The internet of things (IoT) is a system of interconnected devices, and machines through the internet over a large network which are capable of transferring data without human intervention.
India, at the forefront of a major digital revolution with major sectors such as Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI), retail, etc. embracing digital transformation at an incredible rate, has seen an increase in the number of connected devices. The outbreak of Coronavirus is augmenting dependence on the internet and digital technologies, which will further go up as the months roll on.
The confluence of IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, and cloud technologies will lead to an unprecedented amount of data generation which will further give thrust to the Digital India initiative.
India has a vibrant IoT ecosystem with close to 1500 IoT startups.
Digital twin is the creation of a digital/virtual replica of physical assets to monitor the performance on a real-time basis and is an emerging concept. According to a CII and Markets and Markets report, Internet of Things, Building a Smart, Secure and Connected World, the growing adoption of IoT in various industries, the use of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in manufacturing, and design & deployment of 3D printing & simulation software for machine designing are some of the major driving forces for the digital twin market.
The data collected from various sensors inside the manufacturing premises can be used to drive valuable insights and optimise business outcomes. IoT in manufacturing aids in minimising the machine downtime, optimising the production costs, and boosting overall throughput.
Remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and clinical operation management are some of the prominent use-cases of IoT in the healthcare segment. A remote patient health monitoring system is also being used by healthcare workers to remotely monitor patients’ condition thereby avoiding the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Remote patient monitoring and telehealth powered by technologies such as IoT, AI, etc. will witness a surge post-COVID-19 as an increasing number of people would prefer that over hospital visits.
Agriculture, a large employment generator, is undergoing changes too. Like Industry 4.0, the transformation of the sector is through technologies such as IoT, AI, drones, etc. For example, IoT based soil-health monitoring systems can empower farmers to utilise real-time information about soil-health to improve the yield.
For detecting anomalies, aerial drones coupled with the power of AI, IoT, ML, etc. can be instrumental in taking aerial surveys of the farmland so that corrective measures can be taken before it is too late. Agritech start-ups in India are using technology to address agriculture challenges by providing solutions to farmers and bringing business & scale to the sector in India.
IoT in the utilities segment, particularly smart metering, is primarily useful in reducing billing inefficiencies and unauthorized power consumption. Smart meters, a part of AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure), are devices that are connected securely over the internet to an IoT platform that collects and analyzes the consumption. On-time bill generation is guaranteed with smart meters, even in the COVID-19 kind of situation which restricts movement of people. The mass roll-out of smart meters would eventually help in improving the financial health of DISCOMs (power distribution companies in India) through better revenue collection.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing has become the new norm which is an important measure to contain the spread of Coronavirus. It would result in a rapid technological transformation in many sectors such as retail, agriculture, manufacturing, and more. IoT will play a major role in the transformation of the retail sector as ‘try & buy’ experience will be replaced by a Phygital (Physical + Digital) strategy, merging online and offline experiences. Contactless testing of beauty products, and many other shopping experiences will be enabled by high-definition screens (called smart mirrors). These smart mirrors equipped with different sensors and digital technologies can play a major role in augmenting the retail customer experience in the post-COVID-19 world.
The adoption of the Internet of Things is set to accelerate now changing, forever, the man-machine equation.