Government regulation key factor for IoT to bloom
By Goh Thean Eu March 21, 2014
- Government approvals needed for IoT solutions to be adopted at national level
- Qualcomm would be focusing on two IoT areas: Automotive and healthcare
THE biggest challenge in growing the Internet of Things (IoT) industry is the regulatory framework, said a Qualcomm Inc senior official.
“The technology is already here and is at the right price points,” said Qualcomm Technologies Inc (QTI) senior vice president of global market development Jay Srage, also president of its Middle East/ Africa and South-East Asia operations.
“The problem is that if you want to do smart metering [for example], the utility company would need to change the meters of all houses – and that requires regulations from the government.
“If you want to install sensors on the highway, it is also at the end of the day, a government decision,” he added.
QTI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world by market value.
Qualcomm is currently in talks with various parties in Malaysia and in the region on the possibility of introducing more IoT solutions to the market, according to its regional head of Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, Mantosh Malhotra.
“There is interest from stakeholders in Malaysia and in the region. Talks involve very high-level officials but are still at a very preliminary stage.
“There are regulatory issues – what is acceptable in the United States may not be acceptable in this region,” Mantosh added.
Meanwhile, Srage said that decisions like these would not be made “overnight,” but added that he believes that these talks are important as they would help pave the way for IoT to be widely accepted in the long run.
Gartner Inc describes IoT as a network of physical objects which contain embedded technology that can communicate and sense, or interact, with their internal states or the external environment.
The research firm expects IoT will grow to an installed base of 26 billion units by 2020. This represents close to a 30-fold increase from 900 million in 2009.
Gartner also expects IoT product and service suppliers to generate incremental revenue exceeding US$300 billion in 2020.
Meanwhile, Mantosh said that Qualcomm is focusing on two main areas when it comes to IoT: Automotive and healthcare.
“That’s the next wave. In fact, our chairman [Dr Paul E. Jacobs] has openly said that he wants to make San Diego the Silicon Valley of ‘mHealth’ (mobile health),” he said.
Ninetology aiming for RM380mil in sales
Both Srage and Mantosh were in Kuala Lumpur to witness the unveiling of Ninetology and Qualcomm’s AirAsia aircraft livery. The Qualcomm chipset powers some of Ninetology’s mobile phones.
Ninetology Marketing Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Sean Ng claimed that the company sold more than one million Ninetology mobile phones last year, compared with the 65,000 phones sold in 2012.
Ng also said that the company achieved revenue of RM180 million in 2013, versus RM44 million in 2012. During the period, its market share increased to 12% against 4% in 2012.
“This year, we are targeting to achieve revenue of RM380 million in South-East Asia. This will be achieved as we expand our products to other parts of the region,” he said.
[RM1 = US$0.30]
He also said that the company will be investing up to RM5 million this year, the bulk of which would be used to build more “experiential centres” in the country.
Ng said Ninetology would be unveiling LTE (Long-Term Evolution) phones in the first half of this year.
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