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NEC XON summit explores how Industry 4.0 can be Africa's hero

Johannesburg, 26 Sep 2018
Read time 3min 00sec
Carel Coetzee, CEO of NEC XON
Carel Coetzee, CEO of NEC XON

NEC XON's seventh annual summit, at Sun City on 11 October, will explore methods for harnessing the fourth industrial revolution innovations and technologies in collaborative architectures to overcome Africa's socioeconomic challenges.

The summit traditionally attracts 300 to 400 invitation-only delegates from the continent's largest and most respected organisations, which includes large mobile operators, enterprises, ISPs, public sector and cross-border fibre wholesale carriers that traverse sub-Saharan Africa and include the Indian Ocean islands.

"Industry 4.0 levels the playing field and eliminates barriers to entry," says Carel Coetzee, CEO of NEC XON. "That's exactly what Africa is looking for as we increasingly collaboratively, through various trade and other regional agreements, overcome inhibitors to growth, prosperity and greater equality."

Vendors supporting the summit include Juniper Networks, Fortinet, Symantec, ADVA Optical, Trend Micro, Raytheon. Schneider Electric, Veritas, Apache Optics, Red Hat and Force Point.

NEC XON will host three keynote speakers:

Craig Wing will address the impact of technology on employment versus the organisational benefits it delivers.

"Craig is a visionary futurist who weaves a tapestry of thought through the youth bulge in African demographics, and the impact living longer has on employment," says Mark Harris, CMO of NEC XON. "His delivery goes into how much of Africa remains agrarian, must still industrialise and how that affects the adoption of game-changing Industry 4.0 innovations."

Mark Harris, CMO of NEC XON
Mark Harris, CMO of NEC XON

Stafford Masie is the technology futurist, entrepreneur and payment device inventor with more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. His topic, 'Digital Clash of Civilisations and the New Industrial Revolution', covers the evolution of humanity in the context of today's technology changes.

"Stafford maps the present trends and outlines frameworks that will help establish immediate future scenarios," says Harris. "Technology is impacting us all tectonically, and Stafford will surface the lessons as well as where to go from here."

Walter Lee is head of the Innovation Management Office, Global Safety Division of NEC, which is responsible for incubating global innovative solutions for smart and safer cities. Lee was the VP and head of IDC Consulting Asia-Pacific, the VP and head of e-Commerce at Singapore Airlines, and country manager at IBM Singapore for the government and education industries. He will discuss: "Riding the wave of disruption in 4.0".

Chief among the demonstrations at this year's summit will be the facial recognition technology linked to an artificial intelligence (AI) platform being used by governments and organisations for safety and security. The same platform connects any number of Internet of things (IOT) devices and sensors, from space to subterranean, to gather relevant data for emergency and other services.

Cyber security must form part of a proactive and holistically inclusive strategy that also accounts for the predicted 25 billion IOT devices by 2020, increasing focus on endpoint security generally, and real-time security monitoring coupled to preventative activities, including predictive analytics. These incorporate a growing urban population, the effects they have on cities, the services they provide, and how they provide them, as well as the safety and security so increasingly paramount in modern metropolitan centres.

Security in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, which connects cyber systems to the physical world via a variety of channels, including social and IOT, will be a recurring and substantial theme.


NEC XON is the combination of XON, a systems integrator providing custom ICT and security services and solutions in southern Africa since 1996, and NEC Africa, the African business of the global technology giant NEC Corporation. NEC Corporation implemented its first communication solution in Africa in 1963 and established NEC Africa in 2011 to grow its business ICT and public safety.

Kapela Capital, XON's B-BBEE partner since 2012, continues as NEC XON's B-BBEE partner in South Africa, with Israel Skosana as chairman of the board of directors of NEC XON.

NEC generates global revenues in excess of $30 billion by orchestrating a brighter world for public entities, enterprises, telecoms carriers, and providing system platforms for businesses.

The combined NEC Africa and XON (NEC XON) operations seek to more fully explore the opportunities for safe city, energy, cyber security, telecommunication solutions, retail, managed services, cyber defence services and cloud (both public and private), among others in sub-Sahara Africa.

NEC XON maintains its head offices in Gauteng, South Africa with a footprint that covers all nine provinces in South Africa and 16 countries in sub-Sahara Africa.

Editorial contacts
Scarlet Letter Michelle Oelschig (083) 636 1766
NEC XON Mark Harris (011) 237 4500
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