MTN Business has lifted the wraps on what it’s calling the first truly Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) platform and confirmed that the platform is live in South Africa. Other countries will follow over the next 12 months.
At this stage, the differentiators seem to be the fact that the network stretches to all regions where MTN has operations, the fact that the IoT platform resides on a dedicated network for M2M that’s separate from the consumer network. MTN has also launched a global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) SIM card, which will guarantee that companies pay the same rate for their M2M data activities regardless of where they takes place in MTN’s footprint in Africa.
MTN Group Chief Enterprise Officer, Mteto Nyati also said that MTN is currently in negotiations with operators in countries where it doesn’t have a presence and in the near future hopes to announce a similar, flat rate arrangement (albeit via roaming) that companies can rely on for their M2M communications.
One of the most important topics for M2M communications is security. Alpheus Mangale, Chief Enterprise Officer at MTN Business, says the telco has taken care of this with its dedicated network. He says the network security MTN has implemented is self learning, adapting to changing conditions dynamically.
Melao Mashale, senior manager of the IoT business says more specifically, the network makes use of the Wireless Machine to Machine (WM2M) protocol which pairs the device (governed by its IMEI number) to the sim. If these are separated from each other, he says the network can block the device, switch it off and perform various other management tasks. While he admits this IoT space is lacking standards at present, he says the space is evolving fast and MTN is trying to work with what’s there right now.
Nyati also provided journalists with an update on what’s taken place since the launch of MTN’s Mind-2-Machine challenge, which ‘aims to identify and enable talented African developers to create scalable and relevant business solutions that solve real world problems’.
Thus far he says MTN has received a number of very promising proposals that talk directly to the challenges of the country across the money, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation sectors, and that he’s convinced a number of those solutions will scale across the continent, using MTN’s help (and the revenue sharing model MTN has put in place around the programme).
[Image – CC Jere Keyes]