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EXPO: Industry Specialists Talk Digital Disruption and Embracing Singularity at Datacentrix Showcase 2017


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FEATURING top level speakers, including the likes of venture capitalist and former banker, Dr Michael Jordaan, and illustrious local tech-guru and journalist, Toby Shapshak, Datacentrix’ second annual one-day industry event, Showcase 2017, drew in over 1,900 registrations and was supported by 29 technology partners, such as HP Enterprise (HPE), Cisco and Lenovo.

Taking place recently at Montecasino in Johannesburg, Datacentrix Showcase 2017 focused on the journey towards singularity, with a view to equipping South African businesses with the information needed to survive the digital age.

The action-packed day opened with a breakfast session attended by over 110 C-level delegates, featuring a welcome by Datacentrix CEO, Ahmed Mahomed, and talks by ABSA’s head of Africa datacentres, Linda Moreira, and David Chalmers, chief technologist for EMEA at HPE.

Next on the agenda was a plenary session, where speakers, including Mahomed, Jordaan, Chalmers and Rudie Raath, chief digital specialist at Datacentrix, looked at the future of technology and how it is becoming intertwined into all aspects of our everyday lives. The world is currently undergoing a stage that, according to Raath, is the first phase of singularity.

“Change is everywhere, everything is going digital, and by 2020, more than a trillion applications will be exchanging 58 zettabytes of digital data over 100 billion devices,” added Chalmers.

According to Jordaan, “The Singularity University in San Francisco introduced us to all the macro trends that are going to shape the future of the world. Much of it is driven by Moore’s law, which says that the capacity of technology doubles every 18-24 months. The world and the future is going to look very, very different across a range of fields from artificial intelligence to solar, to robotics, to nanotechnology. Those things can be amazing for consumers but very, very disruptive to some industries. I hope that you are ready for a change in future.”

Showcase delegates were able to select from 23 breakaway sessions, where Datacentrix and sponsors unpacked topics from securing digital transformation and building a mobile workplace, to virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI). The series of 20-minute presentations encompassed real-life case studies from organisations such as Bankserv Africa, MediaCloud, and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

An interactive panel session, chaired by Shapshak, took place over lunchtime, where panellists included Jordaan, Chalmers, Raath, Moreira and Antoinette Wagner, Deloitte Africa CIO. They conducted a lively discussion on topics such as automation and AI within the business environment, how data has become the lifeblood of the new economy, how technology (particularly free technology) is playing a critical role in growing the African market, and how the digital disruption affects all industries and all people.

Feedback from attendees and sponsors alike was overwhelmingly positive. “The Datacentrix Showcase event is certainly one of the best vendor-organised technology events in South Africa, and we were proud to participate and share both our vision and our innovations with customers across all industries. Our long standing partnership with Datacentrix plays a critical role to accelerate the digital transformation of our joint customers by making hybrid IT simple, powering the Intelligent Edge and offering them the expertise to make it happen,” explained Leon Erasmus, HPE country manager for channel and territory sales.

Said Garsen Naidu, regional sales manager: enterprise at Cisco South Africa: “For us, Datacentrix is a key strategic partner, and the success we enjoyed at Showcase 2016 meant that the 2017 event was one that we had to be involved with. Partners are a strategic asset to us and the way that we take our innovations to market, so this provided a great opportunity to showcase these.”

“Events like Showcase, which combine great minds and ideas, allow you to reflect and think about the different angles of running business and engaging with technologies. This kind of event is rare and valuable for both businesses and vendors,” stated Thibault Dousson, general manager: southern Africa at Lenovo.

“Symantec aims to educate the market within southern Africa, and specifically South Africa, and to create awareness not only around Symantec as a brand, but cyber security as a whole. In order to do this, we must ensure that we partner with the correct resellers and channel members, customers and so on, to get this message out. Datacentrix Showcase provides us with an opportunity to do exactly that,” added Jon Hamlet, country manager: South Africa at Symantec.


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