Leading Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, has partnered with Strathmore Business School (SBS), the graduate business school of Strathmore University, to launch a new data analytics centre focused on data-driven research and practices for African Businesses.
Liquid Telecom has the largest data centre in the Country. They sell connectivity, data spaces and are becoming a major technology provider for businesses. It will be connected to Microsoft Cloud, which is launching its first time ever cloud in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Under the partnership, the firm aims to create and support a data analytics laboratory in Strathmore University. Data from various sources will be collected and Liquid Telecom will provide a data repository. They will support these connections by establishing a direct fibre link between Strathmore Business School campus and East Africa Data Centre in Nairobi.
This will facilitate data analytic services such as data mining, predictive analysis and exploratory data analysis. “Its main aim is to make every Kenyan citizen, businesses and the government make data-driven decisions,” said Ben Roberts, Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer (CTIO) at Liquid Telecom.
The CTIO also noted that this would be an added advantage for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), who have the least access to data when making their decisions. “A company like Nakumatt would not have failed if it was using data from the Nakumatt Global Card,” he said.
“A data revolution is coming to Africa, bringing with it the need for new skills and infrastructure to help businesses unlock the true potential of Big Data. By providing Strathmore Business School with access to our world-class facilities at East Africa Data Centre (EADC), we hope to provide a platform for innovation in analytics as well as develop joint solutions to some of the challenges being presented by large volumes of data on consumers,” said Dan Kwach, General Manager at EADC.
This idea comes up at a time when Africa, as a continent, is ready for Cloud Computing. Businesses would prefer to set up their databases in the cloud or in safe storage facilities to the old tradition of setting up your servers in some room at the end of the office space. One can’t rely on the latter for various reasons-one cited by Ben Roberts was power failure as KPLC keeps going down.
One area of concern is the standard to which data privacy levels will be maintained. Liquid Telecom generally is certified to the data standards of ISO 27001-is a code of practice for protection of personal identifiable information in public clouds. However, The CTIO noted the urgency of having data protection legislation made by the government (what are referred as: General Data Protection Regulations)
Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain would be key factors to drive the analytics. Currently, the Microsoft Cloud, dubbed Azure, is capable of using Blockchain to arrange data into specific ledgers. This technology will give value to data. The technology is still emerging but will make a big impact in the data revolution.