IoT gives the mobility space a makeover

5G launch brings immediate opportunities for SA

by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) THE advent of fifth generation technology (5G) mobile broadband is transforming the mobility space, providing critical data that vastly improves customer services, safety and profitability.

This is coupled with South Africa’s economy easing back towards levels of activity last seen before the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Seven months into the lockdown, now at so-called Level One, logistics fleets are returning to full capacity and private travel is now similarly back to previous levels.

This is the observation of executives from Netstar, the company offering fleet management solutions for small-to-medium business and commercial fleets.

According to Francois Stols (Chief Technology Officer) and Lindile Xoko (Executive: Sales at Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron), the Internet of Things (IoT) technology has been around for decades – even if its name is more recent.

Also, tracking and monitoring devices have long been in use – employing radio and satellite methodology, and later 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE, or 4G) platforms.

“The move towards the mass, high-speed connectivity promised by 5G mobile broadband promises to take the industry to a new level of insight, providing critical data that vastly improves customer services, safety and profitability,” the experts stated.

“No longer are IoT insights a nice-to-have capability, or simply a security concern. They are vital. No business operating in the mobility space can afford to ignore the value of IoT.”

Data enrichment is also seen as the new frontier.

Netstar has moved from simple vehicle tracking, into the Big Data space.

It has built a Big Data platform, in partnership with Stellenbosch University, launched about two years ago.

The platform currently processes around 300 million data points per day.

Another trend Stols and Xoko noted are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) entering the data and connectivity space.

While this transition has not yet reached its ultimate form, based on Netstar global partnerships with Toyota, they anticipate carmakers taking ownership of engine- and vehicle-centric information and its connectivity.

In conclusion, Stols and Xoko said technology was no longer a differentiator but an enabler.

It enables objectives and strategies of organisations to serve their customers and be competitive.

“As such, it is indispensable. IoT, overlaid with artificial intelligence (AI), is no longer a grudge purchase. It’s essential.”

– CAJ News

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