Multinational ICT vendors, businesses and government are collaborating to ensure more data scientists, software developers, and cloud specialists enter Africa’s Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
This collaboration is geared towards ensuring that cities leverage intelligent systems and digitally transform to smart cities.
At AfricaCom 2018 in Cape Town this week, the Chief Technology Officer, OpenLab South Africa, Steve App, said the facility is working closely with tech training and innovation initiative Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg, to help nurture innovation around cloud and other key technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI).
“We have been presenting there and working to start getting entrepreneurs together. It’s a new initiative. I have presented cloud to them, and I saw that maybe some of the thinking and direction to go in needs to be slightly adjusted.
“They saw the cloud but were almost wanting to put in point solutions in the cloud rather than ‘the cloud should give you access to a data link’ … and they were thinking about ‘how do we build a cloud’, rather than ‘you don’t build a cloud, you use it’.
“We were saying ‘try work out how to use existing data’, because the vision of the cloud [is that] whatever data you collect should be available for anybody to use to provide the right services.”
App said the budding entrepreneurs are receptive and the intention going forward is to demonstrate the kind of equipment that can be built, how they can interface and develop.
“There is another session planned which is focused on AI. It’s a scarce skill. We need more data scientists and we need more artisans who can actually work with sensors, work with devices, put them in and understand them. We are in a catch-22 between the creation of talent versus the opportunities.”
The rising cost of cybercrimes too is also pushing the drive to get experts in that field.
Currently, Nigeria and other countries are facing a shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel. It is estimated that this could potentially lead to financial losses of $6trillion in few years time.
President, Information Security Society of Africa (ISSA)-Nigeria, Dr. David Isiavwe, said there are too few professionals in the cybersecurity space. According to him, about six billion people would be attacked by 2021 cybersecurity spending is also expected to exceed $1trillion by 2021.
The cost of damages as a result of ransomware will reach $11.6 billion by next year because victims pay for their freedom with cryptocurrency.
But Huawei has partnered with the United Nations Agency for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO); African universities and industry players to launch an ICT Talent Ecosystem Programme for the region.