Cisco Connect 2019 kicked off with connected women in tech session on Sunday, 19 May at Sun City, South Africa.
Sponsored by IN2IT Technologies the session looked at the role of women in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how Industry 4.0 can impact women. Speaking at the session was Cleo Gwena, Area Sales Manager at In2IT Technologies. Gwena highlighted the importance of training girls in IT from a young age.
It is clear that access to healthcare in Africa needs improving and for remote areas, this seems to be a massive task. Technological advances and the digitalisation of the healthcare industry are needed in order to change the current situation. With many remote and rural areas that are well populated, it is imperative that healthcare services reach all these areas.
For better healthcare delivery, eliminating barriers and increasing access to quality health services is key. Adoption of technology will offer a vast number of opportunities to remote and rural areas in Africa.
Blockchain can be used to address health issues in Africa, said Gwena. “How this would help is that when a woman gives birth to a child and she needs blood somewhere in a remote region, blockchain can be used for transportation purposes. Currently, the blood is transferred from one point to another and chances are when the blood gets to the patient it is either contaminated or gets there too late.”
“Another issue is that when blood is donated, the donor never knows whether the blood was used or not it would be nice that when blood is donated and used, the donor receives a notification informing them that the blood saved a life. Blockchain can be used to screen the blood, ensure that the blood is not contaminated especially when transported to remote areas,” said Gwena.
According to the World Bank, economic growth and urbanisation, higher food prices, and change in demographics and climate are affecting the agricultural environment in Africa. Adaptation of integrated packages of technology is required to fast track the growth of the agricultural sector.
Investments in technological innovation in the agricultural sector will not only help farmers meet increasingly stringent import requirements but it will help them keep track of their produce and ensure that the market at large is served.
“Currently, we have an issue with population versus land and we have a challenge with arable land, therefore there is an issue with food security. In2IT Technologies is currently working with farmers to ensure that land is used adequately. The use of Artificial Intelligence can drive innovation in agriculture,” she said.
Gender bias on skills
Currently, there are more men in positions of power than women, according to Gwena. “We are going into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and there are a handful of women who are engineering this revolution. In the future women will still be behind and salary prosperities will still be an issue. Closing this gap will require redesigning the future of work. Reskilling will help reduce the potential loss of jobs. AI and robotics are meant to focus on new job opportunities and not necessarily take away jobs. It is for HR departments to work with IT and look for opportunities for new jobs,” she said.
“In2IT launched a robot that was built by an all-women team, said Gwena. We also need to focus our energy on early childhood development. Women need to be included and they need balance.”
Mapula was launched in 2018. It presents users with new ways of engaging with an organisation and solving problems. This Software bot encompasses robotic process automation (RPA) seeks to enable citizen services to be easily executed and create an efficient way of integrating service tools. Using RPA any element of operation can be automated whether it is with the client themselves or outsourced to a service provider. Thus it gives clients better control of operations by the core team.
The chatbot can be customised depending on the customer requirements of the specific organisation, using RPA to respond to frequently asked questions and resolve customer queries on the Web site, and across social media platforms.