2016: Zooming into IoT’s disparity between hype and reality in India

The term internet of things (IoT) is itself is so broad and involves so many aspects from hardware components to software to data that it becomes difficult to comprehend what exactly it is, even in 2016.

IoT is definitely the most talked about technologies of contemporary times and when it comes to hype, it leaves its counterparts like SDx, collaboration and others far behind. Gartner forecasts that connected things will reach 25 billion by 2020 and also claims that IoT will become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt not only across industries but also across areas of society.

IDC on the other hand predicts that the IoT market in India is poised to grow at a CAGR of 19.7 percent by 2020. This new year, the disruptive technology will surely experience more traction, but the cloud that engulfs it needs to cleared as soon as possible.

“The internet of things figures in the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle. But there is disconnect between reality and what is being propagated as the next big thing to happen after computers and the internet,” says Ravi Ramakrishnan, global IT head and CIO of Uflex Film Division.

Shalil Gupta associate VP insights and consulting IDC India

It is definitely true that there is indeed a difference between what we are reading in the media and what actually is the ground reality considering the fact that India still does not have that many IoT use cases which we can boast of. There is a cloud of confusion around the technology which is probably acting as a barrier to adoption.

“There is indeed a lot of confusion regarding IoT and that is the very reason we formed an IET and IoT panel. The problem is the amount of money that is riding on the technology is immense and hence anyone and everyone who has a commercial interest in it is trying to push their pitch into the IoT space. Our job is to cut through the clutter and show governments, enterprises and businesses what actually the ground reality is. The problem is confusion with regards to IoT is at a very base level,” says Shekhar Sanyal, Country Head and Director, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), India

IET supports and guides the IT industry and the government to implement IoT initiatives.

The term internet of things is itself is so broad and involves so many aspects from hardware components to software to data that it becomes difficult to comprehend what exactly it is.

Ravi Ramakrishnan global IT head and CIO of Uflex Film Division

“IoT has many components, what is being showcased as the real value of IoT is being done at the data integration and analytic level but before that we have the weakest link as the IoT sensors, the actual data capturing elements,” Ramakrishnan says. He also feels that the digital gap between what is possible and what is being projected is creating enormous confusion.

Siting use cases and learning from it is the only way hype can turn into reality. Gartner claims that from an industry perspective, manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three verticals using IoT all together they will have 736 million connected things in use. The research firm also believes that by 2020, the ranking will change with utilities in the number one spot, manufacturing will be second and government will be third, totaling 1.7 billion IoT units installed.

Sanyal claims that IoT is yet to reach at a level where it will be possible to point out towards very specific cases and points out that the ground reality is that, there are very few actual deployments that has happen around IoT.

Shekhar Sanyal Country Head and Director The Institution of Engineering and Technology India

Frankly speaking conceptually IoT is very strong, but in reality we still do not have too many deployment happening as the investment needed and the proof of concept needed is still not there in the market. Another question is do we have enough number of people who are being skilled to handle this disruptive technology?

“So, if I was a CEO and a vendor comes to me and tells me that this is the IoT solution I have and this is what it is going to do for you, I would like to know two things, first I would want someone in my organization who will be capable to validate things for me and secondly I would want to have someone in the organization, who will have the expertise and skillset to run the solution so that I do not have to depend all my life on that vendor,” Sanyal adds.

Shalil Gupta, associate VP, insights and consulting, IDC India, claims that IoT will “continue to drive widespread attention among technology vendors even in 2016” and that, on a broad scale, there are three types of organizations where adoption will occur.

Gartner claims that from an industry perspective, manufacturing, utilities and transportation will be the top three verticals using IoT all together they will have 736 million connected things in use. 

“Three types of organizations are looking at the IoT space closely. First are companies who are early adopters of SMAC, then ‘evaluators’ who are still evaluating the technologies and the value benefits of implementation and third will be Refrainers’ who are still at the evolving stage and will await the progress of the ‘Evaluators’ to move to that stage,” says Gupta.

To sum it up, the hype that is engulfing IoT needs to be cleared so as to focus more on implementation, else full potential of the technology can never be realized.