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Altron Arrow and Thingstream to boost IoT innovation in SA

28 August 2019 News

Altron Arrow has recently become a distributor for Thingstream, a global provider of IoT connectivity solutions which is expanding into South Africa via a local partner network in order to grow the local Internet of Things (IoT) market.

IoT has provided organisations with unlimited opportunities to transform business models, fully enhance operational performance and open up new revenue streams through wide-scale, intelligent solutions. Thingstream offers a solution to the low-power connectivity coverage issue to businesses across industries, which allows for successful global implementation of IoT applications, with specific focus across ready connected devices, asset tracking, logistics and supply chain, remote condition monitoring and control.

According to Neil Hamilton, Thingstream’s chief business development officer, fragmented connectivity and infrastructure in South Africa and across the continent are still significant barriers to installing effective, widespread IoT systems. The Thingstream solution, however, delivers a global IoT connectivity platform which connects via GSM networks using a combination of MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) messaging protocols.

IoT innovation in South Africa is gathering pace, with pioneering companies bringing new solutions to market on the back of Thingstream’s ability to connect IoT devices without constraints such as cross-border connectivity or the need for high-speed access. Local initiatives under development using Thingstream include new IoT solutions across multiple industry verticals including transport, agriculture, and refrigeration within the FMCG market.

"Thingstream is opening up a world of opportunity for developers of new IoT solutions, says Gyula Wendler, engineering manager at Altron Arrow. “We have such a high level of engineering capability and technical expertise in South Africa, and we are seeing a substantial appetite for IoT innovation. Altron Arrow, through its partnership with Thingstream, is now able to offer an IoT connectivity platform which not only provides trusted global connectivity (it is not limited to one network operator) but is also secure, low-powered and extremely cost competitive."

According to Wendler, what makes this solution so appealing is that in a market like South Africa, and in fact the greater Africa region, most of the current global SIM solutions do not offer a cost-effective data solution. With Thingstream, however, you can truly deploy your product in any region with one flat rate.

Although this solution is not suited for high data-rate applications, it is certainly ideal for low, infrequent data requirements such as IoT sensors. Given the fact that GSM has the best coverage in the whole of Africa, and that the Thingstream SIM will roam onto at least one of two networks in any country, this makes this solution a real alternative to other low data requirement solutions.

"Due to the way Thingstream’s platform has been designed, we are able to deliver a solution to our customers within a matter of weeks once they have been engaged," says Wendler. "Thingstream’s technology overcomes several challenges in the roll-out of IoT solutions locally."


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