In the Present, Designed for the Future

Smart IoT solutions has emerged as the next revolutionary technology for the future. This is said to be one such technology that is put to use in the present but is designed for the future.

IoT is a new standard that has changed the traditional lifestyle into a next-gen sci-fi lifestyle. Smart cities and smart technologies are all combinations of AI, ML and Smart IoT solutions. Research studies and practical applications of technologies have been done to enhance IoT technology. Yet, we have not been able to achieve the full potential, as some issues are to be addressed.

A smart city uses sustainable information and communication technology to improve the performance and quality of urban services for the residents while reducing the consumption of resources. Internet energy control and IoT plays an important aspect in this. A flexible IoT hierarchical architecture model that aids in Smart Cities is the goal of all government organisations.

Market Boom
The UAE IoT market has been booming and as this is a country, which accepts the latest technologies with open hands. “The projected forecast spends on IoT solutions in the Middle East alone is expected to be around $18 billion by 2023 as per IDC which being an achievable number defines the IoT market and its potential in the region. The market for IoT in the region has been very broad due to the sheer flexibility it gives which can be applied to home as well as industrial applications. The market has grown tremendously in the past 10 years as in 2010 it was looked upon like a luxury that is good to have but not necessary. Now it is looked upon as a necessity that one must use to move forward towards their goals. Especially in the industrial sector where only a handful of companies would deploy IoT solutions in the past, now almost everyone is considering it if not bought already for their current challenges.” says Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui, sales manager at Vacker Global.

He further added that the sudden advent of work from home culture also woke a lot of key decision-makers to give up on existing practices and accept solutions, which give you the flexibility to perform complex tasks with ease and without even being there. Needless to mention, the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is coming sooner and faster-growing the IoT market in the process.

Significant market
UAE is the most developed IoT market in the MENA region all thanks to the investments by the government, startups and the incumbent operators. For example, Etisalat offers tailored IoT solutions to public and private institutions while Du is focusing on supporting smart city-related projects in Dubai.

“Overall, the market is significant, but the majority of organizations is still at the very beginning of their journey. Most companies are creating awareness and defining the baseline, as they understood the requirement for IoT security, but have not made a decision yet. Of course, that makes it an attractive market segment and expectations for the future are high.” said Stefan Schachinger, Product Manager, Network Security – IoT/OT/ICS at Barracuda.

IoT is not merely connected devices and collecting data. It is a big market with various sectors. Innovative application in the biomedical sector and a rise in the adoption of wearable devices have created more growth and opportunity for the market.

“The main factors driving the demand are goals tied to achieving operational excellence, increase business profitability, reduce human errors, create better company-employee ecosystems and facilitate the flexible expansion of technology. The beauty of an IoT solution is that there is something for everyone no matter what industry vertical you come from. But, there are some industry verticals who deploy IoT more currently than others. These would be energy and utilities, transportation, real estate management, Pharma manufacturing, Food manufacturing, Automobile manufacturing, Agritech industries and healthcare industry verticals.” says Siddiqui.

Stefan Schachinger, Product Manager, Network Security – IoT OT ICS at Barracuda

Security concerns
This current pandemic has slowed down business and mobility. With limited mobility, the importance of digital transformation has increased. Barracuda believes that those companies who have started the implementation process before the pandemic could navigate through the crisis more efficiently and had a bigger advantage over the other companies. “That is one aspect among many requirements, which experienced a boost last year. In greenfield projects, organizations are still looking for connectivity solutions which are more than that and add security and scalability on top, while in existing environments, the biggest challenge is to add security in the least invasive manner,” said Schachinger.

He further added “In the region in particular, of course, the energy sector is a significant driver, but we have been working with IoT customers in different verticals, both worldwide and the region. IoT and digital transformation is a hot topic for all businesses. Against expectations, it does not always mean dust and dirt in rough environments. Whether it is a coal mine, a gas provider, or a medical laboratory, IoT is everywhere, sometimes even in very clean environments. The variety of projects makes it a very exciting market to work in.”

With the rapid growth in the IoT market, there is a significant cybersecurity risk factor. Cyberattacks on IoT environments are rapidly evolving in sophistication. These attacks also include worms or bots that compromise the functions of smart devices. The compromise also involves denial of services, attacks or illicit marketing. Attacks on industrial control systems are also increasing, as are attacks on military and business infrastructure.

Due to the complexity of the IoT ecosystem, there is a lack of standards and this becomes a key challenge in building security protocols for IoT devices. “The requirements in IoT are different, and therefore the solution requires appropriate configuration, but having all that technology available is a massive advantage,” said Schachinger. “While security is very important, it is not the only differentiator in IoT environments. Scalability and automation have a significant impact on the success of IoT project as well. Usually, we work with customers who connect hundreds or even thousands of things, and that requires a solution which can manage so many locations without an overwhelming amount of manual work effort.” he added.

The term “connectivity” which was once used only with customer-owned devices is no longer standing true with the concept of Smart Cities and Connected Smart IoT solutions. In this arena where advanced technologies have been blooming at a tremendous rate, IoT is catching up. With the concept base of Big data and collecting huge volume fo data, IoT is one such device which is not just designed for the present but also the future. With the adoption of cloud and the backing of Smart IoT solutions, the future looks promising with Smart IoT tagged along with Hybrid cloud technology.