Integrated ICT and connectivity provider Vox has partnered with local network provider Sqwidnet, to provide individual consumers and enterprise customers with connectivity, data analytics and reporting for Internet of Things (IoT) applications in the near future.
An IoT network consists of three parts: the devices that collect information, the network that connects everything, and the data analytics capabilities that allow companies to turn the volumes of data into actionable business intelligence.
“One of the reasons we partnered with Sqwidnet is that they are the sole Sigfox operator in South Africa. As an international IoT network with a presence in over 30 countries, using Sigfox means that you can use compliant devices on their network across the country and beyond,” says Vox CEO, Jacques du Toit.
Sqwidnet plans to have nationwide IoT network coverage by 2018, allowing for millions of sensors and devices across the country to transmit data to a centralised location for analysis, immediate action, and record keeping.
Vox’s integration and consultancy subsidiary, Braintree, will be used to provide customers with analytical capabilities, reporting, and dashboards to monitor and manage their IoT networks.
While the simpler consumer model will enable individuals to purchase compliant devices and register them via Vox in order to get notifications, enterprise customers stand to benefit from custom built solutions with specialised notifications, reporting, dashboards, workflows, and other advanced features.
IoT market growth
Research by Africa Analysis shows that the IoT market is a growing segment in the local ICT industry, with the South African market being valued at $485-million - accounting for approximately 25% of total revenue in Africa - and projected to grow by 9% per annum by 2022.
One of the main contributors to this growth being a significant decline in the prices of the chips that power these IoT devices, with prices having fallen from over $9 in 2016 to an expected price of 20c by 2018. Usage of narrow-band communication over a low-power wide area network brings down energy consumption on connected devices, further bringing down costs and broadening access to IoT technology.
However, unlike developed countries where there has been a huge focus on smart home and smart city deployments, users in South Africa are looking for cost savings and adding value, and the increasing trend is to leverage IoT applications for agriculture, utilities and manufacturing and industrial processes.
Vox is in discussions with a wide variety of industry players over enterprise IoT applications, with examples including a smart geyser application for the insurance industry that enables remote monitoring and preventative maintenance.
“IoT is going to provide a huge area for growth in South Africa, especially in the area of integration. The network and devices are going to accrue for a small percentage of revenue generated from IoT; the value is in the integration and the analytics that we get out of all the data being collected - and that’s where Vox comes in,” says Du Toit.