Internet of things (IoT) has become increasingly visible and is growing at a phenomenal speed these days. The sensor technologies that make things “smart” are only one part of IoT. However, connecting all these devices is what turns isolated pockets of technology into a network that generates and pools data in ways that lead to valuable insights. In the era of internet revolution, communication services have treated their network providers as little more than a “dumb network,” just providing bandwidth. The IoT revolution with its strong, secure communication links offers telecom providers an opportunity to not only play a larger role but to create new value.
IoT comes with the concept that everything around should be electronically integrated and interconnected, which is all about gathering and sharing of data. Things such as smartphones, smartwatches, smart cars and smart homes are all on the rise, making the world around us unambiguously “smart”. The rise of smart and connected things from wearable activity trackers to connected cars to the electrical grid allows companies to compete not only on the functionality and performance aspect of their products and services but also on the information created by the use of these products or services.
Telecommunications is arguably the hub of IoT. Technology around us is communicating and helping us gather and share information and these technologies are evolving and making older technologies outdated.
The Indian government plans to develop 100 smart cities in the country. It has earmarked R7,060 crore in the current budget where IoT would play a key role in developing such cities. This could lead to a quick expansion of IoT in the country. Also, the launch of the Digital India programme by the government aims at transforming India into a digital empowered society and knowledge economy which will provide the required impetus for development of the IoT industry in the country. The various initiatives proposed under the Smart City concept and the Digital India programme to set up a digital infrastructure in the country would provide a boost to the IoT ecosystem. IoT offers avenues for telecom operators and system integrators to significantly boost their revenues, which in turn results in fast adoption of IoT applications and services. Apart from direct IoT applications, the IT industry has an opportunity to provide services, analytics and applications related to IoT.
IoT will continue to have a massive influence on consumer and enterprise business models and on human behaviour patterns, supporting a move from owning assets to renting assets on the consumer side, and for businesses to move from selling products to offering services. The machine-to-machine (M2M) market is estimated to have generated $7.1 billion revenue in 2015. As per GSMA (GSM Association), the business impact of connected life is expected to be $4.5 trillion by 2020 for the global economy. The widening scope of M2M is seen in sectors such as healthcare, education, auto, agriculture, security, surveillance, etc. Telecom is the core backbone for all these technologies to be successful.
The mid-’90s gave the telecom industry the internet which gave the next big push to the industry. Now IoT is the next major trend that will impact the industry, with connected devices playing a major role. India is at the apex of a digital revolution where it requires a regulatory impetus to realise this vision. Although India aspires to become a digital economy ensuring connectivity across the length and breadth of the country, the blues of the telecom industry are hindering its true potential. In this time frame, creation of an investor friendly environment is one of the principal requirements for innovation and progress in the telecom sector.
The author is country head, Telit India