Swiss-Based Thingstream has inked deals with local firms to drive the development of more cost-effective Internet of Things (IoT) innovations, faster.
Thingstream launched in South Africa earlier this year to compete with SqwidNet, Comsol, Vula Telematix, etc.
IoT innovation in South Africa is gathering pace with pioneering companies bringing new solutions to market on the back of Thingstream’s ability to connect IoT devices without constraints such as cross-border connectivity or the need for high-speed access.
Tony Doubell, Sales Director South Africa at Thingstream, says four local partnerships have been formalised, and there has also been significant interest across industry verticals in Thingstream’s global IoT connectivity platform which connects via GSM networks using a unique combination of MQTT and USSD messaging protocols.
Local initiatives under development using Thingstream include new vulture tracking devices which continue transmitting in real-time, even when the birds cross the border; asset tracking devices that eliminate the need for satellite connections on trucks traversing Africa; tracking and route planning for helicopters; and solutions for advanced agricultural irrigation systems.
Pylot Pty Ltd, a company within the First Technology Group, is one of the partners now building out its IoT solutions portfolio using Thingstream technology.
“In the smart agricultural space, for example, we have implemented IoT solutions to monitor soil water content and manage centre pivot irrigation systems, which potentially saves farmers a significant amount of money on water and power. But because farms are in rural areas are typically not covered by high-speed networks, we had to roll out some of the newer low power wide area networks (LPWANs) to support the IoT connections,” says Trevor Hart-Jones, Managing Director of Pylot.
“This added to the time taken and complexity of implementations, with challenges such as finding suitable high sites, powering those masts, negotiating land leases and securing them against damage and theft. With Thingstream, we can roll out solutions faster and more cost-effectively to more customers. Thingstream bridges the gap between data driven cellular provider coverage and low LPWAN solutions, and our focus for the next three to five years will be on Thingstream-based solutions.”
Another partner going to market with solutions built using Thingstream is Digital Twin, an IoT solutions provider focused on the industrial sector.
With a strong background in industrial equipment and automation, Digital Twin founder Richard Creighton saw a gap in the market last year for one-stop integrated Industry 4.0 solutions for local industry.
“Thingstream was the differentiator for us,” says Creighton. “The platform delivers ubiquitous communications without being tied to any one provider, at an unparalleled price point.”
Even though many industrial applications present density of communications, which could be seen as a case for WiFi, Digital Twin has opted to use Thingstream to avoid the potential complexity and risk of connecting via WiFi, and also because of Thingstream’s elastic pricing models.
With locally-manufactured hardware, Thingstream communications layer, AWS data lake and Digital Twin UI/UX features available, Digital Twin is already running proof of concepts in several large organisations, says Creighton.