Everyone agrees, technology and the internet of things (IoT) has transformed the way we live our lives and co-existing without our gadgets, a screen full of applications, and an Internet connection is near impossible these days.

“South Africans should prepare to take IoT just a notch up by incorporating cutting-edge tech advancements into the home and even at work, making things a lot more exciting, not to mention safe and convenient,” says Craig Nowitz, managing director of Syntech – a tech firm that sources industry-leading technology products from around the world for distribution in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Collecting information is what makes the IoT, and applies to everything we use that needs an internet connection, even a game,” Nowitz says.

In this snippet, Nowitz simplifies the IoT for the layman, discusses where South Africa finds itself with embracing this phenomenon, and highlights the tech and digital advancements we can expect see in the coming months.

The need-to-knows about IoT:

  • It’s a system of physical things embedded with software, electronics and connectivity.
  • It allows you to perform better by exchanging information with other connected devices, operators and manufacturers.

“In simple speak, it’s a network in which physical devices can exchange data internally with other connected devices,” he says.

IoT innovations in the pipeline:

  • The Geyser:

Soon geysers will be fitted with a power shut-off button, a turn-off valve and a water leak detector, which connects to a special network. Should a mishap occur, homeowners will receive an immediate notification via their mobile phone, through an active network, informing them that something has gone wrong.

  • Smoke detectors:

Imagine if authorities could be alerted to a potential fire somewhere in an area? Soon, they will be. As IoT tech advances, in time fire and rescue services will be able to place a network operated smoke detector device somewhere in the area, pop in a battery, and be alerted to the potential fire via an active network.

How SA takes to IoT

The country has embraced IoT networks to operate existing and up and coming innovations. Nowitz says one network already covers 85% of SA, and uses an ordinary network like MTN, with added new antennas to enable its own network.

He says for special devices around the home, private networks work better. But farmers who are trying to measure the moisture in their soil using a tech device will find that an external network moisture sensor would do the trick.

If you haven’t yet started incorporating IoT

Eventually it will be a natural progression, which is likely to start with smart devices in the home to make living more convenient and safe.

“Many of us are already familiar with Smart TVs and this technology will soon find its way into more appliances including coffee machines and fridges,” Nowitz says.

SA’s on-par

Nowitz says the country is on-par with the rest of the world when it comes to embracing IoT and tech innovations. However, he says two barriers to entry is the issue of cost surrounding smart devices and the cost of internet, as well as the fact that many service providers have not officially included SA in their supported territory list, this means some of the functionality available from IoT services are not available for everyday use.

“Ultimately, the IoT is something we simply cannot escape. It has become the way of the world and South Africa is certainly aligned,” he says.