IBM looks to Africa’s mobile future
COMPUTING| June 8, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
While most people don’t associate IBM with mobile phones, the computing giant has been behind the technologies that make mobility possible for decades. With the acquisition of Israeli firm Worklight, the company is adding focus to its mobile platform development.
IBM innovation is behind the call, cell tower, network assurance and other key elements to today’s mobile applications. IBM is proud to state that its innovations underpin the mobile tools used by over a billion cellphone users every day. In fact, says the company, 80% of the world’s smart phone software is generated from IBM development products and 170 of the top 198 communications service providers have selected IBM technology.
With the acquisition of Worklight in February this year, IBM has added an important new component to its mobility strategy.
Worklight develops mobile software for smartphones and tablets. Its acquisition is expected to help speed delivery of new and existing mobile applications for multiple devices.
The Worklight acquisition accelerates IBM's comprehensive mobile portfolio, which is designed to help global corporations leverage the proliferation of mobile devices for B2C, B2E, and B2B. IBM has been steadily investing in this space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions.
Mweene Monze, Executive Architect at IBM Software Group in South Africa, says the office of the future will be ‘no office’. Already, major corporations – including IBM – have a large proportion of their workforce working from home or on the road.
Offices are becoming smaller, he says, with staff ‘hotdesking’ (sharing desk and PC access) on the occasions when they go in to the office.
With a growing trend for workforces to be based away from traditional offices, managing their access devices becomes complicated, he says. Employees have their own mobile devices and individual preferences for the software and applications they use.
“IT infrastructures aren’t centralised any more,” he says. “Enterprises can no longer ignore diversity in devices and locations.”
“Worklight build on IBM’s existing mobility offerings and helps us to offer complete enterprise mobility solutions.”
Monze says IBM has a complete portfolio of enterprise-grade mobility solutions. He highlights IBM’s Lotus Expeditor software, which supports client integration on laptops, desktops, kiosks and mobile device clients; its Cast Iron cloud solutions that allow for integration into existing infrastructures, and IBM’s Bigfix acquisition that allows it to offer end-to-end security.
“IBM’s latest acquisitions – like Worklight – are specifically targeted at the mobile enterprise,” says Monze.
“Virtual, mobile workplaces are not an ‘if’, they’re a ‘when’. IBM is seeking out the best ways to support this changing environment,” he says.
In Africa, where many enterprises are only beginning their infrastructure growth, Monze expects systems to leapfrog the rest of the world and move straight into mobile. “The complexity of integrating legacy systems can slow down an enterprise mobility strategy,” says Monze.
“So, in Africa, where many enterprises are in a greenfields stage, they can leap straight into the mobile workforce future.”
Monze says mobility is an important part of IBM’s strategy for the next few years. So are smarter planet initiatives and developing markets.
“We recently opened an office in Mauritius, and now have more than 20 offices across Africa,” says Monze. “IBM is focusing on the continent – growth markets are a key part of our growth strategy.” In 2011, revenues from growth markets – including Africa – increased by 16% and represent 22% of IBM’s total geographic revenue. Growth markets are expected to contribute 30% of IBM’s revenue by 2015.”
“Mobility is very important in these markets,” Monze says. This applies in particular to the private sector, which sees the benefits of being always connected and able to move around.
“IBM has always underpinned the technology driving mobile enterprises, now we are becoming more public about it,” Monze concludes.
MORE COMPUTING NEWS
Continual service improvement: key to tackling top ITSM challengesA lack of understanding of ITSM and its impact on business hindered its effectiveness in 2014, says Marval Africa. Read More
Advanced analytics and telecoms – a power combinationTelecommunications and advanced analytics are a symbiotic duo that can help fast track African development and revolutionise business, says LGR Telecommunications. Read More
Cameroon college gets affordable, quality Keepod devicesTeaching and learning have since dramatically changed and improved at the College Socka Bongue in Cameroon thanks to the supply by Keepod of 650 computing devices and 26 laptops, with each device costing as little as US$7. Read More
Elephant census not ready for drone technologyElephants Without Borders, a Botswana conservation project which is bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has shelved the use of drone technology during future elephant census expeditions. Read More
Indigenous technical skills critical to growth, says Skysat chiefSkysat Technologies Limited CEO Izzat Debs says the conscious development of indigenous technical skills in Nigeria remains one of the ways of developing the ICT sector of the country to make it grow the nation’s GDP. Read More
Products and services to go on show at WATSE 2015Telecoms operators, smartphone companies, ICT service companies and other allied companies will showcase their products and services at this year’s West Africa Telecom Summit and Expo (WATSE 2015), to be held on 21 – 22 May at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra. Read More
Silicon Congo project to boost ICT entrepreneurshipICT entrepreneurs in Congo Brazzaville have been given a platform to take off, grow and prosper by Silicon Congo, a new project launched early this week in the capital Brazzaville by the BantuHub Foundation. Read More
Cisco opens 5th academy in BotswanaCisco Systems has opened its 5th Cisco Academy in Botswana, with online curricula, virtual learning tools, instruction support as well as teacher training and professional development opportunities. Read More
According to VMware the future of the SAN is virtualCustomers looking to deploy SAN based environments that can scale quickly, support software-defined computing and deliver on increased performance need look no further than VMware’s new Virtual SAN 6. Read More
FEATURED STORYMalawi Govt denies clinging to ‘Cashgate’ software
The Malawi Government will not exclude the software brand that has been in use for the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), but it has rejected reports implying that it is ‘clinging’ to the old system.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya’s digital TV battle hots up
Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.