The South African Telecommunications, Networking and Applications Conference (SATNAC) was held in George, with the focus on building 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Kathy Gibson reports


Transformation has a dark side

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the buzzword of the day, and organisations around the world are rushing to get a foothold in this disruptive new world. But IoT raises massive issues that could prove damaging to companies and countries alike.

Dr Brian Armstrong, chief operating officer of Telkom Business, cautions that organisations need to approach IoT thoughtfully to avoid becoming a victim to the many pitfalls that it could hold.

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University crisis impacts IT industry

Universities today are in a state of crisis, and new models will be needed if we are to address the relevant issues.

Professor Andrew Leitch, deputy vice-chancellor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, points out that universities are microcosms of society, representing different spheres of society.

“One cannot imaging a successful economy without a robust university system,” he says.

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Disruption and the policy landscape

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Dr Siyabonga Cwele failed to address the pressing concerns of spectrum allocation and the Broadband White Paper during his keynote address to today’s SATNAC conference. However, he hinted that competitiveness and affordability might be behind the slow progress of policy adoption.

Speaking about the recent launch of the logo and app promoting the National Development Plan White Paper, Cwele points out that government has identified ICT and broadband rollout as critical for the nine-point plan.

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Telcos drive cloud through open networks

The telecommunications sector is facing a lot of challenges as it battles with additional traffic coupled with declining revenues.

At the same time, Internet companies are bringing new products to market and tapping into new revenue streams – but telcos are not able to take advantage of these opportunities.

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What telcos need to do now …

In an increasingly mobile and digitalised world, telecommunications operators need to make major changes to meet the expectations of their customers.

Amdoc Global conducted two survey asking consumers what they want from their telcos; while a survey of telcos found that service providers are not currently working on delivering these products and services.

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The race to 5G is already on

5G starts today; we don’t need to wait for 2020, because 5G is a software evolution rather than a revolution.

Most importantly, it is software, and the majority of what we need for 5G happens in the core network, says Professor Thomas Magadanz, Fraunhofer Institute Fokus.

“We need to start now to prepare for this big change,” he stresses.

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The $14bn IoT opportunity in SA

The Internet of Things (IoT) is real – and there is more than $14-billion in opportunity available in South Africa right now.

This is the word from Vernon Thaver, chief technology officer at Cisco SA, who points out that the real value in IoT and digital transformation is not about the technology, although technology is vital to be able to digitalise business processes.

“When you talk about digital, growth is exponential. The moment you digitise something, it is subject to Moore’s Law.”

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