IoT leading the way in 2017

  • In 2017, countries will look to introduce more intelligent applications and connected devices for nation building
  • After witnessing several high-profile cyberhacks , awareness surrounding IoT security has definitely heightened


IoT leading the way in 2017

For many years, the Internet of Things (IoT) had been a mere buzzword. People aspired to it, but never achieved it. However, 2016 was the year this took a turn. 

Today, IoT is everywhere and heralded as a game-changer in many industries. Moving ahead into 2017, IoT technology will continue to transform the way we operate, communicate, travel, make purchases, and above all, enhancing our lives.  

In this article, we aim to cut through the clutter and turn the spotlight on trending developments around IoT in 2017, while reminiscing the progress of IoT to date. 


1.    More nations turn to IoT to transfigure their cities 

Countries worldwide are initiating their own smart nation/city programs. In 2017, these pioneers will look to introduce more intelligent applications and connected devices for nation-building. And such technology-enabled applications will ultimately benefit the society and community in multiple ways. 

For instance, wearables, connected emergency systems, and digitised hospitals allow healthcare providers to monitor and respond to their patients’ conditions remotely. This is poised to dramatically lower the cost of healthcare and improve the quality of life. This is ever more critical as we are faced with a global ageing population and a healthcare industry with limited resources.  

Today, the concept of connected living is no longer new. In Singapore, a connected public transport system  lets passengers know in advance when their bus or train is arriving, and how crowded it is. Soon, the city-state will also be launching a trial , aimed at deploying smart meters for informing local households of their electricity, water, and gas usages, all at a click of a button. The authorities can further utilise these data for insights, making cities smarter through IoT. 


2.    IoT will be the driving force for connected cars in 2017 

Connected cars became a reality in 2016, made possible by innovations like embedded SIMs and connected telematics box. Many big brands have already tested their own connected cars, including Ford, Nissan, and Volvo, just to name a few. Meanwhile, Volkswagen and LG are collaborating to develop a new connected car service platform.  

With these developments, 2017 promises to be a truly exciting year for connected cars. In fact, Markets and Markets research forecasts that the global connected car market will be worth US$46.69 billion by 2020. And a Juniper Research shows that 20% of passenger vehicles on the road in 2019 will be connected. 

The promise of connected cars will not only manifest in the improvement of road safety, but also how it can leap frog the user experience for drivers and passengers alike. For instance, by receiving real-time traffic data, connected cars can choose an optimal route with the least congestion or traffic lights. Sourcing of parking lot is another application. This will be a much-welcomed service densely populated cities like Singapore or Hong Kong. 


3.    Connectivity needs to be made more seamless, more flexible, and easier to manage 

In the IoT world, connectivity is the glue linking people and devices together, and SIM cards are the crucial enabler. Traditionally, manufacturers rely on SIMs pre-loaded with a fixed mobile network operator (MNO) profile for their products, and ship them to the customers. As more devices from smart watches to and cars are now connected, this method is costly and logistically challenging. 

An enhanced approach is to use MNO-agnostic embedded SIMs (eSIMs). By allowing businesses and end users to remotely pick their preferred MNO, and download a relevant network profile over the air, a new era of “generic” devices can now be deployed anyway in the world. These eSIMs support flexible connectivity management like on-demand provisioning to further facilitate global rollout, too.

Today, many MNOs are adopting on-demand provisioning to help users better manage connectivity. Implemented through on-demand connectivity platforms  and fully compliant with the latest GSMA specifications, such a method delivers distinct benefits. Businesses can save manufacturing costs and accelerate their go to market, while end users get to enjoy unprecedented flexibility and convenience. In 2017, we will see more MNOs board this ship. 

IoT leading the way in 2017

4.    IoT security continues to be a growing concern 

After witnessing several high-profile cyberhacks , awareness surrounding IoT security has definitely heightened. Businesses are becoming more mindful of the vulnerability and protection of IoT projects, and it is imperative for them to get security right as IoT is here to stay. 

This concern not only impacts businesses, but also consumers. In Gemalto’s IoT outlook 2016 report, security worries topped the list – 42.4% of 1,000 respondents agreed it was the main challenge for them; and 77% said security needed to be assessed very carefully. 

In 2017, we expect security requirements for IoT projects and embedded devices to be a hot topic. Tangent to the issue, security regulations, and standards will be actively discussed and addressed by governments and the technology industry. Though there are already GSMA guidelines laid out by early IoT adopters, changes are unavoidable as we gain a stronger grasp of the security landscape. 


5.    Low-power, long-range modules will buttress industrial IoT demand 

Apart from connected cars and high-tech wearables, there is another aspect to IoT technology – its adoption in the industrial space. Here we are talking about applications used in manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, mining, transportation, and healthcare. Collectively, these applications make up nearly two-thirds of the world economy, and influence our lives in unseen ways. 

For instance, as our society evolves into an integrated human-machine workforce, IoT will reshape the nature of work, and determine the kind of jobs that will be created. New low-power, long-range technologies such as narrowband IoT (NB IoT), low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN), and Cat-M will address the power issue of connected devices and infrastructure used in an industrial setting. 

LPWAN, in particular, is invaluable for use cases like alarm systems and smart cities – broadcasting life-saving messages when an emergency breaks out, as well as enabling connected street lights, advanced building automation, and intelligent parking space management. Since LPWAN modules are also inexpensive, they can lower the cost of connected devices and accelerate IoT innovation.


IoT is a necessity in Asia Pacific and not just a catchphrase 

Asia Pacific is home to many large and fast-growing urban cities, and increasingly, Smart City technology is no longer an option but a necessary element to develop and support the infrastructure of these cities. IoT technologies are already here, and 2017 will see greater adoption of the IoT across the region’s developed and developing markets. 

Manoj Kumar Rai is the Head of M2M Solutions, South Asia & Japan, Gemalto
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