2013 meets 2014

Although we already posted several articles that looked back in 2013, I think this one deserves special mention - not because it is so long, but it looks specifically at the South African IT landscape, and quotes some well-known and also knowledgeable IT experts in our country, on a broad range of topics - see some excerpts below:

On the new mobile operator Orange:

"Another ICT highlight, says Chireka, is that of French telco Orange entering the consumer space in SA. While the operator has had a behind-the-scenes presence in the country - through its business arm, Orange Business Solutions - for some time now, Orange only started targeting SA's consumers at the beginning of the year. MD of Orange Horizons Sébastien Crozier says the company leveraged its sponsorship of the Africa Cup of Nations to start leaving a mark on South Africans' minds.

"Orange enjoys great success across most of its operations, but has been lacklustre in the Anglophone countries. While they are yet to make significant waves in the market, I do believe they are one to watch very closely. With market consolidation on the horizon, Orange makes a brilliant suitor for the smaller but competitive providers in the country," says Chireka."

On the use of mobile data

Sahil Mungar, First National Bank (FNB) Mobile and Connect head of sales and marketing, also sees the steadily decreasing price of data when he looks back on the year in 2014's shadow.

"It is positive that this move makes mobile services and the Internet more accessible to more people. The perception of data being expensive should also start to fade, which opens people up to use more apps and do more mobile browsing. We have seen tremendous growth in the user base of the FNB Banking App this year, which definitely speaks to more people using and becoming comfortable with applications and realising the benefits of 'being mobile'."

On the governments approach on ICT

Also tipping the scale in favour of the negative, Schofield says the South African government evidently does not regard ICTs as crucial to development and growth. "Only a miniscule proportion of pupils are exposed to IT in schools, perpetuating our long-term dependence on imported skills. The delay in finalising the production of set-top boxes has probably killed the chance to have a thriving export market in a field where SA led the world at one time.

"There is no BEE Council in place to monitor and encourage the transformation of the sector. I don't want to give a litany of depressing examples - these three just serve to emphasise why SA is losing out in the African context. Our peers in Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Mauritius and other countries are taking up the challenge of harnessing available investment in infrastructure, research and development and technology clusters."

Check out the full article here: http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69823:2013-meets-2014&catid=116&Itemid=81#5

Anne Schwarz

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