It’s getting close to that time of the year when Garner holds the Cape Town leg of its IT Symposium/Xpo. The three-day long event focuses in particular on what CIOs and IT decision makers should be taking not of in the coming year from a trends perspective.
The research firm also casts its gaze a bit further, and has released its Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa (subscription required) report, where 24 technologies have been identified for the disruptive effect they will have on business on the African continent.
Baker’s dozen of technology
Of these 24, 13 of them will mature within the next two to 10 years and have a transformational or high impact on businesses, Gartner points out.
“IT spending continues to rise in Africa alongside the maturity of technologies locally. Seven technologies have entered the Slope of Enlightenment and are climbing toward the Plateau of Productivity in 2019,” says Jeff Mann, research vice president at Gartner.
“For example, cloud office has entered the Plateau of Productivity this year. Companies in Africa have made the move to because of general preference for cloud deployments, but also because of the desire to reduce costs, redeploy IT staff, drive simplicity and provide more functionality to users,” he explains.
While many of the aforementioned 24 will discussed in more detail at the Symposium, Gartner has offered up some initial insight into three technologies in particular – smart city frameworks, the Internet of Things (IoT) and low Earth orbit satellite systems.
Making cities work better
Much has been made of smart cities in recent years, and Gartner says the frameworks for these technological ecosystems will have an impact in the immediate future.
“Smart city frameworks will have a transformational business impact in the next two to five years as cities in Africa apply diverse strategies to accelerate the development of smart city frameworks based on traffic, social and safety issues,” says Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner.
“In many countries, citizens are moving from rural areas into cities, and urbanization strategies are key to supporting the increasing infrastructure needs, and to aid the urbanization growth both on a demographic and business level,” she adds.
In South Africa for example, both Cape Town and Johannesburg have invested in this regard. For the City Bowl it pertains to the manufacturing, tourism and entrepreneurial industries, with things on the Highveld focused on electricity, water management, traffic and green strategies.
The Implementation of Things
Much like smart cities, IoT is perennially mentioned as a trend that is primed to disrupt markets and segments globally. In the case of Gartner’s forecast, it will likely begin taking shape and reach the early stages of implementation with the next five to 10 years.
More specifically Gartner predicts that IoT will reach between 5 percent and 20 percent of its local target audience during the same time period as above.
“Organizations in Africa continue to address cost, complexity and scaling challenges implementing IoT-enabled business solutions,” highlights Alfonso Velosa, research vice president at Gartner.
“Some noticeable challenges include security concerns, end-to-end integration complexity and a large number of startup vendors that will have trouble surviving the Trough,” Velosa continues.
With IoT viewed as a key building block in enabling digital businesses and digital platforms, it will be top of mind for many an organisation over the coming decades.
Flying low and beaming down
The final technology highlighted by Gartner is the growing number of low Earth orbit satellites that will beam down connectivity. It’s also expected to have an impact over the next five to 10 years, but still remains an emerging technology for now.
“This technology is important for African countries as satellites can cover all remote or underserved geographies, providing the broadband connectivity critical to operating in remote areas in Africa,” emphasises Bill Menezes, senior principal analyst at Gartner.
These satellites will tackle the significant issue of penetration on the continent, with them potentially offering global broadband or narrowband voice and data network services to regions with little or no existing terrestrial or satellite coverage.
It will therefore be important for organisations with aims of having business in these underserved locations to closely monitor what happens with this technology in coming years.