Network solutions provider Vula Telematix is inviting industrial and commercial organisations to develop fit-for-purpose industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems for their specific needs on an open IoT platform, which will help to stimulate local innovation and the use of IoT, says Vula Telematix CEO Agnat Max Makgoale.
Vula has partnered with wireless machine connectivity company Ingenu to provide the IIoT platform. The platform is a low-power, wide-area network specifically built for devices that send smaller volumes of data – typically those used for industrial purposes.
The firm has also partnered with innovation hubs and industrial organisations to facilitate development of IoT solutions among their member organisations and companies. Partnerships between companies and/or organisations to develop solutions also provide a broad base from which to establish the development and use of IoT systems within a variety of industries, Makgoale adds.
“While South Africa is not developing IoT innovations at the rate we might wish, the effective use of various IoT systems requires specialist knowledge in very different fields to suit different technical applications.”
However, crucial to the commercial and industrial success of IoT systems is that they address specific business or technical problems effectively, efficiently and cost effectively, which necessitates expert input and knowledge, Makgoale reiterates.
The Vula-Ingenu partnership aims to provide industry experts with an IoT platform on which to experiment and develop IoT solutions, he adds. Solutions developed on the platform will be commercialised in a considered value model, similar to the way collaborative innovations are commercialised, and will serve as the base for a broader South African IoT market.
“What is important is that experts take advantage of the capabilities of IoT devices and collaborate with technologists, such as our companies, and other industrial experts.
“We have not yet begun to scrape the surface of the capabilities that can be afforded by industrial IoT systems. South Africa must not only import solutions that are not suited to our specific circumstances and business problems, and should develop and export our own, which will provide more value for business and IoT service providers,” emphasises Makgoale.
Additionally, he notes that Vula and Ingenu will act as facilitators and connectors for others in their network of partners and business clients, similar to how innovation hubs draw in multiple disciplines and connect those working on similar business problems in different disciplines.
“The message is that, to build an effective and fit-for-purpose IoT ecosystem, all the specialist elements must do their part. For example, an industrial IoT platform requires effective security, whether at the device layer or the connectivity layer, and must be designed with embedded security using input from industrial experts as to which elements are critical and which are not,” Makgoale concludes.