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2010 trends set to change SA’s ICT landscape

According to Martin Bulter, consumer convenience, IT security and green IT are just some of the ICT trends set to emerge during 2010. He also feels that smartphones have, and are changing how and why South African’s access the Internet. As a result of this, companies across the country are introducing mobile alternatives to their fully fledged websites

Martin Butler, Information Systems Management lecturer spoke at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). He held a talk entitles ‚New ICT technologies – a business perspective on their impact in 2010 and beyond,’ which was held at the USB as part of its series of Leaders Angle talks.

‚Increasingly we are seeing companies that once occupied very different spaces such as telecoms, entertainment and search engines beginning to encroach on each other’s markets,‚ says Butler.

He says companies such as Panasonic and LG are already launching televisions with Skype’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capability built in, while Google recently launched a smartphone and has also moved into Microsoft’s Office space with Google Docs. Most recently, Apple moved into the eBook space with its iPad.

Butler cited a number of trends that he believes will shape the ICT industry over the next twelve months, including:

· Concepts that provide extreme convenience for consumers,

· Increased focus on security of IT systems

· Products that provide more bang for the same buck

· The emergence of Green IT

Butler says the concept of Green IT is one that will be playing a much bigger role over the next year and beyond. ‚Environmental awareness and developing greener technologies is something that is becoming an important focus for many businesses in the current climate,‚ he says.

He says that in the past many firms have preached, but not practiced the value of green issues, something that he expects to change as consumers and businesses are becoming more socially aware.

‚In the future these companies will take Green IT much more seriously. In fact a recent study found that within three years most people will start looking at levels of energy consumption as part of their decision making process when buying a new laptop.‚

Butler also says the emergence of devices such as Apple’s iPhone and other mobile smartphones have changed the way people access the Internet. He says a survey by Gartner has forecast that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device.

‚Mobile applications are a new development that are changing the way we access, and the reasons for accessing, the Internet. As a result, more businesses are redesigning their content and launching .mobi versions of their websites.‚

Butler highlighted two recently homegrown concepts ‚ Amba-Afrika and Afridoctor – that have been hailed as great moves forward within mobile applications.

Amba-Afrika is a multilingual application that can translate any of the official 11 languages in SA. Afridoctor is a mobile health clinic that provides instant access to vital medical information and enables people to send through their symptoms and receive advice back.

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