HomeAI & CloudArtificial Intelligence accelerates business device upgrades in South Africa

Artificial Intelligence accelerates business device upgrades in South Africa

Microsoft’s recent launch of its Copilot Pro subscription into 222 countries worldwide (including South Africa) is one of the first steps in not only revolutionising how businesses apply software technology to enhance productivity, but also marks a fundamental shift in basic personal computing hardware architecture.

In the same way that storage technology has seen floppy disks being replaced by CD-ROM, then USB drives, and now cloud, computing processing power will undergo a radical transformation, driven by the rapid of evolution of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered applications on personal devices.

It took Facebook 4,5 years to reach 100 million users, WeChat just over a year, TikTok 9 months, Telegram just 5 months, ChatGPT only took 2 months to reach this milestone.

The adoption of new apps is only set to accelerate, as faster and more powerful tools are developed and prove indispensable to users.

While ChatGPT (built on generative pre-trained transformer models) allows anyone to prompt it to produce a variety of outputs, from lines of programming code to complex financial models, or even original song lyrics based on desired parameters, it does have its limitations.

It produces comprehensive and targeted results more so than conventional search in an organic chat experience, its main drawback is that it is a generically trained system that is based on text from various data sources on the Internet. It does not, for instance, remember previous searches an individual has made in the past to tailor future activity or styles.

This can be frustrating, as the nature of machine learning implies iteration and an element of personalisation. Also, the online security risks of using open systems to process sensitive data is something that certain industries expressly forbid when servicing their clients (e.g. law, finance, defence, and the public sector).

With the availability of platforms such as Copilot, individual user data is not only stored on a user’s profile, it also immediately begins to be applied to a person’s preferences, style and areas of interest across the various applications regularly used, in addition to accessing data from the wider web, as ChatGPT does.

As data is stored on the machine or on a closed network, enhanced cybersecurity can be ensured to limit their vulnerability to threat actors from across the world,  who are increasingly looking towards South Africa as a target, considering the country’s strategic relevance on the world geopolitical and economic landscape.

Data is stored in the cloud, or locally on an organisation’s server and devices. This leads to a much faster, deeply personalised experience that results in more productivity. A presentation that may have taken two hours to build at the fastest work rate could now take half an hour, as the platform understands which templates, conventions and data sources are most commonly referenced in an integrated experience, freeing up time for focused work and more personal interactions with clients, suppliers and colleagues.

This is revolutionary, especially in professional knowledge-based roles that depend on the ability to process, interpret, and present large amounts of data, like sales, marketing, human resources, strategy and operations management.

Being a subscription service, Copilot will not likely be widely deployed to all users at first, but to “super users”, like senior managers, strategists and developers, who would be the most likely to use the advanced tools to their fullest potential.

As the real, tangible productivity benefits are realised, uptake is sure to gain momentum, transforming the way businesses operate and driving a wave of developers to build even more advanced technologies in rapid succession.

This is the time for organisations, especially those entering a cycle of upgrading or reinvestment into new computers fort their employees, to strongly consider investing in new AI-enabled systems with dedicated on-board resources to handle progressively more advanced AI capabilities.

At a minimum, hardware should be equipped with Windows 11 Pro for optimal cybersecurity, 16DDR5 memory (or higher), Intel13th Generation  core processing (or higher), Rizon 8000 series dedicated processing for AI business use (or higher), 256GB solid state drive storage (or higher), and an optional graphics card for design oriented work.

Rectron, having observed this evolution, has already adjusted inventory and logistics strategies to be more flexible and responsive. This is to ensure that organisations across Southern Africa are able to quickly transition to devices able to handle the demands of high-speed AI capabilities to enhance their businesses and inject new productivity into their country’s economies in the coming years.