SA will suffer in fourth industrial revolution if data costs not lowered

South Africa will struggle to compete in the fourth industrial revolution if data prices remain high.

This was said on Thursday by Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel.

“It is not just responding to the strong call and legitimate call of young people for data costs to fall.

“It is also recognising data will be a driver of many of the innovations that we’ll see in the 21st century economies and high costs will limit South Africa’s ability to play in this field.”

Patel spoke at the 11th Competition Law‚ Economics and Policy Conference hosted by the Competition Commission at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg.

The fourth industrial revolution includes new technology such as artificial intelligence‚ algorithms‚ 3D that is reliant on data.

Patel said: “Big data‚ search engines‚ complex algorithms and social media are the modern utilities that play the role akin to what water and energy utilities did a century ago.”

He asked the Competition Commission in May this year to compare South African and international data prices.

According to Ania Thiemann from the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD)‚ the ICON Data Centre in Hong Kong estimates it will store about 10.4 zetabytes (1021) by 2019.

“To store all this data every man‚ woman‚ child and baby on the earth would have to have 11 iPhones and each iPhone would be the maximum storage of 128GB.”

Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said according to a study they conducted at least 70% of South Africa’s economic sectors are dominated by three or four large companies with an average market shares between 46% and 67%.

By: Nico Gous – TimesLIVE 

Source: TMG Digital.

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