The Internet of Things is disrupting the way organisations conduct business worldwide. In a few years to come, the world will see a massive growth in connected things from our devices to our homes and cars. Businesses worldwide are seeking ways in which to harness the internet of things as IoT promises to deliver benefits while making the lives of many much easier.
It is said that the term Internet of Things will become more described as the Internet of Everything as emphasis shifts from products and gadgets to fast-moving networks that are smart and invisibly integrated into our surroundings.
Based on a list by ComputerWorlduk of most powerful global internet of things companies, we compiled a list of the most powerful internet of things company operating in Africa.
1. General Electric
Amercian manufacturing company General Electric (GE) created a parallel organisation called General Electric Digital in 2015 to focus on predictive maintenance and other aspects of IoT. GE first started operating in Africa over 100 years ago. In sub-Saharan Africa, GE has over 2600 employees, revenues of about $3.3 billion dollars (2015) and operations in 33 countries. GE’s main operations in SSA are in Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya where its SSA Headquarters is located. GE Africa is dedicated to innovation in infrastructure, healthcare, energy and transportation.
GE Digital’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, Predix, is a software platform that integrates machine-generated data with traditional and cloud databases.
Oracle offers storage space for all the data created by the Internet of Things movement. The company has a suite of services, including a platform for enabling Java in embedded sensor devices, a middleware platform for creating applications to capture data, and databases to store it all. Oracle aims to provide real-time IoT solutions.
According to this technology giant, internet of things should be applied to everyday business activities. Microsoft offers IoT through a variety of products including customised Windows Embedded operating systems meant to collect and analyse data, as well as via products in its Azure cloud, such as Intelligent Systems, an offering that offloads heavy data analysis to the cloud. The company has been operating in Africa for 22 years. Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
In May 2016, Microsoft acquired Italian IoT startup, Solair to ‘help customers harness the power of the internet of things’. Solair promotes IoT projects across the manufacturing, retail, food and beverage and transportation sectors.
Intel offers IoT solutions such as the highly energy efficient QuarkSoC X1000 for low capacity workloads to Xeons for heavy-duty processing. The Intel IoT Platform is a scalable and interoperable reference model that connects devices with one another and delivers that data to the cloud. Intel’s IoT products can be found in buildings, smart cities and connected cars.
In Africa, Intel has offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos. Intel harnesses the capabilities of the cloud, the ubiquity of internet of things and the latest advances in memory and programmable solutions.
IBM has a variety of products in this area including a messaging platform for machine to machine (M2M) data named MessageSight, along with MobileFirst, which gives objects mobile capabilities, and BlueMix, a development platform for apps that can manage IoT data collection and analysis. IBM also has the ‘cognitive computing’ of its AI platform Watson – and now offers an IoT platform that makes use of Watson’s capabilities.
IBM Africa strives to lead in the creation, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, networking systems, storage devices and microelectronics.
In February 2017, HPE bought Niara – a behavioural analytics company that it hopes will complement the ClearPass network security portfolio it picked up from the Aruba buy. In 2015 HPE acquired networking vendor Aruba Networks for $3 billion in an attempt to tap into the Internet of Things market. The company now offers IoT bundles through the Universal IoT Platform.
HPE operates in African countries namely South Africa, Nigeria and Angola to name a few.
Google made waves in the IoT market when it bought Nest for $3.2 billion, which sells thermostats and fire detectors that are “smart”, meaning they learn energy usage patterns and interact with their owners. Google also provides capabilities for businesses to manage data via its Google Cloud Platform service. In Africa, Google has offices in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Cisco provides IoT infrastructure across a wide range of industries, including connected factories, utilities and smart grid, oil and gas, aviation, mass transit, maritime, rail and roadways.
The company also offers field network infrastructure for the monitoring and control of energy distribution, management and application enablement, embedded networks, and IoT-enabled cybersecurity products.
IoT is now a core business piece to Dell, once traditionally known for its affordable PCs in the consumer space and its servers in the enterprise. Dell announced a specialised IoT division in October 2017, with the intention of offering customers a full stack of hardware, software, security and consulting to get their IoT projects up and running.
SAP’s in-memory S/4HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite allows customers to gain real-time insights from the data collected from connected sensors. The platform also allows third parties to develop IoT applications via open APIs. In addition, SAP launched Leonardo in January 2017 as a standalone IoT platform, offering its customers a service which tracks data from connected sensors to gain insights quickly.