The advent of machine to machine tech underway

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“Firstly, machine to machine [technology], in a way, helps enterprises achieve better efficiencies. It’s probably not going to be impacting a lot in the labour force. It helps companies extract better value from their own operations, but what’s more important is that the analytics that come out of that,” Vodacom Business chief officer Vuyani Jarana told CNBC Africa.

“What I think is material for South Africa and the labour force at large is to track the development of robotics, how that is evolving, and we’re seeing a lot of improvement in robots that are much more intelligent and that are able to deliver services.”

Machine to machine technologies can improve monitoring and productivity not only in business but also in public service.

Jarana added that down the line, from a robotics point of view, current manufacturing work such as car assembly could see significant robotic advancement, as the push for more efficiency in businesses comes into play.

“There’s a lot of possibilities. For example, Africa will be the biggest beneficiaries around the utilities area, in energy, gas, water. Not only does it help customers of utilities get better bills at the end of the month, it helps improve the social impact, it saves energy, reduces wastage for better environmental impact, but also for the operations of the company that run on a machine to machine platform,” said Jarana.

“The intelligence to know exactly where there’s peak demand for energy, water, you’re able to – on a pin-point basis – direct your workforce to go and resolve the issue on board. You save costs, improve customer experience overall. That’s what machine to machine [technology] is about in this era.”

So far, corporates that have latched on to the machine to machine technology has been significantly successful.

“Look at the asset management portfolio led by the tracking of assets [such as] cars. Critically important [is] the intelligence [that] sits on top of that. You’re able to deliver usage-based insurance because you can see what the driver’s behaviour is like. We’re seeing a huge adoption of usage-based insurance that’s all enabled by machine to machine technology,” said Jarana.