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Tech-driven future awaits as we face the Zettabyte Era, says Dell Technologies

After 18 months of crisis navigation and laying the groundwork to build back better, more resilient and sustainable societies, the world is now well positioned to transition from designs of recovery to an ambitious tech-driven reality as we face the Zettabyte Era. Photo: File

After 18 months of crisis navigation and laying the groundwork to build back better, more resilient and sustainable societies, the world is now well positioned to transition from designs of recovery to an ambitious tech-driven reality as we face the Zettabyte Era. Photo: File

Published Nov 3, 2021

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AFTER 18 months of crisis navigation and laying the groundwork to build back better, more resilient and sustainable societies, the world is now well positioned to transition from designs of recovery to an ambitious tech-driven reality as we face the Zettabyte Era, says Dell Technologies South Africa’s managing director Doug Woolley.

He said that Covid-19 presented the world with an unprecedented set of challenges that required the brightest minds and the smartest technologies to ensure people did not only live their lives to the fullest possible extent amid various forms of lockdowns, but that they also emerged stronger as a global society once the worst of the pandemic was finally left behind.

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From international stimulus funds to newly unveiled plans for the creation of a "Global Health Security Fund" by the World Bank, this cross-governmental commitment to recovery was seismic.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global economic growth was expected to be 5.7% this year, a sharp upwards revision from the December 2020 Economic Outlook projection of 4.2% for 2021.

“This optimism is, in part, driven by the global rollout of vaccines. However, it is more than that. Businesses around the world have adapted, becoming more efficient and technologically savvy in this period,” said Woolley.

Practical innovations that kept businesses afloat over the best part of the nearly two years ranged from embracing virtual desktops and video conferencing to more advanced data processing in hospitals and banks.

Woolley said investments in cloud-based technologies as well as AI and machine learning were allowing entire industries to communicate with citizens, customers and service users in a faster, more personable fashion, while also automating various back-end processes that may have previously been both a financial and time drain.

“While prospects are improving, progress globally remains uneven and highly dependent on the far-reaching rollout of effective vaccination campaigns, as well as continued, targeted government stimulus packages. It took only 18 months for the US and Korea to reach pre-pandemic per capita income levels, while much of Europe is on track to recover by the end of the year, or early 2022. The South African economy is projected to rebound by 3.8% in 2021, and 2.5% in 2022,” he said.

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“As progress continues across large parts of the globe, ensuring that the recovery benefits everyone everywhere is critical to making it truly sustainable. To truly flourish once more and make today and tomorrow’s realities more vibrant and efficient than before, we must continue to focus on sustainable, tech-driven and human-centred solutions that help to bridge socio-economic divides.”

Woolley said collaborating for the greater good would be crucial, as next year would bring increased vaccine sharing as governments further address the reality that recovery from the pandemic needed to be truly global.

Shortly, COP26 would present a major moment for international cooperation, allowing leaders to showcase their ability to think strategically and work together to respond to global climate challenges. According to Woolley, this will be incredibly important over the next year, as key events – from G7 meetings to the UN General Assembly – will present them with opportunities to share lessons on how to boost recovery.

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Woolley said that globally, governments had paved the way for recovery by investing in stimulus spending. The next step in the recovery was to ensure these funds were used to their fullest to ensure that people’s way of living, learning and working was as green, globally minded and digital as possible.

“Technology has already shown its potential and centrality to societal progress during the pandemic era, keeping citizens connected, powering vaccine research, enhancing healthcare and sustaining education throughout the peaks and troughs.

“But as we enter a new chapter – coinciding with the technology revolution that promises an explosion in big data with 5G speeds – digital tech has an even greater role to play.

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“We know that technology underpins our resilience, reinforcing all kinds of businesses with remote capabilities, providing real-time insights across sectors and enabling more impactful digital transformations. Robust digital infrastructures are the foundation for those organisations that remain competitive today, confident in their data management and cybersecurity practices.”

The country needed to overcome data challenges together. However, the complexities of the task at hand should not be understated.

Woolley said ongoing challenges were buffeting economies around the world and organisations were wrestling with their own data paradoxes as the sheer scale of data exploded. This was just a taste of what was to come in the Zettabyte Era – and capturing the opportunities on the crest of the 4IR meant solving these challenges now.

“That is why collaboration continues to be an essential ingredient for sustainable progress. Bringing together the brightest sparks from the private and public sectors to turbocharge our new reality is key to ensuring everyone benefits – and that those benefits are meaningful and sustainable.”

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BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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