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In the heart of Melrose Arch delegates from the major networks in South Africa and other networking big wigs came together for the annual Mobile Networking Conference hosted by MyBroadband. A multitude of speakers educated and informed all attendees on all things networking with specific focus on the implementation of 5G and the future of connectivity on a national and international scale. Aki Anastasiou, well-known tech buster and highly ranked among IT speakers acted as MC and guided all topics throughout the day.

Jannie van Zyl, head of innovation at Vodacom was the first speaker of the day and opened with a quote from the movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “What is the answer to life, the universe and everything”? The answer? Not 42 but 5G. van Zyl continued to elaborate on overall connectivity statistics within South Africa and stated that SA boasts some of the best connectivity and coverage compared to the US and Europe and that the way in which people consume data has changed. Data consumption went from purely transactional to visual orientated with video being on the highest demand. He also spoke about the benefits of 5G and even though the lack of spectrum prevents immediate roll out, 4G is here to stay and continues to improve.

Grant Marais, CEO of VAST Networks – a company that specialises in fiber connectivity, spoke more about connectivity within South Africa and Africa and home virtualisation where the future of connectivity looks bright with users being able to simulate their home connectivity environments anywhere in the world. He also provided some interesting statistics on the amount of time people spend online.

Airports – Average of 10 minutes
Retail Outlets – Average of 35 Minutes
Fast Food Outlets – Average of 30 Minutes

One of the main sponsors of the event was SqwidNET, a global Internet of Things connectivity technology provider. MD Phathizwe Malinga expressed their mission of digitally transforming the country’s economy by driving national IoT adoption. What is IoT you ask? The Internet of things is the extension of internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware, these devices can communicate and interact with others over the internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled. Malinga opened with an interesting desktop evolution video where items on a desk turned to icons on a PC. Malinga continued to express how the IoT is transforming different areas of business from sensors implemented at reserve gates to alert security of unlawful access by poachers to monitors clipped to Rhinos to aid the fight against illegal poaching.

Zoltan Miklos, general manager of engineering at MTN and Stephen Froneman, an executive at Poynting Group highlighted the operational challenges that networks, and enterprises face especially when load shedding occurs. Froneman also spoke about antenna technology with specific focus on the mining industry.

Lastly it was Len Pienaar, CEO at FNB Connect. Pienaar elaborated on the MVNO landscape within South Africa, which avenues to consider when starting an MVNO and which building blocks essentially results in victory for any MVNO. Pienaar also expressed that they are not in competition with other MVNOs like Virgin Mobile but rather in competition with other banks where they want to provide their customers with a full spectrum of services at their fingertips.

Even though the abovementioned topics don’t tie in directly with mobile marketing solutions, the innovation strategies with this technology allows us to terminate rich content in the form of videos via SMS and the access to connectivity allows for subscribers to effectively interact with applications and brands on a global scale.

Photos courtesy of MyBroadband

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