IoT: Revolutionising the global energy economy 29 APRIL 2016

Starting from 15 billion devices at present, the world will see 50 billion devices connected with each other through the Internet of Things (IoT) by the end of 2020.

The global IoT market is in fact predicted to increase from US$665.9 billion to US$1.8 trillion in 2020, as per a report by Cisco. Most of this growth will take place in the US, UK and India.

Multinational communications and information technology company Nokia defines the Internet of Things as a “network of various physical items which have technology worked up within them through which they can communicate, interact or sense internally or within an external environment.”

Widely known IoT applications in the smart energy space, prevalent in the utilities and smart cities market, are designed to help people to control the use of energy in their homes, commercial buildings as well as public infrastructure and services.

Everything will eventually be connected to the Internet, thereby providing valuable insights into building a more efficient and sustainable lifestyle.

This certainly rings true for the energy industry which finds itself in a highly competitive sector. If utilities are to prosper, they need efficient access to quality data so that they can make business critical decisions.

Not only will the digital transformation help them meet environmental goals, it will also create a more prosperous business through new revenue streams.

IoT-An industrial revolution

[Quote] Research shows that in 2014, around $1.2 billion (involving 154 separate investment deals) was invested into IoT technology. The UK government is so convinced that IoT is creating an industrial revolution, it has already invested GBP75 million in the industry.

Large companies are already seeing the value in IoT. Apple, for instance, introduced CarPlay which controls the car’s infotainment system via the iPhone. Google also has its Open Automotive Alliance which does the same thing for Android and Microsoft. This has been around since the1990s.

Smart washing machines and fridges are becoming increasingly popular as consumers see the value these offer. For instance, the Berg Cloudwash machine sends text message alerts before it starts a cycle and it even sends reminders when detergents could be running low. While the majority of smart devices react to and send text messages to tablets and smartphones, it is predicted that voice control will play a huge role in the future.

While the opportunities in IoT are big, industries must keep in mind that privacy and security issues are still a major concern for many customers. Companies need to ensure that the relevant security measures are taken onboard and also explained to customers.

Preparing industries for IoT

Simplifying the management of millions of IoT device connections and developing customized IoT applications will help industries tap into new revenue streams.

Nokia has recognised this need and has come up with a comprehensive portfolio. IoT by Nokia comprises network components, services, analytics and partner solutions which can help operators and enterprises get their networks and businesses ready for IoT success.

Another example is the growth of edge intelligence, which has been developed to provide IoT connectivity to the grid,enabling connectivity of all sorts of sensors and data transfer from these sensors in a standard way to the cloud or a data centre where it can be analyzed. Publicly announced deployments of this type of technology include AES Eletropaulo and Eletrobras in Brazil, Salzburg AG in Austria and Tonga Power Ltd on Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu.