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Internet of Things for Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

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Internet of Things (IoT) is an integrated part of Future Internet where physical and virtual " things " have identities and are seamlessly integrated into the information network. IoT is one technology that is penetrating the world so fast. It is being adopted to create smart homes, smart environment, connected automobile, wearables and industrial internet. No doubt, the African environment is gradually feeling the wave of this technology which is facilitated by the widespread use of smartphones, cheap bandwidth and availability of big data analytics. However, the African tech society seems to be slowly coming up to this reality. There are so many areas to be explored in the IoT which will add so much value to individuals, businesses and the government at large. Accompanying the IoT innovation are challenges some of which are peculiar to the African environment. This paper introduces the concept of internet of things, describes its level of development in Africa, highlights some challenges to be met during its deployment and states some areas of applications in the continent.
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2015 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CYBERSPACE GOVERNANCE - CYBERABUJA2015 NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2015
23
Internet of Things for Africa: Challenges and
Opportunities
Maryleen Ndubuaku
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Federal University of Technology, Owerri
Imo State, Nigeria
ndubuakumaryleen@gmail.com
David Okereafor
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Federal University of Technology, Owerri
Imo State, Nigeria
dokereafor@yahoo.com
Abstract— Internet of Things (IoT) is an integrated part of
Future Internet where physical and virtual “things” have
identities and are seamlessly integrated into the information
network. IoT is one technology that is penetrating the world so
fast. It is being adopted to create smart homes, smart
environment, connected automobile, wearables and industrial
internet. No doubt, the African environment is gradually feeling
the wave of this technology which is facilitated by the
widespread use of smartphones, cheap bandwidth and
availability of big data analytics. However, the African tech
society seems to be slowly coming up to this reality. There are so
many areas to be explored in the IoT which will add so much
value to individuals, businesses and the government at large.
Accompanying the IoT innovation are challenges some of which
are peculiar to the African environment. This paper introduces
the concept of internet of things, describes its level of
development in Africa, highlights some challenges to be met
during its deployment and states some areas of applications in
the continent.
Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT), Africa, IoT deployment, IoT
applications.
I. I
NTRODUCTION
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the use of
intelligently connected devices and systems to harness data
gathered by embedded sensors and actuators in machines and
other physical objects [1]. The steps in IoT basically involve
collecting data, aggregating them into a network and
processing them or storing them for future improvements. For
consumers, the IoT has the potential to deliver solutions that
dramatically improve energy efficiency, security, health,
education and many other aspects of daily life. For
enterprises, IoT can underpin solutions that improve decision-
making and productivity in manufacturing, retail, agriculture
and other sectors.
IoT describes a system where items in the physical
world, and sensors within or attached to these items, are
connected to the Internet via wireless and wired Internet
connections. These sensors can use various types of local area
connections such as RFID, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and
Zigbee. Sensors can also have wide area connectivity such as
GSM, GPRS, 3G, and LTE [3].
The term “Internet of Things” was popularized by the
work of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT). In 2002, its co-founder and former head
Kevin Ashton was quoted in Forbes Magazine as saying, “We
need an internet for things, a standardized way for computers
to understand the real world” [2].
Since then, many visionaries have seized on the phrase
“Internet of Things” to refer to the general idea of things,
especially everyday objects that are readable, recognizable,
locatable, addressable, and/or controllable via the Internet,
irrespective of the communication means, including things
that are non-electronic such as food and clothing. Examples
of “things” include: People, Location (of objects), Time
Information (of objects) or Condition (of objects) [5].
Many African countries have already taken advantage of
IoT technology; from healthcare providers tracking the health
of outpatients to utility companies using connected meters to
check usage, find faults and pre-empt surges in demand. In
fact, without legacy infrastructure in place, Africa can
leapfrog in a number of areas that more developed countries
would find difficult [8].
The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to offer a
range of innovative new services and solutions to individuals
across the region, and in doing so to begin to address some of
the challenges it is facing including those arising from high
levels poverty and the need to extend access to basic services
to currently underserved populations [6].
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The goal of this paper is to bring IoT in the context of
Africa and scrutinize the barriers to its expansion as well as
possible solutions with accompanying application areas.
II. IOT
PROPERTIES
AND
ARCHITECTURE
From a technical point of view, the Internet of Things is
not the result of a single novel technology; instead, several
complementary technical developments provide capabilities
that taken together help to bridge the gap between the virtual
and physical world. These capabilities include:
a) Communication and Cooperation: Objects have the
ability to relate with each other and with their
surroundings via networks such as GSM and UMTS,
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and those referring to
Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs). There
are several reasons why objects will need to
communicate with each other. For example for
security purposes, an object can request
authentication from other remote or near devices
before granting access to particular information or
services.
b) Discoverability: Objects can be located and
addressed via discovery, look-up or name services,
and can therefore be remotely accessed or
configured.
c) Identification: Objects are uniquely identifiable.
RFID, NFC (Near Field Communication) and
optically readable bar codes are examples of
technologies with which even passive objects which
do not have built-in energy resources can be
identified (with the aid of a “mediator” such as an
RFID reader or mobile phone). Identification
enables objects to be linked to information
associated with the particular object and that can be
retrieved from a server, provided the mediator is
connected to the network (see Figure 1).
d) Sensing: Objects collect information about their
surroundings with sensors, record it, forward it or
react directly to it.
e) Actuation: Objects contain actuators to manipulate
their environment (for example by converting
electrical signals into mechanical movement). Such
actuators can be used to remotely control real-world
processes via the Internet.
f) Embedded Information Processing: Smart objects
feature a processor or microcontroller, plus storage
capacity. These resources can be used, for example,
to process and interpret sensor information, or to
give products a “memory” of how they have been
used.
g) Localization: Smart things are aware of their
physical location, or can be located. GPS or the
mobile phone network are suitable technologies to
achieve this, as well as ultrasound time
measurements, UWB (Ultra-Wide Band), radio
beacons (e.g. neighboring WLAN base stations or
RFID readers with known coordinates) and optical
technologies.
h) User Interfaces: Smart objects can communicate
with people in an appropriate manner (either directly
or indirectly, for example via a smartphone) [2].
Figure 1: The smartphone as a mediator between people,
things and the Internet [2].
IOT architecture consists of different suite of technologies
supporting IOT. It serves to illustrate how various
technologies relate to each other and to communicate the
scalability, modularity and configuration of IOT deployments
in different scenarios as shown in Figure 2. It is made up of
the Sensor layer, Gateway and Network layer, Management
Service layer and Applications layer.
Figure 2: IOT Architecture [5].
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III. SUCCESS FACTORS FOR IOT
DEPLOYMENT IN AFRICA
There are several factors that hints to the fact that massive
IoT deployment in Africa will amount to success. Most of
them refer to cost of devices and introduction of new
technology that will handle the communication and
information processing aspects of IoT. They are:
1. Cheaper cost of sensors and bandwidth - Sensor prices
have dropped to an average 60 cents from $1.30 in the
past 10 years. The cost of bandwidth has also declined
steeply, by a factor of nearly 40X over the past 10
years [14].
2. Cheap processing - The cost of processing has seen a
sharp decrease of nearly 60 times since the past 10
years[14], thereby allowing more devices to smartly
handle all the new data they are generating or
receiving.
3. Introduction of Big Data Analytics With the
introduction of big data analytics, the millions of data
which is turned out daily by the various connected
“things” in the IoT network can be processed faster
and better.
4. Widespread use of Smartphone – Smartphones have
become a remote control or interface for most
applications ranging from healthcare to automobile.
Also, the number of smartphone users has increased
since the past years. According to a report, the
Smartphone penetration per capita in Middle East and
Africa will have experienced an increase of 13.6%
from 2.6% in 2011[19]. The affordability of the
smartphone has also aided its spread in Africa.
5. Ubiquitous Wireless network – Wireless networks
such as Wi-Fi have become cheaper and more
accessible.
6. Alternative energy and ultralow power technologies:
Availability of power to supply most devices that
require automation has been a challenge in Africa but
new technologies for energy harvesting, ultralow
power devices have been a key enabler to IoT. Some
devices today can power themselves as they tap
energy from immediate environment. Example is
wearable devices for body monitoring (temperature
and heart rate) can power themselves with energy
from vibration, pulse and heat.
IV. STATE
OF
IOT
DEPLOYMENT
IN
AFRICA
Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions - a subset of the
Internet of Things – already use wireless networks to connect
devices to each other and the Internet, with minimal direct
human intervention, to deliver services that meet the needs of
a wide range of industries [1]. A M2M Service is a
combination of devices or “machines” using network
resources to communicate with remote application
infrastructure for the purposes of monitoring and control, of
either the “machine” itself, or of the environment [11].
Africa’s most economically developed country, South
Africa, has much of the infrastructure in place to lead the
market. South Africa remains the biggest market for M2M
followed by Kenya with deployments seen in vehicle tracking,
monitoring air quality and railway track conditions.
Elsewhere, Rwanda is connecting SIM cards to POS terminals
in isolated areas to allow for the acceptance of credit card
payments.
The Internet of Things represents an evolution of M2M
through the coordination of multiple vendors’ machines,
devices and appliances connected to the Internet through
multiple networks [1]. Table 1 shows the total M2M
connections in the world and brings out the fact that Africa
still lags behind in the use of Machine-to-Machine
connections.
Table1: M2M connections by region [1].
Market analysts Gartner forecast the global IoT market to
total more than 26bn devices by 2020 [7]. There are already a
broad range of IoT deployments across Sub-Saharan Africa,
with around seven million cellular M2M connections by mid-
2014 [6].
Examples of current deployments include the following:
Airtel Congo has partnered with a local vehicle
tracking company to offer fleet location services to
its customers.
MTN Rwanda recently reported that the fastest
growth in connections was in the area of point-of-
sale (PoS) terminals, a market that had seen rapid
growth over recent years. The market is being driven
by the focus of financial institutions in the country on
growing the number of payment cards in use. MTN
in South Africa recently implemented its first smart
metering project for the City of Johannesburg. This
project aimed to install 50,000 meters by June 2014
as part of the first phase of the project, which is due
to complete in 2015.
In the health sector, Sequoia Technology provides a
HIV diagnosis communications system using M2M
GPRS printers and a dedicated GSM gateway. The
solution allows for test results from far away
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laboratories to reach the clinics much faster, savings
lives in the process [6].
According to [6], the sub-region will witness a number of
innovative new M2M approaches in areas as diverse as
telematics, smart metering, mobile banking and finance,
security solutions and smart cities. The total number of M2M
connections in SSA is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 26% per
annum, reaching 28 million connections by 2020.
In addition, Togo’s Digital Minister, Cina Lawson
declared that many African countries have already taken
advantage of IoT technology; from healthcare providers
tracking the health of outpatients to utility companies using
connected meters to check usage, find faults and pre-empt
surges in demand. She said that IoT is currently being used in
Togo for vehicle tracking but thinks it will quickly be moved
into mobile payments or into the area of logistics. She also
sees great potential in agriculture where it could be used to
improve yields. For her, internet penetration and connectivity
remain a challenge; for IoT to work effectively it needs to rely
on high speed internet connections [8].
Moreover, on May 14, 2015, MTN Business unveiled the
first Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) platform. MTN’s
IoT platform enables networked devices to exchange
information and perform actions without requiring manual
assistance. MTN’s IoT offering will give African enterprises,
entrepreneurs and developers the means to enable and inspire
growth by providing them with tools specific to their business
needs, solving age-old business problems in better and more
innovative ways. Also, MTN’s dedicated IoT network will
have a footprint spanning 23 countries, ensuring that these
services offer a seamless experience for those who make use
of them. MTN’s IoT platform will provide benefits across a
wide range of industries, including those integral to
developing countries such as water and electricity supply,
utility management, transport, retail, agriculture and mining
[10].
V. CHALLENGES
FACING
IOT
IN
AFRICA
AND
SOLUTIONS
A. Power Supply
Due to the fact that things move around and are not
connected to a power supply, their smartness needs to be
powered from a self-sufficient energy source. Most batteries
and power packs are either to heavy, thereby making the entire
system bulky or they have a short lifespan and require
frequent replacement or charging. Unfortunately, battery
technology is making relatively slow progress, and “energy
harvesting”, i.e. generating electricity from the environment
(using temperature differences, vibrations, air currents, light,
etc.), is not yet powerful enough to meet the energy
requirements of current electronic systems in many
application scenarios. Hopes have been cast on future low-
power processors and communications units for embedded
systems that can function with significantly less energy. There
are already some battery-free wireless sensors that can
transmit their readings a distance of a few meters. Like RFID
systems, they get the power they require either remotely or
from the measuring process itself, for example by using
piezoelectric or pyro electric materials for pressure and
temperature measurements [2].
Solar energy is set to become the biggest trend. Installing
slim and transparent solar panels on phones, cars and even
buildings has already started providing consumers to keep
going without ever having to worry about looking for the
nearest plug. Other technologies are being explored: for
example, British company Perpetuum uses electromagnetic
energy to recharge devices. Thermal and RF are also being
introducing to power devices and stretch batteries' lives. WiFi
based sensors have too been developed to run on 2xAA
batteries for over a year [13]. Recently, researchers at ETH
Zurich University developed a new type of glass material that
has the properties to double a smartphone battery life.
The energy puzzle is not complete without Central
Processing Units (CPUs). The processing units are being
pushed to a limit and need to be investigated further. CPU
consumption got heightened by the rising number of IoT
enabled devices signaling and sending data between one
another [13].
B. High Poverty Rate
IoT uses technology to connect physical objects to the
internet. For IoT adoption to grow in Africa, the cost of
components that are needed to support capabilities such as
sensing, tracking and control mechanisms need to be relatively
inexpensive in the coming years. Gartner has forecast that
most technology components such as radio, WiFi, sensor and
GPS, could see a drop in cost of 15% to 45% from 2010 to
2015. The trend forecast by Gartner could incentivize
organizations to pursue opportunities in IoT in the next one to
three years [5].
C. Network Capacity Constraints
With convergences brought about by connected machines
and smart mobile devices, there is an increasing demand for
network infrastructure to support these data “hungry” devices
with a certain level of expected QoS. New mobile applications
that perform contextual-aware services may require frequent
bursts of small blocks of data for updating and synchronizing.
The issue of limited network capacity has prompted many
global operators to develop initiatives that leverage
technologies in unlicensed spectrum such as whitespace and
increase the use of WiFi to offload mobile data traffic for
wireless usage [5].
D. Illiteracy
According to [6], there has been significant progress in
increasing adult literacy rates across Sub-Saharan Africa in
recent years. Despite these advances, around 37% of the adult
population still lack basic literacy skills, equivalent to over
170 million people. In addition to basic literacy, digital
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literacy—the ability to effectively and critically navigate,
evaluate and create information using a range of digital
technologies—is also significantly lacking amongst the
population in the region and must be addressed. Also, there
needs to be adequate user education on privacy and security of
their “things”. This will involve understanding how to issue
permissions and access to their connected “things”.
E. Lack of Local Content
The vast majority of digital content and mobile
applications and services accessible across Sub-Saharan
Africa have been developed in more advanced markets. There
has been little or no customization in terms of either the
content or the languages available online. However, some
localization approaches are now emerging. As of January
2013, there were said to be 146 developers in Nigeria, who
between them had submitted 419 apps specifically for African
BlackBerry consumers. Also, RIM is working with a number
of universities and schools across Africa in order to teach and
educate students on mobile application development, as part
of its Blackberry Academic Programme [6].
F. Low Internet Penetration Rate
With an internet penetration rate of 16% in Africa and
eight out of the 10 countries having the world’s lowest internet
access rates, there are major barriers to the adoption of the
IoT. However, there is clear growth potential. Consulting firm
McKinsey estimates that by 2025 Africa will have tripled
internet penetration to over 50%, or around 600m people, and
as it does not have the same extensive infrastructure as
Western countries, it can adapt its cities for IoT solutions more
easily [7].
G. Interoperability and Standards
Different industries today use different standards to
support their applications. With numerous sources of data and
heterogeneous devices, the use of standard interfaces between
these diverse entities becomes important. If manufacturers are
to realize the promise and potential of IoT, it is critical that the
billions of things that make up IoT are able to connect and
interoperate. Only through common frameworks based on
truly open industry standards can secure reliable
interconnections and shared information in IoT be achieved. It
is with that goal in mind that organizations such as the Open
Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and Industrial Internet
Consortium (IIC) have been established [4].
H. Data Management
Without data there is no IoT. Data is the petrol of this
industry and it needs to be kept safe and managed to ensure
users benefit from everything IoT, M2M and other services
have to offer. In a world where everything is connected, there
will be large chunks of data turned out per second
accompanied with the risk of being misused, stolen, as well as
services providers not being able to cope with its enormity.
Currently, Big Data solutions by companies like MySQL and
Hadoop, deal with scale, capacity and processing tasks. In
connection with other companies like Several nines, software
management is becoming ever easier.
But the big challenge lies at the heart of IoT: so far IT has
not had to deal with a unique dataset on its own. Current data
makes it to databases the same way unstructured data does.
Joe Skorupa, Gartner's vice president provided a solution by
saying that Data centre operations and providers will need to
deploy more forward-looking capacity management platforms
that can include a data center infrastructure management
(DCIM) system approach of aligning IT and operational
technology (OT) standards and communications protocols to
be able to proactively provide the production facility to
process the IoT data points based on the priorities and the
business needs [13].
I. Security Issues in IoT
As the IoT becomes a key element of the Future Internet
and a critical national/international infrastructure, the need to
provide adequate security for the IoT infrastructure becomes
ever more important. Large-scale applications and services
based on the IoT are increasingly vulnerable to disruption
from attack or information theft and the consequences could
be severe. For example, a smart meter—one which is able to
send energy usage data to the utility operator for dynamic
billing or real-time power grid optimization—must be able to
protect that information from unauthorized usage or
disclosure. Information that power usage has dropped could
indicate that a home is empty, making it an ideal target for a
burglary or worse [15]. Required measures in several areas to
make the IoT secure from those with malicious intent, include:
DoS/DDOS attacks are already well understood
for the current Internet, but the IoT is also
susceptible to such attacks and will require
specific techniques and mechanisms to ensure
that transport, energy, city infrastructures cannot
be disabled or subverted.
General attack detection and recovery/resilience
to cope with IoT specific threats, such as
compromised nodes, malicious code hacking
attacks - Cyber situation awareness
tools/techniques will need to be developed to
enable IoT-based infrastructures to be monitored.
Advances are required to enable operators to
adapt the protection of the IoT during the
lifecycle of the system and assist operators to
proactively take the most appropriate protective
action during attacks.
Access control and associated accounting - these
are necessary IoT schemes to support the various
authorization and usage models that are required
by users. The heterogeneity and diversity of the
devices/gateways that require access control will
require new lightweight schemes to be developed.
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Machine Learning - The IoT needs to handle
virtually all modes of operation by itself without
relying on human control. New techniques and
approaches are required to lead to a self-managed
IoT [12].
J. Privacy Issues in IoT
As much of the information in an IoT system may be
personal data, there is a requirement to support anonymity and
restrictive handling of personal information. Users should be
equipped with necessary tools that allow them to define the
policies for sharing their personal data with authorized persons
and applications. There are a number of areas where advances
are required:
Cryptographic techniques that enable protected data
to be stored processed and shared, without the
information content being accessible to other parties.
Technologies such as homomorphic and searchable
encryption are potential candidates for developing
such approaches.
Techniques to support Privacy by Design concepts,
including data minimization, identification,
authentication and anonymity.
Fine-grain and self-configuring access control
mechanism emulating the real world [12].
VI. AREAS
OF
APPLICATIONS
OF
IOT
IN
AFRICA
A. Smart Cities
Streetlights dim is based on ambient conditions
to save energy costs.
Real time updates for passengers via smart
devices or display board.
Self-driving autonomous vehicles enabling
increased safety, reduced CO
2
emissions, more
leisure and work time for motorists.
Smart traffic lights using cameras at every
signal, increasing average speed in the city.
Street cameras reduce crime and enable faster
emergency response times.
Pay-as-you-drive car insurance charges users
according to driving behavior and can enable
substantial savings for drivers.
B. Education
Students do not need to carry heavy books in a
backpack. All school materials are loaded on the
smart device.
From the same smart device, you can connect to
classmates and teachers to share knowledge and work
collaboratively.
Self-directed learning enables adults to address their
skills gaps and engage in lifelong learning at a click
of a button.
C. Productivity
Management meetings are fact-based and use real-
time data to make informed decisions.
Proximity is no longer a challenge, cutting-edge
video conferences enable easy communications
When there is a purchase, the closest production
factory to the customer is alerted and the customized
item is created and delivered with minimum delay,
avoiding inventories and the keeping the client
satisfied
Some items can be produced at home, using a 3D
printer [1].
Refrigerators lets you known when you are short of
groceries [9]
Your “smart” umbrella lets you know it would
rain[9]
D. Crowd control
A crowd control application will allow relevant
authorities to estimate the number of people
gathering at event sites and determine if necessary
actions need to be taken during an emergency.
Using location-based technologies such as cellular,
WiFi and GPS, the application will generate virtual
“heat maps” of crowds.
These maps can be combined with sensor
information obtained from street cameras, motion
sensors and officers on patrol to evaluate the impact
of the crowded areas.
Emergency vehicles can also be informed of the best
possible routes to take, using information from real-
time traffic sensor data, to avoid being stuck among
the crowds.
E. Intelligent Lampposts
The intelligent streetlamp is a network of streetlamps
that are tied together in a WAN that can be controlled
and monitored from a central point, by the city or a
third party.
It captures data such as ambient temperature,
visibility, rain, GPS location and traffic density
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which can be fed into applications to manage road
maintenance operations, traffic management and
vicinity mapping.
F. Retail and Supply Chain
In the retail sector, shopping assistant applications
can be used to locate appropriate items for shoppers
and provide recommendations of products based on
consumer preferences.
The application can reside in the shopper’s personal
mobile devices such as tablets and phones, and
provide shopping recommendations based on the
profile and current mood of the shopper.
Using context-aware computing services, the
application captures data feeds such as promotions,
locations of products and types of stores, either from
the malls’ websites or open API if the mall allows it.
Using the dynamic ordering tool, the network of
smart objects will identify the types of commodities
and decompose the order picking process to
distributed sub-tasks based on area divisions. The
application will plan the delivery routes centrally.
G. Healthcare
1) Elderly Family Member Monitoring
This application creates the freedom for the elderly to
move around safely outdoors, with family members
being able to monitor their whereabouts.
2) Continuous and remote Patient Monitoring
Continuous and remote patient monitoring requires
the use of medical body sensors to monitor vital body
conditions such as heartbeat, temperature and sugar
levels. The application examines the current state of
the patient’s health for any abnormalities and can
predict if the patient is going to encounter any health
problems.
3) Smart Pills
Smart pills are essentially ingestible sensors that are
swallowed and can record various physiological
measures.
4) Tracking of medical items and information gathering
Tracking of drugs from manufacture to patient.
Tracking of hospital equipment and instruments.
Restriction of staff access and control of cross
infection.
Advance telemetry of inbound patient clinical data to
hospital.
Lifestyle and fitness monitoring as part of wellness
program.
H. Transportation
a) Special Needs and Elderly Transportation Assistant
The transportation assistant application serves to
address the group of commuters with special needs
and who require assistance as they commute using
public transportation.
b) Accident Avoidance Detection
The promise of IoT enhancing life for individuals
and society has been shown in small-scale projects,
such as the addition of GM OnStar to GM’s cars.
This automatically detects when the car has been in a
collision, calls for assistance and provides the
emergency services with the location [7].
Vehicles can play a part in providing better road
safety by monitoring and sensing each other on the
roads.
Monitoring traffic jams through cell phones of the
users and deployment of intelligent transport systems
(ITS) will make the transportation of goods and
people more efficient.
Transportation companies would become more
efficient in packing containers since the containers
can self- scan and weigh themselves. Use of IoT
technologies for managing passenger luggage in
airports and airline operations will enable automated
tracking and sorting, increased per-bag read rates,
and increased security [18].
I. Energy and Utilities Management
a. Facilities Energy Management
Facilities energy management involves the use of a
combination of advanced metering and IT and
operational technology (OT) that is capable of
tracking, reporting and alerting operational staff in
real time or near real time.
b. Home Energy Management/Consumer Energy
Management
Home energy management (HEM) optimizes
residential energy consumption and production.
With integration of data, customers can understand
their bills better and energy companies can relate
better with customers and give better advice using
facts gathered from user data.
J. Logistics Industry
Logistics companies are tapping on traffic patterns,
road congestions information from road cameras and
sensors and early knowledge of weather conditions to
make constant routing adjustments for their delivery
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trips. This cross-domain information helps them
increase their delivery efficiencies and reduce overall
congestion costs [5].
K. Wildlife Conservation
One innovative IoT solution is connecting
endangered black rhinoceroses in eastern and central
Africa to this global network. Each is given an ankle
collar that relays movement and exact geo-location
data back to anti-poaching teams that can quickly act
if poaching is suspected [7].
L. Nomadic Farming
IoT can help a Fulani or Maasai herdsman track the
movement of his cattle real time, from the comfort of
his hastily-erected hut, through his mobile phone. He
can then call up a weather application, which gives
him advice on where the best grazing area is, and
where to water his livestock.
While miles away, agricultural officials huddle over
a screen keep track of the movement of nomadic
communities and can make a quick call to
community elders if they sense that conflict can take
place when two herding groups meet. Danger can
thus be avoided [9].
M. Aerospace and Aviation Industry
IoT can help to improve safety and security of
products and services by reliably identifying
counterfeit products and elements. Aviation
authorities report that at least 28 accidents or
incidents in the United States have been caused by
counterfeits [16]. It is possible to solve this problem
by introducing electronic pedigrees for certain
categories of aircraft parts, which document their
origin and safety-critical events during their lifecycle
(e.g., modifications). In this way, safety and
operational reliability of aircrafts can be significantly
improved [18].
N. Pharmaceutical industry
Drug tracking and e-pedigrees allow for the detection
of counterfeit products and keep the supply chain
free of fraudsters.
The smart labels on the drugs can also directly
benefit patients, e.g. by enabling storing of the
package insert, informing consumers of dosages and
expiration dates, and assuring the authenticity of the
medication.
In conjunction with a smart medicine cabinet that
reads information transmitted by the drug labels,
patients can be reminded to take their medicine at
appropriate intervals and patient compliance can be
monitored [18].
O. Petroleum Industry
IoT can help in reducing the number of accidents in
the oil and gas industry by equipping the containers
of hazardous chemicals with intelligent wireless
sensor nodes.
Wireless monitoring of petroleum personnel in
critical onshore and offshore operations, container
tracking, tracking of drill string components pipes,
monitoring and managing of fixed equipment, etc.
P. Agriculture and Breeding
With the application of identification systems, animal
diseases can be controlled, surveyed, and prevented.
Official identification of animals in national, intra
community, and international commerce is already in
place, while at the same time, identification of
livestock that are vaccinated or tested under official
disease control or eradication is also possible. Blood
and tissue specimens can be accurately identified,
and the health status of herds, regions, and countries
can be certified by using IoT.
With the Internet of Things, single farmers may be
able to deliver the crops directly to the consumers not
only in a small region like in direct marketing or
shops but in a wider area. This will change the whole
supply chain which is mainly in the hand of large
companies now to a more direct, shorter chain
between producers and consumers [18].
Q. Insurance industry
If insurance clients are willing to accept electronic
recorders in their car, which are able to record
acceleration, speed, and other parameters, and
communicate this information to their insurer, they
are likely to get a cheaper rate or premium [17]. The
insurer can save money by being involved in a very
early stage of an impending accident and can trigger
the most economic actions.
R. Recycling
IoT and wireless technologies can be used to advance
the efficiency and effectiveness of numerous
important city and national environmental programs,
including the monitoring of vehicle emissions to help
supervise air quality, the collection of recyclable
materials, the reuse of packaging resources and
electronic parts, and the disposal of electronic waste
(RFID used to identify electronic subcomponents of
2015 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CYBERSPACE GOVERNANCE - CYBERABUJA2015 NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2015
31
PCs, mobile phones, and other consumer electronics
products to increase the reuse of these parts and
reduce e-waste)[18].
S. Security
To fight against terrorist groups African armies can
use connected Drones to get images of the field with
low risk for soldiers. There are drones of all sizes,
types, characteristics and color. A drone with a
connected camera and a large wide range can send
thousands of images of a dangerous field.
The same drone can also be used for internal
surveillance against security threats such as
kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, armed robbery,
violent riots, etc. In Natural parks, poaching can be
fought by connecting localization devices on species
like Rhinoceros and elephants.
VII. CONCLUSION
This paper introduces the reader to the emerging Internet
of Things phenomenon. It describes the different properties
that make up the technology and highlights the layers that
make up its architecture. These technologies include the
Sensor layer, Gateway and Network layer, Management
Service layer and Applications layer.
The key IoT enabler in Africa as well as its current state
of deployment and Machine-to-Machine connection in Africa
is then explored. Specific examples of IoT deployment is
given, while future trend in the industry is forecasted.
Thereafter, challenges to the development of the phenomenon
are highlighted. Such challenges include: scalability,
interoperability and standards, data management and software
complexity, power supply, cost over usability, network
capacity constraints, illiteracy and lack of local content, trust,
security and privacy issues among others. Solutions to these
challenges are also suggested.
In addition, areas of applications of Internet of things are
briefly described. These areas include: education,
transportation, productivity, health care, insurance, supply
chains, government, retails, energy management, wildlife
conservation, aerospace and aviation industry, pharmaceutical
and petroleum industries, agriculture, waste management,
security and so on.
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Understanding the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Gsm Association
GSM Association, " Understanding the Internet of Things (IoT) ", Connected Living Series, New Fetter Lane, London UK, pp. 1-10, July 2014
Distributed Systems Group, Institute for Pervasive Computing
  • Friedemann Mattern
  • Christian Floerkemeier
Friedemann Mattern and Christian Floerkemeier, "From the Internet of Computers to the Internet of Things" Distributed Systems Group, Institute for Pervasive Computing, ETH Zurich, pp. 2-18
An Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) -Part 1. of The IoT Series
  • Lopez Research
Lopez Research, "An Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) -Part 1. of The IoT Series", Lopert Research LLC, Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA, pp. 2-6, November 2013
Critical Factors for Successful Internet of Things Deployment
  • John Wilhite
  • Shahram Mehraban
John Wilhite, Shahram Mehraban, "Critical Factors for Successful Internet of Things Deployment", Automation World, http://www.automationworld.com/industrial-internet-things/criticalfactors-successful-internet-things-deployment(2015)
The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2014
  • Gsma Intelligence
GSMA Intelligence, " The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2014 ", http://ssa.gsmamobileeconomy.com(2015)
Will Africa take the lead in the Internet of Things?
  • Finbarr Toesland
Finbarr Toesland, "Will Africa take the lead in the Internet of Things?" African Business, http://africanbusinessmagazine.com/sectors/infrastructure/will-africatake-lead-internet-things/(2015)
Not pie in the sky—the 'Internet of Things' is already with us in sub-Saharan Africa. We think2015- 07-22-not-a-pie-in-the-skythe-internet-of-things-is-already-with-us-in- sub-saharan-africa-we-think
  • Lee Mwiti
Lee Mwiti, " Not pie in the sky—the 'Internet of Things' is already with us in sub-Saharan Africa. We think ", http://mgafrica.com/article/2015- 07-22-not-a-pie-in-the-skythe-internet-of-things-is-already-with-us-in- sub-saharan-africa-we-think(2015)
MTN Business launches the first Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) platform " , http://www.mtnblog.co.za/mtn-business-iot/ [27] MTN Business
  • E Cloete
E Cloete, " MTN Business launches the first Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) platform ", http://www.mtnblog.co.za/mtn-business-iot/ [27] MTN Business, " Machine to Machine (M2M) ", http://www.mtnbusiness.com.ng/services-solutions/m2m(2015)