SEARCH
»

Darkness on the edge of town

I write this by candlelight from my chilly house in Johannesburg, load-shedding having followed me across town from the office, at which generators keep everyone indoors with the windows barred against the din.

Matthew Burbidge, Editor Matthew Burbidge, Editor
I write this by candlelight from my chilly house in Johannesburg, load-shedding having followed me across town from the office, at which generators keep everyone indoors with the windows barred against the din.

 

The time of load-shedding may well have passed as you read this, your thoughts far from the rain-sodden days of mid-February when the country was told there were problems with power generation, and, as such, we’d all need to share in the darkness.

We’re apparently now running at least part of the grid on diesel, which is said to be among the most expensive ways to produce electricity, but still, there’s an election, and the blush of irritation could quickly have grown to anger. It’s also worth remembering there are still many South Africans without any power at all, and that some of our neighbours have never known a stable power grid.

It’s a well-known adage in technology that IT’s main job is to ‘keep the lights on’. This is the baseline, and is nowadays spoken of in slightly disparaging terms as though we’ve moved on from this, and should, instead, be turning our wills to more innovative ways of doing business.

I spoke with Setumo Mohapi recently, the CEO of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). He’d offered a mea culpa in his address at a conference on cloud, and laid bare the parlous state of his department’s infrastructure. About half its servers are at end of life, and almost a third are out of support. Still, he says, the future holds great promise with the lighting up of the government’s cloud in March, and a so-called brokerage model that will offer IT services to government departments in seconds, not months, which will unlock innovation and speed up service delivery. There’s no reason to disbelieve him, but I get the sense it may take a while longer to fully realise its potential. We need a more responsive public service, built upon stable ICT infrastructure, to put South Africa on a better footing.

In any event, many of the predictions in this, the first issue of 2019, involve AI, and how, while showing great promise, it’s also seemingly everywhere and nowhere. In the meantime, automation is actually delivering greater efficiencies, but it remains to be seen how this will affect employment in this country. Cloud, meanwhile, is about to see

some serious local growth with the arrival of Azure and Huawei, and represents a massive opportunity for the channel. What’s that, you say? You’ll need to speak up; there’s a generator going here…

Happy reading

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
sponsored by
PRINT ARTICLE
Print
sponsored by