Creating an ecosystem for IoT-enabled devices

By: Marc Naddell, VP MediaTek Labs

Bengaluru, India’s IT capital, has recently witnessed the development of an intelligent device that ensures road safety. Another city, Chennai, has a company that is planning to launch connected vehicles and also tracks pollution levels and productivity on the shop floors using connected devices. It is evident that IoT is gradually gaining momentum across sectors, be it automobile, healthcare or agriculture. Connected intelligent devices and their ever-growing network encompassing our daily lives have emerged as an ultimate idea for our tech-savvy generation.

After human population, only inter-connected devices are expected to be between 26 billion and 50 billion globally by 2020. Earlier, only mobiles, laptops or desktops were considered Internet-friendly devices, but now ATMs, automobiles, and even soil in the agriculture sector are getting segmented under the same category. A recent study by Progress says that 58% of developers expect the IoT to expand beyond smartphones and tablets within two years and most of them see mass adoption of IoT applications occurring within the next five years. An increase in the number of devices and Internet users will provide the opportunity to connect a larger number of individuals and devices. As per Gartner, the total economic values for IoT produces will reach 1.9 trillion dollars by the end of 2020.

With the advent of IoT, the cost of sensors, processing power, and bandwidth to connect devices has fallen low enough to spur extensive deployment. There will be a requirement for hardware platform, connectivity, security and data services which would require domain proficiency clubbed with expertise to build competent solutions on IoT platform to offer connected solutions. Hence, this provides an array of opportunities for IoT platform to scale. The developer community will play a major role as a source of innovation in IoT. According to Vision Mobile (September 2015), there will be 9.7 million IoT developers by 2020. With the help of platforms that supports the developers, there is a stronger chance for the new generation of IoT enabled devices to help connect billions of things and users, across different markets and applications.

For enterprises, IoT will offer business value that goes beyond operational cost savings. Providers in the IoT ecosystem have a largely unexplored opportunity to develop compelling IoT solutions that explore how the ability to collect and analyze disparate data, in real-time and across time, might transform the business. These developments will play out within and across enterprises, offering opportunities for sustained value creation and even disruption for those who can imagine possibilities beyond the incremental. 80% of companies witnessed a growth in revenue through investments in IoT technology, says a study commissioned by TCS.

Amid the same, semiconductors companies are going to be immensely benefitted from the revolution, as the IoT ecosystem is ready to be explored. IoT is expected to lay out a platform for the semiconductor companies to create innovative platforms across sectors, especially in the automotive market. Correspondingly, we have the Digital India and the Make-in-India initiatives, by the Indian Government, which will put in place an ecosystem to develop more product-based companies powered by efficient chips that will help the country stay connected.

These growing opportunities are tied up with a few challenges. In India, the fluctuating Internet connectivity is one of them. With the increase in innovative products that will solely survive on signals, irrespective of the purpose of the device, a flawless data stream should come in to play. The data stream is likely to be as per requirement since we already have the Indian Government aiming to connect all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country with a high speed digital highway using optical fibre.

Public and private information are going to be available through multiple connected devices, the challenge will be maintaining high levels of security. In a recent study by ASSOCHAM-Mahindra SSG, the number of cybercrimes in India is said to reach 300,000 in 2015, almost double the level of last year. We do not want a growing threat to be able to access our device or unlock our doors, hence while sending or receiving data it is important to make sure that the device or the server meets with required security measures.
Making use of all this knowledge and data to change how the world functions is not something we imagined one could do. But now, IoT provides a wide range of opportunities for individuals, enterprises, and start-ups to do just that. It also pushes IoT to new frontiers through innovation. With the total number of broadband Internet users in India standing at 99.20 million for the quarter ending March 2015, we think that India is going to be fully connected, soon!

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