Vodacom Head Office in Midrand
Vodacom Head Office in Midrand (Photo Credit: Vodacom Now)

Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, has teamed up with Vodacom Business to develop a technology solution for efficient energy and water use.

The solution enables users to intelligently monitor and manage their geysers or boilers in real time.

Presently, water heaters are managed manually. This often means that faults are not always detected timeously. This method of physically monitoring geysers or boilers in an era of machine-tomachine (M2M) solutions is obviously
outdated.

M2M – also referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) – involves connecting an assortment of devices including refrigerators, toothbrushes, geysers, couches, smart electricity meters and coffee makers to the internet.

At the Huawei Network Congress 2015 held in Beijing in May, Huawei revealed that it had been working with
Vodacom to develop a smart water heater monitoring solution.

“IoT is the future of our increasingly digitised world and networks are key to driving value creation for enterprises,” said Li Xianyin, Huawei general manager, switch & enterprise communications product line.

Xianyin added: “With Huawei’s IoT technologies and offerings, we hope to support the digital transformation of traditional industries and the development of the IoT ecosystem.”

Huawei predicts that by 2025, a total of 100bn internet connected devices will be generated globally and 2m new
sensors will be deployed every hour.

Vodacom, which is majority owned by British mobile giant Vodafone, is already playing a vital role in the IoT space through XLink Communications, a provider of wireless data M2M services.

Vodacom is already a big player in the M2M market, but it also wants to provide more M2M SIM cards. In the
year to end March, Vodacom reported a 18.5% rise to 1.8m active M2M connections.

Tony Smallwood, Vodacom’s executive head: M2M Services, confirmed that Vodacom Business had worked with Huawei to develop a smart water heater monitoring solution.

He said that the product will benefit users of the M2M solution by making it possible to “take proactive steps to prevent the failure of the water heater and the associated peripheral damage”.

He added: “As a by-product of the solution, the M2M device provides the user of the water heater the ability to optimise the energy consumption of the water heater and therefore reduce the cost of the energy used to heat the unit.”

But questions remain around residential consumers. Will they be interested in buying the M2M waterheating solution?

Smallwood said that the target market for this particular offering was insurance companies and energy
management solution providers.

The development will enable insurers and energy management solution providers to have a data services platform for managing multiple SIM cards from a single interface and gather real-time intelligence about smart water heaters – such as water temperature and any leakages.

 

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