Cindy Payne Issue: Asia-Pacific I 2015
Article no.: 9
Topic: Internet of Things (IoT) drives customisation,
enhanced lifestyles and global productivity
Author: Cindy Payne
Title: Founder & Managing Director
Organisation: Asia-Pacific Connections (APC)
PDF size: 199KB

About author

Cindy Payne is the Managing Director of Asia-Pacific Connections (APC) bringing over 30 years of Asia-Pacific business development, marketing, and general management experience to technology clients seeking on-time and accurate results, balanced with best practices. Cindy leads her team in delivering innovative integrated-marketing services requiring strategic planning, budget development, project management, ROI assessment and editorial expertise.

Prior to founding APC in 1993, Cindy cultivated Quantum Corporation’s Asia-Pacific distribution sales business from start-up to annual revenues exceeding US$100 million.

Cindy is a frequent speaker at marketing and industry conferences and has published numerous articles, while serving on several boards of business and trade associations.

Cindy has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Studies and Languages from Miami University, Ohio, USA.

Article abstract

IDC predicts that within three years, 50 per cent of IT networks will transition from having excess capacity to handle the additional IoT devices to being network constrained, with almost ten per cent of systems being overwhelmed. 

Full Article

According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2017, the Internet of Things (IoT) market will be one of the fastest growing technology segments in Asia-Pacific. IoT refers to a place where multiple devices use machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to connect with one another to synchronise data and tasks, allowing relatively simple instruments to perform complicated actions. IoT total annual spending in the region is forecast to reach US$59 billion by 2020 – defined as revenue from hardware, software and professional services that is directly attributable to IoT solutions and services. A recent report from General Electric (GE) asserts that IoT can improve the overall productivity of people, increasing the global GDP over the next twenty years by US$10-15 trillion, including annual compound growth. This trend offers unprecedented opportunities for consumers, municipalities, and enterprises alike.

IoT: A 15-year journey from ideation to early majority adoption
Though IoT is constantly in today’s headlines, it is not a new concept – being coined by Kevin Ashton, a member of the Radio Frequency Identification Development (RFID) community, in 1999. This notion, first embraced only by techies and visionaries, has finally crossed the technology-adoption chasm with the early majority leveraging the next generation of the Internet, thanks to innovative disruptive technologies − including cloud computing, ubiquitous smart mobile devices in the workplace, virtualisation, big data and analytics.

Consumer IoT versus enterprise IoT
Not surprisingly, Red Hat, a leading provider of open-source enterprise IT products and services, asserts that IoT for consumers is quite different than IoT for enterprises, varying mostly with issues related to security and scale, as enterprises generate much more data and have stricter security requirements than consumers.

Consumers: Market Segmentation and Smart Homes
From a consumer standpoint, IoT drives market specificity as organisations can more accurately predict customer preferences – customising products and services for every hyper-specific market segment. Over the next decade, the result will be even more personalised goods and services, delivered at a lower cost and through ever more sustainable methods.

For households, IoT is enabling smart homes, whereby an increasing number of devices in the home are embedded with miniaturised sensors connected to the Internet, enabling them to communicate their status − giving consumers new ways to control their household appliances for better management of power, heating, cooling, security, lighting, and even entertainment. For example, everyday appliances, like stoves and refrigerators, equipped with wireless sensors and communication tools, can begin cooking meals by a click of a remote control, and order groceries when certain food products are consumed. However, as an increasing number of devices in the home are getting connected to the Internet, consumers need to leverage new ways to control their smart-home connectivity.

Municipalities: Intelligent Cities
As people around the world flock to urban centres in hopes of a better life and more opportunities, there are ever-increasing demands for housing, transportation, jobs, public services, energy, food and water − which is straining city governments and infrastructure. In response, forward-thinking metropolises are acquiring ‘intelligent’ technologies to provide community services to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors. City-wide networks of sensors provide real-time valuable information on the movement of citizens, noise level and other forms of environmental pollution, weather conditions and waste management.

Notably, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Singapore, Vancouver and Vienna are IoT-powered smart cities leading the charge in streamlining city operations for better environmental management, reduced costs, and improved economic, social and environmental welfare. IoT in these hyper-connected cities is improving competitiveness and addressing social demographic challenges such as: managing traffic congestion to optimise driving and walking routes by monitoring vehicle and pedestrian travel; leveraging intelligent highways to warn drivers of harzardous climate conditions and upcoming accident and traffic jams; reducing city energy costs with streetlights that only turn on when cars or people are nearby; revolutionising city-waste management so rubbish bins are only emptied when a certain level of trash is detected remotely; and changing the way cities help people find parking spaces through real-time parking-finder services.

Enterprises: Embracing IoT for Productivity, Growth and Lower Risk
International Data Corporation (IDC) in its Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions envisages that in 2015, IoT will enable companies to drive business transformation, deliver global competitive differentiation and enhance the customer experience. Savvy business leaders understand the need to improve how information is shared across their enterprises and are leveraging IoT to obtain four significant benefits:

1. Drive Better Decision Making
By gathering and coordinating large volumes of data and ubiquitously sharing it in the form of actionable information for varying contexts, employees can be joined across functions – connecting people, processes and technology. The result is unprecedented collaboration, improved efficiencies, greater agility, increased consistency, more effective data-driven decisions, and lower total cost of ownership throughout the value chain of customers and partners.

2. Improve Asset Utilisation
IoT enables enterprises to control and automate their devices, whilst monitoring each unit’s sensors. A facility- and enterprise-wide view into asset performance, avoidance of unplanned shutdowns, and optimisation of maintenance resources can help business owners improve asset utilisation and increase production. In addition, IoT provides insights into energy consumption, so that the organisation can optimise machine usage and labour, as well as product and service delivery.

3. Speed Time to Market
Organisations often struggle to manage inventory so that the appropriate amount of product or equipment is available at the right time. Supply-chain integration boosts communications with vendors, whilst providing greater insight into deliveries, scheduling changes, orders and other issues for optimised inventory management and faster time to market.

4. Minimise Enterprise Risk
Sensor information also allows companies to measure and provide real-time performance data so that business processes and work flow can be synchronised to ensure compliance, improve sustainability metrics, and lower overall corporate risk.

Key IoT Enterprise Challenges: Network Security and Capacity
As enterprises increase their IoT adoption across the board, they face two key challenges:

1. Network Security
With network convergence and the connection of previously disparate systems, the attack surface increases. According to IDC, within two years, 90 per cent of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach – resulting in new IoT policy implementation by IoT adopters. Therefore, chief information security officers must create a strong governance framework to protect against data leakage, loss of intellectual property, and privacy issues. Security must be woven into all enterprise operations – including the network infrastructure, new and legacy control systems, machinery and devices – as well as across every employee, policy and procedure throughout the company and across the supply chain.

2. Network Capacity
IDC also predicts that within three years, 50 per cent of IT networks will transition from having excess capacity to handle the additional IoT devices to being network constrained, with almost ten per cent of systems being overwhelmed. This prediction is further supported by network-control supplier, Infoblox, in its study of IT professionals in the US and UK, whereby 57 per cent of respondents reported their current network is already at full capacity. To minimise network-capacity constraints, IT professionals should be involved early in any IoT deployment planning, before network decisions are made.

Monetising IoT
As more and more data is generated by machines, there is a need to analyse and use this vast amount of information, store it and source applications to enable the operation and management of IoT implementations. The most obvious way to cash in on IoT is related to software licensing and entitlement management. As more devices and controllers are developed for IoT usage, the cost of software will comprise an extraordinarily high portion of the product’s final cost. In addition, remote monitoring will be a huge component of IoT, as multiple devices, all communicating with M2M technology, need to be observed and controlled. Finally, 4G connectivity is expected to be the information superhighway between objects and people who use them over the next several years, alongside Wi-Fi networks, when available. As a result, 4G providers are expected to take advantage of the burgeoning traffic, whilst competitors will create their own 4G networks to deliver service to customers.

Finally, going forward, IoT will drive cloud-computing opportunities, as much of the data generated by low-cost sensors will be stored and analysed in the cloud. In addition, applications which drive the functionality of these sensors and other mobile devices will be hosted in the cloud. IDC forecasts that within the next five years, over 90 per cent of all IoT data will be hosted by third-party service-providers, as cloud computing will reduce enterprise on-premise server footprints, lower costs and reduce the complexity of supporting IoT data blending.

Conclusion
Unlocking data and moving toward being connected by IoT is a journey every consumer, municipality and enterprise can start at any time by adopting new technologies and changing behaviour over time.

Most likely, a secure, standards-based Ethernet/IP network will serve as a common unifying intelligent infrastructure so contextualised information can be gathered and shared seamlessly where and when it is needed. From market segmentation to smart homes to intelligent cities to connected enterprises, IoT adoption has reached critical mass acceptance and is certain to drive further product customisation, enhanced lifestyles, as well as global productivity.