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Panel Discussion On Mutation Of The Machines At Mobile Internet Conference

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The Mobile Internet Conference held on 19th November 2014, was a good opportunity to understand the current and future trends in the mobile Industry related to Internet of things (IoT), VAS, Mobile commerce and apps. The conference had panel discussions on a variety of topics which helped the global audience understand the trend in the Mobile and Internet Industry in India. There was a panel discussion specifically on the changing scenario of IoT in India and its significance for the, “Smart Cities” initiative of the Government of India. The host of the panel discussion was Prasanto Roy, Advisor of Cyber. He introduced the topic of Internet of things. The Internet of things (IoT) has a great capacity to change lives as the mobile and internet industry is in the middle of a revolution and will progress a lot in the next few years. The IoT will specifically bring about a revolution in the Industrial sector of India. The Industrial sector is mainly concerned with pollution, industrial mechanization, process integration and supply chains.

Key highlights of the panel discussion are given below –

Mr. Rohit Gupta (Vice President Wireless Industry Solutions, TATA Teleservices) and Mr. C. Rama Krishna Reddy (Chief Executive Officer, Spoors Technology Solutions)

Both the panel judges shared their views on IoT.

  • IoT is going to change the industrial sector tremendously. However, there are a lot of problems related to pollution, system integration and a lack of definitive standards.
  • Every paradigm shift has multiple challenges for defining and developing standards. The whole concept of which operating system is to be used?, what is the scope and challenges of the internet? What is the scope of IoT in consumer services? In order to answer these questions, standards need to be defined as they have potential to change the mobile industry forever. Even the definition of machines will keep changing over the years.
  • Standards pertaining to IoT will change as per the requirement of the user.
  •  There is a need for integrating different aspects of IoT, like types of sensors, operating systems, web interface and embedded systems etc.
  • With a properly integrated system there will be coordination and cooperation between end providers of sensors, web interface providers and different players.
  • Aggregation of multiple layers will bring about an integration of the systems of IOT.
Mr. Sandeep Arora (Director – Marketing and Market Development, Intel South Asia)

A panelist, Mr. Sandeep Arora (Director – Marketing and Market Development, Intel South Asia) was asked a question regarding Smart Cities. He shared his views as follows –

  • The newly formed Government of India, headed by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is very keen on developing Smart cities in India as part of the digital India vision. IoT will form a critical part in realizing this dream.  There needs to be huge investments in connected and integrated systems to realize the concept of Smart Cities. There is a clear intent established by the Government of India regarding Smart cities now, and they want to bring about a large scale change.
  • There are several opportunities for IoT in Smart Cities; however, in order to achieve the goals of Smart cities they need to allocate resources urgently.
  • The IoT policy is being developed and many agencies like NASSCOM are working on it, they have made progress, but it will still take more than 2-3 years for a Smart City to actually happen.
  • Smaller improvements are required to keep going, the citizens of India will get used to it and demand more, they also need to voluntarily take initiatives and demand progress, only then a Smart city will materialize.
Mr. Rohit Gupta (Vice-President Wireless Industry Solutions, TATA Teleservices)

There was a question raised by a person in the audience – What are the drivers for smart cities? This question was answered by Mr. Rohit Gupta (Vice-President Wireless Industry Solutions, TATA Teleservices). He shared his views regarding the Telecom Industry, energy efficiency and other issues.

  • Energy is very important for IoT as India is very energy deficient. There is a great need to reduce the energy consumption at industrial, household and institutional level by almost 5% and for this to happen there is a need for investments.  Energy is perhaps the biggest driver. There is a lot of arbitration happening over the energy issue at the industrial level.
  • The next important driver is the educational sector. Many schools in India are concerned over the safety and security of their students and therefore they are installing GPS devices on the school buses. There have been cases where many bus drivers are pilfering fuel and travelling long distances for personal work. GPS devices are helping to keep a track on these issues. In many cases, the GPS devices have not worked as the drivers made sure that GPS tracking failed.
  • Another nationwide problem is that of electricity distribution losses due to faulty equipment, faulty public distribution practices and human errors etc. IoT is being used to make the system more efficient. IOT has also found application in smart grids.
  • The telecom industry spends a lot of money on diesel for its DG sets and there are losses due to pilferages, leakages and other issues. The telecom industry has done a lot of research and has found solutions for this problem. They have installed fuel sensors for DG sets, however, at present it is in an evolutionary stage.
  • Food wastage especially of agricultural produce is also a big driver for implementing IoT.  India is the largest producer of agricultural products and almost 60% wastage has been recorded. This is due to the lack of consistent and reliable transport and inadequate cold storage facilities. Wastage of food is also the main cause of inflation in India. This is where IoT is being used to track supply chains and measure and minimize the wastage.
  • There are various benefits of IoT in Smart cities but they need to be implemented on an urgent basis to reap rewards of technology.
  • Adoption of smart technologies has already started and requires integration immediately.
  • Many well planned cities like Chandigarh and Navi Mumbai will start adopting smart technologies in the next few years as it is much easier to implement these technologies in these cities rather than implementing in chaotic cities like Mumbai or Kolkata.
  • Smart and IoT technologies will have transformational benefits in health care and education too in the near future.
  • IT policy draft should have integrated system and consistent framework to allow data to be shared across the value system.
Mr. C. Rama Krishna Reddy (Chief Executive Officer of Spoors Technology Solutions)

Mr. C. Rama Krishna Reddy (Chief Executive Officer of Spoors Technology Solutions), elaborated on the opportunities in the Smart Cities programme for IoT.

  • The critical issues for Smart Cities is also to become clean Cities in the long run and therefore the environmental problems cannot be ignored.
  • Global warming, air, water, soil and land pollution are critical issues in India and the world over. IoT has the potential to solve them.
  • Due to the stringent pollution laws in India, the Industrial sector is using IoT to monitor, measure and minimize pollution levels. They have made significant investments in Industrial pollution control technologies.
  • Likewise, Smart Cities should also be clean. A good initiative has been taken up by IMD to monitor pollution levels in New Delhi. One can simply login to the site and see the levels of pollutants in various parts of Delhi. This level of monitoring is creating awareness and a lot of updates are being seen on social media regarding pollution levels affecting health of citizens.
  • Various Apps and software need to be developed for monitoring purposes in Smart and clean Cities to bring about a radical change.
Mr. Arjun Roy (Head IoT netCore Solutions)

One of the panelists, Mr. Arjun Roy (Head IoT netCore Solutions), answered a question asked by the audience about the different types of apps for school buses and their various uses.

  • Several schools in Delhi and Gurgaon are using a bus app wherein the movements of the bus are tracked and delays or changes in the route if any are communicated to the parents via SMS. However, this app complicated the situation as it tracked all movements and kept sending SMS. Furthermore, the parents also tracked the bus on their smartphones and laptops and raised objections on the slightest change in movement. They continuously called up the school and pointed out the smaller details of the routes and demanded an explanation for the same.  This became a tedious and confusing job for the school eventually.  The App was then modified in a way that it sent an SMS to parents only in case of a real problem. Schools are the best examples of institutional usage of IoT in an efficient manner.
  • In the Middle East there are apps where schools sent SMS to parents whenever a student is absent or is found missing in classes.
  • Many times apps have to be discontinued as parents are just not interested in knowing about minor details about their student or simply do not have the time.
  • People do not login or encourage tech support like SMS for frivolous matters.
  • Besides schools, many companies are using apps to track the locations of service engineers.
  • There should be a balance between how much details an app should provide.
  • There is also the case of Airtel where they kept sending emails, SMS, and phone calls whenever bills were not paid on time. There was so much of communication from Airtel that the customer felt harassed and irritated.
  • IoT should be made available without being too fancy.
  • Sometime in the near future there is going to be an inflection point where the costs associated with different technologies have to come down, data transfer rate has to increase , internet needs to be upgraded, basic internet facilities need to be provided to all citizens. When these enablers are in place only then IoT will bring about a real transformation and same is the case for smart cities.
  • Changes will happen incrementally but only if the Government takes an initiative.
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