By Robert Fox
Cut throat competitiveness has been with the telecom industry since its inception nearly 140 years ago when Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in a race to the U.S. Patent Office to lay claim to inventing the telephone.
Fast forward to today and we see a highly complex, competitive telecom environment where voice services have taken a back seat to a growing range of data-intensive services such as streaming music, radio and video, high definition video, online gaming and social media.
Transporting all of this data through their networks is resulting in shrinking margins and network congestion for the carriers. But don’t hang up on them yet! Mindful of protecting customers’ privacy and preserving their trust, many of the carriers are annonymizing their data, or offering opt-in programs, as they start to embrace and leverage advanced analytics for competitive advantage.
A new IBM study on how telcos are using Big Data highlights this trend: 85 percent of the respondents indicate that the use of information and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for them – a 124 percent increase in the last two years. Continue Reading »
By Alfred Vanderpuije
This week at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, leaders will come together to discuss Africa’s future. One of the three focus themes is the importance of ‘Strategic Infrastructure’ as a foundation for the continent’s growth. As Mayor of Accra and Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, I would say that there are few areas as crucial for infrastructure investment as cities.
Buoyed by an emerging oil and gas industry and a rapidly growing consumer class, Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Investors are flocking to the country’s capital Accra to take advantage of new business opportunities and become part of this success story. Mastercard recently identified Accra as one of Africa’s top cities in terms of economic growth potential over the next few years. Local and foreign firms are also driving a number of urban development opportunities such as Ghana Cyber City, King City and Appolonia City which aim to set up modern, high-tech hubs within and around Accra. Continue Reading »
By Takreem El-Tohamy
There’s a wonderful word in Swahili that I think expresses one of the imperatives for the future of Africa. The word is “harambee.” It means pulling together, collaborating and supporting each other. I believe that one of the key factors in the ability of African countries to create sustainable and equitable economic growth will be the emergence of innovation ecosystems. Harambee perfectly captures an essential element of such ecosystems—the ability of institutions and individuals to pull together and build a mutually supportive environment.
Innovation ecosystems are complex organisms that are difficult to create yet tremendously powerful when they work. Think Silicon Valley. They require a melding of all of the capabilities of governments, businesses, financiers, universities, and individuals. Together, these organizations and individuals provide the web of support that makes it easier for startups to launch and grow quickly, and for established companies to innovate more aggressively. With that kind of support, African entrepreneurs and businesses will find it easier to produce new products and services, or even create whole new industries. You can think of an innovation ecosystem as a collective intelligence—harnessed for the good of society. Continue Reading »
By Jill Puleri
These are crucial times for brick-and-mortar retailers as they evolve to put the consumer at the center of all that they do. Those that make good decisions are going to prosper; those who don’t are going to slip to the back.
Central to retailers’ ability to remain relevant is their response to the mobile opportunity. Mobile commerce is expected grow 115 percent over the next 12 months. Though the opportunity is clear, capitalizing on it is full of complexity as retailers integrate web sites and supply chains together with the numerous mobile devices that consumers are using to shop.
Just a few years ago, many retailers were working feverishly to push out shopping applications for mobile devices. There was good reason for the rush: tens of millions of consumers are jumping on the smart-phone band wagon and using them to shop. Continue Reading »
By Latha Maripuri
Mobile technology has unquestionably changed how we interact in both our business and personal lives. In fact, mobile devices have quickly moved from a nice-to-have technology to a necessity for most of us.
But the integration of mobile within our lives doesn’t stop there. We’re using mobile technology in innovative ways and countless places across every industry. For example, doctors can track therapeutic effectiveness through remote monitoring apps, keeping them updated on patients even when neither is in the hospital. The examples are endless.
The importance that consumers are placing on mobile technology is now creating a shift towards putting mobile first in business. In fact, IBM recently announced a new generation of mobile enterprise technologies that are based on this point of view. Although this presents a great opportunity to modernize how interactions and organizational functions are approached, it has also already created some concerns. Continue Reading »