If President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address last week achieved nothing else, it awoke a debate about the value of dreams of the future versus the needs of the present. The consensus seemed to be that his vision of smart cities was a necessary ambition, but counted for little when no detail was offered on fixing the problems facing SA now.

The debate was an appropriate backdrop to the annual Dell Technologies Forum held in Johannesburg this week. In particular, it resonated for visiting keynote speaker Patricia Florissi, originally from Brazil, and now vice-president and global chief technology officer for sales at Dell Technologies...

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