CommsCloud: The partnership accelerating Africa’s IoT rollout

A partnership between CommsCloud, an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider and floLIVE, creator of the world’s first and largest hyperlocal global cellular network, is set to rapidly accelerate the rollout of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in Africa.

Dozens of industries across Africa stand to benefit from incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, from agriculture to mining and manufacturing. For large parts of the continent, however, connectivity issues make reaping those benefits difficult.

According to Rony Cohen, Head of Strategy and Business Development at floLIVE, one of the underlying causes behind the connectivity struggles faced by IoT rollouts on the continent to date is the legacy mobile network operator (MNO) infrastructure it has traditionally relied on.

“MNO infrastructure has primarily been built for voice and data, and not optimised for IoT,” he says. “With this in mind, it was essential to find a solution that would sidestep MNO legacy infrastructure and find a multi-operator SIM solution that was truly modern.”

CommsCloud and floLIVE have developed a solution to this problem, which also has significant potential for these self-same MNOs, which have historically relied on legacy, consumer-oriented platforms. According to Cohen, MNOs are now seeking advanced, cloud-based solutions that will not only meet enterprise requirements but make their IoT divisions profitable.

“MNOs are looking for ways to move away from an over-reliance on roaming agreements, which do not suit all IoT use cases and may be challenged by the wide eSIM adoption,” he says.

As more and more devices are launched with eSIM capability, it will only become more important to provide cross-border functionality without having to rely on roaming, which is untenable across much of the continent.

“In Africa, IoT customers have been searching for solutions to support cross-border business intelligence, looking to achieve the same visibility when roaming outside of South Africa for example, or keeping costs low as they expand across Africa,” says Peter Walsh, Managing Director at CommsCloud. “With the rise in IoT, including logistics, assets and livestock tracking, access control and anti-theft use cases, the need for coverage and visibility cross-border is even more essential.”

The companies’ solution uses floLIVE’s multi-international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) SIM cards, which allow customers to obtain local coverage for their devices anywhere in the world, via its global alliance that comprises more than 15 local MNOs, including tier-1’s (e.g. Telefonica, China Telecom).

Through a single SIM card and one SKU, all devices connect locally, ensuring high performance with no coverage gaps when crossing borders. This is augmented by satellite connectivity when cellular coverage is not available.

Behind the scenes, customers have one connectivity management platform for seamless SIM card management. The platform provides access to the world’s largest cloud-based IoT infrastructure, with a presence on five continents, and around-the-clock technical support.

Clients also have access to advanced business intelligence tools to ensure that each role and player in the business gets data-driven insights to enhance their ability to monitor and manage the complete IoT ecosystem. These include trends, hardware details, APN traffic, device uptime, cost containment, optimisation opportunities and client-specific metadata, rules, thresholds and alerts.

“With floLIVE we’ve been able to launch a low-cost connectivity solution across the whole of Africa,” says Walsh. “We can offer Remote SIM Provisioning to our customers so they can switch out operators where necessary to keep costs low, and allow them to scale their IoT businesses, with all the right billing tools to ensure visibility and control. We check all the boxes that our competitors don’t.”

Customers which have already adopted the solution have seen significant benefits too. One asset-tracking company operating in over 25 African countries was experiencing intermittent connectivity issues using local SIMs. Since switching to the solution two years ago, it has achieved 99% uptime across its entire fleet. Another customer monitoring critical infrastructure saw a 30% reduction in downtime-related costs, resulting in a measurable impact on its bottom line.

“As a vertically specialised software development house, we understand the demands companies have on their mobile network operators, and the connectivity challenges they face in deploying software across the continent,” says Steven Sutherland, telecommunications division head at Adapt-IT. “This partnership allows us to offer a more reliable and direct service to companies, because it makes it possible to reach anything that connects to the greater network or to the web. This is particularly important in Africa, where connectivity to data networks is predominantly through mobile networks. This is cutting edge, as Africa is teaching the world how to connect without fixed lines.”

Together, floLIVE and CommsCloud now serve 45 countries and 450 end customers across Africa. With a single platform that provides cellular connectivity, their clients are well-positioned to launch and maintain reliable IoT deployments anywhere on the continent.

By Peter Walsh, MD at CommsCloud

About CommsCloud

CommsCloud is a South African B2B company that serves as a one-stop shop for scaling Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions around the globe. Its client base spans Southern Africa, South East Asia, and Europe.

About floLIVE

floLIVE operates the first and largest global, hyperlocal cellular data network of its kind, based on local POPs in dozens of locations worldwide. With the largest global connectivity library of its kind, we provide centrally managed, localised connectivity for any device, anywhere. Global means no limits on where you do business; local means low latency, high performance, and full compliance. Our network has been designed to comply with the emergence of privacy acts, data regulations and roaming restrictions. Best of all, we provide direct access to our network, that lets you control your connectivity as if you were the carrier. Monitor your devices, access real-time network events and usage, switch operators remotely, and troubleshoot failures ahead of time, so your devices never miss a beat.


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