The inaugural IOT Forum Africa was an overwhelming success.

Internet of Things Forum Africa (IOTFA) took place at the Gallagher Convention Centre on the 29th and 30th of March. The two day event brought together leaders of industry to discuss all the latest developments in IoT.

Focusing on the theme “Powering a new era of operational intelligence,” the top class speakers at the conference eloquently unscrambled IoT providing the array of decision makers and executives from various industries in attendance with a better understanding of the IoT landscape as a whole.

In addition to the enthralling presentations, there were various exhibitors at IOTFA who showcased the most innovative and cutting edge technologies and services around IoT, demonstrating to the attendees exactly what IoT can do for their businesses.

Speakers at IOTFA include:
Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister, Dept. of Telecom and Postal Services
Jamie Whittaker, Chief Digital Officer at Discovery Limited
Brett StClair, Head of Digital Products Barclays Africa Group                                                                                                     Reshaad Sha, Chief Executive Officer at SqwidNet
David Hoelscher, Marketing Director IoT Solutions at Huawei                                                                                                     Melao Mashale, Senior Manager – Enterprise IoT Solutions at MTN Business
Len Berzen, Head of Strategy and IT Architecture,WIMI at Barclays Africa Group Limited

Key topics include:
The IoT Revolution: From “Things” to business outcomes
Deploying an IoT solution. A strategic overview for decision makers
Creating a sustainable framework for IoT Integration
Creating value from connecting “things” and assessing the commercial feasibility and monetization of IoT
IoT, Big Data & the City: A standards perspective
Reinventing IT security to support IoT
How will IoT remake your industry?
In what ways can IoT improve efficiency, enable innovation and drive real business transformation?

Testimonials on IOTFA:
Skhumbuzo Mhlongo (BCX): What I liked mostly was to interact with some of the industry leaders and to look at some of the drivers of technology’s adoption. The whole session of interacting with other operators was actually quite refreshing because some of it gave you a view to where this thing is going. It was nice because it was small and it did not confuse one, it was focused and not cluttered like other bigger conferences.

Jula Wedler (Altech): It was an excellent event, it was very focused so the kind of customers we got and the discussions that we had was so focused, there was not much in the way of time wasting. I wouldn’t say it was quantity but it was quality. It was very beneficial for us and definitely money well spent.

Sean Laval (Comsol Networks): We found the event very valuable. The quality of the speakers was very good, the panels were good. We also found that we engaged with the right customer base and we look forward to IoT Forum Africa 2018.

By Dean Workman

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Vodacom and PTC Partner To Launch IoT Platform

Vodacom and PTC Partner To Launch IoT Platform

Vodacom to expand IoT offering with PTC partnership. (Image Source: Darryl Linington)

Vodacom has taken a significant step to further expand its Internet of Things (IoT) offering by partnering with global technology solution provider PTC, a recognised leader in Industrial IoT, augmented reality and connected solutions. The collaboration will enable Vodacom to implement a local version of the ThingWorx® IoT platform from PTC in order to develop new IoT applications and solutions. ThingWorx® contains a comprehensive set of integrated IoT-specific development tools and capabilities, offering some of the industry’s deepest functionality.

Vodacom has identified the expansion of its IoT propositions as one of the key strategic growth areas of the business and continues to aggressively drive investment in this. The launch of ThingWorx® in South Africa will allow Vodacom to service customers across the continent as it creates and develops secure IoT solutions across key verticals, including retail, health, utilities, manufacturing, logistics and for the consumer.

Deon Liebenberg, Managing Executive for Vodacom IoT says “The ThingWorx® IoT platform allows Vodacom to create a framework for direct market engagement to develop and deliver IoT services to key verticals. A well-established partner model will enable IoT developers across South Africa to have access to ThingWorx® to support their development and entrepreneurial ambitions to connect things to the internet and the world.

Vodacom is the first African operator to form a relationship with PTC and we are committed to being pioneers of the Internet of Things. This collaboration will enable us to fast track the adoption of the Internet of Everything across the continent as we are now able to rapidly develop and deploy new IoT applications and services. We continue to enhance our IoT capabilities and eco-system, to bring meaningful business-related and operational value to the South African economy.”

Catherine Kniker, Chief Revenue Officer, Platform Business, PTC says: “Vodacom recognised the value that ThingWorx® could bring to its IoT business as a leading IoT platform with capabilities that enable fast, simple and secure development of IoT applications. We look forward to collaborating with Vodacom as it works to deliver new IoT solutions and services to the South African market.”

This collaboration with Vodacom is an expansion of the relationship between PTC and Vodafone, Vodacom’s parent company, which is focused on the development of new IoT applications and solutions.

Staff writer

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Cabinet Reshuffle Causes Outrage On Twitter

Cabinet Reshuffle Causes Outrage On Twitter

Twitter reacts to South African cabinet reshuffle.

Late on Thursday night, South African President Jacob Zuma, called a meeting with the national executive committee of the African National Congress (ANC) and what came out of the meeting shook the entire country.

Jacob Zuma in an unprecedented move, initiated a cabinet reshuffle, sacking almost a third of the ministers as well as ten deputy ministers. Included in the sackings were finance minister Pravin Gordhan and deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, which has cause outrage from South Africans.

There had been whispers and rumors about the reshuffle for weeks but no one could have anticipated the scale and speed in which it would happen. In total 20 ministers and deputy ministers were ousted.

South Africans have taken to social media to express there outrage with the hashtags  #CabinetReshuffle, #OccupTreasurey, #PravinGorhan, #NoConfidence  and Parliament all relating to the reshuffle and all trending in South Africa.

Here are some of the reactions:

Zuma be like…#cabinetreshuffle#NoConfidence

— Janine Smit (@lattesWithLabs) March 30, 2017

Capetonians are angry. Protesters outside Parliament demanding that #Zuma step down. #cabinetreshuffle #PravinGordhan #NoConfidence

— Stu Pen Diss (@StueyMax) March 31, 2017

No! This is not a #cabinetreshuffle! This is a coup d’etat! It’s a direct takeover of government by a mafia with no reason to hide anymore!

— IG: @MbuyiseniNdlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) March 31, 2017

Time to realize that if we allow this to continue, we are headed for a dictatorship #cabinetreshuffle

— Blitzbokke 🇿🇦🔥 (@billz_25) March 31, 2017

We will not forget #CabinetReshuffle #Election2019

— Anna Semenya (@AnnaSemenya) March 31, 2017

So Midnight Deployment Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba who couldn’t handle wife & side chick issues, will handle our money #CabinetReshuffle

— IG: @AdvBarryRoux (@Barry_Roux) March 31, 2017

Concerned for our country. 🇿🇦#cabinetreshuffle

— Ulrich J van Vuuren (@UlrichJvV) March 31, 2017

‘Our souls are not for sale.’ – #PravinGordhan What a leader!!! 🙌🏽

— Poppy Ntshongwana (@PoppyIsMyName) March 31, 2017

The firing of #PravinGordhan and #McebisiJonas is the real story here. Others are collateral damage. Story is looting of NationalTreasury.

— Justice Malala (@justicemalala) March 30, 2017



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NCC says porting  activities increase  by 2,321 in February

NCC says porting activities increase by 2,321 in February

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says porting activities within telecommunications service providers increased by 2,321 in February

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says porting activities within telecommunications service providers increased by 2,321 in February.NCC’s online report of “Incoming and Outgoing Porting Activities of Mobile Network Operators” for February disclosed this on Tuesday in Lagos.

It said that by this increase, subscribers porting within the network had reached 21,831 from the 19,510 recorded in January.It said that out of the 21,831 porting activities in February, 10,771 were “incoming porting activities”, while 11,060 were “outgoing activities”.

The report revealed that in the outgoing table, 4,003 subscribers moved from Globacom Nigeria to other networks through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in February.It said that 2,884 customers moved from MTN Nigeria; 2,662 subscribers moved from Airtel Nigeria, while 1,511 customers of Etisalat Nigeria ported to other networks within the same period.

However, in the incoming table, Etisalat led by an additional 6,551 customers on its network in February.Airtel Nigeria came second on the gainers’ list with 2,090 subscribers, 1,552 subscribers moved to MTN Nigeria, while Globacom Nigeria got 578 customers.

NCC started monitoring the porting of mobile operators since April 22, 2013, with the aim of deepening competition in the industry.

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UNN makes history with ‘Roar Nigeria Hub’

UNN makes history with ‘Roar Nigeria Hub’

University of Nigeria

University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has scored another first with the opening of first full-fledged university embedded technology community in West Africa called ‘Roar Nigeria Hub’.

Located at the Nsukka campus, private sector driven initiative by two engineering graduates of the university, Charles Emembolu and Okechi Igwebuike), Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered will serve the Institution with a student population of nearly 40,000 and 12 institutions of higher learning within an hour drive from Enugu city.

The Hub is on a mission to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing an enabling environment, support systems and relevant skills to succeed with technology entrepreneurship, across the South East region while impacting the IT ecosystem in Nigeria.

Confirming the establishment of the Hub, Emem Seudieu, the University Advancement Centre Executive, said that Roar Nigeria Hub is a community that provides professional support to technology enabled startups, researchers, entrepreneurs and SME’s.

“Their programs are designed to develop a new generation of innovators and creators that will provide local technology based solutions with a global perspective. The Hub is destined to be a hotbed of ideas, invention and market induced solutions created with the concept of a triple helix; an interaction between Academia, Industry and Government (AIG).

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that doors to the Hub opened late 2016 with the first pitching event held on January 26th, 2017 titled Tech&UNN.At the event, Professor Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, vice chancellor, shared his dream of creating an Ecosystem that will fuel unprecedented technology growth in Africa.

The official hub launch was held on February 6th, 2017 which coincided with a Pitchaton by teams from the school community and hosted by the Vice Chancellor.

“We shall be having a public introduction of the Roar Nigeria on April 26th, 2017 at the hub in University of Nigeria Nsukka campus.

“The hub will create employment by increasing local content in information, communication and technology sector and establish the triple helix concept by improving collaboration between the Academia, Industry and Government”, she said.

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Telcos decries high tower rentals cost, data tariff

Telcos decries high tower rentals cost, data tariff

High cost of tower rental as well as unregulated data price have conspired to hobble internet service delivery, according to some telecommunications operators and internet service providers.

Tower rental is a business strategy adopted by telecommunications industry where telecommunications infrastructure companies own and maintain towers and allow operators to use at a fee which are usual per annual.

Today, there are three major players in that space: IHS with 14,000 towers; Helios with 2,000 towers; and the new entrant American Towers Company (ATC) with 7,000 towers. David Venn, chief executive officer, Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the two key areas of challenge to internet service providers are data price and high tower rentals.

“Since the botched data floor policy of Nigerian Communications Commission, it has become difficult for ISPs and Telcos delivery internet service to operate profitably. We are seeking the review of that policy by the authorities to enable operators deliver quality service and continue to be in business.”

“Another biggest challenge we are facing today is cost of tower rentals which has continued to increase over the year. It is funny, that international capacity cost has reduced by 50 per cent while tower rental cost is increasing unabated. Imagine a situation where cost of tower rental in three times our salary cost,” he added.He explained that the tower rental contract is usually signed for a period of 5 to 10 years with a clause of annual cost review based on inflation.

“Today, inflation in the country has risen by over 100 per cent necessitating the astronomical increase in the cost of tower rental in the country making the cost in Nigeria the highest in the world,” he said.

He noted that the failure of Multi-Link was as a result of tower rental indebtedness to a tower company-Helios Tower which eventually took over the company.Sunday Folayan, president, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), said that tower rental cost in the country will not be cheap as it is determined by some factors which include number of user on the tower as well as power and security provided in the base stations.

“I’m not surprise that tower rental cost is high because the cost of powering base stations with generators is high. If we fix power problem in this country every other thing will take shape,” he added.

Corroborating Venn on data price, Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) added that the industry regulator needs to revisit the data price floor to determine the appropriate data pricing to ensure that investors have certainty in government policies in order for them to bring capital that will be used for infrastructure deployment required for broadband.

“This is important in view of 30 percent broadband target by end of 2018 which we have just over one year to achieve. It is important that the industry sees government policies as one that creates an enabling environment for businesses to thrive so that investors can bring funds to invest for the development of the sector.”

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) also called on NCC to revisit the data floor price determination in order to save and encourage small operators in the sector.

“Data floor price determination is meant for small operators not for big operators who will still survive with the present situation. We are trying to avoid a situation where CDMA operators died because of price war. If data price is determined, it will encourage small operators in the sector. We need to look at it beyond public sentiment and emotions around it and revisit the issue for the growth of the industry,” he said.

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Dell EMC launches cloud ecosystem hub

Dell EMC launches cloud ecosystem hub

A new web-based Cloud Ecosystem Hub, has been unveiled by Dell EMC and Intel, to provide EMEA Cloud Service Providers (SPs) and end users with an online one stop site to unify and simplify access to Dell EMC’s cloud proposition and resources.

The hub will connect customers with SPs to help establish stronger marketing efforts, enabling digital transformation and significantly growing long term Cloud business.
This new unified platform demonstrates Dell EMC’s commitment to providing choice and unique solutions to every customer and removing obstacles to cloud adoption through hosting an online cloud portal for Dell EMC Technology, making it easier for customers to select the right SP to address their needs.

For SPs, the hub will be a platform to launch key initiatives and drive new business through the marketplace.With sales revenues in the hardware market decreasing and much of the Cloud market set to transition over to hybrid Cloud, it is expected that Cloud SPs will acquire a considerably larger market share over the next five years[i] and Dell EMC and Intel will act as key business enablers to all parties.

According to Travers Nicholas, country manager, Dell EMC Nigeria, “Historically, vendors have failed to support Service Providers in their campaigns and the Dell EMC Cloud Ecosystem represents a game-changing development for both Service Providers and customers alike,” said Eric Velfre, senior vice president, Compute and Networking Sales Dell EMC EMEA.

“By simplifying access to the Dell EMC Cloud value proposition and offering content and support for co-marketing projects, we can generate awareness and enable new capabilities to achieve greater profitability for our partners. Through the Dell EMC Cloud Community we can also drive demand from the customer towards Service Providers and capture feedback to help develop future Dell EMC Cloud technologies.”

One Stop Site for enterprise customers, the Cloud Ecosystem Hub promises to help them understand how to transform their businesses, with a dedicated repository of up-to-date resources and assets explaining the value proposition and benefits offered by Dell EMC’s Cloud technologies.

Customers will be able to select SPs through bespoke searches to find the most relevant solutions for their businesses, with options to contact providers directly through the platform.

The Cloud Ecosystem Hub will also allow customers to discover and register for broader industry events organised by SPs and Dell EMC.

The Cloud Ecosystem Hub includes an array of new tools for SPs, including LeadPool demand generation, allowing partners to identify ‘hot’ vendor agnostic leads, along with additional resources to help promote offerings directly to customers.

The platform also provides the latest insights and information around Dell EMC’s and Intel’s Cloud technology offerings to help SPs build a stronger portfolio.

In addition Dell EMC will allow SPs to run co-marketing campaigns with tools to assist in the creation of marketing assets, campaign building and client and influencer networking, featured within the marketplace.

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Government agencies, institutions playing low on social media

Government agencies, institutions playing low on social media

Due to the knowledge gap and the inability to be proactive with social media, the public sector still remain at the lowest cadre in terms of using the platforms to engage Nigerians.

While most developed nations are using platforms such as the Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a host of others to engage their citizens, such cannot be said of these government parastals and agencies in the country, which creates a gulf in terms of information dissemination.

Indeed, the Instint Wave report, a pioneering one, titled: ‘Nigeria Public Sector Social Media Report,’ drew conclusion on the amount of followers and likes these agencies have on the social media platforms. They include Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Instagram followership, YouTube subscribers, existing LinkedIn accounts for staff, and how often they share relevant service information with the Nigerian public, likewise their feedback mechanism.

According to the study, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is the most visible government agency in Nigeria on the social media platforms. The agency has Twitter: 726,000 Followers, Facebook: 266,151 Likes and Instagram: 37,000 followers.

For engagement and reach engagement level, INEC has Facebook – 60 per cent, Twitter – 85 per cent and Instagram – 30 per cent. Others who follow closely are the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) with Twitter: 406,000 followers, Facebook: 510,661 Likes, Instagram: 2,836 followers, YouTube: 224 subscribers, LinkedIn: 908 followers.

On engagement level and reach, NPF has Facebook – 70 per cent, Twitter – 60 per cent, YouTube – 30 per cent, LinkedIn- five per cent and Instagram – 60 per cent. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which comes third on the table has Twitter: 203,000 followers, Facebook: 290, 247 Likes, Instagram: 2,626 Followers, LinkedIn: 1,011 Followers. For its engagement level and reach, FRSC has Facebook – 80 per cent, Twitter – 80 per cent, Instagram – 50 per cent and LinkedIn – 20 per cent.

The report also implied that the use of social media applications has been averagely accepted in public sector in Nigeria. However, the acceptance, and broader adoption of sophisticated tactics that go beyond information and education paradigm, such as true engagement or networking strategies are still in its infancy.

Despite embracing the use of the social media platforms, the agencies and parastatals face challenges such as leveraging the energy of a new generation. They can use this to drive a new, positive culture that supports high performance, poor engagement, poor capacity building on social media knowledge (SMK), duplication of Social Media platforms and creating non-business social media platforms.

Others are lack of understanding of how to generate rightful and engaging content, lack of sharing of best practices with the private sector initiative, lack of new strategies and innovation of social media tools. Others are poor knowledge of engaging and connecting with the right audience, management/analysis of social media accounts and overview of feedbacks.

Commenting on the report, the CEO of Instinct Wave, Akin Naphtal, said the aim of the unprecedented report is to shed more light on the mechanisms of the Public Sector in Nigeria.and its use of the several social media platforms.

“Perception of the citizenry is bound to shift with this report. There will be adequate information to justify the reasons for communication gap and how information should be disseminated,” he stated.

He added that this will be a guide to government portal minders to build up on a particular social media platform that could prove helpful. It will also be helpful in strategising development with global standards of practice and the ever changing consumer behavioural pattern.

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Firm set to launch tricycle, mini-vehicle App in Lagos

Firm set to launch tricycle, mini-vehicle App in Lagos


Lagos State transportation system is set to witness another revolution as an IT firm, Matatu has concluded plans to launched a Tricycle and Mini Vehicle mobile application across the state.

The App called ‘Matatu’ is designed specifically to enable passengers book tricycle, popularly known as ‘Maruwa’ and mini vehicles from the convenience of their mobile devices.

Speaking about the app, Samuel Ajiboyede, chief executive officer of Matatu, said that Matatu is an idea conceived to make life easy for passengers by allowing them to engage the services of maruwa and minibus operators throw the app.

Ajiboyede, who explained that the app will be available on android and ios operating devices noted all passengers need to do is download the app on their mobile devices, registered their details and begins to use.

“What we have done is to simply elevate the maruwa and minibus transportation system with an app that will usher in convenience and safety. All is needed is download the app, registered for the service and you are good to go. Through the app, you can see available maruwa and minibus closest to you and book its’ service. Payment can be made through the app or with cash.

“On the other end, we have thousands of well trained maruwa drivers who have subscribed to the service and are equipped with devices to locate the nearby passenger who requires their services. For safety and convenience, all maruwa owners signed to our system are duly registered and their maruwa must not be more than two years old.

“This will also apply to the mini vehicles which Lagosians are increasingly patronising ,” he said.Ajiboyede further stated that his firm has held meetings with Lagos State Ministry where discussion about giving special access to Matatu to some restricted areas where Maruwa and Mini vehicles are presently not allowed to operate.

“We have had meetings with the state ministry of transportation on this technology. I can tell you that they are excited about it and have expressed readiness to work with us. ,” he said.

Ajiboyede also added that his firm is working Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the app is launched and operated successfully.

Also speaking on scheme, Kemi Ayinde, Matatu’s Executive Director, Business Efficiency, said that the firm has concluded arrangement with a transportation company to inject about 12,000 tricycles into the state transportation system.

According to Ayinde, the 12,000 tricycles will be handed over to we’ll trained drivers registered under the Matatu scheme.

“What we are offering is not just an app, we are also offering an opportunity for people to be empowered. The Matatu scheme also allows people to invest into the maruwa business. All you need to do is to buy some maruwa and we operate it under the Matatu scheme on your behalf. I can tell you that people are already buying into the scheme even when we have not officially launched.” She said.

Mrs Ayinde also hinted that top tricycle manufacturers who have identified with the Matatu investment scheme have agreed to sell their tricycles to subscribers at very low prices.

“Because we want more people to own Maruwa through our investment scheme, we have been in talks with top manufacturers and they have assured us that once we launch, they will sell to our prospective investors at an attractive price.”

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Trinity Telecoms and COMSOL Networks Announce Partnership at IOTFA

Trinity Telecoms and COMSOL Networks Announce Partnership at IOTFA

Trinity Telecoms and COMSOL Networks announce R65 million partnership at IOTFA. (image: Red Hat Developers)

A R65 million partnership between Trinity Telecoms, a leading IoT platform provider, and Comsol Networks, has been sealed with the establishment of COMSOL IoT Connect, a LoRa® and LoRaWAN™.

Trinity Telecomms and COMSOL announced the partnership at the IoT Forum Africa at Gallagher Estate in Midrand today.

Comsol IoT Connect, which has been designed from the ground up, will be connecting the continent’s devices and creating growth opportunities across many industries.

According to Ross Hickey, CEO of Trinity Telecomms, partnering with COMSOL in this ambitious venture,  is based on COMSOL requiring a leading Internet of Things (IoT) Platform Solutions Provider as part of their approach to the SA Market.

“We at Trinity will provide their Application Enablement layer and Device Management layers as part of the partnership agreement. In addition to this, COMSOL has chosen to use Trinity’s LoRaWAN Service provisioning layer. This approach has given COMSOL the benefit of using a local expert in IoT, ensuring rapid time to market for their customers. Trinity’s services are provided using our South African developed IP”, said Hickey.


“COMSOL IoT Connect allows unconnected devices to join the network utilising inexpensive hardware, with all of the benefits of long-range, low-power IoT connectivity. Our ready-to-go infrastructure enables battery-powered end-points to carry on working for years, not days or weeks”, said Sean Laval, Technical Head of IoT at COMSOL Networks (PTY).

The network is projected to support a major portion of the billions of devices forecast for the IoT that traditionally have not been viable to connect. LoRaWAN™ is designed from the bottom up to optimise LPWANs 
for battery lifetime, capacity, range, and cost.

LoRaWAN™ has the ability to connect machines and devices that have a very low power requirement and can be placed in the field without requiring a fixed power supply at a very low cost as the batteries required are small and cheap.

“Trinity’s vast experience in multi-tenant software management platforms for IoT has helped COMSOL fast track it’s commercial implementation making it easy for customers to interact with our provisioning and management platforms. Having a local partner also enables COMSOL to respond rapidly to local customer needs. We did not want to be reliant only on a large global platform where our customer needs may not be addressed timeously”, added Laval.

“A strategic partnership with Trinity Telecomms will allow COMSOL to efficiently address the unique requirements of enterprises and help facilitate the rapid expansion of the African IoT”, said Laval.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds on the Digital Revolution, representing new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even the human body. It is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles” added Hickey.

In an industry currently estimated at being worth $20 billion and expected to grow to more than $200 billion by 2024, the growth opportunities are limitless.

“The industrial sectors will see tremendous benefit from the IoT.  Government and municipalities also have incredible opportunity to reduce costs by improving efficiencies. And of course, technology vendors with IoT-specific solutions that are responsive to these new markets will have a huge opportunity”, Hickey concluded.

Staff Writer

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