DEAL: Jerry Tao, vice-president of ZTE, professor Eugene Cloete, Stellenbosch University deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and postgraduate studies, and Krishna Chetty, MTN general manager, sign a deal with ZTE. Mu Lin, senior account manager of ZTE, facilitated the signing.  Picture: Ian Landsberg
DEAL: Jerry Tao, vice-president of ZTE, professor Eugene Cloete, Stellenbosch University deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and postgraduate studies, and Krishna Chetty, MTN general manager, sign a deal with ZTE. Mu Lin, senior account manager of ZTE, facilitated the signing. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Deal with Chinese telecoms giant to drive Stellies innovation

By Dominic Adriaanse Time of article published Aug 22, 2017

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An agreement signed between Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, MTN and Stellenbosch University at the Wallenburg Research Centre yesterday is set to be a “win-win”, driving innovation and development while solving real-world problems.

The basis of the two-year agreement stems from an initiative by MTN in establishing their Mobile Intelligence Lab at the university in 2014.

Lab director Thinus Booysen said the research they undertake was geared towards solving problems experienced in everyday life.

“MTN undertook a model where the university was utilised as a research arm and over time we were given the freedom do some amazing things,” said Booysen.

With access to the latest technology, we will be able to make research contributions and create relevant real-world solutions,” added Booysen.

He said one of the benefits of the model he was most proud of was that engineering students would receive experience and skills that better prepared them for the working world.

An initiative created through the lab was a smart geyser controller through which two primary schools were able to save 800000 litres of water or up to R30 000 per month on their water bill.

ZTE vice-president Jerry Tao said working with the university to help in creating innovations and research for ever-changing technology trends made sense.

“We need the university to help us have more innovation with regards to the Internet of Things or IoT (the inter-networking of devices), which is the future of the industry and the world.

“For us this is a win-win, as together with MTN and the university we are providing the Narrowband IoT (a new way of communicating with ‘things’ that require small amounts of data, over long periods, in hard to reach places) , while we have access to the latest research and innovations,” said Tao.

He said ZTE will not just be donating scholarships but on-site training and through an exchange programme for the most talented of engineering students.

MTN network deployment general manager Krishna Pillay said the co-operation programme created opportunity, the biggest being the IoT.

“The ability to connect devices to each other is to create value, efficiency and solve problems going into the future. Through this partnership we are building a foundation and a catalyst and by using this technology build on those principles,” said Pillay.

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