Liquid Telecom Kenya has partnered with Sigfox to roll out an IoT network to at least 85% of Kenya.
"Liquid Telecom Kenya has today announced a partnership with Sigfox to build and deploy a nationwide IoT network covering up to 85% of the Kenyan population," reads part of the press release.
According to Liquid Telecom, this will see them set up "new base stations" that will be connected to their fibre network to "deliver guaranteed reliability and speed." In the end, this should be able to connect sensors from all the different sectors.
"The IoT network will be used to connect sensors across all sectors, including agriculture and fishing, transport and logistics, utilities and energy, heavy industries, retail, and banking and insurance," wrote Liquid Telecom.
Additionally, the network will also be used for "smart cities projects and in wildlife conservation." Once completed, Liquid Telecom Kenya believes that the benefits from all the above will contribute towards the country's Big Four Agenda.
The Big Four Agenda is Uhuru Kenyatta's second transformation agenda that has been narrowed to housing, security, affordable health-care, and manufacturing.
Liquid Telecom's partner, Sigfox, is an IoT services provider with operations in at least 45 countries and have "pioneered low cost, low energy consumption, long range IoT networks."
This move will make Kenya the first country in the region to have a network that supports IoT. "The introduction of a Sigfox 'Low Power Wide Area Network' (LPWAN) is the first in the region," reads part of the press release.
This implies that Kenyans can now be able to "use IoT technology wherever they are" which puts the country in a position to "apply cost-effective local solutions using IoT."
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“We are building an LPWAN that will enable us to connect anything. Be it your car, dustbin, desk, soil, water, parking spot, water tank, street light, manhole, fridge or pet - just name it,” said Joel Muigai, Head of IoT Strategy at Liquid Telecom Kenya.
“This network will allow Kenyans to develop our own homemade solutions for the many unique socio-economic and business challenges we face.”
“For instance, why do we have to wait until a cholera case is reported for us to know there is a cholera outbreak? Why did we have to wait until 11 rhinos were dead for us to know the water was too salty?” asked Muigai.
“With the new network we are building, we can connect our sewer lines and automatically predict when cholera is about to strike, with the exact location and time. We can connect rivers and water points in our parks and monitor the water quality to automatically raise the alarm if specified parameters are exceeded. These and many more solutions can now be a reality in Kenya using this network.”
The new network will cost Kenyans as little as Sh100 ($1) per year per device or sensor, depending on usage.
One important aspect that startups and innovators will find interesting is Liquid telecom's expression of willingness to work with them as they develop and deploy IoT solutions and innovations.
"To further promote development, Liquid Telecom Kenya will be working with incubator hubs and universities to enable students and startups to develop IoT solutions locally."
This will be through initiatives like the one dubbed Go Things.
"As part of its Go Cloud initiative, which is designed to raise awareness, adoption, and usage of cloud-based services amongst startups in Africa, Liquid Telecom will also start a new initiative called Go Things that aims to accelerate IoT adoption in the region."
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This implies the telecommunications group is already contemplating rolling out the network to other regional markets like Uganda.