Safaricom’s innovation arm has always tried to solve a lot of local issues, and has, for the most part, met that goal. A new development from the carrier aims to showcase its hand in the Internet of Things (IoT), which is an advanced and modern automation and analytics system that exploits networks, big data, AI and sensor, among other modern IT terminologies and technologies to deliver complete systems for a product or service.
Safaricom, which has an entire division that is dedicated to smart things (besides Alpha whose future is still unknown because the carrier now has a history of axing parts of underperforming products and services) and their associated services, has partnered with Kenya Breweries to connect and enhance their refrigerators and coolers in the country. As said, the partnership will see the operator push its IoT agenda in a market that is just starting to appreciate the benefits of the technology.
The new coolers and fridges will be provided to vendors and distributors for free. They will be equipped with sensors that will then gather and exchange critical data for helping KBL access gainful insights to drive and address consumer demands in the market. Think of it as a smart fridge that is connected to the internet and gives you detail about your foods such as their temperature levels and ability to adjust settings remotely and so forth.
“This project will also enable us extend our capability to track and invest in coolers, and we hope that our existing products and innovations will reach consumers with minimal cost, delays, and wastage,” says Jane Karuku, Managing Director.
“This solution will transmit various data to a platform that generates business insights that will assist KBL to optimize the coolers,” added Ruth Okuthe, Safaricom Chief Enterprise Business Officer.
Distributors can pinpoint the location of their assets using the technology. They can tell if those assets are in use or otherwise, whether drinks are stored under optimal temperature and if a cooler’s door has been opened, among other many features.
So far, 2000 coolers have been connected.
The future may also see Safaricom use IoT for smart water metering and animal tracking. All IoT functions leverage Safarocom’s 4G network that should be in every town before the end of 2019.
The Brewery has also partnered with the carrier to push for cashless payment systems among vendors, especially those who transact via M-PESA.