Great agility, more productivity and an engaged workforce. These are just some of the benefits brought about by the Internet of Things (IoT), says Agnat Max Makgoale, CEO of Vula Telematix – and that’s just the beginning.
The advantages of enhanced connectivity is changing our business environment in other ways, too. As the chief player in the rollout of Machine Network SA, the first wireless network in the country dedicated to machine-to-
machine communication, Makgoale is proud that Vula Telematix is able to help local companies reap the rewards of implementing IoT.
- IoT creates an amplified view of the business. It might sound esoteric, says Makgoale, but IoT makes it possible for people in a business to ‘see’ things they previously couldn’t, making for a finely detailed view of every department and all operations. This is made possible by the implementation of sensors which allow devices throughout to share information. One advantage of this ‘super connectivity’ is vastly improved measurability. “Imagine, for example, your company has to transport goods at a certain temperature,” says Makgoale. “Previously, once you had set the temperature within your vehicle, you would have to have faith the goods would arrive at their destination as planned. IoT makes it possible to monitor the temperature at all times, so that intervention can be made if necessary.”
- IoT facilitates smarter decision making. With more information available than ever before, managers are now able to make better decisions. In a sense, IoT grants the mythical 20/20 vision that we all wish we had before making a call that will affect business: it removes the guesswork and blind spots, so that any choices made are based on concrete facts.
- IoT allows businesses to respond to situations more accurately and even proactively. Again, this is made possible by having access to more, and better quality, information. Makgoale cites the November downpours which wreaked havoc in Johannesburg, causing a number of people to die as highways became flooded, as an example. “One of The problem here was insufficient knowledge about the capacity and condition of our storm water drainage system. There were two issues at play: firstly, climate change has created unpredictable weather systems. Added to this, we were unprepared for the storms and didn’t know severe they would be. Our systems are planned around less rain, and consequently couldn’t handle the deluge. With the right IoT system in place, it would be possible to measure the amount of water already being held in a storm water drain, calculate how much bigger the pipes would need to be in order to hold more water, and perhaps make engineer to channel water more effectively during storms.”
- IoT enables business to respond to challenges in a proactive manner. This is because the technology allows organisations to detect changes to the business environment in real time, as they happen, and respond appropriately. Makgoale notes that this is an attribute valuable to almost every industry. “Take precision agriculture, for instance,” he says. “A farmer with an IoT system in place will be able to prevent automatic irrigation if there is rain – but, more than this, he can actually use the system to measure the water content of the soil, and adjust irrigation accordingly.” Another example from the Precision Livestock Farming (PLF): by measuring the number of times a cow chews, or the distance it walks daily (an indicator of health), farmers can determine the volume of food the livestock eats and, by extension, whether it would be a good candidate breeding. They would thus increase the individual welfare of the animal
- IoT makes for more effective employees. For a business to run smoothly, all employees need to be engaged. “As a manager, the additional information you have thanks to IoT enables you to manage your workforce more efficiently,” Makgoale says. “It also enables you to deploy your human resources optimally. by focussing people on the most important problems more accurately.”
Clearly, IoT is a game changer for companies. Vula Telematix’s offering, in particular, is a sound bet, as sensors are easily installed for instant results. The ultimate outcome? The ability to get to market more quickly and respond to challenges as they happen – in other words, to obtain a solid edge over competitors.