By Emma Okonji
Vodacom Business Nigeria, a corporate connectivity and telecommunications solution provider, has stressed the need for African countries to take advantage of the technology of Internet of Things (IoTs) to gain business efficiency.
Vodacom’s Executive Head of IoT, Tony Smallwood gave the advice at the recently concluded NigeriaCom conference in Lagos, where he presented a paper on the topic: ‘Understanding IoT Applications in Strengthening Digital Business in Nigeria’. He identified the importance of IoT technology to business growth and sustainability, and called on African countries to deploy the IoT technology for businesses efficiency and sustainability.
“With the increased interest in adoption and growth in the number of connected “things” across Africa, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform business operations and maximise efficiency across all sectors,” Smallwood, said.
He added: “IoT drives digital transformation, helps businesses to remain relevant in today’s digital world. Overall, 63 per cent of adopters say they have seen significant return on investment from adopting IoT.”
According to him, by 2020, more than seven billion people and businesses, and over 30 billion devices, will be connected to the internet. He however said that the question is no longer about the adoption of IoT but rather its application to drive business success. “We have an ecosystem of partners who specialise in specific aspects of IoT integration, who have deep knowledge in their respective industries. In collaboration with our partners we are able to easily integrate an entire value chain for our customers, small or big,” Smallwood said.
From Consumer goods, to Finance, Energy and Utilities, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Health, there is no industry that has not been impacted by the potential of the Internet of Things. IoT solutions securely provide a view of critical systems, keeping businesses in control and reducing costs across all operations. Linking almost any type of remote machine or devices to critical information systems and collating real-time data can help to increase visibility throughout the supply chain.
Smallwood therefore explained that Vodacom’s IoT solutions support wireless payment devices and e-readers, energy usage and smart metering, chilling cabinets, goods and remote asset monitoring systems and community health management solutions.
Listing the benefits of IoT technology to the Nigerian economy, Small wood said the technology has been proven to boost Heath, Education. Agriculture, Manufacturing, Energy, and Security in any given economy.
He said IoT technology would improve energy generation and supply, using smart metering system for accurate billing, delivering quality education and healthcare in remote areas using mobile phones that are connected to the internet, help to facilitate production process in the manufacturing industry, and also trace and track criminal activists in the country, and make Nigeria crime free country, since there will be no hiding place for criminals.
From the Vodacom point of view as a technology solution provider, our vision is to manage the entire ecosystem of IoT solution from the devices to the applications and deliver it as service to the enterprise market, Smallwood said.