By 14 June 2024 | Categories: feature articles


By Clayton Codd, General Manager of Sales at SEACOM

Looking back at 2023, the technology trends that shaped the business world revolve around not just what we can do using technology, but how we perceive and interact with it. Progress in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and social media is to be expected, but what isn’t is our fundamental relationship with how we deploy solutions in our business and how it integrates with greater organisational strategies and goals.

For South African businesses, technology is an enabling force, which is why it’s critical we scrutinise and highlight the tech and connectivity trends set to have the biggest impact in 2024.

Artificial intelligence will be the measure of business success
Easily the hottest tech trend in the world right now, AI is redefining our relationship with digital technologies, both as consumers and enterprises. The establishment of South Africa’s very own AI association in 2023, combined with an increased demand for AI specialists and professionals, shows local businesses are starting to integrate it across multiple departments.

AI enables organisations to enhance, automate, and accelerate business processes, as well as augment human intelligence to improve decision making and overall efficiency levels. McKinsey estimates AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

However, all that advancement comes with the caveat of ethical and regulatory concerns. This is why we will continue to see governments and industry bodies take a closer look at how AI manifests in different industries, and how the data used to fuel that manifestation is gathered and handled.

Internet access opens the door to digital transformation
Internet access is a catalyst for change. With increased availability, South Africa fosters growth and opportunity via a maturing digital economy. Citizens can access the resources and tools necessary to unlock education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities, while sectors such as retail and healthcare can step up their digitalisation efforts and remain competitive both nationally and internationally. 

With over 43 million users in South Africa and a penetration rate of more than 72%, internet usage in South Africa has surged over the past few years, thanks to continued investment and infrastructure rollout. This rollout will continue to facilitate business digitalisation, especially for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in an impactful way.

Alternative energy is the new standard
In the face of South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis, countless enterprises and property owners are tapping into the power of the sun and other alternative sources to meet their electricity needs. The country’s renewable energy market, estimated to be 16.58 GW in 2024, is forecasted to reach 28 GW by 2029 with a CAGR of 11.05%.

Renewable energy will also start to play an important role in the ICT sector. Already, discussions surrounding the environmental impact of infrastructure such as data centres are shining a spotlight on the need for green construction and sustainable business practices. Case in point, Gartner predicts that by 2025, carbon emissions of hyperscale cloud providers will be one of the top factors in cloud purchase decision making.

5G for all
Despite challenges such as load shedding and infrastructure vandalism, South Africa’s mobile network operators are gearing up to accelerate their 5G network rollout plans. This has been spurred by significant developments such as the auction of much-needed radio frequency spectrum, and the availability of 5G digital devices that seek to leverage growing networks.

In addition to offering faster speed and lower latency, 5G networks form an essential part of a comprehensive, broadband ecosystem. Combined with wired broadband technologies such as fibre, networks help to broaden internet access and close the national digital divide.

Efforts to expand network coverage will positively contribute to closing the gap between the connected and unconnected, while accommodating growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the number of interconnected devices.

The sky’s the limit with cloud computing
Cloud computing services have the potential to unlock trillions of Rands in economic value over the next 10 years as local enterprises migrate their applications to the cloud and modernise their IT infrastructure. Organisations across sectors are adopting hybrid cloud strategies that allow them to leverage multiple environments and retain flexibility.

However, moving to the cloud does not always go according to plan, which is why organisations need to properly formulate their strategies and ensure an efficient and cost-effective migration. But, while we may see many failed migrations, the cloud will remain a prerequisite for any digital-first enterprise, especially those looking to develop and utilise AI-enabled applications.

All these trends form part of how business needs, and what’s expected from the ICT sector at large, is changing. By engaging with trusted vendors and connectivity solutions providers, South African businesses can look forward to a productive and transformative year ahead.


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What new tech or developments are you most anticipating this year?
New smartphone announcements (44 votes)
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