With the explosive growth of social networking and social media, it should come as no surprise that the virtual environment has come into its own. South Africa is keeping up with global counterparts in the application of ubiquitous, intrusive technology to communicate.

The desire to be connected anytime, anywhere continues to drive application investment and integration both in business and for private users. Manufacturers and vendors of emerging technologies have intensified their focus on the convergence of these technologies and trends such as cloud computing and utility computing.

There is an understanding that people are drawn to the concept of unified communications and want to engage via these networks, they want access to information anytime and they want the opportunity to transfer files/ digitally interact in real-time over secure connections. That remains the central objective and primary pursuit of those eager to take on technology.

From a business point of view, decision makers are looking to new, smarter ways of acquiring and using technology. The need to do more with less is always there and as economic conditions remain volatile, businesses will leverage off the power of social media and cloud services to cut costs and reduce total cost of ownership.

There is massive power in using the social platform to communicate with the market, to advertise products and services to growing online communities. The Net is a major marketing tool and this resource has developed extensively over time. With greater access, affordable connectivity and increased bandwidth, the lure of the Internet as a business-building resource is a mainstay in the market.

The ICT market is gaining ground in eliminating misperception around cloud computing and its potential in commerce. There is greater understanding of the difference between public-and private clouds and why each is relevant and can add value to business.

Whether the cloud is being sought for hosting, for networking or for computing, the idea that infrastructure management can be handled and supported off-site, without minimising control, is attractive.

Today we see global impetus on the rollout of highly-functional, high performance mobile devices to live the digital lifestyle. We see corporate battles in the smartphone segment, competition for user attention and commitment amongst social networks,  as well as major players going toe-to-toe in the tablet PC market.

We have witnessed the growth of Android and software giants reviewing their operating system strategies to capitalise on more technologically aware consumers. Google Plus has arrived and has captured some interest and is seeking more.

Recent media reports spoke of the market gains of Samsung over Nokia, for example. Despite reports of lower sales of the iPad, Apples official results spoke of increased profit and market share.

There is every evidence to suggest that the new Amazon Kindle will continue to attract a great deal of attention.  It will be interesting to see how the on-going rivalry between this offering and Apple’s iPad will play out.

Businesses and individuals stand on the threshold of something major, a new era in the convergence of commercial application with individual prosperity.