Gauteng Growth Development Agency

Six innovations putting South Africa at the tech forefront

The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) works to develop the Gauteng economy, develop investment and increase infrastructure. It works to foster and promote the best of Gauteng’s innovation and development, providing the right platform for technology and ideas to flourish into world-class businesses and practices. With the support of the GGDA, and other similar agencies across the country, South Africa’s technology sector is able to thrive and develop new and innovative products, either on their own or in conjunction with other companies across the globe, that are helping put it at the forefront of industry 4.0. Here are just six of the most innovative and exciting technological developments coming out of South Africa at the moment.

1) Aerobotics’ tree diagnosis drones

Aerobotics is a South African agricultural technology (AgTech) company that has developed an early warning smart scouting platform using AI to help farmers identify potential pest and disease issues in tree crops. Last month the company launched five new innovations including a leaf-by-leaf drone scouting application that will fly over trees, detect any problems – diagnosed by running the images through the system’s disease detection database – and send the results via a push notification through the app to the farmer.

2) Comsol to offer long-distance battery-powered IoT capabilities

A new partnership with other technology companies Cisco and NIL will enable Comsol to offer long-distance wireless connectivity for battery powered internet of things (IoT) devices. Comsol will use Cisco’s low power, wide area network (LPWAN) technology to be able to reach its network of wireless and fibre network and enable those businesses to use IoT to connect with their remote devices without significant investment.

3) Xineoh using AI to predict customer behaviour

South African-Canadian start-up Xineoh has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that can predict customer behaviour and which, it claims, ‘allows businesses to out-predict their competition thus allowing them to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction’. The company has begun offering bespoke AI solutions to SMEs whereby its AI’s learning capability is used to match people with products, match inventory with business opportunity, match prices with spending propensity and apparently match people with usage patterns. By doing so it will allow the SME to reduce its unnecessary inventory and maximise its working capital.

4) Swift Vee’s livestock trading app

The Swift Live Stock App, also known as Swift Vee, is a trading platform start-up for livestock. It is bringing industry 4.0 to the livestock trading industry and by offering substantial profit margins it supports sustainable farming with a social impact. Also by facilitating the trading of livestock the app also addresses food and water security which address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 1: Eradicate poverty and hunger. Earlier this year the company was selected as one of 12, and South Africa’s only, start-ups on the continent to participate in Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa programme. It is available on both Android and iOS.

5) FNB cuts out estate agents with mobile app

FNB looks to eliminate estate agents from house buying by launching a new app function that allows customers to list and sell homes to potential buyers who have already qualified for a home loan and been credit checked. The seller and prospective buyer can then negotiate a price and arrange a viewing all through the app’s chat function. The bank currently has eight million properties in its deeds office so sees significant opportunity to become a game-changer in the sector said Raj Makanjee Retail CEO at FNB. To encourage its customers to use the service FNB has offered buyers 50% back in eBucks on their first repayment and 50% off registration fees.

6) Unleashing Cryptocurrency to power solar energy

South African solar company Sun Exchange has partnered with US-based mini-grid developer Powerhive to accelerate universal access to electricity through the use of the crypto-economy. In the partnership, Powerhive receives the funds raised by Sun Exchange through sales of its Sunex digital rewards tokens. This money is used by Powerhive to build solar-powered mini-grids throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. The solar panels on these projects are then sold to Sun Exchange members who then own the cells producing electricity.

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