Africa is fast becoming the center of the internet of things (IoT) universe—with annual global events like IoT Forum Africa and IoT Africa Summit, many of the continent’s tech startups are at the forefront of the burgeoning space’s cutting-edge innovations.
From retail beacon solutions and fire prevention devices to smart greenhouse and agricultural offerings, the following are 15 leading African IoT tech startups you need to be aware of in 2017.
Adroit Technologies focuses on product development, consulting, and solutions development the industrial automation space. The company’s machine-to-machine (M2M) platform consists of customisable hardware and software that allows for rapid deployment/integration of cloud-based data for monitoring and control purposes.
Mezzanine develops mobile-enabled solutions to businesses and enterprises in Africa; the company partners with mobile carriers to provide industry-specific solutions in agriculture, logistics, healthcare and more. The company’s Connected Farmer solution provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use business management solution for all stakeholders in the agriculture ecosystem and enables agribusinesses to more easily interact/transact with smallholder farmers (SHFs)
Cape Networks—formerly known as Asimmetric—develops sensors and devices for helping retailers optimize the user experience of their wifi hotspots. The startup was accelerated by San Francisco-based hardware startup accelerator Highway1.
Sensor Networks develops a small Bluetooth-enabled device that enables users to locate missing items quickly. The keychain-like offering can be easily attached to belongings and works with both iOS and Android mobile phones.
Kenya-based UjuziKilimo has developed a soil analysis platform that measures soil characteristics for assessing quality in farming use cases. Hardware elements of the solution include an electronic sensor placed in the ground—farmer receive alerts and guidance via SMS based on real-time soil conditions.
Vula Telematix has partnered with San Diego-based Ingenu to develop “The Machine Network SA,” a network providing IoT and M2M solutions with further reach, a global range, and longer lasting battery life than any existing network. The company’s Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) technology connects machines wirelessly for lowering development costs and enabling a faster time-to-market.
FastNet specialized in IoT consulting services that include gap analyses, internal workshops facilitation, business case development, return on investment (ROI) analysis, and mapping of business processes—as well as engineering development (e.g., hardware/software/networking) for custom solutions.
Beaconeye’s Ping app enables retailers to engage with customers more effectively using location-based technologies. The solution uses Bluetooth connectivity in conjunction with in-store beacon devices capable of delivering push notifications and other interactions to the shopper’s mobile phone.
Stellenbosch-based LifeQ develops technologies for helping users monitor their overall health and fitness. The company’s solutions use state-of-the-art biomathematical models to power fitness trackers and other wearable devices such as TomTom’s highly popular Runner2/SPARK.
Kenyan startup Illuminum Greenhouse develops innovative solutions to the agricultural sector. Its cutting-edge greenhouses use solar panels and sensors to control and maintain an optimal growing environment.
Lumkani develops a home fire detection device that automatically alerts local fire departments in the event of fire-related emergencies. The solutions detects fires via in-built heat sensors and sends an SMS with the location to responders.
Johannesburg-based XLink is a leading machine-to-machine (M2M) solution provider in Africa. The company focuses on providing M2M connectivity, infrastructure development, and consulting services for retail, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, mining, and a myriad of other industries.
Mobile payment solution developer SnapScan also develops SnapBeacons: functionality that allows users to initiate a transaction via Bluetooth with just a tap. The feature is currently available at over 50 retail establishments.
IoT.nxt has developed a technology-agnostic framework for connecting IoT devices and platforms (i.e., hardware/sensors/subsystems) with optimal interoperability and interconnectivity. The company is a Microsoft Silver Partner and was named an Aspiring Innovator by Gartner in 2016.
BRCK develops the eponymously-named offering that acts as a rugged mobile wifi hotspot device that enables remote access to the internet. The startup’s Kickstarter campaign raised over $172 000 and led to a $1.2 million investment a year later.
The IoT space and its unprecedented opportunities represent information technology’s next wave of the future, and these 15 African startups are riding its crest—be sure to keep them in your sights in 2017 and beyond.