There is no doubt that COVID-19 and country-specific responses to the pandemic have impacted business.
It has forced industries to rapidly evolve, accelerating their digital transformation responses and adoption of new technologies to help them keep the lights on.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been on the radar for quite some time, with the initial uptake largely in gaming and entertainment.
The Harvard Business Review Mixed Reality: A New Dimension of Work survey conducted in 2018 saw 68% of respondents state that mixed reality was important in supporting the organisation to reach its strategic goals within 18 months.
At that time, the survey results also showed that mixed reality was poised to change the way employees work, making them more productive, enabling them to work across physical and digital boundaries and engage with digital content differently.
2020 then saw the world plunged into a reality where social distancing is required and governments are encouraging, if not enforcing, remote-working policies.
Additionally, we are seeing large global corporates such as Facebook extending its work from home policy to July 2021 and Twitter announcing a permanent remote-work policy, creating an opportunity for AR and VR to move to the forefront.
Enter COVID-19 – a time of forced change
Digital technologies that were being developed in the background had to move very quickly from being a concept to reality and there are already several use cases for these technologies in various industries, such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and events to name a few.
In 2019, Nokia, together with partners, showcased a connected school demonstration at the Nokia Innovation day in collaboration with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
The connected classroom is an e-learning container, which can be hosted anywhere, and, in the demonstration, we showcased to stakeholders the impact of a connected remote classroom.
Nokia also partnered with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Vodacom, I-mmersive, Musion Africa, and ERP in 2019 to stream South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s opening address at the inaugural 4IRSA Digital Summit to the Rustenburg Civic Centre in the North West province via hologram.
This was one of the first live holographic broadcasts of a head of state in the world and Nokia believes this type of technology can go a long way in bringing public events and education to remote areas in South Africa.
South Africa and the rest of the continent are already making positive strides in digital transformation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to fundamentally change the parameters of the digital landscape.
Nokia believes that 5G is going to be the main enabler of the 4th Industrial Revolution and is fully committed to bringing its global 5G leadership to South Africa and contributing to the country’s social and economic development.
Our journey has just begun – imagine where technology can take South Africa and the entire African continent in the future.