Vodacom turned to an insider with experience in developing Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services as the managing director of its wholly-owned subsidiary that specialises in IoT, XLink.
XLink is housed in Vodacom’s IoT group of companies, which is managed by Vodacom Business led by chief officer William Mzimba – who reports to Shameel Joosub, Vodacom’s CEO.
The Vodafone-owned mobile phone operator named the executive head of IoT, IoT Propositions Hymie Marnewick as managing director of XLink, opting for a safe pair of hands rather than an outsider to drive growth.
The IoT-wholly owned subsidiary was acquired in 2007 to provide Vodacom with scale in fast-growing IoT industry.
XLink was founded in 2004.
It pioneered GPRS-based electronic funds transfer (EFT) data communication solutions in SA and it is the largest carrier of EFT services across the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) network.
Marnewick appointments, which is effective 1 December 2018, signals a subtle return to the basics for the IoT business.
The Vodacom executive has been part of the XLink business since inception and was previously an executive director and the chief commercial officer of the business.
He also served on the XLink board for more than twelve years.
Marnewick holds over twenty years’ experience within the IT and retail environment, including six years’ experience developing IoT related products and services.
With his strong commercial and management skills, he specialises in providing managed solutions within the IoT & ICT sectors.
“I look forward to being back in the XLink business and working within the financial and retail environments,” says Marnewick.
“Utilizing the strong foundation which XLink has created within the mentioned markets, I believe we can continue to build out on our current market-leading products and services,”
His passion for entrepreneurial activities and an innovative drive coupled with a distinct flair for leadership and business development will continue to propel the XLink business forward, said the Vodacom-owned IoT business.
The Vodafone-owned telco is also seeking new revenue streams in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.
The firm has seen the number of connected IoT devices on its network rising by 22.4% to more than 4.2 million in the six months to end-September 2018.
Vodacom is working on delivering Consumer IoT services and XLink will play a bigger role in helping the telco to deliver on this strategy.
Estimates are that by 2020, there will be 50 billion things or IoT devices – smart cars, fridges, toasters, streetlights, heart monitors, chairs, door locks, etc. – connected to the Internet. But some of this is not hot air, some companies are already deploying IoT solutions that save lives and empowering farmers to make money across the African continent.
Vodacom has identified IoT as a key strategic growth and the mobile phone operator wants to be at the centre of the ecosystem to spur it.
The South African-based mobile phone giant has established a dedicated IoT business and XLink is part of this division.
Vodacom’s IoT strategic investment
To build its IoT capability in the African market Vodacom has made a strategic investment in local firms with footprints across the continent.
The telco is already digitising the healthcare ecosystem across Africa.
Vodacom has set up Mezzanine Ware to focus on mHealth.
Mezzanine has created an mHealth platform that enables collaboration, the collection of insights and stock monitoring. The company’s solution has attracted interest across the African continent.
Vodacom has also collaborated with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Government and Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence Solutions to launch a mobile technology solution to support South African smallholder farmers into commercial agriculture.