IoT is in the Spotlight for all the right reasons right now as it is being looked at as one of the ways to solve present day problems that exists in our lives. Mr. Andy Stevenson, Managing Director, Fujitsu India shares his insights with DT on IoT. Excerpts
Q. What does IoT mean for India?
A. IoT, at present, is at the centre of all major tech conversations on a global as well as national level. The implementation of IoT in India might have begun on a slow note but today it plays a key role in the growth and economic development of the country. The fact that the Government of India has invested a massive amount of money in its Digital India initiative itself resonates the importance of IoT in India’s scheme of things. Last April, the GoI launched a ‘Draft Policy on the Internet of Things’ aimed at using IoT for planning preventive and in-time maintenance of manufacturing verticals.
In fact, the ecosystem of interconnected things and the technology that manages them is expected to have a market potential of $15 billion by 2020 in India, at a CAGR of over 28%. Andhra Pradesh recently came up with a plan to turn the state into an IoT hub by 2020, aimed at bringing in greater collaboration from the private sector, creating over 50,000 jobs in different IoT verticals, and achieving a market share of at least 10 per cent in the country. Businesses especially stand to gain maximum value from IoT as it lets one connect anything that can be connected.
Q. What are the areas where IoT will play a transformative role?
A. IoT can make a remarkable difference to multiple problem areas of our life. The backbone of the country, agriculture, can benefit largely from implementation of IoT in the sector. Some important applications are:
· Traffic Management: The rise of wearable devices in the form of smart shirts, and smart bands have brought about an ease in the process of patient monitoring. Irrespective of the location, we are all plagued by traffic and transport woes which can effortlessly be eliminated with the help of IoT. At Fujitsu, we provide traffic management solutions. With the help of the algorithm traffic flow can be analysed, taking into consideration factors like time of departure of buses, number of people on-door and off-door, and map the crowded stops. IoT makes it possible to connect all these points, and monitor the traffic activity through mobile devices as well raise an alert in case of an emergency.
· Connected Homes: Connected homes are another avenue that can experience transformation through IoT. It provides ease of access to the consumer, allowing them to monitor and control the appliances remotely from one point, and the usage data can be used by corporates as well for modifying their services.
· Agriculture: Farmers will no longer have to depend on age-old machinery to gain access to information, and can automate the processes.
· Disaster Management: Disaster management is another area wherein IoT can be of great use. The recent floods in Chennai highlighted our poor state of preparedness to combat disasters, and while it isn’t possible to completely avoid one but at least the impact can be diminished.
Q. What are the basic requirements for IoT in any organizational set?
A. Organizations are now steadily moving towards adoption of IoT. The basic pre-requisite for the same is to have connected objects that can generate alerts and notification, and can facilitate remote access. Basic information support, and remote accessibility support are two important requirements for IoT in an organization.
Q. Does IoT mean more than RFIDS tags and GPS systems?
A. RFIDS tags and GPS systems are a crucial part of IoT but its usage goes way beyond these two components. Any form of technology that can connect to the Internet falls under the IoT ecosystem, whether it is a smart watch or a robot or a car. IoT also encompasses machine-to-human communication, location based services, lab-on-chip sensors, and augumented reality to name a few. Network security too is an important part of IoT, keeping the malicious threats at bay. Wireless connectivity is yet another vital component of IoT as it facilitates quick deployment of sensors
Q. What is the role of IoT in smart cities?
A. India is at the apex of development, a big part of which is dedicated to smart cities. Technology and in turn IoT form the backbone of this entire smart cities project. Through integration of technology and information, IoT will provide the resources required to make the cities smart in terms of installing RFID tags, GPS sensor, scanners etc. In simple words, IoT will the key to achieving the intelligent management that smart cities promise. For instance, common issues like waste management, traffic jams can be dealt with by leveraging IoT. Automated alerts can assist in keeping a tabs on people who break the rules.
Q. What are the security concerns and what are the ways to address them?
A. IoT can be instrumental in the betterment of our lives but it brings with it substantial security concerns as well. While on one hand it connects multiple devices, it also automatically increases the susceptibility towards cyber-attacks. The basis of IoT is machine-to-machine connectivity, and if one connected network is hacked, then inadvertently all the connected networks will be affected. Ergo, one strike can lead to the fall of the entire system. As for securing the network from threat, a multi-step authentication process can be effective measure along with encrypted security gateways. The right to authenticate access should be restricted to the person responsible for security. Organizations should also develop the practice of creating possible threat models to understand the vulnerabilities, and accordingly place measures to combat them.
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