Open post
Developing Durban 2023

Developing Durban 2023

Developing Durban 2023

EOH has successfully partnered with large municipalities and numerous government entities in South Africa for many years, enabling the public sector to offer its private sector and citizen customers services that allow them to be more efficient and productive. EOH’s technology solutions available to the City of eThekwini are designed to put powerful data relating to services and infrastructure in the hands of the City’s decision-makers. “When the relevant data is provided, the City gains important insights into how its services and assets are performing,” says Marius de la Rey, group executive of iOCO Services, a proudly EOH company. “This data will allow the City to understand where it is losing water, where it is gaining and losing revenue, how to efficiently manage and maintain assets like plants, and how to devise an effective roads and highways repair plan.”

De la Rey gives the example of sensors placed on the road to monitor factors like the volume and weight of traffic. “This solution will help the City to determine exactly which roads need to be repaired when and allow it to develop an effective road maintenance plan.”

The Group’s technology solutions work together to help make the City world-class. Online portals provide citizens with an easy way of reporting service interruptions or infrastructure problems like missing road signs or manhole covers, providing the City with important, real-time data on its services and operations on the ground.

Advanced technologies powering catalytic projects

EOH offers the City of eThekwini advanced technologies to power its catalytic projects. As one of the largest ICT groups in Africa, the Group benefits from its working relationship with leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the world and has a wide range of expertise and proprietary products.

“Our partnerships with OEMs give us access to the latest technological developments around the world,” says De la Rey. “Because we have in-depth expertise within our Group, we augment these solutions with our own best-inclass intellectual property.”

The Group’s advanced technology offering includes a digital twin capable of virtually replicating the entire infrastructure estate of the City or a selection of power, road and other infrastructure. The digital twin is powered by data and artificial intelligence programs and allows the municipality to monitor its estate, perform predictive maintenance on its infrastructure and optimise the performance of its assets.

One of EOH’s own technology solutions, the IMQS platform, provides a detailed picture of infrastructure such as cables or pipes that runs underground. The platform indicates to property developers what they will find below the surface of the ground and updates the digital geospatial map with their property development plans. It enables better management and maintenance of City assets by providing the exact geolocation of leaking pipes or other below-surface infrastructure that need to be repaired.

“This EOH solution is a prime example of how we place data in the hands of the right people, from the technician on-site to the person dispatching the repairs team for the City,” says De la Rey. “It goes a long way to making the City smarter, since it sends the team directly to the correct site.”

EThekwini also stands to benefit from EOH’s Scan RF mesh network technology, which will prepare the way for reliably connecting all the port’s devices and systems and making it a seamless, secure and almost entirely automated operation. This would be part of a digital transformation roadmap that the Group offers the City to improve the efficiency of the port and restore its world-class status.

A trusted public sector partner

EOH is a long-standing partner of the public sector, having provided major ICT solutions and services to public sector entities in KwaZulu- Natal, across South Africa and beyond the country’s borders over the past 25 years. Its excellent track record of delivery for the sector includes: security solutions for the City of Cape Town; information technology and payment upgrade solutions in KwaZulu-Natal; water conservation and demand management projects in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng (through its JOAT business); and roads management and specialist engineering support in Namibia. “The Group has developed a full-service municipal offering in the last 20 years, spanning mechanical, electrical, civils, water and environmental technology infrastructure solutions,” says De la Rey. “We provide all the technology infrastructure required for the City of eThekwini’s planned upgrade and development projects, which will bring prosperity to the province and the rest of the country.”

The EOH Group’s technology solutions are bespoke and modernised. Where the City may have outdated IT systems that need to be replaced, EOH can help it to achieve efficiencies by modernising the older systems. “Because the Group is embracing the global trend of offering technology solutions as a service and on a consumption basis, it will replace old systems with more efficient and cost-effective solutions like the cloud, where you only pay for what you use.

“EOH has a dedicated public sector team that understands what a municipality wants and is increasingly providing cities with ICT services based on consumption models. The Group has extensive experience of working with the public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal and is therefore wellpositioned to realise the efficiencies that can be achieved in eThekwini Municipality.”

EOH’s successful partnership with large municipalities is based on its ability to provide tailored, innovative and regulatorily compliant technology solutions and services to forward-thinking cities.

Its offering includes all the technology solutions required for a thriving smart city, including data analytics solutions, scalable infrastructure asset management solutions, connected healthcare and education solutions, electronic security solutions, turnkey power and power management solutions, and renewable energy solutions. In addition to technology infrastructure, EOH offers bespoke application development, data solutions, cybersecurity solutions, and other core ICT products and services.

“EOH is a socially responsible citizen that supplies solutions that are in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution market trends. We believe that strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors in the area of technology support job creation and lead to citizens becoming part of the global workforce ,” says De la Rey.

Smart technologies and engineering solutions

Sustainable growth hinges on the ability to optimise resources and the infrastructure backbone that serves communities and economies.

NEXTEC’s Digital Infrastructure services are designed to seamlessly integrate physical systems with digital technologies to create intelligent, resilient and high-performance systems. Areas that they specialise in include water, power, connectivity, as well as building technology, logistics and asset management.

Hilton Baartman, Managing Director at GLS Consulting, a subsidiary of NEXTEC (a proudly EOH company), expands on the Group’s smart technologies and engineering solutions.

Open post
NEXTEC on Building African Smart Cities

NEXTEC on Building African Smart Cities

NEXTEC on Building African Smart Cities

Sean Bennet is Group Executive for NEXTEC, an entity of the EOH group. We discuss how NEXTEC helps in building smarter African cities.

Ask how you can collaborate with Future Cities Africa

Listen or watch to understand:

  • Sean's definition of a Smart City in the African context.
  • How cities can better leverage technology to make cities smarter, enable economic transformation and help make cities more inclusive.
  • South Africa's world class connectivity.
  • Lack of efficient digital infrastructure in secondary cities/towns and townships, what is currently holding back progress and what success will look like.
  • How blockchain could overnight make corruption virtually impossible and give the world renewed confidence in the African continent.
  • One thing Sean would change if he had a magic wand
  • Progress expected in the Smart City space over the next few years.

About Sean Bennett

Experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in a wide variety of sectors most recently the industrial, banking and mining industry. Currently turning around a multi disciplinary set of businesses (NEXTEC) including improving profitability by R1bn in last 18 months. 30 years expertise in turnaround management, strategy, acquisitions and disposals, negotiation, communication, running listed businesses, IPOs, financing, accountancy, debt restructuring.


Open post
DNA structure made of various abstract objects

Intelligent infrastructure needs smart interconnectivity

One of the most significant milestones in modern history was the unveiling of the world’s first programmable digital computer in 1945, coined ENIAC. Although, basic in today’s terms, it represented a major leap forward for digitalisation and the power of interconnectivity via the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The path of change is now constant, so staying ahead of the IoT curve is essential to remain competitive and relevant as smart technologies continue to positively transform society,” Bennett explains.

Within South Africa, NEXTEC’s digital transformation thrust is spearheaded by its Infrastructure Solutions and People Solutions platforms. The Infrastructure Solutions business line comprises two key service clusters, namely Digital Infrastructure and Infrastructure Consulting. The latter has two main offerings which includes environmental, sustainability and social-impact consulting solutions and the multi-disciplinary engineering consulting solutions.

NEXTEC’s Digital Infrastructure services are designed to seamlessly integrate physical systems with digital technologies to create intelligent, resilient, and high-performance systems. Areas that they specialise in include water, power, connectivity, as well as building technology, logistics and asset management.

Bennett believes the people solutions combined with the technology offering creates a unique proposition allowing clients to move forward into a more technologically-enabled age. For example, having the ability within the business to provide solutions that use technology to lower accidents rates. In parallel, People Solutions help clients respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by digital transformation in terms of recruitment, learnerships, training, and functional client outsourcing of non-core processes.


“We refer to our holistic services as NEXTOPIA, the connected and increasingly digitalised world we imagine for our clients and their customers,” Bennett explains.

“Technology and IoT provide amazing opportunities to raise socio-economic standards through improved service delivery, smart infrastructure and intelligent business processes, which for any country is essential to remain globally competitive,” Bennett continues.

Every nation is at different stages in the digitalisation journey. Cities like Dubai and Singapore are at the cutting-edge of the so-called Smart City evolution, spurred on by robust GDP growth, IoT investment and adoption, and a highly advanced education system. South Africa still has some way to go to match this, but it’s a work in progress.

The Smart City concept enables the capturing of big data to analyse, interpret, predict, manage, and model every conceivable process via Digital Twining – a virtual rendition of the real world. Within the public sector arena there are far reaching benefits for the management and refinement of all social infrastructure and related activities like education and healthcare.

“Our business model focuses on providing practical solutions that are scalable, improve operational efficiencies, lower costs and boost profitability, and includes close working relationships with our OEM technology partners. For public sector clients, key deliverables include improved asset utilisation, enhanced asset security, and better service delivery,” Bennett expands.

Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (Ai), the large volumes of data captured via 5G devices can be processed with a high degree of speed and accuracy, translating this information into meaningful reports and tasks.

Smart non-revenue water management

An example of a NEXTEC intervention is the use of smart systems to combat non-revenue water (NRW) losses. Currently, some 40% of South Africa’s portable water is unaccounted for due to one or a combination of factors, namely leaks, apparent losses (such as illegal connections and faulty meters), uncollected billing (including non-payment), and inaccurate billing.

NEXTEC’s water solutions include network analysis and master planning, leak detection, and the matching of consumption to billing data. Recent case studies include a project for a large provincial government to identify and then reduce leaks.

Asset management

Within the infrastructure space, predictive and preventative maintenance interventions ensure well-executed services. However, this is dependent on municipalities ensuring that they have an accurate and up-to-date asset management register as a basis for budget provision and maintenance scheduling. Smart technologies allow municipalities to get ahead of the curve, a prime example being the backlog on road maintenance in South Africa.

Poor road surfaces are a constant, low-level drag on the economy, with potholes becoming almost endemic. And the generally reactive approach to fixing them isn’t working. It simply delays the inevitable deterioration and rebuild. But there’s a smarter approach.

“We have technology at NEXTEC which allows you to look at the cracks in the pavement, and predict where potholes will arise in six months,” says Bennett. “Identifying a crack in the road through image analysis and machine learning is low-cost, and then allows asset owners to fix cracks before they become potholes, at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience to traffic.”

Award-winning project

A recent example of a comprehensive asset management solution is a NEXTEC project working with one of the provincial governments which is responsible for managing over 2 800 facilities, including schools, hospitals, clinics, office buildings, depots, parks, and infrastructure.

NEXTEC’s team is developing an Infrastructure Asset Management Framework and Asset Data Model aligned with industry standards and complex technical requirements. The outcome was that communication and governance improved; management was more effective; long-term forecasting could inform strategy, budgeting, and resource allocation; and the department was placed in a position where it had better control over outcomes.

Smart buildings and warehouses

Energy efficiency gains is another focus area, both from an environmental, demand side management and cost perspective, given the recent escalation in electricity tariffs.

In this respect, NEXTEC’s building management solutions have been able to pass on significant efficiency gains for clients with power usage reductions of up to 35%, and a one to three-year payback on the initial technology investment.

NEXTEC also has a division that specialises in the design of intelligent warehouses and distribution centres. Our approach focuses on driving operational efficiency through the design of optimised process flows and the application of fit-for-purpose mechanised and automated materials handling systems, overlaid with appropriate IT systems. Further efficiencies are gained through the design of a building and site envelope that supports the internal operations and flows, enabling the distribution operation to achieve its required throughput. Distribution centres today have a key role to play in environmental sustainability and supporting ESG initiatives - our team has this at the centre of their design approach.

Smart security

An overriding concern for municipal asset owners is the protection of infrastructure from theft and vandalism. This is a serious problem in South Africa – exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns. Railway networks and electrical infrastructure were among the worst affected.

In response to these and other challenges, NEXTEC has available a wide spectrum of smart security solutions. “It’s far more cost effective and efficient to have drones, cameras and heat sensors monitoring kilometres of railroad and electrical cable than to have people patrolling them. The millions saved could be better spent on other priority areas like education,” Bennett asserts.

Integrated solutions

NEXTEC’s services are frequently integrated. A recent example is a large Government agency contract secured by NEXTEC for an integrated building management system, digital twinning, and security solution.

The Government agency required a holistic solution for their facility – integrating everything from perimeter control to CCTV, access control, and alarms – as well as a building management solution that linked their IoT and critical assets, including laboratories and data centres, in a utility-efficient manner.

NEXTEC’s system design enabled the agency to access a digitised 3D graphical representation of their buildings’ critical systems. As a result, the agency can now proactively monitor, maintain, and change conditions on their hydraulics, generators, HVAC, and laboratories via smart devices.

Thinking ahead

Thanks to the progressive roll-out of its 5G network, South Africa’s access to data, communications technology and connectivity is now on par with the world’s best. This is further supported by large-scale local investments in data centres.

“We have the power of connectively in our hands. Now we need to embrace it to shape South Africa’s future socio-economic landscape in a more coherent and collaborative manner. It’s an exciting mind shift, and an opportunity to catch-up and keep pace with digital trends that promote sustainability,” Bennett concludes.

“We refer to our holistic services as NEXTOPIA, the connected and increasingly digitalised world we imagine for our clients and their customers.”

Open post

Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme

Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme

Socio-economic development support and opportunities enabling young women to become economically active.

Download our information brochure.


The Challenge

Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) throughout South Africa face unprecedented socio-economic challenges. Girls between 15 and 24 are especially marginalized and vulnerable.

Apart from high levels of HIV, teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence, these young women struggle to complete schooling or further their studies and lack employment or entrepreneurship opportunities.

Based on the need to create a sustainable livelihood for these young women not in employment, not in education and not in training (NEETs), the Economic Strengthening Livelihood Programme (ESL) aimed to develop skills, offer career guidance and access to work and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The Scope

The funded project provided socio-economic development support and opportunities to 425 AGYW in Sub-District C of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The support enabled the targeted group to become economically active and to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves after completing the programme, whilst supporting these young women during programme implementation

NEXTEC’s Proposed Solution

Livelihood Skills, Opportunities and Support

Through the collaboration of NEXTEC People Solutions (MBAT), BeyondZero, NACOSA and MIET Africa the solution consisted of:

  • Livelihood Skills Training
  • Creating Livelihood Opportunities
  • Providing Livelihood Support

The Solution

  • Livelihood Skills Training NEETs attended six days of classroom-based, facilitated skills development training covering the subject areas of Work Readiness, Financial Skills and Computer literacy.


  • Livelihood Opportunities NEETs were streamed into various livelihood options including work placement, internships, education or entrepreneurship. On presentation of a Business Plan, participants received mentoring and small grants.


  • Livelihood Support NEETs in employment were supported with vouchers for transport for interviews, transport to work, food, clothing, Early Childhood Development support and given matched savings.

The Benefits

  • Livelihood Skills Training: The target of 425 was exceeded by 5 % and 445 delegates were trained.
  • Livelihood Opportunities: 205 delegates were placed in work placement opportunities, 5 in internships, 148 provided with additional education interventions and 34 entrepreneurs were capacitated through mentoring and small grants.
  • Livelihood Support: 325 delegates were provided with food and clothing vouchers, 322 with transport to work and 188 with transport to interviews. 134 who saved, were given matched savings and 72 women provided with Early Childhood Development vouchers.


Overall, the most important underlying benefits of the programme was that it impacted positively on participants’ lives and made a difference in the broader community.

About Us -MBAT

MBAT is committed to people development and offers a range of training and development solutions that are applicable across all industries.

Managing large-scale training related projects, implementing learnerships and delivering short courses is our core business.

About MBAT
Open post

FREE TO READ | Project management set for global boom

Picture: 123RF/DOTSHOCK

Picture: 123RF/DOTSHOCK

The value of project-oriented economic activity is likely to reach $20-trillion in the next decade, with sub-Saharan Africa alone  seeing a 40% growth in project management employment opportunities.

By 2027 as many as 88-million people globally will be working in project management, a Harvard Business Review article predicts, while the global economy will need 25-million new project professionals by 2030, estimates the Project Management Institute.

This growth is being driven by rapid change and the need for greater agility.


Open post

A revolution in mining is being driven by technology

By Sean Bennett: Head of NEXTEC

Mining is undergoing a fundamental and permanent shift. Advanced technology has begun to permeate mining operations, and this trend is only going to accelerate.

The shift is driven by clear needs within the industry, primarily the need to improve safety and reduce risk. Alongside this reduction  in risk, technology serves to enhance productivity and efficiency. The ability of miners to enhance safety and productivity relies to a significant extent on one quality: knowledge.

Knowledge is safety

Knowledge – of environments, of risk, and of humans’ relationship to risk – has always been a precious commodity in the industry. The expression “canary in a coal mine” originates from an early and rudimentary form of air-quality measurement technology. Canaries, which are more sensitive to dangerous gases than humans, would be carried into mines. If the canary passed out or died it was an indication that humans, too, were inhaling dangerous gases, and should leave the area immediately.

Mining remains an exceptionally dangerous activity. Large machinery, massive weights, high energies and often remote operations pose a vast array of potential threats. The more information we have about mining environments, operations, equipment and risk, the more safely and productively we can work. In a high-consequence area such as a mine-site, knowing exactly where your people, vehicles, equipment and zones of danger are, and their condition, allows you to effectively manage risk and consequence.

We have come a long way from carrying a bird in a cage down a mineshaft. Today we can closely monitor the position and relationship between hundreds of pieces of equipment, thousands of humans, and various zones of risk or potential danger. People are equipped with wearables – smart watches, tags, or backpacks – which broadcast their location, monitor them for signs of danger, fatigue or injury, and allow them to instantly request assistance.

Vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance systems that instantly broadcast an alert if they are likely to cross paths with or come too close to people or objects. Mine zones are equipped with multi-modal sensors that analyse atmospheric chemicals, noise and potential energy, for example, in order to constantly update risks and threats. Sensors also allow for surveillance and the reduction in theft.

We saw the potential of these systems during the coronavirus pandemic, when wearable tags allowed mines to implement systems for contact tracing that were more effective than simple temperature screenings, for example, because they didn’t depend on infected people displaying symptoms. Wearable systems also allow employees to rapidly alert supervisors if they are harassed or threatened by other employees, as well as if they are in danger.

We are rapidly approaching the ultimate goal of operational planning in which every variable with a potential effect on safety and productivity – and their relationships – are analysable in real time.

It all begins with connectivity

None of this would have been possible without breakthroughs in the reliability and effectiveness of connectivity on mining sites. Mining often takes place in remote areas, in the midst of inhospitable terrain. Mining sites are characterised by noise, dust, extremes in temperature, extreme weather events, magnetic fields, and direct lines of sight obscured by millions of tonnes of rock and ore. On top of this, it’s not sufficient for connectivity to work under these conditions sometimes. A second’s delay in the transmission of a signal can mean the difference between life and death.

Advances in connectivity (born in some instances from military and first-responder applications) have incorporated both specific technologies – mesh technology; LoRaWAn protocols; global positioning systems; BlueTooth location engines; etc. – and interprotocol communication that allows these technologies to interact with and support one another to create an unbroken, robust connectivity network that extends across the entire zone of operations, including deep underground.

Generating data

Once we have dependable, effective connectivity established, the next step is to generate useable data. Sensors can monitor dust, noise or CO2 levels, for example. Cameras and microphones can transmit visual and auditory data. Heart rate monitors can transmit data on human health.

But the power of data begins to emerge when it is analysed in real-time by advanced software. Machine learning and AIs can examine data and begin to make predictions about the future. Microphones installed on conveyor belts can identify bearings that are due to be replaced. Slope-monitoring systems can generate alerts if slopes appear unstable. And human-wearable sensors can identify fatigue before it creates safety issues.

The future

The future of technology in mining will be driven by AIs, allowing for ever quicker and more sophisticated data analysis, and an ever-increasing ability to accurately model likely future scenarios.

AIs will also allow robotics to become more autonomous, reducing the oversight role that humans will need to play. We are still many years, if not decades, away from truly autonomous robots in mines, but even robots that are dependent on human controllers have obvious applications in terms of examining dangerous areas or performing dangerous tasks, and are being rapidly adopted throughout the industry.

The evolving human role

Robots are not about to put people out of work, but the nature of work in mining will inevitably change. Technology will reduce human exposure to risk. Dangerous, unpleasant, or unhealthy work will increasingly be done by controlled or autonomous systems. People will increasingly take on supervisory roles. This will require attention from miners in terms of training and talent management. The result will be that humans will be engaged in more stimulating, rewarding and healthier work.

Since the earliest days of mining, an overriding question has been “how do we ensure the safety of people within these exceptional, high-risk environments”? The answer has proven to be real-time knowledge, underpinned by robust connectivity and analysed by intelligent software systems. It’s a tremendously exciting area of technological development, and it has tangible benefits for mining companies and their stakeholders. The result is a mine that serves its employees, reduces risk, and enhances productivity.

Please click on the below link to read the original


Posts navigation

1 2
Scroll to top
error: Content is protected !!