Telkom recently partnered with the University of the Witwatersrand to inaugurate the Telkom Industry Solutions Lab. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to foster collaboration between businesses and universities in the field of research and development (R&D).
The establishment of this lab is a key strategic move by Telkom to strengthen innovation within the group. The partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand aims to create an environment that fosters creativity and collaboration. This venture leverages the collective expertise and resources of both Telkom Group and the university.
Ahead of the upcoming Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC), which will be held at the picturesque Champagne Sports Resort in the Central Drakensberg Region, Dr Mmaki Jantjies, Telkom Group’s Executive for Innovation and Transformation, highlighted the intention to establish the Telkom Industry Solutions Lab.
“This is us being deliberate with the rise of technologies like AI, generative AI. We wanted the Telkom voice, we wanted the African voice in it and that’s why we are going to double our investment.”
The Lab’s initiatives span a wide spectrum, including industry products, customised solutions, targeted research for different sectors, breakthrough innovations rooted in local barriers, breakthrough technology solutions and industry-driven fundamental science and engineering research.
Jantjies also emphasised that Telkom’s perspective on the lab is strongly influenced by the unique context of the African continent.
“How do we solve local problems with local expertise, and that is the reason for our partnerships. I mean, we could have partnered with any other university abroad, for example the University of MIT,” she said.
“We did an extensive benchmarking to find the ideal R&D partners that we could look at. I think the Wits Lab is building on 25 years of relationships with South African universities because we know we have some of the best professionals in the country.”
Telkom already uses AI to predict customer churn.
Jantjies said basically, it’s about understanding why we have customer churn in a particular place and then how we can ensure that we personalise the experience of our customers.