Altron, a technology group listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange, said it had signed an agreement with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies to develop their Internet of Things (IoT) offerings.
According to CEO Mteto Nyati, Altron, which sold its manufacturing assets to focus purely on information and communication technology (ICT), sees IoT as a key growth area going forward. IoT refers to networks of physical devices that use sensors to connect and transfer data over the internet. Network operators such as Vodacom and MTN have predicted a strong growth in the IoT market.
In August 2018, Altron’s Netstar unit signed an IoT agreement with Dark Fibre Africa’s SqwidNet. This decision falls in line with CEO Nyati’s strategy to move the company beyond vehicle recovery and fleet management into other IoT segments.
In a statement released by Altron, the technology company said the partnership with Huawei will help both companies combine their expertise “to deliver tangible and real IoT solutions for businesses in SA and the rest of Africa”. Altron’s technicians and engineers will be trained at Huawei’s open-lab facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Nyati said “we need to develop more IoT solutions that are relevant to the African market. We need smart electricity and water meters in our homes that automatically transmit consumption data to municipalities, enabling them to bill costumers without a physical inspection. Beverage companies can benefit from fridges that provide data about location, repair and service requirements”.
He also added that “IoT could be used to monitor waste levels in bins to ensure better waste management and pick up schedules”.
Speaking on the partnership, Huawei’s chief executive for South Africa, Fan Wen said “our more than 80,000 research and development engineers will work with Altron technical experts in designing market leading smart solutions that harness IoT and are not vulnerable to cyber fraud. Together we will make IoT deliver business value to our joint customers”.