Delivering Business Value with Internet of Things: Andy Stevenson

Renesas Electronics, renesas synergy platform, IoT, Asia Pacific

While India still grapples with challenges like Internet availability, bandwidth issues, power and internet reliability, the prospect of large scale adoption of internet of things (IoT) might seem like a remote possibility, or one for the very distant future. However, with the Government’s plan to create a $15 billion internet of things market in the country by next five years, or the 100 smart city project under the IoT policy, there is significant scope for growth.

By Andy Stevenson

The convergence of Information technology with traditional worlds has already brought about a radical change in society. From the way ecommerce has altered the way we shop, to how mobile phones and instant messaging have changed the way we communicate with each other. With Internet of Things (IoT) we now have the most important convergence of all- that of IT with our physical world. Already, there are fewer humans connected to the Internet than there are things. There are currently 10 billion devices like sensors and monitors that are networked and by 2020 the estimates are that 50 to 60 billion things will be on the Internet, leading to a device-dominated network.

Internet of Things (IoT), or the bridging of our digital and analogue worlds, brought about by enabling IPs in hitherto un-connected objects, is a new wave of technology that has generated equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. IoT, the culmination of a new chapter in the story of our networked world, is expected to deliver a huge array of benefits across business and society. The technology today is perceived as being in its nascent stage of development; perhaps owing to its use in more business to business technologies than consumer. However IoT is already gaining popularity and use in India through several consumer products and services like fitness trackers and pedometers; or the latest sensor based gaming available through Play Station and Xbox. IoT has use in many other industries as well, for example in Japan, an IoT-enabled motorized walker has been developed for the Healthcare/Geriatrics industry. Named “Assist Cart” the walker helps the elderly safely walk on slopes, prevents falling and allows them to travel and live independently and without fear of injury. Fujitsu’s IoT platform is used in motorised “Assist Carts” to track user location, manage walking data, monitor its user’s health and send emergency alerts if required.

While India still grapples with challenges like Internet availability, bandwidth issues, power and internet reliability, the prospect of large scale adoption of internet of things (IoT) might seem like a remote possibility, or one for the very distant future. However, with the Government’s plan to create a $15 billion internet of things market in the country by next five years, or the 100 smart city project under the IoT policy, there is significant scope for growth.

The use of IoT in commercial and B2B businesses like automobiles, manufacturing and automation is gaining ground in India and the prospect of it coming in to consumer use in public utility services, logistics, infrastructure and eventually services like banking and healthcare is not such a far off possibility. IoT is for companies who want to positively disrupt and digitize their business to drive innovation, achieve growth, and add societal value. It has a very strong case for delivering business as well as social value, in terms of digitization, expansion to new markets, cost savings and environmental benefits. Here are 3 ways that IoT can bring value to traditional businesses and societies:

IoT can Revamp India’s Manufacturing Industry: The future of India’s manufacturing Industry is dependent on the development of its Internet of Things market. India’s IoT industry is expected be worth US$ 15 billion by 2020- less than 10 per cent of the global opportunity, according to Gartner estimates. For India’s Manufacturing market to be relevant to the rest of the world and to truly attract global businesses to ‘Make in India’ India’s factories need to be ‘smart’ or enabled manufacturing units that are capable of continuous on-ground or remote monitoring of all parameters of assets, equipment, processes and finally end products. Today’s smart factory is not just networked within, but also operates on a smart or connected supply chain network that enables sourcing and tracking of products, processes or deliveries from across the world. Preventive maintenance on machinery and equipment that ensures safer and accident free manufacturing along with a flexible and responsive production environment.

Modernize the Agriculture Sector: The Agriculture sector is a high-impact one for the IoT industry with over 70% of India’s population connected directly or indirectly to it. India’s Agriculture output is one of the highest in the world and IoT and cloud technologies can enable more efficiency in India’s Agricultural output and impact on global food security. IoT can impact Agriculture in several ways including improvement in the quality of soil, water and fertilizers used; resulting in lower cost of production and profitability as well as protection of the environment. Integration of the farmland with agricultural machinery, supply chain and other factors on the network enables closer monitoring of the agricultural environment, greatly increasing production quality and output. A great global example of IoT in agriculture is the Fujitsu Akisai project, Japan. Fujitsu and Microsoft converted an old semiconductor factory into a 2000 square metre a space for growing low-potassium vegetables for patients with chronic kidney disease under highly controlled conditions. An Eco-Management Dashboard, with Fujitsu’s IoT/M2M platform and Microsoft cloud services and Windows tablets enabled plant managers and scientists to monitor the plant and work on improving product quality and reducing costs.

Driving Business Innovation: The Internet of things has inspired the entrepreneurial spirit more than any other technology. The scope for innovation with IoT and huge potential of the technology across all sectors, be it manufacturing, healthcare, automobiles or consumer devices is perhaps what has triggered its popularity with young entrepreneurs; according to Gartner, Internet of Things (IoT) vendors will earn more than $309 billion by 2020.

To leverage IoT for success, it is important for businesses to establish IoT business models and promote jointly created businesses by working with customers to generate business innovation. A global ecosystem for open innovation, alliances with business partners and core competencies is needed to bring the industry together to utilize the full potential of IoT and deliver business value.

The author is head of Middle East and India, Managing Director for India, Fujitsu

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