Internet of Things in Zimbabwe

June 22, 2015

The potential for Internet of Things is unbelievably immense in Zimbabwe.When intelligent systems being made accessible to the masses and devices are connected into one large ecosystem, users and organizations are benefitting from tracking and analyzing data transmitted from these devices to improve lives.The growth trajectory of the ‘Internet of Things’ and its in terms of pervasive influence.Identifying and addressing regulatory and other enablers and inhibitors, will help create an environment that allows the full potential of Internet of Things services and their cross-sectoral benefits to be realized in Zimbabwe. The opportunity for companies to be early beneficiaries of new business models through Internet of Things and for the country to become a significant exporter of business solutions enabled by Internet of Things.Rapid emergence of Internet of Things represents both a significant opportunity and a very real threat,depending on whether and how Zimbabwe adapts to and harnesses the power and potential of the phenomenon.That mass of data is creating whole classes of new services, based on an ability not just to track activity and interests, but to predict as well.

In the past, the technology had been expensive, proprietary and mostly embedded into large machines, Internet of Things today is about making intelligent, every day systems that is accessible to the masses.The proliferation and business relevance of the ‘Internet of Things’ and communications services based on the capabilities that a connected environment engenders, are growing rapidly and Internet of Things is the next massive disruptor in the communications environment in Zimbabwe. A number of market trends are converging to make the modern-day Internet of Things a reality with research firm Gartner predicting that there could be 25 billion connected devices by 2020.Decreasing hardware prices in Zimbabwe, increased wireless coverage and advances in analytics are enabling new solutions that use information from non-traditional sources to improve lives. The benefits are already being realized today by organizations across various industries, especially in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. In the background to all this, many networked devices in Zimbabwe are not even accessed by a human being, but operate invisibly, talking to other machines, logging data and taking action.

Internet of Things technology enablers starting with availability of a wide range of sensors and accessing technologies from low bit to high which is predominantly wireless and not necessarily mobile is important.Also crucial is the networking protocols and platforms for creating Internet of Things applications as well as access to big data analytics capabilities.Forward thinking businesses in Zimbabwe are already considering how to leverage data from non-traditional sources with customized technology for increased competitiveness.Business drivers and enablers in Zimbabwe such as expansion of internal Machine to Machine initiatives to external customers and the cost of embedded wireless receivers and service business models optimized for low bandwidth, wide coverage markets are increasing becoming ubiquitous.In Harare Zimbabwe, property management companies looking to reduce power bills,thanks to rising power bills,have been recording temperature and humidity on a 24hour basis over several months and that has yielded new insights about peak occupancy periods that has helped them identify when to turn off the central air-conditioning system.

In Bulawayo, an industrial city,an Australian company doesn’t capture data through recorded ad hoc data analysis and research according to a researcher working there.Capturing the data is just one step in the whole Internet of Things highway. There has to be enough storage to accommodate that data, and an effective network to convey that data to computers powerful enough to analyze it. In Harare, the Aussies firm data is protected, secured, and personal details kept private in accordance with prevailing laws of the country.However, most of the times the entire system has to be managed and monitored well to ensure it performs well at all times. Success for them hinges on effective data analysis.In tech world we say that data is meaningless if not extracted but meaningful if mined, analyzed, and then formulated effectively.Consumers in Zimbabwe who can manage their privacy settings to protect their own data and are knowledgable about data security will be less vulnerable than new users. Savvy consumers who are connected to the Internet of things in the country will likely benefit from the analytics services that some devices provide.

Contador Harrison