The internet is here to stay for the significant future, of that we can be certain. We’ve learnt over the past 20 years that the internet as a means of connecting people is unsurpassed, whether on a desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet or internet connected fridge.
It’s also gotten cheaper (and still has a long way to go) and more accessible across most walks of life (and still has a long way to go) and it’s become easier and easier to use (and still has a long way to go).
I truly believe that the internet has a long way to go before we reach saturation point and that far more disruption is on the way.
Africa’s industrial powerhouse, South Africa is only now beginning to roll out fibre into provincial towns, with much of the country to do and as we accelerate the roll-out, the opportunities already realised in other countries are going to appear. Internet connectivity can expect to be followed by increased logistics requirements as new sources of knowledge and skills comes online. This exercise is being repeated all over Africa and indeed most of the the developing world, in some instances they’re able to leapfrog developed countries who are dependent on legacy infrastructure.
Government and industry commitment to fund wide scale roll-out of communication infrastructure is crucial to ensure that we’re able to take advantage of this “fourth industrial age” to leap frog from a developing country to a developed country.
And ensuring that we’re all apart of this is not only simple, but it makes sense. We have young people who are unemployed but have experience as digital natives, we have mature adults who are semi-retiring to run small family businesses such as B&B’s, Guest Houses or lifestyle businesses and who may be more comfortable checking sms’s and emails than building social media following.
Many of our youth have within their pockets the tools and in their minds the brains to go out and start their own digital marketing company, assisting our small and medium sized businesses to get online in the modern world and to promote South Africa not just locally but globally.
Taking advantage of this “Fourth Industrial Age” means educating ourselves on the business benefits of social media and helping them understand the basics of setting up and running their own business.
I believe that this is important enough to spend a good deal of time exploring questions and providing answers as to what it takes to start and run a business digitally and run a digital business in South Africa.