South African businesses are being forced to redefine value chains as a result of the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). This is according to Eseye. Jeremy Potgieter, Eseye Southern African Regional Manager, says that digitising physical and disconnected processes, and allowing products and services to be processed and delivered in new ways, are just some of the immediate challenges when redefining a value chain.
“There are several examples of South Africa’s attempts to roll out Internet-connected devices. Closer to home are the smart meters used to measure household utility usage. Industry-specific examples include the mining sector’s new connected technology and sensors used to detect geological movement, and possible substance availability; fuel pipelines fitted with sensors to monitor leaks and fuel stations with data loggers, which advise owners and operators on stock levels and usage trends.”
Potgieter says that South Africa is also starting to see the use of monitoring data for various forms of analytics, such as predictive and prescriptive analytics that assist businesses with rapid decision making: “As the benefits of IoT related services are being realised, IoT is creating new opportunities to innovate with newly connected products being imagined every day. It is only a matter of time before its full potential is seen.”
Despite South Africa’s skills shortage, Potgieter says that the country’s socio-economic challenges provide opportunities and stimulus to incubate the correct thinking: “We already see this in the way that industry and businesses have revised their digital strategy to include a focus on IoT and the resulting high-value data analytics. These strategies are complemented by an active acquisition of data scientists and software engineers. There have also been efforts by tertiary institutions to align to the changing landscape, enabling and equipping students for careers in the new marketplace.”
The biggest hurdle impacting the growth of IoT locally lies in driving critical and analytical thinking as a medium of education, according to Potgieter. If these are not embraced fully, the human capital required to drive such initiatives, will be lacking. “While the introduction of focused degree-courses is a good start, more needs to be done. We have a disproportionately low amount of school learners taking on subjects like science and core maths and the knock-on effect is a smaller pool of candidates. The solution as always is highlighted by the problem, drive the fundamental subject matter to ensure a larger pool of candidates for selection. The only way new and practical solutions can be developed is when current problems are viewed with a critical eye,” says Potgieter.
Looking globally, he says that it is possible for South Africa to embrace and experience global IoT trends: “We already see companies like Takealot rivalling the likes of Amazon from a localised point of view, and by utilising IoT and data analytics they have single handedly started a retail revolution. It is on the back of their success that we saw the rise of services like Zando and Superbalist.”
Potgieter says that vertical sectors are already starting to utilise IoT. Logistics companies for example, are boosting business through enhanced efficiency by way of EPOD (electronic proof of delivery) services and real-time asset tracking and management: “Utilities providers are also delivering extended capabilities to traditional smart metering solutions, like intuitive and scheduled autonomous management. A further example is the deployment of wildlife management solutions through partnerships between MNOs and SI providers. The use of drones for agri-business and security sectors is also being embraced by farming communities and industrial/mining players.”
IoT is a vital catalyst for change according to Potgieter and South Africa is only at the precipice of this evolution: “Exciting time lies ahead for IoT and Eseye is looking forward to playing a vital role in this journey.”
CES: And thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops