Focus on IOT

The next step in the evolution of IOT is to show businesses how to reap the benefits of implementing it.

Johannesburg, 14 Nov 2019
Read time 3min 20sec

Is your business ready for the Internet of Things (IOT)? And if it is, how do you go about implementing it? Then, do you know which security updates you’ll need to implement in this age of hyperconnectivity? These were just some of the questions posed at the MTN Business annual IOT Conference and Awards event, held in Sandton towards the end of October.

The next step in the evolution of IOT is to show businesses how to reap the benefits of implementing it. It’s not enough just to have IOT; it has to make a significant difference to the bottom line.

“We need to actively develop IOT solutions to help business and industry. Just creating awareness around IOT isn’t sufficient,” says Kholofelo Magagane, Head of Marketing at MTN Business. “We’re living in a digital era, the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is the buzzword of the moment and IOT solutions are at the heart of digital transformation. All of these services sit on top of a network, and it needs to be a reliable network. And we have to ask ourselves: Who is best positioned to be creating this ecosystem?”

He elaborates: “We are South African-born but operate on the African continent. We have a responsibility, as a South African company. We don’t operate in a vacuum, we operate in a society, one that has challenges and that wants to embrace technology for its advancement, and we believe honestly that technology is at the heart of everything that we do.”

Referring to the App of the Year competition, Magagane says: “The objective of encouraging app developers is not just to create a platform, but to create an ecosystem, to bridge industry and corporates with application development and solutions. There’s a need to benchmark IOT innovation on the continent and provide access for smaller players too.

“We need a vibrant SME sector for our economy to succeed. We need to work with government to create these platforms. There’s also a role to be played by education, as we need to encourage and nurture great minds, and for that we need to partner with government in public-private partnerships.”

The annual event gives participants an opportunity to have their apps taken up, to find investors and even mentors. Not only is the competition one of the biggest IOT platforms in southern Africa, it also serves to highlight technology disruptors for the year to come.

Also speaking at the conference, Giovanni Chiarelli, the Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN South Africa, said: “Connectivity is the bedrock and enabler for IOT.” 

He went on to talk about the way in which MTN enables IOT, referring to an all-pervasive network of fibre optic highways, and how a platform can transform to support new ways of doing business.

“Everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life,” said Chiarelli. “We’re moving from mobile into a fully integrated platform in terms of technologies. IOT is one of the best-growing segments in our business. We need to see how we can transform these volumes in values; this is the biggest challenge for us.

“We start from a platform, which is our network, and the coverage that we can provide, then they can build solutions for IOT on top of that, and then make them available to the marketplace.”

One thing is clear: Local developers are well poised to play a meaningful role in the future of IOT.

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