Why the Middle East is great for the Internet of Things
A Personal Rapid Transit vehicle, or driverless electric pod car, which transports Masdar Institute of Science and Technology students between parking areas and the campus, is seen in Abu Dhabi. GCC countries are pegged to see a high adoption of IoT for smart transportation.
Dubai - IoT already connects over 10B devices worldwide; over next five years, this is expected to grow to 100B
As the Internet of Things (IoT) comes into focus, a majority of organisations across the world are trying to understand its role and relevance to their growth.
IoT already connects more than 10 billion devices worldwide and over the next five years, this number is expected to grow to 100 billion. By 2025, IoT will generate economic benefits between $4 trillion to $11 trillion (Dh14.69 trillion to Dh40.41 trillion) globally. By all indications, IoT is a logistical and economic force that every organisation should address.
'The Internet of Things (IoT) - How Real is it Today?', a recent white paper from Frost & Sullivan's digital transformation practice, explores disruptive opportunities in IoT across the automotive, healthcare, energy and manufacturing industries with GCC-specific examples. Key global players in the region include Siemens, Real-time Innovations and Texas Instruments.
"IoT can generate a strong return on investment by reducing support costs, increasing customer loyalty and referrals, uncovering insights to cross-sell or up-sell to customers, and developing customer-appealing products," said Haritha Ramachandran, associate director of digital transformation at Frost & Sullivan.
In the Middle East, GCC countries, which lead in smart cities and smart government initiatives, will see high adoption of IoT for smart transportation. There are already examples of integration, like the driverless car powered by solar energy at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Similarly, the healthcare market in the region holds robust potential for IoT as new and existing hospitals in the GCC compete to be the most innovative and advanced in the region. In 2016, there were over 100 projects related to new hospital construction or improvement of existing hospitals. The combined construction value of these projects was $18.70 billion.
IoT is fuelling several growth opportunities. For instance:
. Automotive: Data analytics, adaptive lighting systems, integrated software architecture, energy-harvested electric car, smartphone integration and in-vehicle behavioural analytics.
. Healthcare: Patient surveillance, fridge controller, 3D-printed organs, predictive assistance and camera pills.
. Energy: Secured smart grid network controller, grid-vehicle communication network, predictive analytics for optimised power generation, energy-sharing infrastructure, dynamic energy pricing and smart home solutions.
. Manufacturing: Gas and temperature monitoring, unified collaborative platform, predictive maintenance, advanced 3D printing, AR-based plant monitoring and indoor tracking solutions.
Poor information availability due to a lack of cyber-infrastructure and connectivity is, however, a key challenge for the global IoT market. With distributed network architecture, information is scattered across several repositories that often fail to integrate and provide valuable insights in critical situations. This highlights the need for a centralised architecture that can seamlessly communicate among distributed data sources and provide real-time information when required.
"Convergence with emerging technologies, such as Big Data and context-aware computing, can help address IoT security issues," said Ramachandran.
"Context-aware access control is one of the future areas to be explored by developers in this regard. Leveraging converged technology capabilities could enable accurate analysis of user data, provide access rights, and deliver a secured environment for IoT in the coming years."