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Knocking on the door: 5G-IoT Interplay

The potential of the much spoken about Internet of Things (IoT) is yet to be tapped. It remains in its infant stage, and lags behind contrary to what market researchers had predicted. This, has come as a surprise to many. There is no doubt that instrumenting the planet with the capabilities of IoT, would yield a multitude of positive results; significant operational savings, revenue gains and greener living to name a few. But, just as the internet took a while before it kicked off and began to deliver its full potential, there is a strong belief that with the advent of low latency technologies like 5G, the paradigm promise of IoT will be incorporated at pace.

The success of any new technology or concept to work its magic in the market place needs the merger of three critical aspects:

  1. The availability of the technology itself.
  2. Proven business models that link supply to demand.
  3. Meeting and solving the challenges.

Availability of the technology:

Claims of a lack of technologies or standards to unlock the IoT market are largely unfounded. There is no dearth of connectivity technologies and standards today. The world over, these technologies have been tested and tried with some of them successfully deployed and in use today. Many of these are in the form of commercial deployments. The coming of 5G would add the turbo charge to the engine.

Proven business models that link supply to demand:  

The adoption of IoT though small, is growing in momentum as it makes crisper economic and efficiency sense to business establishments. The efficiencies and economics driven by IoT can be best demonstrated by some of the early adopting industries and trades like fleet management, shipping and power companies to name a few.

Productivity, efficiency, optimal use of resources, all leading to significant cost savings are some of the key take-aways from these early adopters.

The use of IoT has significantly benefitted the maritime industry, where, besides keeping a real time track of their ships, companies are also capable of monitoring their cargo in real time, ensuring timely action translating into quality assurance.

In addition to active asset tracking, IoT is greatly aiding many industries conspicuously mitigate repair and maintenance costs that go into maintaining their industrial machinery. Sensors track the real time functionality of each part of industrial equipment, actively and intuitively point out possible issues well before they happen, helping managers take timely corrective action and thereby aid predictive maintenance.

Besides demonstrating the business sense that the adoption of IoT enables, the other visible benefits such as energy optimisation, logistics optimisation, quality management and inventory management have been clearly demonstrated by the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT).

Challenges:

The availability of advanced technologies coupled with proven business models is yet to accelerate market demand. This raises the question of why? But at the same time, reveals that this is just a passing phase. As pointed out earlier, wherein the acceptability of the internet suddenly showed a delta in the growth curve, the evolution of network technologies and the coming of 5G networks will result in a spurt in the demand for connected devices. As we move from near real time to real time transactions, the challenges in spectrum management and improving spectral efficiency poses another interesting dimension. It plays a pivotal role, as the number of bits that one hertz of spectrum can carry in real time holds the key to unlocking the true potential of real time intelligence.

A city, that was till some time ago measuring the quality of its air manually has today evolved using intuitive technologies to perform the same operation, and in real time. Real time interactions of things with things and between things and man are resulting in faster actions, besides solving issues, thereby promising a better living.

Arguably the biggest challenge for IoT today is to create a genuine demand amongst consumers for industries to service. How and when would people adopt automated sensors to efficiently and effectively do the mundane and the revolutionary? The evolution of networks to 5G is the exact stimulus that IoT is awaiting. Heterogenous devices and people will connect using this revolutionary ultra-low latency network, and witness the Interplay between 5G and IoT, allowing us to experience a world of possibilities that this technology promises.

Authored by-Chiranjib Paul Choudhury

 

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