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The Potential of IoT Tech in Energy Crisis Management in South Africa

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The Internet of Things (IoT) technology functions as a bridge between the physical and digital world, enabling faster, decentralized, and real-time feedback.

The growing adoption of 5G networks worldwide is particularly driving the need for such capabilities, especially for organizations promoting digitalization.


While the advantages of IoT technology in enhancing industrial and household operations are substantial, it holds significant importance in the South African context due to its impact on energy optimization.

Given the critical nature of the energy crisis in South Africa, energy management has become a pressing issue. Home and business owners are actively seeking smarter ways to use and conserve energy.

The persistent blackouts have forced South Africans to explore alternative energy sources, leading to substantial growth in the solar energy market, projected to increase by 23.31 terawatt-hour units from 2021 to 2026, with a CAGR of 29.74%.

Additionally, diesel-powered generators have gained popularity due to lower start-up costs but higher ongoing expenses.

South Africa now boasts the largest per capita backup generators in Africa, with revenue forecasts exceeding US$159,000 by 2030. While both solar and generators are crucial for business continuity, there is a desperate need for energy management tools.

This is where the value of IoT solutions becomes evident. Energy consumption management often involves balancing multiple sources, such as solar, grid, and generator power, to optimize costs and maintain consistent uptime.

IoT technology can automatically turn off non-essential assets like air conditioners when not needed and balance battery power with on-grid energy consumption and diesel usage, ensuring efficiency.

It offers remote management capabilities for businesses with facilities in remote areas, saving costs and revenue.

Moreover, IoT technology helps monitor essential items, such as battery and diesel levels and enables switching between different power sources while alerting users when levels are low, ensuring uninterrupted business operations.

Smart insights also benefit office spaces, optimizing energy consumption and reducing costs amid changing work patterns due to the pandemic. Real-time monitoring and planned load-shedding alerts further enhance remote business operations.

Beyond business continuity, IoT technology has environmental, social, and governance (ESG) benefits. The increased use of diesel generators negatively impacts the environment and may hinder businesses’ ESG agendas.

However, IoT solutions can optimize power source usage, minimizing diesel consumption and fostering sustainable energy solutions, like virtual power wheeling, promoting South Africa’s growth.

Despite South Africa lagging in IoT adoption, the growing prominence of smart home technologies is likely to spur further adoption in the business sector.

Pilot projects like the virtual power wheeling between Vodacom and Eskom also contribute to increased IoT adoption.

Though challenges exist in making these technologies accessible to all businesses, Vodacom is dedicated to changing this. Their focus lies in developing efficient solutions to transform challenges into cost-saving opportunities.

By becoming a trusted IoT partner, Vodacom aims to move South Africa closer to Industry 4.0, fostering a digital and energy-efficient future for the entire country.

By Lazo Karapanagiotidis, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at IoT.nxt, a subsidiary of Vodacom Business

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