IoT: A World of Opportunity

IoT, a digital mesh of internet-connected devices, is taking the entrepreneurial world by storm. Misbaah Mansuri weighs its pros and cons and how organizations in the region have made impressive inroads on the IoT solutions landscape

It’s amazing how the Internet of Things (IoT) which was for years perceived as inviable, has now achieved a hard-won status “as no longer a gimmick.” Thanks to a repertoire of IoT use cases that are providing real business value and contribute to the bottom line of businesses today. For the layman – smart houses, wearable devices, smart retail stores, connected cars are some examples of IoT. To be sure, the concept can help entrepreneurial pursuits reach the market faster and interact with their customers in a whole new way. Time to IoT with great thought and vision?

From smart to smartest

The IoT market is becoming increasingly competitive within the Middle East. To be sure, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has one big dream of transforming Dubai into the smartest city in the world.

A defining moment for UAE was when telecom firm Du successfully brought to life a new breed of ‘sensor-friendly’ network to establish the smart-city ecosystem in the country, which paved its way to become the first true IoT network in the Middle East.

The launch of Dubai’s IoT strategy in 2017 was intended to build a platform for smart city development. Moreover, the region organizes an Internet of Things Conference every year, which gathers over 81 countries and attracts over 7000 attendees, 90 speakers, and 120 exhibitors.

That said, robotic process automation, cognitive computing, and cognitive automation will inevitably incur an increase in jobs within the emerging IoT sector is a brownie point. If research by AT Kearney Research is anything to go by, the IoT solutions market in the GCC will touch $11 billion, generating potential value for the economy of nearly $160 billion.

Business Applications

It should be noted that enterprises of all sizes are deploying IoT solutions to improve overall business efficiencies. Real estate companies are leveraging it to provide solutions that work on dynamic allocation of real estate and office resources for their clients. An exciting startup instance-Derq-an MIT spin-off startup, provides safety solutions for connected cars using artificial intelligence and V2X technology.

PwC estimates that over 11.2 Billion Internet of Things devices would be installed globally in the next two years.

In another example, UAE-based iWire Group is driving IoT adoption in over ten countries in GCC, Asia, and Africa, providing two-way, out-of-the-box, energy-efficient, and cost-effective connectivity to IoT devices.

Another instance is InLogic IT Solutions, an organization working on developing process control systems, sensors, security systems, communication solutions, and IoT software. The organization is advancing its IoT services by assisting customers by developing their existing technologies while keeping in view commitment towards safety, cyber security, and data privacy.

ThingLogix, Inc., yet another provider of cloud-based IoT services, established its regional headquarter in the UAE, a company that is driving the growth of IoT in the region. Meanwhile, an exciting startup Interel, utilizes IoT to efficiently manage guest room energy consumption to drive optimal room experience in the hospitality space. It leverages a Bluetooth low energy beacon infrastructure for thousands of its own and third-party sensors to communicate with each other through APIs, as well as an AR mobile app for mobile virtualization of the guest room control.

Capabilities And Opportunities 

Factors like high mobile adoption, expanded Internet connectivity, availability of low-cost sensors, and keen interest from private and public sectors seem to have fuelled IoT’s growth story today. PwC estimates that over 11.2 billion Internet of Things devices would be installed globally in the next two years. To be sure, IoT should be treated as a medium through which intelligent customer experiences can be delivered.

Brands like Amazon, Disney, Honeywell, among others, are interesting instances of making sensors perform magic and utilizing the tech in an immersive way.

The IoT solutions market in the GCC will touch $11 billion, generating potential value for the economy of nearly $160 billion

IoT makes automation easier and how! Smart offices automate repetitive tasks, thus allowing employees to invest their time in something more challenging. It helps businesses build capabilities to predict and act. Collected data can be utilized to build historical trends that predict and put businesses in issues before they occur. All this new capability also provides opportunities to increase the level of dialog and interaction with customers. It helps the marketing and business development partners translate the IoT data procured into models that can improve customer dialog, trust, and retention.

Internet Of “Threats”?

Like most other technology, IoT is like a double-edged weapon. While its advantages are incredible, it does come with its share of downsides. One of the biggest threats that IoT devices face is that they are susceptible to botnet attacks, data eavesdropping, industrial espionage, among others. Apart from the data breach argument, privacy issues also lead to the question of who will control the Internet of Things? Furthermore, the connecting of more and more devices to the Internet is noted to result in loss of jobs. Its automation is said to have a severe impact on the employment prospects of less-educated workers. The dream always is a future where men and machines work in tandem with each other.

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