Evolution of IoT in India
Times have changed. If it took at least a decade for global tech to hit Indian soil, now India is at the forefront of technological innovations and early interventions. However, we have to cover a lot of ground quickly. The government shares this vision, especially with its Smart City roadmap. They intend to spend a significant amount of money on smart city projects to make the 100 cities more sustainable. The government intends to spend a significant amount of money on smart city projects to make 100 cities more sustainable. According to Deloitte, India presently has 60 million IoT devices, with the number expected to reach over two billion in the next three to four years. Until now, the benefits of IoT in commercial applications have been numerous. IT and business stakeholders collaborate to align IoT initiatives with business goals to meet revenue and customer experience targets. Security concerns, including connectivity in industrial automation, remain deterring as certain parts of India lack access to the internet. Prosenjit Sengupta, CDO, Thermax Limited, with two decades of experience in the automotive industry and who has been awarded as the Top 50 CIO of India for two consecutive years, takes a deep dive with CIO Insider into the spectrum of IoT.
In conversation with Prosenjit Sengupta, CDO, Thermax Limited
Could you tell us about sectors that are currently leveraging IoT the most?
The established sectors such as Automobile, Line Manufacturing, Agriculture, Hospitality, Retail, Logistics and Transportation, Finance and Banking, Oil & Gas are widely leveraging IoT. Whereas Healthcare, Home Automation, Real Estate, and of course, Education, among others, are the latest to deploy this technology, with utility and smart cities to join the bandwagon in the near future.
Could you state a few factors widely driving investments for enterprise IoT products and services?
IoT is often considered the key driver for business growth for reasons starting with efficiency, which moves businesses from reactive to proactive. Since timely and accurate information enables actionable insights to drive change by cutting costs and improving efficiency. Secondly, deeper insights across many related data allow enterprises to sort elements into perspectives enabling access to data both in real-time and overtime to arrive at precise predictions and better decision making. It provides transparency with transportation, in particular, room for new business ideas for startups and energy efficiency and sustainability.
From retail to healthcare and energy to manufacturing, the upcoming year will bring more advanced IoT solutions, improving sustainability, productivity, and safety of operations
Which areas do you suggest market participants should emphasize to devise and align their market strategies as per the IoT market dynamics this year?
As retail tends to get smarter post-pandemic, emphasis should be placed on pricing, staffing, stocks, and supplies. For operations, industrial IoT is paramount for site safety, uptime and efficiency. Manufacturing becomes smarter and more predictable with the merger of IT & OT at the shopfloors. Machine learning can be deployed as a logical next step in improving training, evaluation, and machine prediction. Above all, with the plethora of connected devices all around us, IT and IoT security has become an essential weapon within each organisation’s armoury.
What changes in market behavior have you been witnessing after the COVID-19 pandemic?
From retail to healthcare and energy to manufacturing, the upcoming year will bring more advanced IoT solutions, improving sustainability, productivity, and safety of operations.
There will be a focus on energy efficiency and hybrid workforce management. Additionally, companies are aching to reduce their dependencies on areas impacted by the pandemic, such as skills, travel, and onsite expectations, to name a few. New areas will emerge around electricity distributions, remote monitoring, and new insurance applications, including a high focus on security and learning.
Could you elaborate on the challenges holding back enterprises from large-scale IoT deployments?
The most common misconception is that IoT is an IT or technology play rather than a business transformation one. It is imperative to solve business problems while designing IoT solutions. Establishing connectivity mainly across legacy and proprietary assets is complex, as it requires different connectivity protocols and software & hardware capabilities. In turn, the network in India is still the biggest issue in having a seamless data flow across many parts. As more connected assets and sensors come in, there is a need to widen the data storage and computing power, which are essential for analysing and interpreting the collected data. Hence, it is vital to have a solution for handling a combination of organized information and Big Data together. As for data processing, the right algorithms, right fault tree analysis, and testing hypothesis require cloud-friendly distributed analysis solutions. Connecting the dots between customer expectations and service delivery creates business value, which otherwise could make the IoT journey more academic.
How do you perceive the future role of the IoT ecosystem in India?
5G will play an essential role in connecting assets, particularly in expanding sensors, devices, and data transmissions. Multiple GoI initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India, IoT COE by Nasscom, MeitY, and others will help digital focus. The utility metering in gas, water, and electricity in India will be digital. Consumer experience will change dramatically with 5G. Agriculture's digital focus will continue in India. Cities will get smarter as we see the first steps with traffic challans becoming digital already.