The IoT industry in South Africa is quietly taking shape and when it goes mainstream we will be captivated by the smart, connected technology, where IoT devices will record, analyse data and talk to the Internet and chit chat to each other and some devices like wearables are already engaging or talking to our bodies telling us about our heart rate.
McKinsey predicts that this industry could easily deliver up to $6.2 trillion in economic impact by 2025.
That’s a mere seven years from now and South Africa’s incumbent mobile phone operators – Vodacom and MTN – are racing to carve out a piece of this lucrative pie.
Vodacom and MTN are already delivering to their customers innovative solutions for smart farming, connected health, connected cars, e-health, smart metering, asset tracking, Internet of cows, connected wildlife, etc.
For more read: What Are Vodacom and MTN doing in IoT?
Here is a list of four great executives that are preparing South Africa’s two biggest mobile phone operators to deliver exciting connected future of smart bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, smart cities, etc.
These are executives ensuring that IoT links us as human beings to everything we use especially through our smartphones. In short, they are charged with effecting change with IoT.
Deon Liebenberg, managing executive for the Internet of Things at Vodacom
Ask anyone in the IoT space in the cellphone industry to name the top executives and you’ll almost certainly hear ‘Deon Liebenberg’.
He runs an operation already worth billions of rands and leading the charge to deploy IoT solutions across the country and the rest of the African continent.
Liebenberg is passionate about ensuring that the connected society improves people’s lives.
Since started engaging Liebenberg, I have come to realise that he’s one of the best resources to engage about IoT or the connected future.
His division is moving at quite a pace.
Vodacom’s IoT division now has 3.4 million connections to its IoT platform as of 31 December 2017.
If these numbers are any indication, those IoT services are starting to be in demand. It looks like Liebenberg’s is touching the right buttons. His rivals may be worried.
Melao Mashale, senior manager for Enterprise IoT Solutions at MTN Business
Melao Mashale is helping shape how the industry and consumers view fleet management, car tracking, smart meter reading, connected wildlife.
He is helping MTN Business to be a strategic innovation enabler in the IoT space.
Pity, MTN Business financial performance is a guarded secret as its parent company MTN doesn’t disclose those figures.
That said, MTN Business through Mashale and team is spearheading IoT solutions that are changing the industry.
He’s helping MTN Business to stake a claim in the IoT space. To exemplify, he has been instrumental in MTN Business deploying a connected driver, usage based insurance (UBI) solution in partnership with Huawei.
The company is innovating in the IoT space through its IoT platform, developer tools Mind2Machine challenge.
Mashale is definitely a young executive to watch spearheading IoT at MTN. He delivers relevant content on IoT and shares the company’s vision on stages at the top IoT conferences.
Tony Smallwood, executive head at Vodacom for business development in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Vertical Industries
Smallwood is a gentle and softly spoken executive, who has more than two decades in the ICT industry.
He’s an executive to really watch as he is at the coalface of delivering IoT solutions beyond just connectivity, but oversees the delivery of solutions from hardware to application integration services.
Smallwood has a 360 view of the value chain of Vodacom IoT’s division.
In his role, Smallwood is moving deftly, leveraging his experience ensuring that Vodacom carve out a niche in IoT space and working with partners to develop a bigger IoT ecosystem for the Vodafone-owned telco.
He is working very hard and smart to position Vodacom IoT unit as a partner of choice.
Smallwood is advancing Vodacom’s strategy to digitize the lucrative mining industry through delivery of IoT solutions.
Mariana Kruger: general manager for ICT Solutions at MTN Business
The mobile phone industry in South Africa has a reputation for being a boy’s club and currently there’s no single women who is running a mobile phone operator in the country.
Mariana Kruger is bucking the trend and making waves in the IoT space.
The IoT industry knows Kruger as a dynamic executive with immense skills in the ICT sector. She’s using her IT background from IBM after working for the tech giant for close to three decades to assist MTN Business to navigate the world of IoT.
She has been instrumental in several partnerships in the IoT space such as the MTN connected wildlife solution in partnership with Wageningen University (WU) in the Netherlands and Prodapt and IBM.
She believes that IoT solutions can help us keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and what can be achieve.