Liquid Telecom Taps into Emerging Technologies in a bid to Digitize Africa

Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom Regional CEO of East Africa making a presentation.

Plans are underway to roll out the IoT technology, in partnership with Sigfox, a first in the region.

Liquid Telecom Kenya recently announced that it will be rolling out the first nationwide Internet of Things (IoT) network covering up to 85 per cent of the Kenyan population. To achieve this, the company has partnered with Sigfox, a global IoT service and network provider in 45 countries that has pioneered low cost, low energy consumption, and long range IoT networks.

The IoT relates to the interconnection – via the Internet – of computing devices that are embedded in everyday objects, which can send and receive data at speed. The network will allow objects to be connected – be it cars, soil, animals, sewage lines, street lights or water points among others. If the Wildlife Society for instance wants to track rhinos in a certain conservancy, they can use the IoT network, which is cost-effective. In the same vein, the network can be connected to sewer lines to predict and control the outbreak of cholera.

“By getting this information, individuals and policy makers will be able to make better decisions, be it in the business world or any other field,” says Adil El Youseffi, CEO at Liquid Telecom Kenya.

According to Adil, the introduction of a Sigfox “Low Power Wide Area Network” (LPWAN) means that the cost of connectivity and network roll out will be low making it possible to track large volume of data. The new network runs on the free ISM band 868MHz and will cost Kenyans as little as Sh100 ($1) per year per device or sensor, depending on usage.

Liquid Telecom Kenya is tapping into emerging technologies that are changing the way companies do business at every level and across every function. “We are always looking on how we can bring ICT solutions that can help solve our customers’ challenges and help them tap into available opportunities.”

The company’s expansive fibre network that covers Africa’s fastest-growing economies will play a major role in the IoT roll out. The network currently spans over 50,000 km across borders.

Adil believes that demand for the new technology is there both from the existing and future customers. Reports also indicate that the solutions have been proven to be necessary and have been taken up very fast in other markets.  “As Liquid Telecom, we are happy to be bringing this technology first in the Kenyan market,” he observes. The company has a footprint of 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

There is no doubt that growth in IoT technology is impressive, with experts predicting that there will be 27 billion IoT devices globally by the end of next year.


State-of-the-art data centre

Liquid Telecom Kenya has the largest state-of-the-art data centre that meets international standards. The East Africa Data Centre is among those in east and central Africa certified by the prestigious Uptime Institute in the United States. Adil says that the Tier III Certification is proof that it delivers 100 per cent uptime in its electricity supply, cooling and IT systems.

Additionally, the company has been running the widest network in the country for over 10 years, allowing it to have a strong position in the market.

We also try very hard to ensure we always have our customer on our mind, emphasizing on their needs and making sure we deliver to such needs not only from an operational point of view, but also looking into their future,” avers the CEO.

Furthermore, Liquid Telecom has a strong and appreciated brand name, and it’s endeavoring to live up to that position. “The assets, the brand name and customer focus are our three main strengths,” says Adil.

Biggest cloud player

Liquid Telecom is the largest player in the cloud computing space. “Our aim is to drive our customers’ digital transformation. They are demanding more and more cloud services since they see the benefits.”

Cloud services allow customers to focus more on their core business. They also increase flexibility as customers are not required to invest in hardware. The company has partnered with Microsoft, and through Office 365, it is able to offer office applications and other productivity services that are cloud enabled, allowing customers to work smarter.

“Over the last 18 months, we have endeavored to offer state-of-the-art cloud solutions. Africa’s cloud is liquid, and that makes me feel we are in a position to provide cloud services to businesses of all sizes,” notes Adil.

Network security

With the increasing number of attacks on corporate information systems via hacking and viruses, current world businesses are even more in need of protecting their network and services. According to Adil, Liquid Telecom takes network security seriously. “We are not in the business of a one-time transaction, but our customers are there for the long run. We have to make sure they are satisfied with our services and that their data is secure.”

That is proven by the fact that the company’s data centre has not only received the Uptime Institute certification, but it’s also ISO certified.

The Microsoft cloud services, which Liquid Telecom is bringing into the market, are also known for their resilience in security. In addition to this, the company has designed its own security solutions that have been received very well in the market.

Emerging technologies

Customers are currently looking for more flexibility and high bandwidth in terms of IT solutions and connectivity respectively. People are for instance seeking for fast internet connectivity, which will offer more efficiency for their businesses. Additionally, they want to run most of their applications online or on the cloud, which must be secured and redundant. In this regard, Liquid Telecom endeavors to remain ahead of competition by offering relevant cloud services to its customers.

With the most extensive network in sub-Saharan Africa, the company offers very competitive bandwidth, in terms of pricing and fast connectivity. “When a business gets a certain bandwidth from us, it is fully dedicated to them; as opposed to selling it to several other people. This originates from our efforts to offer quality and reliable services to our customer base,” he concludes.