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IOT-based low power wide area network expansion in SA

IOT-based low power wide area network expansion in SA

Cisco, Comsol and NIL have announced an agreement they claim will help accelerate the adoption of IOT-enabled devices and networks with applications such as 'intelligent farming' and Smart City technologies.

In a statement issued by global tech firm Cisco, with the addition of Cisco gateways utilising LoRa technology, Comsol will be able to accelerate the build out of their Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) and offer long-distance wireless connectivity for battery-powered IOT devices.

Cisco says its LoRaWAN-compliant solution connects IOT devices and sensors across cities and rural areas nationally, at a low cost and with low power consumption, which the company describes as "a first-of-its-kind in Africa".

".... allowing battery operated sensors to last as long as 10 years. The architecture provides a standards-based IoT network at scale, enabling a host of business models for the LoRaWAN ecosystem without the need for significant investment," the company explains.

"The Cisco gateway architecture increases the resilience and security of our LoRa network. As we see rapid adoption of IOT services globally, security and uptime are becoming more critical. The partnership allows us to offer our clients a best of breed architecture backed by Cisco with support from NIL," said Greg Montjoie, IOT COO at Comsol.

The network also provides a comprehensive geolocation and tracking solution, offering network-based location capabilities enabled by Cisco LoRaWAN network gateways and infrastructure.

According to the partners, IOT services and applications that will benefit from this technology include asset tracking, smart parking, smart lighting, waste management, water and gas metering, irrigation management, intelligent buildings and many other uses.

"The LoRa ecosystem is rapidly expanding and evolving. Therefore, from a security perspective, it is critical that resilience is built in so that updates are quickly pushed to the network," adds Clayton Naidoo, Acting General Manager – Cisco South Africa.

The companies highlight SNS research, which states that by 2025, almost half of IOT Machine to Machine (M2M) wide-area connections will make use of LPWAN technologies.

"These offer ease of connection and simple backend infrastructure, wide coverage, low power consumption, and low cost. Cisco is a founding board member of the LoRa Alliance formed in January, 2015, with a goal to standardise LPWANs and stimulate the growth of Internet of Things applications," the partners claim.

Slow IOT adoption in SA

According to market research conducted by Hitachi Vantara, 33% of global business executives list IOT as a tech priority, but businesses remain frustrated in terms of how to benefit from the technology.

In March 2018 Hitachi Vantara MD Alexander Jenewein said South African businesses have largely embraced IOT, but adoption is hindered by a lack of clarity among stakeholders on digital transformation plans.

"We still often find that businesses feel the need to implement an IOT system without first establishing the business value," said Jenewein.

Recent research by World Wide Worx in conjunction with SYSPRO stated that while only 13% of enterprise IT decision-makers said that they currently use big data and machine learning, a further 55% said they would adopt these technologies in the near future.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents to the survey (66%) said they currently use technologies related to IOT. The majority of those not using it plan to do so (a further 28%), while all those currently using it plan to increase their usage.


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