While IoT is a rapidly developing technology, understanding of its potential is still relatively limited. Graeme Muller, NZTech
The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon become critical to helping New Zealand raise its productivity and prosperity, says NZTech CEO Graeme Muller.
Much of the current hype around IoT has been derived from consumer IoT such as fitness trackers and intelligent fridges. But Muller points out “the real value to be had from the Internet of Things is in enterprise and government applications.”
Muller says NZTech is managing a national research to better understand the potential benefits and risks of IoT for the New Zealand economy.
He says the research will involve major tech users, tech firms, the government, academia and industry groups such as TUANZ and InternetNZ, who all have an interest in the potential impact of IoT for New Zealand. The research will be published in June.
Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.
Locally, Muller points out fast broadband is becoming more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wi-fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are dropping, and smartphone penetration is skyrocketing.
Putting all these rapid developments into the mix is creating a perfect platform for IoT to take off, says Muller, on the significance of the NZTech research.
“While IoT is a rapidly developing technology, understanding of its potential is still relatively limited. By undertaking a collaborative research project with the government, the tech sector and tech users we have an opportunity to raise the profile of IoT and highlight its potential,” says Muller, in a statement.
“The research will also help us understand opportunities that IoT could create for different sectors, and any barriers or challenges that may need to be addressed to accelerate deployment.
“While the research won’t be completed until mid-year, some initial observations give us cause for optimism. While current uptake is very low, with only around 10 percent of New Zealand businesses having deployed or currently planning to deploying IoT type technologies, New Zealand has all the ingredients for a business environment that will support accelerated growth.
Initial analysis has identified potential economic benefits in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the New Zealand economy through the deployment of IoT in sectors as diverse as agriculture, utilities, manufacturing, logistics and smart city services, he states.
He says some of the local interesting uses of IoT include:
Connected cow sheds: The faster milk is cooled the better quality it will be. Cooling milk uses about 30 per cent of the total energy costs for running a dairy farm. IoT sensors and actuators can manage the temperatures at each stage of milk flow. Real-time alerts are sent by text message or app notification if problems are identified. This enables the farmer to resolve the problem quickly to minimise milk loss.
Smart street lighting: This will save a city money in energy costs and reduces pollution by intelligently trimming and dimming individually addressed lights. Auckland Transport is installing around 40,000 smart LED streetlights which can individually respond to local light conditions saving millions.
Better health and safety: Employees can use wearable technologies to manage site access levels, improve awareness and adherence to health and safety requirements, and enable better utilisation of staff in real-time workforce management.
Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ will be in use worldwide this year, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.
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