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Jasco-sponsored Telkom CoE student talks residential energy management at SATNAC 2016

17 November 2016

At the recent SATNAC conference held from the 4th to the 7th of September at Fancourt in George, Western Cape, South Africa, young University of Cape Town student, Nataizya Sikasote, presented a paper on “Enabling Scalability in an Energy Management System”.  Sponsored by Jasco, this bright mind hopes to make a positive contribution to the power industry by changing the way energy services are delivered to consumers.

Sikasote, a native Zambian, is currently studying toward a Master of Science degree in Electrical engineering, specialising in telecommunications. As part of his studies, he is focused on how machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and how the Internet of Things (IoT) can assist consumers and utility providers in managing energy across the electrical grid. His presentation at SATNAC focused on energy management for the smart home through the implementation of an energy management agent on a virtual residential gateway. In it, he suggests the use of an application to monitor the number of virtual gateways instantiated on the cloud, allowing for utility providers to efficiently manage and scale the provision of resources.

“I have a particular interest in machine-to-machine communication and IoT, and how these can be applied to the increasing energy problems facing many Southern African countries,” says Sikasote. “I believe that the solution lies within the better management of energy, made more possible by emergence of Smart Grids, Smart Cities and Cloud virtualisation. Energy management systems are a step towards more efficient and cooler electrical grid systems, which would bring Africa closer to realising smarter service delivery.”

For me, attending SATNAC 2016 was a wonderful opportunity, and I am grateful to Jasco for sponsoring my attendance. Events like SATNAC encourage networking and the exchange of many different ideas with many interesting and diverse people. Because this year’s focus was on unlocking the Internet of Things, I felt it was particularly relevant to my line of interest and I am honoured to have had the opportunity to share my own ideas with peers and industry leaders alike,” adds Sikasote.

Jasco has been an industry partner of the Telkom CoE at UCT for almost a decade, helping to address a critical skills gap and further higher education in South Africa. Through their corporate sponsorship, Jasco provides assistance in funding skills development in broadband technologies and telecommunications engineering. Through this sponsorship, students at the CoE are empowered to attend events such as SATNAC as well as conduct the research required to complete their degrees. In addition, the Centre is able to sponsor global industry experts to impart insight into worldwide trends and technologies.

“Initiatives such as this one by Jasco and Telkom CoE enables students to pursue their interests and drives them to further develop their skills and knowledge,” says Sikasote. “This in turn cultivates an environment of growth in specific industries and lends itself to addressing skills shortages within those industries. I feel that this is important, especially in developing countries that do not yet have the benefits and ready infrastructure of first world technology.”

“Jasco is committed to innovation and sustainability in the local telecommunications market, and we believe the Telkom CoE is an essential component of developing and retaining key skills within South Africa,” says Mark van Vuuren, COO at the Jasco Group. “The Centre empowers students like Nataizya Sikasote to not only further their education in necessary skills, but to also give them exposure to the real world, allowing them to present their ideas in a forum made up of their peers and industry leaders. Furthermore, it acts as a launch pad for their introduction to key industry players who may offer employment opportunities once their studies are complete. We anticipate great things from Nataizya in the future and will be following his career with interest. With innovative ideas like his, this young man is going places.”