http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.33Change: -0.12
R/$ = 10.71Change: -0.14
Au 1295.02 $/ozChange: -2.54
Pt 1477.50 $/ozChange: -2.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 27, 2012

Given tempo of technological change, we cannot predict far into the future with certainty

Back
London|Natal|Boeing|Cable|Google|PROJECT|System|Search Engine|KwaZulu-Natal Coast|Red Sea|Boeing 747|Cable|Cables|GPS|Laser|Search Engine
|Cable|PROJECT|System|||Cable|Cables|
london|natal|boeing|cable|google|project|system|search-engine-industry-term|kwazulunatal-coast|red-sea|boeing-747|cable-product|cables|gps|laser|search-engine
© Reuse this



Afew days ago, I went flying in a helicopter in the evening. It was a beautiful evening, with still, clear air. We flew with the doors open and the view was fantastic. It was not my first helicopter flight but, before the flight, as I stood on the runway, looking at the large helicopter, I thought to myself: “How can those four skinny lightweight rotor blades lift that helicopter?” I am a scientist, so I know the maths and physics of how it works, but just looking from a layperson’s perspective, so to speak, it seemed impossible that the helicopter should fly.

There are many other such wonders in our modern world. When I watch a large passenger jet like a Boeing 747 take off, it looks as if it should not fly. The body is huge and the wings seem too small. If the wave of a magic wand could bring the Wright brothers back for a few minutes to see such a Boeing, they would never believe that the aircraft would fly.

These days, people just accept that modern technological wonders are reasonable. They accept without question and without marvelling at why or how these things work at all. For example, think of cellphones. When cellphones first came out, people were amazed that you could sit in a car and talk while the car moved.

Now people just expect to be able to stand under their favourite tree and make a phone call to anywhere in the world. To the average person, it just feels reasonable. Think of the World Wide Web and the Internet. It is mind-boggling that one can type something like ‘elephant migration’ into the Google search engine and in under a second have tens of thousands of articles to look at.

Consider the global positioning system, or GPS – how can a few satellites way up in space direct my car to a specific house and this does not cost me R1-million? What is more, these few satellites direct millions of vehicles all over the world at the same time.

We have a telecommunications cable that runs from the KwaZulu-Natal coast and runs 17 000 km under the ocean through the Red Sea and comes out in London. It is a fibre-optic cable. This means that it is a thin glass tube not much bigger than a human hair and a laser beam is passed through this cable, carrying telephone conversations – thousands of them. Mind blowing!

Only a few years ago, people would never have believed that cellphones were possible – or GPS or fibre-optic cables . . . the list goes on. But now such technological advances are just accepted as reasonable. Only five or ten years ago, many of these technologies were in the realm of science fiction and magic.

Scientific advance continues, and this means that, in five to ten years, we will have everyday technologies that in this day and age seem like science fiction and magic.

It is, therefore, dangerous to predict too far into the future with any certainty.

This is why companies need to carry out scenario planning. Scenario planning is a case of looking into the future and trying to project the extremes of what may happen so that one can guide the company on a growth path. A standard future projection, which is what most companies do, is known as the default scenario. It is also known that the default scenario is always wrong, so most companies plan on a future projection which is wrong the day they start.

I do scenario planning with organisations and it is always amazing and interesting to witness what comes out of such an exercise when it is done correctly. The participants are always surprised, and then pleased, when they see what they have been able to produce.

The future will have so many unexpected turns, combined with technology advances that will be like magic spells falling on companies that one really needs to stay awake to not be caught out.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
A while ago, I was at a function, talking to a group of people, when I made the comment that what we need is African solutions for African conditions. The one fellow groaned and said: "Oh, no, not that again." I then realised that he had totally misinterpreted what I...
I read in a newspaper that a particular day in July was International Plastic Bag Free Day.   Nooo, it does not mean that, on that day, you received free plastic bags. It means that, on that day, you are supposed to not use plastic shopping bags at all. In fact, the...
Nuclear power has been very much in the news lately. President Zuma mentioned nuclear power in the State of the Nation Address and said that South Africa needs to move on nuclear.  The new Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Petterson later also mentioned the need for...
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Nigeria-focused oil and gas explorer Oando Energy Resources (OER) on Wednesday announced that it had completed the acquisition of the Nigerian upstream oil and gas business of New York-listed ConocoPhillips for a total cash consideration of $1.5-billion as well as a...
Updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago The disciplinary hearing of telecommunications giant Telkom’s suspended CFO Jacques Schindehütte was set to resume next Wednesday. Telkom said it hoped the hearing would result in a definitive resolution on the matter of Schindehütte’s personal conduct after a...
Updated 2 hours 12 minutes ago While unauthorised expenditure by South Africa’s municipalities has declined year-on-year, irregular expenditure has recorded a R2-billion increase as municipalities failed to follow legislated procurement procedures, the latest Auditor-General South Africa audit...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
GARYN RAPSON Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will open the door for court battles to determine who will be held liable for the remediation
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks