Vodafone, the parent company of South Africa’s Vodacom, is recording one million new Internet of Things (IoT) connections a month.
As a result, the British-based mobile giant has exceeded 50 million global IoT connections.
“Vodafone were one of the earliest believers in the potential for the Internet of Things to transform business and life,” Vodafone Director of IoT Ivo Rook said in a statement on Monday.
“The 50 million milestone is a testament to our continued focus and commitment to innovation in this rapidly growing and dynamic sector.”
The mobile phone company said the biggest contributor to the IoT connections milestone is a strong performance in the automotive, healthcare and utility sectors.
Vodacom Making Inroads in IoT space
In Africa, Vodafone is using Vodacom to deploy its IoT solutions and expand across the continent.
Vodacom has identified IoT as a key strategic growth and the mobile phone operator wants to be at the centre of the ecosystem to spur it. For more read: Vodacom wants to be the driver for IoT ecosystem
The South African-based mobile phone giant has established a dedicated IoT business led by Deon Liebenberg.
Vodacom has close to 3 million IoT customers.
Estimates are that by 2020, there will be 50 billion things or IoT devices – smart cars, fridges, toasters, streetlights, heart monitors, chairs, door locks, etc. – connected to the Internet. But some of this is not hot air, some companies are already deploying IoT solutions that save lives and empowering farmers to make money across the African continent.
Vodacom has identified IoT as a key strategic growth and the mobile phone operator wants to be at the centre of the ecosystem to spur it.
Liebenberg said recently that Vodacom is planning to continue to drive investment in IoT, both in South Africa and across the African continent.
To build its IoT capability in the African market Vodacom has made a strategic investment in local firms with footprints across the continent.
The telco is already digitising the healthcare ecosystem across Africa.
Vodacom has set up Mezzanine Ware to focus on mHealth.
The local telco recently collaborated with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Government and Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence Solutions to launch a mobile technology solution to support South African smallholder farmers into commercial agriculture.
With an estimated combined investment about R21 million over three years, the ‘Connected Farmer’ platform, a cloud-based web and mobile software solution, will link thousands of smallholder farmers to the agriculture value chain enabling access to information, services, and markets.
Vodacom’s partnership with GIZ will provide commercial and operational support to link thousands of farmers to this platform, enhancing the sustainability and longevity of the initial deployment of the service in the South African agriculture sector. The launch of this platform further complements the current Internet of Things platforms which Vodacom has launched into the various markets and segments.
Finally, last November Vodacom started its Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network build, which it plans to commercially launch in major metropolitan areas across South Africa in 2017.
Vodacom has already begun the process of upgrading the various components of its network to support NB-IoT.
NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network technology which enables new use cases for IoT solutions. LPWA networks are able to communicate to devices where radio penetration has traditionally not been feasible and with a low power overhead in the communications process.
A key characteristic of LPWA devices is power efficiency, resulting in devices being deployed in-field with batteries which could last up to many years.
NB-IoT networks run on the existing licensed spectrum, ensuring the integrity of the communications channel as well as the delivery of data from the device to the end point.