XON summit attracts international C-level audience keen to trigger Africa’s smart city deployments

15 Oct, 2015
Israel Skosana
Israel Skosana, chairman of XON

XON and NEC’s annual summit, following NEC’s investment in XON in July, attracted more than 400 guests from over 20 countries, 150 of them C-level executives, who gained insight into XON’s integrated market approach with NEC that has resulted in the combined ability to bring “Integrated Intelligence” solutions to Africa’s emerging economies.

The annual summit, hosted at Sun City at the beginning of October, demonstrated the benefits of technology solutions for Africa’s future smart cities, powered by alternative energy, connected by high performance fixed and wireless networks, powered by software defined networking and network function virtualisation, to cloud computing, software defined data centres and physical and virtual security.

“Conference attendees are usually bombarded with slide decks of hundreds of screens of often technical content,” says Charl Coetzee, MD of XON. “Many of our guests, such as Paul Gainham, the Senior Director Vertical Marketing Telecom, Cable and Cloud Vertical at Juniper Networks in the UK, remarked that the panel discussion format with lead-in videos sharing the practical application of solutions for Africa and the world, held their attention from beginning to end. Our topics, too, were carefully orchestrated to focus on what they find most relevant to address the pressing issues they face today and will increasingly face in the near future.”

Guests travelled from South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Dubai, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria, Mozambique, with vendors and guest panellists from the UK, US, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Dubai, Australia, and South Africa. Guest panellists included Bradley Marden, Coordinator Digital Crime Investigative Support at INTERPOL, who discussed security in a connected world.

Customers primarily represented mining, financial, banking, telecoms, Internet service provider (ISP), government, and mobile operator industries and sectors.

Ten sponsors supported the event in three categories from platinum to silver. Platinum sponsors were Juniper Networks, ADVA Optical Networking, and Schneider Electric. Gold sponsors were Symantec, VMWare, and Procera Networks. Silver sponsors were Arbor Networks, F5 Networks, RT systems, and Veeam Software.

“Our annual summit offers an additional element to our co-ordinated marketing efforts by creating an opportunity to unite the vendors with whom we work and our current and future customers,” says Charl Coetzee, MD of XON. “It’s invitation only so these people are specifically interested in the messages we convey, unlike a general trade show where you hope to attract passers by. As a result we unfortunately cannot invite all the vendors with whom we work but must limit it to those that contribute to the solutions most attractive to our audience.”

Masahiro Ikeno, VP Global Business Unit, NEC Corporation, opened the summit by noting global mega trends driving the evolution of ICT solutions, including a large and swelling population, resource scarcity, and growing data volumes. The value ICT offers, he says, is in providing realtime computing, remote working capabilities, and dynamic operations.

“In Africa,” he says, “NEC contributes business opportunities that respect diversity. Africa is beautiful and is resource rich while it is capable of becoming a global leader that by the year 2100 is expected to contribute 40% of the world’s resources. Our intention is to contribute to the realisation of a brighter Africa.”

Israel Skosana, chairman of XON, adds: “Our potential in Africa is greater than unprocessed raw materials but we need technology to create real benefit and more opportunities. Africans will be the value of Africa with more than a billion on the continent. We are congregating in massive hubs across the continent and, correctly managed, will provide both markets and innovation. But we will need the infrastructure that constantly monitors every aspect of life in smart cities to ensure our success, the social innovations required to live and operate successfully. The sheer volume of that data will be awe inspiring but we must ensure value is translated to ordinary people of the continent. Data must be captured, filtered, redeployed, for which integrated intelligence is the perfect description,

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