Of course the people would be friendly as always, the food and wine would be world class and the scenery would be stunning. But how ready would South Africa, and indeed the rest of Africa, be for Stream's connectivity enablement and management solutions? In one word: extremely.
It's common knowledge that Africa is one of the fastest growing markets for connectivity with the M2M sector bursting at its seams. This became evident at the AfricaCom show where we had back-to-back meetings with a diverse range of M2M users ranging from telematics companies, operators, MVNO's and integrators to global enterprises with a presence (or headquarters) in Africa.
They all have one thing in common namely a desire for centralised M2M connectivity and a means of managing it on a single platform. The faster they grow and the more regions they cover the more urgent the need. Stream's 15 years' experience in Europe and elsewhere put us in a great position to apply our solutions to the African market. This is a rare distinction and to African companies, many of which have already burned their fingers with inexperienced connectivity partners, and our diaries just kept filling up as they wanted to see us again.
I stayed behind in Johannesburg for a week of follow-up meetings which turned out to be as promising as the show itself. Looking at the companies that we've met with over the past two weeks it's easy to see why so much emphasis is placed on Africa. Many of them were isolated from the global credit crisis or didn't suffer from it as badly as the rest of the world did. While European companies were struggling to keep afloat over the past six years, it's not uncommon for African M2M users or providers to have doubled or tripled in size.
If there was any doubt about Stream's potential role in helping these companies to grow even faster, it has now been allayed. Africa received us with open arms and sent us home with more opportunities than we ever expected.
We'll be back - soon!