MTN and Huawei recently jointly showcased three live Internet of Things (IoT) demos at AfricaCom: a Smart Refrigerator, User-Based Insurance (UBI) and Smart Water Metering solutions. These solutions are designed to help MTN grow their IoT services to new industry verticals.
The Smart Refrigerator solution enables remote monitoring of the fridges before outage occurs. Besides, it provides a means to do inventory control, monitoring and cold chain management so that bottlers can ensure that only their branded products are stocked in their branded refrigerators. Last but not least, it helps to improve the sales channel quality control, so that the end-product can be served to consumer at the optimal temperature, enabling the bottler able to monitor their product till point of sales.
Smart Water Metering solution enables the automated collection of utility meter data over the cellular network. Powered by the NB-IoT technology by Huawei, Smart Water Metering will help cut down cost generated from manual meter reading and changing of meter batteries, which are two major cost drivers for conventional metering.
NB-IoT is a new technology that will extend the utilization of IoT by making it more efficient to connect objects requiring a long battery life and are located in remote or submerged locations. Connecting these devices to the internet by means of a mobile network is where NB-IOT comes into its own. This Low Power Wide Area technology will connect more objects to the Internet of Things as a result of stronger and more penetrative signal.
MTN identified a new market opportunity for commercial refrigeration monitoring at point-of-sales for large bottling companies. MTN together with Huawei and local partners, have developed a leading solution for the bottling and beverage industry.
Connected car is another hot topic of IoT, and is a major growth area and disruptive innovation in the motor industry. MTN and Huawei have been working together to provide Vehicle Usage Based Insurance (UBI) Solution to South Africa as well.
UBI allows insurance companies to have driver’s driving information including location, driving behavior and vehicle running status, and using big data technology to analyze and score drivers’ driving, the insurer can adjust their offering to be optimized to each driver. Good driving can be rewarded, and risky or dangerous driving can be identified. In this way, insurance companies will benefit from a less loss rate, and drivers will have better driving skillset as well as mindset, so motor insurance industry will be healthier.
Alpheus Mangale, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN South Africa , commented: " We are pleased and excited by the enabling role we are playing to usher an era of enhanced connectivity in Africa through the strategic partnerships we enter into and through the investments we have made in our expansive network infrastructure across the continent. The IoT market is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years, and MTN plans to be at the forefront of this digital revolution. We hope to enable how governments, enterprises and industries work.”
Michael Ma, President of Huawei Cloud Core product line said: " We are very pleased to announce our strategic cooperation with MTN in IoT field. Today at AfricaCom, Huawei and MTN are showcasing solutions based on our OceanConnect IoT platform and partner ecosystem and NB-IoT wireless technology. This enables MTN to develop vertical industry applications for Usage Based Insurance, Smart Refrigeration for commercial bottling market, and smart Water Metering. We look forward to continuing close relationship with MTN to bring more IoT services to Africa."
The strong growth in the IoT market has motivated many analyst firms to create forecasts showing the expected numbers of connections as well as the revenue potential. Generally, the global IoT market is expected to be worth trillions of dollars by 2020, and this will be a very promising market with 450 million cellular IoT connections in Africa alone.
MTN and Huawei have signed the IoT frame contract to allow this collaboration to happen an an exponential rate as both organizations are committing to an all connected Africa. Smart Water Metering, Smart Refrigerator and UBI services from MTN will be the beginning of commercially deployed solutions in 2017.
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