Massive data centres, AI to lead 2018 trends - expert

Johannesburg - Hyperscale cloud data centres, Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will shape the technology industry in 2018, according to computer manufacturer Dell EMC.

Doug Woolley, general manager of Dell EMC South Africa said it is digitally empowered nations which embrace these kinds of technologies that will lead the next century.

“This is not an exaggeration. We must all play our part to make sure SA and the African continent don’t miss that opportunity,” Woolley told Fin24 in an exclusive interview.

According to the Next Era of Human-Machine Partnership report from Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) released recently, mega cloud services, AR and AI paint a promising picture for 2018.

Bigger Data Centres

Next year Azure hyperscale data centres, which according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) are high-density and power-optimised infrastructures with a minimum of 5 000 servers, are set to arrive in the country. 

READ: SA data-centre firm raises R1.2bn for African expansion

Woolley said that this was a reflection of South Africa’s growing demand for cloud’s efficiency and innovation delivery, and that the impact of the new data centres will be felt beyond our borders, reaching out to the rest of the SADC region.

“It’s one of the fastest growing regions. We will look at getting more potential investment for the SADC and Indian Island territories. We see a lot of upside, we see a lot of partners engaging with us and also a lot of customers having conversations,” he said.

Artificial Intelligence

Woolley said that AI would also play a growing role in recruiting the right people and skills, which the report refers to as "bias checking". 

“This is the use of AI to get around human shortcomings. Not dissimilar to ‘blind’ auditions where musicians perform behind a screen, AI will be utilised to help inform hiring and promotion decisions without the unseen prejudice of people,” he added. 

“Numerous companies are already using such practices. But they are the outliers. In 2018, we will start regarding them as the pioneers. Those include companies that will be using Augmented and Virtual Reality for remote interviews of candidates and engagements with customers.

"As digital entertainment such as e-sports grows in popularity, that tech-savvy audience will also drive the adoption of AR and Virtual Reality in 2018.”

Woolley said that countries that fail to keep up with digital trends will fall behind in the 21st century. 

Dell EMC recently celebrated a year since the computer (Dell) and data storage (EMC) companies merged.

“The Dell EMC merger has created a unique end-to-end portfolio that fits with what we’re seeing technology do with society. From the device you work on through to the servers delivering the cloud services you rely on,” he said. 

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