The continent’s biggest telecom conference and expo attracted even more exhibitors and visitors than last year. The show received a staggering 75% increase in attendance. Firmly established as Africa’s leading telecoms event, AfricaCom gathered more than 4,000 attendees from across the African continent and beyond for two days of contact building, learning and buying.
The speaker line-up represented a “Who’s Who” of those at the top of some of Africa’s most successful and important telecoms companies. A record 100 speakers presented across the two days including Suraj Chaudhry, Head of Business Development for VNL on “Using Solar Power to Deploy Rural Networks in Low Economy Areas” and Mats Nilson, VP of Shyam Networks, who presented “Strategies for Handling the Drastic Increase in Data Transmission Demand.”
VNL’s booth at #B01 was one of the largest and most visible from anywhere on the floor. Taking up 90 sqm, it showcased an actual Village Site deployment configuration.
Solar and other alternative energy-based solutions were available all over the floor, from solar, wind, and hybrid systems to a variety of fuel-cells. It is clear that Africa is poised to be the continent that will deploy and be the testing ground for a number of new green powered technologies in the near future. (Frankly, we’re happy to see all green powered programs move forward, eliminating the case for diesel powered systems in rural areas – period.)
One of the questions we get all the time from visitors at our booth is how individuals will be able to charge their phones in areas with no electricity. At our booth, we showcased a number of solutions from Suntrica out of Finland and IdeaForge from India that use solar, hand cranks and connections to bicycle wheels to create electricity to power mobile phones. We also saw a solar mobile phone or two at other booths.
The bottom line? In our opinion, Africa is at the forefront, with more mobile operators at the testing or deployment stage using non-traditional power sources for their mobile networks. We were glad to be able to present our products to a seasoned crowd of operators already working in the same direction – connecting rural networks in a sustainable and affordable manner that serves the underserved in Africa.