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Most people’s first association with voice recognition technology is Siri, Apple’s now-ubiquitous personal assistant. 10 years on though, the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning initiatives suggest that voice integration has a bright future ahead.
It’s hard to imagine a world without technology – the speed and ease of the internet, and daily innovation that continues to disrupt business models. Across industries, we are starting to notice businesses of all sizes embrace the digital economy to create value, increase efficiency, and adapt to stay ahead of competitors.
Gone are the days when small businesses need to sell their products to just the people who live or work in the immediate vicinity. Digital platforms and partnerships are now empowering micro-companies to extend their offerings, opening new doors for business growth and development.
With the Black Friday shopping frenzy around the corner, the digital economy this year is expected to receive an enormous boost as many people will want to avoid crowds and take their shopping online. After a difficult year marked by severe disruptions and decreased demand, businesses will also be relying on this period to make up for losses due to the pandemic.
To remain agile in an evolving market, organisations in all sectors are revising their budgets and business plans. According to Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practise, it’s critical for business leaders to understand that large-scale shifts are currently changing how people work and how business gets done.
At the core of our work and social lives, connectivity and online functions like email, e-commerce, apps, and instant messaging, seem to dominate everything we do in the modern world. Made even more apparent by the lockdown and its restrictions, few businesses can trade effectively without connectivity, and a reliable data network has become a must-have for all businesses, regardless of size or sector.
Speed testing is commonplace in South Africa, with several online tools available to measure internet speed in addition to regular well-read reports from local publications. This fascination with connectivity speed probably stems from our history of bandwidth-limited legacy technologies coupled with highly oversubscribed networks, which have led to a great deal of frustration and distrust on the part of consumers in the past.
Despite its pivotal role in the 4th Industrial Revolution, the connectivity sphere is no different from any other business sector when it comes to profitability challenges. In the fast-moving and hyper-competitive economic environment of today, even the biggest players in ICT are under threat.
Africa is a large continent, and investors tend to pick and choose their markets based on a multitude of criteria. Some see opportunities in emerging arenas while others focus on more developed and mature opportunities.
Everywhere you look these days in urban areas and surrounding suburbs, there seems to be an advertisement for a different fibre provider. Clearly the South African internet market has come of age, and consumers – especially business customers – are benefiting from plummeting prices, increased speeds, and a myriad of package choices.
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