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Thursday, Aug 24th

AfricaCom: ‘Africa could have internet-connected cars within 10 years’

howard

Internet-connected cars that communicate with each other and the environment could be a reality in Africa in ten years, says senior vice president of Cisco Howard Charney.

Charney -- who is in Cape Town, South Africa for the AfricaCom technology conference -- explained to journalists in a briefing about the possible strategies for the ‘internet of everything.’

According to Charney, 99% of what could be connected to the internet is not. This includes the likes of roads, homes and cars.

He explained that the ‘internet of everything’ industry could have a value over the next 10 years of $14.4 trillion between 2013-2022.

Segments in the economy such as asset utilisation could be boosted by $2.5 trillion while customer experience may generate an additional $3.7 trillion thanks to taking advantage of connecting everything to a network, says Charney.

But it is specifically in the area of cars where among the biggest impacts may be felt.

Services such as Wi-Fi hotspots, web application firewalls, device authentication and VPN (virtual proxy network) services are set to be hooked up to cars to create ‘car-2-car’ and ‘car-2-infrastructure’ connectivity.

Howard says Cisco has been working with car-makers such as Ford and BMW to implement such offerings.

And in the developed world, Howard says the technology could be a reality within five years but only come to Africa later, as the internet of everything does require the continent to have more infrastructure.

"The automobile of the future is a very different animal," says Howard.

"We will begin to see the availability of this tech in the next 5 years in the cities of the developed world.

"I think you'll begin to see it in Africa in the next ten years, in the big cities," he adds.

Howard goes on to say that technology of connecting cars could result in $1,400 in benefits per year.

Smart vehicles may, for example, communicate with each other so as to prevent accidents, resulting in lower insurance.

The smart vehicles could even be connected in such a way to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

"We are investing a lot of money to make the capability a reality," said Howard.

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