July 22, 2010 Stewart Baines , Digital Transformation
SAP's research centre in Pretoria, South Africa has partnered with a renowned computer scientist to find out what is holding back the adoption of ICT in emerging markets - including Africa.
The research centre will be working with Professor Jose Luis Encarnacao to evaluate the gap in underlying technology adoption in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) region.
Experts at SAP's research centre in Pretoria explain that the research will take the form of a strategic research agenda that will cover the whole BRICS region. It will examine the challenges that the different BRICS countries face in adopting ICT, which can be an instrumental factor in reshaping business and stimulating economic growth.
"ICT has the potential to play a huge part in bridging these gaps, but before it can do so, we need to have a clear understanding of the issues that have delayed the advancement and appropriation of technology thus far," Professor Encarnacao, an advisor to the German government on its own ICT policy, said.
SAP's Pretoria research centre uses a hands-on method for its research known as 'living labs', in which it works directly with end-users to improve their livelihoods.
In February, the International Telecommunications Union found that African countries still lagged behind in their adoption of ICT. Its Measuring the Information Society 2010 report found that all of the 159 countries measured had increased their use of ICT, but only only the Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa made it into the top 100 countries in the ITU's ICT Development Index (IDI). South Africa ranked third after the Seychelles and Mauritius, reaching 92 in the IDI.
"The Least Developed Countries - many of which are in Africa -- still have very limited access to ICTs, especially in terms of broadband infrastructure and household access to ICTs," said the ITU when the report was released, indicating that there is still much work to be done.
I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.