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Untapped potential of Internet of Things

Technology has become the answer to every life’s puzzle. From e-agric, e-ducation, e-governance, e-health, e-commerce to e-transfer of cash, it has destroyed fetters to distance. The future of the  industry lies in artificial intelligence, robotics and others. Internet of Things (IoT) appears to be the phenomenon that will redefine everything, writes LUCAS AJANAKU

Last week, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said crude oil and refined products valued at $41.9 billion have been stolen from the country in the last 10 years.

Its policy brief, titled: Stemming the increasing cost of oil theft to Nigeria, showed that $38.5billion was lost to crude, $1.56billion on domestic crude and $1.8billion on refined petroleum products between 2009 and last year.

In its June monthly report, state-run oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said there was a 77per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism. It experienced 106 pipeline breaches in June, up from just 60 in May.

Many of the breaches are points where thieves can siphon oil and either sell it illegally or refine it in so-called artisanal refineries that are often little more than drums boiling oil into rudimentary fuels.

In the power sector, the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) suffer huge losses to energy theft.

The energy sector is not the only sector suffering from losses, every other sectors of the economy suffer one loss or the other due to non-application of the requisite technology.

One technology that, however, promises to end these losses is the  Internet of Things (IoT).

The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide said global spending on IoT is forecast to reach $745 billion this year, an increase of 15.4 per cent over the $646 billion spent last year.  IDC said global IoT spending will maintain a double-digit yearly growth rate throughout the 2017-2022 forecast period and surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022.

The Chief Executive Officer,  IoT Africa, Lanre Ayoola, said his firm, an exclusive partner of Sigfox Nigeria, a French firm, will offer IoT solutions that will help to address all leakages in every facet of the economy.

Ayoola, who spoke in Lagos, said Sigfox’s solutions are low cost devices, with battery that will last for 10 years.

According to him, the devices were also not hackable and couldn’t be jammed except by a military equipment, stressing that the solutions give reliability and low maintenance cost. “You don’t have to attend to it for seven years,” he said, adding that he firm will cover the whole country in 24 months and create thousands brand new jobs.

IoT solutions will take charge of production control, downtime by getting notification through phone to monitor what’s happening; what has happened and what will potentially happen.

He said the key to effective IoT is low power, stressing that Sigfox solutions are in 65 countries and many airports.

The cost of the solution ranges from between $15 and $25 with a four-year battery life.

The solutions can be deployed in asset monitoring, smart buttons with over N100billion worth, smart parking, street lighting, smart manhole, street lighting, water metering, gas metering, electricity metering, among others.

With the electricity challenge ravaging the country, IoT solutions promise to safe 50 per cent of electricity

Also, Executive Director at IoT Africa, Melanie Ayoola, said the growth of businesses would be driven by IoT as it will not only accelerate business growth but also foster expansion through effective   management of overhead and promoting efficient resource allocation.

According to her, the risk-bearing industry will also benefit from IoT solutions as it will not only  minimises risk, it will maximise convenience.

“Sensors that can prevent fire accident are available to mitigate payment of claim on fire accident.

“IoT will drive customer service in the country. A study said by 2025, there will be $75billion devices in the world. This provides great opportunities for the country,” she said, adding that long-term planning can be achieved by the government through IoT solutions.

For the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Adewale Saka, IoT saves lives and helps logistics companies to track their containers, and parcels while the firms and owners of the cargoes are able to monitor where they’re until they get to the where they are supposed to be delivered.

In the agricultural sector, cattle rustling has become criminal. He said with IoT solutions, hereders would be able to determine the whereabouts and health of the herd leading to reduction in losses.

“Pipeline monitoring is great challenge. IoT solutions will help to determine the environmental condition of the pipelines, breaches. DisCos are deploying prepaid meters. But if the feeder pillar of transformer goes down, they will not know. IoT solutions have been designed to take care of information about this.Though data analytics IoT will allow you to be proactive nd tackle energy theft,” he said.

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