Thought Leadership: weighing in on digital transformation in Africa
As South Africa approaches Heritage Day on Sunday, 24 September, it is perhaps fitting that IoT.nxt’s Director of Partnerships: Mining, Eric Croeser, speaks at the Hogan Lovells: Africa Forum on the topic of digital transformation in Africa.
IoT.nxt, while rapidly expanding into other markets including Europe, the Far East and the US, was born in South Africa – often regarded as the innovation tip of Africa. Doing business in Africa presents massive opportunities, but also comes with unique challenges, and often these challenges force companies to think creatively and develop highly competitive solutions that are world-leading. On this front, IoT.nxt is indeed leading the global charge in the Internet of Things (IoT) with its edge capabilities.
The Hogan Lovells panel, of which Eric is an expert member, will discuss digital innovation and transformation on the African continent. The preamble to the panel discussion reads:
“The world is changing and there are new drivers for change that offer transformation of business models and delivery through digital disruption, transparency and accountability. But with progress comes risks – can accessibility can be controlled, and will the rich become richer while the poor simply lose their jobs to AI and computers?
“Is it a private or public sector play, or is it true to say there can be no success without clearly driven public sector policy? How important is partnership with the private sector to deliver to the widest community possible? And can growth really be delivered without a fundamental change in healthcare, education and infrastructure? This is an all-embracing story and our panel of industry game-changers will look across sectors to identify some key areas for change, including digital healthcare, blockchain, fintech and digital media.”
IoT.nxt’s IoT platform speaks to transforming businesses at the most fundamental level. As we surge into Industry 4.0, the inter-connectivity of smart devices, unintelligent “things” and biological organisms (think: humans) in a seamless multi-directional ecosystem is becoming more of an imperative “when do we deploy” with each passing day, as opposed to a nice-to-have luxury. Business executives the world over have IoT strategies in their digital transformation road maps. Eric will discuss digital innovation, how the various elements of disruption come into play, and how businesses can overcome challenges, both globally and unique to the continent.
The panel will be made up of heavyweight industry players, each bringing their own expert insight into innovation and digital transformation.
Who makes up the panel?
Director pf Partnerships: Mining – IoT.nxt
Eric heads up the IoT.nxt Mining Solutions division. A qualified Mining Engineer with a Mine Managers Certificate of Competency, and an MBA, Eric has 11 years’ production and digital mining solution developments experience. Eric is passionate about the South African mining industry. He is an avid reader of anything written by Malcolm Gladwell, Peter Diamandis, Michael Lewis and Steven Kotler. He is a closet tech junky and die-hard Apple fan. Eric believes that the 4th Industrial Revolution and specifically digital disruption, will be the key enabler to unlocking the true value across various sectors in Africa.
Andrew Skipper – Panel chairperson
Partner – Hogan Lovells International LLP
Having headed up the Hogan Lovells’ global corporate practice for over 10 years, Andrew now leads Hogan Lovells Africa Practice, overseeing one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial groups within the firm. With his roots in commercial law, Andrew has and continues to act for a wide range of businesses, from sports to consumer, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals. Most recently, this has involved him advising on complicated and sophisticated contracts across various countries in Africa, in addition to assisting multinational corporates all over the world.
CEO – VAST Networks
Grant Marais joined VAST Networks as its CEO in May 2015. Grant’s exposure to different businesses in the telecommunications value chain contributes to his in-depth and diversified global, telecommunications knowledge. He has a proven track record of leading cross-functional teams in various countries in both turnaround and high growth environments. He is also on the board of Mindset Network, a non-profit educational broadcaster. Grant is an alumnus of the Wharton Business School where he graduated with a Degree in Management & Leadership.
COO – i-Pay Secure Payment (Pty) Ltd
Emmanuel started his working career with the South African Revenue Services over 20 years ago. After eight years and rapid progression through various roles at SARS, he decided to explore the business world from the “other side of the table” and joined a small business as tax manager. Driven by ambition, passion and focus, Emmanuel’s experience and skills were recognised by the CEO of i-Pay (Thomas Pays), who brought him on board as COO, to support i-Pay’s need for structure and to strategise and execute i-Pay’s Global Expansion Plans. Emmanuel has been with i-Pay since January 2017.
Partner – Olaniwun Ajayi LP
Toyosi Alabi, LLB (London School of Economics, London) BL, MA (Kings College, London), is a partner in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP in Nigeria. Toyosi engages in the negotiation and documentation of transactions in relation to the acquisition of IP rights. Toyosi has extensive experience and proficiency in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. She has actively engaged in prosecuting and defending a number of high-profile suits involving copyright, trademark, design and patent infringement, and revocation of trademarks. She also provides thought leadership on entertainment and IP law in various forums.
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