By Prince Osuagwu (Hi-Tech Editor) & Juliet Umeh
THERE are very interesting statistics around the Internet of Things, IoT that would attract attention of every serious country that wants to leverage its economy with technology.
Internet of Things (IoT) is many things to many people. Everything from new applications, such as smart cities or autonomous vehicles to massive sensor networks for monitoring environmental or industrial systems revolve around IoT.
It is basically a network of physical “things” embedded with sensors and connected to the Internet. With IoT technology, devices are able to communicate and share data between one another without manual intervention.
Also, the technology enables physical objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across networks, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computers.
Forecasts are that the global IoT market will grow from $157B in 2016 to $457B by 2020, attaining a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.5%.
There’s also the prediction that discrete manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and utilities will lead all industries in IoT spending by 2020, averaging $40B each.
Yet, Business to Business, B2B segments of IoT is predicted to generate more than $300B annually by 2020, including about $85B in the industrial sector.
In fact, the last twelve months of Internet of Things (IoT) forecasts and market estimates reflect enterprises’ higher expectations for scale, scope and return on investment (ROI) from IoT initiatives.
Business benefits and outcomes are what drives the majority of organizations to experiment with IoT and invest in large-scale initiatives. The majority of enterprises adopting IoT today are using metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect operational improvements, customer experience, logistics, and supply chain gains.
However, if there is anywhere the internet of things can solve teething problems better, Nigeria is the place and stakeholders are believing that Nigerian organisations should take advantage of a great leap the technology can give both the economy and their businesses, to invest heavily in it.
Presenting a thought leadership document “Building Cyber Security & Resilience in a Digital Africa recently, Partner & Head Technology Advisory KPMG in Nigeria, Africa Cyber Security SGI Lead, Mr Joseph Tegbe and his team challenged Nigeria and indeed African businesses to look at the innovations of IoT to solve inherent problems in the environments they operate.
In the lecture, the team noted: “ In Nigeria today, one of the controls implemented at various intersections on our roads is the traffic light system – to prevent accidents and control the movement of vehicles. This method of managing and controlling traffic on the road is not efficient as Programmable Logic Circuits at the heart of this system are preset with specific values to determine when vehicles are to stop, ready or move.
“Imagine, a traffic system that dynamically controls traffic based on live feeds gotten from integrated cameras and sensors. Surely, this would control traffic more efficiently, get people off the road safely and faster to their various destinations.
This traffic system is driven by the IoT technology. Already, smart traffic control systems exist in developed countries around the world – for instance, an Intelligent Traffic System implemented in Tyler, Texas, was reported to have reduced traffic delays by 22%. Going by this statistics, leveraging on the technology that IoT provides in the area of transportation will help reduce the traffic challenges in urbanized cities in Nigeria such as Lagos”.
Besides the traffic system, there are opportunities to derive from IoT in many other areas, including Health, Home and City, Transportation, manufacturing, consumer and retail businesses among others.
For each of these areas, embracing the IoT technology means that more devices will be connected to the internet; more awareness should be created for people to understand what it is all about. There may be need to tactically embed it into schools curricular so that it becomes part of people from school days.
However, speaking in a panel discussion at the 2018 Nigeria Com conference recently, Senior Manager, Product Portfolio, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Mr. Abu Etu, said that IoT cannot essentially perform magic if business owners are not ready to think digitally; ready to challenge the status quo and ready to be distruptive in their thinking and approach to work.
For him, being the connectedness of things, IoT will in future, have everything connected so life will be easier. So the earlier businesses latched on its capabilities, the better for business and economic growth..
Corroborating Etu, Chief Product & Information Officer, 9mobile, Otuyemi Otule, said that the challenge of awareness is one that may not allow IoT to thrive in the country.
He said: “A lot of schools are still not teaching anything relating to IoT and so a lot of graduates who come out of school today don’t understand IoT and that gap has to be bridged.
“Another thing is the way IoT is communicated needs to change. We need to have a lot of business areas where IoT is deployed so that people can see the value.
. “Currently IoT has not penetrated Nigeria the way it should.
However, the potential is there for any investor. We are talking about hundreds of millions devices that will be deployed over the next five years or so in the country if we latch onto the IoT bandwagon.This willdefinitely benefit our businesses.
“I have seen a few guys at innovation hub Yaba axis who are already building IoT devices, putting poles, sensors together. What investors can do is to look at these guys who know what they are doing and see how they can build capacity for them.
These are the little things that we can do in IoT space.