IoT council members discuss the industry’s current challenges, growth areas and the future use cases of IoT that will improve lives at large.
Amit Singh – Chief Operations Officer, YUPS
Muni Prabaharan – Global IoT Expert – Thought Leader
Ashissh Raichura – CEO, Scanbo
Ragil.C.T – CEO & Founder, E Lab Technologies
Miguel Rodriguez – CEO, MTOM Consulting
Toby Ruckert, CEO – Unified Inbox and Global IoT Thought Leader
Which IoT verticals are set to face the quickest growth?
Miguel Rodrigues: An exponential growth of sensors, actuators and devices is expected in the next decade following a hardware decrease on unit costs that will horizontally impact the entire industry in general – simultaneously consumers will rapidly become more open and exigent with the benefits of connected devices on everything around them in daily life and because of this shift in the way we will live due to the impact of technology, the verticals where IoT had to face the quickest growth will be the areas closer to the consumer representing the biggest challenge for large manufacturers. For example, electronics, home appliance, automotive industry, smart cities and urban environment and retail or consumer services. In the last quarter of the next decade the growth of cognitive connected devices will bring the IoT technology to an even more advanced level where artificial intelligence will definitely transform the IoT industry.
Ragil.C.T: We have seen a major change in cost of electronic components in the last decade but it will reduce rapidly. Moreover, it will lead to an increase in processing power, memory, speed and this increase will translate into efficient components. This new shift will have a significant impact on the entire industry. AI, Robotics, IoT and embedded products together will reshape our lifestyle by making it simpler, smarter and facile. However, the increase in smart devices is associated with increase in electronic waste, an area of concern which requires attention.
Amit: In addition to the growth in connected devices and improvement in power consumption. In terms of verticals we can expect the healthcare and agriculture sector to grow as people become acquainted with the technology. Quick and mass adoption of the technology is necessary for the success of this technology and quick rise in usage will mean rise in data consumption – hence telecom sector will also face huge growth.
What challenges do you think governments will face in laying down the infrastructure for Smart Cities especially with respect to Standardization?
Muni: First of all, they should be aware of the exact needs for shared understanding between all stakeholders: Technological, Market and Societal. Currently, there is a lack of understanding between all the stakeholders.
A published document (which includes a reference architecture for smart cities), can provide a firm foundation for further development teams in the longer term for a systematic and detailed technical architecture for smart cities.
The second challenge is that only a few cities have clear ideas about their precise future smart city requirements. So how can we meet the potential future requirements cost effectively when you cannot clearly define what you actually require?
The third challenge is that there are plenty of standards which cover interoperability within the context of a particular system delivery system, but there is a lack of overall interoperability framework or standards that work across systems.
As we explore this industry further, it may increase the likelihood of confusion between parties in the overall supply chain. Therefore, a range of standards and initiatives should be developed to set out approaches to developing and delivering smart city projects in a more efficient and organized way.
How close are we to Completely Autonomous Connected Cars on the road? Is that even viable and safe?
Miguel Rodrigues: More than 95% of the car accidents are caused by human error. Reducing the number of deaths and injured people will become the main consequence of a very rapid transformation that we will take on in the next decade and the following years, with a huge impact on costs associated to public and private health, insurance, traffic management and CO2 emissions just to refer few impacts. Cars as we know today will be replaced very quickly over the next few years, and an important shift on large car manufacturers will happen following this tendency. This will also have a significant impact on the power of the oil lobby which won’t be able to resist this transformation for more than a few years.
Ragil.C.T: Autonomous Vehicles are not something we pursue entirely as a luxury – I think we have to find a solution to accidents and create ease in the “travel by road” part of life as we continue to pursue technology as the source of ease and comfort in life.
The benefits go beyond the reduction in accidents. Made up of sensor networks that are controlled by a highly intelligent processor. The use of a good sensor, actuator and processor can also result in reduced fuel consumption and controlled co2 emissions.
Please talk about how IoT applications in Smart Industries such as Healthcare and Agriculture could really benefit the entire world at large? (Ashissh, we would love an answer from you here)
Miguel Rodrigues: As people start to focus more and more on eating and living healthy, we will see an emphasized focus on healthcare and agriculture worldwide in general. IoT will be a important piece for this shift – more sensors and data collected on modern agriculture will improve the quality of food.
On the healthcare side, we will clearly be able to better remote control and supervise individuals through medical staff when necessary that can result on more global benefits.
Ragil.C.T: Agriculture is one area which will really benefit from IoT – and both sides of the supply chain will benefit, the producers (farmers) and the consumers.
As we know, a farmer’s job is very difficult, complicated and manual in nature. Using IoT, we can implement a sensor network inside the farm which can collect the data and a robot camera can take pictures (saving time and effort while creating data that is more accurate and easily saved/accessed). This data can be uploaded to the cloud and accessed through an app or website from anywhere in the world. IoT will also give the farmer, the power to control the irrigation, temperature, light, pesticides etc. and he can monitor the growth of crops. For expert advice he can even send this data to an expert. And this will really improve the lives of the farmers on top of higher yield and better crops with less resources spent.
The global food challenge necessitates that farmers find better methods of feeding a population that’s expected to grow by 2 billion before 2050. Doing so with IoT makes business sense: it improves operational efficiency, drives productivity, creates new revenue sources and, ultimately, makes sustainability synonymous with profit.
The field of precision agriculture, a practice that uses analytics to optimize farming decisions, is a gold mine of opportunities for IoT innovation. Today, it’s more critical than ever to maximize yields from every acre of land dedicated to food production.
Wireless, cloud-connected systems aid in this crop yield maximization, automating everyday agriculture operations and providing real-time monitoring and data analysis for smart decision making, day-to-day and season-to-season.
2) Pest Control
As the organic movement gains popularity, the food and agriculture industries have taken increasing interest in finding effective and relatively inexpensive alternatives to pesticides.
Farming in the face of water shortage has historically been a challenge, demanding extensive technical knowledge and mastery of complex data collection and irrigation systems. For effective drought response, farmers require precise, real-time information to help minimize waste, prevent over- and under-watering and proactively manage water costs.
4) Continual Value
For agriculture solution providers, the greatest challenge and opportunity is offering service beyond product. Fundamentally, farmers care about results. Agriculture technology needs to deliver new, incremental value throughout the product lifecycle, akin to the subscription-based software industry’s task of continually adding features and functionality after releasing a title.
Ashissh Raichura: IoT will spefically help healthcare in many ways especially in preventing diseases. Here are some of the areas where it will be helpful:
- Diabetes care -> In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the world’s first artificial pancreas. The device monitors blood sugar and supplies insulin automatically. It enables diabetes patients to live an easier life in a sustainable way. It is the biggest step towards a new era in diabetes management.
- Oncology: Precision medicine -> Digital technology will commence the transformation of available cancer care methods on the market. Personalized oncology is becoming available through start-ups and companies like Foundation Medicine and SmartPatients.
- Driver less Vehicles will have health sensors-> During 2017 Uber, Volvo or Tesla will start implementing health sensors into the driver’s seat. I believe that the car itself is going to operate as a point-of-care in the future.
- Nutrigenomics -> The basic idea behind nutrigenomics is that our genome reveals valuable information about our organism’s needs. We should map out this data and utilize it in order to lead a long and healthy life. There is already a California-based start-up dealing with nutrigenomics. The inventive company, Habit plans to use genetic markers to identify the ideal meal for each of its customers, and send that meal directly to their doors.
- Pharma will start using massive AI in clinical trials and drug research which will bring the full potential of computing intelligence towards research in medicines and vaccines etc.
IoT is creating loads and loads of data about each and every one of us, all while security risks are increasing – how big of an issue will “data security” be towards IoT adoption as more and more customers are becoming aware of the importance of their data?
Miguel Rodrigues: If we think for a moment about how much data exists on each Facebook profile, that can be used to define with a very high index of certainty, the preferences, habits, family or economic problems, perspectives for the future, amongst much other personal information that each of us just share over the years without any conscience of this fact, we can realize what could be the possible consequences of the collected information if used in the wrong fashion. The expected exponential growth of data as a result of IoT will be increase. Nowadays everybody is already conscience of the importance of the data generated or to be generated in the future, and the market has to develop effective and efficient response for this exigency of the consumer. I think the way to go in this aspect will be categorizing the data as personal/important and public/unimportant. This way, we can focus more on protecting the data that is really important and do not have to worry about securing all the data and mediums etc.
Ragil.C.T: I think that in general, all data is important in one way or another. And that we need to consider the security of data at the time of coding using some encoding methods, data manipulations, secured protocols etc. to secure our data. If we wish to control some actuator, we use the AI, Machine learning techniques etc. but it is very important to focus on the security part of the data as we build solutions and applications, not after building them.
How can telcos evolve their business models to commercially capitalize on the promise of IoT in times of stress and cut-throat competition?
Amit: There are two different ways by which we can see the above question.
In the first Case, the application of IoT based solutions can be used to save operations & maintenance cost and the second case is offering IoT solutions as a service to enterprises by using their existing infrastructure.
1st Case: The telecom industry is growing very fast, especially in the Asian and African unexplored market. The major challenge for these companies is to create a robust infrastructure and to maintain it as most of the cellular sites are in remote areas. In these geographies, there are a lot of issues with proper electricity supply and thus they need to depend on alternate power supply like diesel generators and battery backup.
The biggest challenge is diesel pilferage that has hugeg costs and will increase with more penetration in rural areas.
IoT will help monitoring diesel pilferage & save a lot of money every year. Also, the manual process of fetching the readings on-site would be done remotely.
It will help telcos in planning for timely distribution of diesel and change the battery sets before they stop working which reduces downtime.
2nd Case: As the number of connected units are going to reach around 21 billion units by 2020(Gartner), a major share of this would go to existing telecom players as they have the world wide infrastructure ready for immediate installations. As the margin revenue from voice and data is decreasing with cut throat competition day by day, the existing global telecom players will want to leverage their advantage for this to increases revenue.
Also, almost all the major telecom firms (Vodafone, Bharti Airtel etc) have set up their IoT units to provide different use cases to consumers electronics, FMCGs, manufacturing firms and other segments.
So, in the future telecom companies are highly likely to be providers of IoT solutions to enteprises and even governments, as during times of financial crunch, IoT can offer a new revenue stream for these businesses.
If a technology (anything at all) could make IoT complete, what would it be?
Miguel Rodrigues – Cognitive and intelligent machines with full connectivity between them. Learning from human interactions and taking decisions on our behalf will be the net move for the IoT Industry. Using open source platforms and less complex systems with higher capacity for analytics and increased use of predictive tools that will impact positively on our quality of life on daily basis.
Publisher’s note: A sincere thank you to the Internet of Things council and its members for this editorial piece. Learn more about the IoT council at http://www.theinternetofthings.eu/