The INTERNET of THINGS (IoT) and what about AFRICA?



By: Ben Iyoha 

Within the next five years, the number of devices connected to the Internet will outnumber the people on the planet by over seven to one. About 50 billion machines, ranging from networked sensors to industrial robots, household items will depend or be connected to the internet to help us function smarter.


Have you ever imagined a time were you’ll have to travel with a device called an electronic passport which would often make use of the Internet to read out your data to an electronic border protection robot at an airports point-of-entry?, have you ever imagined your car’s component  been operated via a device which connects to the Internet?, have you also imagined your traveling bag having a clock-like digital screen that helps you lock and open it digitally with the connivance of the Internet?. Though the list could be endless, but what really is IoT?


         The internet of things (IoT) is the linkage or prospect of almost every human-used devices e.g. vehicles, buildings and other items being embedded with electronicssoftware’s or sensors that enables these objects to collect and exchange data (internet) in order to work smartly.

You may call it a smart house, smart car, smart air-conditioner but the reality is that our lives and environ are getting faster and better. In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society.


When the internet of things which is gradually blowing steam on its own runway is then fully flying, what will be the implication for Africa?


Currently, access to reliable, fast and affordable data or internet connection has been the bane of internet users in Africa and as the case have always been, Africa may not nurse a need to bother about the technology or contribute to the development and propagation that IoT needs to be rooted here but in essence may just be lagging from issues ranging from improper implementation, infrastructural deficit, poor government policies and slow paced adoption.


Again, Is Africa prepared for a massive job cut in the eventuality of what the internet of things could do in regards to its projected role? The sad truth is that a lot of gates wouldn’t need a gate man, a lot of factories wouldn’t need its manpower and even the medical and healthcare industry most importantly the diagnostic sector could be highly drowsed by IoT devices that can be used to enable remote health monitoring and emergency notification systems. These health monitoring devices can range from blood pressure and heart rate monitors to advanced devices capable of monitoring specialized implants and medical conditions.


Countries of the globe are desperately looking for new avenues for income and foreign exchange and it interest me to inform my folks here in Africa that the Internet is the new crude. Imagine how much the combine forces of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple are pulling In back into the US in foreign exchange and there after job creation? Your guess is as good as mine. NOTE, the Internet of Things will cost us a lot of our hard earned money holistically but we can’t deny ourselves the reality of growth just because of its cost.


So much for the African lag, what about the benefit(s)? The truth is, Africa is so much in love with tech and the Internet of Things will most certainly find a supreme and reliable home here. However, to me I see just one benefit which is ADVANCEMENT. Sadly, we just have to pay the cost of acquiring what we can’t create and inasmuch as we need to ADVANCE, we just have to pay for both the Internet (data) and the distinct technology of choice (The Thing or IoT). But for those who 'll create, it’s a win-win, whilst they ADVANCE they also EARN. It’s time we tap into this emerging plane called the Internet of Things in an African way. This is my clarion call.





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