This week, GENBAND is participating in Africom2014, the seventeenth conference which is growing in parallel with the African economy, including the steady growth of businesses across the world’s second largest and second most populated continent. While a lot of the focus over the last ten years has been the explosion in mobile devices, satellite coverage, consumer services (including consumer Over-the-Top applications like fring, WhatsApp, and Skype), there is growth in enterprise communications as well, with unified communications offering new advantages to businesses.
While there is not always a need for businesses to rip and replace their old systems entirely, with consolidation as part of the growth factor, managing multiple systems can be complicated, and some analysts are reporting that more and more companies are moving to a single IT / systems integration partner to reduce costs, improve features, and scale up.
The right, qualified “single vendor” – with the right technologies behind them – makes life exponentially simpler for enterprises, whether they are located in a single country, across the continent, or international. The right IT provider can also help transition and train, ensuring the UC solutions are completely leveraged, with features like video collaboration, mobile presence and “follow me,” instant messaging, visual voice mail, and much more are easily made available to users and adopted in their work streams.
Whether used by banks to connect branches, contact centers to serve consumers, retailers and online retailers to create a more enjoyable and efficient experience for consumers and the teams serving them, by transportation, hospitality and other industries – having access to reliable, intuitive and affordable voice, video and messaging services can make a huge difference in the short and long term success of companies – from the many start-ups on the African continent, to large enterprise growing to serve the growing population.
There are few continents in the world where government, healthcare and education systems are as tied in, and with the upside opportunities of better delivery of services to Africans using real time communications delivered over the Internet, it is no surprise we’re seeing a lot of innovation in these areas.
Recent regulatory initiatives have been announced, including governments on the continent implementing regulations that require contractors to source 30 percent of labor or supplies from local companies. With billions being made by foreign suppliers, countries including Zambia and Kenya are not allowing companies to bid for telecom contracts without partnering with and providing knowledge transfer to local telecom companies. According to some analysts, the rules are expected to affect Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies and ZTE, which have been winning most of the big telecom contracts in Africa.
Channel partners – systems integrators – managed service providers in Africa are looking for partners whom they can trust to help them build their businesses. With more and more RTC moving to the cloud, supported by NVF platforms in the future, their choices have broadened and with the collective advancement of software-driven RTC, including UCaaS, we’re leveling the playing field for business owners.
GENBAND, like IBM, has believed in the potential of Africa in light of cloud communications technology advancement for many years. This infographic tells IBM’s story:
IBM earlier this year announced they signed an agreement to “provide cloud computing expertise to one hundred Egyptian Software Companies to help drive innovation and new cloud development skills. This is part of a collaborative agreement with the Egyptian Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), in which IBM will offer its expertise to the ISVs with the aim of boosting Egypt’s efforts to become a center of cloud computing excellence in the region.”
GENBAND is proud to partner with IBM, looking at visionary new ways to embed human, real time communications into everyday business applications. As is often the case in emerging economies, they grow faster because they are able to leapfrog, with technology, and advance past more traditionally-run businesses in the “developed world.”
This week in South Africa will no doubt prove to further advance communications innovation, particularly in the enterprise world, where investments in communicating better in real time – locally, nationally, regionally and internationally – can be the lifeblood of building sustainable, profitable business. Africa is growing:
And with billions of dollars of investment being poured into development, including massive investments in industries including mining, oil and gas, technology and more – the need better ways to communicate and connect to do more business will only rise.
You can connect with GENBAND’s team at Stand F24.