Massive technology-led disruption across all industries is moving everyone and everything globally towards a state of ‘connected everything’ where into the 2020’s, tens of millions of people will be connected by trillions of things and applications as a result of connected industries.
This evolution has been happening since the 1970’s where specialized activities were driven by proprietary equipment and mainframes, followed by increased productivity in the 1990’s propelled by the advent of PC’s and the Internet, followed by bursts of disruption and innovation from 2010 onwards through cloud and mobility.
‘Connected Living’ is defined as a world in which consumers use many different devices to experience compelling new services that integrate video, voice, and data services to provide access and ubiquitous connectivity anytime and anywhere.
According to analysts, mobility and cloud computing are two pillars of growth that has brought about significant changes in the ICT industry.
Cloud computing, big data, mobility and low-cost sensors are driving the Internet of Things and connected industries, and the Internet of Things is forcing transformation and innovation across the connected home, connected workplace and connected city, one analyst noted.
Connectivity is helping to transform homes, offices and cities globally.
The term ‘Connected home’ defines a residential environment embedded with computing and information technology that anticipates and responds to the needs of its occupants to provide comfort, convenience, security and entertainment. Examples of products incorporating home automation include smart meters and smart thermostats, intelligent lighting, remote monitoring and control as well as home health such as remote diagnostics and wearable health devices.
A ‘Connected workplace’ encompasses mobility (Mobile email, enterprise mobile apps, people locator, bring your own device), communication (unified messaging, remote desktop access) and networking (web-based project collaboration tools, cloud-based file sharing services). Existing services and solutions to facilitate the growth of a connected work place do so include Wireless Mobile Email and Remote Desktop Access. By 2025, it is expected that 90% of companies will offer mobility to employees.
Connected cities bring together a host of smart services and solutions that benefit its citizens across key segments such as governance, banking, education and transportation. Examples of such services include eGovernance, eCitizens, smart transportation cards, e-learning, mobile banking and digital classrooms, remote education services as well as digital libraries.
One city which has made significant progress towards the vision of a ‘connected city’ is Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has developed plans for a connected bus service to promote a sustainable public transportation system. Besides offering passengers real-time travel information and wireless connectivity, new services such as courier services provided by bus companies could also be made available.
As the importance of the Internet and digital solutions grows in the overall economy, the total connected living market could be worth billions by 2020 with the convergence of ICT and IoT expected to transform numerous industries into ‘Smart industries’. Examples include Automotive (Connected Cars), Healthcare (Connected Health) and Retail (Self Service, Augmented Reality).
However, there are challenges to be mindful of as well. As the IoT is heavily dependent on cloud computing, high-speed connectivity and powerful data analysis tools, issues with reliable connectivity, enterprise grade cloud computing and performance have to be addressed before the full potential of IoT can be realised.
As more machines operate independently of people, potential risks associated with security breaches multiply. Hacking a self-driving car or an aircraft navigation system could have devastating consequences. Technology vendors must continually ensure that the IoT technology is secure and processes are in place to address attempted security breaches.
As the cloud, data analytics, mobility and connectivity technologies mature, IoT will open up enormous new opportunities across industries. Activities that were once the domain of specialised industry vendors will be made available to the world’s leading technology firms. Technology vendors will place much greater focus on industry specific activities as they seek to fully benefit from IoT and connected industries.
In conclusion, IoT is forcing transformation and innovation across the Connected Home, Connected Workplace and the Connected City for a massive technology-led disruption across all industries. While the ecosystem of players is complex, there is no denying that collectively, the market potential is huge and presents immense opportunities for the telecom operators and ICT vendors.