The IoT Ecosystem in India

Date:   Tuesday , July 12, 2016

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Conversations around the Internet of Things (IoT) come up in almost every technology-related discussion. It is slowly but surely affecting our lives, tangibly and otherwise, touching us in ways we cannot even imagine; be it in healthcare, transportation, automotive, energy, agriculture, construction or any other sector. It is no more a mystery, nor is it the technology of the unknown, as it has come to ubiquitously affect our lives and work. It is an ecosystem where sensors, gateways, smart devices and equipment transmit/receive data over the internet.

A global study by Forrester Consulting last year revealed that Indian enterprises show a particularly high rate of adoption, with a large number of firms already implementing IoT solutions and more expected to join the race. Laws set in motion to strengthen the infrastructure in India will see a more robust adoption rate in the near future. We believe that IoT will change the way businesses are managed by empowering enterprises with the much needed intelligence to improve business processes and enhance customer service. Several discussions that revolve around IoT which were earlier restricted to IT departments, are slowly becoming part of C-suite conversations in many industries. The next 2-3 years will see improved enterprise adoption, a push toward interoperability and aggressive efforts to analyze data swiftly and efficiently through edge computing and big data analytics. And enterprises are at the center of this massive disruption.

Enterprise will Lead in IoT Adoption

While the hype around IoT reached its peak in the consumer markets last year (with products such as fitness trackers), it will take a good 5-10 years to see the technology sweep the consumerization. Home automation is going to be the starting point for large scale consumer deployments and will see an explosive growth in the near future. As companies begin to understand the value, RoI, efficiency and productivity that IoT can bring, commercial solutions will gain traction and the enterprise will emerge as the largest market for IoT adoption. We see early adopters already reaping the benefits of IoT. To add to this, the falling cost of sensors, embedded systems, increase in area of wireless coverage, proliferation of mobile devices, and affordability & adaptability of Cloud computing have all funnelled the growth of IoT as a technology in India.

Interoperability will be a Focal Point

While a lot is being discussed about the unending opportunities and limitless possibilities of how organizations can harness the power of IoT, Interoperability is one factor that is impeding the adoption of this technology at the pace at which the analysts are forecasting. This is a technology that is supposed to operate beyond frontiers and have a framework without proprietary hinges, but with all the safeguards of privacy and security built in. But the complete potential may not be reaped without a horizontal platform on which not only the hardware but also the software and the protocols talk to each other seamlessly and communicate without any convertors. Overcoming the challenges of the Interop can be a single largest hurdle for all of us, as more and more enterprises start to adopt this. To compound this, few large companies who are new entrants have started deploying solutions based on their proprietary standards - own ecosystems.

As companies invest and make IoT solutions an integral part of the enterprise budget management, businesses will begin to demand more protection for their expanding investments. As a result, interoperability and standardization initiatives will consolidate, thus decreasing complexity and encouraging innovation.

Increasing Data Generation will Drive the Need for Analytics

A recent Gartner report stated that there will be close to 50 billion connected things used worldwide by 2020. Growing numbers of connected devices will generate Exabytes of data and every enterprise needs to monetize this data. Analytics-driven action provides the real business value of the IoT and the power to ensure that the IoT solution delivers deep insights at the speed of business.

Rising Security Threats Will Create a Need for Strong Security Practices

Good security enables risk-taking and innovation. Designing IoT ecosystems must start with identifying potential vulnerabilities and developing a unified security approach to keep a step ahead of threats and maintain a predictive, proactive security posture. In the absence of fixed guidelines/framework for implementation of security for IoT, including Sensors, Gateways, Networking, Compute platforms and tools, the onus is firmly on the customer to implement a proper safeguard mechanism to mitigate Trojans, Malware, Rootkit and other threats. All vendors, big and small, suggesting disparate solutions that do not match up the platform also contribute to the inadequate security solutions.

Companies will Recruit Chief IoT Officers

Similar to how the alignment of the CIO and CMO helped manage the crossover between IT and marketing, companies will experience growing pressure to bridge the gap between the Operations and IT side of organizations. In response, organizations will witness the emergence of a new role - the Chief IoT Officer. With this new role in place, companies will move closer to realizing the full potential of IoT.