At a recent conference, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment & Water Resources and Minister-in-Charge of Smart Nation, described the Internet of Things (IoT) as a “Tsunami of IT revolution”. With an estimated 30-50 billion devices expected to be connected by 2020, IoT is set to dramatically transform governments, industries, and consumers.
So, what exactly is IoT, and what do these big numbers really mean for you and me? IoT is the growing network of everyday ‘things’ that can share information with each other in real time using sensors, connectivity and software. Anything you can think of – from your coffee machine, wearables and cars, to industrial machines and traffic signals – can be connected to the internet to provide granular data. The fascinating thing about this enormous amount of data is that it can be analysed and turned into actionable intelligence, bringing widespread benefits in nearly every field. You can see some of the interesting scenarios here, or take a look at some of our previous blog posts on the topic.
Asia Pacific has been at the forefront of IoT, with many smart government and industry initiatives already in action. The key drivers vary from country to country, as this IDC infographic shows. On one hand, we have consumers equipped with electronic devices and wearables, who expect instant device connectivity, right out of the box, even if they are in remote parts of the world. On the other hand, we have M2M applications such as connected cars and utility meters that require totally different design and connectivity in terms of durability in extreme environmental conditions.
Lack of flexible and interoperable remote subscription management is a major challenge in deploying IoT. Imagine a global manufacturer deploying telematics in different countries and with different Mobile Network Operators. Since wireless components are soldered onto the boxes during production, they will need a different solution for every operator because each has its own set of requirements for connectivity. This puts massive pressure on their supply chain logistics. However IoT deployment can be simplified by offering flexible remote subscription management, or what we call On-Demand Connectivity (ODC). It uses GSMA standards and Over-The-Air (OTA) provisioning to seamlessly activate connectivity on devices, at any time or in any location. It gives device makers far simpler logistics by manufacturing a single generic solution for all, while end users can have the flexibility to choose and change their subscriptions based on location and other preferences.
IoT is still in its infancy and many more factors and developments need to fall in place before it reaches its full potential. But, fast and reliable connectivity needs to be at the heart – since without real-time data, there will be no IoT.
If you are interested to find out more, come and meet us at Mobile World Congress Shanghai from 15th to 17th July 2015.