As the fourth industrial revolution or the technological revolution appears to be nearing steadily, economies are figuring out ways to fuel their industrial and technological growth to reap early benefits.
Africa, one name among these, is looking to utilize the gift of the Internet of things to boost industrialization in the continent.
The economy believes that the Internet of Things could be the transforming power in a different spectrum, boosting rapid growth among various significant industries.
The quick adoption and deep integration of the Internet of Things technology can aid the country in taking advantage of the future technological breakthroughs and ensure that the economy stays neck to neck with the developed economies.
In conversation with CNBC Africa, Anu Shah, the CEO, and Co-Founder of the EFI Hub shared some enlightening figures and great insights into what the future of IoT holds in the context of revolutionizing Africa’s industries.
Understanding the Investment in IoT
Over the past few years, there has been a rapid investment in the IoT space, driving the economy towards a massive technological boom. As far as investment is concerned, Smart Grid Electricity won the highest investment in 2018 at about 0.62 billion, followed closely by manufacturing operations and freight monitoring that bagged half a million worth of investments each.
The next big breakthrough was seen in Smart homes that received investments of $400 million. Remote Healthcare too grabbed significant funding.
The African economy has always shown bullish investment trends in the sectors of healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing.
As the trend goes, these segments attracted a lot of investment in the year 2018 too.
As per the forecasts of the IDC, manufacturing operations are expected to reflect the fastest growth rate in the economy, surpassing Smart Grid Electricity.
The sectors like insurance, building, airport automation, in-store marketing, and electric automobile charging are forecasted to show rapid growth as well.
IoT in the Healthcare Sector
The healthcare sector has been one of the key concerns of the African economy as hundreds of millions of people lack access to universal health care.
Primary healthcare facilities are also available to only a few among these. As a result, the people have high expectations regarding what the integration of IoT into the sector could do.
With the Internet of Things, the healthcare universe exhibits improved and easy accessibility with mobile health solutions and instant healthcare solutions.
There are several healthcare start-ups in Africa that are currently working towards achieving this. In some West African countries like Nigeria, one can already see people using mobile solutions to get connect to device and access health data or contact a doctor on the spot, virtually.
The integration where machine learning, AI and cloud technologies are employed permits the easy collection and access to more data.
This is definitely going to transform the sector and significantly eliminate the vast regional politics that has always surrounded the healthcare sector in the region.
The Benefits of IoT boosted Industrialization for Africa
The massive industrialization driven by IoT is Africa is expected to present the economy with vast opportunities for growth and development.
As technological giants like Microsoft are announcing massive investments in IoT, the continent will benefit greatly from the technological innovations they are going to roll out to the world.
This industrialization will present opportunities to the African entities to collaborate with corporate giants and start-ups.
This will further allow the harnessing of IoT opportunities to connect the urban and rural communities and bridge the gaps between them.
This can be achieved through smart transportation systems, availability of real-life tips on agriculture to farmers and much more.
The Future of IoT in the African Economy
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Internet of Things spectrum is forecasted to achieve a growth rate of 15%, growing a $6 billion industry to a $7 billion within a year.
Focusing specifically on the African region included in this forecast, the IoT space in the economy is currently valued at approximately $500million. This figure is expected to hit $900 million by 2021.
The MENA region’s growth projection basically indicates the top four cities in this region, that includes – Turkey, South Africa, Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
These four cities are predicted to account for almost 58% of the total expenditure on IoT by 2021.
It comes as no surprise that healthcare is going to be one of the sectors that utilize IoT.
Utilities, manufacturing, and transportation are some other sectors that will gain benefit from the integration of IoT. Even though there is a lack of clear prediction figures, Anu Shah states that the role of IoT is boosting industrialization and its impact on the continent is going to be a significant one.