Institute pioneers E-procurement in Nigeria

Institute pioneers E-procurement in Nigeria

Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo

Foremost teachers’ training institution in Nigeria, Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, has set yet another pace in utilising information technology to drive its procurement processes.

Still bogged down in the 21st century with traditional means of procurement in the private and public sectors, archaic system, which often times make institutions susceptible to high level and unimaginable fraud, ACE has initiated this innovation to bring the nation out of the wood.

The Provost of the college, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, while having an interface with The Guardian on the novel achievement and many others, affirmed that the initiative would change the face of procurement in the Nigerian public sector.

According to Ogen, having realised that the college like other parastatals is not insulated from the possible risks of over-pricing, purchase fraud, purchase of inferior or sub-standard items, contract over-pricing and other vices, the innovation becomes imperative.

He disclosed that the college mandated its IT infrastructure provider to develop and deploy an electronic price and projects monitoring ePPMS and an e-procurement software in line with Section 5 (q-r) and Section 16 (12) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

“The primary goal of this world class innovation is to develop, update and maintain a robust digital database that will make the procurement system more transparent, fair, faster, efficient and competitive, thus reducing the opportunities for manipulation and corruption.

“Of course, this is a major feat, considering the fact that our College appears to be the only public institution where this has been successfully adopted and effectively deployed,” he said.

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ZTE launches technology devices in Nigerian market

ZTE launches technology devices in Nigerian market

PHOTO: scmp.com

To ensure that Nigerian market gets the best quality, affordable, unique, classy, easily accessible phones for its consumers, ZTE Technology has stepped in to meet these needs.

Speaking at a news conference weekend, in Lagos, to kick off ZTE’S Open Market Operations in Nigeria, organised by its media partners, Devset Mobile Services Limited, ZTE VP Mideast and West Africa, Xiang Pingnianm, said: “Every year, new technology meets forward thinking. We have seen many technology devices that keep pushing the boundaries of our imagination. It is the beauty of technology that allows us to go beyond and innovate, infinitely extending one’s imagination.

“Technology and imagination have benefited our society. Imagination inspires technology and technology turns imagination into reality.

“Innovation and beyond, it is ZTE’s global strategy for 2016.”

Pingnianm said that at ZTE, they believe “The powerful combination of technology and imagination will unlock endless potential. We aim to create technical breakthroughs with the powerful merging of technology and imagination, so as to contribute to the development of human society.”

Stating, however, that ZTE does not compromise on the quality of its products, the country Manager, RST, Rubban Ahmad Khan, added that ZTE has many affordable phones including Blade V7, Blade A452, Axion 7, Blade A910, Axion 7 Mini, and a host of others. Mr. Rubban said that ZTE is one of the biggest industries supporting the Nigerian IT market.

Mr. Pingnianm said that ZTE has been dedicated in handset industry for 18 years, working with global industry chain partners, listening to its consumers, creating innovative products for everyone, and letting them enjoy the smart life.

While noting that ZTE Nigeria Limited has been operating since 2002, as the biggest CDMA handset provider to operators since 2007 and other network terminal devices such as USB Dongle, MIFI Router, and CPE and so on, Mr. Pingnianm added that Nigeria has always been the leading and information window for the West Africa. Therefore, we believe Nigeria is a great choice for ZTE’s brand exposure, he stated.

ZTE, which has been sponsoring five NBA teams and four famous European football clubs, considering customers’ preference in each country, will proceed with its sports sponsorship or entertainment sponsorship in Japan, Australia, South East Asia and South Africa as part of ZTE’s continuous Branding effort. For sure, one day we will have our sponsored sports team in Nigeria, and that day will not be far from now, he added.

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Firm predicts lifestyle technology as trends in future cities

Firm predicts lifestyle technology as trends in future cities

Predicted expectation of lifestyle technology trends in the cities as an explorative and predictive exercise focuses on areas that are likely to impact such cities in terms of technology, economics, climate, culture and demographics, LG Electronics has said.

According to the forecast, there is a tremendous need for innovations and products that will help consumers experience an elevated standard of living.

Commenting on the trends, Head of Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Rajesh Agnihotri, said: “We care about consumers and their well-being that is why we are committed to producing cutting-edge technologies that will not only shape their lifestyles but also solve their problems”.

However, the LG Signature line of home appliances, are perfect examples of what the future looks like. In the eyes of the electronics giant, future appliances will not only look great, they will be much easier to use.

The appliances that is likely to dominate the future will boast of features such as doors that can automatically open when you approach, easy to understand control panels in accessible areas, and panels that become translucent to touch.

The future appliance will be more efficient and quieter; all of these features can be found in the firm signature. With this in place, the ideal future home and the future city will not only look good, but it will change ways and manners consumers interface with these devices

LG, the manufacturer of front-loading washing machine has the credentials to back up its forecast. A periscope into the futuristic design of the LG Signature washer shows that tomorrow’s appliances do not have to be hidden in the basement or in a closet.

The refrigerator also seems as if it could set the tone in the future kitchen with the ability to blend in anywhere.

Following the trends in tech design of the Signature line, the connectivity of the future city will equip it to keep citizens safer than ever before. By combining advanced smart technologies, LG has established itself as a brand to beat in a relatively competitive electronics market.

The desire for appliances that will help consumers display their status in the society is what has got many thrilled about the LG Signature collection.

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Weco Systems wins ‘Architectural Excellence Award’

Weco Systems wins ‘Architectural Excellence Award’

L-R: Chief Operating Officer, Weco Systems International Limited, Nnamdi Onyebuchi; Territory Business Manager Sales, Cisco Systems, Eberechi Nkoro; Telecom / Network Officer, Diamond Bank, Charles Ifinedo and Solutions Manager, Mobility and MPLS Omotunde Ogunbiyi, of Weco Systems during Weco/Cisco Enterprise Mobility Workshop in. Lagos.

Weco Systems has emerged as the recipient of Cisco’s Architectural Excellence award in Enterprise Networks for Africa at the 2016 Partner Summit Conference in San Diego, California.

The Cisco partner summit awards are designed to recognise the top-performing channel partners who demonstrate best-in-class business practices and serve as a model to the industry.

Areas of consideration include innovative practices, application successes, unique programs, problem solving and sales approaches. Award recipients are selected by a group of Cisco Worldwide Partner Organization and regional executives.

Commenting on the award, Chief Operating Officer, Weco Systems, Nnamdi Onyebuchi, said: “We feel highly honored to be selected as the recipient of the Architectural Excellence award for Enterprise Networks from Cisco.”

“This recognition validates the success of Weco’s comprehensive services methodology that ensures acceleration of favorable business outcomes to our esteemed customers leveraging Cisco’s innovative technologies,” he said.

Weco Systems International Limited is a foremost systems integration company with over 24 years of experience in delighting customers by solving their business challenges through seamless & timely delivery of innovative technology solutions that not only transform their operations in ways that boost their business performance but also increase their business agility and competitiveness.

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Samsung to build electric car battery plant in Hungary

Samsung to build electric car battery plant in Hungary

PHOTO:AFP

South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI said Tuesday it will build an electric car battery plant in Hungary as it expects “explosive growth” in the sales of electric vehicles on the continent.

The firm, an affiliate of the world’s top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics, counts BMW, Volkswagen, Jaguar, and Land Rover among its European clients.

The company said it will invest 100 billion forints (325 million euros) in the construction of the plant in the small town of God, 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the capital Budapest.

The factory is expected to be fully operational by 2018 and produce batteries to power 50,000 electric vehicles (EVs) a year, Samsung SDI vice-president Jung Se-woong said in a joint press statement with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Budapest.

“In the near future, explosive growth in sales of electric vehicles is expected. This is why the company is making great efforts to boost its European manufacturing, it wants to strengthen its presence on the continent,” Jung said.

The factory will create 600 jobs, Szijjarto added.

Big car makers like BMW have made electric cars a strong focus of their development strategy.

Earlier this summer, Samsung SDI announced it would invest 408 million euros in the China’s leading electric car maker BYD, co-owend by Americain billionaire Warren Buffet.

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South African Skills Marketplace App launches

South African Skills Marketplace App launches

With the nature of the global workforce rapidly shifting from full-time corporate work towards freelancing and project-work, a new mobile app, Kalido developed in South Africa – has been launched, intending to provide those working in this changing environment with the tools that they need to survive and thrive.
Kalido functions as an ecosystem that enables talented professionals and clients to connect with each other by matching users according to their goals (who they want to meet, and what kinds of services they can provide), as well as social and geographic proximity.
In doing so, Kalido provides the real-world trust factor, which is often missing in random connections.
“Finding the kind of clients you want as an independent contractor is hard. Finding skilled workers and service providers also consumes time and social capital for everyone. By letting you instantly tap the networks of everyone you know in a personalized way, Kalido makes the whole process incredibly simple and quick, and does so in a way that respects the privacy of all parties involved,” says Kalido COO and co-founder, Ashvin Sologar.
“Unlike existing work and search platforms, we also don’t charge users a cent for posting or engaging with their matches.”
Kalido was largely developed in South Africa over almost two years by a team of world-class software engineers and designers with extensive experience in mobile app design and machine learning.
“Kalido is built using some of the most cutting edge techniques available today, and we are constantly exploring new technologies to improve it without sacrificing scalability or stability,” adds Ashvin Sologar.
The team’s business experience, meanwhile, comes from prominent global companies including Alibaba and management consultancy, McKinsey & Company.

Kalido lets you identify the type of services or individuals you would like to meet by setting a “goal”, expressed in the form “I want to meet…” [a wedding photographer, a running partner, etc.] or “I can provide…” [tax advice, architectural blueprints, etc.] The app then intelligently searches for a match, sending a push notification when a relevant user is found, and continues searching for additional matches until the user removes the goal in question.
Starting a conversation is easy, with Kalido’s one tap introduction requests, simple chats with shared contacts to get referrals, ice-breakers to help you start conversations, and push notifications that let you know when a match is found.
To ensure that users make the right matches, Kalido uses natural language processing which matches the meaning of a user’s search (ontological and semantic matching), rather than the exact words typed (syntactic matching).
How secure is Kalido? All user-supplied information is secured on the user’s device and on the app’s servers with AES-256 and SHA2; while in transit with SSL and on a call with SRTP. All server-side data is also encrypted.
Users also have the option to choose what, and with whom, information is shared, and can easily report inappropriate content or block unwanted contacts.
After its local launch, Kalido will rollout worldwide, starting with an August launch in India, followed by Australia later in 2016. Kalido has also partnered with an American university, and has already raised substantial seed capital to support its ambitious growth plans.
“Through Kalido, we want to build the first truly trusted global platform for individuals to connect and exchange services in the real world, empowering freelancers everywhere and awakening the entrepreneur in all of us,” adds Kalido co-founder, Sanjay Varma.
Kalido is now available publicly on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store .

Staff Writter

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SOUTH AFRICAN SKILLS AND SERVICES MARKETPLACE APP LAUNCHES

SOUTH AFRICAN SKILLS AND SERVICES MARKETPLACE APP LAUNCHES

With the nature of the global workforce rapidly shifting from full-time corporate work towards freelancing and project-work, a new mobile app, Kalido developed in South Africa – has been launched, intending to provide those working in this changing environment with the tools that they need to survive and thrive.
Kalido functions as an ecosystem that enables talented professionals and clients to connect with each other by matching users according to their goals (who they want to meet, and what kinds of services they can provide), as well as social and geographic proximity.
In doing so, Kalido provides the real-world trust factor, which is often missing in random connections.
“Finding the kind of clients you want as an independent contractor is hard. Finding skilled workers and service providers also consumes time and social capital for everyone. By letting you instantly tap the networks of everyone you know in a personalized way, Kalido makes the whole process incredibly simple and quick, and does so in a way that respects the privacy of all parties involved,” says Kalido COO and co-founder, Ashvin Sologar.
“Unlike existing work and search platforms, we also don’t charge users a cent for posting or engaging with their matches.”
Kalido was largely developed in South Africa over almost two years by a team of world-class software engineers and designers with extensive experience in mobile app design and machine learning.
“Kalido is built using some of the most cutting edge techniques available today, and we are constantly exploring new technologies to improve it without sacrificing scalability or stability,” adds Ashvin Sologar.
The team’s business experience, meanwhile, comes from prominent global companies including Alibaba and management consultancy, McKinsey & Company.

Kalido lets you identify the type of services or individuals you would like to meet by setting a “goal”, expressed in the form “I want to meet…” [a wedding photographer, a running partner, etc.] or “I can provide…” [tax advice, architectural blueprints, etc.] The app then intelligently searches for a match, sending a push notification when a relevant user is found, and continues searching for additional matches until the user removes the goal in question.
Starting a conversation is easy, with Kalido’s one tap introduction requests, simple chats with shared contacts to get referrals, ice-breakers to help you start conversations, and push notifications that let you know when a match is found.
To ensure that users make the right matches, Kalido uses natural language processing which matches the meaning of a user’s search (ontological and semantic matching), rather than the exact words typed (syntactic matching).
How secure is Kalido? All user-supplied information is secured on the user’s device and on the app’s servers with AES-256 and SHA2; while in transit with SSL and on a call with SRTP. All server-side data is also encrypted.
Users also have the option to choose what, and with whom, information is shared, and can easily report inappropriate content or block unwanted contacts.
After its local launch, Kalido will rollout worldwide, starting with an August launch in India, followed by Australia later in 2016. Kalido has also partnered with an American university, and has already raised substantial seed capital to support its ambitious growth plans.
“Through Kalido, we want to build the first truly trusted global platform for individuals to connect and exchange services in the real world, empowering freelancers everywhere and awakening the entrepreneur in all of us,” adds Kalido co-founder, Sanjay Varma.
Kalido is now available publicly on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store .

Staff Writter

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Connecting Cities in the Cloud

Connecting Cities in the Cloud

While smart cities have held a great deal of promise for many years, they are only beginning to come to fruition now. This is due to the fact that we now have the network connectivity and the backend storage and compute infrastructure to unleash their full potential. This bodes well for municipalities and governments and is equally good news for citizens, whose working and day to day lives alike are made easier by connected cities.

Not only are certain aspects of smart cities already a reality, but collaborative cities, in which independent developers and citizens work together creating apps, and sharing information, could hold the key to more successful and efficient cities in the future.

The cloud is critical
Essential to enabling both smart cities and collaborative cities is a robust cloud backend. Put plainly, utilising the cloud makes implementing a smart city possible. This is particularly important as cities would likely generate petabytes of data in a month.

All this information needs to be securely stored and the scalability of a cloud solution mitigates having to constantly upgrade storage capacity to cater for the continuous influx of data. Just as important is cloud analytics, which can analyze a myriad of datasets, in near real-time, on a city’s environment in order to enhance living conditions for its citizens.

A prime example of this can be found in the City of Chicago, which is one of the first to implement sensors throughout the city that permanently measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation, wind and traffic. The data from these sensors stream into the cloud where it is analyzed to find ways to improve the life of its citizens. Collected datasets from Chicago’s ‘Array of Things’ are then made publically available on the cloud for researchers, developers and entrepreneurs to find innovative ways to analyse the data.

For those municipalities aiming to explore smart city implementation, a typical Internet of Things (IoT) enabled smart city scenario entails deploying numerous connected sensors and probes throughout the area to gather information. The problem with this approach is that it can require substantial investment in dedicated sensors. Instead, governments should be encouraged to consider using other alternatives, which can be leveraged to bring any city to life.

Parking made sensible
One such alternative would be to leverage existing sensors cities may already have at their disposal. An example of how this could work is smart parking, in which people can use a mobile app to view available parking spots nearby when navigating a city. However, the same result could also be achieved by using existing video cameras within a city.

As indicated by startup Park Smart it is entirely possible for a city to garner parking information based on analysis of video camera footage, and use this to determine whether there are parking spots that are occupied. Those bays are then displayed on a map, with occupied spots highlighted in red, and available spaces shown in blue. Users can access this information via a mobile app, enabling them to determine at any given time where in the city there is parking availability.

Information from everywhere
Another way to leverage existing infrastructure is by attaching a low cost, low power sensor to a bus or streetlight, for example, effectively turning it into an information gathering device in its own right. For example, in a large city like London, sensor equipped buses could gather data as they traverse the city on information such as traffic movement, CO2 levels, temperature and sound. With cloud analytics, this information can then be extrapolated and analysed to determine where traffic jams or accidents may be present or where pollution levels are rising to unsafe levels and citizens can be kept informed via a mobile app. People often talk about cities being living, breathing entities and this would effectively like giving a city a real-time MRI scan.

South Africa’s vibrant taxi industry, which transports in excess of 15 million commuters a day, could be used in a similar fashion, gathering information about traffic flows, and other data, during particular times during the day and specific days during a week.

Innovation outsourced
Attaching sensors is not the only way to use the cloud to foster a smarter, collaborative city, it can also be achieved by publishing open datasets. Returning to our example of Chicago, the city publishes an Excel spreadsheet with the date, description and GPS coordinates of streets that are scheduled to be cleaned. In Chicago, cars parked on the street in question would be towed and their owners fined. With this in mind, independent developers use the dataset to create an app that allowed users to view when a specific street will be cleaned and receive an email alert should they live or work in the area.

One of the major advantages of sharing datasets is that it empowers individual developers or small businesses to design their own apps, which can either be sold for a small fee, or earn their creators revenue by supporting it with advertising. This then fuels an app ecosystem, which fosters continuous innovation. Already we are seeing examples of this outsourcing of innovation taking root.

As a case in point, Peterborough City Council in the UK. The city council has installed weather stations in schools across the city. The sensors are simultaneously used to monitor meteorological and climate activity. The data sourced from these installations can be used at all levels of education and across subjects, from science to technology to social behavior studies augmenting the curriculum in local schools and making learning near real-time.

The council also found that by open sourcing the data from these weather stations, and enabling developers to leverage it, helped address their shortage of dedicated developers they had in-house. Sharing datasets in this manner also holds interesting potential. For example, by sharing datasets for weather stations and hospital admittances, a city could determine whether a temperature drop below a certain point correlated with increased hospital admissions during a particular time of year, and take precautionary measures.

Cloud advantages
A true smart city is a collaborative one which not only has sensors that are accumulating data, but also features engaged citizens who are aiding in the collection of data in order to add to a system that benefits others.

Clearly, smart cities and cloud technology are a natural fit; while the former is ever changing, and adapting to its citizen’s needs, the cloud is able to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of its users.

Governments and municipalities should not only think of smart cities in terms of deploying probes and sensors in order to capture information. Rather, they should pay attention to how existing infrastructure can be retooled to aid in gathering data.

Cities should also consider citizens not just as collectors of information but creators of applications themselves using open datasets. Then the information provided can be analysed using secure cloud technologies such as Amazon Web Services. This not only benefits a city, it also fulfills the promise that smart cities bring, enabling citizens to enjoy higher standards of living

 

Giulio Soro, Smart City Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services

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The power of technology: Diagnose Diseases with Video Games

The power of technology: Diagnose Diseases with Video Games

More than one billion people in the world entertain themselves with apps and video games. Only a hobby? For Miguel Luengo Oroz, the answer is no. Miguel and his team from the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) have resolved to use the collective intelligence of players from around the world to help diagnose diseases that kill thousands of people every day.

Parasites rather than spaceships

The idea originated in 2012. “While I was working for the United Nations in global health challenges, it caught my attention how tough and manual the process of diagnosing malaria was,” explains Miguel. “It can take up to 30 minutes to identify and count the parasites in a blood sample that cause the disease. There are not enough specialists in the world to diagnose all the cases!”

Miguel, a great fan of videogames had an idea: “Why not create a videogame in which rather than shooting spaceships we search for parasites?” And MalariaSpot was born, a game available for computer and mobiles in which the “malaria hunter” has one minute to detect the parasites in a real, digitalized blood sample.

Since its launch, more than 100.000 people in 100 countries have “hunted” one and a half million parasites, and the results are promising. The number of clicks made by many players in the same image sample combined by artificial intelligence shows a count as precise as the one of an expert, but quicker.

“We published a study that probed that the collective diagnosis by the use of a videogame is not a crazy thing, but now it needs to be assessed from a medical point of view,” explains Miguel. His team cooperates with a clinic in Mozambique and has done some tests in real time and has achieved the first collaborative remote diagnosis of Malaria from Africa.

The technology platform to host the game was the key. “We needed a flexible infrastructure that worked from anywhere in the world. We usually have traffic spikes when we appear in media or when we do campaigns in social networks, and we saw that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offered a good solution for auto scaling based on demand,” Miguel said.

Miguel and his team use the AWS Research Grants program that allows students, teachers, and researchers to transfer their activities to the cloud and innovate rapidly at a low cost. “We can now test different services without having to worry about the bill,” explains Miguel.

From the White House to neighborhood schools

The MalariaSpot project has attracted the recognition of entities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who has named Miguel one of the ten youngest Spaniards under 35 with potential to change the world through technology, the Singularity University of the NASA, and the Office of Science and Technology of the White House.

But one of the greatest awards for Miguel and his team comes much closer to home. They enjoy visiting schools all over Spain and helping awake the most unsuspected scientific vocations. “Today’s kids are digital natives. They are used to seeing and analyzing complex images on a screen,” says Miguel. This shows the educational value and awareness of videogames. During the last World Malaria Day on 25th April thousands of Spanish students participated in “Olympic Malaria Videogames” playing the new game MalariaSpot Bubbles. During this day school teams competed to become the best virtual hunters of malaria parasites.

“With MalariaSpot we have even be able to reach kids who were not very good at biology, in a workshop that we run in a school last year the kid who won was the most troublemaker out of his whole class,” explains Miguel (with a smile).

And the future of medical diagnosis is not only defined in laboratories. “We are in a turning point where technology allows ubiquitous connectivity. And us, and the rest of our generation, are responsible to direct all the possibilities that technology offers us to initiatives that make a real impact on the lives of people. And what better than health.”

With MalariaSpot and her “younger sister,” TuberSpot, Miguel and his young team of researchers are contributing so that in five years 5% of videogames are used to analyze medical images. Their objective? “Achieve a low cost diagnosis of global diseases, accessible to any person anywhere around the planet.”

 

 

Staff Writter

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South African: Business slow to embrace “innovation” economy

South African: Business slow to embrace “innovation” economy

South African companies are slowly waking up to the concept of disruption and radical innovation but they are still not taking the impact it can have on their business seriously enough.

According to Grant Thornton’s second quarter International Business Report (IBR) research, which researched awareness of disruption and risk among South African businesses, almost two thirds of companies (63.4%) in South Africa believe disruption and innovation will have little to no impact on their operations.

The IBR provides tracker insights from around the world on a quarterly basis. These findings are from the IBR’s second quarter tracker data for 2016 to end June, revealing findings from business executive interviews held during May and June 2016. Regional and national perceptions are also researched every quarter for South Africa, from executives at 400 privately held business annually (100 executive interviews per quarter) regarding crime, service delivery, B-BBEE, IT security and disruptive innovation risk and political climate.

Disruption, which goes hand in hand with radical innovation, encompasses the way that completely new processes, products or services are created, sometimes creating entire new markets and marking a dramatic shift away from existing business models, products and services.

Asked specifically whether their businesses were actively investigating or experimenting with possible radical innovation to change or introduce new business models, products or services, 18% of South African business executives indicated that they were not taking any steps to address disruptive innovation; 35% said it would not be applicable to their business; and 10% had no idea if they would be affected or not.

In contrast, of the 100 business executives surveyed during the second quarter of 2016, 11% were seriously planning to launch a new business model, products or services and 25% were investigating possible innovative and disruptive ideas.

Grant Thornton Director of Advisory Services, Michiel Jonker, said it was clear that companies have difficulty in developing foresight and were not doing enough to gauge just how much future possible events and technologies would affect their industries. He said the IBR data made it clear that innovation and disruption were clearly not part of business risk registers and strategies of companies across industries. And foresight is missing in business strategies in general.

“South African companies need to be aware of the new technologies and developments/innovations that can be advantageous to their operations. ,” said Jonker. “My concern is that, according to our research, so many companies did not even know what disruption entails.”

“What Uber has shown us is how simple it is to completely disrupt a market and at the same time create a new market. It has opened the doors to people who would never have used metered cabs while at the same time, the disruption on the vehicle rental industry is still unknown.”

Of the 64% of respondents who indicated that they had a business risk strategy in place, just more than half indicated that their risk plan factored in disruption. This means that almost 50% businesses still do not consider disruption as a serious risk (or even ‘Black Swan’**) during risk strategy formulation. Not to mention the opportunity to disrupt their own industry.

According to the 2016 Global Innovation Index, South Africa ranked 54th, behind countries like Mauritius, Thailand and Chile. The Global Innovation Index surveys the innovative capacity of more than 100 countries around the globe. The ranking is based on 82 indicators across seven areas: institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and both technology and creative outputs.

South Africa’s position indicates that research and development spend is well below average which makes it susceptible to new technologically savvy entrants from other markets.

Jonker said it was imperative to embrace the fact that while disruption or radical innovation could pose a threat; it also offered exceptional opportunities to forward-thinking businesses. He said innovation was also a vital driver of economic growth and particularly during low growth cycles and it should not be viewed in isolation.

“Too many businesses still think they don’t have to think of disruption and that’s alarming. Technology disruption – such as 3D printing; robotics; digital medicine; and nano-technology – in particular has the ability to affect entire industries. Although there is more awareness these days, there is not enough attention given to it at a strategic level.

“Some industries think they are not susceptible but any sector can be affected. Take 3D printing which can be used to manufacture mining and engineering components to spec and on site. This would affect importers, freight forwarders, and of the course the manufacturers of the components as well.”

“And while businesses generally treat technologies in isolation, the real opportunity (and risk) presents itself in the convergence of these technologies. The convergence of 3D printing and another technology like the nano-material Graphene, which is 300 times stronger than steel yet flexible, presents both possibilities and threats,” he said.

Jonker said that increasingly companies needed to understand how technologies converged, and appreciate the speed at which technology was improving; while simultaneously ensuring that executives had the foresight to anticipate the effect on its operations.

“Many people don’t know that Kodak invented the first digital camera. Yet the company decided not to embrace the technology because they opted to focus on their (perceived) core business of paper and chemicals. Today Kodak no longer exists,” said Jonker.

“In the end, the challenge for every business is to disrupt itself. Those who refuse to do so will be disrupted by others or new players in the market. At a macro level, the economy needs creative destruction in all industries to spur the next economic growth period,” he concluded.

 

Staff writter

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