Egypt taps into multimillion dollar IoT opportunity


Nationwide program is aimed at sourcing IoT solutions in smart logistics and smart cities to help grow Egypt's digital economy.

The ICT sector in Egypt is taking steps to capitalise on the African IoT market opportunity, which is predicted to grow by 17% from US$837.9 million in 2016 to US$1.8 billion by 2020, according to market intelligence firm IDC.

The North African country has launched the second edition of the Egypt IoT Challenge targeting senior university students, startups and SMBs who have innovative ideas related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and relevant fields.

Alexandra Rehak, Practice Head of IoT at Ovum, who spoke to Liquid Telecom for its latest Africa IoT report, says IoT will play an important role in Africa.

"A big part of IoT's role in Africa will be to contribute to sustainability – energy and resource development and usage, agriculture, and conservation efforts can all really benefit from the efficiency, precision and actionable data that the IoT can deliver," said Rehak.

George Kalebaila, Director of Telecoms and IoT at IDC shares Rehak's view, although he cautions against what he describes as a "me too" approach to adopting IoT.

"While some use cases will be relevant to all businesses in many developed regions, Africa's IoT journey may require a different approach and the starting point depends on the local situation. I think the IoT opportunity in Africa should address local problems. It should be about developing IoT applications that can be shared across Africa and then gain traction."

The 2017 leg of the Egypt IoT Challenge will focus on Smart Logistics and Smart Cities according to organisers of the program, which include Egypt's Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (TIEC) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Research by Frost & Sullivan anticipates that Smart Cities will be a US$1.5 trillion market by 2020 globally with multiple opportunities to tap into infrastructure development, technology integration and energy and security services.

Liquid Telecoms 2017 Africa IoT report found that while smart city initiatives are on the rise globally, Africa is also playing its part encouraged by initiatives such as the Smart Africa alliance which is spearheaded by Rwanda.

Academic institutions taking part in the Egypt IoT Challenge 2017 include Suez University, Alexandria University, the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) and Egypt Japan University of Science and Technology (EJUST).

Participants will be trained by mentors provided by the organisers and given access to resources to assist their efforts to innovate, as well as networking opportunities with investors in Egypt.

The top projects from the 2017 challenge will receive acceleration and financial awards to support their development.