Larry Claasen 29 June 2018

For years, there has been talk of the wonders of the Internet of Things (IoT). Enabling machines to send and receive data has long been touted as the next big thing, but although it has held a lot of promise, IoT never really seemed to get out of the starting blocks. This seems to be changing. As devices are becoming ‘smarter’ and cheaper, networks are being configured to handle large quantities of data.

Has the moment arrived for the IoT? Or does the ecosystem still need to be developed?

Brian Sangudi, principal strategy consultant, Ericsson Middle East & Africa: The ecosystem still has to evolve, but having said that, I definitely think the moment has arrived. Those who want to take advantage can already do so. The building blocks, the infrastructure, is already there.

Alain du Toit, Intelligent Cloud Business Group lead, Microsoft SA: One of the underlying challenges the IoT still has to face is uptake of IPv6 from an enterprise perspective. We are running out of IP addresses. As millions of devices come online, they are going to gobble up an already depleted IPv4 addressing scheme, and if enterprises don’t deal with this, they are going to run out of IP addresses in terms of building this ecosystem.

Vishal Barapatre, CTO, In2IT Technologies: The statistics don’t lie. We are sitting with 22 billion devices now, and by 2025, it will be three times this number. There’s not only more connectivity, but the falling prices of sensors are also playing a role.

Dr Mark Nasila, head of advanced analytics for consumer and retail, FNB: From what I’ve seen, the IoT is already ‘the business’ for a lot of organisations. This is especially true in the financial sector, where many firms have already invested a lot in their data strategies. As they now understand their customers a lot better, they are also better at being proactive in providing them with services and goods. This has seen a lot of organisations move from providing a single service, to being a multi-service provider.

Greg Vercellotti, executive director, Dariel: Our research has shown that the layers of the IoT have matured sufficiently, and you can go right from a sensor to artificial intelligence. Because of this, we are seeing uptake in the business world. We are starting to see IoT becoming part of the business processes, the decision-making and the transactions. With the weaving of IoT into these processes, we are seeing its arrival into the business world.

Steve Mallaby, COO, Argility Technology Group: It has undoubtedly arrived. It’s been around for many years, the concept of devices being connected to each other. If you look at the rapid growth that’s taken place, you are even starting to see fragmentation across the industry. The key development will be how the mature players in the sector start working together. But this is something that’s still a work in progress.

Warren Green, governance, risk and compliance expert, CURA Software Solutions: I think the moment has arrived. But I do think the ecosystem will continue to develop. For me, this will be from a governance, risk and compliance perspective.

Phathizwe Malinga, CEO, SqwidNet: We view the IoT ecosystem as a symphony in four parts. Locally, we have about ten device makers, there are also two connectivity providers, as well as several application providers. The last part is industry, which is starting to realise that IoT is not a fringe thing or a complementary thing; it’s a core part of their operations. Industry needs to make its assets sweat, but in order to do so, it needs to know where they are, which is what IoT allows it to do.

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