What is IoT?
The Internet of Things, usually acronymized as IoT, remain a buzzword even in 2016, where it has captured the interest of many major players in the startup scene. While there isn’t a formal definition for IoT, the central idea is the inter-device connection that allows “things” to gather information, “talk” to each other to initiate a service or an action independently without human intervention. “Things” that can be connected include any natural or man-made objects that we manage to assign an IP address and configure to provide useful data over a network ecosystem.
Why the hype?
Major players are eyeing IoT as Deja Vu, akin to the internet revolution of the 1990s. The world is set for another paradigm shift as 3 billion people connect to the internet and accesses the abundance of information and inter-connectivity. In 2016 IoT represents the second movement as 6.4 billion devices are connected to provide unprecedented accessibility and data volume. As stated by Kevin Ashton, “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.” IoT is a game changer.
IoT for Consumers
The average consumer can expect smarter devices that provide convenience and enhance daily productivity by performing personalized services with the data it gathers, at a low cost due to automation.
A popular IoT device in the smart home application would be the Nest Smart Thermostat owned by Google. It learns the schedule of its homeowner and regulates the housing temperature around it. This makes home appliances more efficient and reduces energy consumption.
Things get even more exciting when we start creating compound applications of connected devices and services. For example, the elderly can have more freedom to live independently in a smart home where health-related data is monitored and connected to a hospital.
These IoT systems could “learn” to distinguish between usual behavioral patterns and an accident, and alert health care providers or family members in the event of an emergency.
IoT for Enterprise
Large scale adoption of the IoT concept has already begun under the hood of many services in the enterprise world, usually hidden from the public eye.
Cisco identifies IoT as a $19 trillion business opportunity and various analysts have termed it as the next Industrial Revolution, with the potential to spawn over 50 billion connected devices within the next decade to support industries such as manufacturing, security, facility management, oil and gas, agriculture, retail and transportation.
An example would be the implementation of Microsoft’s Azure IoT service at Rockwell Automation to refine the operations of remote installations across the petroleum supply chain.
By automating the collection and analysis of data, Rockwell Automation could monitor and predict possible failures of expensive capital assets, track real-time performance to support system design refinement, and implement processes to prevent those failures in the future.
What’s Next and What’s Now?
Despite overwhelming advantages and opportunities presented by IoT to both consumers and enterprises, most local businesses in Malaysia have yet to succeed in establishing a sustainable ecosystem or business model with IoT. Hence, there is no better time than now for entrepreneurs to build an IoT startup, and that’s where Second Startup can help.