IoT revolution this decade

by March 18, 2020 0 comments

From smartphones and smart cars to smart homes and smart voice assistants, modern technology has gone mainstream with deeper integration in everyday life.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly emerging to be a powerful harbinger of transformation and development and this trend is likely to intensify further with the rollout of 5G networks. The new wave of connectivity and automation, through a network of ‘smart devices’, has transcended beyond our imagination. It is one of the driving forces behind the Industry 4.0 movement. According to IDC, there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, or “things,” generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data by 2025. Over the course of this decade, the world can safely expect to see exponential development and increased adoption of IoT implementations.

The rollout of 5G over the next couple of years will provide tremendous impetus to the rate of IoT adoption. 5G will be at the heart of the industry’s technology ecosystem and its inherent low latency, high reliability and greater capacity to leverage huge volumes of data in real-time will be invaluable for establishing a better connected and smarter world. I believe that the 2020s will see the 5G powered IoT narrative surging ahead, driving deep transformation across sectors. Specifically, I foresee tremendous progress in a few key areas.

Smartphones: With 560 million Internet subscribers and 354 million smart devices, India currently is second only to China in terms of internet subscriptions and is one of the largest and fastest-growing smartphone markets according to a 2019 McKinsey report. By 2025, 5G enabled smartphone shipment will surpass 140-million according to a CMR study. 5G powered smartphones will redefine our lives in the hyper-connected world by connecting to our smart homes, offices and appliances seamlessly and will drive sweeping transformation in the way we work, live and play.

Smart Cities: IoT lies at the heart of Smart City initiatives the world over. Smart technology for surveillance, parking, waste and water management, automated transportation, energy distribution, and traffic planning are just some powerful applications of IoT. 5G powered IoT implementations will play a crucial role in creating cities of the future where data is effectively captured and analyzed to address challenges pertaining to city infrastructure, energy usage, transportation and even building management in real-time. In India, the government continues its Smart Cities mission by expanding the focus to leverage upcoming economic corridors and revitalization of manufacturing activities, while fulfilling the technology and the demands of aspirational classes.

Manufacturing and Industry: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has significant potential to accelerate productivity by enabling automation, real-time data analytics and insights, thereby optimizing workflows and processes. Research indicates that IoT in the manufacturing market will grow from US$12.7 billion in 2017 to US$45.3 billion by 2022. This means that an IoT enabled industry will help us detect and rectify inefficiencies or errors that might have been missed by the human eye, ensuring seamless operations, greater savings and workflows to save valuable production time. As we move towards Industry 4.0, IIoT will exponentially spearhead our existent industrial engineering efforts and make the ‘smart wireless factory’ concept into a reality.

Healthcare: The emergence of IoT has already transformed the healthcare sector considerably, and this trend is going to deepen further in this decade. Research indicates that by 2025, the global healthcare IoT market will reach US$534.3 billion at a CAGR of 19.9%. Smart health bands, fitness trackers and other wearables are part of everyday life already, and as IoT is further integrated into the healthcare system there will be complex implementations with the potential to save lives. From real-time monitoring of basic health parameters, we will witness increasing adoption of IoT in critical healthcare practices such as ICU infrastructure and emergency alerts. Effective implementation of healthcare IoT can help ensure a better quality of life and care for patients, improved health monitoring for medical practitioners and ultimately will drive better outcomes by delivering real-time data-driven and evidence-based insights.

Connected Cars: Driverless cars are already a reality with many companies conducting test drives every day. IoT lies at the heart of the cars of the future. The arrival of 5G networks will shift the auto industry into a higher gear, making science fiction a reality. Gartner predicts that the auto industry will emerge as one of the largest markets for IoT and 5G technologies. Vehicles will use cloud-based platforms and sensors to understand their environment, take crucial decisions and ensure a safe driving experience. While automated cars are still in a nascent stage of development right now, I would not be surprised to see them hitting the roads on a commercial basis by very early into this decade.

The IoT revolution is well underway already. Of course, the technology is not without its challenges. Currently, this space is considerably fragmented with a multitude of solutions and use cases. This complexity is a deterrent to widespread adoption. Additionally, there is the question of security. The security landscape will become highly complex with billions of connected devices across the world, collecting and conveying sensitive data. The good news is that security is already at the top of every technologist’s agenda, and as security models become more inherent and intrinsic, I expect that this challenge will be resolved to a great extent. And as the industry matures and consolidates further, the issue of fragmentation will also likely find a resolution.

Over the next ten years, the technology will develop and mature further to deliver more complex and nuanced IoT use cases. And as the world increasingly focuses on sustainability and environmental protection, IoT will prove to be an invaluable ally, helping detect inefficiencies and more. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the help of 5G and IoT will play a crucial role in reducing global carbon emissions. This decade will see IoT emerge as one of the strongest harbingers of positive transformation for the world.

Authored by Uday Dodla Director, Product Marketing, Qualcomm India

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