2022 in review: Top technology trends that defined the year

2022 in review: Top technology trends that defined the year

As the year 2022 draws to a close; for tech enthusiasts, it bought some significant and encouraging developments in SA, from the licensing spectrum from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Google landing its Equiano cable, the rise of super apps, Elon Musk buying Twitter, to metaverse becoming a trend.

Here are some of the top tech trends that defined the year 2022.

Telecoms regulator ICASA finally launched the long-awaited, high-demand spectrum this year. In March, ICASA concluded the first auction with high demand in well over a decade.

The main auction phase comprised 58 bidding rounds between the six bidders, who saw ICASA behind R14.4 billion from the historical process.

At the end of the process, Cell C settled for 10MHz at 3.5GHz. MTN successfully secured 2x10MHz in 800MHz, 40MHz on 2600MHz and 40MHz on the 3500MHz band.

Telkom picked up 20MHz at 800MHz and 22MHz at the 3.5GHz bands, Rain took 20MHz at 700MHz and 20MHz at 2.6GHz

Vodacom secured spectrum portfolio, which includes 2 x 10MHz in the 700 MHz band, 1 x 80MHz in the 2 600MHz band and 1 x 10MHz in the 3 500MHz band.

One spectrum lot of 2x10MHz in the IMT800 band remains unsold, and this lot will be licensed by the authority in the future.

Google’s Equiano submarine internet cable finally landed on the South African coast. Announced in 2019, the submarine cable is expected to be a massive job creation machine, fueled by the expansion of the region’s digital economy and peripheral sectors.

The Equiano submarine internet cable landed at Melkbosstrand north of Cape Town in August.

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The cable starts in Western Europe and runs along the west coast of Africa, between Portugal and SA, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to more African countries.

2022 will be remembered as the year super apps rose. A super app is like an umbrella app that offers consumers a complete ecosystem of services shaped around their lifestyle needs under one integrated portal.

In SA, mobile operators such as Vodacom announced the VodaPay super app. Telco is punting the super app to connect the next 100 million Africans as it moves deeper into financial services.

The VodaPay super app attracted 2.2 million downloads and 1.6 million registered users in the eight months since its launch.

Big four bank Nedbank also joined the race with its own super app, known as Avo, which has since gained over 250,000 South African users, as the bank accelerated its adoption of digital solutions.

Absa, Discovery Bank, Nedbank and FNB have embraced Apple Pay, which allows users to make payments in person, in iOS apps and online using Safari.

Customers simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a payment terminal to make a contactless payment.

Elon Musk finished the acquisition of Twitter in October. The Pretoria-born billionaire closed the purchase of the microblogging platform after weeks of arguing with the former shareholders.

The spat between Twitter and Musk came after the Tesla chief reneged on an initial deal to buy the global social networking platform, leading to a court settlement.

The trial judge then ordered the case to be adjourned until October 28, to allow Musk and Twitter to enter into a takeover agreement that was reached in April. Musk then announced a day before the court deadline that an agreement had been reached between the parties.

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The metaverse is growing and investment in space is growing in South Africa as the technology is set to unlock new opportunities for tech companies.

Called the next evolution of social connection, the metaverse is loosely defined as a vast online world where people interact via digital avatars.

In SA, this year alone, a significant number of entities, from telcos to Web3 consultancies, have entered the metaverse economy.

MTN and advertising and marketing consultancy M&C Saatchi Abel will be it first local firms to buy virtual property in Africa’s first metaverse, Africarare.

MTN purchased 144 plots of virtual land, with a total area of ​​12x12m. MTN’s 144 property plots in Africarare allow it to expand its footprint in the metaverse.

Web3 consulting firm In2IT Technologies unveiled its metaverse studio at the GovTech 2022 conference in Durban.

“Metaverse studio solves real-time problems in a digital environment. It establishes a company in web3. Customers can use tools and APIs to develop their own solutions. There are several commercialization opportunities for companies. Metaverse is a new medium that allows companies to engage customers in many transformative ways, says Amritesh Anand, In2IT vice president, to ITWeb.

In October, Google officially confirmed its intention to establish a new Google Cloud region in South Africa – the first on the continent.

The company said in a statement that this “is the latest example of how Google is delivering on the $1 billion investment commitment made last year by the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai”.

Last year, Pichai said Google would invest $1 billion over a five-year period to support digital transformation in Africa.

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Telkom subsidiary BCX entered into an exclusive agreement with Alibaba Cloud to bring the Chinese company’s services to the South African market.

The parties signed an exclusive distribution contract in Thailand, to give BCX exclusive rights and authority to distribute Alibaba Cloud’s products and services in South Africa.

The entry into Alibaba Cloud services in SA via BCX comes as multinational hyperscalers – such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure – have already established data centers in South Africa, as more organizations take their workloads to the cloud.

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