A new study by data analytics firm IDC is finding that digital transformation in the era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will enable organisations to create new jobs, with the IT sector in South Africa expected to create as much as 119,000 net new jobs over the course of the next five years.
Moreover, the IT sector in South Africa is expected to grow at a five year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.25% to reach R175 billion by 2022. Fuelling this growth is the fact that every part of our economy and our society, whether it’s precision agriculture or precision medicine, is being shaped by the advances in digital technology. In fact, the cloud market expected to reach R11.53 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR of a whopping 21.9%. This means that computing is becoming more powerful and ubiquitous from the cloud to the edge, while AI capabilities and machine learning are rapidly advancing our knowledge of the world.
According to the report, entitled Economic Impact of IT & Microsoft in South Africa, the increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions will enable organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation. In turn, this enablement will help businesses generate close to R81 billion in net new revenues over the next five years.
“A huge amount of data is being created, and advancements in data analytics, machine learning and predictive analytics combined with new, rich computing experiences are driving a new era of working – new ways and insights on how to engage with customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform business models ,” says Zoaib Hoosen, Managing Director at Microsoft South Africa.
Enter era of intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge
By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 30 billion connected devices, according to the IDC research group, with many people using multiple devices during the course of a day. The ability to move experiences from device to device requires us to orchestrate these devices using the cloud as the control plane.
The intelligent edge will become the interface between the computer and the real world, enabling companies to gather significant amounts of data, extrapolate a lot of invaluable as well as actionable business insights from the data, and apply AI to enhance workplace safety, security and productivity.
However, doing so demands a huge amount of responsibility in terms of ensuring that access to these services is democratised more broadly across society and that the technologies we create are trusted by the individuals and organisations that use them.
To deliver upon this promise of responsibility, there are three key local initiatives through which Microsoft and its partners are ensuring technology’s benefits reach more people. Firstly, Microsoft partners with companies developing solutions that enable internet connectivity and energy access in underserved communities. For instance, there are currently two key projects within Limpopo and Eastern Cape that leverage TV White Space technology to provide affordable access to the community, schools and public clinics amongst others.