The Internet of Things is about much more than just connecting devices

The Internet of Things is about much more than

Carol Rudinschi, PhD, of IIoT World, interviewed IoT.nxt CEO Nico Steyn to get his insights on the Industrial Internet of Things.

Running factories from our phones, adaptive robots that work alongside humans or 3D printing are just a few characteristics of smart manufacturing. Nico Steyn, CEO of IoT.nxt shares his thoughts about Industrial IoT, connecting devices, and the role of the Internet of Things in defining a new way of doing business.

Carol Rudinschi: Nico, from your perspective, what are the most exciting things happening in Industrial IoT?

Nico Steyn: The thing that excites me the most is the fact that there is a realization in the world that what we are achieving with Internet of Things does not only reside in the cloud, and therefore there is more and more vital debate and discussion around the power that resides in the edge. Take that thinking and combine that with tech such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive analytics and you have just entered a new realm of what is possible. This isn’t theoretical anymore. It is becoming real and people are starting to understand this. The Internet of Things is about much more than just connecting devices; new technologies unlock a new way of thinking.

Carol Rudinschi: What is the future of manufacturing and how will technology play a role?

To read the full interview on IIoT World, click here

SA’s IoT.nxt in Advanced Talks with Potential Partners in the US

Eyes on the stars as Talent10 scripts its way forward

Gugu Lourie 27 October 2017

While IoT.nxt has managed to expand into Europe and set up shop in the Hague, Netherlands, partnering with US firms may help the IoT company to be one of the biggest IoT firms in the world.

South African innovator in Internet of Things (IoT) Technology IoT.nxt said on Thursday it was in talks with potential IT partners to distribute its IoT solutions in the US as it seeks to conquer the strongest technology centre and driver of new technologies in the world.

IoT.nxt was unable to disclose the names of the potential partners it was in advanced talks with.

While IoT.nxt has managed to expand into Europe and set up shop in the Hague, Netherlands, partnering with US firms may help the IoT company to be one of the biggest IoT firms in the world.

“Whatever the outcomes of this (talks) will influence how we create our presence in the US. Will we be creating a presence in the US? No doubt about it,”  says Wayne Fitzjohn, IoT.nxt Chairman.

Who is IoT.nxt?

The failure of many IoT and Big Data platforms is their inability to – independently – completely connect all facets of an organisation.

IoT.nxt provides a highly differentiated application framework that consists of intelligent proprietary gateways (Raptor) and a back-end data orchestration platform (Commander).

Read more: http://bit.ly/2z3sqCA

https://techfinancials.co.za/

 

Interview: IoT.nxt CEO & Chairman On Targeting US

Wayne Fitz John and Nico Steyn

Goo Goo Lourie 27 October 2017

IoT.nxt CEO, Nico Steyn, and Chairman, Wayne Fitzjohn, visited the USA in September to explore partnership opportunities and collaboration with some of the largest tech companies in the USA.

In this special edition of the first Talk IoT podcast, Goo Goo Lourie sits down with IoT.nxt CEO, Nico Steyn, and Chairman, Wayne Fitzjohn to talk about the company’s global expansion plans.

 In the podcast, Wayne takes us through IoT.nxt plans to conquer the US, the strongest technology centre and the driver of new technologies in the world.

“You are not a true IoT operator if you are not in the US,” declares Wayne.

While, Nico is not worried about the tough US market, which has seen some big South African companies leaving in a huff without any success.

“I am not really afraid of the big guys in the US because I think the big guys have a whole lot of issues that influence their thinking. I am more afraid of the smaller guys because they are agile, more quickly make a decision and implement tomorrow,” explains Nico.

For more access our first podcast below recorded using the new iPhone 8 and loaded through MTN’s network, which did not disappoint us at all.

Listen to the podcast: http://bit.ly/2yWh5nx

What is an effective digital twin?

Gareth Rees Photo

Digital twins are not all created equal.

What does trusty old Wikipedia say a digital twin is? “Digital twin refers to a digital replica of physical assets, processes and systems that can be used for various purposes. The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an Internet of Things (IoT) device operates and lives throughout its life cycle.”

Let’s start by imagining you created a very effective digital twin of yourself.

IoT.nxt Director of Global Partnerships Gareth Rees explains:

You start off by making a digital avatar that looks like you, you even make it sound like you, and move like you. You use sensors in devices (think Fitbit) and even embed others in your body to send the status of key metrics such as temperature, heart rate, location, distance moved, blood glucose and hormone levels to your digital twin to increase its likeness. Once you have gathered all of this information in real time and augmented your avatar with it, you have created a complete digital twin.

To make this digital twin useful however, you need to overlay the generic and specific biological rule sets onto this data to interpret and gather insight. In other words, you need to be able to turn raw data into intelligence. For example, knowing that the standard body temperature is 37 degrees and that blood composition changes when the body is dealing with infection is critical for the digital twin to turn information into value, adding insight that could maximise your performance or even save your life. Rees explains further:

A specific person (context specific) may also be a diabetic or have Malaria, for instance, and this would have a significant impact on how this information is interpreted. Also – different people, while similar, react differently to medication or stresses and these biological rule sets need to learn the behaviour of a specific individual to represent them effectively in the digital twin (self-learning systems).

By applying these often-complex rule sets to the data on your digital twin, we can generate simple and easy-to-consume dashboards and insights that can help you live a happier and healthy life at the life stage that you are in. This is critical, as the digital twin needs to unlock value consistently over time, otherwise it has no purpose.

In business, everything needs purpose or its a waste of money.

It follows, then, that the effectiveness of a digital twin is directly affected by the following things:

  • The accuracy, latency and completeness of the information gathered from the physical world
  • The effective treatment of the information with the correct generic and context specific business rules and analytics
  • The ability of the system to learn and adapt dynamically to its host and its interactions
  • The ability of the system to drive positive change through value adding data and visualisation

Very few digital twin deployments that have reached any form of meaningful scale can measure up against these criteria, because there are key constraints in the data value chain. Rees unpacks the IoT.nxt advantage:

IoT.nxt have created an industrial IoT hardware and software stack that resolves many of these constraints, and paves the way for meaningful digital twin development. IoT.nxt are currently deploying numerous industrial IoT solutions at blue chip companies, in over 10 industries. Through these deployments we have encountered many of the common pitfalls in trying to deploy IoT solutions across multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s), disparate systems and protocols and can share insight into the reasons for their failure.

It is critical to see the development of a digital twin as part of a process of digital transformation, says Rees. Furthermore, it is critical to get the architecture and principles of the digitally transformed organisation in place so it can support effective scaling, and not the creation of further silos.

IoT.nxt CEO nominated for IT Personality of the Year

October 13, 2017

Nico Steyn, CEO of Internet of Things innovator IoT.nxt, was named as one of the nominees for the IT Personality of the Year award, managed and presented by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals of SA (IITPSA), on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

The list for the 2017 award is dominated by entrepreneurs and innovators and Steyn is in the company of several of the brightest minds in tech in SA.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2yM3XSK

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IoT.nxt CEO in select company of nominees for IT Personality of the Year

A true IOT ecosystem design

MEDIA STATEMENT 11 October 2017

Nico Steyn, CEO of leading Internet of Things innovator IoT.nxt, is listed as one of the nominees for the prestigious IT Personality of the Year award, managed and presented by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals of SA (IITPSA).

The list for the 2017 award is dominated by entrepreneurs and innovators and Steyn is in the select company of several of the brightest minds in tech in SA. “The variety of industry leaders on the nominees list is testament to the vibrancy of the IT and broader tech industry in South Africa and shows that the country is at the level, and in some instances ahead, of international counterparts. We believe that IoT.nxt is to become a leader in IoT in SA and internationally and seeing the CEO included in this impressive list is testament to the success the company achieved thus far,” says IoT.nxt Chairman, Wayne Fitzjohn.

Apart from Steyn the nominees list includes respected professionals including Annette Muller, founder of on-demand workforce platform Flexy and DotNXT; Baratang Miya, founder of GirlHype Coders Academy; Karen Nadasen, CEO of PayU South Africa; Sashi Hansjee, CEO of Entelect; Mixo Ngoveni, founder of Geekculcha; Reshaad Sha, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Director of Dark Fibre Africa and CEO of IoT network Sqwidnet; Yvonne Thobile Mabuza, founder of Elangeni Consulting Services and Jaco Maass, Senior Manager ICT at BKB.

The finalists, evaluated by a nine-member industry panel, will undergo face-to-face interviews with the judging panel before the winner is selected. Well-known industry leaders like Prof Helena Barnard of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, Neville Willemse, Senior Managing Partner Gartner South Africa, Ulandi Exner, President of IITPSA and Tony Parry, CEO of IITPSA serve on the judging panel.

The winner will be announced at a gala event to be hosted in Johannesburg in early November. Sbu Shabalala, CEO of AdaptIT, was the IT Personality of the Year in 2016.

IoT.nxt is the winner of the 2017 MTN Business IoT Award, a Microsoft Gold Partner for Data Platform and was selected as one of six aspiring innovators in SA ahead of the 2016 Gartner ITXpo and Symposium hosted in Cape Town.

ISSUED BY: IoT.nxt

For further information please contact:

Daleen van Wyk, Media Liaison, Tel: 083 302 0827, Email: [email protected]

How tech and IoT will unlock human potential: the augmented employee

Thought Leadership by Eric Croeser

Eric Croeser, IoT.nxt’s Director of Partnerships: Mining. Picture: IoT.nxt

The debate between which is more important, experience or qualifications, has been a debate for decades in the heavy asset-driven industries such as mining, oil and gas and manufacturing.  The addition of minimum qualification criteria imposed by regulatory bodies on certain positions, such as artisans, has led to a steady creep in the barrier to entry for “unskilled” workers.  Adding this phenomenon to an increasingly aging working population in the “unsexy” labour-intensive industries is resulting in a widening skill gap that will be difficult to close should nothing change.

 

The increase in geographically sparse work areas and the increasing drive of the middle class to flock to metropolitan areas, has added huge costs to companies operating in these far-off areas, ensuring workers are accommodated on a fly-in, fly-out basis.  This increases the cost of production drastically and has lead large corporates to invest heavily into autonomous processes and machines to alleviate this demand and hopefully reduce the cost of production, leading to increased returns for their shareholders.  This phenomenon unfortunately has a detrimental impact on the skilled workforce, but the real losers are the un-skilled labourers as the downsizing due to automation causes a “class-shift”, forcing higher-skilled workers to take lower-paying and lower-barrier positions.  This can have a positive effect on the overall workforce performance in the short term, but will have a detrimental effect over the long run as no skills transfer, upskilling and talent pipeline management can occur.

 

Let us apply this to a real-world problem statement;

 

The global economy and development working paper 100, (Kharas 2017), states that the rate of increase in the global middle class is estimated at 14- million people per annum and that this number could rise to 170-million people annually in the next five years.  That means conservatively speaking, three quarters of a billion people globally will be joining the ranks of the middle class.  In 2015, the global middle class spent approximately $35-trillion (more than a third of the global economy) and their market growth was higher than that of global GDP growth. 

 

What does this mean for business?  The middle class would inevitably want things they never could afford before; they will want “stuff”. Stuff such as cars, houses, technology, comforts, toys etc.  This demand will undoubtedly add massive amounts of carbon emissions to the global footprint, but also cause a commodity boom of such magnitude that we have not witnessed in the last couple of decades.

 

This is definitely great news for any company in the commodity and primary manufacturing sectors.

 

Or is it?

 

It is at this point that we need to look at the average age of the global working class when this boom hits.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2017), the percentage of young people as a percentage of the population has drastically decreased globally since 1990, whilst the working age of the population has remained constant at 66 years of age since the same date.

 

This, in conjunction with the current drive to autonomy, means one thing: when the boom hits, there will be no skills to take full advantage of it.  This shortage of skills will lead to an under-supply and inevitably push up prices – out of the reach of the new “middle class achievers”.

 

What can be done?

Enter the augmented employee

I believe the “augmented employee” is the answer to these preceding questions.  The use of VR and AR – in combination with smart wearable devices (such as Microsoft’s Hololens) and powered by Internet of Things (IoT) technology – will allow the limited number of remaining (and aged) skilled and experienced labourers to empower and assist an unskilled, cost-effective workforce in the most remote areas around the globe.

This combination of skill and experience, with the added benefit of a lower cost of entry and reduction in time latency between events and actions, will ultimately unlock the full potential of IoT as we have never seen before.

The augmented employee will be the future of industry, and I believe that future is now.

 

SA companies ready to implement IOT strategy

Johannesburg, 5 October 2017

 

Three quarters of SA companies plan to implement IOT strategies in the near future, with 33% saying they have plans to start a strategy in the next six months and 40% planning to start in the next year or two.

This is one of the key findings of an IOT survey conducted by IoT.nxt on technology and IT web platform ITWeb.

“This shows that understanding of the value of implementing IOT strategies and how this can unlock business value and drive efficiencies has grown dramatically in the past two years. We have experienced rapid growth in interest in what IOT can deliver in the past year and many companies we engaged with fast-tracked their plans once they realise how using IOT can address business challenges,” says IoT.nxt CEO, Nico Steyn.

The survey showed that respondents expected to see the biggest benefit in operations, as 54% of companies indicated this as the business unit most likely to benefit most from IOT according to their understanding. In second place, with 20% of responses, was that using IOT will benefit the company’s executive committee and its strategic guidance for the business.

The survey further showed that companies expect to gain the most value through implementation of IOT data for their business intelligence and data analytics. Almost 40% of respondents listed that is the biggest value to be gained, while 30+% said that using IOT will deliver value in operational applications.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2z2aNjk

http://pressoffice.itweb.co.za/iotnxt

SA Firms Ready to Implement IoT

4 October 2017, 11:55

The scope for IoT strategies in South Africa is significant as only 26% of participants indicated that they are currently actively using IoT technologies.

Three quarters of SA companies plan to implement IoT strategies in the near future, with 33% saying they have plans to start a strategy in the next six months and 40% planning to start in the next year or two.

This is one of the key findings of a IoT survey conducted by IoT.nxt on technology and IT web platform ITWeb.

“This shows that understanding of the value of implementing IoT strategies and how this can unlock business value and drive efficiencies has grown dramatically in the past two years. We have experienced rapid growth in interest in what IoT can deliver in the past year and many companies we engaged with fast-tracked their plans once they realise how using IoT can address business challenges,” says IoT.nxt CEO, Nico Steyn.

The survey showed that respondents expected to see the biggest benefit in operations, as 54% of companies indicated this as the business unit most likely to benefit most from IoT according to their understanding. In second place, with 20% of responses, was that using IoT will benefit the company’s executive committee and its strategic guidance for the business.

The survey further showed that companies expect to gain the most value through implementation of IoT data for their business intelligence and data analytics. Almost 40% of respondents listed that is the biggest value to be gained, while 30+% said that using IoT will deliver value in operational applications.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2geswN6

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Wayne Fitzjohn: US represents massive opportunity

IoT.nxt Chairman Wayne Fitzjohn has built a very successful career on challenging paradigms and equipping companies to break new ground sustainably. One of the highlights of his career was the founding of Talent10 Holdings with Chett Mahery and Joe Bester. Talent10 boasts in excess of 10 successful capital raises, including R100-million for IoT.nxt.

A highlight of Wayne’s career was at Citadel Investment Solutions, where he founded Wealth Realisation, managed a multibillion-rand portfolio and sourced the highest cumulative individual investment inflows in the Citadel Group during his tenure. Armed with BBA, MBA and CFP qualifications, as chairman of IoT.nxt Wayne brings drive, knowledge and wisdom as the company embarks on its rapid growth across various continents.

Recently, Wayne accompanied IoT.nxt CEO Nico Steyn on a trip to the US. We thought we would tap into his experience on that exciting business trip.

 

How long were you in the United States and which kinds of companies did you see?

We spent five fantastic weeks in the USA, and visited various cities including New York, Reading, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkley, Dallas and Philadelphia.  We saw a number of potential strategic partners from Telcos, Tech companies, Venture Capitalist partners and M&A Partners, as well as a number of end users, including representatives from one of the major metropoles embarking on a Smart City digital strategy.

 

What were a few highlights and what is something you think we can all learn from the US?

There were many highlights! Too many to mention, but let me have a go at it. The overwhelming validation we received is that what IoT.nxt has to offer is truly significant and unique, and not only competes with other IoT platforms head on, but in many instances is leading the way.

The most apparent learning from the US was without a doubt their desire to collaborate.  We met with CIOs, CEOs, VPs and MDsof some of the largest corporations in the world.  Regardless of the huge disparity between their organisations market cap and our own, we were treated us as equals and very quickly discussions progressed towards how we could help each other achieve greater leverage in the marketplace.

It is without a doubt this entrepreneurial and partnership-centric approach that has seen the US rise to the world power they are today.

 

As an African business, how does it change how you approach businesses or venture capitalists?

This is a methodology we have always embraced.  Seeing it in action on this scale did however highlight the need for us as South African and African operators to continue fostering a climate of collaboration and partnership – it will see us succeed as a nation and a continent in spite of the hardships we need to face in this part of the world.

We need to change our thinking from having to share the cake if we partner with others, to how we make the cake considerably bigger by partnering!  This is the art of leverage.

Has your experience in navigating uniquely African challenges placed you in a strong, competitive space globally? If so, how?

Without a doubt.  Africans generally do not have the same prodigious platform for the cultivation of ideas – whether that is in scale of infrastructure, size and risk appetite of investors, buying power of our currency, size of market and speed of adoption etc.  However, we are resilient, resourceful and determined.  We get to look at problems from a very different perspective when we do not have the luxury of these things to aid us. This results in very innovative solutions.

 

What is your take-home feeling on IoT.nxt’s prospects in the US market after your visit?

The US represents the largest single market in the world.  It would be short-sighted not to have startegies to go and participate in that market, especially with the value proposition of IoT.nxt.

Our ability to work with existing legacy systems and at a considerably higher speed than those with “rip-and-replace” strategies, makes us a compelling IoT play. We are therefore exploring every avenue available to us to ensure we maximise the opportunity the US – and the rest of the globe – represents.

Nico Steyn: lessons in leadership in IoT

Nico Steyn: lessons in leadership in IoT

Adriaan Groenewald hosted IoT.nxt CEO Nico Steyn on the Leadership Platform on Cliff Central on Monday afternoon.

Listen to the full interview below:

Adriaan and Louis Groenewald interview Nico Steyn, co-founder and CEO at IoT.nxt (Information and Technology Services). They talk about how their business is literally changing the world “in action” as we speak. They also talk about leadership lessons he has learnt whilst building his career and business.

 

Some highlights from the interview below: