By 2025, McKinsey estimates that IoT will have a potential total economic impact of as much as $11.1 trillion per year. The consulting firm also says that IoT will be the biggest source of value of all disruptive technologies, ahead of mobile Internet, knowledge-work automation, cloud computing, and advanced robotics. The world has seen interesting use cases of IoT deployments in the much-accelerated digital transformation impacting the sectors from agriculture to automobiles.
While the world has made huge advances, the potential is much more, and there are not many business models that are able to leverage the full potential of IoT.
For a company in the IoT space, the most important thing is connectivity.
Any smart device gets tagged as an IoT product only when it is able to seamlessly establish a connection to the cloud and ensure a two way-data flow with appropriate actions.
IoT connectivity enablement is a multi-stakeholder ecosystem that includes connectivity providers/telecom operators, application providers and system integrators—for most enterprises and start-ups, setting out the fastest and the most efficient way of activating IoT connectivity has been one of the biggest hurdles for their systems to go live.
The cost for connectivity hardware at the edge is a significant component of the total product cost that generally brings up the initial capital investment for IoT enablement, especially for the multitude of sensor-based low power IoT applications, which will be the largest among the set.
As connectivity depends on multiple vendors, the cost, as well as the complexity of the deployment, is also significant. Even though most smart products/solutions that get defined & developed are novel and can solve a definite problem, something as fundamental but brutal like commercial viability – courtesy the cost of primary components that power the solution, clips its wings even before it can fly.
This has affected decisions for scale and has been a significant reason why many IoT start-ups have been extremely cautious of scaling up. Many IoT start-ups have started ambitiously, only to falter or change their business model because of their inability to scale up cost-effectively.
The need for a financially viable ecosystem
The existing fragmented ecosystem needs to be re-engineered, consolidated, and re-imagined from start to end. Just like the cloud’s pay-per-use model, which has completely changed the way enterprises buy or provision IT infrastructure, a similar model has to be created in IoT too.
The world needs connectivity as a service solution that helps IoT product companies get integrated connectivity hardware of their choice of technology, a pre-loaded IoT data pack, with a management layer enabled by a cloud-based device management platform.
Connectivity as a service solution can be a big game-changer, as it can help IoT product firms eliminate close to 50% of connectivity costs. IoT hardware and connectivity, which form the most important components of expenses for IoT firms, will not remain a barrier anymore.
India is already an emerging hub of IoT product development for the global market and an IoT module designed, developed, and manufactured in India will propel the country’s digital transformation by setting the base to emerge as a global electronic manufacturing hub even for the global developed markets.
(The author, John Mathew is Chief Executive Officer & CTA, Cavli Wireless, Inc and the views expressed in this article are his own)