Hiring spree at Vodacom-backed IoT.nxt

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Nico Steyn, co-founder of IoT.nxt.
Nico Steyn, co-founder of IoT.nxt.

While some companies are laying off employees as a result of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vodacom-backed Internet of things (IOT) solutions provider IoT.nxt is in a recruitment drive.

So says Nico Steyn, co-founder of IoT.nxt, in an interview with ITWeb. According to Steyn, the company has witnessed a 56% growth in its workforce during the past year.

Telecommunications company Vodacom last year acquired a majority 51% stake in IoT.nxt in order to tap into opportunities presented by IOT.

It said the acquisition would aid in moving the company a couple of notches up in terms of servicing the 4.5 million connections that already exist in this space.

According to Steyn, the adoption of IOT strategies and solutions has accelerated in the past year as companies seek new and efficient ways to drive their businesses forward.

“When the impact of COVID-19 hit the world, the interest in technology and how companies can utilise new ways of doing this amidst the challenges delivered further strong growth for IoT.nxt,” he says.

“The company’s ability to deliver fast deployment, coupled with innovative thinking, created opportunities that required the appointment of additional staff members.”

He points out that at the end of May 2019, the employee total was 150, most based at IoT.nxt’s office in Centurion with a few at its international offices in Europe and the US, and a small number of contractors working remotely.

“We now have a total of 234 (56% growth) which includes four in the US, one in the Netherlands, and 11 contractors. We expanded the office space for our Centurion operation four times since moving to the building in late 2017.

“We are likely to appoint approximately 100 more employees before the end of 2020.”

IoT.nxt’s recruitment drive comes as a number of ICT firms have confirmed job cuts in the first half of the year in order to stay afloat.

These include Telkom, Dimension Data and Cell C, among others.

“As technology and the development of new solutions is the core of our business, we are mostly recruiting technical staff,” Steyn says.

“Positions currently available are for DevOps engineers, solutions architects and stack developers. The increased activity also requires additional support staff like marketing officers, business analysts and technical sales executives.”

He notes that companies are realising the value of digital transformation, and adoption has picked up pace.

According to Steyn, many companies have spent time, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19, to review their operations to find new ways of driving efficiencies. He points out companies want to make sense of data and that is a key component of what IoT.nxt’s solution delivers.

“COVID-19 changes the way we work as we asked our team to work remotely and not at the office for several weeks. Since the lockdown regulations were changed, employees have started to return to the office but we manage the numbers and have only a skeleton staff complement on site,” Steyn says.

“Different people go to the office on different days, depending on our operational needs. We have also devised new operations to suit the current times. For instance, our training sessions are now presented as virtual sessions and not as live presentations in our auditorium.”

He adds that COVID-19 also delivered an excellent opportunity to innovate with IoT.nxt’s technology and it developed a product called CoVision, designed to help companies (retailers, office parks and others) to manage distancing at their facilities.

“It is deployed at our own office so that we can manage the number of people in the building efficiently to protect our team.”

Steyn says the Vodacom acquisition has allowed IoT.nxt to surpass its strategic objectives and has proved to be a great partnership.

“Vodacom is a leader in the telecommunication market and through the global Vodafone group and their acquisition of a majority stake in IoT.nxt, we now have access to global opportunities – and on our own continent – that would have taken us years to get to.”

The company is now planning to expand to the UK, Steyn says.

“Our US office has grown and the office in the Netherlands is well-established. Our next expansion will be in the UK in the months ahead.

“We are exceptionally proud of the fact that our innovation was developed in South Africa with South African technical skills and that it is considered world-class by our partners and our local and international customers,” he concludes.

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