As data continues to surge in businesses in Africa, the transformation of this wealth of information into actionable insights becomes a matter of utmost importance. Embracing big data has the potential to catalyse new waves of growth, foster innovation and propel Africa into the heart of the data economy.
If used properly, big data in Africa will bring about myriad advantages, such as job creation, business expansion, increased trade opportunities and a surge in innovation. However, to harness this immense potential, several obstacles must be overcome, including the lack of adequate infrastructure, connectivity and skilled personnel.
The key to addressing these challenges lies in embracing African-led solutions and tapping into the continent’s own expertise. To that end, Africa Data Centres, in collaboration with TechCentral, recently organised a thought-provoking roundtable discussion themed, “Unlocking the value of big data in Africa”.
This gathering, held at The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, brought together industry leaders who delved into ways to empower Africa in reaping the benefits of today’s digital economy.
Leveraging the cloud
Opening the discussion, Angus Hay and Paul Schonborn from African Data Centres shared some insight on the topic and what Africa Data Centres has seen happening in the big data centre area. According to them, there were several issues that need to be addressed, including the relationship between cloud and big data, and how cloud can be leveraged; trusting cloud and using artificial intelligence with big data; creating new revenue streams using big data; and big data in Africa and how we need to help each other.
Clifford de Wit from Netstar, ex-Microsoft, spoke about how Microsoft can be leveraged in this area and was also keen to share some examples of how Netstar is using the vast amounts of data it is collecting to augment service capability.
The data that they collect from vehicles has helped make their clients safer and assisted them faster in cases of emergency by detecting potential collisions and contacting them to offer help or to send emergency services to the scene.
Several attendees shared concerns about the security of their data if they were to leverage cloud technologies. Others believed that there was no point in procrastinating and better to leverage machine learning (ML) and AI for help sooner to gain competitive advantages. Not all echoed this sentiment, however.
Doing data in an African way
Esther Munyi from Sasfin raised a few key topics, one of them being the importance of African companies finding African insights and benefits from African data. It was said that we are often caught out following the example of what other companies are doing around the world, but we should rather focus on finding and creating our own value out of African data.
The topic of African companies collaborating and sharing the insights or value they are finding to help each other to grow and prosper also arose. Africa Data Centres shared that it has an ever-expanding network of data centres across the continent and is already in key regions and countries. These data centres, and their ability to interconnect, have the power to make data more easily shared and help companies bring their data closer to the kinds of computing services that could allow them to really leverage the data, and gain deeper and more meaningful insights out of it.
Colocation is fast becoming favoured over on-premises and can still enable users to maintain the security of a hybrid approach to cloud and data strategies.
Never forget compliance
Advocate Mohale from Standard Bank was one of the only compliance-focused attendees and shared some views on the challenges that organisations face when trying to use their data in new ways, while still thinking of compliance and security. Organisations need to think about their data compliance more actively and ensure that data is protected and handled with a well-managed compliance strategy in place.
It emerged that there are varying levels of maturity across organisations in Africa when it comes to their ability to leverage big data, but it’s important for the evolution of our continent that we do so, and do so securely, in a manner that is truly collaborative and African.
About Africa Data Centres
Africa Data Centres is Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier- and cloud-neutral data centre facilities. Bringing international experts to the pan-African market, we are your trusted partner for rapid and secure data centre services and interconnections across the African continent. Strategically located, our world-class facilities provide a home for all your business-critical data. Proudly African, we are dedicated to being the heart that beats your business. For more information, please visit www.africadatacentres.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Read more articles by Africa Data Centres on TechCentral
- This promoted content was paid for by the party concerned