By Kiran Zachariah
At a remote corner of Satara district in Maharashtra, thousands of cows are wearing sensors that track everything from pregnancy, diseases, state of vaccination and other health-related parameters. This dairy farm in Bhilawadi has proven that the Internet of Things (IoT) can deliver value to Indian farmers residing in the remotest parts of the country. It is also a unique use case for value-driven adoption of IoT wherein a unique set of problems were linked to one solution – IoT.
From dairies to smart cities, India is steadily transforming into an IoT country. According to a NASSCOM report, India will be home to 2.7 billion connected devices by 2020. With this increase, India is also witnessing a spurt in the number of unique use cases connected with IoT. From remote monitoring of blood bank refrigerators to agricultural sensors that keep a tab on soil quality, IoT is helping eliminate guesswork from critical decision making while bringing more certainty in revenue, operations, productivity, and safety.
The Indian government has launched many initiatives to improve transparency, governance and last mile beneficiary tracking and engagement. The success of these initiatives will depend on IoT in one way or other. For improving financial inclusion, for instance, banking correspondents need to be tracked in addition to deriving data points such as frequency and duration of visits and the number of customers engaged per visit, etc. This helps banks formulate better engagement strategies and products for customers in rural and far-flung areas while offering better incentives to customers to build relationships with banks.
In projects such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, IoT can help avert bogus or incorrect claims as the state of the agricultural land in terms of productivity, ownership and management can be ascertained remotely enabling government agencies to offer faster and more accurate compensation during the period of distress.
During droughts or floods, determining the extent of flooding or drought conditions has been a recurring problem. During the 2018 floods in Kerala, the state and central government deployed a mix of satellite imagery, telecom base station data and word of mouth information to track people stranded. Determining the depth of flooding using satellite data was indeed a challenge. With IoT, smart street poles working with solar energy can be transformed into sources of information on flooding. Such data can prove extremely useful in mobilizing relief.
By deploying smart meters, wastage of/ or theft of water and power can be tracked. The savings alone will be enough to justify the investments in such systems.
With the increasing adoption of IoT, an entire eco-system is evolving in the country to support this growth. The number of IoT platform vendors and solution providers is growing by the week. The sector has also attracted plenty of start-ups too. I am being told that in Bengaluru alone, there are over 500 start-ups working on IoT in some form or manner. This also augurs well for India’s skilling agenda as the increased demand for IoT skills will also reflect in curriculum changes and improved availability of a trained workforce. This is a problem now.
All said and done, the future looks bright for the Internet of Things. One aspect which needs to be paid urgent attention is that of IoT security. As per to data from our global honeypot, attacks on IoT deployments globally have risen by 13 percent in the first three months of this year. Some categories such as smart cities registered a 30 percent increase in cyberattack this year. Growth in deployments and geographical dispersal of devices coupled with varying connectivity flavors, the risks associated with IoT projects has also grown. The emergence of Mobile Edge Computing will also bring in newer threats.
For India to gain more from IoT, the country needs to invest in three areas. IoT research, skilling and security awareness. A three-pronged strategy that will improve our standing in all these areas will go a long way in helping our digital transformation efforts succeed and in India becoming a IoT powerhouse in the near future.
The author of the article is the VP- IoT Business Solutions at Subex.
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