Features

Socio-economic solutions by ‘the Internet of Things’

A DEMONSTRATION of virtual reality at the Connect Expo in Lusaka.

BENEDICT TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to bring about enormous social and economic benefits to the country, but this can only be achieved with citizen’s awareness and full participation.

This is so because in this fast-changing ICT sector, IoT and big data is big business.
“It is estimated that the amount of data globally is growing by 50 percent each year, with 90 percent of the world’s data generated in the last two years. Much of this data is generated through our online interactions,” said Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) director general Patrick Mutimushi in a key note address at the first ever Connect Expo in Lusaka.
The Connect Expo, held on September 28, was aimed at raising awareness of the latest trends in the technology world.
The expo, which was held for the first time under the name “Connect Expo,” brought together tech industry leaders in Zambia to discuss and showcase the latest trends in technology.
Last year, Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) Liquid Telecom held a similar expo, which however, was more about showcasing the products/solutions that CEC Liquid Telecom has to offer whereas this year’s expo focused on discussing a specific theme – showcasing the different IoT solutions available around the world.
Notable strategic technology partners who participated in the Expo and showcased their IoT capabilities included Huawei Technologies and Samsung Electronics, along with the regulator ZICTA.
CEC Liquid Telecom marketing and communications manager Mike Siachitema said the one-day Expo fulfilled its objective in that the discussion around IoT was spurred, with the afternoon session giving a chance to five different developers to present their solutions in 15 minute slots, followed by highly interactive question and answer sessions.
“Exhibitions were held as a planned activity during the Expo, with attendees having a chance to experience the technology that was on display,” Mr Siachitema said.
He said 4G LTE and Fibre are the technologies that people want currently.
In line with Government’s effort towards a smart Zambia, CEC Liquid Telecom is determined to empower and promote the business community to diversify the economic base by harnessing the limitless possibilities that IoT has to offer.
Mr Siachitema believes a new world has been unlocked as society is being shaped with connectivity in mind.
He says believes IoT is constantly offering new tools as well as efficiencies that make up an integrated ecosystem with the view of ensuring costs are reduced significantly and outcomes are tremendously improved.
“We wish to have more Zambians taking advantage of the technology that is currently available to come up with solutions relevant to Zambians and Africans at large,” Mr Siachitema said.
He says Zambia has a lot of potential, considering that we already have world class technology through CEC Liquid Telecom.
“Talented Zambians need to take advantage of this already available technology to fully utilise our potential,” Mr Siachitema said.
Opportunities include already available world-class technology and a lot of challenges requiring technology still untapped in Zambia.
CEC Liquid Telecom, which is at the helm of unveiling this revolutionary network all across, Zambia, believes the internet’s next-generation protocol, IPv6, is designed to interconnect everything from appliances to automobiles.
“Liquid Telecom’s recent partnership with Microsoft will provide Azure Cloud services to support IoT on the continent. It is estimated that there are currently 8.4 billion connected “things” and that by the year 2020, this number will rise to 20.4 billion,” said CEC Liquid managing director, Andrew Kapula.
CEC Liquid Telecom’s innovative Internet products such as LiTE SPEED enable consumers to have mobile access with fast connectivity as they will be able to access the network in all the areas where CEC Liquid Telecom already has presence.
IPv6 allows more users and devices to communicate on the Internet by using bigger numbers to create IP addresses. Under IPv4, only 4.3 billion unique addresses are available and over 90 percent have already been utilised.
In comparison, IPv6 supports approximately 340 trillion unique IP addresses, making it possible for every device on earth to have a unique address, which is one of the requirements for IoT.

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