The Internet of Things (IoT) is a fast-emerging ecosystem of IP-connected devices with the potential to deliver significant business benefits valued at trillions of dollars in the coming decade across industries. Organisations can use IoT to drive considerable cost savings by improving asset utilisation, enhancing process efficiency and boosting productivity. More importantly, IoT-driven innovations are expected to increase return on R&D investments, reduce time to market, and open up additional sources of revenue from new business models and opportunities.
IoT is driven by a combination of forces, including the exponential growth of smart devices, a confluence of low-cost technologies (sensors, wireless networks, big data and computing power), pervasive connectivity and massive volumes of data. Even though IoT offers huge value potential, organisations must overcome key challenges, such as lack of interoperable technologies and standards, data and information management issues, privacy and security concerns, and the skills to manage IoT’s growing complexity.
The Internet of Things is all about connected life. We are witnessing that new-age gadgets have integrated internet accessing capabilities by hooking them into wired or wireless internet connection. These gadgets are designed for machine 2 machine communication, and simultaneously also utilise the connectivity with smartphones, tablets and other devices for additional functionality. The data from such devices is shared over the telephonic network and accessed by smartphone and tablet apps.
Countries such as China, US, Germany, and European Union have the highest penetration in the IoT space with Malaysia, Korea, and Japan falling in the mid range. In India, the Prime Minister’s vision of smart cities and digital India will leverage IoT to bring about the changes in addressing and solving problems that large cities are facing in becoming smart. Issues such as transportation system, parking, lighting, waste management, water management, women safety etc are areas which are of top priority. We will need sensors at strategic points to collect data, application to analyse data and analytics to ensure quick decision making. Digital infrastructure is expected to create huge opportunities for technological companies across the verticals and in key applications within smart cities, smart health systems, and smart transportation.
In India, technology visionaries and several startups are flooding the market with smart devices with the intent of taking this to the next level. It is not only government but more so businesses which can reap many benefits by using the IoT ecosystem. For example manufacturers can remotely monitor the condition of equipment and look for indicators of imminent failures like vibration, temperature, or pressure outside normal limits. This means that the manufacturer has to make fewer site visits, employees can devote time on other critical issues thereby reducing fixed and variable costs. For the customer it means less disruption, increased uptime, and ultimately higher satisfaction. Taking this IoT to the next level, manufacturers can offer price-per-use, inclusive of all hardware, installation, and servicing.
IoT is already heralding transformation across industries and it will bring about significant changes in the coming years. IoT can help organisations utilise their business infrastructure and assets in innovative ways to offer new services and deliver additional revenue. Moreover, deriving meaningful information from the huge volumes of data that IoT produces can improve decision-making and enable proactive, predictive insights.
There are many advantages of incorporating IoT into our lives, which can help individuals, businesses, and society on a daily basis. For individuals this new concept can come in many forms including health, safety, financial and every day planning. The integration of IoT into the healthcare system could prove to be incredibly beneficial for both the individual and the society. A chip could be implanted into each individual, allowing for hospitals to monitor the vital signs of the patient. IoT can also function as a tool that can help people save money by making home appliances communicate in an energy efficient way.
IoT has innumerable opportunities and provides innovative services that can be offered using smart devices, machines and products. Organisations can benefit from new revenue streams generated by new business models and services, as well as reduced time to market and increased returns from their R&D investments. Today’s manufacturers face extraordinary challenges in the form of rigid specifications, tight timelines and even tighter budgets. This sector also includes asset tracking of large industrial equipment and the monitoring and control of factory assets. Analog sensors, for instance, are used to measure real-world conditions and process control systems measure performance analysis and control of manufacturing.
India has its own cultural, market and structural challenges those that need to be overcome for successful implementation of an IoT ecosystem. Policy guidelines need to be amended for the IoT eco system to be implemented. The IoT value chain in India is disconnected and fragmented which needs to be amended. There is also a shortage of component players which is a key hindrance for design, testing and development of IoT products in India. All these challenges are now being taken up by the government and new guidelines are being implemented to take IoT to the next level. For governments vision of “Smart Cities and Digital India” to be successful, it has no choice but to overcome the challenges of setting up an IoT ecosystem in a huge continent called India.
The writer is country manager, Telit India.