The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most transformational trends that are shaping the future of organisations across the globe. The hype is fully justified – all forecasts indicate that IoT is set to grow enormously, with Gartner predicting that by 2020 some 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet.
While recently contributing to a panel discussion at the IoT Forum Africa 2018 on this subject, I commented that some of the key challenges facing IoT adoption in Africa were as follows:
Most IoT companies are importing hardware, edge devices, aggregators and sensors. This results in the solutions being very expensive from an African perspective, and ultimately the project dies. At Informed Decisions we identified this challenge at an early stage in our business development, resulting in us building our own hardware locally from concept to board design and firmware, etc.
This ground-up approach to innovation is one of Informed Decisions’ key differentiators when it comes to helping companies implement an IoT solution.
As businesses look at IoT solutions, they are struggling to get started due not only to the costs above, but also due to a lack of skills and experience in electronics, firmware and software people, and a lack of sufficient training and education.
More effort needs to be put into training and upskilling people.
Lastly, and also due to the above two points, IoT solution providers need to find a way to collaborate together. We can use each other’s solutions and resources, instead of seeing each other as competition and opposition. We should be focusing on our core markets and products as well as helping each other provide solutions to more businesses.
If we can encourage growth through collaboration and innovation, IoT will reach and exceed any predictions of usage and acceptance across the African continent.