How AI And IoT Are Powering Disruption In Some Of South Africa’s Key Industries

By Staff Writer, 04 April 2024 – Originally published by TechFinancials.

Separately, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are already driving significant development in industries like manufacturing and banking, but in tandem, the two technologies present powerful opportunities in a wide range of sectors.

IoT, which creates a network of connected devices which communicate with each other in real time, has become a trillion dollar industry, with Statista estimating it will reach over $1.3 trillion in revenue in 2024.

Artificial Intelligence meanwhile has experienced massive growth since the release of consumer facing generative AI programs like OpenAi’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. Bloomberg Intelligence data estimates that the generative AI market alone is poised to reach $1.3 trillion by 2033, from $49 billion in 2022.

Here’s how some leading industries are using the technology, and how they see it developing in the future.


“For now, AI in insurance is all about enhancing efficiencies and processing speeds. Many are experimenting with AI in the insurance claims space and progress is accelerating although it’s early days and the approach is still very much hybrid (with careful human review and intervention required),” says Charlotte Koep, COO of insurance platform Root.

If you’ve ever worn a smartwatch to track your movement for your medical aid or your driving is monitored by your car insurer, you’ve seen where the insurance industry is currently putting the bulk of its IoT focus.

And while Koep says the use of the two technologies together still has some way to go in the industry, “AI is likely to be the edge that IoT has been looking for to actually become useful in insurance, specifically the ability to influence pricing and customisation.”


With vehicles scattered across various geographies at any given time, IoT has already been widely adopted in fleet management globally.

“Being able to see your own vehicles and your sub-contractors’ vehicles all on one screen – regardless of telematics or tracking provider, makes a real difference in the logistics industry,” says Justin Coetzee, CEO of GoMetro.

Fleet optimisation systems are able to collect, aggregate and analyse IoT-enabled hardware from dash and driver cameras and portable tracking units, allowing fleet managers to drill right down into the details of how a vehicle is operating, even down to checking tyre pressure and temperature.


“AI tools, implemented correctly, can feed telephony providers personalised recommendations based on the individual data of a particular customer,” says Euphoria Telecom technical director Nic Laschinger. “This personal touch, along with the ability to more quickly resolve customer queries, can enhance how customers experience the company, building loyalty and trust.”

If a business has a contact centre, he adds, AI tools can analyse call data and provide further insights into things like customer preferences, behaviour, and sentiment. These can then be used to further improve the customer experience.

Contact centres

AI is helping to “supercharge” contact centres, with virtual agents being able to answer queries on multiple platforms, in multiple languages, says CEO of CLEVVA, Ryan Falkenberg.

“AI-powered virtual agents can increasingly automate sales, service and support conversations unassisted. This means the volume and type of calls human agents will be asked to field are changing dramatically,” he says.

“IoT, meanwhile, has the potential to lower call volumes simply because devices can increasingly self-solve (lowering the requirements for service related queries),” Falkenberg says.

In the future, this may offer proactive customer service solutions with IoT allowing smart objects to communicate problems directly to the manufacturer- maybe even helping to prevent issues before they even occur.


“The fusion of AI and IoT represents not just a technological convergence but a renaissance in education,” says David Morgan, Head of Learning at Edtech startup Mindjoy.

Despite some apprehension due to plagiarism and the possibility of students turning in AI-generated work, Morgan says AI is a valuable tool for both teachers and learners. Already learners using the technology are experiencing an “unprecedented leap in learning engagement” and teachers are able to improve their skills and expand their impact.

The adoption of IoT in education has been spotty- largely because of the costs associated with hardware which could quickly become obsolete.

“Where IoT is finding its stride within the educational sector lies in commercial applications—smart lighting, and efficient heating and cooling solutions are transforming school environments by reducing operational costs without sacrificing the quality of service,” he says.


AI is increasingly being used in talent recruitment and talent management, says Niclas Thelander of talent-on-demand platform Outsized.

Although its uptake in the sector in South Africa has been gradual, Thelander says once the pace of adoption starts to accelerate, AI use in the sector will grow exponentially.

“We are edging closer to that moment,” he says.

“We are already using generative AI to improve efficiencies in areas like marketing, and in scoping project requirements, but AI’s biggest impact in the sector will likely be in better matching talent skills to client demands.”

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