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SA lags in terms of IOT adoption

Read time 3min 00sec
The IITPSA's Johan Steyn, with speakers Craig Boshoff, Pieter Pienaar and Gerhard van Wyk.
The IITPSA's Johan Steyn, with speakers Craig Boshoff, Pieter Pienaar and Gerhard van Wyk.

IOT adoption in SA is still in its infancy, mostly due to to budgetary constraints and security concerns.

So said Pieter Pienaar, the CEO of a company called Informed Decisions at a special focus group briefing on IOT, held by the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), in Sandton this week.

Informed Decisions uses smart meters and sensors to provide IOT solutions to industrial, retail and agricultural clients, and won MTN’s Business IOT Awards last year.

Looking ahead

Pienaar said: “In my world, data is gold. The more we have the better, to analyse and trend it. Collecting it has become so easy, I'd rather have it and not use than not have it.”

According to the 2019 IDC Worldwide Semi-annual Internet of Things Spending Guide, the following industries have seen the most IOT adoption: Agriculture, asset tracking, pharmaceutical manufacturing, water preparation, building management and retail.

But while the country was lagging in terms of IOT adoption, a number of large players were providing solutions. This left room in the market for Informed Decisions, he said, and was looking to fill the space where the larger providers aren’t penetrating.

He predicted that spending across SA’s IOT value chain will grow, ‘but there will not be a single company that will provide the skills and solutions to dominate the landscape’.

“To be successful in this space will require a network of companies, each with specific skill sets.”

Real Telematics COO Craig Boshoff also spoke at the event. "When 4IR talk started, the knee-jerk reaction for industry leaders and government was to jump onto the bandwagon. Now the question being asked is what benefits are we getting from being able to do things like monitoring our systems?"

By way of example, he said smart water meters could save the municipalities from having to read them every month, as well as detect leaks. When deviations are detected, a notification can be sent, making billing more accurate and timeous.

"The next phase of these IOT meters is machine learning. You'll simply plug one in and it'll learn its own flow rates and the parameters of what constitutes a leak."

Endless possibilities

Gerhard van Wyk, associate partner and solutions architect at IQ Business, outlined his journey with IOT in home automation.

Over the years, Van Wyk said he had built his own smart-home network that assisted with energy-saving, as well as closing the garage door.

"These devices have become much more accessible. But it isn't about their development or what they can do - it’s about what we do with the devices and their data."

Van Wyk created a dashboard to monitor his electricity usage, geyser temperature, pool levels and even how much gas is left in a cylinder (he used the load-sensor from his bathroom scale).

"People are realising that we need to cut down on waste, but we won't know how much we're wasting if we're not measuring it. We're over-complicating the IOT landscape and I think it’s because we don't know what we want to do with the automation."

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