The applications enabled by IoT are poised to be implemented in areas with poor service delivery, according to SqwidNet managing director Phathizwe Malinga.
Speaking at the 2018 MyBroadband Conference, Malinga explained that customers are continuously expecting more from businesses, and digitisation is a key factor that will enable companies to meet these demands.
“The power has shifted to the consumer. You now have the power of choice,” Malinga said. “You don’t stick around with a company that is not improving their products for you.”
While this drives increasing competition and makes it more difficult for businesses to break into mainstream markets, Malinga said that there is a gap waiting for IoT-based services in the low-end consumer market.
“If you are a small-to-medium enterprise or entrepreneur, worry about the unserviced market,” he said. “Use technology to reach the unreachable.”
Potential customers in the unserviced market may not have medical aid, power, plumbing, or other amenities.
Subsequently, Malinga said that businesses should leverage IoT technology to supply needs in this market due to the strong demand and lack of competition.
IoT services in poorer markets
“I’d like to propose IoT as a technology you can use at the core of your business,” Malinga said. “It is not capital-intensive, and the battery life of IoT devices allow them to be implemented in unserviced areas.”
SqwidNet, as the licensed Sigfox network operator in South Africa, has impressive coverage of the South African population, allowing applications to have a broader reach into unserviced areas.
“SqwidNet has over 85% population coverage, we reach the unreachable,” Malinga said.
“IoT also enables ease of installation and low maintenance requirements, it can be used to enable a number of products and services.”
He added that businesses who launch IoT-based services in this market will have no competition, and they will be able to provide basic products at a low initial capital cost due to the low price of IoT technology.