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Connected Kenya: enterprises urged to ready themselves for IoT boom

Connected Kenya: enterprises urged to ready themselves for IoT boom

Those attending the 2017 Connected Kenya Summit this week at a beach resort south of Mombasa were told that IoT will shape Kenya's future - particularly in the education and agriculture sectors.

Local businesses of all sizes were also urged to capitalise on the opportunity expected to emerge from a better-connected populace as the number of Kenyans with access to the internet continues to soar.

Kris Senanu, Managing Director of the Enterprise Division at Telkom Kenya said businesses need to think about ways to access new opportunities related to IoT.

"The Communication Authority's quarterly statistics report 2016/2017 indicates that Kenya has 38.5 million active mobile subscribers and 37.7 million internet users. Which means that at any one point, you have users (both existing, potential and fence sitters) available on the mobile platform and possibly later on the internet. So, when we talk about IoT, the things here need not be restricted to the physical aspect of devices, but to the things the internet can enable; the point where users or consumers have the ability to access, perform actions using the Internet as an arena for business. To harness the power of mobile and internet as availed on these mobile devices is the first step in redefining IoT for any enterprise."

Senanu added that while Telkom Kenya is already preparing itself for a business environment hugely influenced by IoT through the deployment of new IoT-ready networks, it is important for more business in the ecosystem to do the same.

"The Internet of enabled things provides a means to leverage on technology and it starts with the flow of information to give us direction on the type of technology that needs to be deployed. Technology is simply an enabler of operations, because if we keep using our pace of adoption or the number of technology related infrastructure we have as a measure of success, we shall fail terribly because technology is evolving faster than the business and taking with it, our consumers. We need to first look at investing time to learn about existing technologies and their impact on the business while immersing in these technologies before deployment in order to engage with our customer's artificial intelligence."

Communications Authority of Kenya's (CA) latest breakdown of market share for mobile subscriptions per operator in the country shows that Telkom Kenya is third on the pecking order with 7.4% market share, led by Airtel with 17.6% and Safaricom with a 71.2% share of the Kenyan mobile subscriptions market.

The CA's second quarter (October to December 2016) sector statistics report confirms that the number of broadband subscriptions in Kenya grew by 6.7% during the quarter under review to reach 12.7 million up from 11.9 million subscriptions during the previous quarter. Internet penetration in Kenya now stands at 89.7% up from 85.3% during the previous quarter.

The IDC predicts that by 2020 there will be a projected 30 billion connected things and a revenue of US$1.7 trillion worldwide. The number of connected things currently stands at 3 billion according to the research company.

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