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We can change the world

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Michael Dell kicked off this year’s Dell EMC World by saying the tools for a digital transformation are out there and it is up for companies to grab the bull by the horns and make the change, writes DOUG WOOLLEY, Dell EMC GM: South Africa.

“You are some of the world’s greatest organisations and you are leading through a time of unprecedented change and opportunity. This is your show. It’s about how you are changing the world: reshaping industries, reinventing processes, transforming your organisations to shape your future.”

With those words, Michael Dell started his keynote at Dell EMC World, held in Las Vegas. This year more than 13,500 people attended the event, ready to learn how they can take their transformations forward.

To me it served as a reminder of what we can do and what is at stake. Later, back in South Africa, I spoke to renowned analyst Arthur Goldstuck, who also attended Dell EMC World 2017. He said something very true and crucial: there are no more excuses. The future is being built on digital transformation. The tools and platforms are out there. What remains is for companies and countries to grab the bull by the horns and make the change.

I completely agree with him. But it is easier said than done. Many still struggle to start and maintain the journey to this new era. That’s because it is a fundamental challenge. Digital transformation is not a bolt-on to a business. It starts at the foundation and works its way through the entire organisation. It is both top-down and grassroots. It is corporate, functional and operational. The business vision remains intact, but everything about how it will realise that vision changes. This is a daunting shift.

That problem stayed with me long after the event. Dell Technologies, which emerged from the highly successful combination between Dell and EMC, is an undeniable leader in this transformation. The high utilisation of our services and solutions prove that. But this brings a certain responsibility as well: if we expect the world to change, we must help lead and define that change. Our customers – current and future – look to us for guidance. What I have to ask is how can Dell EMC be a partner for South Africa’s digital transformation?

IT maturity is key. You can’t simply flip a switch and digital magic appears. But it shouldn’t be as complicated and daunting as it appears either. The primary outcome is to get businesses away from the burden of technology procurement and maintenance, and back to what they do best. In the Dell EMC hallways we call this Radical Infrastructure Simplicity. Through a variety of products, we are equipped to create the digital foundations businesses can build on.

An often-cited example is our Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, which deliver turnkey systems ready for digital services to be deployed on them with the littlest of fuss. But we need to go further, which is why Dell EMC has introduced elastic financing models such as Financial Services Flex. We don’t want upfront costs to drain your digital ambition, so we have designed industry-first financing solutions that cater for every type and size of business.

Another example, announced at the Las Vegas gathering, is PC-as-a-Service. This unique offering takes advantage of Dell EMC’s leading consumer devices to equip staff with top computer systems without the hefty capital layout. Let’s be honest: change is not cheap and this is keeping many companies, particularly smaller businesses, from transforming. Both of the aforementioned services are here to take that pain away.

It is obvious that I want to promote what Dell EMC offers the market. But this is not my primary goal. That question of how we can help accelerate digital transformation in South Africa remains the brass ring. I am just fortunate to lead the local office of a very dynamic and progressive company.

Dell EMC has a vast ecosystem, and is rich for its extensive investments in consultation, methodology research and toolsets. We were early evangelists for cloud and pioneers of cloud management and infrastructure. Today that expertise spans across seven major companies, modernising data centres, improving security, driving virtualization and much more. Whether you need a turnkey upgrade of your servers, develop your Internet of Things strategy or place the best devices in the hands of employees, we’ve thought about the challenges and created solutions for you to consider.

This commitment goes beyond product. One of the most exciting announcements I saw at Dell EMC World 2017, beyond the virtual reality sets and mind-blowing gaming systems, was that of Alice: a virtual assistant that specifically serves women entrepreneurs.  The event also made it clear that Dell EMC is very concerned about the environment and sustainability is a guiding principle of our organisation.

Arthur Goldstuck was right: there are no excuses. But to me, there are no excuses for us, Dell EMC, to help you change your business and your world for the better. This is the commitment I reaffirmed after Dell EMC World 2017: we all really can change the world and Dell EMC will be there to help every step of the way.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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