Internet of Things to benefit Botswana

Internet Society Botswana, a Non-Governmental Organisation which focuses on the ICT sector has called on local stakeholders not to be left behind as the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenal starts to take centre stage globally, especially in developed countries.

The multi-billion sub-sector, which has now gained traction in mature markets such as the United States and Asian countries, can be best explained as a network which helps to connect multiple smart devices enabled with software, network connectivity and exchange information between each other and with the server.

This Tuesday, Chairman of Internet Society Botswana, Phuthego Chere told Botswana Guardian that, the Internet of things technology has arrived and it will provide local companies/service providers an array of opportunities to conceptualize and broaden their offerings.  Currently key players in the IoT space include Amazon Web Services, Google, Oracle, Dell, Hitachi and Huawei. 

“As a country we cannot afford to be left out from the IoT because it offers an opportunity for companies to achieve maximum efficiency and broaden products offerings. Local consumers will be able to enjoy benefits such as those which come with smart homes connected to IoT technology,” said Chere who has been in the telecoms industry for over 15 years.

In other developed countries especially in North America, individuals are able to control smart appliances from anywhere with their smartphones. “It is only a matter of time before most appliances are connected to the internet for easy use and management,” stressed Chere who owns an internet service provider, Metrotech in Gaborone. Available studies predict that by 2020, there will be 30 billion devices connected to IoT technologies worldwide. 

Once IoT is in full motion in Botswana, companies will also be in a position to implement cost saving business processes systems, which will be of benefit to consumers. There is currently no piece of legislation which regulates IoT technologies. To this end, government is unable to curb challenges related to IoT such as data protection and privacy invention.

This explains why, Internet Society Botswana has embarked on a multi-pronged awareness campaign to sensitive stakeholders such as government, companies and consumers on the benefits and risks which come with usage of IoT technology. Chere stated that, as more awareness is created on the concept, consumers will increase and government will find it befitting to craft tailored legislation to regulate the sub-sector. 

As one way of creating awareness on IoT, the Society is expected to host a networking dinner at the end of this month (November 2018). “The objective of the networking dinner is to bring all stakeholders such as government, private companies including consumers to deliberate on all pertinent issues regarding IoT and how as a country we can take advantage of this global phenomenon,” said Chere. 

The dinner is expected to have presentations from various stakeholders such as government, telecoms companies, Non Governmental Organisations including a representative from Internet Society Global Corporates who will be invited to buy packages (a table of ten) for attendance purposes.  “Funds raised will be used to part-fund the society’s secretariat as well as other ongoing projects country-wide,” added Chere.

Internet of Things (IoT) explained
The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.

The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to its user, but it is now connected to surrounding objects and database data. When many objects act in unison, they are known as having "ambient intelligence."[Techopedia]