advantages that cloud can offer a business, and there is a shift in mindset to embrace the cloud operating model (including from on-premise to colocation), with security now front-of-mind for organisations and businesses.
This is according to Laurel Onumonu, AGM & Head Cloud Business Unit at Lagos-based Cyberspace Limited.
Onumonu spoke during VMworld 2020, hosted recently and virtually by VMware, and said Nigeria’s cloud landscape is opening up and gaining momentum, with more interest from businesses in leveraging the technology.
VMware executives said from a broad market perspective, while the overall response to cloud services and adoption does depend on the size of the business and region, the general objective is to become cloud ready.
At VMworld 2020, the company unveiled Virtual Cloud Network innovations that it believes will help customers create a modern network that better supports current and future business initiatives.
“With advancements across the VMware networking and security portfolio, customers will be able to more effectively manage the rapid shift to remote work, deliver traditional and modern applications faster and more securely, and reduce the cost and complexity of connecting and protecting the distributed enterprise,” the company added.
According to VMware businesses today, and the IT and application development teams supporting them, are racing to adapt to a new normal. Application architectures are more modern and cloud native; on premises datacentres are extending to include multi-cloud and edge compute environments; and the work environment is no longer a single campus or branch, but rather anywhere an employee can connect to the Internet.
This new reality introduces complexity that the network of the past 20 years was not designed to address.
“Customers tell us they want the same level of automation they have in the public cloud across their entire environment. But while they can automate some parts of their network, other parts such as firewalls and load balancers still require manual tickets for provisioning. That’s why partial automation is an oxymoron; it’s a half-built bridge that does nothing to get customers to where they want to be,” said Rajiv Ramaswami, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware.
“The VMware Virtual Cloud Network delivers the automation and economics of the public cloud across every element of the network and spanning the entire distributed enterprise at a time when agility and cost matter more than ever.”
VMware will deliver new Virtual Cloud Network innovations across three areas – automation that enables the public cloud experience; modern application connectivity and security services; and solutions that re-imagine what’s possible in network security.
The company also announced Project Monterey—a technology preview focused on evolving its architecture for the datacentre, cloud and edge to address the changing requirements of next-generation applications, including AI, machine learning and 5G applications.
VMware is also announcing that it is collaborating with ecosystem partners to deliver solutions based on Project Monterey including Intel, NVIDIA and Pensando Systems and system companies Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise(HPE)and Lenovo.
“Organisations are introducing increasingly sophisticated applications from cloud-native to machine learning to streaming apps that are distributed and data intensive,” said Ramaswami. “We’re announcing Project Monterey to help customers address the shifting requirements of next-gen apps. By re-imagining the architecture of the datacentre, cloud and edge, we expect to offer customers the freedom to run these apps in the best environment.
According to the Cloud in Africa 2020 Report, released in early September by World Wide Worx, in partnership with F5, Dell Technologies, Digicloud Africa, and Intel, COVID-19 has pushed cloud computing to the front of decision-makers minds.
The study maps out latest cloud trends across continent, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Malawi.
It showed that 91% of surveyed respondents deemed cloud computing to be “important” in helping with business’ response to the crisis.
Furthermore, eight out of ten respondents (80%) believe that cloud computing has made a significant contribution to governments’ efforts in dealing with the pandemic.
The most common uses by governments were remote working (69%), public communications (55%), and crisis coordination (50%).
RexPay Drives Advancement in E-commerce and Online Payments
At the turn of every new decade, there is always a groundbreaking technology that comes to define that era. With the creation of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the 2000s, our world was never going to be the same again.
The addition of Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, TikTok and the wholesale embracement of WhatsApp as a primary platform for communication and business in the 2010s meant that so many barriers in business had finally been removed, especially in developing countries, and with specific emphasis on Nigeria.
Anyone who might have visited Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, some ten years ago, would have noticed how retailers were doing everything to scale the hurdles that confronted them daily.
Overpriced shops, outrageous advertising budgets and several regulatory considerations that seemed to stifle their chances at business success were short-circuited or completely bypassed by the innovative spirit of these traders. The trunk and bonnets of cars became pseudo-shops for displaying their wares instead of renting shops that cost more than any profit they could ever have hoped to make. For marketing, word-of-mouth advertising came in handy. Anything that stood in their way of survival had to give way somehow.
As social media became commonplace and people began exploring all the possibilities that lay therein, these retailers were not left out too. They soon discovered that they did not actually need to display their wares on their cars anymore, as social media surely offered a better alternative for reaching even more people, and without the usual stress associated with screaming at the top of their voices on streets and in marketplaces.
By just posting their items on social media, they could get people to indicate interest in those items and then close out the sales offline or via DMs.
But in all of these, there seemed to be a missing piece in the online sales puzzle – the issue of payments. While some retailers made do with transfers, a number of them still insisted on collecting cash from their customers because of the perceived lack of trust with that option of payment.
RexPay, an online payment gateway by Global Accelerex, has just been launched to fix that problem. It is a platform that helps social media sellers receive payments in a fast, convenient and secure manner. The interesting thing is that they do not need to own a website for this to happen.
Customers also get to enjoy the freedom to choose between multiple payment options – card, account transfers (internet banking), USSD or QR. This means people can go with their preferred mode of payment and pay seamlessly from the comfort of their homes or offices rather than being boxed into one option only.
Custom-built with the sole objective of bridging the gap between online businesses and their customers, any seller can easily sign up to the RexPay platform in less than five minutes, then begin to receive payments immediately. This is a significant departure from the practice of keeping sellers waiting till the next day before their accounts can be activated.
The safety of the platform guarantees peace of mind to customers who choose to pay with their cards, because there is no chance that their card details will ever be compromised. When considered alongside its quick sign-up process and ease of use, signing up to RexPay becomes a no-brainer for entrepreneurs who intend to scale their businesses in the shortest possible time.
For small businesses that have not grown to the point of hiring accountants, RexPay assists them with easy financial reporting, as all their payments can be simply viewed either on their mobile or desktop devices. With this in place, it is easier for sellers to gain business insight from the reporting tool, which will further help them with planning and forecasting. This, together with the other highlighted features, makes the payment product every online retailer’s best friend.
Big businesses like airlines, e-commerce platforms, revenue-collecting agencies, power distribution companies; educational institutions like schools and vocational centers; and religious organizations like churches and mosques are not left out. End users can easily buy tickets online, settle bills, pay taxes and fees, and also make donations to worthy causes, using this payment gateway.
With RexPay, online sales have come full cycle. A new vista of opportunities is now within reach for online businesses who were hitherto faced with limitations around receiving payments and balancing of books. This new payment gateway by Global Accelerex takes away all that trouble and gives them the liberty to focus on what is most important: scaling their businesses in this rapidly evolving times.
Samsung Launches the Incredible Crystal UHD TV
TV has become a massive part of our lives from those must-watch series to the sports matches that have us glued to the screen. World-renowned for pioneering innovation in this popular category of technology, Samsung has now launched Crystal UHD TV.
Featuring Samsung’s cutting-edge Crystal Display, the new Crystal UHD TV will bring high-resolution content to life in a whole new way, delivering a viewing experience like never before in a mainstream UHD TV.
Controling all function with Voice Assistant and enjoying multiple contents on one screen with Multi View are just some of the welcome advancements on this incredible TV.
“Samsung TV has been constantly paving the path for technological innovations by offering consumers a new TV experience and a future for global TV industry. This is the core driving force that makes Samsung No. 1 TV for 14 consecutive years. Crystal UHD builds on this success in ways that people will truly love.” said Dudu Mokholo, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Central Africa.
Crystal UHD is the purest form of picture quality with 1 billion rich and vibrant colours with guaranteed crisp and vivid images time over time. Its features include:
Real 4K UHD Resolution – 4K UHD TV goes beyond regular FHD with 4x more pixels, offering your eyes the sharp and crisp images they deserve. See it like you’re really in the scene.
Lifelike colour expression – Immerse yourself in the picture with a wider range of colour. Dynamic Crystal Display delivers lifelike variations so you can see every subtlety.
Crystal Processor 4K – Experience picture quality that moves you, made possible by a single chip that orchestrates colour, optimises high contrast ratio, and masters HDR.
See the picture, not the TV – A sleek and elegant design that draws you to the purest picture. Crafted with an effortless minimalistic style from every angle and a boundless that sets new standards. You will see only the most immersive cinematic experience ever.
Get what you want just by speaking up – Everything is so much easier with voice control. Now you can quickly access favourite content, get answers, and even control your TV and other connected devices around your home. Just tell it what you want.
See multiple contents at the same time – Multi View splits your TV screen in two, putting the content you’re watching on one side, and mirroring your mobile screen on the other. This means you don’t have to look away from the TV screen to glance at your phone anymore.
Get gaming faster – Get into the game faster with Game Enhancer, which optimises your screen so you have more control with barely noticeable input lag. Experience smooth gaming in its most impressive form without motion blur and judder.
Decorate your space with your favourite photos – When you project your favourite photos onto the TV screen, the TV itself blends into your décor elegantly. You can lay out multiple photos in a beautiful collage or place them in a slide show for to keep the visual fresh and on point.
Clean up the clutter – Samsung UHD offers a neat solution for keeping all your TV cables tidy, hiding them away right in the stand. This helps you reduce your clutter so you can fully enjoy your TV’s beautiful design.
Samsung Crystal UHD clearly does what many TVs cannot, in the most amazing ways.
The Crystal UHD TV is now available at various retailer stores and retailer online pages. For extra peace of mind, Crystal UHD TV comes with a 24 month warranty.
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