Last Friday the ICT Roadmap was officially launched, at a function at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.
The most prominent message at the event was that of the importance of industry buy-in and participation, if the ICT Roadmap process is going to succeed.
Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, in his keynote address, had a strong message to convey to the audience of business people, entrepreneurs and industry leaders - that the success in technology roadmapping exercises, worldwide, are based on industry participation and government involvement.
He says that in order to leverage SA into becoming an innovative creator of competitive local products and business, industry must decide which ICTs need to be developed.
Government, he says, is only a catalyst in getting industry players together, and making the roadmapping initiative their own, for it will only benefit those who participate.
The first phase of the project, now complete, involved an open process that included the dissemination of documentation and research to all parties interested in participating.
"During phase two, knowledge and information that emerges from working groups will be shared with that specific group only. This is to ensure nondisclosure or research and development (R&D) needs that emerge and that may include pre-competitive technology development and commercialization processes," says Imraam Saloojee of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
This in effect translates to: be part of the initiative or lose out.
The ICT Roadmap process concentrates and depends heavily on R&D, and Minister Mangena makes it clear that partnerships are the order of the day.
"The time is ripe for an enhanced partnership, with a future-orientated vision, a partnership between the ICT industry, government and research-related bodies, that would be envied globally for its innovative nature, fully embedding a strong culture of R&D and innovation in all its thinking," he says.
According to the DST, awareness roadshows will be held Monday in Port Elizabeth and tomorrow in Cape Town.
The department says that, in the near future, the workshops, which are part of the second phase of the initiative, will commence.
These will focus on the five ICT focus areas, including: future Web, human computer interface, geo-information science, wireless and satellite applications, and high performance computing.