MTN Business is launching a pan-African “Internet of things” (IoT) platform to provide advanced management features for connected devices and Sim cards and allow for networked devices to exchange information and perform actions.
The platform includes machine-to-machine (M2M) Sim cards, giving customers the same cost for all M2M activity across the continent.
MTN group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa said the initiative is the start of the operator getting into the world of IoT and developing products and applications for small and medium businesses that “will allow for more control of the different spheres of their business”.
MTN said global IoT-connected devices are expected to reach 360m by 2018.
The platform is already live in South Africa and will be launched in other markets in the Middle East and Africa in which MTN has operations over time. Nigeria and Uganda are next in line, the company said.
MTN chief enterprise officer Mteto Nyati said the platform will also improve government to citizen interaction and allow customers to switch off Sim cards.
The platform uses a “dedicated network” that doesn’t compete with other voice and data traffic.
Nyati said the M2M market is worth R350m in South Africa and is expected to grow to R1,2bn by 2017.
Raj Naidoo, CEO of Enermatic Energy, a company that provides smartmeters, said that working with MTN has allowed it to turn its “dumb meters” into smart meters that include Sim cards that relay data back to the company. Enermatic provides smart meters across the continent. “We can help a country reduce the demand on the power grid by allowing us to switch off geysers,” says Naidoo.
JW Oberholzer of tracking company CTrack said the platform will improve service delivery and reduce costs for clients. “When vehicles go cross-border, they will be charged one rate to track vehicles as opposed to incurring additional roaming costs when travelling internationally,” he said.
MTN has also launched the Mind-2-Machine Challenge for application developers. It will enable software developers to find business solutions in a variety of categories.
Alpheus Mongale, chief enterprise officer for MTN South Africa, said developers can build specific platforms for industries such as healthcare, agriculture and insurance. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media