IoT is a US$6 trillion dollar industry, but is the term even accurate in 2017?

Kevin McSpadden
malaysia_intel_echelon

While there are huge opportunities, they are fragmented and cover entirely unique industries

IoT is slowly, but surely, starting to make an impact in our everyday lives.

If anyone has been to a stadium rock concert recently, the light-up wrist bands make the experience incredible — so much so that it almost becomes hard to go back to a concert with no lights.

Even today, General Electric took a deep-dive into Singapore to help build Industrial Internet of Things technology in the city.

At a speech at Echelon Malaysia 2017, Seong Boon Ngoo a Sales Director for Intel, said the estimated opportunity is about 50 billion devises that can be connected.

He used the example of a smart chair, that gathers data when someone is sitting. While the audience was dubious about whether or not they would enjoy a smart chair — but when Seong explained its potential use-cases for the elderly or people with back problems, the idea began to make sense.

One of the reasons for the current growth of IoT is the cost of sensors going down. According to Intel, it has halved in ten years.

In Malaysia, on the island of Langkawi, Intel has deployed sensors across the island to help people better understand their agriculture situation.

As the costs of sensors decrease, products become more accessible for average people, and the use-cases for IoT products become less “futuristic” and people are willing to give the product a try.

Also Read: Travel tech has an eye towards Artificial Intelligence, say industry players at Echelon Malaysia

The opportunities within the industry are huge (Seong estimated the entire IoT industry to be a US$8 trillion opportunity). However, it is fragmented and moving forward IoT may not be a proper term to accurately describe the industry.

Intel data said the vertical dubbed ‘innovation and revenue’ was a US$2.1 trillion opportunity. ‘Customer experience’ was US$700 billion, ‘asset utilisation’ was US$2.1 trillion and ’employee productivity’ a US$1.2 trillion market.

Those are essentially independent industries with their own development tracks.

Challenges of the industry

While we take for granted that our phones can talk to our computers, the rest of our daily life has not followed.

“Today all of our laptops and cellphones can talk with one another. The challenge right now is we have so many things in the world, how can we make sure they all talk to eachother?” said Seong.

One solution is to build reusable time-to-market (TTM) processes. Ideally, if Intel had a major breakthrough in the smart chair development, the TTM could be duplicated for smart carpets, smart paint or smart t-shirts.

Challenges like security, interoperability, integration between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) and how to create actionable analytics.

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However, Seong framed these challenges as industry opportunities. Solving, say, IoT security, would be a boon for any company that became a market leader.

IoT has not enjoyed the explosion in popularity like AI or fintech recently, but it is becoming an increasingly important vertical in tech, with a diverse set of opportunities and challenges.

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