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IoT For Africa: Challenges And Opportunities – Success Factors For IoT Deployment In Africa

There are several factors that hints to the fact that massive IoT deployment in Africa will amount to success. Most of them refer to cost of devices and introduction of new technology that will handle the communication and information processing aspects of IoT.

They are:

1. Cheaper cost of sensors and bandwidth – Sensor prices have dropped to an average 60 cents from $1.30 in the past 10 years. The cost of bandwidth has also declined steeply, by a factor of nearly 40X over the past 10 years.

2. Cheap processing – The cost of processing has seen a sharp decrease of nearly 60 times since the past 10 years, thereby allowing more devices to smartly handle all the new data they are generating or receiving.

3. Introduction of Big Data Analytics – With the introduction of big data analytics, the millions of data which is turned out daily by the various connected “things” in the IoT network can be processed faster and better.

4. Widespread use of Smartphone – Smartphones have become a remote control or interface for most applications ranging from healthcare to automobile. Also, the number of smartphone users has increased since the past years. According to a report, the Smartphone penetration per capita in Middle East and Africa will have experienced an increase of 13.6% from 2.6% in 2011. The affordability of the smartphone has also aided its spread in Africa.

5. Ubiquitous Wireless network – Wireless networks such as Wi-Fi have become cheaper and more accessible.

6. Alternative energy and ultralow power technologies: Availability of power to supply most devices that require automation has been a challenge in Africa but new technologies for energy harvesting, ultralow power devices have been a key enabler to IoT. Some devices today can power themselves as they tap energy from immediate environment. Example is wearable devices for body monitoring (temperature and heart rate) can power themselves with energy from vibration, pulse and heat.

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