Technology and Policy for the Internet of Things in Africa

21 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2016 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016

See all articles by Martin Saint

Martin Saint

Carnegie Mellon University

Aminata Garba

Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date Written: March 31, 2016

Abstract

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called the 'next Internet,' with the ability to transform how we interact with the physical world on a scale similar to the way the Internet transformed how we interact with each other. As global economic growth increasingly shifts to developing countries, few technology trends hold greater promise or greater challenge for these nations than that posed by the IoT. Enabling and managing the Internet of Things transformation will require innovative policy and regulation, particularly in these developing countries. In this paper we examine a number of key challenges for the development of the Internet of Things in an African context. These include technology, policy, regulation, privacy and security, and capacity development.

Expansion of the traditional Internet has proceeded more slowly in developing countries than elsewhere, constrained by infrastructure, cost, energy availability, technical expertise, and even literacy rates. Similar issues will impact the development of the Internet of Things in Africa, and the proliferation of connected devices will increase the demand on available resources such as bandwidth and network capacity. Despite the many constraints, Africa is in a unique position to craft and apply innovative IoT policy. They are less encumbered by legacy interests, infrastructure, and policy, have lower spectrum utilization, and frequently have centralized governments capable of rapidly adopting and effecting new policies.

By examining some key concepts relating to the IoT in Africa we begin to construct the conceptual framework for further discussion, other research, and for crafting appropriate and flexible policy which advances Internet of Things innovation in developing countries.

Keywords: IoT, ICT, ICT4D, Policy, Africa, Spectrum

Suggested Citation

Saint, Martin and Garba, Aminata, Technology and Policy for the Internet of Things in Africa (March 31, 2016). TPRC 44: The 44th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2757220 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2757220

Martin Saint

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Aminata Garba (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Boulevard de l'Umuganda, 4th Floor Telecoms House
Kigali, 6150
Rwanda

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
313
rank
91,388
Abstract Views
965
PlumX Metrics