Change seen as opportunity

2019-11-27 06:00
Tshwanelo Mosoeu at the 2019 GovTech Conference with the social humanoid robot, Sophia, which was developed by Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence company Hanson Robotics.Photo: Supplied

Tshwanelo Mosoeu at the 2019 GovTech Conference with the social humanoid robot, Sophia, which was developed by Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence company Hanson Robotics.Photo: Supplied

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The unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) provides South Africa with an opportunity to develop building capacity for innovative technologies.

This is according to Tshwanelo Mosoeu, founder and ­director of Nelo Tech, an information and communications technology (ICT) company in Bloemfontein. It focuses on, among others, ICT skills development training, programming, software and app design, and cybersecurity.

“When it comes to the important matter of the 4IR, we can no longer deny that it is here – we should be ready for it,” said Mosoeu.

She had attended the 13th annual government technology conference, GovTech 2019, hosted by the State Information Technology Agency, Sita, at the Durban International Convention Centre recently.

The conference, with the theme “Digital transformation – gearing towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond” provided a platform for stakeholders to connect, share information and collaborate to deliver innovative ICT solutions to help the government to serve its citizens and deliver services.

The exhibitions included Sophia, a social humanoid robot, and a Durban metro police car with facial recognition capabilities powered by Microsoft.

“It was an exciting experience to see people in the ICT space testing their gadgets and seeing the advances being made in the industry.”

Mosoeu said people often complain about the loss of jobs that will be brought by the 4IR.

However, she thinks they should see it as an opportunity to upskill themselves.

“We need to be open to learning. Disruptive technologies and trends such as robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) will need people operating them to ensure they are running efficiently.”

According to Mosoeu, there are opportunities presented by the technologies that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

“E-commerce websites can help small businesses to reach a wider market, and increase profits, as customers are able to pay online. These platforms need to be secure, and that is where cybersecurity will play a huge role.”

Mosoeu said while progress had been made in the industry, there is room for improvement.

“I would like to see more women, particularly in the Free State get into the industry.”

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