Key insights expected to have a deep impact on enterprise and consumer markets in Africa
The ICT industry has undergone some unprecedented developments over the last year. The year 2014 has witnessed continued upheaval, including an upsurge in OTT activity, the launch of viable low-cost smartphones, and major changes in the competitive landscape as a result of both partnerships and mergers. So what can we expect in 2015? Based on the latest regional and international research, and taking industry benchmarks and developments into account, Frost & Sullivan has identified the top Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) trends in Africa for 2015.
"Frost & Sullivan's ICT research team has conducted extensive analysis, including a combination of local industry and process expertise, in order to select and prioritise the top trend predictions," notes Frost & Sullivan Operations Director, Hendrik Malan. "These trends are anticipated to have an impact on both enterprise and consumer markets in Africa next year."
Amongst the core predictions is the fact that multiple African governments will drive the provision of Internet access in the year ahead. There is now widespread acceptance of the importance of telecoms infrastructure in driving socio-economic development and governments across the continent will play an increasingly important role in this respect. Already, objectives such as financial inclusion, public sector service delivery, and healthcare, have received close attention and seen multiple pilot projects launched.
The year 2015 will also bring about extensive innovation in new business ecosystems – a prominent global trend, but one that has particular application in Africa. Numerous companies have emerged to address the key challenges faced in the continent including power shortages, education, and the limited availability of data. Expect new trends such as peer-to-peer applications, on-demand services, and infrastructure sharing to establish unique models in Africa.
At a global level, over-the-top (OTT) players, like Google, Facebook, and Apple have disrupted the telecommunications landscape, and 2015 will see them expand their influence across Africa. Beyond the continued cannibalisation of messaging and, increasingly, voice revenues, one can expect the battle for customers to intensify.
"With the rise of connectivity and internet penetration, competition in the telecommunications market is no longer confined to geographic boundaries," explains Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst, Joanita Roos. "What is rapidly playing out in the market is a battle to control how consumers access communications services."
Amongst the other trends that are highlighted are the growing impact of convergence in the competitive landscape, the shift from (Bring-your-own-device) BYOD to BYOS (Bring-your-own-software), and the expansion of big data analytics from data collection to full application, bringing with it improved customer insights and personalisation.