At the Smart Industry Summit, an impressive array of cutting-edge tech solutions took centre stage, featuring speakers from across Africa who shared their valuable insights. Stephen Gitahi, Research Lead and Projects Manager at the Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless networks division of iLab Africa, a research and innovation centre at Strathmore University, illuminated the monetization strategies within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sector.
Gitahi emphasized that IIoT applications transcend mere technology; they revolve around resilience, relaunching, and realizing the untapped potential within our interconnected world. Most importantly, it addresses the fundamental question: “Is the manufacturing sector at a crossroads?”
In the current state of manufacturing, Kenya observed a 2 per cent increase in the first quarter of 2023, marking a decline compared to the 3.8 per cent growth in the corresponding quarter of 2022. It’s vital to recognize that this slowdown is not attributable to the manufacturing sector per se but rather a consequence of other sectors catching up. This shift necessitates a closer examination of IIoT adoption and adaptation. Sustainability emerges as the pivotal focus, with Gitahi underscoring that IIoT solutions must not only be cost-effective but capable of self-sustainability through monetization.
Gitahi’s insights on monetization strategies encompass:
Subscription-based services: Consider a subscription model where individuals pay a predetermined fee to access services within your IIOT ecosystem. This model allows for predicting the number of active subscribers.
Data Monetization: Recognize the inherent value of data. Gitahi suggests that companies can monetize their data by offering analytics and insights to others in their ecosystem or industry. This opens doors to selling valuable insights to other stakeholders.
Productivity gains and cost savings: Gitahi encourages companies to provide their successful IIoT solutions as services to other enterprises. This approach enables them to recoup their investments while sparing others the effort of developing similar solutions from scratch.
Pay-per-use model: Highlight the significance of offering services on a pay-as-you-go basis. This ensures that customers only pay for the resources they utilize, rendering it a flexible and cost-efficient approach.
Licensing and Royalties: Explore the prospect of licensing IIoT architectures to other industry players. This could encompass manufacturers licensing their successful products to competitors, thereby creating a revenue stream through royalties. Additionally, companies can offer consulting services based on their expertise and successful implementations.
Gitahi affirms that these approaches have been effectively implemented in collaboration with Academia, a research and innovation-driven institution. Furthermore, Gitahi introduced an initiative known as “The Forge,” designed to invigorate IIoT innovation and entrepreneurship in Kenya. This program assists startups in transitioning from research to actionable solutions, providing mentorship, training, and access to venture capital.
“We’ve initiated something we call ‘The Forge,’ an initiative undertaken by Strathmore to enhance the IIoT innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya,” Gitahi explained. This initiative illustrates the industry’s commitment to driving IIoT innovation, ultimately positioning the manufacturing sector as a pioneering force in the ever-evolving Smart Industry.
In Steve Gitahi’s remarks, “We inhabit a connected world, a resilient future. Let’s embrace the possibilities, capitalize on the opportunities, and together, let’s forge a manufacturing landscape that leads to innovation.” The strategies he outlines offer valuable guidance for businesses aspiring to leverage IIoT for sustainable growth and success in our interconnected world.