There are two sectors at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) moving at tremendous speed thanks to compounding technological advances: healthcare and manufacturing.
Both sectors have seen digital transformation reach a level of maturation where devices, systems and people are interconnected like never before, making it possible to imagine the optimised synergy between humans and machines that defines Industry 5.0.
However, in South Africa, these sectors have been on a quest for digital vitality and need to get serious about planning for a digitally connected future.
Industry 4.0 brings value and resilience to manufacturing
While some leaders are racing ahead, such as “lighthouse” manufacturers that demonstrate the value next-generation digital technology and analytics can deliver, however, many organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate the uncertainty.
This situation was greatly exacerbated by the headwinds of the pandemic, which saw manufacturers that were more digitally mature in a better position to weather the crisis.
In a 2020 McKinsey study, 94% of respondents said that Industry 4.0 investments had helped them keep operations going, and 56% said 4IR technologies had been critical in helping them respond.
Unlocking the digital future of healthcare
The healthcare sector came under pressure from all sides during the pandemic, but here again, interconnected digital technologies proved instrumental.
Digital interactions became commonplace to reduce foot traffic in hospitals and support over-stretched providers, but these technologies are rich with potential for future applications, especially in South Africa.
Remote monitoring, for example, would benefit patients in remote areas and reduce the risks faced by care providers.
While the private sector has begun its digital transformation journey, public healthcare in South Africa is sadly paralysed by chronic underfunding.
This means the true benefits of 4IR technologies won’t reach 71.5% of the population until they can be affordably accessed and underpinned by ubiquitous high-speed connectivity.
Emerging new technologies promise to revolutionise healthcare in the years to come.
The likes of AI, AR/VR, edge-computing and IoT are helping to drive a shift towards value-based care and precision medicine, ensuring improved health outcomes and a better overall experience.
By 2023, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 65% of patients will pass through a digital “front door” to improve access and quality of care.
But the health sector in South Africa will struggle to follow this trend, or capitalise on a host of exciting new technologies, without first laying the foundations for a digital future.
A modern network for a firm foundation
A network is the platform on which digital transformation happens and where it should start.
Factories, hospitals and organisations of all sizes need faster access to data, the performance needed to make the most of cloud and other technologies, the agility to cater for evolving business and operational models, and the level of security needed to keep data and systems safe in an age of rampant cybercrime.
A software-defined network – tailored, fully managed and secure by design, leveraging automation and advanced analytics – can deliver everything an organisation needs to pave the way for its digital transformation journey in one comprehensive solution.
Find out how network modernisation enables rapid digital transformation. Read our Dimension Data and Cisco whitepaper here