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Africa to leapfrog PC era

Most African countries are set to skip the laptop and desktop era, and jump straight into mobility.

So says Steve Hobbs, MD of Blue Pencil, who asks: "Imagine that you didn't have access to a desktop computer, laptop or tablet, and the only way to access the Internet was with your mobile phone. How would that impact your daily life? Would that change the way you work? For many on the continent of Africa, a mobile-only environment is an everyday reality."

Hobbs states that Africa is very much a mobile-first, if not mobile-only, environment. "Mobile is often the only point of access to the Internet, as the technology has completely leapfrogged traditional desktops and PCs. Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, is a great example of the post-PC era."

He adds that this mobile uptake has prompted Blue Pencil to research the many unique business solutions that could expand its mobile offering and increase its customer base. "As we work to grow our business, mobile presents great opportunities for us to not only distribute our content and services to current customers in new ways, but also to reach new customers."

Customer demands, he explains, are driven mostly by their sales ambitions; they want applications that enable them to measure their bottom lines and manage business processes quicker and more efficiently, while gaining a meaningful return on their investments.

"Our mobile app development is designed with this in mind, as well as focusing on asset verification management, which is one of the growth areas in the company's mobility offerings," he says. "We've created solutions for our customers to reduce the time and effort required to verify assets using their mobile devices, from anywhere, at any time."

However, notes Hobbs, it has not been easy convincing some of Blue Pencil's customers to integrate mobility into their day-to-day business operations, with some finding it hard to incorporate it into their traditional ways of working and company culture.

To avoid being irrelevant and left behind, Hobbs implores African enterprises to approach mobility as an architecture solution. "Mobility affects legal, HR, policy, security, support, identity, business infrastructure and application decisions. It's becoming a focal point of our personal and business lives."

He notes that while most people still access the Internet through computers, laptops and tablets, these same people also access it from their cellphones. "It means, in a not-so-distant future, all services that are offered online will also have to be offered on cellphones," he concludes.

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