IoT in Africa, let’s go!

In the first quarter of 2017, revenues generated by the IoT industry increased by 30% year on year in Africa. It’s estimated that the entire continent is likely to be home to more than a billion connected objects by 2020. From vehicle fleet management to smart sensors and meters for agriculture, energy or manufacturing: Thomas Chalumeau, Chief Strategy & Development Officer for Orange Middle East & Africa, highlights the Group’s ambitions in this growing market.

Thomas Chalumeau, Chief Strategy & Development Officer for Orange Middle East & Africa
We estimate that there’s the potential to market more than 12 million machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM cards by 2020.
Thomas Chalumeau, Chief Strategy & Development Officer for Orange Middle East & Africa

What’s the status of the IoT market in Africa?

Thomas Chalumeau: IoT is a fast growing market: connections originating from connected objects have increased more than 30% year on year in Africa since 2015. This is a promising trend based mainly on the development of B2B uses: installing and managing sensors that can send back information, data monitoring and, where appropriate, programming operations or tasks to be carried out. At Orange, we estimate that there’s the potential to market more than 12 million machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM cards by 2020. These SIM cards transfer data from electronic objects (alarms, cars, meters…) to computer servers or between themselves.

Which uses will be most affected by IoT on this continent?

T.C. : Fleet management enables you to track drivers and goods during transit, and makes vehicle maintenance easier. The priority is to optimise travel, insurance and costs. “Asset tracking” solutions also make it possible to track container, palette and machine logistics to better manage stock levels and supplies. Installing sensors also insures information can be transmitted back to optimise processes in industry, agriculture, health…

For example?

T.C. : In agriculture, remote mobile sensors can monitor crop growth, soil moisture and water levels. Sensors on farm equipment can help farmers manage their vehicles, reduce the time they use tractors and reduce fuel consumption. In time, farmers will rely on connected drones or tractors to monitor water quality, identify the optimal harvest date and so on. In the energy sector, smart meters can automate remote monitoring for electricity consumption and billing while limiting fraud. Last but not least, security remains one of the priority value-added services for Smart City contracts. Connected cameras coupled with facial recognition or licence plates that enable video surveillance and smart alarms.

How is Orange responding to these needs?

T.C. : In the first instance, through Malima, our M2M connectivity management platform. It’s already live in Morocco and will soon be deployed in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. Secondly, we have the ability to deploy networks that are adapted to IoT, for instance 2G which already enables many uses, and also dedicated networks such as LoRa®. Finally, we offer our Live Objects / Datavenue device and data management platform, as well as recognised end-to-end solutions such as our fleet management and sensor monitoring solutions. In the energy sector, we’re deploying smart meters for Lydec in Morocco. Depending on our customers’ needs, we can complement our own technical elements with partner and start-up solutions, such as our arable solution in the agricultural sector. We have all the assets and capabilities needed to become a leading player in this emerging market, with a presence throughout the entire IoT value chain.

Orange and IoT in Africa in 2016 means…

  • 500,000 Orange SIM cards used for M2M in Africa and the Middle East
  • 5.6 million Euros in revenue