[Column] Rebatho Madiba: Digital transformation is nearly a teenager
In 2015, the World Economic Foundation identified six megatrends that were set to change the face of business and society and every single one was aligned with the concept of digital transformation. From how the internet would become a social and physical extension of people’s lives and experiences through to compute and storage everywhere to the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and the digitisation of matter, these trends are now an inherent part of society today.
Some of these trends have already reached significant milestones, others are expected to achieve their tipping points – a critical point that results in unstoppable change – over the next few years. One such milestone is the mega-trend of people and the internet, where their interaction with the web becomes a ‘mental, social, and physical extension of themselves’, is expected to reach 80% of people with a digital presence on the internet by 2023 with the tipping point in 2025. Today, 59% of the world’s population uses social media and enhance their digital presence through online platforms and connections, and this is only set to become more immersive as trends like the metaverse continue to gain traction.
Driven by the pandemic and the need for people to find innovative ways of working and connecting online, digital has become as much a part of daily life as cars and shopping. It has reshaped how people communicate and collaborate and it has supercharged productivity and performance. In the 1980s, communication was in person or by post. Today it’s faster than a thought. Organisations can’t afford to be left behind which makes 2023 an opportunity to focus on platforms and technologies that empower people from anywhere and that ensure their online presence is always on. This is where solutions that provide access, data networks, wireless and unified collaboration capabilities are key as they enable industry and fulfil online requirements through omnichannel applications.
Another megatrend, one that’s now so commonplace in boardroom discussions that it’s hard to imagine a business without it, is that of compute, communications and storage everywhere. The tipping point for this technology is anticipated to be in 2025 with, as cited by Statista, just over five billion people on the internet as of April 2022. This highly connected population has seen the radical and accelerated transformation of online experiences which has, in turn, driven the need for scalable and elastic computing power that can be accessible from anywhere, and that can deliver on demand.
Moving forward, applications and services will only get hungrier for data and capability. Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 technologies and innovations will have to be rendered from highly reliable and flexible platforms and quantum compute is very likely to bring physics into computer science to create devices and environments that are minute – that optimise space and capacity. Moving forward, companies need to collaborate with service providers that offer a wide spectrum of cloud and computing solutions that can directly address their challenges and help them overcome obstacles impacting on their scale and productivity. This is particularly true of the challenge of data sovereignty that has inhibited many companies, especially in Africa.
IoT has, of course, been a part of the IT landscape for a long time but has only recently started to deliver on the promises it made when it first entered the business landscape. Today, the number of IoT connected devices worldwide is expected to reach 29 billion by 2030, says Statista, and is at 13 billion as of 2022 and, according to the IoT Industry Council of South Africa, IoT is expected to reach an installed base of 21.5 billion active and connected devices by 2025 in this country. Add to this the connected realm of the metaverse and the megatrends of compute and people, and you can see how IoT is about to become an integral part of the metaverse and thriving business operations.
To fully realise the potential of this technology, companies should ally themselves with partners that have a proven IoT track record and that can empower them with technologies that are appropriate for their industry and niche. This could be Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions that drive visibility into the oil and gas pipeline through to IoT within retail and automotive logistics that translate customer experiences and vehicle monitoring through intelligent IoT applications.
BCX has this proven track record across all key mega trend touchpoints and has proven value in its applications and solutions designed to help organisations reshape their investments into AI, automation, machine learning and compute. With our support, you can fully realise the potential of digital transformation as it stands today – a more mature and far more powerful entity that can fundamentally refine your growth and operations.
Rebatho Madiba is the Business Development Digital Platform Solutions at BCX.