Speaking at the 2019 MyBroadband Conference in Midrand, Gauteng, SqwidNet managing director Phathizwe Malinga explained how Internet of Things (IoT) technology could be used to connect rural communities and greatly improve their quality of life.
He used the example of the remote village of Gwakwani, where SqwidNet installed infrastructure to connect the inhabitants to its low-power wide-area network (LP-WAN).
This connection allowed for remote monitoring and communication between the village’s IoT-linked installations and the wider world.
“We were able to find a hill to put up this infrastructure, including a base station and antenna which could reach all the assets in that field,” Malinga said.
This meant that when something went wrong with the IoT-linked installations, SqwidNet was prepared to resolve the issue quickly without disturbing the inhabitants.
The borehole at the village was monitored remotely over SqwidNet’s network, which meant that when it eventually broke, it was able to be repaired without any interruptions in the water supply.
Malinga said that the wide range of SqwidNet’s network allows it to connect South Africans in rural and hard-to-reach areas, improving their quality of life and increasing their life expectancy.
“SqwidNet is making a very big difference to this populational coverage that we have been talking about,” he said.
“It really is about having complete coverage to these areas to increase life expectancy.”
He added that SqwidNet now covers over 1,000 square kilometres of surface area in South Africa, with 52 million people reached under outdoor coverage and 47.6 million under indoor.
SqwidNet can even be used to connect vehicles in motion on motorways, Malinga said, as the company has 90% coverage on major highways and routes across the country.
All of these factors allow for the enhanced quality of life which is a product of digitisation, which in return delivers an improved average life expectancy in South Africa.