IT, New Media & Software

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 17:08

Driving business value through one IoT platform

Written by 
George Kalebaila, senior research manager at IDC Sub-Saharan Africa

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the ability to transform the lives of citizens, providing tangible solutions to many of society’s ills. That said, partnerships between the public and private sector will be key in ensuring that these are fully realised.

“It is important to understand that IoT is not a technology, but rather an ecosystem of connected ‘things’ that can only be enabled through partnerships among industry players,” says George Kalebaila, senior research manager at IDC Sub-Saharan Africa. “What is lacking in South Africa and many other regions, is an overarching platform where everything can plug into bringing about a seamless coexistence and exchange of data to enable some of the key advantages and benefits of IoT.”

IoT applications in retail, transportation, manufacturing and utilities will offer the greatest growth opportunity as enterprises seek to streamline operations and improve customer experience. The retail sector in many ways opens up the opportunity to illustrate the potential and benefits of having a central agnostic network platform, where everything can plug in. For example, if we look at the modern household, it requires basic needs such as; bread, milk, sugar, and more than likely, medication. If we have an interconnected IoT platform, that retail and other industries would plug into such a platform that collected data to one central place were to be available, smart homes would be able to connect to the nearest and customer preferred stores, as well as inform logistics companies of the deliveries that need to be made, while in the process sending data to other sectors involved in providing a 360 degree service to consumers. Once the overarching platform is in place, for example, linking retail to smart homes, the opportunities are endless.

“If you look at Rwanda, for example, they have realised that for them to enable a smart city, they need a platform that everything can plug into. They have already started putting those building blocks in place so that their transport, health and education systems plug into the same platform to exchange data, where possible, to enable end-to-end solutions,” says Kalebaila.

He adds that while the possibilities enabled by technology are limitless, it will be crucial for the public and private sector to work together. “The responsibility to develop such platforms lies with both government and the private sector to work hand in hand. The private sector has the technical expertise as well ability to raise the required investment while the government needs to react faster to such technological advancements by creating an enabling policy framework to regulate and provide direction.”

With one central platform available for IoT, sectors such as health would benefit drastically, addressing some of the country’s social challenges. “Furthermore, areas that provide the most jobs in the country such as retail, transportation, manufacturing and utilities will grow, contributing to the economy,” Kalebaila concludes.

IDC South Africa will be hosting its “IDC Talks The Business of IoT” event on the 18th of February 2016, at the Sandton Convention Centre. For more information please go to  

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting  

IDC in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Casablanca, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, and Istanbul, with a regional centre in Dubai. Further expansion plans for 2013 include the opening of an additional office in Cairo. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey currently fields over 125 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region.

Lizelle McDermott is the owner of marketing communications agency McD Squared. She has over 13 years' experience in public relations, strategic marketing and social media communications, specialising in IT and telecommunications. 

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