Conducted in conjunction with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and Vanson Bourne, an estimated 4 600 business leaders from 40-plus countries were surveyed for the research, including a portion from South Africa.
It is those local insights which are of most interest to us, with the report finding that South African organisations are quite eager to adopt emerging technologies.
More specifically only 13 percent of business leaders said their organisations would struggle to meet customer demands driven by digital transformation in the next five years, this despite as much as 77 percent admitting that digital transformation should be more widespread locally.
The great shifts
As for the emerging tech that will drive things in South Africa, IFTF identified a combination of technologies. Primarily 5G, AI, IoT and Extended Reality (XR), each creating a major shift in the coming decade, according to the report.
As for the major shifts, IFTF has highlighted the following as being predicted to take place between now and 2030:
Networked Reality – Over the next decade cyberspace will become an overlay on top of our existing reality as our digital environment extends beyond televisions, smartphones and other displays.
Connected Mobility and Networked Matter – The vehicles of tomorrow will essentially be mobile computers. We will trust them to take us where we need to go in the physical world as we interact in the virtual spaces available to us wherever we are.
From Digital Cities to Sentient Cities – Cities will quite literally “come to life” through their own networked infrastructure of smart objects, self-reporting systems and AI-powered analytics.
Agents and Algorithms – We will each be supported by a highly personalised “operating system for living” that is able to anticipate our needs and proactively support our day-to-day activities to free up time.
Robot with Social Lives – Robots will become our partners in life – enhancing our skills and extending our abilities. Robots will share newfound knowledge to their social robot network to crowdsource innovations and accelerate progress, in real-time.
As Dell’s research finds, many organisations are already preparing for these shifts in different ways, with the same going for South Africa. The firm does note though that local business leaders are not blindly following trends, but preparing as best they see fit.
For example SA business leaders welcome the partnering of people with robots in order to accomplish tasks at 59 percent, but this sits below the rest of the world at 70 percent, especially as employment and the future of job security are hotly contested issues at the moment.
A similarly differing trend is privacy, with 85 percent of local business leaders believing that they will be concerned with it over the coming decade, whereas the global percentage sits at 68.
“I think the Future of Connected Living research shows South Africa is a maturing digital economy that marches to its own beat,” notes Doug Woolley, MD of Dell Technologies South Africa.
“We can see this among our customers and partners: there is a serious appetite for digital improvements, but they still keep their feet on the ground and look for solutions that change lives and experiences. They are not scared of technology, but they don’t just believe the hype. They want solutions that matter and last,” he concludes.[Image – Photo by Captureson on Unsplash]