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MTN Business hosts ‘Father of the Internet’, plays ‘B2B match-maker’ at 2020 IoT Conference and Developer Day

Johannesburg, 19 Nov 2020
Read time 4min 40sec

The sixth annual MTN Business IoT Conference and Developer Day took place via virtual channels today. Long-regarded as one of SA’s leading future technologies and innovation summits – and the most powerful Internet of things (IOT) platform in Africa – this year’s edition was a bit different.

In previous years, this ‘must-attend’ event on the annual tech calendar took place in a live environment and culminated in an awards ceremony.

The 2020 initiative was divided into two parts – a conference under the theme of ‘Convergence: The top trends for 2020 show that IoT technology is converging', and a brand new ‘Developer Day’.

Highlights from the conference were the keynote presentations – most notably by globally renowned tech expert, Vint Cerf, who is widely regarded as a ‘Father of the Internet’ and currently serves as Vice-President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. Rapelang Rabana, well-known South African technology entrepreneur and computer scientist, also addressed the audience.

Cerf has been lauded around the world for his role in the design of the TCP/IP protocols and his work as an architect of the Internet. Having originally carried out his work at the US Department of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, he played a leading role in developing the Internet and related data packet and security technologies.

During his keynote at today’s conference, Cerf focused on his role in “inventing the Internet”, and the strides made in the 50 years since its inception, what is needed to enable meaningful innovation, and what this could look like in the year 2070 – 50 years from now.

Some interesting advice and insights imparted by Cerf included:

  • “Patience and persistence are powerful friends when innovating,” as he reflected that some of the projects that he has worked on took up to 22 years to reach fruition.
  • “Youth is helpful,” as he referenced how many young developers at Google have been told they can’t do something, only for them to go away and do it.
  • Looking ahead, 50 years from now, Cerf believes “there will still be something like the Internet”, where people will still be able to access information.
  • He also believes that “we will be further along in terms of artificial intelligence (AI)…with humans working together with what some may call ‘robots’… We will leverage them as tools to help us to do the things that we can’t do ourselves… We won’t think twice about how these things work.”
  • His parting words to SA’s young innovators were to “remember that to do the impossible, first you need to believe that it isn’t possible”.

As for the all new ‘Developer Day’, says Sudipto Moitra, General Manager: ICT at MTN Business: “While it’s always great to acknowledge top IOT app or solution developers by way of awards and trophies, MTN Business decided to take this a step further this time around. Rather than awarding innovators for great ideas, we decided that there would be more value for the innovators if we were to take on the role of ‘business to business (B2B) match-maker’. This way, we’re in a position to practically assist and enable up-and-coming innovators to commercialise their apps and solutions.”

IOT developers were invited to submit their solutions, spanning major economic sectors including mining, agriculture, manufacturing, connected healthcare, connected utilities and smart cities.

MTN Business then ensured that the best mix of SA’s CEOs, CTOs, IOT CIOs, MDs and business development managers, from large organisations in these sectors, were in attendance.

The IOT developers were today given the opportunity to ‘pitch’ their solutions to this audience.

For the first time ever, representatives from the large corporations have the opportunity to request meetings with the developers of the solutions that they believe could add value within their organisations, or to their customers.

The innovators and developers featured at the ‘Developer Day’ were:

IOT in mining

  • Redbridge
  • Turning Insights
  • Oracle
  • Recon Electronics
  • Car Track
  • MiX Telematics

Connected healthcare

  • LifeQ
  • LovTov
  • Phulukisa Health Solutions
  • Polymorph Systems
  • CIRT
  • Macrocomm

Industrial IOT and manufacturing

  • My Smart Systems
  • ABB
  • Master Power Technologies
  • Polymorph Systems
  • Oracle

Smart utilities

  • Redbridge
  • Motseng Property Group
  • Macrocomm
  • Proteus
  • Polymorph Systems

IOT in agriculture

  • MCX AgriTech
  • G8Way
  • BlackBee IoT
  • Kamano Technologies
  • Informed Decisions
  • Recon Electronics
  • Digital Supervision Systems

Smart cities

  • The Maverick Group
  • Sentian
  • Memeza
  • Radisys
  • Go Waterfall
  • Cliq

“At MTN Business, we are proud that the IoT Conference has grown in stature over the years. It continues to play a vital role in keeping players in the IOT sector reliably up to speed on the events and changes in one of the most rapidly developing and competitive parts of today’s digital age. 

“We thank our phenomenal guests for imparting their knowledge and advice to today’s attendees, and look forward to seeing what great business deals may come out of ‘match-making’ SA’s large enterprises with the best of SA’s rising IoT talent,” concludes Moitra.

For more information, please visit To see what was posted on social media, go to @MTNBusinessZA on Twitter and follow #MTNIoTConference. 

Editorial contacts
Public Relations Specialist Mthokozisi Ndlovu (083) 209 2683
Executive: Corporate Affairs Leigh-Ann Chetty (083) 209 1310
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