The Internet of Things (IoT) will reach mainstream adoption in the next two to five years in Africa and is expected to have the most transformational impact on local businesses in the same period, according to Gartner.
“The level of interest in, and the pace of adoption of, ICT in Africa are increasing, and, although Africa’s insurance sector is small, it’s a key indicator of where IoT opportunities exist and will prove long-lasting,” said William Hahn, principal analyst at Gartner. “A growing number of insurers are seriously evaluating how the IoT might best be used, especially in terms of improving the customer experience.”
The primary usage scenario for the IoT in Africa’s insurance sector, initially, will be a “charging” scenario, in which connected “things” are monetized. “For example, drivers will be charged premiums based not only on how far they drive, but also on how safely they drive and the degree of risk associated with when and where they drive,” Hahn added.
Although challenges to widespread IoT adoption remain — a lack of access to end-user devices and policyholders’ concerns about data privacy, for example — in the long term IoT data, combined with advanced analytics, will give insurers much greater insight into the risks their policyholders face.
Mobile telephony will also continue to evolve in Africa, with further penetration by ultra-low-cost mobile devices in the next two years. With the proliferation of advanced underserved area comms into semiurban and rural parts of Africa, Gartner expects these comms to have a transformational business impact in Africa during the next five to 10 years. “They could prove a powerful force for reducing the ‘digital divide,’ which is one of the biggest social issues in Africa. They could also be significant enablers for the increasing number of organizations looking to benefit commercially from the large opportunities offered by low income Africans,” said Hahn.
As HOT FOR SECURITY previously noted, the market for networked connected devices is evolving and could generate economic value of up to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025.
By 2020, 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, or four devices on average for every human on Earth. Gartner predicts 20 billion devices will be shipped by 2020, IDC says 30 billion, and Cisco expects to see 50 billion IoT gadgets delivered in the next five years. Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years, while spending on IoT security is expected to reach $547 million in 2018, almost double last year’s $281.54 million.