i3 - May/June 2016 - 27

HOW BIG CAN IoT BECOME?

The IoT ambitions of Chinese
companies stems in part from Premier
Wen Jiabao's 2010 pronouncement
As with many sweeping, multi-faced technology cavalcades, the Internet of Things
(or "Internet of Everything," "Internet+," or "Machine-to-Machine Connectivity") has
that called for rapid deployment of
generated countless predictions about its potential scale. About the only thing the
IoT projects, characterizing them as
prognosticators share is unbridled enthusiasm for a huge business that encompivotal for China's development. Less
passes wearables, health care, transportation, entertainment, factory production,
than two years later, the Ministry of
home + office + worksite automation and dozens of other ventures. Some devices
Industry and Information Technology
and services are available, many more are dreamed-about innovations for the IoT
(MIIT) dispatched a plan for IoT pilot
future.
projects in manufacturing, agriculture,
* Despite some cloudy crystal balls, forecasters have no fears about describing
finance, transportation, health care
the future. A widely quoted Gartner Inc. predication anticipates 6.4 billion conand public safety. The latest Chinese
nected things in use worldwide by the end of this year, up 30 percent from 2015,
five-year plan, unveiled in October,
and headed to 20.8 billion by 2020. Gartner expects IoT services will generate $235
features IoT projects called Internet+
billion in revenues in 2016.
as an efficient way to encourage entre* Cisco cites $19 trillion as the worldwide Internet of Everything value during the
preneurship and innovation.
next decade - with about 75 percent of that sum generated in the private sector,
So far, the Chinese government has
the balance coming from public investment. "To thrive in the era of the Internet of
poured more than $24 billion into
Everything, companies will need to innovate at an unprecedented pace," Cisco says.
IoT projects, according to International Data Corp. With that kind of
* International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide IoT spending of $1.3 bilencouragement and financial support,
lion in 2019, growing at a CAGR of 17 percent in the coming years and driven primarily by demand from the Asia-Pacific region. Marcus Torchia, IDC's IoT research manChinese companies have explored an
ager, says that region's "robust IoT spending" stems from the inability of traditional
array of IoT connections.
IT to fuel investment needs, hence opening the door for accelerated IoT funding.
For example, Shenzhen-based
Ingdan.com, backed with new funding
* The GSM Association's Connected Life report envisions the number of IoT mobile
from a Hong Kong investor, is buildconnections worldwide will reach 10.5 billion by 2020 and the number of connected
ing alliances with technology startups
devices will be 25.6 billion.
in Korea, Japan, Italy, Israel and the
* Parks Associates, which looks at IoT adoption in tangent with global broadband
U.S. The company has developed a
connectivity, expects that within three years, 972 million households worldwide
platform to connect global intelligent
(more than half of them in China) will be hooked up to wired or wireless broadband.
hardware entrepreneurs and ChinaParks says connected wearable devices will have a 50 percent adoption rate in
based supply chain resources focused
broadband households in North America by 2018 and in Western Europe by 2019.
on IoT projects.
Although the numbers or methodologies aren't always consistent among the
The GSM Association, in a report on
technology soothsayers, their forecasts give IoT adventurers plenty of ways to find
China's IoT for its "Connected Livan optimistic outlook for their projects.
ing" program, credits such initiatives
to China's strengths in both hardware
and software. "While the IoT is a
global phenomenon, China is in the vanguard of
STANDARDS AND TECHNICAL INTEGRATION
deployment," GSMA says in its recent report, How
Predictably, the IoT frenzy is encountering techniChina is Scaling the Internet of Things. It cites the
cal growing pains. For example, within China, at
country's economies of scale as "unmatched" by
least three not entirely compatible IoT formats
other countries.
exist. Huawei, the telecom behemoth, developed
In particular, the Ministry of Housing and Urban an open-source "Agile IoT" technology platform
and Rural Development and its very aggressive
and offered it to developers for wearables, smart
funding for "smart city" pilot projects, estimated at
homeware and smart cars. Given Huawei's clout
$16 billion initially is expected to create prototypes
and resources, the system has the potential to work
that may be adopted worldwide. More than 90 per- its way into "Smart City Solutions" for mobile and
cent of China's provinces and municipalities have
fixed telecom services.
cited IoT as "a pillar industry in their development
Meanwhile, Xiamen, a Beijing smartphone
plans," according to an MIIT vice minister.
vendor, is building an ecosystem of connected
C TA . t e c h / i 3

MAY/JUNE 2016

27


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