The world is transforming with billions of devices, services and systems becoming connected.
Though this transformation is the result of a combination of several emerging technologies,it is IoT which is the main propellant.
Over the past few years, IoT has become one of the most important technologies of the 21st century.
According to a NASSCOM report, India is expected to become the Asia Pacific leader in adoption of IoT with the market size predicted to reach USD 9 billion by 2020 end.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects or ‘things’ that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet, making seamless communication possible between people, processes, and things.
This data is transmitted by sensors through gateways to centralised platforms that aggregate, process, store, and analyse it. This churning of data brings home insights, enhances operational efficiencies of processes and improves lives.
Government’s push to promote IoT
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology launched India’s first draft IoT Policy Document in 2016. The policy laid the foundation of a strong governance framework for the execution of IoT-related policies and campaigns.
The National Digital Communications Policy 2018, predicts there will be 5 billion connected devices by 2022. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the goals set for 2022 are crucial policy initiatives which will address the problem of access and are a welcome step to take India towards a vibrant digital economy.
Key Trends in IoT
Smart Home Automation
Haven’t we all watched shows that project smart, swanky homes controlled by technology? Until a few years ago, it was all fiction – today, it is a reality. With the rapid growth of IoT, there are several companies offering smart home solutions.
Schneider Electric has launched an IoT-based smart-home solution in India called Easy Homes. Through this application, customers will be able to manage power in their homes through a single app. The IoT solution supports four interfaces – these include voice commands, smart phone, remote and switches. These can be used to control power usage in the house.
BD Soft has launched a cyber IoT device in India, Akita. This smart home IoT security device ‘protects all devices connected to a wireless network at home’. Akita uses military grade security protection retrofitted for the smart home. Akita scans for unusual activity using a combination of behaviour analysis, machine learning and threat intelligence and immediately blocks suspicious activity, without slowing the network.
in 2018, residential builder Puravankara Ltd launched a category of intelligent homes called BluNex Life. These come pre-installed with Google Home devices.
In Barcelona, there’s a citywide Wi-Fi and information network that is linked to sensors, software and data analytics that enables the city to provide smart solutions to the residents. These include smart water technology, automated street lighting, remote-controlled irrigation for parks and fountains, ‘on-demand’ waste pickups, digital bus routes and smart parking meters.
The Indian government plans to execute some of these applications, as part of its 100 Smart Cities initiative.
In a welcome news, India’s technology giant Infosys has joined hands with Qualcomm to offer smart city solutions through the US-based chip maker’s accelerator programme.
The programme connects cities, municipalities, state-run agencies and enterprise with Qualcomm Technologies’ ecosystem to help deliver efficiencies, cost savings and access to solutions for smart cities’ problems.
IoT in healthcare
While Tier 1 cities of India have a multitude of healthcare options to choose from, Tier 2 and 3 cities and towns are still not as well-connected to good healthcare services. With IoT, home healthcare facilities have witnessed a rise in the last few years. There are now several companies offering smart wearables and portable healthcare kits to serve the young and old.
Wearables to track diseases
Wearables that are powered by IoT are used to track chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiac health. According to Tractica’s Wearable Device Market Forecasts report, wearable device shipments can scale to 430 million by 2022.
Another field where IoT is especially helpful is in the detection of breast cancer. The iTBra, developed by Cyrcadia Health, could help doctors diagnose breast cancer much faster. It consists of two breast patches with embedded sensors that track temperature changes in breast tissue over time. The data is transmitted wirelessly to the user’s mobile phone and shared securely with the healthcare provider. By applying machine learning and predictive analytics to this data, doctors could identify abnormal patterns indicative of early stage breast cancer. Cyrcadia is beginning to test the product in Asia, where breast cancer rates are exceptionally high.
Wearables for rural health
An engineer from Madurai, Senthil Kumar, has launched an innovative device called SaveMom that constantly monitors the health of women in a non-invasive manner. When he found out that pregnant women, especially in rural areas, do not have access to good prenatal and antenatal care, he decided to come up with this device. The device is a bracelet with colourful beads, powered by IoT that contains sensors designed to track daily activity like number of steps, calories burnt and sleeping patterns. Based on this input, sensors send patient data to a device that sends reminders to women to take their prenatal supplements, consume food on time and to stay hydrated.
The Indian manufacturing industry is undergoing a metamorphosis, driven by the vision of Industry 4.0. This vision is for the complete automation and digitalization of manufacturing systems, including operations and processes.The core of this transformation is the adoption of emerging technologies including automation, robotics, IoT, data exchanges, data analyses, cyber-physical systems and machine learning – what we call the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for Smart Manufacturing.
IoT-enabled devices collect massive amounts of data, and assist manufacturers in achieving higher product quality, better-informed decision making and greater foresight with predictive maintenance. Several manufacturers across India are already using IoT to streamline their supply chain since their factories have a huge vendor presence across India and abroad.
The demand for IoT in India is emerging across industries, and customers are already using IoT enabled smart devices such as for health and wellness, tracking devices for personal safety. The government too, with its Digital India & Make in India campaign features IoT as a key enabler of public utilities and services.The McKinsey Global Institute predicts IoT could have a total economic impact of up to $11 trillion by 2025. Given its projected growth, we’re on the cusp of what looks to be an IoT tsunami.
(Edited by Anu Choudary)