The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is a growing sector across the world, and South Africa is no exception.
Whether it’s simple solutions such as connected electricity meters or advanced tracking systems with GPS functionality, IoT devices and networks can enable cost-effective, scalable products.
One of the biggest companies involved in the IoT space is SqwidNet, which is the licensed Sigfox network provider in South Africa.
SqwidNet has rolled out its network across the country and facilitates the deployment of both small and large-scale deployment of IoT solutions.
To determine how the industry and infrastructure has grown in South Africa, MyBroadband spoke to SqwidNet about the use cases it has seen become increasingly prevalent.
Growth and challenges
The global IoT market is predicted to reach a $581 billion by 2020, showing staggering levels of growth as more sectors adopt IoT solutions.
SqwidNet’s infrastructure in South Africa provides coverage across almost the entire country – and SqwidNet MD Phathizwe Malinga told MyBroadband they currently have a population coverage figure of 91.6%.
Sigfox is extremely useful as an IoT technology due to its military-grade resistance to jamming and authentication, making it ideal for the deployment of critical monitoring and tracking systems.
“Sigfox as an IoT technology is being found to be very well suited to companies looking to IoT to improve their product offering in South Africa,” Malinga said.
“It’s so simple to use that we are seeing our entrepreneurs and SMEs look to this Sigfox technology to help them improve their business as well.”
“These are businesses that are essential to creating jobs and to improving our overall quality of life,” he said.
When it comes to the use cases for IoT networks and infrastructure, Malinga said there are endless possibilities.
He said SqwidNet defines an IoT solution to be “A+B+C+D”: Application + Backend platform + Connectivity + Device.
“In terms of IoT solutions, we have seen great interest in water metering. A consumer-ready example would be Ontec’s Gauge-IT available from Takealot.”
“It is a fantastic product with a good application, easy for your plumber to install, and it uses a device from another proudly South African IoT device maker called Visiosoft.”
Malinga added that IoT solutions for assets in transit – like vehicles and goods – are going to remain a big market for IoT, both in terms of tracking and the condition of the asset.
“An example would be transporting ice-cream,” he said.
He said that these applications could be used for pet and family tracking too, especially with child abduction a problem in certain regions.
“Having personal GPS trackers that are difficult to find or jam on family members is going to become the norm for most middle-income families,” Malinga said.
SqwidNet and its partners are continuing to develop IoT solutions on the company’s Sigfox network in South Africa, delivering robust and efficient solutions across a variety of market sectors.