IBM invests in accelerating innovation in South Africa
As part of its operation expansion in Africa, IBM today announced the opening of an IBM Client Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Co-located with IBM's Innovation Centre, the new $1.6 million facility is designed to accelerate innovation for South African business and IT skills.
Using the newly expanded centre, clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics can now access enhanced cloud capabilities and extensive big data and analytics resources.
Adoption of cloud technology has reached a tipping point, with approximately one in every two medium to large businesses in both South Africa already using cloud.
And the growing proliferation of mobile phones and tablets is accelerating the opportunity to interpret data patterns to anticipate needs and deliver improved services.
According to IDC, “Business models based on mobility, Internet, and cloud technologies will grow quickly in 2014.
“The most important events of the year will continue to cluster around what IDC calls the '3rd Platform' for IT growth and innovation, built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies, and Big Data analytics.
“Mobile technologies in particular are seeing rapid adoption, with mobile enterprise applications a leading investment priority for organisations across the continent, particularly in South Africa.” (Source: 2014 Set to Be the Year When Growth Meets Reality in Africa, Predicts IDC -http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prAE24519913)
To take advantage of this explosive growth, the newly enhanced centre will be focused on providing clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics with solutions that use Big Data and Analytics and cloud technologies to solve key local challenges such as improving government services, digitising banking services, enhancing customer centricity in telecommunications.
Clients will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts.
This centre provide clients with hands-on access to cloud-based industry solutions such as IBM Intelligent Operations designed to provide cities, governments and utilities with a central command center for the use of predictive analytics to enhance efficiency and manage all their operations.
Abraham Thomas, IBM South Africa Country General Manager, said: “Public sector leaders can see the city’s command centre in action, in a simulated or live environment, helping them see how such systems can positively impact the city and its environment.
“Our investment in this centre is in line with our strategy to underpin growth in South Africa’s IT sector and to support the use of advanced technology in public sector service delivery and commercial business growth, particularly African expansion.”
IBM believes its new test and demonstration environment will serve to cut the costs and complexity of assessing IT solutions, but will also assist CIOs in presenting strong business cases for advanced technology adoption.
“The environment is also critical to ISVs, partners and potential customers who can now experience our advanced solutions and execute proof of concepts, which will make a significant difference to their quality and time to market,” said Thomas.
“The investment is intended to stimulate skills development innovation –driving growth by giving constituents access to IBM’s most advanced technologies in a real world environment.
“Public and private sector can touch and feel how cloud and big data and analytics can help address the challenges unique to the South African context.”
The IBM Client Centre public sector IOC will be followed by experiential technology showcases focused on the telecoms and financial sectors later this year.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”