Africa poised to benefit from hybrid connectivity solutions

  • Liquid Cloud, Microsoft  Collaborate to Deploy Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure in Africa
  • Combining linear TV via satellite and on-demand services via OTT offers content in optimum quality at the convenience of the viewers.

Africa cannot afford to be complacent about digital transformation. The scale and complexity of Africa’s technical landscape sits at the heart of the problem, and connectivity issues are particularly prevalent.

Digital transformation offers Africa huge potential to overcome, even leapfrog, many of its perennial development and growth challenges.

The African telecommunication space has developed and has positively and significantly affected the growth of the economies on the continent in many ways. From enabling access to banking through mobile phones to interlinking the formal and informal economies that exist in the region.

Satellite combined with other technologies like fibre to form hybrid solutions is seen as critical to efforts by industry stakeholders to increase broadband connectivity in Africa especially East Africa.

Business Development Director for Middle East and Africa, Alaa Alsadi at IEC Telecom Group said that combined with other technologies, satellite technology can increase the levels of connectivity.

“(Satellite) works best in combination with other technologies like fibre or GSM as a hybrid solution, that can help African countries to achieve digitalisation goals and plans in much faster time and with higher reductions in cost and expenses, compared to building GSM or fibre infrastructure to cover remote areas,” he said.

“Digitalisation can empower business owners with reduced infrastructure investments and state-of-the-art hybrid technologies. It is almost a virtuous circle to see innovations in technology creating opportunities for increased entrepreneurship. In addition, increased incentives for doing business in Kenya are creating the demand for more connectivity,” said Oscar Mwai, CEO of Ostatech Limited, an IEC Telecom Group partner.

The two companies have partnered to roll out technology that will support markets including government, finance, military and the private sector, to implement end-to-end connectivity infrastructure.

Cloud service providers are also extending their reach in Africa with the latest announcement of Google’s cloud region in South Africa.

Read: Amazon Web Services and Google to extend their footprint in South Africa

Microsoft and Liquid Cloud have also partnered to exploit growth within the hybrid cloud space. This partnership will enable them to roll out next-generation cloud solutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The hybrid cloud environment extends Azure capabilities enabling customers to create cloud-native applications faster with Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) and data services such as App Service, Functions, Logic Apps, Azure SQL Managed Instance, PostgreSQL database, and Azure machine learning. As a result, customers will be able to innovate anywhere and use the Azure platform to bring new solutions to life – to solve today’s challenges and create the future.

A hybrid cloud is the combination of both public and private cloud deployment models. Organizations use the hybrid model to blend their infrastructure on demand.

“We witnessed an accelerated adoption of cloud technologies in Africa, and businesses are now reaping the benefits of their investment. Our customers are increasingly moving to a hybrid work culture, meaning the demand for cloud-based services will only grow,” said David Behr, CEO of Liquid Cloud and Cyber Security.

The solutions will be rolled out via Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO) and the companies have confirmed the solutions will meet regulatory and data residency requirements, address low latency workloads, and strengthen resilience while enabling business continuity.

“Critical infrastructure enablers are needed to provide access to the cloud to accelerate digital transformation and the adoption of digital technologies. Working with Liquid Cloud, access to the local cloud will be available to more organizations and highly regulated industries across the continent. In addition, hybrid cloud provides in-country resources that address data-residency, latency, and storage requirements,” added Wael Elkabbany, General Manager Africa Regional Cluster, and Microsoft.

Global cloud computing market was worth US$390 billion in the year 2021 and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 11 per cent, earning revenues of around US$852 billion by the end of 2028. (Photo/ Globe NewsWire)

According to a report by Research and Markets, global cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are expanding their presence with new cloud regions.

Cloud adoption is expected to grow up to 25 per cent annually in South Africa and expects to generate up to USD 1.5 billion by 2024. SaaS is being widely adopted among organizations in South Africa, followed by IaaS solutions in the country’s data center and networking market.

In September 2021, Eskom, a utility firm based in South Africa, is planning to invest around US$7 billion in renewable energy development over the next nine years. This is expected to drive the demand in the South African data center market.

The increase in submarine cable investment and fiber connectivity is likely to attract more data center investments in the region. South Africa has the highest number of submarine cable deployments, followed by Nigeria and Kenya.

Combining linear TV via satellite and on-demand services via OTT offers content in optimum quality at the convenience of the viewers.

Combining the benefits of both worlds, a hybrid offering of linear TV via satellite and on-demand services via OTT offers the most viable, future-ready solution to deliver a rich portfolio of video content.

This has given regional players an opportunity to capitalize on the growing OTT trend. Live coverage of events, particularly sports, has been the key driver for OTT services in the region.

Over time, however, telecom operators, media companies, broadcasters and pay-TV operators seem to have actively exploited the potential of the OTT market by launching standalone services as well as services that complement their existing setups.
Satellites are a particularly cost-effective way to reach large numbers of viewers, particularly in regions with widely dispersed populations and challenging environments.

Satellite covers all households within the footprint, including those unable to access OTT services due to insufficient internet bitrates. This enables the service provider to supply all customers with a similar instantaneous service across regions.

While OTT costs rise with the number of viewers, satellite costs remain fixed, making it a more cost-effective solution for broadcasters.

There are also changes on the horizon. We are also witnessing a move toward hybrid solutions involving both DTH and OTT. In addition to traditional services, OTT has become an increasingly popular option for viewers seeking both on-demand content as well as specific live programming in addition to traditional services.

Read: Rwanda embraces cloud based OTT messaging apps

Albert is a Chemical Technologist and Author. He is passionate about mining, stock market investing, Fintech and Edutech.

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