June 1, 2018
Economically marginalized regions of the world may find encouragement through emerging technologies. Developments in areas such as fintech and IoT may help galvanize development despite roadblocks from weak central governments. New disruptions in tech cast an optimistic light on industries such as energy, agriculture and healthcare.
A recent Africa.com article explores how digitization and IoT are creating seismic shifts in industry norms.
Apart from people, technology is the only other force that can catalyze industrialization. The author, Feranmi Akeredolu, cites one of the issues plaguing industry in Africa is the lack of data. With IoT, massive amounts of data and intelligence can be gathered, analyzed and put towards actionable solutions.
IoT for Humanitarian Relief
Some of the powerful insights that IoT can bring not only spur the economy but improve humanitarian conditions. Some examples Akeredolu provides include improving factory uptime, energy savings, guaranteeing crop yields, delivering better healthcare and understanding the spread of disease.
Drought and changing climate conditions gravely affect the African continent especially in Eastern Africa in countries like Chad. Little rainfall shrinks food supplies that can cause humanitarian crises and conflict. In order to help people adapt to changing conditions, they need to be armed with the right tools. Akeredolu suggests using IoT technologies to help disseminate information to local populations to help find solutions. IoT devices can also help monitor soil and rainfall conditions to optimize crop output. This is similar to the concept of Attunix’s project with SmartRows.
IoT can help people get healthier through monitoring when people are not in the hospitals. Monitoring vitals can improve preventative care and curb the outbreak of infectious diseases. Using mobile phones, people can access doctors and healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat minor cases remotely. This is especially pertinent for Africa’s sizeable rural populations.
Electricity downtime affects worker productivity and people’s ability to live healthy lives. IoT applications for energy can help with predictive maintenance of Africa’s energy infrastructure to prevent unnecessary downtime. It can also monitor consumption levels to find opportunities for energy savings.