IoT.nxt plots Internet of Things “revolution” from SA

The Internet of Things (IoT) is being called the fourth industrial revolution due to the scale of impact it can have on various industries, with McKinsey saying interoperability will unlock 60 per cent of the estimated US$4 trillion to US$11 trillion of economic value that will be generated by the IoT by 2025.

South African startup IoT.nxt is plotting a revolution from Africa in this space, with the Centurion-based company having developed a framework that moves business beyond islands of automation and towards a seamless horizontally and vertically integrated digital enterprise.

In short, the startup has developed software that allows pretty much all devices to be connected and to share information. Given the importance placed on this interoperability by the likes of McKinsey, the team at IoT.nxt believes it has developed an innovation that can put Africa at the heart of the IoT revolution.

The IoT.nxt platform creates enterprise wide data-connectivity between new data sources such as sensors or things, less sophisticated legacy systems, enterprise systems, applications, machines and cloud services, allowing people and machines on any network using any operating system to connect and interact.

Launched in October of last year by Nico Steyn, Terje Moen and Bertus Jacobs, IoT.nxt is certain it has identified a massive opportunity in the IoT.

“Most systems we came across globally operate in silos – not all IoT devices can talk to each other,” chief executive officer (CEO) Steyn told Disrupt Africa.

“There is a myriad of companies working on different products, technologies and platforms, and making these devices communicate with each other is no small feat – seamless overall compatibility did not exist. This is where saw the gap,” he said.

The IoT.nx innovation offers companies a consolidated view of their entire IoT ecosystem, allowing them to input all documented business processes into one workflow application and detect all devices on a network. The startup has already implemented the solution at a large scale abattoir and is in the final stages of introducing it at a well-known wine estate in the Western Cape.

The platform is completely technology agnostic, which allows a company to leverage off existing investments in systems and devices installed, and runs on a mobile platform handling all industry standard protocols.

Steyn said the goal is for the existing control centres used at many companies to become a thing of the past, as the IoT.nxt solution will allow whatever device to create an immediate alert when one of the devices, sensors, applications – anything that is connected – experiences a problem, breakdown or when an emergency situation develops.

This IoT ecosystem is managed by the IoT.nxt device known as the Raptor. The Raptor allows for the migration of analogue devices and inputs into a digital platform, serving as a filter for big data and delivering cost savings and efficiencies to the client’s IoT ecosystem.

Let’s say, for example, that a company operates with Siemens air conditioners, Chubb lifts, Apple and Dells computers, an ADT alarm system, and Truco conveyor belts. The solution can connect all of these on one platform that allows for communication, fast response times when incidents occur, and off-site management with cloud-based technology using a mobile device. It is a development the startup believes will have a global impact.

“We are currently focused on Southern Africa but obviously there is global application for something as unique as we have developed,” Steyn said. “We have had approaches from several large multinationals. The approaches have ranged from interest to partner to acquisition but at this stage the latter is not an option while the former is something we are exploring.”

IoT.nxt is lucky enough to have found what Steyn described as “exceptional funding partners” in Talent10 Holdings, which not only contributes capital but also considerable strategic, financial and marketing skills.

“They are more than investors – they are part of our team,” he said, adding the company has an annuity-based income model, similar to many leading software companies.

At this stage, Steyn said IoT.nxt does not see any competitors, only potential collaborators.

“We believe we can play a role in any IoT rollout in any industry with different partners to facilitate business efficiencies that result in greater profitability for those companies,” he said.

“We have set targets for ourselves and are very strategic in the way we want to progress. Our growth will be measured to ensure we deliver an exceptional solution at all times.”


IoT.nxt plots Internet of Things “revolution” from SA


SA ‘internet of things’ startup eyes global expansion

2016-06-03 – Gareth van Zyl, Fin24

Johannesburg – South African based technology firm IoT.nxt hopes to make the ‘internet of things’ a more beneficial reality for companies across the globe.

The ‘internet of things’, or ‘IoT’, has become a buzz phrase in technology circles in recent years as it refers to connecting everyday objects such as fridges and even cars to computer networks.

Thus far, consumer-use cases of the internet of things have included the likes of using a smartphone app to switch on lights in a room or adjust thermostat temperatures.

However, the internet of things can also be tapped to unlock greater efficiency and cost-savings among companies.

But a key challenge facing this unlocking has been complex, differing systems that don’t talk to each other and which don’t provide users with a single interface to view all connected objects.

IoT.nxt – which has a 30 person team in Tshwane – plans to solve this problem by using its secure field gateway device dubbed the ‘Raptor’.

The Raptor is interoperable with various input and output devices on the edge of networks.

A practical application of the tech could connect a company’s air conditioners, lifts, alarm systems and conveyor belts to the internet of things. Subsequently, a company can then react faster when incidents occur and possibly save on costs.

“What our technology does is, first of all, it hooks up everything you have out on the edge. It doesn’t matter what type of technology you’ve got,” Nico Steyn, the CEO of IoT.nxt, told Fin24.

“What we say is whatever you’ve got out there, we’ll connect to that firstly. So, even it’s an analogue device … something that doesn’t have an IP (internet protocol) address; something that you can’t plug a network cable into it. We will bring all of that onto a digital platform, which basically means we give it an IP address and then on top of that what we’ll do is we’ll visualise it,” Steyn said.

IoT.nxt also has a software system that provides a single user interface that helps monitor all connected objects on the ‘edges’.

“A lot of people have created an application. We haven’t created an application; we’ve created a framework. So, this framework can be applied to any industry and to any device,” said Steyn.

“These applications reside in vertical silos. And the true unlock of IoT is based on the fact that you need interoperability.

“What really makes this unique is that we are agnostic,” added Steyn.

To date, IoT.nxt has implemented its solution at a large scale abattoir delivering products for retailer Woolworths.

The company says it is also in the final stages of introducing its technology at a well-known wine estate in the Western Cape.

Looking at South Africa, Steyn told Fin24 that IoT is starting to take off locally.

“There’s been a lot of digitisation that’s taken place in South Africa,” Steyn said.

Steyn also told Fin24 that IoT.nxt has also raised funding from investment holding company Talent10, whose shareholders include Sipho Nkosi, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Exxaro Resources Limited.

Meanwhile, Steyn said that the company’s technology is a world-first and that it is eyeing global opportunities.

“We believe that we have a global product. Having said that, we believe that there’s a massive opportunity inside of Africa,” Steyn told Fin24.

“I believe that Africa has got a massive opportunity in terms of IoT,” he added.