SAIEE Southern Cape Centre | Presidential Address

SAIEE Southern Cape Centre | Presidential Address
Please join us for the Southern Cape Centre leg of the Presidential Address
Event Name: SAIEE Southern Cape Centre | Presidential Address
Presenter(s): George Debbo
Event Date: 25 April 2019
Event Time: 17:00 - 17:30
Event Type: Presidential Address
Event Theme: Digital Transformation - The Enabler For Economic
Venue: Mount View Resort & Lifestyle Village, York Street, Garden Route
Province: Western Cape
Cost: Free Event - Please RSVP
RSVP From: 03 April 2019
RSVP to: 24 April 2019
Event Contact: Steyn van der Merwe
To RSVP: Click here

SAIEE Southern Cape Centre | Presidential Address






Thursday 25 April 2019


Mount View Resort & Lifestyle Village, York Street, Garden Route, Western Cape

17h00 for 17h30

RSVP : By no later than 24 April 2019

Contact : Steyn van der Merwe

E-mail :

Pleases advise any Dietary requirements.






Digital Transformation addresses the changes that have taken place in the world around us as a result of the deployment and application of digital technology. Such changes have influenced all aspects of our lives, including professional and personal. Within the professional realm such changes have influenced the way businesses are run and conducted as well as our contact and interface with such entities. Within the personal realm Digital Transformation has changed the way in which we communicate and socialise as well as the way in which we consume information, including that which forms part of our entertainment. A key benefit of Digital Transformation is that it has allowed the disadvantaged sector of our society, especially on the continent of Africa, access to several services from which they were previously excluded. Digital Transformation has contributed significantly to enabling inclusivity in areas such as economic and social development of the disadvantaged sectors of our society.

This address discusses both the benefits and disadvantages of Digital Transformation, as well identifies the key digital technologies that have contributed to both Digital Transformation as well as Digital Disruption, the latter also being a major contributor to Digital Transformation. The address will also cover the current barriers that are hindering the progress being achieved with Digital Transformation, especially within the South African context, and proposes how the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) can get involved in the public debate related to Digital Transformation, and the setting of policy in this context.


George Debbo has been an integral part of the telecommunication industry in South Africa for over four decades. He started his career in the then South African Post Office (SAPO), which later transformed into Telkom SA on commercialisation in 1991, as a pupil technician and progressively rose through the ranks to the level of Executive before he left in 1999 in order to further pursue his career in the vendor community. During his time at Telkom he was responsible for a number of engineering projects including carrying out research in order to increase the robustness of pulse code modulation systems to lightning interference, the deployment of synchronous digital hierarchical (SDH) technology into the transmission network, the deployment of long haul optical fibre and the formulation of the Vision 2000 strategy in 1994 which had the objective of completing the modernising of the telecommunications network by converting outstanding electro-mechanical exchanges to digital exchanges, adding an additional one million telephone lines into underservices areas (predominantly the previously independent TBVC states) and to eradicate the waiters list.

During this time George was also responsible for two of the largest projects deployed at that time in Telkom – the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in order to service the first democratic General Election held in 1994, and for which he earned the Telkom Managing Director’s Award, and the infrastructure required to support telecommunication and television services for the Rugby World Cup held in 1995.

In 1999 George left Telkom in order to join the vendor community, first as Technical Director for Marconi South Africa and then as Chief Technical Officer for Ericsson Sub Saharan Africa, following Ericsson’s global acquisition of Marconi PLC in 2006. During his time within the vendor community he was responsible for a number of major projects including deployment of ADSL technology in South Africa, the deployment of the first metropolitan and access fibre network in Africa which took place in Kampala Uganda and the deployment of the first 4G mobile network which took place in Angola. In 2012 George left Ericsson in order to set up his own business as an Independent Telecommunications Consultant.

Today George’s prime area of interest is in software programmable networks and virtualization. He is currently carrying out applications research in this area and is regularly called upon to address conferences on this technology.

In terms of academic qualifications George has a BSc (Elec.Eng) and a MSc (Elec.Eng) degree, both obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

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