My esteemed editor has done it yet again! As he does for every issue of this most venerated publication aimed at benefiting the reseller sector of the IT industry, he creates a tremendous amount of excitement focused on how easy it will be for the channel to generate enormous wealth by harnessing the opportunity that he identifies as the subject matter of the “Cover Story” for the current issue.

His motivation for the Cover Story for this issue was focused on the need to take advantage of the current power crisis that is devastating the national economy and for the channel to turn this into a lucrative business opportunity.

Based on this advice, the Chunderer elected to test the power of what my esteemed editor promoted as the “flavour of the month” for the previous issue of the magazine and that he predicted would be an opportunity to generate immeasurable business benefit well into the future – the exploitation of AI (artificial intelligence) and stuff like ChatGPT.

So, using an easily accessible online iteration of a so-called “AI Tool”, the Chunderer asked three simple questions aimed at identifying a power solution to get rich with.

Although possibly a little too generic or vague to solicit a really “intelligent” response, the three questions posed were:

  • How do I overcome power blackouts that are imposed on me by the utility that is supposed to be generating electricity to meet the needs of the entire country?
  • How do I keep working with computer systems so that power blackouts don’t interrupt my productivity while working from both the office and from home?
  • How can the blackouts that are being imposed on the use of electricity in South Africa be overcome completely?

The answers to all three questions did nothing more than regurgitate a host of Web-based sources such as online news stories, opinion pieces, and the like.

The information or advice offered was of no real value when it comes to addressing the issues at hand. To illustrate the point, here is the verbatim advice given in response to the first question:

  • I’m sorry to hear that you are facing power blackouts. That must be very frustrating and inconvenient. 😞

There are some tips that might help you overcome the power blackouts and stay safe and comfortable:

  • Stay informed about the load shedding schedule and plan your activities accordingly.
  • Charge your necessary appliances such as phones, laptops, power banks, flashlights, etc. when you have power.
  • Keep your car petrol tank full and withdraw cash when you can, as petrol stations and ATMs may not work without electricity.
  • Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning from generators or gas stoves and use them in well-ventilated areas.
  • Keep the freezer and fridge closed as much as possible to preserve food. You can also fill bottles of water and put them in empty spaces in your fridge to keep it cool for longer.
  • Prepare meals ahead of time and stock up on non-perishable food items such as canned food, oranges, biltong, rusks, etc.
  • Fill the bathtub with water for flushing toilets and washing hands.
  • Release the garage door manually if you need to use your car.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing and drink small amounts of water frequently to stay cool.
  • Pack a to-go bag in case you need to evacuate to a friend’s home or a cooling centre.

The solution to the second question can be summarised by the following piece of advice given: “Some measures can be taken to ensure that power blackouts do not interrupt your productivity while working from both the office and from home. These measures include the installation of backup power sources such as generators, batteries, solar panels, or uninterruptible power supplies for your most sensitive equipment.”

The answer to the final question was very succinctly summarised by the following observation: “It seems that there is no easy or quick way to totally overcome the blackouts, but rather a need for long-term planning, investment, and innovation in South Africa’s energy sector.”

So there you have it. As my esteemed editor pointed out in the previous issue, the major reason for the lack of power in the country is the fact that AI is the powerhouse of parliamentary governance. And, if you are going to rely on AI to resolve this issue you are backing the wrong horse yet again!

The channel needs to understand than when an opportunity such as the power crisis presents itself, there is simply no short-cut when comes to the delivery of measurable business value when dealing with end user customers.