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IDC Press Release – Middle East & Africa IoT Investments to Top $6.6 Billion in 2016 as Critical Use Cases Emerge



Manufacturing and transportation are the vertical industries leading the way in terms of IoT investment in MEA, with both expected to spend an estimated $1.1 billion each in 2016. The next largest industry, utilities, is expected to see IoT investments of almost $800 million this year. The IoT use cases receiving the greatest levels of investment from MEA organizations across these three industries are:

  1. Manufacturing Operations, which supports digitally-executed manufacturing, or how manufacturers use intelligent and interconnected input/output tools (sensors, actuators, drives, vision/video equipment etc.) to enable different components in the manufacturing field (e.g. machine tools, robots, conveyor belts) to autonomously exchange information, trigger actions, and control each other independently.
  2. Freight Monitoring, which uses RFID, GPS, GPRS, and GIS technologies to create an intelligent, Internet-connected transportation system. This system carries out the intelligent recognition, location, tracking, and monitoring of freight and cargo by exchanging information and real-time communications via wireless, satellite, or other channels.
  3. Smart Grid (Electricity), where non-smart meter field devices owned by the electric utility are used to control and optimize power flow to ensure efficient, safe, and reliable service. The devices are used throughout the electricity distribution grid for tasks such as line sensing, substation automation, and feeder & line equipment control and optimization. Utility owned in-home devices are included in this category when used for grid operations.

Looking across all industries in the MEA region, freight monitoring will receive the greatest level of IoT investment throughout the forecast period, followed by smart grid (electricity) and manufacturing operations. In addition to these use cases, remote health monitoring, smart buildings, and smart home concepts will see significant levels of investment over the next few years. The IoT use cases that will experience the greatest revenue growth over the 2016–2020 forecast period are smart buildings, insurance telematics, and smart grid (gas).

“IoT solution deployments across MEA will continue to see increased adoption rates, both in the public and private sectors, as stakeholders begin to realize an immediate return on their investments,” says Wale Babalola, a research analyst for telecommunications, IoT, and digital media at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

In addition, the growing development of purpose-built IoT platforms and the continuing proliferation of smart devices will serve as catalysts for IoT adoption across the region’s industry spectrum.
While manufacturing and transportation will lead the way in terms of overall IoT investments in the MEA region, six industries will see IoT spending levels increase by more than 100% over the 2016–2020 forecast period – construction, consumer, insurance, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications. Cross-industry investments, which represent use cases common to all industries, are also forecast to see revenues more than double during this period.

“A use case represents a detailed composition of a technology investment that is made to produce a set of end-user benefits,”
says Marcus Torchia, research manager for IoT within IDC’s Customer Insights and Analysis team.

The long-term opportunity for IoT vendors is helping to identify and create immediate and residual benefits for end users through their technologies. We see strong opportunities across many industries. For example, in highly instrumented verticals like manufacturing and transportation, large data sets are used to optimize operational processes and extend the life of high-capital cost assets. In other sectors like healthcare and consumer, IoT technology is being used to produce benefits that improve quality of life.
The Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide forecasts IoT revenues for 12 technologies and 47 use cases across 20 vertical industries in eight regions and 52 countries. Unlike any other research in the industry, the comprehensive spending guide was designed to help vendors clearly understand the industry-specific opportunity for IoT technologies today.
About IDC Spending Guides
IDC’s Spending Guides provide a granular view of key technology markets from a regional, vertical industry, use case, buyer, and technology perspective. The spending guides are delivered via pivot table format or custom query tool, allowing the user to easily extract meaningful information about each market by viewing data trends and relationships.
About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC.
IDC in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey
For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Casablanca, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit You can follow IDC MEA on Twitter at @IDCMEA.

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CNN’s Decoded Explores How Internet Of Things Is Changing The Way We Live



, SiliconNigeria

In a new episode of Decoded, CNN’s Anna Stewart explores the smart, connected devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). From ordinary household items to complicated industrial systems, smart devices are changing the way we live.

Stewart visits the Expo 2020 site in Dubai to see how smart cities are using IoT to enable more informed city planning. Helmut Von Struve, CEO of Siemens Middle East gives an example, “Artificial intelligence can say within 20 minutes, 30 minutes, there would be maybe 150 people walking in this direction. So, you can already start cooling the building down.”

IoT devices are also being used to combat climate change. In Boston, a connected forest is helping scientists study how much carbon dioxide trees take out of the atmosphere. Jackie Hatala Matthes, Senior Scientist at the Harvard Forest describes the project, “With IoT, we’re able to get really high-resolution data, high temporal resolution data, and we’re able to look at those changes in real time, which helps to feed into other global models of climate change.” One of the trees even uses IoT to tweet the data and communicate in real time what the tree is experiencing.

In Shenzhen, known as the Silicon Valley of hardware, the programme meets German entrepreneur Florian Simmendinger who has developed a modern twist on a metronome. He explains that although it’s possible to create smart devices for many tasks now, the best ones are those that fulfil a need, “If you find something meaningful that actually improves the product experience, then you know you have a real winner on your hands when it comes to an IoT product. There’s definitely a case in the IoT space of just because you can connect something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”

At the Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, Stewart meets Ibrahim Al Najjar, Vice President IT, at DP World who demonstrates how a network of connected sensors, devices, and software all communicate to operate the smart port.

Stewart also meets the man who created the term ‘Internet of Things’. In the late 1990s, Kevin Ashton was searching for a name for his presentation on supply chain logistics, “At that time the internet was such a big buzzword. I needed to shoehorn the word internet in to like get any attention at all. and here we are now. Still talking about it. That’s the biggest surprise.”

Ashton describes what makes a good IoT device, “The thing that I look for to make it the Internet of Things is it knows something about the world without a human being telling it. I don’t really think about these voice assistants people have in their kitchen where you say you know, Alexa, add this to my shopping list. Well, in my world, Alexa would know that you needed to add it to the shopping list, it wouldn’t need you to tell it.”

The idea that everything we touch, every we move we make, can be monitored and uploaded to the cloud may seem convenient and efficient, but for some it raises concerns about regulation and trust. Stewart speaks to professional hacker Ken Munro, CEO of Pen Test Partners. He demonstrates how easy it is to hack IoT devices like a children’s doll with speech recognition and warns, “As we know, legislation often trails innovation. So I think it’s really important that we bring in some regulation to help manufacturers prioritise cybersecurity and also help protect us consumers from manufacturers who may be a bit fast and loose with security.”

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Nigeria May Benefit From Webb Fontaine’s AI Research Centres



, SiliconNigeria
  • Holds webinar July 12 on AFCFTA

Mr. Ope Babalola, Managing Director, Webb Fontaine Nigeria, says the global trade facilitation company will open world-class AI Research and Development (R&D) Centres in Africa to create efficiency in trade.

Webb Fontaine is a leading provider of solutions for trade facilitation, powered by world-class technology including artificial intelligence. It develops new-generation IT systems that take trade and customs processes to the next level for the benefit of the global trading community.

Mr. Babalola says the R&D Centres will not only benefit Web Fontaine’s work, it will also lead to a surge in demand for highly skilled staff and the hiring of as many programmers from Africa as possible. “We want Africa to have at least one or two world class Research and Development Centres. We will train them, work with them and help them to develop the Customs industry across the entire continent, especially in regions covered the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“We would like the first of these centres to be in Nigeria. One can imagine the job opportunities and the exposure it would create and we think Nigeria is the best place for this to happen,” he says.

Webb Fontaine has been working with the Nigerian Government and Nigerian Customs Service since 2006 when it implemented Asycuda​++, eventually developing a system called NICIS II and the current Single Window digital platform to enhance Customs services.

The company last month was awarded a 10-year contract by the Government of Niger Republic to implement and manage the new Niger National Single Window project (NNSW), including the roll out of a state-of-the-art Port Community System created specifically for the landlocked West African nation.

Meanwhile, Webb Fontaine, one of the leading providers of Customs and trade solutions to governments worldwide, will gather a panel of industry mavens to talk about ‘Technology and Trade in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities’ in a webinar series on July 12 at 1200 CET.

The panel discussion will explore revolutionary thinking and innovative insights on International trade in Africa, the impact of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement and the collaborative role of African nations in achieving economic integration as a continent.

The webinar, aimed at both private and public sector professionals, with its overarching theme of trade and technology in Africa, will further explore the implications of geopolitical developments, establishment of free trade zones and its cumulative impact on the continent’s trade policies. With the global COVID-19 pandemic being a major economy disruptor, the discussion will also touch upon the consequences of such turbulences in the African supply chain.

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Solad and Arizona State University to Utilise AI for Nigeria Mini Grids



, SiliconNigeria

Solad Power Group, one of Nigeria’s leading distributed energy solutions providers, has agreed to a partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) to utilise the university’s proprietary artificial intelligence data platform to assess mini-grid projects in Nigeria quickly and efficiently. 

As a participant in the World Bank supported Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Mini-Grid programme, Solad is rolling out solar solutions to markets across Nigeria. The Company has a near-term pipeline of 12 priority projects. The partnership with ASU’s Laboratory For Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS) enables the accelerated deployment of 25 new sites. Data will be collected through LEAPS’ existing partnerships with YouthMappers and Nigerian universities, whose students will deepen their knowledge of and exposure to distributed energy solutions.

Mini-grid companies must conduct site feasibility studies before they can design and install a project. This is often a limited but protracted process built on insufficient data from short site visits, which can compromise the outcome. Solad is focused on leveraging the latest technology to enhance its feasibility assessments using global satellite imagery, AI-aided mapping models and advanced power engineering software.

Commenting on the alliance, Solad’s Chairman Constantine ‘Labi Ogunbiyi said: “We are proud to be collaborating with the largest research university in the United States. By combining ASU’s unique data platform with our own project portfolio and market access, we can deliver new power solutions much more efficiently. This means we can rapidly expand and validate our project pipeline while ASU grows its knowledge and understanding of market viability with Nigerian students participating in the process. Once the first phase is successful, we intend to expand collaboration to include hundreds of additional sites. Using ASU’s accurate technical and business data metrics, we will continue to invest in energy as a service allowing us to connect Nigerian MSMEs to the world, beginning with clean energy systems providing consistent power supply, and expanding our services through a mobile first, digital eCommerce portal.” 

Dr. Nathan Johnson, Director of ASU LEAPS, remarks about the importance of innovation and partnerships: “The public-private partnership with Solad will accelerate identification and development of mini-grid sites to expand access to reliable, affordable, and renewable energy. The technical analysis provided by ASU is paired with innovative business models by Solad to create bankable mini-grid investments that address the goals of all stakeholders. Solad’s approach provides a tangible return on investment to facilitate site expansion and economic development.” 

Solad focuses on under-served segments of the energy market, prioritising support for the millions of market traders who struggle with access to unreliable or prohibitively-expensive energy solutions. SMEs make up 96% of all businesses operating in Nigeria, contributing nearly 50% of GDP and providing 84% of all jobs in the country. They consistently reference access to electricity as the single most important obstacle that they face. With Lagos alone having a population of 20 million people, the opportunity set is huge. Solad already has 10,000 existing small business customers and an expansion programme that targets an additional 20,000 businesses within 2 years.

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