Datacentrix tackles smart mining at first Mining Indaba event
High performing and secure ICT solutions provider, Datacentrix, recently held its first Mining Indaba event at Zebula Lodge in Limpopo, demonstrating to 90 industry attendees how transformative technologies are supporting smart mining operations.Sponsored by Huawei (Platinum) and Veritas (Gold), the event provided a platform for the South African mining sector to engage in discussion about the industry’s digital journey progress and challenges, explains Johann Coetzee, Datacentrix’s managing director: commercial.
“Datacentrix and its partners put together an agenda designed to provide advice to local mining organisations wanting to embrace digital transformation, looking at topics including the hybrid multi-cloud, digitally connected mines, IT security challenges within industrial environments, video surveillance and artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent data management within the mining environment, and more.
“The overriding theme of the event was that the mining industry must take advantage of the serious benefits offered through digitalisation, automation and the more intelligent use of data. By embracing fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technology, mining organisations can optimise their environments, allowing them to take advantage of greater predictability around equipment and a more efficient labour force.”
Key take-away points from the conference included the fact that the mining industry has, so far, missed the transition to the digital age and how these organisations can leapfrog themselves ahead, why cloud migrations fail and how to approach to a successful cloud journey, solving challenges around the merging of operational technology (OT) and IT, and using machine learning for greater predictability around equipment failures to boost longevity.
Keynote speaker Brian Armstrong, South Africa’s pre-eminent thought leader on digitalisation and business strategy and the Professor of Digital Business at the Wits Business School, highlighted these points in his presentation, stating that globally – across all sectors –companies that have gone the digital route are showing better performance than those that have not yet transformed. “We are seeing waves of technological change, and have done so since before 1900. Today, however, these waves have increased and intensified, and the impact is further reaching. With the tech revolution comes a different way of doing business and a transformation in society, and the converging point is the 4IR; this is where the ‘magic’ happens.”
While the local mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, forestry and fishing industries are at lower risk of disruption than the media, ICT, legal services, healthcare, education, financial services and retail, there have been major changes in the type of organisations represented within the top 10 companies by market capital. “The oil barons have been replaced by the whiz kids of Silicon Valley,” Armstrong explained. “Seven out of 10 of today’s top organisations are platform-based businesses. We’re seeing company mortality rates rising, with the average company lifetime shrinking to 15 years, and at this rate, 50% of listed companies in 2019 will be gone by 2029.
“Zooming in on automation, the reasons for it are clear,” he said. “As humans, we are subjective. We are costly to scale. We make mistakes. We are temperamental and slow. Machines are more predictable – they are not affected by external factors. They are easier and quicker to scale. They remove the errors from the system. And they are faster at many things than humans – taking around four seconds to perform an IT risk audit, for example, as opposed to the four weeks that it can take humans.
“In order to make the transition into 4IR, we need to gain new skills, fostering an attitude of continuous learning, and equip ourselves with more relevant skills – moving away from admin-heavy roles, like clerks and secretaries, towards analysts, managers and specialists. This willingness to learn new things, and a recognition that our existing skills are becoming obsolete, will provide a winning approach for the future.”
For more information on the recent Mining Indaba, Datacentrix’s end-to-end solution offering, and to download speakers’ presentations, please visit https://www.datacentrix.co.za/miningindaba2019.html.
Datacentrix provides leading ICT integration services and solutions to South African organisations, ensuring their success and sustainability into the digital age. The company’s approach is to partner with its customers, equipping them with valuable insight and helping to align their ICT undertakings with their business strategy. Datacentrix offers a deeply specialised skills component and is endorsed by the world’s foremost technology partners. The company is recognised for its agility, in-depth industry knowledge, proven capability and strong overall performance. Datacentrix is a Level One (AAA) B-BBEE Contributor, with 135 percent procurement recognition. For more information, please visit www.datacentrix.co.za.