Dr Rishi Mohan Bhatnagar, Chairman, IET, President, Aeris India

Communications lie at the heart of any Internet of Things (IoT) project. Another layer involves enriching processes through data gleaned from across the system boosted by a combination of other technologies. A Gartner 2017 prediction put the savings realized through IoT at USD 1 trillion and this is just the tip of the iceberg as enterprise and SMB adoption grows and larger efficiencies are realized, the savings will also show a proportional increase. How is IoT growing? How is it changing the way businesses look at data? How is the telecom sector evolving to work in tandem with IoT? This article explores answers.

Toward a New Data-Driven Reality

Verticals like manufacturing, automotive, logistics, and healthcare have already embraced IoT to a significant extent. With data flowing seamlessly and with robust and business-oriented analytics in place, a fair amount of guesswork has been removed from business decision making, thanks to IoT. These insights are offering a new avenue for businesses to not just leverage data to improve businesses but also monetize it to gain revenue. This is a paradigm shift and as organizations become more comfortable with handling and analyzing huge volumes of data, things will only get better.

A Massive Opportunity

Telcos that are already managing a plethora of connected end points on their networks have a massive advantage over others when it comes to IoT. In another few years when connected IoT devices will need a similar kind of managed upgrade as a smartphone, a whole new world of opportunity opens up for telcos. Lifecycle management is an area where telcos have plenty of expertise as compared to other IoT ecosystem players and therefore they are better placed to leverage this opportunity than others.

The connected experience bit that we keep hearing about is hard to imagine without the speeds connected with 5G. It is essential for managing frontline IoT technologies such as those powering autonomous vehicles as also the ones offering in-vehicle entertainment for passengers. On the industrial IoT front, advanced automation frameworks and robotics will rely heavily on 5G. This is another arena where telecom operators can steal a march over competition in a hurry.

Already, many IoT projects are being tested using high-speed connectivity and the results are nothing less than impressive. Telcos have signed agreements with specialized vendors to roll out IoT solutions faster. This is a win-win partnership as telcos gain an additional source of revenue from the existing and new customers while IoT vendors gain access to a new set of customers. This partnership has already started paying dividends for many telcos around the world and this trend is expected to continue well into the next decade.

Phenomenal Growth

While on the surface, things appear to be moving slow, there is a lot happening in the background. In the last 6 months alone, many IoT projects moved from a PoC phase to becoming full-fledged projects across India. Telcos played a major role in this by facilitating connectivity and rendering post-deployment services. This does indicate that the telcos have indeed risen to the occasion and are investing in IoT like never before. This is a positive development for the entire IoT ecosystem as IoT cannot take wings without telcos playing the role of sheet anchor.

Though IoT is still in its early days, but there are signs of vibrant growth appearing on the horizon. Toward end of 2018 when we take a look back, I am confident that we will be calling 2018 as the year of IoT globally. That is how significant this year will be for IoT and the entire ecosystem connected with it.

Bharat exn


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