In our highly connected, digital world, consumers and businesses alike are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) to help improve the quality of our lives, access productivity benefits and make services more accessible. To find out more about IoT, in September 2022, auDA hosted a webinar with Frank Zeichner, CEO and founder of the IoT Alliance Australia. You can view the webinar here.
Below are five takeaways from the webinar:
1. What is the IoT?
The International Standards Organisation defines IoT as: “An infrastructure of interconnected objects, people, systems and information resources together with intelligent services to allow them to process information of the physical and virtual world and react.”
Put another way, IoT is made up of smart devices and systems that collect and process information and communicate it across an interconnected network for action, often automated. IoT devices are many and varied spanning consumer and industrial uses, including smart speakers, internet-enabled security systems, wearable health monitors, real-time monitoring assets (for example, used in agriculture or supply chains) and robotics.
2. IoT is one of the fastest growing sectors in tech
By some estimates, the number of connected devices around the world will surpass 25.4 billion by 2030, up from 14.4 billion in 2022.
While that figure may seem daunting, more daunting is the task for organisations to monitor those devices and ensure they are online, secure and performing as expected. Even relatively small deployments distributed across a wide area such as farming acreage, a solar field or an industrial estate, need to have a complex interface for critical insights, notifications of security issues and remote access for remediation.
3. IoT can positively impact every aspect of our lives
A 2021 CSIRO report predicted Australia could increase GDP by as much as 33-36 per cent by fully embracing emerging technologies and digitisation.
As Frank explained, IoT can be truly transformational across all aspects of society by driving efficiencies and enabling access to real-time learning and data analysis. For example:
- Traffic managers are integrating IoT applications to reduce gridlock and improve traffic flow
- Product developers are building smart technology with key features such as better power management and edge computing functionality to help their customers optimise their IoT investment
- On the consumer-facing side, there are electric vehicles and smart home systems that are helping us to reduce our energy usage — saving the planet and saving money at the same time.
Every day new discoveries are increasing the ways IoT can enhance our lives and improve the products and systems that we rely on to live it to the fullest. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
4. IoT is driving the growth of Big Data
Big Data is complex data that cannot be processed by traditional data-processing software. It has large volumes of highly variable data (the data often doesn’t fit neatly into a database e.g. audio or video) that is received at rapid rate. The wide application of IoT devices across business and industry is driving significant increases in Big Data.
Most IoT systems collect data from their environment and the data is then fed back to servers where organisations can use it in countless ways. Organisations may choose to use the data at the time of collection only and immediately discard it after use e.g. mapping the weather in real time, or they can store collected data for analysis later.
Advanced analytics is helping make sense of the billions of real-time data points , taking unstructured data collected by IoT devices and organising information into digestible datasets that inform organisations on how to optimise their processes.
5. Barriers to higher adoption of IoT Technologies
Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is around half the comparative size of global peers, representing an opportunity for greater investment in Australian IoT systems and Big Data analytics.
Barriers to the higher adoption of IoT technologies fall broadly under three categories:
- Technical barriers: cost and complexity, cyber security issues and lack of interoperability between systems
- Organisational barriers: lack of alignment between IoT and business strategy, consumer trust and data security concerns, cultural resistance and a digital awareness gap among business leaders
- Regulatory barriers: lack of incentives and policy support, ethical and legal issues related to data privacy and data sharing, and a lack of digital talent and skills.
The IoT Alliance Australia’s mission is to build a better society and economy through trusted, accessible real-time data, powered by IoT technology, by promoting innovation and supporting a reduction in these barriers. To learn more about IoT and access a range of articles and resources for individuals and business, visit the IoT Alliance Australia website.