It’s become somewhat of a tradition at the beginning of each year to make predictions as to what the tech trends will be that year.
The global trends we will see in 2024 are the stuff of sci-fi movies, but is this the case for Namibia?
With ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominating the media and people’s imagination, it would seem logical that that trend will continue.
It certainly will, however, in Namibia’s case, we cannot run before we can walk.
Or we cannot surf before we can connect. While the rest of the world may be embracing AI, augmented reality and quantum computing, in Namibia and across Africa, every citizen first needs to be able to access the internet.
Accessibility is vital.
The beauty of technology is that innovation, its application, and the leveraging of it can happen anywhere in the world.
President Geingob called 2024 the ‘Year of Expectation’.
One of my expectations is that we will deliver internet connectivity to our people, it is the path to real development.
A trend that we hope will continue to develop is to work with partners and the government to reduce the lack of funding, lack of skills and sometimes the need for more desire from businesses and even the people to engage in IT development.
If we address these issues, we can leapfrog and close the ‘digital divide’ with the rest of the world and truly embrace the tech trends that benefit other countries. Public-private partnerships are key.
There’s a lot of blue-sky thinking and almost ‘science-fiction’ ideas about where technology is taking us.
We, however, must be realistic; we won’t have robots serving our food, looking after our children or taking our burger orders just yet in Namibia.
As businesses and a country, we look at which developments, innovations and technological implementations are realistic.
Each time, it comes back to the fundamentals.
Before we can truly embrace innovation and the fourth and fifth Industrial Revolutions, the metaverse or AI, some fundamentals must be in place.
Cyber-security is imperative and our networks, databases, online presence and activities need to be secured.
Cybercrime is a massive and global problem that results in identity theft, locking people, businesses and organisations out of their IT systems, and it can bring an organisation or a country to its knees.
Namibia is especially vulnerable as we believe it won’t happen to us. As our ‘renewable’ energy and oil sector develops in Namibia, we need to be able to vouch for our networks and demonstrate and prove that we take cyber-security very seriously.
If Namibians believe our networks are safe and stable, they will innovate and develop new applications.
We can explore and develop automation, digitalisation and streamlining of records, databases and processes within corporations, as well as in government and municipalities.
Cloud storage is the next logical trend that should be embraced at every level so that organisations can access information anywhere in Namibia.
This is the best way to improve service delivery in banking, retail, insurance and healthcare and unlock education at all levels.
If Namibia gets internet connectivity throughout this vast, beautiful country and brings down the costs of being online, we can make it accessible to all.
This accessibility will create new businesses and create a tech-savvy generation.
So, before we worry about the robots taking over, or ChatGPT and other AI-technology taking our jobs, we must embrace technology and understand it.
The possibilities and opportunities that are within arm’s reach are endless.
In 2024, the tech trend I want to see for Namibia is for it to improve its digital development and innovation and embrace and implement technology.
We must stimulate, encourage and invest in this development in 2024 and beyond, collaborating on this goal with the government and partners at all levels.
- Kehad Snydewel is the managing director of Green Enterprise Solutions.
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