By Staff Writer
To help African enterprises prepare for the Internet of Things (IoT), MTN Group on Thursday announced a platform to control and manage the connectivity for their devices and sim cards.
The new IoT platform is now live in South Africa, with other MTN operating countries set to follow over the next 12 months.
MTN said the platform removes significant cost and accessibility barriers, ultimately enabling development on a broader scale, leading to the establishment of a vast ecosystem of scalable solutions addressing real-world needs.
As part of the development of IoT, MTN has introduced a global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) sim card, which gives customers the same rate for M2M activity across MTN’s footprint in Africa. M2M services are also referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – a concept of connecting devices – ranging from refrigerators, geysers and smart electricity meters to coffee makers – to the internet.
The open platform enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions, responding intelligently to their environments without human intervention.
“To ensure a seamless customer experience for our customers, wherever MTN has presence, the IoT platform has a dedicated network, separate from the consumer network, for operational and business systems support. As a result, the platform is dedicated to managing all MTN’s machine-to-machine functions,” says Mteto Nyati, MTN Group Chief Enterprise Officer.
The number of global IoT connections is expected to reach 360 million by 2018.
“In South Africa, the wholesale Machine-2-Machine (M2M) market – one aspect of IoT – is already worth an estimated R350 million and expected to grow to R1.2 billion by 2017. This means there are significant business opportunities for aspiring developers in South Africa and the rest of the continent,” says Nyati.
MTN Business competes with XLink Communications and other companies in the M2M market.
Vodacom, XLink Communications shareholder, recently said it wants to accelerate growth of this provider of wireless data M2M services.
The intent to grow the business comes at a time when South Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator is struggling to find lucrative acquisitions targets on the African continent.