The 18th and 19th of May 2016 saw innovators and business leaders from all over the African Continent gather in Nairobi, Kenya for the annual East Africa Com conference and exhibition. The event, which celebrated its 12th year since inception, aims to support industry developments through showcasing products by the Continent’s business leaders and innovators that are creating the next phase of growth within the digital ecosystem.
The next phase is characterised by a variety of high-level infrastructure projects, such as broadband and LTE rollout ,whilst also recognising the various challenges facing rural telecoms such as the reduction in costs in utilizing 3G networks and increasing the amount of data usage.
The stakeholders within the ecosystem present at the event included regulators, operators, ISPs and digital leaders with the categories of innovation showcased included: mobile financial services; the resurgence of the continent’s MVNOs (through new strategies) and the improvement of e-Government systems.
The CIO forum, which forms part of the event, demonstrated the importance of quality ICT services in meeting the needs of business. This section of the event is in its second year of inception and proved to be an insightful session.
The first day of the event had sessions titled, “Bringing Much Needed Capacity From the Coast to the Inland Regions of Africa”, “Beyond Voice & Data- Leveraging 4G Infrastructure to Evolve & Enhance Telco Services,” and “Creating the Fixed Foundation: an FTTX Advantage & Keeping Ahead in the Digital lifestyle Race.” Some of the sentiments that concluded day one of the event included the collaborative model, which is the African one. The overriding theme of all the discussions was synergy and collaboration. Another overriding theme was emphasized by a quote by Tony Wood of First Consulting, which was: “Every company is a tech company.” This was said in light of the digital disruption currently occurring which is affecting every company, from start-ups in their infancy, to huge multinational corporations. Another sentiment, shared by Intelsat’s Brian Jakin’s was, “We believe connectivity is a basic human right.” This belief is best depicted by the fact that all the major telecoms and tech projects have a very similar objective, namely to connect the last mile.
Day two’s topics were equally as interesting with sessions that ranged from “The Future of Thematic Channels in the Digital Space & Commercial Viability.” to “How to Create Provision Content for a Multiplatform, Multimedia Environment.”
The event proved to be very insightful and was a further depiction to how united the continent is in its dedication to bring the basic human right of communication, to everyone in Africa.