The Dell Technologies World 2018 which held in Las Vegas recently, opened up discussions on digital transformation and how global economies could ride on the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to boost development, writes Emma Okonji
Technology is evolving and is fast developing economies and turning them into smart cities. Bu conversations around digital transformation at the Dell Technologies World 2018, which held in Las Vegas in the United States of America last week, revealed that Internet of Things(IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will drive development faster and help global economies, especially developing economies from emerging markets like Africa to achieve digital transformation. Such transformation will boost the African economy and help its citizens to become innovative, while using technology to boost businesses and create job opportunities.
About digital transformation
Digital transformation is about technology innovation and the use of technology to transform the way businesses operate and making businesses much more efficient and profitable. It transforms economics of scale to drive smart cities, while taking real time decision. Dell Technologies is of the view that technologies are converging to offer better solutions for business agility, and has advised global communities, especially Africans to embrace AI, ML and IoT to achieve digital transformation since these new technology trends are fast driving convergence in the technology space. At the Dell Technologies World 2018 conference, Dell Technologies harped on the need for economies to consider generating big data that would support them in catching up with the rapid technology growth that convergence is bringing. Dell Technologies is of the view that economies and organisations must invest in AI, IoT and ML to benefit from the digital transformation.
Achieving digital transformation
At the conference, the Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, Michael Dell called on African counties and the entire global communities to embrace digital transformation through the use of digital technology to drive business growth and economic sustainability.
According to him, developed economies of the world have embraced technology to further drive their businesses and every nation must see it as a necessity to grow its economy through the digital transformation that is currently sweeping across the world.
“Digital transformation has enhanced businesses, and every business is looking for ways to deploy the best of technology solutions in every aspect of their operations to drive growth, increase new business partners, relationships as well as products and services. Technology is now top on the agenda for businesses globally because technology strategy is about business strategy, and every business must embrace it, ”Dell said.
Giving details about the strategies of Dell Technologies to further drive digital transformation, Dell said his company would continue to innovate each day to enhance customer’s business.
“Today’s success stories are different from the success stories of the past because technology has become the game changer. We need to use data, AI, ML, IoT in a way that will enhance speed of business. Technology transformation is the way to go and data is the fuel that will drive global technology transformation. Data can become the most valuable asset, even more valuable than software applications,” Dell said.
Chief Marketing Officer, Dell Technologies, Allison Dew said human and machine partnerships through AI, IoT and ML were creating lots of potential life-changing businesses for organisations. She said Dell would continue to use the human and machine partnership solutions to solve lots of business challenges across globe.
According to her, a recent research survey conducted by Dell showed that 42 per cent of the global population did not know whether they can cope with digital transformation, 51 per cent still struggling to keep up with the digital technology space, while 93 per cent faced with the barriers of digital transformation. She, however, insisted that digital transformation must drive IT transformation, workplace transformation and security transformation in any organisation. She added that AI, IoT and ML would improve the human condition, increase Return on Investment (RoI) and assist businesses to scale beyond human capacity.
IoT, AI, ML as game changer
IoT, AI and ML have drastically changed the dynamics between work and work place. With IoT, people can work from anywhere and make real impact. A lot of businesses are done online and 82 per cent of people who use technology to drive businesses said technology had greatly improved their job, while 44 per cent said technology had given them the opportunity to do more.
By 2020, it is estimated that a great number of the world population would adopt AI, IoT and ML for digital transformation, and it is expected that more of the transformation would be on data security.
According to the Executive Vice President, VMware, an arm of Dell Technologies, Ray O’Farrell, all the seven arms of Dell Technologies are focusing on how to leverage IoT to drive business and improve customers’ efficiency, while working with the broader ecosystem to meet customers’ needs in the era of digital transformation. Dell Technologies, according to him, is using IoT as a platform to drive internet connectivity and access, in a way that devices and people would be connected with the internet to do great exploit, insisting that IoT is not a product, but a very important part of the digital transformation.
According to him, technology has evolved over time from mechanisation and steam power, mass production, computer and automation, to cyber physical, where data is driving the physical world, using IoT analytics to bring the physical world to the era of digital transformation. He said the transformation was ongoing and IoT would support creativity, jobs creation and digital transformation.
The Chief Technical Officer at Dell EMC, John Rosse, who spoke about AI, said it would drive digital transformation and that the world needed ML to do smarter things. He said 51 per cent of technology consumers were already using voice assistants from machine learning to drive businesses.
O’Farrell emphasised on key factors of AI and how it would enable technology user experience, drive processes in business and create AI infrastructure such as home electronics and transportation. He said robots using AI, would drive smart industry, smart cities and smart homes.
Telcos’ role in digital transformation
Positioning telecoms (Telcos) operators as key factor for achieving digital transformation, the Dell Technologies World 2018 conference, challenged telecoms operating companies in different regions of the world to vigorously drive digital transformation, using their widespread networks. Telcos should drive digital transformation and deploy 5G technology to achieve flexibility and speed of connectivity, while using data and public cloud. The conference also called for consolidation between telecoms service providers and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to increase the speed of internet connectivity and access to increase volume of successful businesses. Telcos must take broadband capacity to the hinterlands and create ubiquitous broadband access that will boost internet connectivity, the conference participants further advised.
Broadband as an enabler
Ubiquitous broadband penetration has been identified as an enabler in achieving digital transformation across nations, but Nigeria is still battling with achieving ubiquitous broadband penetration and access for all Nigerians.
Technology experts, who spoke at Dell Technology World 2018, identified broadband as key to achieving digital transformation.
According to them, ubiquitous broadband access and connectivity is the key to national development. Broadband access will drive development at the speed of light. It will boost eCommerce business; it will open up online businesses of several kinds and create global job opportunities.
In spite of the advantages of broadband in nation building and development, Nigeria is yet to attain 30 per cent broadband penetration across the country.
But conscious of the importance of broadband in technology advancement, the federal government in 2012, inaugurated the presidential committee for a national broadband strategy and roadmap. The committee, which was co-chaired by the former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, and supported by 15 core technology experts drawn from the ICT sector, was mandated to come up with a five-year workable and realistic National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) for the country.
The National Broadband Plan had a vision to connect communities with high speed internet and broadband access that will facilitate faster socio-economic advancement of Nigeria and its people.
Although the broadband plan had a target of achieving 30 per cent broadband penetration across the country by December 2018, the lack of proper implementation appears to make the target unachievable.
Citing lack of broadband infrastructure to deploy broadband capacities from the shores of the country to the hinterlands where demand for broadband is high, coupled with the inability of licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to roll out broadband infrastructure across the country, based on right of way issues among other challenges, industry stakeholders in Nigeria have called on the federal government to identity the actual causes of weak broadband penetration, which is currently put at 22 per cent penetration. Although the country has only eight per cent penetration left to meet the 30 per cent broadband penetration target as contained in the National Broadband policy, they are, however, skeptical about Nigeria, achieving the 30 per cent target, which they insisted, would open up a lot of opportunities for digital transformation in Nigeria, if achieved.