UPDATED 27/5. LIVE FROM CES ASIA, SHANGHAI: The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved into the accelerated development stage, with more and more adjacent industries – like insurance and healthcare – jumping on board to improve efficiency and trim operating costs.
These were the highlights of an IoT panel discussion today at the event.
Wei Sun, IoT global strategic initiative leader at IBM Research, said that IoT is not only about connectivity but about being combined with cloud and big data technology to drive industry transformation, such as service innovation as well as new business models.
He noted that every one of its major customers across all sectors is exploring IoT products and services.
David Sovie, Accenture’s high-tech and electronics lead for Asia Pacific, agreed that IoT has moved out of its infancy into the rapid development phase and all of the core technologies are now in place. Bandwidth costs have fallen 16-fold over the past decade and processing power has increased 40 times.
“And the real revolution that most people don’t talk about is the advances in sensor technologies. A typical mobile phone now has almost a dozen sensors – makers have driven down the price dramatically. We can now envision a world where almost any device can have sensors that connect to a network,” Sovie explained.
The last part is that advances in big data analytics enable companies to start to make sense of all the information being collected.
All these have only come together in the past couple of years, he said.
“I’ve seen my share of hype cycles that have disappointed, but I think this one is actually real and sees a lot of excitement and interest. Every CIO must have an IoT strategy or you’ll find yourself behind the competition.”
Sun pointed out that companies can create significant value by leveraging IoT to optimise their after-sales services. With home appliances, which now have sensors and are connected, a company can understand how a product is used by each individual customer in real time.
The company can monitor usage patterns and apply predictive maintenance and also optimise its call-centre interactions with the additional insight. These both can result in significant reductions in operational costs, he said.
While the fundamental underlying technologies and standards are there, Sovie said there is still a lot of work to do to make using the technology easier, and that includes security as well.
The user experience and the interpretation of the data analytics are the real hard parts and where he sees room for improvement across all markets.
“A lot of product companies need to learn to make things more simple. The key difference is now the smartphone, which they can leverage to make the interface dead easy to use.”