Nico Steyn steps aside as CEO of IoT.nxt®

IoT.nxt (Pty) Ltd announced today that Nico Steyn is stepping aside as CEO of the company he co-founded with partners Terje Moen and Bertus Jacobs in late 2015. However, he remains as shareholder, will continue to serve on the board, assist in leadership transition and will work with the executive team to drive the growth and innovation strategy of IoT.nxt in a new capacity.

“I will now focus my time and effort in areas of the business that I most enjoy and where I can continue to add meaningful value. As a founder making this decision is not easy. However, I know the exceptional executive team that we have assembled over the past 18 months is well positioned to embrace the next phase of commercialisation and corporatisation that is required for IoT.nxt’s journey of globalisation,” Steyn says.

“IoT.nxt has been my passion and my life for the past six years. My partners and the IoT.nxt board-backed my vision of creating a world-class product and company. IoT.nxt is perfectly positioned for exponential growth and I am looking forward to supporting this in my new role, but also making up for some of the time lost with my family. Launching a start-up, especially in the very competitive technology industry, requires sacrifices which I am confident will yield benefits over the coming years. I am both delighted and excited about further contributing to the company to achieve its goal of being a dominant global force in IoT,” Steyn added.

“I want to thank the Chairman and the board for the opportunity to contribute to the tremendous development and growth of the IoT.nxt. It has been a privilege serving as CEO and I wish the board, the executive team and our passionate employees even greater success in the future as we continue to build this remarkable business together.

Commenting on the announcement, IoT.nxt Chairman Wayne Fitzjohn, said: “Nico has played a critical leadership role, successfully driving the business as co-founder and CEO. On behalf of the board and shareholders, I would like to sincerely thank Nico for his service and look forward to continuing to build IoT.nxt into the future with him.

Fitzjohn added: “Going forward, as we settle into the new managerial structure, we will be reviewing the leadership requirements in critical areas of the business with a view to ensure we continue to deliver on our strategic objectives and global aspirations”.

Shane Cooper, who joined IoT.nxt in December 2019, and currently serves as Managing Director of IoT.nxt Africa, will assume the role of acting CEO until such time as the board confirms a permanent appointment.

IoT solutions set to significantly improve water infrastructure challenges

A suite of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are being rolled out and others are under development to address the many issues facing existing water supply infrastructure around the world. A critical issue that can be improved with the use of the technology is mitigating water loss, delivering enhanced water storage solutions, as well as improving meter reading, which will drive accurate billing.

Due to the impact of climate change and as the global population grows, existing water infrastructure is increasingly under enormous pressure. The 2020 UN World Water Report highlighted that water use has increased sixfold in the past century and continues to rise, while climate breakdown means that more areas of the world will see stress on their water supplies. This includes regions such as Europe, Asia and north America, where supplies were previously abundant.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) water infrastructure―treatment plants, pipes, and sewer systems―is in a state of disrepair around the world. The WRI also noted in a 2017 report that 6 billion gallons (22 billion litres) of treated water were lost per day in the USA due to leaky pipes alone.

Having embarked on a transformational journey from a traditional telco to a technology communications company, Vodacom Group, together with its subsidiary, IoT.nxt have devised and installed two IoT technology solutions in South Africa since the start of the year to improve water resource management. This forms part of an overall strategy to develop new approaches to address challenges faced by managers of water facilities. “The introduction of IoT technology to better manage water infrastructure has the potential to enhance efficiencies across the entire water supply chain. World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March this year, as well as South Africa’s Water week (15 to 22 March 2021) will amplify the global challenges, especially around the management of infrastructure. Those challenges informed the development of our solutions and we have recorded positive results with the projects already implemented,” says Richmond Nkambule, Business Development – Sales, at IoT.nxt.

The first project rolled out at the start of the year is at a district municipality in a rural area of South Africa that provides the municipality with a real time view of its water infrastructure. Faulty meters and accurate consumption can now be monitored, maintenance teams will receive instant alerts via email or SMS about faults, and corrective action can be taken in a very short time frame. Alerts include the GPS location of the meter, its status, flow rates and consumption.

“South Africa is one of the 30 driest countries in the world and increasingly, municipalities and other utility service providers are looking to innovative end-to-end connected solutions that enable utility operations like water and electricity to run more efficiently, reliably, safely, and cost-effectively. Our modem-driven, end-to-end software solution helps clients to implement advanced state-of-the-art analytics, revenue assurance and protection, and smart pre-payment to improve utilities’ operational performance”, says Peter Malebye, Managing Executive for IoT at Vodacom Business.

The other solution, a Smart Water Storage Management Solution, was installed at a large pharmaceutical company in Johannesburg to drive efficiencies, reduce risk and help create water security within its office park. The solution provides the company with a complete view of water levels in eight water tanks and sends alarms notifying the facilities manager when water from the municipality has stopped. It also provides a complete view of water pump statuses and alerts when the pumps stop working.

“The use of technology, with other initiatives such as greater focus on the treatment and re-use of wastewater, can dramatically improve the threatened water security situation around the world. Our next focus is on solutions for agriculture, a major consumer of water globally. Our agriculture application is in the final stages of development, and we are aiming at testing and then launching it in the second quarter of the year,” Nkambule says.