While Internet of Things (IoT) may still be an emerging technology in South Africa, major telecommunications and IT players, as well as a host of new tech providers, are investing in new IoT networks and solutions, comments Colin Thornton, MD of Dial a Nerd and Turrito Networks. “According to Africa Analysis, there were more than seven million devices connected to Internet of Things networks in South Africa in 2017, and the firm estimates that this number will double by 2022.”
From cars to TVs and phones, to unmanned IP-enabled devices such as sensors, monitors and control devices, these ‘things’ are providing more information and better insights that can lead to operational efficiencies and remote controllability of processes and operations, adds Eyad Shihabi, vice president, Africa and the Middle East at BT. “IoT enables businesses to use big data in smarter ways, to define new digital possibilities and move towards a new cognitive and connected world.”
There have been numerous cases of hackers taking over connected devices and the implications are terrifying. Imagine a hacker taking over your cameras to view you logging into your Internet banking, or see when you’re not home, or stalk you. Imagine hackers gaining access to your new self-driving car. Or your account at home affairs. Like it or not we live in a connected world already and the more reliant on it we become the more vulnerable we are to digital crooks.
There will have to be anti-virus-like programs for IoT devices as well as hardware protection like firewalls. We’ll also need to step up our authentication methods as an 8 digit password just won’t do.
We find SA businesses are interested in IoT for all of the reasons above but its often not labelled IoT. When someone tells you they can reduce your businesses energy consumption 20% by installing small connected devices to your air conditioners, you might not consider it IoT, but you will definitely take it seriously. The FttH revolution is also increasing IoT devices in homes. It’s actually quite common to have connected TV’s nowadays and more and more people are getting smart (and connected) speaker systems and alarms.
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