Winner of the award for Excellence in the Management of Technology for 2019, category for medium enterprises
How to benefit from the Internet of Things without rip-and-replace tactics
If there’s one thing everybody agrees on, it’s that the Internet of Things (IoT) is where every business needs to be – and sooner rather than later. The thing is that achieving this is neither easy nor cheap, especially for companies sitting with lots of legacy devices that can’t connect to the IoT.
Typically, companies with legacy equipment have had just one option if they wanted to benefit from the IoT: rip out all the old systems and equipment and replace them with new, IoT-compatible devices.
Then along came a South African technology IoT.nxt and made everything simple and so much more affordable.
Its strength is the ability to connect legacy and new devices, sensors, machines and “all things”, creating interoperability between them all, says André Jacobs, Director: Product Engineering at IoT.nxt. Once the old and the new are talking to each other, in real time, the IoT comes to life, churning out data that can be turned into really useful trends and insights.
Here’s an example:
Mobile communication operators have thousands of base stations that use large amounts of energy for air conditioning because the equipment inside must be kept at just the right temperature, meaning neither too warm nor too cool, says André.
Keeping those air conditioners (two at each base station) working properly is critical to the optimal functioning of the station and its energy usage, but is a hugely challenging task given the vast number of base stations on the ground and all over the country.
IoT.nxt and its smart technology have not only made this task manageable for a particular mobile operator, but financially viable, too.
Using its trademarked Raptor edge gateway and IoT platform called Commander, the company is “IoT-ising” its client’s base stations, given it unprecedented real-time insight into the performance of its air conditioners.
“On a cool day, when less cooling is needed, our technology can switch off one or both of the air cons and switch on a DC fan to blow in cooler air from outside,” says André. “If an air conditioner is broken and the temperature rises, the system alerts the cellphone operator, who can then send someone out to repair it.”
What is special about IoT.nxt’s solution is that it can integrate with many different devices through a single USB port, using their patented SDDI technology.
In other words, instead of the (expensive) one-to-one ratio that would be necessary through a point-to-point configuration, this technology can reach one to many, saving plenty of time and money.
The technology has numerous other advantages, including a no-code interface, meaning that clients do not need to have in-house developers to operate it.
Small wonder, then, that this medium-sized South African company attracted the attention of Vodacom, which now owns 51% of the business, and has won or been nominated for a host of top awards, including the IoT World Awards USA 2020 and Microsoft Best Independent Partner 2019 – not to mention the tt100 award for Excellence in the Management of Technology, 2019.