Developer reveals $3bn plans for a Wakanda-like city in Ethiopia

7 Sep 2018

Image: iurii/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, plans for a Wakanda-like smart city in Ethiopia are revealed, while Cork’s DePuy Synthes gets international recognition.

After the smash hit release of the film Black Panther – chronicling the defence of a hyper-advanced city in a fictional city-state called Wakanda by a superhero king – a smart city developer aims to help build something similar.

According to the Ethiopian News Agency, the country’s government, in partnership with the developer called HubCity Live, will aim to build the $3bn internet of things (IoT) connected city in an area called Bahir Dar in the state of Amhara.

Expected to take up to 10 years to develop, the blueprints were presented during a workshop in the country’s capital of Addis Ababa, including the Ethiopian national and regional governments.

Speaking of Bahir Dar’s potential, HubCity Live Ethiopia’s co-founder, Mikal Kamil, described the region as the “cradle of humanity” and noted “its geographical resemblance with the city of Wakanda in the movie Black Panther”.

When completed, the city will bring various smart technologies and IoT, with the aim of it being a centre for various institutions to undergo developments in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Cork’s DePuy Synthes facility hailed as IoT ‘lighthouse’

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has shone a light on Cork as the home of one of nine ‘lighthouse’ sites for the fourth industrial revolution and specifically IoT.

The Johnson & Johnson-owned DePuy Synthes site in Ringaskiddy develops replacement knee and hip joints for patients. It has been acclaimed for its use of IoT to create advanced machine insights, resulting in lower operating costs and a reduction in machine downtime.

Speaking with the The Irish Times, a spokesperson for the WEF said: “By implementing simple IoT devices across a range of machines that were never intended to ‘talk’ to each other, the DePuy Synthes factory created real-time digital twins of its factory equipment to monitor performance.”

The facility was selected from an initial list of 1,000 manufacturing companies across the world, joining Bosch Automotive in Wuxi, China; and Schneider Electric’s facility in Le Vaudreuil, France.

Car rental giant joins IoT Consortium

The Avis Budget Group responsible for a significant chunk of the world’s car rentals has announced it is to become a member of the IoT Consortium (IoTC).

Given the scope of potential network technologies in the car rental game, the company is looking to expand upon its 2013 purchase of Zipcar, co-founded by former Inspirefest speaker Robin Chase.

“The IoT industry gave birth to today’s ‘internet of transportation’ industry, which offers significant benefits to consumers, cities and mobility companies like Avis Budget Group,” said Arthur Orduña, chief innovation officer at Avis Budget Group.

“From streamlined operations, to better customer experiences and enhanced data, IoT is enabling a revolution in urban mobility, and we’re right at the centre of it.”

So far, the company’s efforts in IoT have resulted in the expansion of Zipcar’s model to allow people pick up a pay-as-you-go car for city and suburban use.

Telematics subscribers to reach 258m by 2023

Staying with autotech, Berg Insight predicts that by 2023, telematics – the technology that allows cars to send large quantities of data at long distances – will reach 258m subscribers.

In doing so, it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31.9pc from 49m subscribers at the end of 2017.

Auto manufacturers have been moving towards greater numbers of embedded IoT technology, with BMW now including hardware as a standard feature in all of its cars, with an estimated 8m equipped.

“There are several connected car services that experience growing demand from stakeholders – including consumers, car manufacturers, governments and various third parties – as awareness of the value of telematics spreads,” said Martin Svegander, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

“Recently, we have also seen GM, Jaguar Land Rover and Hyundai launch in-vehicle commerce platforms that create opportunities for retailers and merchants to connect with consumers.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic