Nokia and Sedna Industrial IT Solutions have built on the LTE private wireless partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed last year, with a pledge to expand further into southern Africa.
In November of last year Sedna strengthened its partnership with Nokia to become its main value-added reseller (VAR) and systems integrator for Africa in the mining sector, among others, to enable Industry 4.0 applications. This comes as demand for enhanced network solutions grows in Africa thanks to their ability to deliver safe, more efficient, and productive solutions in operational areas above and underground, they said.
“We are progressing significantly beyond last year’s MoU and are accelerating activities, with an upcoming roadshow set for southern Africa where we will showcase the benefits of network and safety advances for African mining and industrial companies,” Anton Fester, MD of Johannesburg-based Sedna Industrial IT Solutions, said.
Gary Conway, Nokia Head of Energy and Mining business for Africa, India, Middle East and China, added: “We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Sedna and are extremely encouraged by the potential in Africa, with demand on the rise for mission-critical solutions, whether fixed and wireless multiservice solutions, 4.9G/LTE, 5G private wireless or secure public networks in remote locations.”
Digital automation in mines has many benefits, ranging from improved worker safety, operational improvements and significantly improved ‘green’ outcomes, the companies say. A Nokia case study shows that the digital automation of a mining truck fleet using a private wireless network led to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption and 15,000 t in CO2 emissions (based on an average mine site with an annual production of 150 Mt).
According to Fester, these solutions and networks are “very suitable” for Africa.
“You can really look after your assets, protect jobs and workers, ensure your mining enterprise stays out of repair shops, gets much better asset usage and mileage – the benefits are endless. This applies across mining but also increasingly into the manufacturing and energy spaces,” he says. “For instance, legacy systems perform several functions across multiple networks, using different infrastructure. We pick up the legacy interface and combine it on a single infrastructure to provide an end-to-end management view of distribution and production.”
Conway said: “LTE private wireless is proving extremely beneficial in the energy sector to improve efficiencies, reduce downtime and faults (80% of Asian utilities are already on this journey with Nokia). This level of automation does not replace jobs but leads to increases in productivity and more opportunities. This is a glass-half-full story in Africa if you consider the demand for more scalable solutions like these, which we are already experiencing. The pioneering use cases have been initiated and it is now about enabling this technology more broadly.”