Kathy Gibson reports from the Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai – Kenya leads the pack in terms of growth momentum, according to the new Global Connectivity Index launched today by Huawei Enterprise.

Germany tops the Index overall because of the affordability and penetration of connectivity in that country, meaning that more Germans are connected than other nationalities.

William Xu, executive director and chief strategy marketing officer at Huawei Technologies, says countries like Kenya and Egypt that show good growth momentum are good targets for business investment.

Explaining why Kenya is showing such good growth momentum, Xu says the country’s government has committed 4,5% of its GDP to ICT. Despite being an emerging market, Kenya already boast 18-million subscribers and growing.
Going forward, connectivity is going to change the way companies do business – and potentially change the picture for whole economies.

“We are shifting form mass production age to intelligent production age,” says Xu. “Based on research by the IEEE in Germany, Industry 4.0 will boost productivity by up to 30%.

“This means that all the physical production equipment will be connected via the Internet and those big manufacturing countries will transition to big intelligent manufacturing countries.”

While this has the potential to widen the digital divide, Xu says developing countries can also make the shift, and points to Chile as the country that tops the Index for developing countries.

“Chile has good download speed and affordability,” he says. “In addition, the government has bought into the ‘Chilecon Valley’ programme that aims to make Chile the centre of innovation in Latin America.”

With connectivity and ICT rapidly becoming the core competencies of the state, Xu says governments around the world should be actively engaged in constructing ICT infrastructure.

“Connectivity leads to an increase in GPD, and this more rapid in developing countries – it’s why connectivity is comparable to national competitiveness.”

Other findings of the Global Connectivity Index how that 65% of enterprises surveyed plan to increase ICT investment in the next two years.

Industries in the “Transformers” section of the Index are in financial services, education and oil and gas.

Transformers use ICT to drive future revenue growth. “ICT is an enabler of the business,” says Xu. “Transformers will continue to improve ICT investment.

Five consistent behaviours differentiate transformers from other organisations, according to the Index.

Transformers seek open innovation, both from within their organisations or outside. This is often reflected in the use of digital tools such as social networking to crowdsource ideas.

In addition, transformers prize customer convenience – they care about the diversity and utility of how they interact, and it has to be anywhere, anytime and by whatever means.

Transformers sell experiences, they believe that the product wrap is as important as the product itself – and this goes well beyond the sale of the product, but includes product performance and continuous feedback.

The first organisations to know something will be the transformers, since they depend upon realtime information and service delivery to differentiate themselves. They seek new insights by continuously analysing data from a range of sources.

Finally, transformers are adaptable to change. In a hyper-connected world they use ICT to accelerate and adapt to change, with the ability to experiment and iterate quickly.

Network quality and consistency has become the number one concern for 44% of respondents, while data security and survivability is also important.

“National competitiveness can be seen to depend on connectivity,” Xu adds. “ICT is redefining every aspect of value creation with big data now a vital enterprise asset.”