Kanwaljeet Kukreja, Business Development-Energy & Smart Cities, Schneider Electric, India.
It has been talked about for over a decade, but recent research suggests that the Internet of Everything, also sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to create big business as the next evolution of the Internet takes a huge leap forward in its ability to gather, analyze, and distribute data. Cisco defines the Internet of Everything (IoE) as “the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.” As it turns out, the IoT has an enormous impact on everyday life. In the next 5 years, it is projected that the number of connected devices on the planet will double to 50 billion devices.
Connected Global Society
In today’s built environment, it is believed that there are 4.9 billion things connected to the Internet, from mobile phones and computers to industrial machines and building automation devices. To top that, analysts expect this number to reach 50 billion by 2020. This evolving and connected landscape, also known as the IoT, creates the disposition of readily accessible data which can then be aggregated, analyzed and acted upon. Our increasingly connected world not only allows for real-time, cross-continental information sharing but it also allows individuals and organizations to make informed decisions around energy use as well as other daily routines closer to home, like their daily commute. The IoT empowers and connects people to share relevant information that can be acted upon – whether one wants to know what concerts are happening in the city they are visiting or looking for an electric vehicle charging station, the IoT gives one the information they want, when they want it, all at their fingertips.
IoT for Smart Cities
The government has already announced its intention of building 100 smart cities in the country and we at Schneider believe that IoT is essential for smart cities because of the increased connectedness it creates. Around the globe, countries and cities are exploring how technology can make urban environments cleaner, healthier, and more pleasant in which to live. We know that technology cannot resolve every city challenge, nor should we expect it to do so. Yet, if applied well, technology can help solve pressing needs or meet aspirations, sustainably delivering improved quality of life, more prosperity and efficiency.
Smart cities often comprise many different projects – typically smart energy, smart water, smart transport, smart waste, e-government, and many others. Yet, as with many analyst projections, growth and spending have been lagging behind the vast levels of forecast (although it is still growing strongly). In tandem, there is a lot of discussion about IoT. The IoT represents a much broader range of applications than in just cities, but the convergence of these trends creates the most likely path toward smart and technology-enabled cities. According to a report by Gartner, 1.6 billion connected things will be used by smart cities. The report also points out that smart commercial buildings will be the highest users of IoT until 2017, after which smart homes will take the lead with just over 1 billion connected things in 2018. Smart homes will represent 21 percent of total IoT use in smart cities in 2016, and will record the highest increase over the next 5 years.
Big Opportunities in IoT
The effect IoT will have will vary depending on vertical industry, but examples are not difficult to imagine. Think about manufacturing, with all sorts of devices on the plant floor being instrumented like never before – pumps, motors, drives, all communicating data about their health and performance in real time. The same goes for healthcare, where everything from sensitive imaging machines in hospitals to wearable blood pressure sensors in patient homes will be churning out all kinds of data aimed at keeping the machines running and patients healthy.
Technology companies are at the forefront of putting IoT to work for enterprises, industries, cities, and living spaces across the world. IoT is breaking silos and borders within business. In an economy like India, the opportunity for connectedness has limitless possibilities and applications. This intersection of the rapid evolution of technology, a seismic shift in demographics, and the need to manage overstretched resources create a perfect storm to make smart cities and IoT an inevitable future.