‘Fast’ data revolution in Sub Saharan Africa

Posted on August 30, 2014 01:25 pm

Experts define “Fast Data” as a complimentary approach to Big Data for managing large quantities of “in-flight” data that assists organisations in making critical business decisions. Fast Data leverages on Big Data sources as a real-time component of being able to take action on events and information before they even enter a Big Data databases and system. Sub Saharan Africa enterprises are constantly facing business scenarios where they need better information to differentiate, innovate, and radically transform their business as the region takes a giant step in attaining home grown development. Going forward, it’s imperative for African enterprises to identify which business domains would most benefit from Fast Data. Enterprises have been examining how their organisations can actually convert fast data into actionable results. In countries like South Africa, Nigeria and recently Tanzania, Kenya and Angola the transformation is being enabled by a move to Big Data as organisations in the region are increasingly collecting vast quantities of real-time data. They include online sources like social media networks, highly-granular transactions and embedded sensors notably in South Africa and Kenya where they mine and use them to drive business decisions and in other circumstances actions. Many Telcos in Africa have been facing challenges to manage their resources effectively and to optimise capital expenditure while lowering operational expenditure. This demands the ability to gain insights as they occur to understand allocation of network resources based on traffic and application requirements, and network usage patterns. Fast Data has helped gain real-insights based on hard data as it comes in with Network operators in South Africa and Nigeria being at the forefront of pioneering this new trend.Then the data is stored a Big Data database and thats where “Fast Data” comes into play.Fast Data is fast becoming one of the top requirements for organisations in Sub Saharan Africa trying to keep up with the information coming from various sources and make real-time decisions and serve the need of their customers.Technology adoption has fuelled the growth of Fast Data across the region and its technology adoptions is the Big Data market that is growing at average of 20% per annum. It is a clear indication that volumes, varieties and velocity of data is on the rise.

As increased volumes of data become common across many industry sectors in East, Southern and Western African regions, the value of applying a fast data strategy as an end-to-end solution has become more apparent over the past three years. The main reason for businesses in the region to embrace Fast Data is the customer experience. Empowered by availability of affordable smartphones and thousands of mobile applications, customers in Sub Saharan Africa are connected all the time.Add the social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest providing new avenues for instant customer contact, fast data increases the opportunities for location-based marketing and customer analytics.‘The Internet of Things’ has also become another reason why Fast Data in Africa will be huge.This is because mobile network costs are decreasing and data speeds are accelerating, smart devices are starting to proliferate and making up ‘Internet of Things’. Therefore this make Fast data technology an important element to connect streams of data together from these smart devices to machines, to datacenters as is happening in South Africa. In Cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria, the Fast Data-based technology solutions are increasingly being used for fraud detection and this year there were reports of the same being used for location based digital signboards. In Kenya’s retail sector, there has been ongoing tests for Fast Data technologies that could allow customer service centres to conduct click-stream analysis for better customer experience management. It works in simplified way where ‘recommendation applications’ provide personalised service connecting visibility to value based on each customer’s experience. Research has shown that click-stream analysis helps initiate customer service interactions and target offers. In East African countries of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, Fast Data solutions are expected to come in handy for public sector organisations to respond faster to incidents as they occur be it criminal activities or terrorist incidents in a region that is grappling with rising incidents of terror threats. In Kenya, the country’s leading Mobile network operator Safaricom recently won a security contract that will help correlate vast number of events supporting comprehensive real-time data collection and analysis for intelligent traffic management in Kenya starting with commercial capital and costal city of Mombasa the two severely terror affected metropolitans, forensic analysis, vehicle journey history, traffic hotspots, crime density and more which security experts have lauded as a giant step in bringing escalating crime in Africa’s largest non-mineral economy.

Contador Harrison