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[NITEC’s Relevance On Africa’s IoT Discussions]

Jun 2016

NITEC’s Relevance On Africa’s IoT Discussions

For emphasis sake, the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, published on Tuesday reveals that the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to overtake mobile phones as the largest category of connected device by 2018. Really?

Oh yes! See, between 2015 and 2021, the number of IoT connected devices is expected to grow 23% annually, of which cellular IoT is forecast by Ericsson to have the highest growth rate. Of the 28 billion total devices that will be connected by 2021, close to 16 billion will be IoT devices.

The report continues, as usual, Western Europe will lead the way in adding IoT connections – the number of IoT devices in this market is projected to grow 400 percent by 2021. This will principally be driven by regulatory requirements, for example for intelligent utility meters, and a growing demand for connected cars including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.

Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson, says: “IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today.”

Wait. Is Nigeria in the number even with the estimated population of 173million, mobile subscriber level standing at  97,032,543 as at first quarter 2016 and with over 107 percent teledensity for voice segment of telecommunications services. Is Nigeria really ready for the Internet of things with not more than 15% broadband penetration, although the national broadband plan sets 30% target by 2018. Oh, wait, among the telcos, how many have sincerely deployed 4G LTE services. If 4G is still an allusion in certain cities, should we be concerned or just hope 5G will come. But, what are the factors inhibiting the telcos from deploying the 4G LTE technologies as quick as possible. Are they surmountable or we are now in a pariah state. Will the funds in the Universal Service Provision fund (USPF) kitty be enough to deploy services especially to the underserved? In fact, what are the practical steps been adopted by Barrister Adebayo Shittu led Ministry of Communications to ensure Nigeria’s sustainable course for IoT and other technological revolutions.

We need to hear from the horses mouth, which emphasizes the need all hand must be on deck to push for the success of the Nigeria International Technology Exhibition & Conference (www.nitec.com.ng) (NITEC 2016).

The conversation around IoT is such important, because if I find it difficult at the moment to stream videos, whether live or plug and play, how will my refrigerators be ‘empowered’ with enough broadband to inform me while I am miles away from home.

And IoT is developing another massive market, because by the time it becomes ubiquitous, ‘we shall live in/on apps’.

Ericsson reports that smartphone subscriptions continue to increase and are forecast to surpass those for basic phones in Q3 2016. By 2021, smartphone subscriptions will almost double from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion.

“In 2016, a long anticipated milestone is being passed with commercial LTE networks supporting downlink peak data speeds of 1 Gbps. Devices that support 1 Gbps are expected in the second half of 2016, initially in markets such as Japan, US, South Korea and China, but rapidly spreading to other regions. Mobile users will enjoy extremely fast time to content thanks to this enhanced technology, which will enable up to two thirds faster download speeds compared with the fastest technology available today”.

More highlights from the Ericsson Mobility Report include:

“A global growth story: mobile broadband subscriptions will grow fourfold in the Middle East and Africa between 2015 and 2021; mobile data traffic in India will grow fifteen times by 2021; and despite being the most mature market, US mobile traffic will grow 50 percent in 2016 alone.

“Data traffic continues unabated growth: global mobile data traffic grew 60 percent between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, due to rising numbers of smartphone subscriptions and increasing data consumption per subscriber. By the end of 2021, around 90 percent of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones.

“Growing up streaming: teenage use of cellular data for smartphone video grew 127 percent in just 15 months. This, and the fact that teens are the heaviest users of data for smartphone video streaming (Wi-Fi and cellular combined), makes them the most important group for cellular operators to monitor.

“LTE subscriptions grew at a high rate during Q1 2016: there were 150 million new subscriptions during the quarter – driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks – reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide. LTE peak data speeds of 1 Gbps are anticipated to be commercially available in 2016.

“Additional spectrum harmonization needed between countries planning early 5G deployment: 5G is expected to start more quickly than anticipated, and spectrum harmonization is needed between countries planning early roll-outs. This is in addition to the current process for WRC-19, which focuses on spectrum for commercial 5G deployments beyond 2020.

“A bright future for microweather: microwave backhaul links can be used as accurate rainfall measurement tools – they are more numerous than rain gauges and offer higher resolution than weather radars. This has the potential to bring enormous value to people, business and society, for example in relation to the impact of severe weather conditions around the world”.

In preparation for the IoT rainy day, NITEC 2016 will present a holistic look at the concept of Internet of Things. Will Africa rise to develop its own local talents to take advantage of this trend? Or would it just seat down like the mobile revolution era and consume everything created from abroad?

Thus, NITEC 2016 holding at Civic Centre, Lagos from 23rd-24th June remains a formidable to bridge the gap between the private and public sectors and the international technology community in re-engineering the African technological ecosystem for greater impact on the continent’s GDP.

Likewise, through plenary sessions and exhibitions the worth of our technology system will be showcased to thousands of attendees; exhibition booth (2 days); placement of brand logo on event brochure and website; complimentary wifi, place web banners and share branded gifts at booths.

The renowned speakers will spark deepened conversation and help through up new innovations that will help Nigeria and indeed, Africa, become IoT-future ready.


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