South African cities and municipalities are facing pressing and complex challenges, such as providing services, including water, electricity, housing, and free Wi-Fi on limited budgets.
Inadequate housing, unreliable electricity, and water supplies are some of the major problems faced by South African cities and smaller municipalities.
However, the Internet of Things (IoT) can greatly improve the provision of public services.
IoT solutions can enable smart interactions with city services to save municipalities a lot of money and make them more efficient.
IoT also could transform the lives of residents by providing tangible solutions to many of society’s ills.
Vula Telematix, South Africa’s first IoT network operator, is working with various solution developers to establish smart municipalities across the country.
The network provider has already connected Drankenstein Municipality.
IoT is a network of intelligent devices and machines that can monitor themselves as well as gather contextual information (temperature or GPS location, for example) using sensors, and share it with other devices and services.
It sees devices and items from watches and fridges to industrial equipment and even irrigation systems at farms become connected to the Internet
Drankenstein is a local municipality located within the Cape Winelands District Municipality, in Paarl, Cape Town.
“Drankenstein is growing full steam ahead and connecting on our IoT network powered by Ingenu,” Agnat Max Makgoale, CEO Vula Telematix, told Techfinancials in an interview.
“They (Drankenstein) are doing things such as smart metering for electricity and water,” he said, adding that they are looking at connecting street lights and few other crazy ideas.
Makgoale said the Drankenstein Municipality is an early adopter of IoT solutions.
Vula Telematix is encouraged by the interest shown by smaller municipalities into adopting IoT.
“You find that many small municipalities want to move quicker on IoT. They have a smaller budget, but want to move faster than the bigger cities,” he noted.
Vula Telematix is engaging several cities and municipalities to entice them to use its IoT network infrastructure.
“We are having a conversation with the City of Johannesburg,” said Makgoale.
“We are also engaging a number of municipalities. I believe global, in fact, small cities will be the fastest adopters. They’ll be ahead of everyone”.
Vula Telematix competes with South Africa’s SqwidNet and Comsol in deploying IoT infrastructure but all use different technology system.