African CIOs look to IoT for critical infrastructure applications

Africacom highlights how the internet of things is being deployed for regional challenges in energy, utilities, and transportation.

africacom iot
Heath Muchena/IDG

While the internet of things is disrupting industries and creating new ways of doing business globally, technology executives at this week's Africacom conference in Cape Town are highlighting how in Africa,  IOT is focused on critical, often life-saving, utility, agricultural, transportation and infrastructure applications.

IoT is essentially a network of connected devices that collect information and provide a stream of data that can be analyzed and acted on. Industrial connected systems have been around for years, as sensors on factory floors connected manufacturing equipment. The big difference now is that connected devices are no longer the province of industrial niches.

South African-based mobile group Vodacom, for example, is investing heavily in IoT and has acquired a majority stake in IoT.nxt to develop applications for the automotive, mining, agriculture, finance and consumer markets.

IoT addresses regional challenges

African IoT projects often differ from those in Western nations in that they often are specifically developed to address regional challenges. Examples include solar lighting management for communities living off the grid or real-time weather applications that assist crop farmers.

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