The recent introduction by Vodacom of a prepaid data roaming solution could have a significant impact on the machine-to-machine (M2M) market in Africa, says KEES SNIJDERS, MD of Flickswitch.
“While Vodacom is not the first operator to go the prepaid data roaming route, the announcement reflects the need to provide companies who are reliant on M2M solutions, including vehicle telemetry, with a more cost-effective offering. For us, the added benefit is that we can provide our clients with a managed prepaid SIM solution meeting their unique requirements,” says Snijders.
By virtue of the fact that Vodacom is now the first operator covering South Africa and its neighbouring countries with a prepaid data roaming option, the impact on fleet management could be significant.
“In this sector, the bulk of the traffic is confined to South Africa and its neighbours. By now having a prepaid solution that can fill this gap means companies can more effectively run their telemetry and similar services.’
He believes that these kinds of roaming solutions have been on the cards for a long time.
“Vodacom is committed to driving this offering to selected areas which could herald a change in the way companies approach their M2M strategies. The business and telemetry market segments have been ripe for these kinds of solutions for a while. For Flickswitch, this means that we can use it as the foundation to provide companies across various vertical industries with an option that can better be budgeted for.”
For example, there is nothing stopping a truck driver from taking a SIM card out of a telemetry device and using it to surf the Web. This could result in a massive financial implication for the organisation given the high costs of mobile roaming data. With a prepaid SIM, these costs are managed as the driver can only consume the fixed amount of data loaded on the device.
“No matter how you look at it though, roaming is an expensive value proposition. However, in going the prepaid route, operators like Vodacom are looking to diversify their offerings and providing business with more cost-effective, long-term solutions. Working closely with the likes of Vodacom and using an open source-based platform, means Flickswitch is able to customise faster than many of the traditional M2M offerings on the market. Our managed solution approach means we can be nimble to accommodate recent announcements such as that of Vodacom,” says Snijders.
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.
Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com
This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.
Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.
What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.
However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.
As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.
It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.
The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.
To enter the competition follow the steps below:
Competition entry details:
3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.
4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.
5. The competition is only open to South African residents.