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Africa's largest IoT network launched

The company has partnered with the LPWAN provider, Actility, whose ThingPark platform is enabling the network

The network will be available in the main metro areas of the country in early 2017
The network will be available in the main metro areas of the country in early 2017

The open access, open protocol network aims to take the African IoT to the next level

The network will enable a range of smart city applications and empower utilities, businesses and individuals

Comsol IoT combines cellular networks with low power radio technology

The largest Internet of Things network on the African continent has been launched with technology from communication service provider Comsol and platform provider Actility. It is also backed by international giants such as Cisco and IBM.


The low power, wide area network (LPWAN) is built on Comsol’s open architecture and protocol and is enabled by Actility’s carrier-grade platform, ThingPark. It is being deployed on the back of Comsol’s R1,5 Billion Open Access Layer 2 National network investment and will be available for sensor service termination by February 2017 in the major metropolitan areas of South Africa.


“IoT offers solutions for smart cities, smart businesses, and even many of the challenges we face as a society, for example managing scarce resources like water,” said Iain Stevenson, CEO of Comsol. “By enabling smart tracking, smart perimeter control, smart agriculture, smart buildings, as well as smart city applications like metering and manhole cover monitoring, IoT is already fundamentally changing how we live.


“We are proud to introduce the network that is going to empower African utilities, businesses, and individuals to gain the benefits the IoT offers.”


Designed to avoid interference, Comsol IoT combines the wide coverage area of cellular networks with low-power radio technology to provide connectivity in a single, cost-effective and secure wireless network. Serving a previously unaddressed market, Comsol IoT offers broad geographic coverage – including urban and rural areas – to create an ecosystem that supports the connectivity of millions of devices.


“Comsol IoT is the ideal solution for applications where power-constrained devices are distributed over large geographical areas. So in the case of water or electricity meters, or agricultural monitoring, to name a few, the network offers wide reach as well as power and cost savings,” said Justin Colyn, executive head of IoT of Comsol.


He added: “Battery life of up to 15 years can be achieved for some of these devices due to the relatively small data sets and transmission rates enabled by Comsol IoT. The high costs associated with manual monitoring, replacement of batteries and GPS devices are also no longer factors for organisations wanting to run a smart operation.”


This provides opportunities for the developers operating in the market as well as the businesses leveraging the IoT solutions being created. “By virtue of the fact that Comsol IoT is an open access, open protocol network, any IoT applications that are developed will be seamlessly enabled to the devices and sensors they are meant to serve. There’s no vendor lock-in, creating a diverse ecosystem that will serve to take African IoT to the next level," said Colyn.


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