While Eskom’s load shedding is causing untold havoc with consumers and businesses alike, it is not all bad news for everyone – it seems notebook retailers are looking at a potential increase in the sale of laptops and wireless 3G connections.
This is according to Christopher Riley, CEO of notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company, who says that if Eskom’s capacity problems continue for the next few years – as it is predicted they will – one of the knock-on affects will be an increase in the sale of laptops with 3G connections as business professionals try and circumvent the communications impasse caused by the rolling blackouts.
“Load shedding is having a disastrous impact on business," he says. "Besides a 200% climb in the sale of generators, we are predicting an explosive growth of people opting for 3G connectivity. We are getting an increasing number of inquiries.”
But while this spells good news for the suppliers of notebooks, going wireless is not a 100% solution. “The use of laptops and 3G wireless connections will circumvent much of the communication problems caused by Eskom’s rolling power blackouts, but it must be remembered that if, for instance, Vodacom towers are off due to power problems, wireless users will also be left in the dark, so to speak," says Riley.
“Even if there is an increased number of wirelessly connected laptop users – which there is bound to be – the transferring of information remains a problem. If a connected laptop users sends a business file to a client in an area being affected by a power blackout, that information – which may be vital – might only be received hours later when power is resumed.
"This communications delay is having a serious impact on businesses in South Africa. In fact communication can almost end up existing in a loop: when a company in Brooklyn wants to communicate with a company in Sandton, it cannot – because the Sandton-based company is facing load-shedding. Conversely, when the Sandton company’s power is restored- and it wants to communicate with the Brooklyn-based company, it cannot – because the Brooklyn company’s power is now down. And this loop could repeat itself several times.
“This is what we are facing for the next eight years as Eskom battles to increase capacity to handle power demands."