Priority given to data usage and the ability to draw on several sets of intelligence and skills simultaneously – this will differentiate businesses competing for market share in the fourth industrial revolution. Specifically, those operating in Africa have the opportunity to leverage growth in population and GDP potential.
This is according to executives from ICT solutions and systems integration firm NEC XON, who spoke at the company's 7th annual Summit at Sun City, today.
Carel Coetzee, CEO of NEC XON, said, "We are at the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. We need to make sure we are ready, for the potential negatives and opportunities that it will present. These revolutions are characterised by transforming economies, jobs and societies, it is going to have a big impact on us. It is true the revolution will take away millions of jobs, but this is nothing new... it happened with the first revolution – innovations like the steam engine took away jobs, but created a lot of others. This cycle of job loss and creation has repeated decades."
Coetzee is said the fourth industrial revolution is the culmination of connectivity, processing power, algorithms that make it possible to make sense of info, and big data.
"AI is a big buzzword... we hear about machine learning, deep learning and it sounds intimidating. But II read this definition which said that it is intelligence that is not biological and can be used to secure a specific outcome," he added.
According to the company, this revolution is about the deployment of smart tech to level the playing field and eliminate barriers that excluded many from the formal economy.
"Disruptors now rise from anywhere by using compute and storage in the cloud with accessible and available communications infrastructure. In this dynamically morphing world African nations emerge as a growth centre for global businesses. And Africans stand to benefit enormously from solutions tailored to our specific needs and unique socio-economic, geographic, and cultural challenges and opportunities."
Hironobu Kurosaki, President and CEO of NEC Europe, emphasised the company's position in Africa and reiterated the value of this market to the business' strategy going forward.
NEC began operations in Africa 54 years ago and supplies its system solution to 53 countries.
To date its accumulated sales in Africa is US$4 billion.