IoT and India: The story thus far

Shivani Srivastava
Consultant – Marketing PR and Corp Comm, MoMAGIC Technologies Private Limited

Internet of Things (IoT) is the current buzzword and rightly so with reports and studies talking about $15 billion IoT market in India by 2020 that is next year, accounting for 5% of the global market as per a NASSCOM report. The IoT market is growing not only for India but globally and from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020 translating to around 26 smart objects for every human being on Earth, as per reports by Gartner, IDC, etc. implies huge scope for Internet of Things revolving around five basic areas: Sensor Technologies, Local Processing, Networking Models, Data Science and Predictive Technologies, Machine Learning and Security.

Internet of Things represents a vision in which the Internet extends –embracing everyday objects.  Where physical items are no longer disconnected from the virtual world, but can be controlled remotely and can act as physical access points to Internet Services. Internet of Things just like any other technology advancement is dynamic in nature and has been converging multiple technologies creating new dimensions of services that promise a drastic shift in the quality of day to day living of the people and in the productivity –efficiency of the enterprises.

From the end-user point of view the IoT’s potential applications can deliver solutions that can dramatically improve life- efficiency, security. health, education, connected cars, smart homes, smart retails and many other aspects of daily life. For enterprises, IoT can zero in on solutions that improve decision-making and productivity in manufacturing, retail, agriculture and other sectors.

The key technology factors enabling Internet of Things adoption in India – Sensors, Networks, Standards, Augmented Intelligence and Augmented Behaviour along with need focused innovative IoT solutions hold immense promise for IoT in the coming years for India. Personalization/Customization, Authentication/Verification and wearable’s for better measurement are the potential consumer-focused applications of Internet of Things. Likewise for Industries- IoT applications holding potential are Transportation (Public Transportation, Traffic, Public Bikes), Economy (Tourism, Industry), Health (Automated Medication, Assistance to people, Maintenance of Medical Devices and Failure Detection), Environment (Pollution, Water Supply), Administration (Electronic Identity Device) and Security (Drones, Fire).

The increased benefits of Internet of Things in industries and also at the end consumer level in terms of improved monitoring, better productivity, real-time data monitoring, connected homes, smart lifestyles, enhanced security with real-time connectivity, etc. have made IoT hard to be ignored.  The benefits in sectors such as agriculture, Telcos to use IoT solutions to enhance their operational efficiency by way real-time monitoring – remotely, better management of civic and infrastructural challenges are just some of them to be enumerated.  The list and use cases ofInternet of Things benefits can go on and on and there is already a lot written and talked about on the same.

With the benefits of Internet of Things having been well understood and the push being given by the GOI in terms of Digital India, Make in India, Smart India-Smart Cities project ensuring the impact of IoT reaches right down the tier 2 and tier 3 towns and cities of India, entails lot of opportunity for IoT companies – startups in terms of providing innovative need driven Internet of Things solutions both at the industrial and consumer end.

Be it wearable technology, connected cars, smart grid, smart meters, climate and weather monitoring, industrial IoT or for security and safety purposes, all have immense need and demand as far as India is concerned; however, with the advantages there are certain challenges that need attention. With objects controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure: security, privacy and data being churned and its complexity are concerning issues. The hacking of companies, stolen identities, hijacking of app-connected devices, cars, etc. needs attention than a mindless rush for IoT solutions.

If understood in a layman’s language, Internet of Things is a network in which all physical objects are connected to the Internet through network devices or routers and they exchange data – IoT technology allows objects to be controlled remotely across the existing network infrastructure. This brings its own sensitivity along with advantages. The concern is the centralized network that is on the backend and used for running IoT devices. IoT adds up devices behind the firewall of the network. Securing the devices may be easy but securing IoT devices requires a lot more- requires incorporating the security between the network connection and the software applications, which links to the devices. Trust becomes a key issue here and Blockchain is one of the essential IoT technology trends, essential for proper data-keeping and safeguarding.

With the innumerable advantages alongside the concerns, and much of research happening, India surely awaits innovative IoT solutions in the days to come.

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