Marketers in the Middle East are embracing IoT to drive more customers and engage the right audience.
Businesses with agile ecosystems that have well-equipped Internet of Things (IoT) architecture and the technology to support the latest advancements are undergoing a significant shift.
What actually is IoT?
Internet of Things or IoT can be explained as an ecosystem which provides information across different platforms and between users via the internet. One can connect to another user, machine, an automobile with built-in sensors, or objects that have been assigned a particular unique identification IP address and transfer data.
Smart Homes are the best examples of IoT. They are reshaping the future world with automated tasks making life simpler, easier, and intelligent
How has the Middle East Embraced IoT?
As per PwC, in 2016, 33% of companies were at an advanced level of digitisation, and this is expected to double to almost 70% by 2020.
With heavy digitisation across the Middle East, IoT is now one of the most crucial factors for any businesses. It lets people and businesses manage their assets more effectively and in an informed manner.
In the Middle East, IoT development is boosted by the Smart City projects undertaken by the Governments to national strategies to leverage long term sustainability. With this, IoT mobile networks will also be positioned securely to connect sensors across cities, supporting smart city initiatives, for example, the Smart Dubai project.
IoT can transform the way cities utilise water, smart meters with leak detection and data integrity can result in a much precise and systematic distribution of water across various areas. Smart building management systems use IoT devices to connect disparate, cooling, lighting, nonstandard heating and fire safety system to a central management system. IoT does not just help in building smarter cities but also render solutions that ensure the safety of the public. Video monitoring systems in public transports can help track and record instances of accidents; it can also be implemented on public streets for safety concerns.
AI, IoT and the links between Humans and Machines
Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Human-Machine links have altered the way businesses worked previously and interacted with their consumers. The Dubai IoT strategy, which aims at building the world’s most advanced IoT ecosystem to improve people’s lives, will serve as a benchmark in the IoT space.
The strategy aims to protect Dubai’s digital wealth, encourage the participation of government departments to join the Emirates smart development under the IoT strategy. It also focuses on the objectives of the Smart Dubai Plan 2021 to transition to a 100% paperless government. The IoT strategy for Dubai includes six strategic domains: governance, deployment, management, acceleration, monetisation and security.
IoT is now embedded in almost everything. From automatic cars to home utility machines to security sensors, it is a technology that is bringing humans a step closer to the machines. IoT has successfully managed to reduce manual work, turning out to be a cost-effective solution to companies who can now automate, delegate, and manage work with the help of IoT.
Impact of IoT on the Business Ecosystem in UAE
IoT architecture is proliferating the number of connected devices that a person can access easily without exerting themselves out. With this technology, life will become more comfortable and simpler. Also, new revenue streams and job opportunities will be created with the expansion of IoT in the Middle East.
Apart from the already existing government plans related to IoT development across the Middle East, private companies and public sectors are also actively participating in the IoT architecture development. The most common IoT examples are smart homes, automobiles, utility devices and regular gadgets that we use on a day-to-day basis.
IoT solutions will also help in tackling cybersecurity crimes and safeguard online data of users. According to a report by A.T.Kearney, the IoT solution market in the GCC will be worth $11 billion by 2025, generating a potential revenue of around $160 billion.
Dubai has succeeded in transforming itself into a global city by being a tourism hub and providing exceptional IoT platforms. It has harnessed digital innovation and sustainability in several city endeavours with the help of IoT. With this exponentially growing technology in Dubai, it has also seen unprecedented economic growth.
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Challenges with IoT and Commercialisation in the Middle East
Internet of Things is a massive and complex ecosystem which calls for expert professionals in the domain along with the right technology and a flexible budget to meet the project ends. There are three major challenges in IoT all across the globe:
1. Security Concerns
Security forms the backbone of any technology. An increasing number of connected devices increases the number of loopholes in a system with more security vulnerabilities. Many IoT developments work with identical or similar devices which magnifies the potential of any security breach in either one of the systems.
The ultimate battle boils down to cost-effective solutions versus a highly protected but exorbitant system in such cases. If your company has a stringent budget, take a collaborative approach to deal with security. Mass scale deployments can be formed using regulated policies that ensure proper security of the devices and its data.
2. Privacy Issues
IoT creates unique challenges to privacy, many that go beyond the current data privacy issues. This drawback comes as a major challenge in consumer devices, like tracking devices for phones, cars and even smart television. Devices such as smart television have embedded voice recognition and visual features that can continuously listen to conversations or watch activities and selectively transmit data to cloud-based service for further processing. Such information can lead to legal consequences and put users at the risk of unwanted exposure.
To deal with privacy issues, IoT software deployed in devices must be developed with respect to individual privacy choices across a broad spectrum of expectations, while still rendering innovative and helpful technology.
3. Regulation Policies
Legal issues with IoT devices include cross border data flow, which involves conflict between law enforcement surveillance and civil rights, data retention and destruction policies and legal liabilities for unintended use of personal information. Furthermore, technology is advancing at a rapid pace as compared to associated policy and regulatory frameworks.
Regulatory analysis of IoT devices is increasingly being taken care of from a general, technological and legal perspective. This can prevent unfair or deceptive practices that target organisations and individuals as well. Proper mandates which ensure regulatory policies in place can help build a more reliable and safe environment for IoT devices.
Also Read: Is MENA Ready for 5G and Mobile Advertising?
IoT connects more than 300 million things in the Middle East alone. Each comes with specific requirements like their coverage area, ecosystem development, business development, product development and end-to-end secure communication between the things at the backend.
Even after developing a strong network between things online, it is quite a difficult task to deploy the ecosystem successfully, which runs on the designated platforms without errors. Implementing IoT is an expensive affair as compared to other technologies like Cloud or Blockchain. Though in the long run, IoT does prove to be an efficient alternative to hundreds of employees working at the backend of a company.
IoT in the Middle East is growing at a rapid pace. If you are a business leader, it is essential to analyse ways how you could incorporate the technology in your organisation or make plans that entail IoT as its backbone. The Middle East is experiencing a drastic change in all the sectors because of the inclusion of such advanced technologies.
From building sustainable solutions today to finding cost-cutting measures in the long run, IoT covers a wide range of aspects of the business domain.