School of Engineering


Dr Ernest Bhero introducing the Simio software to his students.

Software License Grant Awarded to Engineering Lecturer and Students

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been awarded a R200 000 licensing grant by Simio LLC for the use of the latter’s simulation software which will aid in data simulation for researchers.

Simio is an industry-recognised simulation software that lets you construct 3D models from a top-down 2D view. Most other simulation packages are built on outdated 2D technology that is limiting and less efficient. While this may not seem important to the average person, it saves valuable time and money for researchers and students.

Advocate Ernest Bhero is one such researcher who is currently using the Simio software in his doctoral research. ‘My work’s aims to determine the optimal use of a mix of technologies that would improve the efficiency of cross-border trade corridors in sub-Sahara Africa,’ he explains.

Part of his research examines Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technologies.  Using the software, he was able to simulate different scenarios to determine an optimal mix of transit technologies.

The results of the simulation indicated that by using a combination of technologies (lead by RFID), it is possible to reduce average border transit time (all cargo) by about 82%. Advocate Bhero is pleased with the impact the software has had on his work. ‘Simio is a powerful simulation software, which enables shorter development time and it provides a rich set of results.’

Bhero is also a Computer Engineering Lecturer and feels that the software will be very helpful to his students. ‘I am keen to introduce Simio to our Engineering students sometime in the first semester of 2018.’

Highly specialised software like Simio can come with costly licensing fees that are not within a student’s budget. To make their software more accessible, Simio LLC has awarded Advocate Bhero with a licensing grant valued at over R200 000. This will allow the software to be installed on seven computers that will run simulations for student research until mid-2019.

‘We are grateful to Simio LLC for providing us with a license grant and opening doors for our students to conduct industry-led research,’ Bhero said.  Through this grant, Simio LLC has invested in UKZN’s students who are sure to repay the grant with groundbreaking research.

Words: Sashlin Girraj